Tag Archives: love

Extreme love

My children have just started their summer vacation. We are on day two of the holidays; still finding it difficult to make the transition from packed days to days where there are no deadlines to meet or targets to pursue. Time flows, like a lazy river, stopping here and there to rejuvenate, picking up speed at times but largely content with flowing along without any purpose.

In a week, we will pack up and travel to visit my mom and my husband’s parents. The children will spend many more lazy days talking, reading, eating, playing and sleeping.

Something transforms in the children and their grandparents when they meet. There is a syndrome both sides exhibit, which I choose to call ‘Extreme Love’. 

Picture courtesy – ClipartAll

Where the grandparents can’t love enough and the children can’t have enough of this love. Where the grandmoms cook all the kids’ favourite dishes, ever-smiling. Where every question asked by the children is patiently answered. Where the children are allowed to experiment with flour and batter and make a mess and leave the mess without cleaning up. Where they are not nagged, where they receive hugs that sustain for many minutes, where they can be sure that whatever they say will be heard with unwavering attention. 

Where each achievement of theirs is dwelt upon and appreciated. Where holding the grandfather’s hand to walk down the road for an evening walk is a great treat, as they come back loaded with goodies.  Where they are tucked in to bed with many stories, repeated stories. Where they spend time teaching their grandparents to use new technology and smartphones. Where they are loved ‘extremely’, an all empowering love that can boost a child’s self-esteem, that can teach a child about unconditional love and acceptance. 

This love between our children and their grandparents is to be cherished. There is no other love like this.

I was lucky to have received such love from my grandma and am happy that my kids are receiving the same from their grandparents.

A Mother’s Love

There are two sides to motherhood. On one side is when you are a child and receive the love of a mother; on the other side is when you are a mother and give your love to your child(ren). And you realize the value of the former only when you experience the latter.

I still remember that my mom was the nerve centre of our family. Her smiling countenance, her commitment to giving her best to every single member of the family, her superlative cooking skills, her ability to take on her children’s problems and lighten the burden for them, her unshakeable faith in her children and the belief that they were the very best.

From home mechanic to recycling expert to instant gourmet meal producer, my mom wore so many hats with ease and changed them in a jiffy. 

I don’t remember her ever being really sick. Even if she was a bit under the weather, she ploughed on, ever cheerful. However, there was this one time when she had slipped and hurt her knee really badly, and was out of action for a week. I remember how my siblings and I moped. We felt that the lights were dimmed in our house, the thread that strung us all together and got us going was not there. So, we spent time in her room, reading our books or sitting with her, wishing to hear her voice chiding us or her ‘mom looks’ that could freeze us in our tracks. Even those were better than having her unwell.

I did not realize all that I had learnt from my mom till I became one, and knew that being a mom means to GIVE; to give unconditionally, every single day.

             Image Courtesy – http://www.Cliparting.com

To love so much that you hurt. To want the very best for your children. To care too much, but to also learn to let go..and let your children soar and fly.

And retain every single memory of the wonderful years that have flown past, and the days that are flying past even as I type this. Rainy afternoons with hot samosas and movies, cycling trips with the family, stick figure drawings on the refrigerators, playing referee to sibling wars, cuddles and hugs, laughter and smiles, and lots and lots of love.

 A mother’s love. 

Biscuits from my childhood

Biscuits were an integral part of my childhood. My mom usually carried a biscuit packet in her handbag, to keep her three girls from going cranky with hunger.

Courtesy – 123rf.com

There were such wonderful biscuits. From simple glucose biscuits to marie biscuits and hundreds of other yummy items in between, we have had some great biscuit memories.

One of the best variety of biscuits was the cream biscuit – a layer of yummy cream sandwiched between two round biscuits. What divine flavours the cream had – orange, pineapple, vanilla, chocolate! 

The fun part was when we would separate the two sides of the cream biscuits and scrape the cream off with our tiny teeth.

Then again, there were biscuits called the dot biscuits; each biscuit not bigger than a dollar coin, perfect rounds. I remember that this biscuit was a favourite in my cousin’s place. The biscuits used to sit in a round, glass jar, atop a shelf. And we were allowed to eat it during tea time (read milk time for us kids).

There was a rectangular biscuit, which had sugar crystals embedded on its surface. There was a square shaped biscuit that was both salty and sweet, all at once. It had 9 small holes in 3 rows.  My sisters and I used to nibble this biscuit around the edges.

Then again, fun arrived in the form of animal biscuits. We used these animals to create shadow puppets that finally got swallowed by little girl monsters.

‘Biscuit carved art’ was a fun game, where we would carefully sculpt shapes out of the biscuits with our teeth, and then compare our works of art.

Biscuits were also ‘shared love’ with our grandma, who dipped her biscuits in tea in the evenings and popped yummy, soaked biscuits into our mouths with lots of love. Biscuits were also crunched up crumbs brought for me from school by my elder sister. Biscuits were also buttery and round, and came freshly baked with a heavenly smell from the local baker!

The best of all for me were the jim-jams. Truly a slice of heaven. We lost our charm for biscuits in high school, but the craving hit us again, when we were away at college in hostel ;  the best way to beat the hunger pangs that came when we studied late into the night.

As I write this, I am sinking my teeth into a perfectly rectangular piece of lemon puff biscuit.  Delicious.

Mom observations

On my walk this morning, I saw a four year old girl and her mother. They were holding hands and were probably walking to school. The little girl was singing a nursery rhyme and the mom was singing along with gusto, totally oblivious to her surroundings.

I smiled, as I remember having done the same thing with both my kids. When the kids are younger, there is a lot of give and take in conversation, shared secrets, goofy smiles and tender hands that cling to yours. The universe then is a small place, for your child and you. Lots of time to spend, to read aloud, to bake, to colour and to carry out all those stress-free fun activities.


Image courtesy – Clipartfest

But during those years, every mom is desperate for some time out to do what she likes. However, it is only when you realize that the clingy four year old is now a strappy teenager that you want to relive those days again.

As the children grow and become independent, motherhood becomes more of an observation process. By this, I don’t mean that we are not involved. It only means that the children come to us only when they need something.

Displays of love are met with embarrassed smiles or  just a quick hug. The pi-chart that is their world shows a fat slice for friends and other activities.

As mom observers, we often wonder and sigh at this sudden passage of time. The love only gets stronger and deeper, but cannot seek expression in an impromptu nursery rhyme or colouring sheet anymore.

This love is expressed through an ocassional hug,  helping with chores, rebellion, coffee sessions and conversations in the kitchen. 

The Mom Image

I was coming home this evening from the supermarket. As I entered the lift lobby, there was a young mom with her two children, a boy and a girl. They were between 4 and 5 years of age. They were getting off the school bus.

We did the polite smile exchange cum nod, and got into the lift together.

The boy suddenly looked at his mom and asked, “Did you wash her (pointing at his sister) lunch bag?”

The mom asks, “Hmmm..yes, why?”

Boy: What did you put in it? It was stinking.

The mom looked at me. I so…. knew what she was thinking. Was I judging her or forming opinions about her?

The mom said, “Will see it when we go home.”

Boy: The whole school bus was stinking…it was baaaaadd (this in a booming voice).

By this time the lift had reached my floor and I stepped out with a nod. I could see the mom sighing in relief.

I smiled as I unlocked the door. 

I want to tell that mom that we cannot control what our kids say. Kids have this ability to say funny things at odd times.

I remember, when we were kids, one of our neighbours had come to visit our grandmom who was unwell. The said neighbour had come to our home directly from work, and had a biscuit packet with her, presumably for her children.

When she saw my sister and me, she opened the packet and gave us two biscuits each.

 My sister piped in, “Why can’t you give us the whole packet?”

My mom looked mortified, and we got a few of her choicest ‘mommy looks’ that we decoded and analysed, knowing what was going to come our way.

There are many such incidents, when we as kids have embarrassed our parents, and now, as parents face such funny situations.

Most of the time, we worry about our ‘Mom Images’ for a while, but then motherhood being what it is, we get on with our busy schedules and love our children more and more.

                     

Image Courtesy – Good Morning Quote.com

Family bonds

I stand on my balcony, and watch the evening sky. The clouds and the sun seem to be playing hide and seek. Golden rays stream out one second, and are gone the next. Birds are getting back to their nests, after a long day, nearly twelve hours since they left home. I am sure they are glad to be back in the warmth of their nests, to snuggle amongst the twigs and leaves, have a chit chat with their neighbours and call it a day!

I smile, as I liken this to what we humans do, when we come back to the warmth and smells of our homes every evening, after a long day spent at work or school.

We are different creatures, when we step out every morning – well groomed, mentally poised and focused on getting work done, lists and priorities clearly structured in our heads.

But at the end of the day, when we set foot inside our homes, we transform into different creatures – for home is the place where we can let our guard down. 

I see this when my kids come home from school. They shed their ‘outside world’ personas as they take off their shoes and socks, drop bags, and lunch boxes, loudly asking about what there is to eat. They plonk on the sofa with a thud, and then sink into their new ‘home skins’, as they narrate what they did, and who said what and the tons of homework to be done.

Family dynamics kick-in. Familiar jokes get exchanged, patterns of behaviour repeat, squabbles break out, mom’s nagging continues, we try to finish school work, bond over dinner, watch some television, worry about things unknown, share space and time, share tears and laughter, share likes and dislikes, and rally around the person who is down in the dumps!

Courtesy – Crazy family Clipart – ClipartFest

We are individuals, who are held together by deep bonds of shared everything. We know each others’ quirks, and crazy routines, we sometimes yell for some ‘timeout’ and ‘space’ from the others. But it is just that..only a brief time out. For we would be lost without the family and all the craziness that goes into it.

I wonder if it is the same for all these tweeting birds. My brood is back, winding down. My chores beckon. I head back in.

Celebrating Pongal

Our home is usually bathed in sunlight in the afternoons, from 2 pm to around 6 pm. However, come January and we receive sunlight for longer, till about 7 pm in the evening. From January, the sun’s light is like molten gold, lighting up our home and raising our spirits.

Barely two weeks after we ring in the new year, it is time to celebrate the festival of ‘Pongal’. This festival is quite significant for many reasons.  The festival is also known by the name of Makar Sankranti, which signifies the day each year, on which the sun enters the zodiac of Capricorn, and transitions from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere.

This is also the harvest festival in India, when farmers harvest rice and sugarcane, and people express their gratitude to the Sun, to farmers  and to cattle, who are all very important members in the value chain that brings food to every home.

In the Tamil language, the word Pongal, in addition to being the name of the festival, also refers to the name of a South Indian delicacy (both salt and sweet), and also refers to the act of milk ‘bubbling over’.

At home, just like we do every year, I mount two bronze pots on the gas stove; pots that were given to me by my mother, when I got married.

I tie baby turmeric and ginger plants around the neck of each pot. I decorate the pots with rice flour.

I decorate my foyer with a traditional rice kolam, making drawings of pots, sugarcane and the rangoli.

I get started with the cooking of both the sweet and salt varieties of Pongal. The smell of jaggery, ghee and milk waft around the kitchen.

When the milk starts boiling over, I call my husband and kids. We all shout, “Pongalo Pongal”. We wish each other and all our friends prosperity and happiness.

We sit down to a yummy breakfast, and wash it down with filter coffee. 
My children participate with gusto. Hopefully, they will remember the aroma of pongal and retain these memories, and carry forward our age-old traditions with their children.