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.

Are you a collector?


I happened to read an article about a philatelist, who had bought a rare stamp for a whopping amount, to add to his collection.

I don’t remember the amount, but I do remember that my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets!!!

This got me thinking. Why did that philatelist pay so much for that stamp?

I pondered about this for a few days and then realized that it was not about the money as much as it was about the ‘why he collected’.

Then it struck me that we are all collectors. Most people I know collect something. I know friends who collect refrigerator magnets, bookmarks, handbags, watches, and many more.

In my own family, my Dad collected pens. He bought every pen with love and joy. He had many different ones.
After his death, I sobbed my heart out when I saw his collection of pens – because it was one of those important things that defined who he was – it was easy to pick out a gift for him. He was very happy when he received pens as gifts.

My uncle collects shoes – sports shoes, formal shoes, boots, slip-ons; and he cares for each one of them like his own babies.

I know a friend, who doesn’t throw away old perfume bottles.

As for me, I love empty notebooks. I can’t seem to have enough of them with me. I have a whole drawer filled with different types of notebooks. Some made of handmade paper, some with pure creamy pages, some odd-sized and odd-shaped…I can never have enough. Visiting stationery shops is in my list of top 10 things to do!

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

So, back to the question. Why do most people collect something, and keep adding to their collection?

I asked myself this. After deep thought I realized that, to me, each time I open a new notebook to the first empty page, I feel hope and the thrill of writing. I want to fill these notebooks with writing – not necessarily fiction or stories, but even mundane things like ‘things to do’, ‘shopping lists’, ‘song lyrics’ and of course the book that I eventually want to write. These small notebooks fill me with joy.

I have seen the same joy in my Dad’s eyes when he searched for new pens to add to his collection. I see it in my son’s eyes when he collects fact books on animals.

The things we collect give us great happiness, from stamps to bookmarks to magnets to plants to coffee mugs to shoes to very expensive pieces of art, they give us repeated pleasure and happiness. To some extent, they define who we are! It is not about the money at all.

So, what do you collect and what does it mean to you? Would love to know.

The Mystery of the Missing Shoes


A few years ago, my friend and her family stayed with us during the summer holidays.

One day, we planned to take the children to the zoo.  Just when we were about to leave, my friend discovered that she couldn’t find her daughter’s shoes.

My friend’s daughter was 3 years old, and my kids’ slippers were much too big for her. So, we launched a massive shoe-hunt, we emptied the shoe cupboard, my friend emptied all her suitcases and bags. We looked under the sofa and cots, we checked outside the house. There was no sign of the missing shoes.

We wondered if we could just carry the child and pick up new shoes on the way.

Suddenly, the little girl said, “Papa, I know where shoe.”

All of us watched her as she ran to the balcony and pointed downwards.  We went to check. There they were, a pair of pink shoes, fallen seven floors below, on the roof of the building’s porch. We wondered when she had thrown them!

We brought out the ladder and took it down to the porch. My friend’s husband had to do a bit of a Spiderman type of jump. As we watched, he waved his hands victoriously to show us that he had managed to get the shoes.

When the little girl saw her shoes,  she clapped in glee, and when we saw her, all of us burst out laughing.