Friday, June 25, 2010

Good Mourning...Goodbye

A year after he fled the world, Michael Jackson was more alive than ever in all the news channels today. Sad to see that even after his death, controversy is still his companion. A piece about how his dad Joe Jackson flourished in the days after his famous meal-ticket son’s death and seemed not to be in mourning made me think - Is there a stringent way to mourn? Is there a “Mourning for Dummies” which tells you how to react to a passing?

My maternal grandfather passed away the year I finished school. The Gulf war, a few years back, had given him a weak heart and age wasn’t on his side either. When we came to know that he was very sick, my mum and dad rushed about trying to get to India as fast as possible. I was more upset at leaving Riyadh for good than anything else…I don’t know if it was selfish of me, but I guess the enormity of the situation didn’t sink in…till I walked into the hospital room. There on the bed lay a shadow of the man I called Achicha (grandfather)…the person whom I had always only seen in starched kurtas and perfectly ironed mundu (dhoti) lay covered to his waist in a ghastly hospital sheet. This person had been my friend during my vacations…my walking buddy come rain or shine…the person whom I loved to fight with…the neat freak who lovingly let me eat from his plate even though it was something he hated…the supposedly “angry man” who put up with all my idiosyncrasies…just lay there in bed watching as my mum sat beside him and wept.

My grand-dad passed away a few days afterwards. When they brought his body home in the dead of the night, there was no electricity due to heavy rains. The moment his body entered the threshold of the house he had so lovingly built, all the lights came on in a flash, then there was flash of lightning and deafening thunder and then blinding darkness again. To me it felt like the Nature was giving him an honorary 21 gun salute. I dutifully sat beside his body and watched as people who knew him from different walks of life came to pay their last respects – yet I sat there unmoved. My attention remained fixed on his face. There was a calm beautiful smile on his face – it seemed he was laughing at some private joke and I remember wondering what it could be. Everyone seemed to want to comfort me, but I felt nothing…I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t feel any sadness either. I am not sure if anyone thought it was odd that I looked so indifferent, so uncaring, and totally devoid of any emotion…but I didn’t shed a tear. Just didn’t feel like it. He was laid to rest in the compound of the ancestral house facing his room. Whenever I saw mum and granny crying I wondered why I didn’t feel this grief and wondered if I was such a heartless creature. I would dream about him every night, about all the little things we did together and always got up happy and again that emotion confused me. I don’t think I want to justify this behavior by thinking that I was detached or in shock or something. I felt fully in control and I wasn’t fighting back tears and trying to be brave either. A week later a few of us we were sitting in my grandfather’s room talking. My mum’s cousin lay on her lap and reminiscing about my mum’s marriage and how much he wanted to go see her get married, but everyone was against it as he was very naughty and how my grandfather had ignored everyone and taken him along and given him sweets and stuff … somewhere along the way both of them began to cry and that was it. I felt like a hand was squeezing my throat, choking me. I got up and ran as fast as I could and ended up in a little corridor of the house before the tears overtook me. I cried and cried like I had never cried before….cried for everything my granddad was to me, how I would never get to tell him how much he meant to me, how much he would be missed, how I would have loved to hold his hand and gone on one last walk with him…how I would have liked to have one last fight with him…how I would never see him smile his dazzling smile at me again. It took me a few years to realize that I probably didn’t express my grief the conventional way because I probably didn’t even feel he was gone – I was living with him in my dreams and the sense of loss took longer to sink in.
From that day on every time I hear people gossip about so and so who didn’t cry at a loved one’s passing, I wonder – Who are they to judge someone’s grief? Should we mourn to please society or because the nature of the loss is so strong that you feel the need to express that pain - IN YOUR OWN WAY?

Note: Sorry this is such a long post…got a bit carried away and no amount of editing had the power to shrink it. And sorry about the un-original title...

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” – Anon

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The day I almost went to the slammer...

Out grocery shopping one day with my son in tow…as the trip drags, Nikhil starts to look like he has ants in his pants – the crisps have been eaten, the juice has been downed and watching the aisles of produce is no longer fun. He wants out of the shopping trolley and he wants it NOW! When my threatening looks and silent threats are ignored I let him out – and he makes a run for it…before I can catch him he bolts right out of the supermarket to some of those coin operated toys on the other side of the floor. Keeping him in my line of vision, I park my overflowing trolley to the side and try to catch the attention of the elusive customer service folks. As I explain my predicament to the CS guy, I see Nikhil happily playing on the coin operated Bob the Builder. A lady is leaning against the wall behind the toy deep in conversation with him. It appears that my son is giving her a full dissertation on some subject…probably some Bob the Builder episode. After the CS guy rolls my shopping cart away for safekeeping, I slowly walk over to where my son is, knowing that a meltdown about to happen. There is a toddler playing on truck nearby and her parents are clicking away at her ever-changing expression. The woman, who seemed to have become my son’s soul mate, patted him on the head and walked away. Nikhil sees me coming and pretends to ignore me. I walk up to him, fake smile and all and say HI…can we go home now? He ignores me and since I am running out of time, I grab him in a hug and try to get him out of his seat. The cheeky little fellow screams - Help, help, somebody… help me!! I have heard it all before so I ignore it. As I move away with this kicking kid in my arms, the mum of the kid playing on the truck nearby steps right up to me, her face inches from mine and ask in a loud voice – Can I help you? People stop and stare and I wonder if it is illegal to scold your kid in S’pore. I have no idea what her problem is, till I realize that she is looking around for the person who SHE thinks is the mother of my son. Of course the minute the lady is in my face; Nikhil's scared out of his wits and is now clinging to me with his face buried in my neck asking me to take him home. While I rub his back, I assure the lady that I am indeed the mother and this was just my son creating a scene. I thank her for being so vigilant and try to leave the scene as quickly as possible with a very subdued toddler in tow…

Moral of the story – If your kids don’t look like you, carry ID proof!

Anecdotes from Singapore

As I complete 3yrs in Singapore, I was thinking about a few funny and sometimes embarrassing incidents that happened to me here and thought I should put them down somewhere.

1.I had been in S'pore for about 2weeks, when my cooking gas got over. So I called my hubby at work and he told me there is a sticker on the cabinet door and asked me to call that number. So I did and the man asked me - "what condo-unit?" took me about 15mins to realize what he was saying and then had to embarrassingly tell him - I don't know...can I call u back?. I am sure he thought I was stupid. So I had to take the lift down, find out the name of my condo (imagine asking people- excuse me-what is the name of this condo; when you can actually standing inside it), the block number and also my unit number and call him back.

2.Another classic one was when I went for a walk with my son one afternoon after his lunch and came back to my condo only to realize I had forgotten my house keys at home, along with my phone and purse. And my condo had a private lift, so I couldn't even go up to my floor...Oh and did I mention I didn't know my husband's number? So I went to a market nearby, borrowed a dollar coin from a stranger, called my grandmother in India, got my husband's number from her quickly and cut the line before she could ask me anything else, then borrowed 20cents from another man, called my hubby and told him what happened. My husband got home as soon as he could, but left only after he gave me a huge lecture and wrote his number down on my son's stroller with a marker.

3.A blistering hot S'pore afternoon in the June of 2009. Was lazing around on the couch trying to watch a movie after demolishing a very heavy lunch. My then 2yr old was jumping up and down on the sofa beside me as usual, singing at the top of his voice. After a while he stopped jumping on the sofa and began waving and saying "Hi...nice to meet u"...I smiled at his imagination
After a few secs, he seemed to get irritated and shouted “Hi”...waving frantically...and then my heart stopped cuz from behind me came a deep male voice...."HI" it said. I still don't know how I did it, but in a sec I grabbed my son, jumped over the low table with my son's tennis bat in hand, facing "THE VOICE" - who turned out to be an innocent painter who had come to paint my balcony as a part of the whole condo painting venture. We are on the 8th floor so you can imagine my surprise to see a man standing on my balcony, long paint roller in hand. My couch faces away from the balcony and I had forgotten that I had left the sliding doors open to let in some air. The guy apologized profusely for scaring me, but I could see he was desp trying to hold back laughter. I must have looked a sight with my all powerful kiddie bat in hand out to slay the intruder.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Celebrating the wonder that is my MUM!!

Happened to chance upon a post by a lady on a social networking website. She was in an unhappy marriage and felt that divorce wasn’t an option for her so opted to end her life once her son was old enough to live without her. That set me thinking – Is there ever an age when one can live without a mother? I am 30 and am a mother myself and I still miss my mum even though she is just a phone call away. And I know my mum still calls my grandma when she is feeling down…mums are just an indispensable part of everyone’s life. I am not a very expressive person and my mum says she always feels that in terms of showing of affection, I lean more towards my dad than my mum. I must admit I am a bit partial (after all every dad is a hero in his daughter’s eyes), but I felt all that change once I became a mother myself. I had new admiration for my mum…I am in awe of the fact that she always had time to spend with me, cook the meals we liked and kept the house in pristine condition even though she worked full time. I never noticed her complain or express any sort of frustration at having to multi-task and be on top of her game all the time. She was is always bursting with energy and I have watched in awe when she would stay up all night watching my son and then rush about all morning making sure I was cared for during the day. And all this is done with her ever present smile on her face. Such selflessness can only come from a mother.
Although we are apart physically and see each other only once a year, I feel she is always there watching over me. Her motherly instinct has always surprised me. EVERY TIME I am depressed or feeling lonely and out of sorts, I know the phone will ring and it will be my mum. My harshest critic and ardent fan, her prayers and unshakable faith in me and nagging keep me going. Missing you a lot today and thought I should finally publish this long overdue post. You are ever in my thoughts and now I see you in my deeds too. Yes Ma…what I have feared has come true – I am turning into you…and it’s the best thing that could have happened to me.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ah-ha moment

Everyone talks about the AH-HA moment when everything falls into perspective and you feel you need to change your life around. Well mine was last Friday-at an indoor playground with my son. After being asked by son a million times to accompany him through the tunnels and up the swinging ropes and down the slides, I finally put my inhibitions aside and jumped right in. After about 15mins I was sweating buckets and feeling every muscle in my body. But I carried on as I didnt want to disspoint my little guy. After about 2 hours - my body just screaming at me to stop. It was like my body was telling me-there is a reason why people take baby steps while excercising. You don't sit on your butt for ages and then suddenly run a marathon and expect it to be cake walk. Ofcourse even after 5hours of non-stop play my 3year old was as energetic as ever.

Well needless to say I spent most of the weekend in bed or on the couch recovering from a bad back. That's when I knew I have had it. I can't be the lazy mum anymore-not when my son loves the active life. And as if I needed further motivation to step on the treadmill, my brother-in-law sent me his amazing transformation pics(the guy went from a size 40 to a size 34 jeans in less than a year-well done bro) and I knew this was a sign. If he can do it, then so can I.

So have decided to do the following and take "baby steps" towards a more healthy active life:

1. Stop eating like there is a famine around the corner...I can polish off a whole lot of food, and sometimes I am not even aware of it.

2. Will indulge in some icecream once a month, but otherwise sugar takes a back seat. Have to make myself believe I can have that ice cream once in a while.

3. The only way to lose my "ever pregnant" looking tummy is to eat right and do cardio. Apparently I can do all the sit ups in the world and without cardio it doesn't make any diff. So going to work out for an hour on a daily basis.

4. For every excuse I make to not excercise, I find one for why I should...and right now my most solid one is "for my son". It's diff to find one to top that-just yet.

Hopefully by March 2011, I will have reached my ideal weight.

Being a mummy

Full time Mummy!!