Tag Archives: cleaning

Dolls and Dreams

I am obsessive about cleaning, and feel strange when I am not organizing or ‘re-cleaning’ things around the house.

Today, I attack the toy cupboard. Sadly though, the toy cupboard is only ‘that’ in name. Very few toys remain; the remaining space has been taken over by other stuff – odds and ends, this and that.

But it was not like this earlier. Every drawer in the toy cupboard was colour coded and sorted by type of toy, frequency of use, easy accessibility and other crazy things that only a mom with OCD would do!

At one point my daughter’s world was in various shades of pink, purple and silver. One drawer in the toy cupboard was dedicated to dolls, Barbie dolls to be specific. My daughter had around eight to ten Barbies.

Courtesy – Clipart Zone

I remember wonderful afternoons, when my daughter and her friends would play, cook, have tea, dress up their Barbies, and do all that little girls around the world did!

Before we knew it, my husband and I were attending our daughter’s interview for admission to school. They wanted to meet the child and talk to her.

My husband and I sat on either side of our daughter, who was at her cheerful best. The teacher spoke to her.

Teacher : Why do you want to come to school?

Daughter: To study….

Teacher: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Daughter: (after deep thought) I want to be a Barbie doll.

All of us burst out laughing.

As with everything else, the Barbie phase came to an end, in bits and pieces.

It began when she stopped playing with the dolls, sometimes. Then came the phase, when she would take them out sometimes, or when a friend still wanted to play. Then came the phase of packing them up, but not willing to part with them. And then the day, when she gave them away.

The dolls were replaced by badge makers, loom bands, beading kits, and lots of art and craft projects.

Pinks and purples have now been replaced by black, silver, and more black and silver.

How time has flown!

An Ode to my Dad

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This is a picture taken from my Dad’s notebook from 1959, where he meticulously wrote down things and quotations he found interesting.

This is an old post…it is now six years since my Dad passed away.  Felt like re-posting.

It is six years since my Dad passed away. He was there one moment, and gone the next.  Initial shock gave way to denial, and then a gradual acceptance; because this is the only truth, that whatever our journeys are, whatever our desires and goals, we all have to go some day.

Time, as they say, is the best healer.  We learn to move on by getting sucked back into the vortex of our lives.

But memories of my Dad tug at me from time to time. In bits and pieces, as audio files when I hear his voice, sometimes as movies, as I playback some incident from my childhood, sometimes in newspaper articles, sometimes in the words of another writer, I see my Dad.

My Dad, who used to hold my sister’s and my hands in each of his, as he dropped us at the bus stand, whistling to a small colorful bird that use to sit atop the electrical cables across the road.  My Dad would call out, and the bird would answer in return.  This was an important part of our morning routine.

My Dad, who taught us how to file a piece of paper by folding it just right, who insisted that we learn to type at an early age, who sketched my grand mom and aunt, sitting where he was, who meticulously copied quotations that he liked from magazines and newspapers into his spiral-bound notebooks, who took us on long walks and listened to our non-stop chattering patiently.

My Dad, a man of few words, with his fantastic sense of humour and lop-sided smile, a loving son who ensured that his mom’s supply of lozenges was always well-stocked, who spent time with his home-ridden sister to show how much he cared for her, who helped my mom around the house and whose punctuality put clocks to shame!

My Dad, who held a candle near the sewing machine, one whole night, when there was a power cut, as my mother sewed a dress for my school concert, with the monsoon winds howling under the door and rain lashing away at the windows.

My Dad, who taught us to love literature and music, who taught us to articulate ourselves clearly when we spoke or wrote.

My Dad, who taught us by example that it is not from money or material things, but from love and family that happiness is created and sustained.

My Dad, who respected every choice I ever made, and was always there to hug me, when things did not go as planned, who made coffee for me as I studied late into the night.

My Dad in his black blazer, going to work; trying his hand at cooking after retirement, humming under his breath, cleaning ‘this & that’ and chiding us gently, “A place for everything and everything in its place”.

My Dad, who I now see in myself, in my need to write, who I see in my son, as he uses his pencil to sketch, who I see in my sister’s walk and in my mom’s talk, as she has unconsciously picked up some of his mannerisms over the years.

His memories are beautifully woven into the fabric of our lives, forming patterns that connect us to him, in what we do, in how we walk and in how we try to live up to our fullest potential, because that was the only dream he had for each of us.

Love you, Dad.

Overflowing bookshelves

Most days, we allow our lives to flow along, performing everyday chores and keeping our appointments.  Then again, some days, we wake up with a sense of purpose, where we plough through tasks and chores methodically, and feel a strong sense of achievement at the end of the day.

Yesterday, was such a day for me.  I woke up with a clear sense of purpose.  The list of tasks was long, but manageable. So, I wrote it out on my notepad.  I  decided to work my way down the list, not for a moment doubting my strong will power or its ability to drive me to task completion. Enough said.

The first chore on my list was – ‘Clean the two bookshelves’.  See, I had it clearly stated – half the battle won.  Each of these  bookshelves has four racks. Each of these eight racks is crammed with books, and more books.  The books, poor souls, have no breathing space.  I  wanted to give them some respite from being smothered by words!

I first took down all the books from the shelves.  And then, the fun started.  I dusted each one, and sorted them into piles – Must have, Can go, Not sure!  But each time I sorted a book, I flipped through its pages, and sat down cross-legged, just to jog my memory. Aha, the sheer pleasure of reading, surrounded by books.  Soon, I was nose deep in Ayn Rand and R.K.Narayan, Hilary Mantel and Amitav Ghosh.  Time tip-toed around me, giving me complete ownership of those moments of bliss.  I made a mug of coffee for myself (after all, how can reading ever be complete without coffee!).

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The children have their term break, so when they saw me busy with the books, they sifted through their own, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Lord of the Rings, Amelia Jane, Jungle Book, Noddy, Malory Towers and many, many comics.  They refused to part with any of their books.  They suddenly wanted to re-read all of them.

So, to cut a long story short, all books went back to their shelves, clean and comfortable.  I hope they love being in our bookshelves as much as we love having them with us.

I shelved my chores and settled down to read.

When I entered the kids’ room….

Monday morning, and I stand in the children’s room with a dazed look.

Two phenomena seem to have hit the room – a Science project, and a long weekend. Phew!

I survey the C.H.A.O.S. Where do I begin? This is going to take a while. My mind tempts me to run away. Maybe a cup of strong coffee later, this mess may actually not look as bad as it seems?

Maybe NOTHING. I start plodding through the remnants of scientific genius, discarded ideas, shreds of paper in every conceivable colour, blobs of glue that have bound many of these shreds together, twine, miles of twine, that have snaked their way under the study table and swivel chairs. I take a break.

I move to another part of the room.

“Ouch!” A small, colourful board pin has entered my heel. I gingerly remove it. More paper, and many dinosaur toys, all entangled in twine, velcro pieces now, stuck to felt paper, which is in turn stuck to Blu-tac.  There is a shower of pencil shavings as I move a few notebooks, treasures that have been waiting to greet me!

Under the dump that’s the bed, I find 3 pairs of scissors! The icing on the cake is a small bottle of black paint that has not been closed. Now I look part-leopard, part mom.

Some semblance of normalcy is returning to the room, but my BP is shooting up. As my hands sift through the mess, my mind conjures up dire punishments and threats.

The bedsheet seems to have been pulled away from the cot. I tug at it, and look under. There, I find something that makes me laugh out loud.

My son has made a make-shift hospital for one of his Ben10 toys there. The toy has a broken knee. He seems to have fixed it with Blu-tac, and an ice-cream stick for support, giving his toy a cool, dark place in which to recuperate.

This, I am loath to disturb.

Little Ms.Rules

I am cleaning my medicine cabinet today, checking expiry dates, and writing out a list of medicines that we need to buy.

As I snip out the metallic strips that are not required, I remember something that happened many years ago.

My parents had come to spend the summer holidays with us.  My daughter was four then.

My dad was required to take his medicines after lunch. On one such day, when he opened the strip to take his tablet out, it rolled away under the cot. He could see it, and tried to take it out from under, but it was just out of reach of his hand.

He then called out to my daughter, asking her to help him. He pointed it out to her.

My daughter went down on all fours and took out the tablet. My dad put out his arm to receive the tablet, but my daughter walked away with it. My father ran after her, worried that she would pop it into her mouth. He called out to her, asking her to give the tablet back to him. But she walked on and threw it into the dustbin!

She then turned around and shook her head disapprovingly at him, and said, “Grandpa, don’t you know that there is a rule in this house that things which are on the ground should not be put into the mouth?”