Tag Archives: bonding

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. 

Biscuits from my childhood

Biscuits were an integral part of my childhood. My mom usually carried a biscuit packet in her handbag, to keep her three girls from going cranky with hunger.

Courtesy – 123rf.com

There were such wonderful biscuits. From simple glucose biscuits to marie biscuits and hundreds of other yummy items in between, we have had some great biscuit memories.

One of the best variety of biscuits was the cream biscuit – a layer of yummy cream sandwiched between two round biscuits. What divine flavours the cream had – orange, pineapple, vanilla, chocolate! 

The fun part was when we would separate the two sides of the cream biscuits and scrape the cream off with our tiny teeth.

Then again, there were biscuits called the dot biscuits; each biscuit not bigger than a dollar coin, perfect rounds. I remember that this biscuit was a favourite in my cousin’s place. The biscuits used to sit in a round, glass jar, atop a shelf. And we were allowed to eat it during tea time (read milk time for us kids).

There was a rectangular biscuit, which had sugar crystals embedded on its surface. There was a square shaped biscuit that was both salty and sweet, all at once. It had 9 small holes in 3 rows.  My sisters and I used to nibble this biscuit around the edges.

Then again, fun arrived in the form of animal biscuits. We used these animals to create shadow puppets that finally got swallowed by little girl monsters.

‘Biscuit carved art’ was a fun game, where we would carefully sculpt shapes out of the biscuits with our teeth, and then compare our works of art.

Biscuits were also ‘shared love’ with our grandma, who dipped her biscuits in tea in the evenings and popped yummy, soaked biscuits into our mouths with lots of love. Biscuits were also crunched up crumbs brought for me from school by my elder sister. Biscuits were also buttery and round, and came freshly baked with a heavenly smell from the local baker!

The best of all for me were the jim-jams. Truly a slice of heaven. We lost our charm for biscuits in high school, but the craving hit us again, when we were away at college in hostel ;  the best way to beat the hunger pangs that came when we studied late into the night.

As I write this, I am sinking my teeth into a perfectly rectangular piece of lemon puff biscuit.  Delicious.

Family bonds

I stand on my balcony, and watch the evening sky. The clouds and the sun seem to be playing hide and seek. Golden rays stream out one second, and are gone the next. Birds are getting back to their nests, after a long day, nearly twelve hours since they left home. I am sure they are glad to be back in the warmth of their nests, to snuggle amongst the twigs and leaves, have a chit chat with their neighbours and call it a day!

I smile, as I liken this to what we humans do, when we come back to the warmth and smells of our homes every evening, after a long day spent at work or school.

We are different creatures, when we step out every morning – well groomed, mentally poised and focused on getting work done, lists and priorities clearly structured in our heads.

But at the end of the day, when we set foot inside our homes, we transform into different creatures – for home is the place where we can let our guard down. 

I see this when my kids come home from school. They shed their ‘outside world’ personas as they take off their shoes and socks, drop bags, and lunch boxes, loudly asking about what there is to eat. They plonk on the sofa with a thud, and then sink into their new ‘home skins’, as they narrate what they did, and who said what and the tons of homework to be done.

Family dynamics kick-in. Familiar jokes get exchanged, patterns of behaviour repeat, squabbles break out, mom’s nagging continues, we try to finish school work, bond over dinner, watch some television, worry about things unknown, share space and time, share tears and laughter, share likes and dislikes, and rally around the person who is down in the dumps!

Courtesy – Crazy family Clipart – ClipartFest

We are individuals, who are held together by deep bonds of shared everything. We know each others’ quirks, and crazy routines, we sometimes yell for some ‘timeout’ and ‘space’ from the others. But it is just that..only a brief time out. For we would be lost without the family and all the craziness that goes into it.

I wonder if it is the same for all these tweeting birds. My brood is back, winding down. My chores beckon. I head back in.

Grandma’s Tales

When we were growing up, one year and two-year old children were usually fed by their grandmoms.

No prams, no high chairs. The grandma would carry the child on her hip.  In the other hand she would carry a stainless steel bowl, filled to the brim with mashed rice, dal (lentils), a dash of clarified butter and a portion of vegetable.

The grandma would walk about the courtyard of her house, with a chubby little baby on her hip, pointing out the blue sky, the swaying trees, the green leaves and the small ants going about their day.

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     Courtesy – http://www.illustrationsof.com

The ubiquitous crow never failed to entertain. Cawing in its raucous voice, the crow provided ample opportunity for the grandma to feed the child, whose mouth would be open in wonder at all these small marvels and miracles of nature.

The postman, the people walking on the street, the honking of an autorickshaw – these were the other sources of entertainment.

It was a sight to behold. Sometimes, the grandma would spin a tale about a good crow who was obedient, and a naughty crow who was not obedient, and would then tell the child that he or she was like the good crow. Another mouthful of food would be cleverly fed.

Mission accomplished, the grandma would clean up the child and carry her indoors.

Countless grandmoms in countless courtyards spending quality time with their grandchildren. A truly special bond indeed!

A tale of two wrist watches

I have a plastic box in my wardrobe, which contains two wrist watches.  The watches are old.  Each of these watches has its own story.

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The bigger watch of the two belonged to my Dad.  After his death, my sisters and I chose a few items from my Dad’s belongings.  I chose a shirt, his books of quotations and this watch. For quite a while after my Dad’s death, I teared up each time I saw these things.

” Can material things ever make-up for a person’s absence?” I asked myself.  But over time, I realized that material things may not fill the void in your heart, but they can bring back wonderful memories.  As the pain of separation wore away, in its place came fun memories that I shared with my Dad.  The way he would take off his wrist watch the moment he came back from work, placing it on his cupboard at a specific place, along with his pen.

In the wee hours of the morning, when my sisters and I peeked at the world from inside our quilts, we would see our Dad humming to himself and winding his watch.  I still remember how his hand felt, and how the watch was positioned on his hand.

He changed the leather strap twice, if I remember right.  We gifted him watches when we each started working, but till the end, this watch was his favourite.  The watch that marched with him, every second.

So many things in this simple watch.

The other smaller watch was my ‘first watch’.  I was in high school, and I still remember I had gone out for extra classes to school.  It was the Indian festival of ‘Sankranti‘ in January, and I walked in to the yummy smell of ‘sweet pongal‘ being cooked.  I remember my parents calling me to the dining table.  They asked me to close my eyes, and to stretch out my arm.  I still remember my Dad wrapping the watch on my hand.  A simple, elegant watch.  They told me it was for my board exams, to help me manage time.  It was a great surprise, and I remember how happy I was.  I hugged both of them.

These two watches are so precious, for they connect me to my Dad, and to my parents for all the dreams they had for me, and believing in me always.

Love you Amma and Dad.  Thank you for everything.

Sibling Wars

The school day begins. I am in the kitchen grappling with cooking. I hear loud screaming and yelling. My children are doing what they do best – squabbling.

Sibling wars. One can actually write a thesis on this, and still not understand the dynamics of this phenomenon.

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           Courtesy – http://www.babyart.org

My children have study tables that are at right angles – when both move their chairs backwards and if, by chance, the chairs crash into each other, a war erupts.

You would think that a six seater dining table would have enough room for four people. Apparently not! Both children want the same chair, every day, for every meal. TV shows are a bone of contention, the bathroom is a warzone. The bedroom is the missile room, armed as it is with pillows.

There are unspoken symbols and codes of conduct. There are lists of ‘what you dids’ on both sides, which resurface every day. They cannot agree on food or TV, computer games or books, studying in the same room or sharing resources. Each time they get in the car they clamour for the same seat. They draw invisible divider lines on the car seat, like animals marking their territory, pushing away even the other’s shadow if it crosses this line.

They look daggers at each other,  don’t give way when they cross the doorway simultaneously, hide each others’ things and smile secret smiles of victory.

I watch this sibling-war and remember such battles with my sisters. Watching them as a mom, however,  is aggravating. The best way to handle this constant bickering is to go passive. They get no reaction from me at all. I am blamed for both taking, and not taking sides.

The warring siblings leave for school –  one takes the stairs and the other takes the lift.  The storm has passed and the house becomes blissfully quiet.

In a few hours, two happy faces will come home, freshen up and look at each other, and off they’ll go again.

But the funny part is, if one goes on a school field trip or weekend camp, the other soon starts pining!

Sibling logic baffles me☺☺.

What is ‘home’?

The word ‘home’ means so many things to so many people. It can be a physical space or a space in one’s heart, it can be a feeling of joy created when you are with family or loved ones, it can be memories; it can mean so many, many things. But it sure is a ‘ place of comfort’.

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Courtesy  http://www.home.howstuffworks.com

Home, to me, is about being with my family, as much as it is about being within the cozy walls of our home.  It is about those unique smells that belong to our home, it is about chaos, it is about order, it is about watching a game together and being able to wipe away tears or receive a bear hug.

It is about reading without disturbance, or not being able to read at all, when the children are having a fight. It is about those small crazy things like missing scissors and sock-pairs, that have vanished within this defined space called home.

Then again, it is about coming back from trips, and being on trips, as a family and feeling that deep bonding. It is about leaking pipes and stains on the wall, as much as it is about shared music and laughter echoing off the walls. It is about cuddling with the family, and playing Uno on a rainy day.

It is about going crazy, ferrying the kids to and from their classes, it is about grocery shopping and celebrating festivals.

Above all, it is about being there for each other, no matter what.

Home is both a physical space and a space within our hearts.

What does home mean to you?