Circle of friendship


When we first go to school, we are reluctant to let go of our parents’ hands. We stare at this new world that is inhabited by other kids, from the security of our mom’s lap or dad’s shoulders. The world outside is scary, so strange, a little exciting..and many other things.

Three or four days into school, we take tentative steps towards friendship, with that girl in the cute pink frock or the boy with the dinosaur shaped lunch box!

Courtesy – http://www.shutterstock.com

Soon our evenings are spent with friends, playing tag, playing with toys or learning to ride a bicycle together.

We plow through primary school and birthday parties with friends, sharing innocent secrets and giggles. We then move to the teen years, where friends become life, and family fades into the background. A time when we learn so many things, a time when we experiment with identity, looks, cliques; a time when we try to be noticed or not noticed at all. A time of tumultuous friendships sometimes, and great moments sometimes too! By this time some friends have been there with us forever, some have vanished!

Then on to university, where more friends get added, many new shared experiences happen; more serious talk happens – about life, career prospects, marriage…!

Then out in the world to earn a living – new dynamics, new friendships, a taste of independence, hosting parties, more relaxed in friendship, more comfortable in one’s skin.

And then marriage, befriending other young couples, visiting each others’ homes, going on trips with them.

Then, when kids arrive, friends become other parents – comparing notes on food and child-related topics, all the time. When friendships only revolve around kids.

As the kids enter their teens and become independent, there’s more time for and with friends. By this time, we are settled in our friendships and views. We have a close-knit group of friends, whom we meet regularly. Friends who have our backs; where there is absolute comfort, where there is no worry about being judged, or about food or cooking.

A kind of friendship where one can just be – talkative or silent, eat in or take out, laugh with or cry with…so many, many beautiful things – when one feels complete in a warm circle of friendship!

It takes time and effort to get there, but when you do get there and find that circle, life is perfect!

A Blue Watch and Penne Arrabiata…


My daughter has a blue, digital watch. She received the watch as a gift from her grandparents, when she was nine years old. My daughter fell in love with the watch the moment she set eyes on it, and wears it to this day!

The blue watch has been her constant companion all these years, and would probably qualify as a best-friend-of-sorts.

The colour has faded, the strap is worn in places, the glass has scratches, but my daughter will not hear of retiring this watch.

She is at an age when clothes and accessories are very much in her radar, but this watch, whose colour does not match any of her clothes (read – clothes which are in various shades of black or grey or silver), is on her wrist always.

Yesterday, my daughter suddenly announced that she would prepare dinner for all of us – Penne Arrabiata. This was her first attempt at cooking. She listed the ingredients, went to the supermarket, asked me for measuring cups and spoons, and was soon busy chopping tomatoes, crushing garlic, rolling basil leaves and chopping them artistically.

Courtesy – shutterstock

Olive oil was warmed in the wok, and soon the heavenly smell of ‘garlic frying’ was in the air. All of us waited patiently, as the aroma wafted and made our tongues water in anticipation.

Soon, she announced that dinner was ready. We rushed to the table. The pasta was served beautifully; with cheese drizzled on top. Fresh basil leaves completed the presentation, and we were ready to tuck-in.

Delicious. Yummy!!! We were in bliss, and heaped compliments on her. Her eyes twinkled in joy, and she acknowledged our praise.

Later, I watched her clearing up the kitchen, her blue watch still on her wrist, a permanent fixture!

And it hit me then! On one hand my daughter did not want to let go of her watch; a watch she’s had for so many years; on the other hand, she would soon be on her own, cooking her own meals and taking her own decisions.

As her mother, both these thoughts played in my head. Much as I wanted her to replace the old watch, a part of me wanted her to keep it, so that it could give her comfort and keep her childhood memories alive, when she leaves home to pursue her own dreams.

Earphones 101 for Moms of Teens


Every day as a mom is a learning journey. We learn new things abour our children. We learn that they see the world differently. We sometimes see ourselves in them and discover new facets to their personality; and then one day we suddenly become the moms of teenagers!

And by this time, most moms have had to probably take courses such as Patience 101, Understanding Teen Silences 101 and many more. But there is a must do course that will probably be fully booked all through the year – titled Earphones 101. These accessories take on a new dimension and meaning when you have teenagers at home.

They look harmless enough, when they nestle amongst the hundred other cables that are vying for space in your cupboard. They look nice, when they are in your handbag, and you feel good that there is always the option to listen to music, if and when you have the time (time…sigh!!!). Earphones were fun many decades ago, when you shared one ear-piece with your spouse, to listen to your favourite songs.

But, have you seen today’s teens? All of them seem to have sprouted ear-phones from their ears. With the theory of evolution being what it is, maybe humans will sprout earphones as a natural part of evolution. Imagine walking around with two small wires hanging from one’s ears!!!

So, as a mom, you expect answers when you ask your kids something. Immediate answers. But teenagers vanish into their rooms, and you shout through the door.

“Lunch is ready.”

Silence.

“Lunch is ready….can you hear me?”

Silence.

L.U.N.C.H  I.S.  R.E.A.D.Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is an answering bark from the neighbour’s dog. Comforting.


Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

I enter my daughter’s room. She is oblivious to everything except her school work. And there is the enemy –  the earphones –  ‘they are the reason’  she has no clue that her mom may have permanently damaged her vocal cords. I tap her, and she looks up and smiles. She is gently swaying to the music.

I smile. I play dumb charades and show her that lunch is ready. She nods vigorously and takes off THE EARPHONES and gives me a hug. She is back in the real world again.

I sigh and decide that I need a hot cup of coffee to soothe my throat.

Where did the years fly?


She is in a hurry, always in a hurry these days, with a hundred things to do and projects to finish.

She looks into the shoe cupboard for her sandals; her patience wears thin, as she peers into the jumble of leather and canvas and laces.

I offer her mine, one of my flat sandals and she throws me a grateful look, but her feet are too big for my sandals, at least two sizes too big.

My daughter, when did she grow?

It seems like yesterday, when she was the size of my lower arm. Only six months back she fit into my sandals…wow, my throat catches asĀ  she breezes out, her bag slung across her shoulder, the last remnants of breakfast still in her mouth, books in hand, her mind already away in her world of school and friends and projects.

The cute chubby girl, who loved Barbies and playing with doll houses, is now belting out pop, jazz and Bollywood numbers. The giggles are now replaced by LoLs.

There was a time when her world was our home and I, her mother, her ‘go to’ person for every silly thing.

Now, while I am still the ‘go to’ person, her universe has expanded. It is colourful and vibrant, filled with busy days, lots of fun, lots of study and lots of music and talking to friends.

I wait for this girl to come back from school and share her day with me. At her own time. She comes into the kitchen and starts a conversation. She sits at the small kitchen table and chit chats. She just wants me to listen. Her words meander with her thoughts – she shares pages from her day, laughs at funny things that happened and enjoys the food I’ve made.

Now, she pauses, and asks, “So, how was your day?”

We talk about my day. Then she goes back into her world of books, music and friends.

We go out for girls’ evenings out. We shop, we eat out and come back happy.

So much has changed, as my little angel has grown into this beautiful young girl with a great sense of humour.

She still has time for the big hug before she goes to bed, an all-enveloping hug thay says it all.

I am so proud to be her mother.