A new friendship


The sun’s rays are not stinging yet, and there’s a gentle breeze, as I head out purposefully on my morning walk.

I mentally tick off my paraphernalia – pedometer, phone, water bottle, sunglasses and cap. I have recently started taking a new and scenic route for my walks; the trail is filled with beautiful trees, chirping birds, and huge homesteads that are tucked away behind winding paths.

I hear the call of many different birds. They are busy practicing their calls – tweeak, tweeak…sings one, another warbles. I can’t see most of them, but I hear them through the rustling of leaves, and the fluttering of their wings. The cicadas are performing their chorus, while squirrel-contortionists flit about – now here, now gone.

The first part of my walk is all uphill, and I huff and puff my way to the top – the view from the top is totally worth all that breathlessness.

The trail winds left. Just at the end of that winding lane is a huge, sprawling homestead, which is surrounded by a lot of grass, a few trees and a blue swimming pool. The side that faces my walking trail is the backyard and I see clothes merrily fluttering away on the clothesline. A tall fence runs all around the property.

And each time I cross the midway point on the lane, my ears perk up, for there is the cutest apricot poodle in the homestead. He senses the presence of a stranger and comes tearing up the green slope to the fence. He lets off a few sharp barks that tell me that he knows that I am not from his area.

I wave out to him, and his beautiful eyes melt my heart. And he barks, pauses and watches till I am out of sight.

And this happens each time I walk there.

Courtesy – http://www.123RF.com

So, today, just as always, my ears perk up in anticipation as I enter the lane. My apricot poodle does not disappoint. He tears up the green slope, but surprise, surprise, he doesn’t bark. He just watches me with his black-currant eyes. I wave at him and keep walking.

I smile. I have just made a cute friend. We have each become a part of the other’s landscape.

There is a spring in my step, as the trail takes me downhill.

Earphones 101 for Moms of Teens


Every day as a mom is a learning journey. We learn new things abour our children. We learn that they see the world differently. We sometimes see ourselves in them and discover new facets to their personality; and then one day we suddenly become the moms of teenagers!

And by this time, most moms have had to probably take courses such as Patience 101, Understanding Teen Silences 101 and many more. But there is a must do course that will probably be fully booked all through the year – titled Earphones 101. These accessories take on a new dimension and meaning when you have teenagers at home.

They look harmless enough, when they nestle amongst the hundred other cables that are vying for space in your cupboard. They look nice, when they are in your handbag, and you feel good that there is always the option to listen to music, if and when you have the time (time…sigh!!!). Earphones were fun many decades ago, when you shared one ear-piece with your spouse, to listen to your favourite songs.

But, have you seen today’s teens? All of them seem to have sprouted ear-phones from their ears. With the theory of evolution being what it is, maybe humans will sprout earphones as a natural part of evolution. Imagine walking around with two small wires hanging from one’s ears!!!

So, as a mom, you expect answers when you ask your kids something. Immediate answers. But teenagers vanish into their rooms, and you shout through the door.

“Lunch is ready.”

Silence.

“Lunch is ready….can you hear me?”

Silence.

L.U.N.C.H  I.S.  R.E.A.D.Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is an answering bark from the neighbour’s dog. Comforting.


Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

I enter my daughter’s room. She is oblivious to everything except her school work. And there is the enemy –  the earphones –  ‘they are the reason’  she has no clue that her mom may have permanently damaged her vocal cords. I tap her, and she looks up and smiles. She is gently swaying to the music.

I smile. I play dumb charades and show her that lunch is ready. She nods vigorously and takes off THE EARPHONES and gives me a hug. She is back in the real world again.

I sigh and decide that I need a hot cup of coffee to soothe my throat.

Another Day Begins


I am on my morning walk.  I enjoy the cool air as it envelopes my face.  The Sun is still an orange tinge on the horizon.

I see other joggers and walkers.  Some are techie-joggers, they have devices strapped to their arms and their wrists, measuring various parameters.  They are on a mission, say their serious faces, burn, calorie, burn.

Cute little dogs are on their morning walks too, pausing here, sniffing there, enjoying the smells of dawn.  Their owners stretch themselves, sometimes walking, sometimes trotting with their pets.

The drone of vehicles has started on the main road, as I leave our building. Early morning office-goers, trim and proper, in their formal attire, well groomed and ready to take on the day, with their laptops and papers and smartphones.

School-going children waiting at the bus stops for their buses. Teens listening to music, the younger ones chattering away, some other ones still half-asleep, clinging to their moms.

The last-minute breakfast-munchers, quickly biting into a sandwich, as they get ready to take on their day.

One set of people going into the tube station, one set coming out, both sets in a hurry, smoking, eating, talking into their phones, but hurrying.

The newspaper vendor, doing brisk business, as everybody wants to know what’s happened in the world, while they slept on.

The caffeine-lovers, who sip large-size take-away coffees, as they walk.  I want my coffee too, but I have to finish my morning beat.

When I reach the stadium, all these thoughts vanish, as I watch people whizzing past, walking at alarming speeds, jogging and some even sprinting.  A few stretch, a few curl, a few twist, a few climb, a few hang….on the exercise bars.

I join the ‘serious‘ now. Meeting my fitness goals for the day. The Sun is up and about.  I finish. I guzzle water.

I head back home.  The frantic office-goers are now replaced by older folk, who are on their morning walk; men and women walk back, swinging their tennis or badminton rackets, after energetic games.

The vehicles are noisier, the Sun is warmer, the trees are greener, the wind is warm.  I reach home. I measure, I note.

I turn my attention to the rest of my day.

Walk Woof Woof


I am working out on the treadmill. The gym trainer is instructing somebody on breathing techniques to adopt during cardio sessions.

I almost laugh out aloud as I remember a funny incident that happened about five years ago.

My two friends and I were filled with a sense of purpose that New Year. We decided to focus on getting fit by taking a brisk walk at 5 a.m., on all weekdays, in a sports stadium close to where we lived.

I am not a brisk walker, strolling is more my style, but peer pressure had me showing up and walking with resolve.

I was also taking aerobics classes at that time, and my trainer had taught us to keep breathing out in short puffy bursts during any cardio activity.

About a couple of days into our 5 am walk program, I decided to put this breathing technique into practice.

My friends had gone on ahead, as I struggled to choose the right song on my iPod to help me keep up a brisk pace.

That done, I started walking- walk -huffpuff, walk huffpuff…breathing out as instructed. I quite liked this…. I hastened my pace to catch up, but my friends seemed to walk even faster.

I broke into a jog…jog huffpuff, jog huffpuff. For some reason, my friends had also broken into a jog.

Finally, I stopped and called out. They turned, saw me and stopped. I huffpuffed as I jogged towards them and asked them why they were walking so fast.

They doubled up with laughter. One of them said, “I thought it was a dog behind us, and as I have been bitten by a dog once, we didn’t want to take any chances.”

They broke into peals of laughter. I joined in, as I imagined the scene. Two women walking in the stadium, darkness all around except for the stadium lights and an imaginary huffpuffing dog chasing them….!

These last five years I have polished my breathing technique. No one has mistaken me for a dog since then.