Category: N

Proud, happy and grateful

Proud, happy and grateful

N’s Bharatnatyam annual day was round the corner
and her dance guru called a meeting
for parents. I found an inconspicuous corner and sat listening dutifully to the
instructions. And then the teacher said, “All women have to come in saris.” (That five meters of traditional Indian
garment which can be such a nightmare to drape).
I sat up in some alarm.
I had ended my relationship with the sari some 10 years ago when the twins
were born. I tried to renew it once rather tentatively and promptly tripped and fell flat while carrying a two-year-old N. That was when I swore off it. Forever.
I had no intention of going back now.
The announcement propelled me from my
corner and I heard myself ask, “Can we come in a suit?” For the first time, I found the full glare
of N’s dance guru’s eyes on me. I
have to confess here that she is rather intimidating. You know how these gurus are – unbending principles, strict
discipline and all of that. While I appreciate that an unflinching attitude is essential
to teach a serious dance form I have to admit it stresses me out because I am forever fumbling unsure what I might do to upset a rule. That is exactly why I try to make
myself invisible at these meetings. “Let’s keep it formal,” she said shortly, “Saris only”. I quailed and looked around
for support from the other mums but all
of them stared back at me with a don’t-waste-time-with-such-a-non-issue look.
For once I wished I were a man. The only instruction
they had was ‘don’t come in jeans’. Hey hello! How unfair was that! We are
sentenced to a struggle with five meters of cloth and all they have to do is change out of their jeans! Arrrrrgh!
I receded to my corner wondering what I’d
do. Should I send someone in stead of me, I thought desperately. But I wanted to see N on stage and I already had the saris but the blouses –
I wouldn’t fit into any of them any longer. Something
ready made perhaps would have to do. Pushing down the panic, I reasoned, once the blouse was sorted, it wouldn’t
be too bad. All I had to do was dress up, sit,
watch, collect N and come home. Yeah! I could do it. I’d manage.
And then I heard the guru’s assistant calling out “Where is N’s mother?” (Yeah she doesn’t even
know my name – told you I always hid away) “You’re the volunteer for the Ashtalakshmi performance.” With that she
gave the word ‘volunteer’ a whole new dimension and me a whole new world of
panic.
‘Volunteer’ meant no sitting down quietly, in fact no
sitting down at all. It meant tucking your pallu
at your waist and taking charge of a group of girls. Their entry on the stage
and their exit, their makeup and accessories, which are mind boggling by the
way. N is a junior and her costume alone had 5 pieces. Then there were some 10 bits of jewellery
to go with it.
Me.. a non dancer, a non ‘makeuper’, a non stage
person, a non sari wearer – me – had
to do all of that! And I have no clue why I was picked. I put it down to some
really bad deeds of my past birth. Karma.

But it all worked out … 

… just as most things in
my life have a way of working out. Have I said this before? That I am
exceptionally lucky? No, really, I am. It turned out the SIL had the perfect
sari and I managed to squeeze into her blouse too. How’s that for luck?
I got dressed in 10 minutes flat. It’s amazing how it all came back to me, just the way my mum
had taught me decades ago – what went where, how many pleats to go on the
shoulder, how to tuck in the sari firmly so I needed just a single pin. Oooh I felt
accomplished!
Besides, I had no time to fuss since N had to be
dressed and we had to report early and then there were those 8 girls waiting
for me at the venue.
Once there it was a blur of getting the giggly talkative
bunch ready, running around with hair clips and safety pins, someone had
forgotten her dupatta while another
one broke her jhumka. Oh it was such delightful
chaos.
Finally they were all ready and everything was
perfect, N looked beautiful as did every single girl on stage. Watching the delighted, proud, excited faces around me I felt a wave of happiness wash over me or was it gratitude? Gratitude, that everything had come together so wonderfully, gratitude for being a part of so much happiness. 
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And to think I considered not coming for the sake of a sari.

Linking up to Vidya’s Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.

Finding Santa

Finding Santa

Dear H and N,

Christmas this year, is going to be different. It was this year that you discovered that there is no Santa. N, how you cried! It broke my heart. I had no answer to your ‘you lied to me‘ allegation. It’s true of course. It was I who ate up your cookies, I who put the gifts and I who read the letters I’d helped you write in the first place.
I know you’ll miss him. That plump, smiling, silver haired presence bearing gifts for you, the one who makes everyone smile – oh yes Santa will be missed… sorely. 

Or maybe …. just maybe we could do something to make you feel better. How about we find ourselves a Santa – a real one, no lies this time. He’s a bit different than the Santa I told you about. He doesn’t live at the North Pole to begin with. 

So where is he? You ask. I can see the disbelief in your little faces. Hear me out then and be patient.

This Santa is all around us. What’s more, he’s far more generous than the red-suit guy. He doesn’t wait for Christmas to give us gifts. He comes unannounced any day, anytime, sometimes many times a day, bearing precious gifts. You’ll have to look carefully though for he’s in disguise – no red suit, no silver beard.

‘So how will we know him?’ I hear you ask, suspicious still.

Well, first, wipe off those disbelieving looks then listen on my little doubting Thomas’ – here’s how you can see him.


Shut your eyes. Yes, shut your eyes. 
Go on do it.

….Now open your hearts…

and think…

Did someone make your face light up with a smile recently? 
Did someone do anything to make you feel special?
Did someone make your heart swell with happiness and fill with warmth?
Did a hug or a kiss or a compliment make you feel like the happiest person on earth? 
Did someone make you feel so happy you wanted the whole world to smile with you?

Well.. hold on to them, that right there is your Santa.

That friend who stood up for you, that teacher who said ‘well done’, mama who surprised you with your favourite tiffin, grandma who saves up a new story for you everyday, dad who came home early with your favourite sweet – they’re your Santa.

And your gifts? – the smile, the warmth, the happiness – aren’t they all precious? Way more precious than that remote controlled car, that crashed within a week of it’s arrival, right H? Or that Barbie buried somewhere deep in your toy cupboard N.

And you know what? You are a Santa too.

Remember that one time I came home all tired and you ran to give me a hug? I so needed it then, and you were my Santa. And that lopsided cake you made me – you were my Santa again. In fact, you became my Santas the moment you were born.

There’s a Santa in all of us. He just hides away sometimes under the stress of homework and housework, the arguments and the anger. This Christmas let’s dig him out and give him a new life, shall we? 

Let’s all be Santas this Christmas – real live Santas.

Love and hugs,

Ma.

For a good cause

For a good cause

 A few weeks before Diwali we were approached by a resident from our complex asking for old clothes and toys to be donated to an organisation close to where we stay.

As any mom with growing kids will know we have tons and tons of both, what with changing wardrobes each season. Nope that’s not an attempt to keep up with the fashion houses it’s just that the kids grow amazingly fast. And so we made out three large bags – clothes, toys and books.

That’s where I think the idea germinated and N and her friends decided to take the cause further. They have long been fascinated with playing ‘shop shop’ where they sell imaginary things to each other. Combining both ideas they got busy crafting during their Diwali vacations. They painted diyas, quilled cards and made some other knick knacks like pencil tops and wall decorations. They then arranged them prettily in baskets and went around the complex selling them to the residents.

They managed to raise a small amount of money and took it to the lady who had approached us for the donations. She in turn got in touch with the NGO and came back with the information that they needed a cooking gas stove for their daycare centre. So a gas stove was bought and handed over by the girls. What a happy bunch it was that came home that day (after an ice cream treat for their efforts).

It was such a pleasant change to have this usually quibbling, arguing, gossipping bunch get together and do some good work. For once we had people patting us on the back for the kids’ good work even though we had barely anything to do with it.

The most important takeaway was of course that it is not really tough to lend a hand if one decides to. If each small bunch in a building complex could get together for a small initiative such as this one we could have so many more smiles. Right?

An experiment in freedom

An experiment in freedom

Saturday began on a very very sour note. H threw a huge tantrum bemoaning the fact that he had to follow too many rules. Washing his hands before eating, wearing his chappals all the time, putting his clothes for washing after changing, wearing his night suit, brushing his teeth, not getting enough screen time (computer/TV) ….. Apparently I was forcing him to play, to eat, to sleep… 
To be fair to him he is a pretty independent child. He enjoys his studies and is very meticulous about them. He’s not a fussy eater either. In fact I have few complaints other than his computer addiction and his resistance to rules. He likes to do things his way which is often not the right way, of course according to me. And he argues! Gawd how he argues!
The Husband and I reasoned with him for about an hour. Then we both gave up and left him crying.

Freedom Day declared!

I got chatting with friend and blogger Shailaja and she directed me to a blogpost here by Sangeeta Sundaram on Freedom Day – a day with no rules, which children could be left to do what they wanted. Since we were at the weekend and as a mum I am always ready to try anything for a happier more peaceful home I decided to go with it. Besides, it was just a day, I reasoned, how bad could it get?
So Saturday was declared Freedom Day with just two rules.. No fighting and no messing the house.
H was ecstatic, though a bit unbelieving. N also thought it was a super idea. 
The computer was switched on right then and H flitted between the television and the computer all day without signs of fatigue or boredom. He would come to check on me periodically to make sure I wasn’t angry. He’d dart in for a hug or an ‘I love you mama,’ every hour or so.
N meanwhile ran off to play throwing an ‘I-can-come-whenever-I-want-na, mama?’ over her shoulder. ‘Yes,’ said I and that was that.

At lunch time…

I have to admit I am a bit of a Nirupa Roy when it comes to food. I strongly believe that half of the crankiness of kids is either food or sleep related. A little after 1 pm H was hungry and just as I was about to suggest lunch he said he wanted to eat mangoes. So mangoes it was. By 2, though outwardly calm, I was pacing up and down mentally.
N turned up after 2.30 and sat down to watch TV.
I’d made their favourite Aaloo-puri in a sly bid to tempt them to eat on their own. I even filled my own plate, pretending to eat and sat watching that wretched Doremon with them to no avail. Finally H picked up pooris, just pooris, and munched on them sitting on the sofa while watching TV… And I kept my mouth shut. 
N, the non eater was celebrating by not eating at all. Finally at 3.30 I left them to the tele and walked off.

Freedom is not everyone’s cup of tea

A little later N came in.. Crying. ‘My head is hurting ma’, she said, ‘may I sleep with you?’ I agreed then suggested.. ‘Maybe your head is hurting because you haven’t eaten anything’. That brought around a fresh bout of tears..

‘I don’t want this freedom say sobbed N. May I have lunch?’
I have to admit I felt a smug kind of happiness!!
And that was it for her.

But some truly take to it

Televiion junkie..

H continued to have a ball till about 10. He refused his friends when they asked him to come down to play. N crashed by the television. H had major plans of staying awake till after 12 but exhausted by the marathon computer session he too agreed to go to bed when The Husband suggested it.

What now?

Now I am a bit confused about the outcome of the experiment. N told me pretty categorically.. She preferred an ‘Angel Day’ .
But what about H?
I have to admit there was total peace at home. The children didn’t fight at all which is just so rare, it might be the single reason I try this out another day. They coordinated with each other taking turns at the comp and the tele. In any case since N is a more outdoor person there was barely any clash. 
However, is it okay to let H spend the entire day at the comp? Or for N to stay outdoor for four or five hours at a stretch? Maybe it is, since it’s just a day… I’m not sure at all. What do you say guys? Is it okay to have a Freedom day say once in a month?
A lesson, a Drabble and some innovation

A lesson, a Drabble and some innovation

This was going to be hard. Saying ‘No’ always was. For a second she considered a ‘Yes’ then gave herself a mental shake. ‘No’, it had to be. A moment later her daughter came skipping in, ‘So may I mama, please?’. ‘No,’ she said gently, trying to blunt the blow with her smile. The dreaded tears came in a deluge.

Later she watched her daughter playing happily. In teaching her a lesson she had learnt one too – that life lessons were important, tears temporary. She wished she knew then what she knew now. It would have made her decision easier.

***************
Linking to Write Tribe’s 100 words on Saturday for the prompt
“S/he wished S/he knew then what S/he knew now”

The Drabble will make more sense if you read yesterday’s post.

With all of that behind us we spent a near perfect day today.. Cleaning together. 

There she is wrestling a cushion cover. She won with honours, I might add.

A month of being away has left the house coated in layers of dust. Seriously, how it climbs up to the 9th floor is a mystery. The maid’s on leave and I’d have probably left it as it was and waited for her (yes I’m bad like that. And I do hate housework) but we’re expecting a friend and it needed to be done. 

Over lunch, N asked me if she could melt her dairy milk and re-freeze it into tiny chocolates. I had this vision of a chocolate smeared kitchen and refused rightaway. I stashed away the moulds for good measure. Later, while cleaning the fridge I spotted this… 

She even found some cake sprinklers and used them

On quizzing her she said she had melted the chocolate in the sun then poured it out into medicine dispensers and topped them off with gems. Didn’t I tell you this new gen was a tad too smart?

In other news she has figured out how to use the printer all on her own. Now she can do her school projects on her own. Yay! Maybe 8 years is that magic age when kids grow up suddenly.