What do we truly own?


Many years ago, when my daughter was around four, one of my cousins had come to visit us, with her son, who was the same age as my daughter.

The children eyed each other and then slowly left the comfort of their moms’ presence and decided to play and explore the house together.

We lived in an apartment complex, on the 20th floor. The view was fantastic and my daughter pointed out the beach and the trees to her cousin. Then she pointed to the garden below (belonging to the complex) and said proudly, “See that’s my garden.”

Her cousin was not to be outdone. He said, “No, this is my garden.”

“No, mine”, said my daughter firmly.

The boy was tough as nails, “IT IS MINE”, he screamed.

“Miiiiiinnnnnnneeeeee”, my daughter shouted right back.

Stamping feet and tears threatened. Both kids pitifully pointed out to the garden below and claimed possession. It was a question of toddler egos now, both stood firm, eyes blazing with indignation writ large on their faces.

As moms, we knew they would quickly come to blows! We quickly separated and consoled them, each of us assuring our child that the garden belonged to him or her.

I laugh at the memory now. But seriously, this set me thinking.

What are the things that are truly ours? When we live we covet, possess, buy and own. We hoard, we stack, we trash and we buy more.

When we leave this world, we take nothing with us. Every single thing that we possessed would have become like the garden in the apartment complex, belonging to some one else.

What we will probably truly own is space in the hearts of people we loved and who loved us back, the wishes of people whom we may have helped, the sunshine we brought to somebody’s life maybe!

We will never truly own anything else.

Couch Potato for the day


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Today is Sunday. No deadlines to chase, no lists to tick-off (I mean, there are, but they don’t seem important).  The day has started quite well.  My husband & children have made plans to visit the zoo, yet again.  They ask me if I want to join them, but I decline.

“The howler monkey, at the entrance, will probably call out to me in recognition, ” I say. My preteen rolls her eyes at the poor joke, while my son giggles at this ‘funny joke’.

Actually a selfish thought  takes root in my brain. Imagine, six hours of solitude.

The family troops out at 10 am.  I shut the door and amble back to the couch.  I deliberate on what I should do to maximize these six hours – a visit to the spa? haircut? pedicure? No, screams my brain, no.  My inner voice announces the final decision, stay put on the couch the whole day and watch television, eat, and catch some shut eye.

With the decision made, I make arrangements to transform into a couch potato for the day.  I bring some junk food, a water bottle, and a freshly popped packet of popcorn to the coffee table.  I throw in some magazines to the ‘couch-potato package’. I make two steaming mugs of filter coffee and pour them into a thermos.  This too gets added to the coffee table.

I am ready now.  I plump up the cushions and settle in comfortably.  All the remotes, my phone and the tablet are with me.  I switch on my tablet and browse through some videos.  I see one of my favourite actors from an eighties movie.  My brain immediately hyperlinks to a soap that used to air when I was still in college.  I search for it, and the Internet doesn’t disappoint.  I start watching, one episode after another.

I cry at the sentimental bits without inhibition and without my husband’s voice telling me, “It is only a movie, all those people are going to finish their shoot and go home to a nice dinner. Don’t waste your tears.”

I laugh and giggle at the funny bits, stuffing popcorn and wafers into my mouth, without missing a beat.  I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and sip it as the story progresses.  I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the couch.  It is mid-day now.  The sun is streaming into the living room and I am loath to get up from the couch.

The series finally gets over, along with the huge tub of popcorn.  Today, there is no place for guilt in my life.  I switch off the TV and stretch out on the couch.  I love the silence in the house.  I hear some thud-thudding from my neighbour above and two mynas calling out from the tree nearby.  Otherwise, pure bliss.

I put my mobile on silent mode, as I feel sleep overtaking me.  I fall and fall into layers of sleep, deeper and deeper.  I am in dream land, and there is a kaleidoscopic panorama unfolding in these layers of sleep. I don’t know what I dream about, but the visuals keep changing.

I wake up and look at the clock.  I have been in oblivion for nearly three hours.  The room has become less bright now as the sun has moved across to my neighbours’ block.  I am still stuck to the couch, no plans to move anytime soon.  I stretch to pour the second cup of coffee and enjoy every sip.  I browse through the magazines and read the news on my tablet.

I am done with all that I’d planned.  What next?  I smile in happiness at the wonderful day it’s been.  I stretch like a cat and feel the tensions of the week dissipating.

I, me, myself…superlative!