Just once more

I listen now

Savoring each word

I embrace them

With more of me

I watch them

To reach their soul

I wiggle my nose as I embrace them

To get that earthly smell

I kiss them

To feel the wrinkle in their cheeks

In every little sense

I yearn to feel her, just once more.

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Under the giant tree

I’ve spent many a days

Under the giant tree

Far away from here

In my grandmother’s house

That tree holds my childhood

And memories treasured

The games we played

As innocent nine year olds

It’s branches have rings

From the rope of our swings

It’s shade will tell you stories

About the cool evenings we lay there

Under that tree, in those swings

I see my mother smiling at me

She is holding my brother close

Swaying in the wind, happily

Going higher each time

I am scared they’d get hurt

But she has spent many a days

Under the giant tree many years ago

As a nine year old

In my grandmother’s house.

Nude models

I saw this feature on TimesNow about nude models. These are women who earn their living by posing nude for artists. Artists and students of art paint these women in nude to learn anatomy, muscle structure etc. The women who featured in the video talk about how they felt awkward initially but soon understood that nudity is in the eyes of the beholder. One woman says the body is going to be burnt or buried anyways so what difference does it make. Another woman has kept this from get children while she uses the money she earns from this to feed her children.

I was initially shocked when I saw the feature. This was my first reaction. As I progressed through the video I was amazed at the outlook of these women. They may not be educated in schools and colleges but they have wisdom. At the end of the day it’s the food you put on your family’s plate, the shelter you provide that matters.

I did have a question though. Would these artists have the women in their house pose nude for learning art? Probably not. I read a few comments beneath the feature and didn’t see this perspective. You can call me a feminist but why not the women in your house. I have no disrespect to these women. I respect every person who works without cheating another, to earn a livelihood. I even respect that strata of women who earn money for sex. I despise the P word used to categorize these women. Every person is where they are because that’s where they are meant to be. If they are meant to be elsewhere those paths will open for them.

Watching this video was an eye opener for me. I never know that people lived this way. These women have husbands who support them. Broad mindedness for sure doesn’t come with school education.

Respect to these women and partially to the men. Partially so because they can see art as art but at the same time have to seek art outside their homes.

Sunday musings…

Is there one person in this whole wide world who knows you inside out? Maybe not. Actually it is not maybe, it is definitely no. And the only person who knows you entirely is you. All the acquaintances we make have a piece of us. As we meet new people, they take a slice of us. It is almost never the complete picture. We become a combination of what they take from us and their presumption of us. The less they perceive, stronger will that relationship be.

In a lifetime we meet so many people, most just look at the cake and walk away. They may admire the structure (pun intended), some the color, yet a few like the icing. It is only when you and the other person have a genuine interest that you share a piece. You slice and dice yourself and give a portion to every person you hold dear to you.

We are a piecemeal of many such relationships.

If you think of it, it is impossible to give the entire cake to any one person. For one, each one is carrying their own cake and second, there are just so many relationships. In the end we are all this infinite set diagrams partially intersecting with other sets, every day. Math applies in such weird ways, one would think!

We float in this infinite space with these innumerable intersecting sets all the time. These intersections build up those blocks of expectations. Some of them are so high, that they make the intersection very heavy. You are something to someone all the time. So then when are you, YOU? When are you just that single circle, with no strings attached, floating in space, and the stars shining down on you. Very rarely, for most people. There are those stolen moments from your own life, when you can put down the weight, walk around in your circle, floating under the sky.

Our social system is so pathetically morose that it bombards us with this constant need to intersect. We are taught from when we are born about relationships, expectations, bond and all such crap. Are we ever taught to carve out our own path?

My friend brought in an interesting perspective recently. She said, why should I tell me son to do anything about working, marrying, and all that circus? Let him decide what he wants to do. If he doesn’t get married, he doesn’t. Big deal. It is his life and he has complete authority over it. Well, this is one of the reasons why, she is my best friend.

Can we really change the current norm of pressurizing our loved ones into forming intersections. Let them lead their way, let them live their life. Maybe that would increase the happiness quotient eventually. The number one killer of happiness, I believe, is expectations. These expectations stem out like mushrooms from relationships and people go crazy over it. Only if everyone lived with the feeling that, ‘I’m here for you if you need me’. Come to think of it, that is all, that’s required. There is no need of, you need to behave one way, you need to talk one way, you need to emote this way, you need to think this way… Give me a break! See where stress comes from, followed by depression and what not.

Why does any relationship “have to” be a certain way? The only true relationship (in its absolute sense) is that of a mother and child. Even in this one, when the mother thinks, “I will lead you for the first few years, then I will guide you, further on, for the most part, I’m here for you”. It is that simple.

So should you start easing out of the heavy ones? I don’t know. Maybe the trick is to make your circle strong. I don’t know…

If we keep it simple for the next generation, maybe the sets of the future will be lighter….

Day 6 : Life lessons – what our parents expect

It was around 9pm and I was pondering about what life lessons I should write about today. There were no obvious triggers during the day. As I was doing the dishes I thought about a particular family where parents and children are going through a strain in their relationship, primarily because the parents didn’t meet the child’s expectation. The parents are retired from professional life and the child is a grown up person. I am due to return a call to Uncle and Aunty and I got thinking of their not so happy days for the past few months.

As children there is no end to the expectations we have from our parents. When we are young we expect them to buy us that toy, that particular food, the specific dress, take us out and what not. As we grow up, expectations are different but they still exist in various forms. When I had my children I expected my mother to come to the US and take care of them. She did it without a second thought, six times. She made six trips across the globe with her Parkinson’s to take care of my children. At that time it was something natural, it was what all parents of children who live in the US, did. I just expected her to do it.

As parents get older the “density” of our expectation most often than not hits the roof, because now we expect them to “behave” a certain way. I am guilty of this as well, for many years. I wanted my mother to talk a certain way, I squirmed when she said some things in a gathering, which “I” thought were inappropriate. I expected her to spend money in a certain way, because by then she didn’t have her own income. I was a very bad daughter as a grown up, to her.

When she passed, in her passing, she taught me life lessons, like she always did. The biggest one being, all she expected out of me was to understand her. I didn’t have to do anything about it, but letting her know that I understood remains my biggest failure as a daughter. With my father, I expect “nothing”. He expects me to call him everyday and give him even five minutes of my time, just so he knows I am thinking of him. I give him that time and often more. When he goes on long distance trips with his friends I just listen and encourage. That is all he needs and expects, a few minutes of my time everyday and encouragement at his age. All he needs from me is to hear him out and understand him. He needs to feel that I am there for him no matter what and that he can depend on me.

I am blessed that my mother taught me this extremely important lesson as she left. But when I see soooo many men and women around me who don’t get this simple equation of life, I feel sad for the parents and for the men and women. Life can be so much simpler and happier if we as grown ups take that tiny effort to understand them. Do they really deserve a struggle during the resting years of their life, after they slogged it out for years and years to make us who we are today?

The daughter-in-law and son-in-law can easily mess up this equation, which is extremely plausible. But it’s not about how the daughter-in-law or son-in-law treats your parents, it’s always and only about how you treat your parents. Everything else is a bonus!

For the wonderful parents I have and for everything they have taught me, I am blessed, many, many times over!!

Day 1 : Life lessons – calm and polite

I was cleaning the fridge today. A yellow microfiber cloth in hand I set out for the daunting task around 3pm. There were a number of expired bottles of various shapes and sizes. There were some frozen circles of milk glued to the shelves, some masala rings, rotten vegetables and what not. I know you must be thinking yew!! What an untidy woman. Thank you!

The shelves wiped, the trays wiped, the cheese box wiped, the trays on the doors wiped, the huge vegetable tray wiped! Phew! Why can’t this be just one shelf?

I scrub away for one hour, two hours and finally open my lower freezer door. Chocolate frozen from some chocolate cookie dough glued to the bottom of the tray. I bend down, sit down and wipe away. This stubborn partition piece of rotten plastic refuses to budge from its place. I snap it out and think – I got you sucker ! After I finish wiping for another twenty minutes or so, oh how much I hate chocolate cookie dough by now.. the rotten dough comes off nicely and my trays are as white as snow ❄️.

So this sucker plastic piece needs to go back in. I try to push it in, just like it was and the sucker decides on a revenge game with me ! Me ? Me ! Just as I thought I put it right back in, the suckers heinously snaps in place with my thumb inside.. OOOOOOUUUUUUCCCHHHH!! The sucker really got even now. I yell and yell and my kids come running asking “Amma, are you ok?” The perfunctory question kids have learnt watching misleading movies. My wiggle my thumb out and let that sucker die inside the freezer to deal the rest with my husband. This is a man’s job after all!

While I clean the rest of the freezer, my fingers going numb, I crib about everything between the sky and the core of the earth. I go yada yada yada and even bring in how irresponsible the kids are about taking a bath. I really don’t know the connection, but I got choked up as well. I rattle and rattle and make so much noise. Both my kids very intelligently, stay away! Just as I lift the washed tray to go back into the fridge, I hit a glass and it shatters! Wow!! My elder son comes running and asks “What broke?”. He fetched the broom for me, silently watches me clean up. After about ten minutes he asks – what should I do? I tell him to clear the trash. He does it ever so obediently and promptly (on other occasions he needs a minimum of five reminders).

He comes back and waits another two minutes and extremely calmly asks – is there anything else I should do? I say no. And he asks so politely, “so now can I go back to doing my project?”

And I am stumped! At that precise moment I feel the growth of my baby into a mature youth who knows how to handle the situation.

Life lessons I learn everyday.