A pair of black pumps


I am peering at my laptop screen, my eyebrows furrowed in concentration, trying to comprehend what I am reading.

My phone is on silent mode, but from the corner of my eye I can see the screen lighting up – it’s a call from my daughter.

She is out shopping with my niece for a formal event at school.

I pick up the call. She says, “Amma, I’ve sent you some pictures of formal footwear. I have marked the ones I really like, I am unable to make up my mind. Please see if they are ok.”

I quickly open my messages to check. The black pumps that my daughter seems to like look elegant, but I am worried about the height of the heel.

Image courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

My daughter has never worn heels before. I call her and ask her if she’d tried them on and if they were comfortable. She replies in the affirmative and says, “I have to get used to them, Amma.”

Motherly love and practical concerns about posture and back pain run through my head, but I realize that I have to let go.

In a few hours, she comes home, bubbly from all that shopping. She puts on her pumps and walks up and down the living room.

She suddenly looks so tall. She walks – awkwardly at first, and then finds her rhythm. There is the odd, shaky step where she fumbles for balance, but she manages. Up and down she goes, getting more confident with each step.

As I watch her, I walk down memory lane to the time when she was a baby. I was at work one afternoon, when my father-in-law called to tell me that my daughter had taken her first steps, his voice suffused with excitement.

I remember rushing back home from work that evening, eager to see this little miracle for myself. But, it was another two days before my daughter attempted to walk again.

And then, over the next few days, she would constantly attempt to get from one place to another – wobbling and stumbling frequently. I stood and watched, clapping and encouraging her each time she made it from one sofa to another, or from the living room to the study.

I come back to the present. Nothing seems to have changed. Time seems to stand still. And just as I did then, I let go now, so that my daughter can walk into the world confidently.

Of Grammar and Haircuts


It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon.We are at my mom’s.  After a sumptuous Indian lunch, my sister and I are in food- induced bliss. Our eyes close involuntarily. From sitting positions, we are suddenly stretched out on the bed.

The kids are, as always, energetic and bubbling-over with enthusiasm. The decibel levels drop as the body’s ears work their magic and shut down external sounds in preparation for sleep.

I snuggle into the quilt, as it’s a grey, cold day. My sister must have also dozed off. We are suddenly woken up by my little nephew’s sweet voice. My sister and I wake up at the same time, to see him talking to my children. He is standing by the dresser, his back turned to us.

He says, “Mom, I cutted my hair.”

Pat comes the reply from his mom, “It’s not cutted my hair, it is cut. Can you repeat that again – ‘I cut my hair’.

My nephew replies, “Mom, I cut my hair.”

And that’s when he ambles over to the bed, with a pair of scissors in his hand, pointing innocently to the middle of his head, where he has cut off a little hair.

My sister jumps up in alarm and admonishes him. Then she asks, “Why did you do that?”

With his eyes open wide he replies, “I don’t like the girl-hair style.”

Hmmm…from grammar-teacher to strict mom to worried mom, it is fun to watch the switching mom roles my sister plays to handle her four year old!

Moms & Snack boxes


I don’t know about all you moms out there, but when my kids were in kindergarten and primary school, it was a big challenge to decide what to pack for their recess snack boxes and lunch boxes.

Some years, the teachers made it easy by giving a list of snack food categories for the week like Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad etc.

But when the teachers did not give this list, I racked my brains. I am a fairly good cook but my kids would constantly come back and tell me that their boxes and meals were boring, and that their friends brought fun stuff.

So, once a week I would give them some potato wafers or Indian savouries for their snack boxes, to crank up the ‘cool-mom factor’ a few notches.

There have been times, when I have been asked to call their friends’ moms for certain recipes. They were happy when I made those dishes, but still felt it was not like their friends’ moms cooking. Phew!

I learned a lot of new recipes, and have evolved and innovated over the years. Time has flown, and the kids’ tastes have changed.

Now each time I pack their snack boxes, my teenager says, “Could you just give me fruit and salad. Don’t want any junk. I want to eat healthy.”

image

Courtesy – en.wikipedia.org

Hmmmm…so it is back to square one. Monday – fruit, Tuesday – salad….maybe I should just pull out the nursery teacher’s schedule.

How soon time flies…and how soon the kids grow up!

A bird that ate too much & a flying car


My five cousins and I, stared at our aunt open mouthed. She was narrating one of our favourite lunchtime stories.

When we realized that she had paused, we automatically chewed what was in our mouths, and ate a few more mouthfuls. Another pause from our aunt meant that it was yucky vegetable time. But, we would have done anything to listen to her stories. She was an amazing storyteller.

One of our favourite stories was about this little sparrow, who had tasted some sweet porridge near a small hut. The sparrow couldn’t forget the taste of the porridge and was determined to have more.  The sparrow walked up bravely to the old granny, who lived in the hut, and asked her if she could make some for her. The granny gave the sparrow a list of things to gather, like rice and sugar and milk and clarified butter, after which she would make the said porridge.

The determined little sparrow, managed to gather all the ingredients, and gave them to the granny.  The granny  prepared the porridge in a big vessel, and kept it outside to cool. The little sparrow could not wait, and managed to gobble up the entire contents of the big vessel, before the granny could give it to her.

As the porridge was very hot, the sparrow scalded her beak and then drank up all the water from the pond nearby. Having eaten too much, the sparrow dragged herself to a barn nearby, and slept in the hay. A cow that happened to eat the hay, caused the sparrow to move, and the entire contents of her stomach came out, flooding the entire village. People and things floated.

The end.

All of us loved this story, and asked for it to be narrated at every meal time. And our dear aunt never disappointed.

When my kids were young, I told them many bedtime stories, this one was one of the first ones I told them. I laughed with them and relived the joys of my childhood.

Just a couple of months ago, my son asked me if I could tell him a bedtime story, though he admitted he was too big for bedtime tales now, but would I still do it?

So there I went, narrating the same story of the bird that over-ate.  My daughter joined in too, and all of us had a good laugh; but this time it was at the story’s absurdity. But we enjoyed it all the same.

Cut to this Sunday. My daughter and son, spent the morning skating. We bumped into one of our good friends there, whose son, aged five, was also skating.

We drove back home together, in our car,  and my daughter spun a story to the little boy, about how our car had a flying button that could make our car fly over a traffic-jam!  The little boy’s eyes opened wide in amazement.

“Can you make the car fly, please, please?” he asked.

“The button works only on weekdays when traffic is heavy”, replied my daughter.

The little boy continued to look amazed and I could see his mind imagining a flying car. He discussed it with his mother.

The wonder in his eyes hit me. The kind of wonder that comes with innocence, when anything can happen and where anything is possible – from flying cars, to sparrows that can cause floods.

I realized how time has flown; my children have crossed that stage of make-believe,  and have now started spinning tales for younger kids, and seem to enjoy their open-eyed wonder.

I smile.