Gained in translation


It was late in the afternoon last weekend, and I was on a video call with my sister. The call was a busy one, with my niece and nephew frequently popping their heads into the video frame to talk to me. Likewise, my kids also walked in and out of the call, catching up with their cousins and watching my baby niece gurgle in delight.

My sister suddenly exclaimed, “Hey, do you know what Amma is busy with these days?” She continued excitedly, “…She is translating your blogs into our mother tongue.”

I felt an inexplicable joy. Later in the day, I called my mom. Her enthusiasm was contagious as she read out the articles in our beautiful mother tongue, Tamil. She had chosen her words and sentences so carefully and had chiseled them to perfection.

Over the last five years of my blogging, my mom had always felt unhappy that she had not been able to access my blogs and read them as often as she would have liked.

When the lockdown began, she decided to catch up and started reading the blogs. The idea to translate the blogs into Tamil struck her one morning, and there was no looking back after that.

Now, she writes the final draft for one blog and a rough draft for another each day. And whenever we talk on the phone, she reads them out to me, and I can sense her excitement.

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A writer’s work derives meaning only when his or her work connects with her readers. Whenever my blogging friends or social media friends post comments or likes on my blog, I feel happy and thrilled.

But when my mom reads out her translations, I feel a different kind of joy, a kind of contentment. I cherish these afternoon calls, when we exchange ideas on writing and how the different words and sentences in each blog sound in both languages.

I feel deeply grateful to my parents for encouraging me to read and write, for encouraging me to appreciate life’s simple moments. Thank you Amma and Dad for this precious gift.

The Golden Tree


It is seven in the morning. There is no crazy rush to send the family out to work or school. I cherish the extra time by taking my cup of coffee to the balcony, to observe the world and ponder over life’s big questions.

My eyes take in the sights below – vehicles, morning joggers, the neat array of buildings, trees and birds. Then my eyes fall on this scene.

The rays of the early morning sun are falling exactly on this particular tree. The tree looks bright and golden, and seems to be reveling in the sun’s gaze.

The many other plants surrounding this golden tree are still in the dark, awaiting their turn patiently, as they wait for the sun to light up their day and their lives. There are some other plants that are in the shade of the building, and will never receive the sun’s rays on them directly.

Watching this scene makes me reflect. Just like these trees, even humans wait for their golden moment of fame, happiness or prosperity, and we come alive and bloom at such times, spilling forth our happiness.

Sometimes, we may have to wait for prolonged periods for those special moments, and during that long wait we end up losing faith in ourselves and our abilities. And then again, for some, such moments never happen.

But we still have to live out our lives, believing in ourselves, living every moment to the fullest, doing the best we can and hoping that the sun will peep into our lives one day!

Wisps of coffee heaven


When the dawn sky transitions from the deep purple of night to the blue that signifies another new day, I amble in a state of semi-awakedness towards my kitchen. I open the filter coffee maker and add water. I then open my coffee jar, and in that first whiff of invigorating coffee powder, day dawns in my life.

I measure the required scoops into the filter, and switch on the power. The hot water interacts with the coffee, and sends out wisps of coffee heaven.

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I stand there, with an empty mind, just absorbing the aroma of the decoction into my every pore. What a beautiful wait it is. When the filter coffee maker turns off, I start heating milk to that perfect temperature. I pour the hot milk into my stainless steel glass, which has thick, aromatic decoction at its bottom and just the right amount of sugar. I transfer the hot coffee between two glasses to build up froth. The coffee is ready, perfect, frothy and strong. I carry the glass and walk to the sofa.

I sit down and take the first sip, my eyes staring at the walls in my living room. The coffee is perfect, all components blended in total harmony for that exquisite taste. And on this short coffee sojourn, I explore the deeper meaning and purpose of life. I ask questions of myself, I seek answers. I try to make sense of the chaos of everyday life, and the relentless onslaught of time. I think about the past, I envisage the future. I take another sip. I am peaceful and content.

Life is perfect, just the way it is. It may bring challenges, but none so big that my everyday coffee-sojourns cannot resolve. I finish every drop of coffee. And another day officially begins!

Five years and many simple moments later….


I just received a message from WordPress wishing me on my 5th Blogiversary. Five years….wow! Can’t believe it. This five-year blogging journey has been truly enriching. I have made many new friends, and have learned a lot from other bloggers and friends who follow my blog.

Courtesy – http://www.pexels.com

I treasure every single like and comment that my posts receive, for they give me happiness and motivate me to keep writing. I want to thank each one of you for all your kind words of encouragement and support. I wouldn’t be here without you all.

I hope to continue writing about the simple moments that I observe all around me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share them with you. Wishing you all the very best always. Lots of love – Nimi.

A sister reminisces…


It is late in the afternoon, and my mom and I are stretched out on the couch in our living room. My mother is visiting, and we use this time to catch up, sharing things that we miss out on, when we talk on the phone.

Our conversation meanders through the lanes and bylanes of our lives, and we find ourselves reminiscing about the past.

My mom walks further down memory lane, and smiles wistfully, as she fondly remembers her childhood, especially her three brothers, two older and one younger.

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

She shares pages from that time in her life, when she was a young girl with long braids and colourful ribbons.

Her older brothers would come home from college or work, and call out to my mom to help park their bicycles inside the compound. This was one of the highlights of her day. From her height, the cycles appeared enormous, and she would step on one pedal and push the bicycles inside.

My mom recalls how she was tasked with the job of picking up a Tamil weekly magazine from the small shop at the end of their street. This magazine was eagerly awaited every week, and all the siblings devoured it with fervour. My mom knew that once the magazine went to her brothers, she would not get to read it for a couple of days at least. So, right after she picked up the magazine, she would sit in the verandah of her neighbour’s home, and quickly read her favourite sections, which included jokes and a short story series. And only then would she pass on the magazine to her brothers!

Later, when she joined the National Cadet Corps, and had to leave for training early every morning, the eldest of her brothers would buy a take away masala dosa for her to eat after training, just so that his sister would not be burdened with the task of carrying a lunch box. The masala dosa was usually packed in a banana leaf, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, which she could easily throw away.

My mom’s eyes mist over as she recalls this – a simple gesture from her brother to make his sister’s life easy.

The other brother, my mom recalls, would give her a crisp ten rupee note every morning, when she left for college. Come rain or shine, the money would always be there on his table, even if her brother was not in town.

When my maternal grandmother was pushing my mom to get married early, as was the norm in those days, my mom was strongly supported by her brothers in her desire to pursue her education in university.

As for the younger brother, who was much younger to my mom, he was her pet, and she fondly recalls how she carried him with her wherever she went, when he was a baby!

Both her older brothers are no more, and she closes her eyes, recalling their love and unconditional support.

For just a few moments there, my mom became a little girl in pigtails again, feeling secure, indulged and loved by this special love that brothers and sisters share.

We Indians celebrate this deep and special bond today, where the sister ties a rakhi on her brother’s wrist, and he in turn promises to love and protect her.

Mom-paedia


I have just gone in to take a shower. My son seems to have this uncanny ability of sensing this precise moment, and chooses it to ask questions across the closed door – over the gushing sounds of the shower water.

There is a sharp knock. I pretend not to hear it. My son repeatedly hollers, “Mom, mom”, till I give in and answer wearily.

“Mom, where is the cordless phone?” asks my son. I tell him that it must have gotten wedged between the two seats of our sofa.

I come out of the shower, and in just a few minutes, my daughter asks me if I know where one of her workbooks is! Sigh!

And this is an integral part of being a mother – the skill of knowing where every article in our home is at any point in time. But, I do also know that every mom is blessed with some form of sophisticated MOM-GPS that thankfully helps her remember and identify the precise location of her daughter’s favourite hoodie, or her son’s graph notebook that has mysteriously disappeared from his school bag, and the hundred other things that go missing in the house.

And then again, most moms are also walking Mompaedias, for they need to answer questions that straddle many levels. From answering questions about why rainbows are formed to answering questions about the purpose of life (to a teenager), to answering questions about fashion, which are immediately deemed as being outdated, to answering questions about the little bird that visits the plants on the balcony – a mom needs to have answers to simply everything.

A mom also knows that while her sub-ten year old will cling on to her every word, her teenager will probably listen with a disinterested look, or with an expression that says, ‘Can’t wait for you to finish, mom’.

But from all these years as a mom, I do know that children listen, even when they don’t want to be seen as listening. They watch and they learn.

And they do love their moms, for no one in the world could take her place. When she is not around, they even miss her nagging. The energy of the house is pure mom. And come Mother’s Day every year, they pack all their love into their lovely cards and gifts, and make the day super special for her.

My daughter has already given me a beautiful coffee mug; my son is giving me knowing and secret smiles, and is slinking from one room to another, planning his big surprise.

There was a time, not many years ago, when the excitement of keeping the mother’s day gift a surprise was too much to bear for my son. But he has now transformed into this big boy, who is able to keep secrets.

So, I wait patiently.

I think of my journey as a mother and what it has meant to me. I realize that this is a love so deep, which only keeps growing with time. I wonder how one heart can hold so much love. But that is who a mother is – every pore of hers filled with love. A love that comes camouflaged in many flavours – happy, sad, silly, proud, angry, irritated and nagging, but all of them mere manifestations of that one all- encompassing love.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all.

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

The bench


It is 5 pm in the evening, and I head out for a walk. The rain has spent itself, and puddles have formed everywhere. Silver water drops hang precariously on leaves and branches. Some droplets catch the evening sun and sparkle.

I walk down the trail, taking in the scents of flowers, rain-soaked leaves and wet soil. I can hear some birds calling out, but I can’t see them. There are beautiful flowers and buds. There is this group of mynas in front of me, their attention drawn to something in the bushes.

I click some pictures, trying to capture the beauty that I am experiencing. Ants on leaves, star jasmine flowers, buds filled with promise and hope, a flower that has fallen down on the trail – totally unmarred – and dried leaves that make squelching sounds when I walk through them.

It is an idyllic evening, and I stop frequently to observe the plants. And then, at about the midpoint of my walk, I see this – a beautiful wooden bench, surrounded by green foliage.

This bench is my pit stop. I sit and close my eyes, and focus on the sounds of the rustling leaves. I focus on my breath, I take long, deep breaths, and life seems perfect just the way it is.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow seems faraway. I am in the here and the now, and a feeling of peace envelopes me.

Sitting on this bench, I ponder over the mysteries of life and its purpose. I am grateful for this moment that is totally mine, to look within.

The birds are heading home, the plants are settling down for the day, and I leave this beautiful bench, totally rejuvenated.

The King’s Game


My husband’s mom walks into the room, where my kids are sprawled out. She wears her reading glasses, and looks at what seems to be a small rectangular box in her hand. She passes it to my daughter, and says, “This was a puzzle that belonged to your Dad.”

My kids look excited, and look curiously at the small box from nearly four decades ago. They open the thin box to look inside.

The objective of the game is to bring the King down from his summer palace to his winter house. There is a sheet with instructions.

My husband’s eyes light up, when he sees this small box that contains some of his childhood memories; memories that come gushing out and bring a delighted smile to his face.

The kids move the puzzle pieces this way and that. They liken it to a game called Klotski that they play on their phones. They talk about how the mobile game has so many levels and challenges.

But, my husband and I are stuck in the past, where levels did not matter, where machines did not give you rewards and awards. We played the same games multiple times, and when we got bored, we would move to another similar game or puzzle, and then come back to this one. There was no need to charge any phone or laptop.

The kids soon move on from their fleeting interest in the puzzle box. However, my husband and I walk down memory lane, and many of its by-lanes, exchanging notes about all the games we played as kids.

Life was simple then, so simple in fact that happiness could be found within a small puzzle box; and where success could be had by merely moving a king from his summer palace to his winter home.

Out of bounds


When we were kids, there were certain things and areas in our home that were out of bounds to us – our Dad’s bookshelf, his stationery cupboard and his files; our mom’s wardrobe and steel almirah, and our aunt’s knitting basket!

My Dad could sense if his files and papers had moved even an inch, and I don’t need to even talk about my mom’s antennae.

On rare occasions, we were given the privilege of peeking into my mom’s wardrobe or seeing my dad’s important papers and stationery.

These treats usually happened on long weekends or holidays, when my Dad would decide to clean his cupboard, or when my mom decided to clean hers.

We were allowed to watch and help as long as we were careful and didn’t behave irresponsibly.

We could barely contain our excitement, when we saw the creamy white paper or pens and lovely paper clips that our father had. My hands wanted to possess one of those notepads – to write (not sure what??).

If our Dad was happy with us, we would usually get something from his treasure trove. He would sometimes read out quotations from his notebook, or show us pencil sketches from his college days.

The things we collected thus were so precious, if only because our father had kept them so beautifully. We felt honoured to receive an old notepad or empty diary or a fountain pen.

When our mom opened her almirah, we would gaze in wonder at her beautiful silk sarees, neatly hanging in a line. There was the beautiful fragrance of sandalwood that gushed out of the wardrobe from the fragrance pouches she used.

Image courtesy – Dreamstime.com

Shiny sarees, the occasional sequinned saree, ornate jewelry boxes – we got glimpses of these as mom took out stuff, cleaned her cupboards and put them back in.

There was also a small, square, metal piggy bank that our mom had. It had the picture of a happy family on one side, and for the longest time I thought that it was ‘our family picture’. The piggy bank had a complicated locking mechanism, and we watched our mom pick out the key from a bunch of other important-looking keys to unlock the piggy bank.

When the cleaning was done, we usually went back to play or to study; knowing that those areas were out of bounds to us again….till the next time.

Yay! My Blog turns 3 today


Dear friends,

Three years ago, on the 25th of January 2015, I posted my first blog; to give the words and sentences that constantly dance in my head a chance to narrate their simple, everyday experiences.

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

Writing about these simple moments has made me a keen observer of all those small jigsaw pieces that fit seamlessly into each other, making our lives so vibrant and complete!

This journey, however, is not only about writing. It is also about having met such wonderful bloggers and readers from around the world, who have encouraged and motivated me to keep this blog going. I am deeply grateful to you all for the constant support, and for taking the time to read my blog and leaving your likes and comments.

My blog stats show that I have written 393 posts over these three years! Phew! Can’t believe I have actually written so much.

I hope to continue this journey and capture these simple moments that form the mosaic of our lives.

Thank you all so very much.

Best,

Nimi