Author Archives: nimi naren

Mystery of the missing scissors!

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a marker pen, a permanent marker. I searched high and low, in all the cupboards where I have sorted stationery by category (read OCD). There were many markers, in various stages of ‘inklessness’. When I tried to write with them, their energy seemed to fizzle out by the time I drew a mere squiggle.

This is undoubtedly one of ‘those’ laws at work. And during this hunt for markers, I only saw scissors. Every room, every pencil holder in our home seemed to be teeming with scissors. Small and big, red and yellow.

Even on my work desk there was a big, cheerful looking scissor that seemed to say, “Hi!”

Image Courtesy – Cliparting.com

My search proved futile and I had to go out to buy a marker.

Cut to yesterday. I was in the kitchen preparing to make pizza. I took out the cheese packet, and looked for a pair of scissors. I usually have two in the kitchen. 

Looked everywhere, couldn’t find them. My work desk scissor was also missing.  Could only find a blunt, old pair of craft scissors.

Where were the rest? Did they hear me whine that there were too many of them? Had they walked out? Were they all hiding somewhere, gloating at my helplessness, and hoping that I would realize how useful they are.

I do. I do. 

As of this morning, they are still missing. Maybe if I go looking for paper clips or something, I will find all of them.

Come back, you guys.

Family time

I don’t know about all of you, but when the members of my family try to get ready to step out of the house together, usually one of these things is likely to happen.

  1. Three members are out the door, while one is still not quite ready.
  2. And on the rare occasion that we are all miraculously out at the same time, one of us has to rush back inside to pick up a life-saving item like a book or a bit of paper or a cookie.
  3. One of the children always decides to wear his or her footwear only after we are inside the lift, doing a one-legged hip-hop dance (hopefully there is nobody else other than our family in the lift).
  4. A sibling war breaks out just before we leave the house, so the siblings are glowering at each other in the lift.

There are many more such things, but let’s stick to these four items to keep it simple.

So, four individuals, sometimes irritable, sometimes glowering, sometimes indifferent – manage to reach the car park.  Based on the mood before we leave home, there is a mad scramble for the seats at the rear, with each of my children marking his or her own territory; getting quite predator-like in their behaviour.

Image result for family time car drive clipart

My husband and I get in, busy with our own thoughts.  As the car leaves the condo, the gentle swish of the air-conditioner sweeps the car, and teases our faces.  We watch the world outside flit past, trees, joggers, cyclists, mothers with prams, and many more.

My son takes the phone, and plays some lovely music.  There’s Billy Joel, Cold Play, One Direction, A.R.Rahman and many more.  The melodious music wraps all of us together.  We smile, and enjoy the drive, our petty irritations and squabbles completely forgotten.

 

A Mother’s Love

There are two sides to motherhood. On one side is when you are a child and receive the love of a mother; on the other side is when you are a mother and give your love to your child(ren). And you realize the value of the former only when you experience the latter.

I still remember that my mom was the nerve centre of our family. Her smiling countenance, her commitment to giving her best to every single member of the family, her superlative cooking skills, her ability to take on her children’s problems and lighten the burden for them, her unshakeable faith in her children and the belief that they were the very best.

From home mechanic to recycling expert to instant gourmet meal producer, my mom wore so many hats with ease and changed them in a jiffy. 

I don’t remember her ever being really sick. Even if she was a bit under the weather, she ploughed on, ever cheerful. However, there was this one time when she had slipped and hurt her knee really badly, and was out of action for a week. I remember how my siblings and I moped. We felt that the lights were dimmed in our house, the thread that strung us all together and got us going was not there. So, we spent time in her room, reading our books or sitting with her, wishing to hear her voice chiding us or her ‘mom looks’ that could freeze us in our tracks. Even those were better than having her unwell.

I did not realize all that I had learnt from my mom till I became one, and knew that being a mom means to GIVE; to give unconditionally, every single day.

             Image Courtesy – http://www.Cliparting.com

To love so much that you hurt. To want the very best for your children. To care too much, but to also learn to let go..and let your children soar and fly.

And retain every single memory of the wonderful years that have flown past, and the days that are flying past even as I type this. Rainy afternoons with hot samosas and movies, cycling trips with the family, stick figure drawings on the refrigerators, playing referee to sibling wars, cuddles and hugs, laughter and smiles, and lots and lots of love.

 A mother’s love. 

Catching some shut eye

Sleep means different things to different people. There is a lot more to the science of sleep than the oft-discussed night owl vs. morning bird.

When there is an infant in the house, the baby typically cries each time you put him or her down, so you learn to  maintain a rhythm that keeps baby happy, and that also enables you to sleep walk. And the next day, at work, you unconsciouly tap out that rhythm on the carpet.

But before the kids came along there existed a time when you could stay out late, watch movies, and still have a never-ending chat with your friends, and continue to feel rejuvenated; a time when you went straight to work the next day, looking fresh and ready to take on the day, without having slept a wink.

Even before this phase was the time in college, when the concept of sleep was alien. When you studied hard, and had lots of fun.

So, coming back to the kids. Your infant suddenly grew into a busy toddler, whom you chased under tables, and up and down staircases, whom you pushed on swings and caught at the bottom of slides. And then, when your toddler was all tucked into bed, and you looked forward to catching a few winks, the said toddler came crying with pain in his calf muscles or some such.

Then, suddenly, your teenagers and tweenagers had become independent creatures, and disappeared into their coccoons. And you said,  “I can finally catch some shut eye.”

                       Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda
But now, sleep plays truant. You sleep well some days and stay awake on some days. You ponder about life and wonder about what lies ahead. You look at the stars and marvel at the universe, and then worry that the alarm will ring in a few hours.

 And then again, there are those afternoons when you get two hours to yourself (the luxury…), and you make plans to read a book or watch a movie, and as you recline on the couch to enjoy the book or the movie, your eyes close involuntarily. 

Sleep….

The confession

Last month, we had to go to a friend’s home for a house warming party.  My son was going down to play with his friends and I told him that he had to be back by 6 pm, so that he would have enough time to wash-up and get ready!  Our conversation went something like this.

Son: So, where are we going?

Me: To Aunt L’s house.  She has moved to a new condo, so she has called us over for dinner.

Son: Oh! Aunt L?  Hmmm…(he seemed to be in deep thought).

Me: What?

Son: I have a confession to make.

Me: Sure, tell me. (….wondering what was coming)

Son: You know that there is a small hillock near Aunt L’s old house?  About four years ago, my friends and I walked up that hillock.

(My friend (the said Aunt L) had already told me that these kids had been going up and down the hillock and had asked them to be careful, as they could get hurt).

Me: Yes, I know. Aunt L has told me.

Son:  But that’s not it. Once, when Aunt L was not there (she is usually watching us), the five of us went up the hillock, and went through a small gap in the fence.  We found ourselves outside the condo.  There was a grassy slope, some trees, and at a distance was the next building.  We high-fived and came back into our condo through the fence.  Are you mad at me?

Me: I am not mad, but it could have been dangerous to go out like you did. You could have got hurt.

Son: Mom, it was a long time ago.  I wouldn’t do that now. OK, bye!

I smiled and imagined the scene. Five little imps, up for an adventure to conquer the hillock, and see the world outside.  I can imagine those giggles, the shared camaraderie, and the imagined ‘big’ conspiracy.  I wonder how much they had planned, and who amongst them took the call to get them all enthused and going.

Image result for children climbing up mountain clipart

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

Five children, 7 to 8 year-olds, best friends,  in their shorts and t-shirts, scrambling up the hillock, quickly sneaking out through the fence, their hearts thudding in excitement at this sudden adventure, reaching the other side, looking at each other, and sharing looks of glee and sudden giggles, and then their thudding hearts reminding them of home, parents and fear, and the scramble back to the other side of the fence, back to safety, to the known and to the comfort of home.

And this is how it will be for our children.  As parents, we will never know some of the adventures that the children will embark on in their future.  They will try to conquer their fears by trying new things, sometimes they will do something because it is cool, sometimes they will do things that will help them reach their highest potential.

 

The ‘Rasam’ Debate

‘Rasam’ is a South Indian dish. It is a watery soup that is eaten with rice. Rasam is a combination of many tastes – it is spicy, tangy, aromatic, and full of flavour. More than anything, Rasam soothes, comforts and invigorates. It can be eaten when you have stomach upsets, when you are down with a cold or fever or pretty much all the time.  It is also the dish you want to come home to after a long holiday,  and restaurant food.

Rasam is usually served as the second gravy (that’s mixed with rice) in a typical South Indian meal. The Rasam, as a dish, is so versatile that it can be made with different bases like tamarind, lemon, orange, pineapple, lemon grass and many more.  It can contain one or many of the following – tomatoes, garlic, ginger, drumstick etc.

It is a staple dish in most homes. A good South Indian cook is expected to make a mean cup of Rasam. 

Image courtesy – http://www.Dreamstime.com

Where I grew up, Rasam was a must-have with our afternoon meal. Piping hot rasam, with rice and papadams, eaten with spicy potato curry.

My mom is a Rasam connoisseur and I have inherited my intense love for Rasam from her. My mom’s Rasam is to die for, and I have many wonderful memories of tucking into wonderful meals with her aromatic rasam, with the monsoon winds sweeping outside.

Cut to many years later. I was a newly married woman, trying to impress my husband with my cooking skills. One of the first meals that I prepared was a Rasam-Rice combo with some vegetable.

When we sat down to dinner, my husband looked at the Rasam and said, “I don’t like Rasam at all.”

I was shocked. How could someone not like Rasam? I did a hardsell of my Rasam but to no avail. My husband’s family only had Rasam when they were down with fever.

So, for them, Rasam = Fever Comfort Food

For me, Rasam = The greatest dish ever…

How were we going to reconcile this? It was an even bigger debate than Coffee vs. Tea (Coffee for me, of course).

It’s been a long journey. The only consolation is that when my husband is down with a bad cold or fever, he asks for ‘my delicious rasam’. I keep telling him that my rasam is delicious even otherwise…but!

When I think about it, this Rasam debate in our home epitomises marriage. Two different people, with different tastes, who learn to live together and compromise on many things, but don’t on a few things…and can laugh over all this over a cup of rasam.

A good book

I have not been myself this week. My mind has been sucked into the pages of an ‘unputdownable’ book.

This week, I live my normal life like an automaton. My brain, my attention and my senses have all been hijacked by the complex plot, and the gripping action.

I cook, and I think about what’s going to happen next. I feel as if I am floating in the real world and my identity exists only in the world inhabited by the characters in the book. This is the only reality.

Any small break, and I am nose-deep in the book. I am amazed at the power that words can have over me. Words that, when combined just right, narrate a powerful story. Words that grip me, make me laugh, make me cry and make my heart thud with the excitement of what is going to happen next!

And when the book ends, I am sure I will have difficulty coming back to the real world, where work and school and chores beckon. It will be an arduous task to leave the characters behind, but there are some that occupy permanent residence in my mind. They will probably join some of the other memorable characters, who already live there. People whom I know and love from those lovely books I have read, people who have influenced me and who have opened my mind to new thought.

Image courtesy – http://www.clipartfest.com
Reading a book is an indescribable pleasure. Whenever I finish a great book, I yearn to write one too. This is what reading does to me. There is a  ‘wannabe writer’ in every bookworm’s head. I am no exception.

I dream of dialogues between imaginary characters and look at interesting people, who will fit into the book that I will eventually write.