Tag Archives: friendship

The confession

Last month, we had to go to a friend’s home for a house warming party.  My son was going down to play with his friends and I told him that he had to be back by 6 pm, so that he would have enough time to wash-up and get ready!  Our conversation went something like this.

Son: So, where are we going?

Me: To Aunt L’s house.  She has moved to a new condo, so she has called us over for dinner.

Son: Oh! Aunt L?  Hmmm…(he seemed to be in deep thought).

Me: What?

Son: I have a confession to make.

Me: Sure, tell me. (….wondering what was coming)

Son: You know that there is a small hillock near Aunt L’s old house?  About four years ago, my friends and I walked up that hillock.

(My friend (the said Aunt L) had already told me that these kids had been going up and down the hillock and had asked them to be careful, as they could get hurt).

Me: Yes, I know. Aunt L has told me.

Son:  But that’s not it. Once, when Aunt L was not there (she is usually watching us), the five of us went up the hillock, and went through a small gap in the fence.  We found ourselves outside the condo.  There was a grassy slope, some trees, and at a distance was the next building.  We high-fived and came back into our condo through the fence.  Are you mad at me?

Me: I am not mad, but it could have been dangerous to go out like you did. You could have got hurt.

Son: Mom, it was a long time ago.  I wouldn’t do that now. OK, bye!

I smiled and imagined the scene. Five little imps, up for an adventure to conquer the hillock, and see the world outside.  I can imagine those giggles, the shared camaraderie, and the imagined ‘big’ conspiracy.  I wonder how much they had planned, and who amongst them took the call to get them all enthused and going.

Image result for children climbing up mountain clipart

Picture courtesy – Can Stock Photo

Five children, 7 to 8 year-olds, best friends,  in their shorts and t-shirts, scrambling up the hillock, quickly sneaking out through the fence, their hearts thudding in excitement at this sudden adventure, reaching the other side, looking at each other, and sharing looks of glee and sudden giggles, and then their thudding hearts reminding them of home, parents and fear, and the scramble back to the other side of the fence, back to safety, to the known and to the comfort of home.

And this is how it will be for our children.  As parents, we will never know some of the adventures that the children will embark on in their future.  They will try to conquer their fears by trying new things, sometimes they will do something because it is cool, sometimes they will do things that will help them reach their highest potential.

 

Advertisements

The Anatomy of a Ladies Trip

We are in Chennai. A bustling metropolis. Four women, who have travelled to this city to attend the dance debut of one of our mutual friends’ daughters.

All of us arrive the night before, from different places. The excitement of meeting like this – without husbands, children, work and everyday mundanities is potent.

We are staying with another dear friend. We wake up lazily, indulge in hot cups of aromatic filter coffee, gossip and sip more coffee. We laze about, finding this strange abundance of time so refreshing; where work, chores and children seem unreal. We catch up and discuss our lives.

When the sun hangs directly above our heads, we decide that we are famished. We are food-sisters, if you could call it that. We love food and enjoy eating out. So, the ubiquitous South Indian Thali gets our vote.

The four of us wait to hail autorickshaws for the short ride. We think we may need two autos to accommodate our frames. All the autos seem to be busy. Finally, one stops for us. The auto-driver bravely agrees to take the four of us. We squeeze in, with one of us spilling onto the side bar. Amidst a lot of giggling, we get dropped off at the restaurant.

The server asks us if we want the ‘limited’ or ‘unlimited’ Thali? The vote is unanimous for the Unlimited Thali, meaning you get more of any item you like.

image

The delectable Vegetarian Thali with its tantalizing aroma, and vibrant colours, is placed before each of us. We tuck into the delicious food, mixing the gravies with rice, crushing the papads, tasting the tangy pickle. The eating process is made more enjoyable as we tease each other, and continue to be amazed at our appetites. We finish all the courses and wait for the dessert of hot gulab jamuns with icecream. Pure bliss!

We walk out into the afternoon, content with ourselves, and living in the moment, our busy lives temporarily erased.

We amble back, to burn off some of those calories. We then laze about discussing our wardrobes and what each is going to wear to the dance debut. We catch a few winks.

After another hot cup of coffee to revive  ourselves, we start getting ready. We leave for the function, enjoy it and head back to change into our everyday clothes. Back to airports, train stations and bus stations. Back to the routine.

It is so wonderful to be back home with the children and husband. The trip feels like a dream now.

Coffee Friends

Earlier, I had written a post about Popcorn Friends. There are many different types of moments in life that can be enjoyed with different types of friends.

Today’s post is about Coffee Friends. Simply put, Coffee Friends are those with whom you go out for coffee.

image

       Courtesy – http://www.ClipartPals.com

Most Coffee Friends usually have a favourite coffee outlet or cafe for the Coffee Friend meeting.

Where I live, there are many good ones to choose from.

So, last week I had a Coffee Friend afternoon. Thanks to Whatsapp and Smartphones, we could take out an  hour from our crazily busy lives to catch up.

Though we each rushed in at the appointed hour, the next 60 minutes were pure relaxation. With the smell of lattes, mochas and capuccinos wafting all around us, and soothing music playing, we settled down in our comfy seats to another wonderful Coffee Friends meeting.

As we sipped our coffee and snacked a bit, we caught up with each others’ lives – from schedules to work to children to fashion. We squeezed in a lot in those 60 minutes.

We laughed, ragged, discussed some serious stuff, ordered more coffee, discussed life’s philosophy and peeked at our smartphones multiple times to stay in touch with our busy schedules.

60 minutes that were exclusively for us. No topic was too trivial or too heavy for the Coffee Friends.

Before we knew it, we were saying loud byes and exchanging hugs. Each of us headed in a different direction, totally rejuvenated and energized.

We plan to meet soon for another Coffee Friend morning.

So do you have Coffee Friends? Would love to hear about those moments.

Switch on – Switch off

Recently, one of my friends moved to a new apartment. Her apartment was on the fourteenth floor.

Another mutual friend lives about half a kilometer from this friend’s house. Her home is also on the fourteenth floor.

When they each stood in the living room of their respective homes, they could see the other’s apartment complex at a distance.

They were so excited about this, that, one evening, they decided to identify each other’s apartment by playing a game of switching-on and switching-off the living room lights.

image

       Courtesy – http://www.en.wikipedia.org

In the maze of lights, it took a while for them to identify each other. But, once they did, they did it with more excitement, and talked on the phone to share their excitement.

One friend’s daughter, walked-in on her mom playing this game.

She said, “Mom, are you actually doing this? I don’t believe this!”

When our group of friends met at a party, we were told this story.

My two friends looked like young girls as they narrated the fun they had. Their eyes sparkled. We had a good laugh!

Once in a way, it is really nice to bring out the kid inside eh?

Steel dabbas

Indian kitchens are usually loaded with stainless steel – cutlery, utensils, ladles and cookers.

As kids, most of us carried lunch to school in small round or rectangular steel boxes. In India, they are called ‘dabbas’ (singular ‘dabba’).

image

   Picture courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

The dabbas usually had two compartments, one for the roti or rice, and the other for the vegetable.

My Dad and uncles had a bigger and more sophisticated version of the steel dabba, which was called the ‘tiffen carrier’. The carrier had three, four, five or six compartments, stacked one on top of the other, held together on top by a metal clip.  The ones my Dad usually carried had three layers – one each for rice, gravy and vegetable.

image

  Picture courtesy – http://www.alibaba.com

When we ordered food for family functions, the caterer usually supplied food in huge ‘carriers’ – those that had many layers! It was a joy to open these carriers and see what was inside each layer.

image

               Picture courtesy    
           http://www.meeramarketing.com

I have a four-compartment tiffen carrier at home now, which I use when we go out on picnics. It stands vertical, and hence occupies very little space.

Steel dabbas usually served us for many, many years. Except for a dulling in their silver sheen, they carried warm, lovingly-packed, home-cooked meals for us throughout our school days.

The dabbas carried special treats on our birthdays, and small notes from mom or dad sometimes.

There was this group of friends, who went to school with me, from Grade 1 through Grade 12. Over all those years, on every school day, all of us had lunch together. We would open our steel dabbas and share our food with each other. We knew which mom made the best rice dishes or rotis. By the time we reached high school, we were such good friends that we actually demanded certain dishes for lunch, from each other, and our loving moms usually obliged.

My mom’s specialty was her sambhar rice with potato fry, which my dabba lovingly carried for many years.

So many wonderful memories contained in a small steel dabba.

Cool fragrance

We Indians love our kitchen masalas and powders. These powders are typically eaten with hot, boiled or steamed rice and a dash of ghee (clarified butter). There is a whole range available to choose from – coriander powder, curry leaf powder, lentil powder and many other delicious flavours.

One of my friends recently went to India, and picked up a selection of these powders for me.

After she got back from India, I had the plastic bag picked up from her house.
It was a rather busy week, and I did not have the time to empty the contents, so I put away the plastic bag in my freezer.

My dear friend had bought me a gift ( a perfume bottle and a moisturizing cream), which she had put into the same plastic bag.

As I had not opened the bag at all, the perfume and cream were in my refrigerator for a good week, till I met my friend.

When I thanked her (for the powders), she asked me, “Did you like the smell?”

I was quite puzzled. Why would she ask me about the smell of masala powders ?

I told her that I had not opened the bag yet, and she left it at that.

A few days later, I opened the packet to empty the powders and found her gift. Everything made sense.

I called my friend and we had a good laugh!

Acceptance – A short story

Justin, 10 years old, hated the fact that his family had moved to a new town, leaving behind familiarity and friends. His Dad had been transferred to this town, as a Forest Reserve Superintendent. His mom had also secured a transfer from her bank to the local branch, and with Justin’s school sorted out, they had no reason to stay back, except for the hundred little things Justin missed from his old life.

The boys in this new school were different and remote. His parents left quite early for work. Justin usually got home before his parents did. He made himself a sandwich and finished any homework he had. But he had no one to play with.

Their house was one among many small independent ones that dotted the small hill on which they lived.

So he was at a loose end, and swung himself back and forth on the old gate that led to their house.

One evening, as he stood on the gate, a group of boys came running down the road. Each of them had one bicycle tyre, which they manouevred with a metal rod that was curved at one end.
image
Image courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

His eyes widened in amazement. One of the boys was from his school. He asked Justin to join the group, but another boy, who seemed to be the leader, said that Justin could join the group only if he had his own bicycle-tyre vehicle.

As Justin sadly watched, the boys ran out of sight.

Every evening he looked at them with envy and the burning need to belong and be accepted.

He asked his mom if she could buy him one, but she was too tired to take him out. Most days his father came home only after Justin had gone to sleep.

A week flew by. Justin finally threw such a tantrum, that his father took him to the local cycle shop and bought him his own bicycle-tyre vehicle.

He couldn’t wait for Monday evening. The boys usually came down the road at 5 pm. Justin was at the gate from 4.30 pm. He hopped about in excitement, and tried his new vehicle on for size.

At 5.10 pm he saw them coming down the road, but his face fell. They were all on bicycles; the bicycle-tyre vehicles were gone. He ran quickly to the garden shed, unlocked his bicycle and was ready at the gate, just as the boys reached his house.

“Hi guys”, he said.

“Hey man”, they chorused.

Nothing more was required as they zipped down the hill, with the wind whipping across their faces.