Tag Archives: dreams

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Pinks and purples have now been replaced by black, silver, and more black and silver.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

The questions kids ask…

We wake up on most days without an inkling of what our dreams were. However, once in a while, we remember with the greatest clarity the vivid kaleidoscope of our dreams; dreams that switch scenes rather abruptly, the appearance of characters from our lives, who have been hiding in the grey folds of our memories, and other absurdities that can never, ever happen in waking life.

I woke up this morning with amazing clarity about the dream I had last night. I was very excited by the funny things that had happened and the swift changes of scene that had made the experience so exciting. I narrated it to my husband and children at the breakfast table. It went something like this –

“I come back home from a holiday to find that my house has a new wing added. I open the door to the new wing to find that the entire furniture from my grandmom’s house has been arranged here.  I look up to find one of my uncles walking up and down the hall. My mom suddenly announces that the banquet is ready. Soon, people are scurrying about, and there is a feast.

And suddenly, I am in bed, in a deep sleep. Both of you (my children) are sitting on either side. A lady with short hair is talking to both of you and you are responding…”

At this point in my narration my son interrupts, “Mom, I have a question?”

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Credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

I ask, “What?”

He says, “If you were asleep in your dream too, how did you know what was happening?”

All of us laugh. If one is asleep in one’s own dream, how can one remember what happened!

Hmmm…the questions kids ask. Not that I had any answers.

Letter mirrors

A few years ago, when my Dad passed away, and my mom was clearing out some old stuff, she chanced upon a bundle of letters that I had written to my parents, when I was in my twenties and  working in London.

She had preserved them carefully, organized by date; each letter safely tucked in its original envelope. The envelopes had frayed edges, where my parents would have opened or torn them to get to my letters.

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          Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

A few days later, when I visited my mom, she asked me if I wanted to keep the letters, because they were filled with my everyday observations of London (one of my favourite cities), to my dreams and aspirations, and lots of photos and humourous observations. Of course, every letter was an outpouring of love to my parents, my aunt, my sisters and to my adorable niece, who was 2 months old then.

I took the letters with me, and sat down to read them. I must have had lots of time, especially in winter, for no letter was shorter than 14 pages!

Through those letters, I relived my life in its twenties. I could see that young woman, with so many dreams and aspirations, looking at her future and its immense possibilities.

I loved reliving London, with its tube stations, and the weather, and the long walks I often took. I remembered the scones and jacket potatoes. I remember how many books I read on my trips in the tube. I learnt so many, many things. I travelled, I walked and I read.

I fast forward to the now. How have I changed? Lots of things are still the same, but I have mellowed. I am a wife now, a mom now. My priorities are quite different.

Many of those dreams are still inside, waiting to be realized, maybe after the kids go to university.

Life was independence, fun, young and filled with lots of possibilities ‘then’.

Life is dependence, love, ageing and filled with dreams and possibilities for the family ‘now’.

Different phases, both beautiful. Wouldn’t trade either.

Weaving a tale – A short story

The rain beat down mercilessly; it had been pouring the whole week. Flashes of lightning captured snapshots of a group of people standing in the pouring rain, with the Banyan tree under which they stood offering only some semblance of cover.

But even louder than the noise of the falling rain was the loud pounding in Devan’s head, as he was berated and belittled by his community.

Devan stood with a bent head, as he heard things that seared through his heart.

Devan, and all the people who stood there that night, belonged to one of the oldest weaving communities in the country. Their history dated back to hundreds of years; they had been weavers for kings, queens, princes and princesses, and now in 1975, they wove for society’s elite. Their weaving techniques were a closely guarded secret, passed on from generation to generation.  They married only within the community, to protect their craft.

Devan’s daughter, Chella, had done the unthinkable. She had chosen her husband from outside the community; an act that the community considered treacherous; and one that could threaten the very fabric of their existence.

Chella had been forced to leave the village, and had been banned from ever entering it.

Devan’s wife had died when Chella was 9 years old. From then on, Devan had been both mother and father to the girl.

The people threatened to ostracize Devan if he attempted to revive ties with his daughter.

A broken father stood, facing his fellow-men, as his heart broke into a hundred pieces, as he thought about his daughter. He had not been given any time to talk to Chella, or tell her anything. The news had spread like wild fire in the small village and even the pouring rain couldn’t put out the fire.

It was a long night.

The sun rose the next day, and slowly life limped back to normal. Devan missed his daughter and ached to talk to her. The village has only one phone and that was in the Headman’s house. He resigned himself to his fate.

In their community, there was a practice that each time a girl got married, her father would weave the bridal saree, with motifs of all the things that the girl liked.

As Devan went about his chores, an idea took shape in his head. After his usual quota of weaving everyday, he started weaving a bridal saree for his daughter – every warp, every weft, woven with love and the agony of separation.

In a few weeks his gift was ready. On his next day off, he met a very old friend of his from a neighbouring village and sought his help in passing on the gift to his daughter. The friend swore his secrecy and took the saree with him.

Devan hoped and prayed that his daughter would be happy to receive the gift.

The friend made it to the small town and located Chella’s house. New bride though she was, the girl looked unhappy and sad. She perked up when she saw her Dad’s friend.

She cried for her father and his plight. She was happy that he was not mad at her and thrilled with the saree.

After her Dad’s friend left, she opened the saree and cried, as she saw each motif that her father had woven into it – from sunflowers to butterflies, lollipops and colourful ribbons, bits of her life leaped out at her. As she studied it, her trained weaver’s eye saw that there was a written message woven into the saree.

It read, “Chella, my dear. I love you and bless you with every happiness in your life. Have a good life. I bear no anger towards you. Believe in your dreams. You have made the right choice. I love you. Blessings – Papa.”

The burden of having chosen an untrodden path slowly fell away from Chella’s shoulders.

She smiled – a wide, beautiful and confident smile.

Power nap on a Sunday afternoon = Bliss

We all lead such busy lives, running from one appointment to the other, trying to tick-off items on that never-ending Things-to-do List, then kids and chores, and cooking and what not.

Sometimes, by Monday afternoon, I start wishing for the weekend, though if you ask me, those are crazier!

So, now and then, it is nice to have those few minutes of shut eye that happen involuntarily.

There are some great power nappers in my family, who can fall asleep while sitting on the couch. It is fun to watch them drop off as they read the newspaper or a book, their heads lolling slightly, as their mind takes them into nodland.

It’s also fun to watch people on the MRT, late in the evening, trying their best to keep awake and not fall on their neighbour’s shoulder.

My favourite such moments are on a Sunday afternoon, after a heavy lunch when I tuck into a lovely book. Five pages into it and my eyes seek closure, from the craziness of the week; they feel my need to forget the worries and stresses, and transport me to another world for 20 minutes.

It’s only when you wake up that you realize that you’ve been away, recharging your batteries.

I did that this afternoon, and what bliss it was, with a very funny dream thrown into the package.

‘A dream where I was the driver of a nursery school bus. My duties also involved standing at the door of the bus with a big steel tray. Each time a child had to board the bus, I had to ask the child to board the steel tray and only then put them on the bus.’

Totally crazy dream…but what a refreshing nap. I am ready to take on the week but before that…

“I need my coffee.”

Have a great week!

Of pine forests, high jump and dreams

During our recent holiday, when we were outside the local Botanical Gardens, a lady came to us, selling painted pine cones.

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Image courtesy http://www.indiantourisdestiny.com

The pine cones triggered a wonderful memory from my childhood.

There was a beautiful pine forest near our little township. We could get there, by walk, in ten minutes.

My friends and I, went there sometimes to collect pine cones and play in the soft, fallen pine needles.

We would also take fresh pine needles off the tree, and braid them, as they were in threes.We have had many hours of fun there.

Then again, in the eighties we watched the Seoul Olympics on television. We watched the track and field events, and discussed them with fervour, with our friends.

Very inspired by the athletes, and sensing potential Olympians in each one of us, we built a high jump pit.

We got two eucalyptus wooden poles that we stood on each side. We hammered nails at various heights, on both poles, and found a thin wooden stick that we used to jump over.

We had lots of fun high-jumping, hearing the applause in our minds.  There was however, one small problem. We had to be careful when we fell on the other side. Though there was grass cover, we still ended up bruising ourselves at times.

The pine forest saved our Olympic dreams. We carried many bags to the forest, and brought back dried pine needles.

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Image courtesy – http://www.indiahikes.in

We built our own pad to cushion our falls.

What glorious days those were!

Change – A Short Story

Vish sat on the wall that separated land from the ocean. It was a wide wall, and he sat dangling his feet towards the water.

He had a job in the docks, a small job that paid for his food and rent, but little else.

He sat munching on his sandwich, weighed down by a feeling of hopelessness. This week would be his last one on this job. He was a temporary hire for the busy season.

Seagulls swayed and danced above, around the water; the water itself, blue and timeless, a mute spectator to his melancholic mood.

He felt bitter as he looked at the busy port, and the hundreds of people who worked there. Was there no job in this big place for him?

He had stopped with high school and had joined his uncle’s business as a tailor. He had learnt on the job and come to love the satisfaction of sewing a beautiful frock or suit or trouser to perfection. He was in his early twenties when his uncle passed away and the tailoring shop had to be closed.

From then on it had been this way, one temporary job after another, where one just followed instructions.

The loud blare, as a ship left the docks brought him out of his reverie; the pain intense, as he contemplated the next week.

He had to start all over again. His money would soon run out and he had to find something quickly.

He finished his lunch and walked back, to the mundane task of dragging cartons up and down, only stopping for tea and coffee breaks.

That weekend he was set free, nobody expected him to report for duty, nobody believed he could be of any use, nobody knew or cared if he had had a decent meal. His mom lived in her village, content with the few dollars she made as a domestic help.

As he walked back and forth on the high street, checking if anybody was hiring shop assistants or anything else, he heard three women talking animatedly as they waited to cross the traffic signal. They were quite loud, and he heard one of them talking about their children’s costumes for a play that had to be altered by the evening, and their desperation that no tailor was willing to take on this rush job.

He decided that he had allowed life to slip by thus far, without focus.

Before he could stop himself, he had gone up and told the ladies that he could do it for them but for the fact that he had nothing, no support, no infrastructure, no money, absolutely nothing, except the skill to alter the costumes.

The ladies looked at each other incredulously. One of them saw his face; and couldn’t quite place the expression on it – hope, resolve, grit? She couldn’t really say. On a whim, she said, “I have a sewing machine at home, will you do it?”

Three hours later, he had managed to complete the job to perfection, leaving three very happy moms behind. They had compensated him well and had given him a warm meal.

As he walked home, for the first time in years, he felt that maybe things would work out for him. He just had to wait for the right opportunities and seize them.

A couple of days later as he poured through the newspaper, circling the Jobs Vacant section, his phone rang.

The voice said, “Mr.Vish?”

He said, “Yes.”

“We are calling from the Little Flower Nursery School, we were given your contact by Mrs.Samuel, who spoke highly of your skills in tailoring. We have our annual school concert coming up and would like you to sew the costumes. Could you please come and meet us?” the voice said.