Scratches on the table

I sit on the dining table, working on my laptop. I absently run my hand on the surface of the table, and realize that the surface has become rough and filled with scratches – the result of Bayblades tested on the table, and school craft projects built on its surface.

Picture courtesy – 123rf.com

My eyes scan our home. There is an incense holder that has been around for many years, unobtrusive and remembered only when I light an incense stick. Then there is the coin box, where all members of the family drop coins from their wallets and purses.  There is the fruit bowl, and the dessert tray, the umbrella holder and the kitchen plates, the key holder and the wooden stool, the bottle-opener and the coffee mugs.

All these objects are integral parts of our lives, but we do not stop to think or remember when we bought them or from where. They are mute spectators to our successes and failures, our joys and grief.  

The printer paper, mobile charger, blender, gas lighter – they are our silent supporters and back-office team. Even if one of them stops functioning, there is an impact – the smooth flow of life is broken – it can be as simple as a missing key or a missing bottle-opener.

The scratches on my table remind me that these little memories are what make up our lives – a scratch here, a stain there, a chipped ceramic mug here, a well-worn carpet there. 

Scratches that store fun family memories in their grooves, stains that show that we have been careless and silly at times, doodles on the walls that speak of a child’s creative expression, old fridge magnets that bring back memories of family holidays, dog eared books showing time spent on reading…and many more such.

Life is in simple, everyday things.

Marathon misunderstanding

One of my friends has a daughter who has just graduated from high school, and who is now enjoying the break before she heads to college later this year.

Days of continuous study have suddenly been replaced by lots of time to spend with friends and family.

A few days ago, my friend’s daughter told her mom that she was planning a ‘Marathon session of Movie watching’ with her friends. Her mom was preoccupied and only heard the marathon part and the friends part.

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

She was very happy that her daughter and friends were going to run long distance. Their conversation went something like this!

Mom: Wow, that’s so cool. So when are you planning to do it?

Daughter: Tomorrow 

Mom: So soon? Are you ready? 

Daughter: Of course, Ma. Need to stock up. 

Mom: Yes, what do you need? 

Daughter: Potato wafers, Nachos and cream, Coke, Fruit Juice and maybe some brownies.

Mom (looking dazed): But doesn’t that take away the whole purpose of your marathon?

Daughter (looking puzzled) : But we are going to be up all night, so we need to charge our batteries Ma.

Mom : I think you should buy isotonic drinks, bananas and other fruits.

Daughter (looks shocked) : Amma, my friends will never ‘ever’ come to our home for a Movie Marathon if I serve what you just suggested.

Mom (with realization dawning) : Movie marathon? I thought you were going to run one.

Both burst out laughing. 

Truly a ‘marathon misunderstanding’!

And then there were none….

It is a lazy afternoon, and I am at the supermarket doing my usual grocery shopping (why do we run out of milk, bread and veggies so often ?) Anyway, here I am walking down one aisle and skipping the next, and then remembering some long forgotten thing, which I had wanted to buy two weeks ago (and obviously still haven’t), and rushing back to the said skipped aisle. And that’s how it goes, pushing the huge shopping cart, and loading it with stuff, nodding at people, exchanging polite smiles with others.

I feel thirsty, and take out my waterbottle from my handbag. I drink too much water, too soon. And then it starts, a sudden hiccup that startles me with its arrival…’EYHICK’…the weird sound comes out in a short, loud burst. I look around. Thankfully there’s no one in my aisle.

Picture courtesy – Clipground

Now I have to plan my next move as I am not sure when hiccup two…’EYHICK’….. oops! Much as I try to control them, the hiccups play truant. Just when I think they have subsided, out comes another EYHICK!

A lady who sees me EYHICK suddenly, smiles knowingly, probably looking at my startled expression. I walk the aisles shopping between EYHICKS that are not rhythmic.

When I finally make it to the cashier, there is a small queue of around six people. I join the line, all the time praying that I shouldn’t have another hiccup. People join behind me too! In just two minutes, another loud EYHICK launches itself on unsuspecting members of the queue. The lady before me stands unruffled. I see a few smiles and a few indifferent stares.

I hiccup two more times before I leave the supermarket. Ten metres outside the supermarket, the hiccups seem to have left me and moved on to another person.

Extreme love

My children have just started their summer vacation. We are on day two of the holidays; still finding it difficult to make the transition from packed days to days where there are no deadlines to meet or targets to pursue. Time flows, like a lazy river, stopping here and there to rejuvenate, picking up speed at times but largely content with flowing along without any purpose.

In a week, we will pack up and travel to visit my mom and my husband’s parents. The children will spend many more lazy days talking, reading, eating, playing and sleeping.

Something transforms in the children and their grandparents when they meet. There is a syndrome both sides exhibit, which I choose to call ‘Extreme Love’. 

Picture courtesy – ClipartAll

Where the grandparents can’t love enough and the children can’t have enough of this love. Where the grandmoms cook all the kids’ favourite dishes, ever-smiling. Where every question asked by the children is patiently answered. Where the children are allowed to experiment with flour and batter and make a mess and leave the mess without cleaning up. Where they are not nagged, where they receive hugs that sustain for many minutes, where they can be sure that whatever they say will be heard with unwavering attention. 

Where each achievement of theirs is dwelt upon and appreciated. Where holding the grandfather’s hand to walk down the road for an evening walk is a great treat, as they come back loaded with goodies.  Where they are tucked in to bed with many stories, repeated stories. Where they spend time teaching their grandparents to use new technology and smartphones. Where they are loved ‘extremely’, an all empowering love that can boost a child’s self-esteem, that can teach a child about unconditional love and acceptance. 

This love between our children and their grandparents is to be cherished. There is no other love like this.

I was lucky to have received such love from my grandma and am happy that my kids are receiving the same from their grandparents.

Expressionless parenting

We were out for dinner last night at a restaurant in the vicinity. My son brought along a book to read. We were like any other family, having bursts of conversation peppered with arguments, and then moments of comfortable silence.

As we waited for our food to arrive, we lapsed into one of those silences. When I caught my husband’s eye, he signalled with his eyes, to someone or something behind me. 

When I turned around to look, it was the cutest little girl (maybe five years old), in a pretty pink frock, who was standing away from the table that her parents sat at, looking so angry and adorably sweet all at once.

She had her arms tightly wrapped around her body. Watching her furrowed eyebrows and pointed stares at her parents, we couldn’t help but smile. The parents ignored her, and got busy with their starters. She stood her ground, our little girl.



Courtesy – iStock

My husband and I walked down memory lane, remembering our kids behaving in a similar fashion, and throwing a tantrum or two. Times when we had also sat stone-faced, trying to teach great lessons to our children by not giving in to their demands.

Children grow up, but some things don’t change. The only difference now is that my kids do not leave the table or strike a pose to convey their displeasure.  Now, we have to contend with silent rebellion and rolling eyes.

As parents, we still sit with expressionless faces!

As for the little girl, the only concession she made was that she had moved closer to the table. Maybe she would reach the table when her hunger finally overpowered her annoyance. 

Vanity confusion

Which woman can resist a sale? I cannot, especially if there’s a sale on for bags or perfumes.

A couple of months back, I visited one of those huge malls, where I was merely supposed to go in, pick up a gift and head straight home. If only things were that simple!  My shopping neurons hijacked my thinking. I moved in circles and straight lines, walking in and out of shops.

Just as I was leaving, after nearly ninety minutes of meandering, with my hawk-eyes not having missed a thing, I chanced upon a sale for perfumes. 

Testing the various fragrances and inhaling the smell of coffee beans in turns, I was sweet-talked into buying a newly launched perfume. Not only did the perfume smell divine, it came with so many freebies, all of which I was very happy to receive.

I felt this huge sense of achievement, as I told my conscience that it was a great deal, freebies and all. So, the said freebies were a few bottles of miniature perfumes, shower gel, hand moisturizer, umbrellas, note books and many others.

Cut to yesterday, when I had to attend a concert. I was running late, and because my skin dries up quite fast in air-conditioned environs, I hurriedly opened the freebies packet and stuffed whatever I needed into my handbag.

Midway through the concert, my hands felt dry, so I took out the tube of moisturizer and applied it on my hands. What a heavenly smell wafted. I felt really good.

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

After a few minutes, I felt that the skin on my hands was feeling rather stretched and not how it should have  felt after moisturizing.  I let it pass, putting it down to ‘skin needs to adapt to the new product syndrome’.

After the event, when we got home and I went to wash my hands before dinner, a strange thing happened. The moment my hands touched water, frothy bubbles formed on my hands. I was shocked, wondering if I had become allergic to the new cream.

Later that evening, when I cleared my bag, I realized that instead of the moisturizer, I had carried the tube of shower gel with me, which I had then applied generously.

Sigh!

What time is coffee time?

My love affair with coffee did not start until my final year of high school. In our home, it was ok to drink coffee occasionally, but I remember smelling the coffee cup sometimes in my early teens, and grimacing in disgust.

I do not remember when or  how I came to love coffee. But I know that there was no looking back.  After that, any time was coffee time.  Strangely, coffee has also become an indicator of how healthy I am feeling on any particular day.  If I wake up in the morning and do not crave coffee, I know for a fact that I am coming down with something. 

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

I can wax eloquent about coffee,  but just thought I would jot down a few of my favourite coffee moments.

Coffee time is when I get back home after a long, tiring day of work.

Coffee time is ‘me-time’ in the quiet hours of the morning when I look within.

Coffee time is when it’s raining non stop and I sit on the couch and dream of everything and nothing.

Coffee time is also those hurried sips between chores on a chaotic morning.

Coffee time is catching up with friends on a lazy afternoon.

Coffee time is sharing some quality time with my spouse.

Coffee time is that ‘salivating time’ of anticipation when my filter starts percolating and the heady smell of coffee reaches my nostrils.

Coffee time is when my head is pounding and I know that only coffee will work that magic.

Coffee time is also trying to convince my son to smell coffee and become a member of the coffee club (right now he grimaces)….I am still working on him. 

Coffee time is family reunion time, after a wedding or engagement, when we gather for what we popularly call in the South – sweet, kaaram (spicy snack) and kaapi (coffee).

Coffee time is during picnics with friends, sipping from disposable glasses having lots of fun.

Coffee time is marathon catch-up sessions with my sisters..that stretch late into the night.

Coffee time is catching up with my mom, when I visit her.

Coffee time is …pure bliss.