Author: obsessivemom

Man maketh the clothes #MondayMusings

Man maketh the clothes #MondayMusings


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A few weeks back I attended the investiture ceremony at my niece’s school. There she was, right in the front, in her spotless white salwar-kurta, her hair in a neat little bun, a smart cap on her head. My heart filled with incredible pride as I watched her march by and accept the head girl sash.

Her salwar-kurta reminded me of my school days. Till we were in class ten we had uniforms – a sky blue blouse with the school initials in a beautiful cursive on the pocket, neatly tucked into a matching sky blue skirt. I still think of it with happy nostalgia perhaps because school was my absolute happy place. Also, that sky blue was so very different from the white, grey and navy of all other schools. We were ‘different’ and that somehow translated as ‘better’ in our young minds. We were a cut above the rest and that uniform was an inherent part of the feeling.

In class eleven, the school did away with uniforms since we were now technically in Junior College and we were free to wear whatever we wanted. That was our first taste of freedom – freedom to wear our own personalities, our first tentative steps in the world of ‘fashionable’ wear.

And yet, so in love we were with that uniform, that a bunch of us continued to wear it at least few days every week. It seems strange now. Why would one choose a uniform, that of a junior class, when one could pick simply anything from the wardrobe? But we did just that.

By the time my sister got to junior college the no-uniform rule was gone and the girls were given a cream and blue salwar-kurta ensemble. How everyone resented that! First there was the whole idea of a uniform and then this – no smart skirts, but this shabby shapeless thing.

Even my classmates and I, who were by now in Colleges and Universities across the country, hated the thought of girls from our alma-mater wearing that ‘behenji’ dress. It somehow diluted our cool-quotient, or so we believed.

How very wrong we were, thought I with the wisdom that comes with age. I looked on as my niece accepted the flag from last year’s office bearers and delivered the Thank You speech. She did so with amazing flair. The way she marched, the way she spoke, the way she carried herself, I barely noticed her clothes, nobody did. All we saw was an accomplished young girl, solemn and earnest, eager to shine in the new role she was being entrusted with.

She completely rocked that salwar-kurta!

In that moment I realised how stupid we were and I was so so proud of the level-headedness of this new generation that wears the LBD with just as much panache as the salwar-suit.

Clothes are after all, just an enhancement of our inner selves, nothing more. Mark Twain was way off the mark when he said Clothes maketh the man; definitely not true for young women, not any more.

 

Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

Grateful for a familiar face #GratitudeCircle

Grateful for a familiar face #GratitudeCircle

This morning I set off on my walk a trifle reluctantly. The weather was perfect – cloudy and breezy, windy even, but not cold, with an occasional sprinkle of rain and yet I felt weirdly listless. My innate practical Capricornian side struggled with that feeling telling me I had no reason to feel that way or to miss my walk for it.

Yet the reluctance was right there more real than ever, holding my feet down, urging me to take the elevator back home. There has been the odd day when I’ve done just that – I’ve come down for my walk and then gone right back.

Do you know that feeling? When you feel vaguely discontent for no apparent reason? Perhaps it is stress or overwhelm, worry or mood swing or anxiety, but it pulls at me somedays making me want to do nothing at all.

I adjusted my music player in the lobby willing myself to begin that walk  when I spotted a familiar face – a neighbour who was also walking. She waved at me and smiled.

Most days I walk alone – one, because I find it hard to match paces and two, because I if I’m walking briskly I do not have the breath to talk. Also, if I can talk it implies I’m not walking fast enough.

However, in the middle of my tussle today, that familiar face was like the very life-line I needed and I fell into pace with her. She walks comfortably slowly and we chatted along. She was done way before me but by that time I had found my rhythm and was happily warmed up, well on my way to finish the walk.

At the end of it I had done one full hour. I was sweaty, happily tired and had successfully banished my listlessness.

All it took was a familiar face to get me going. Next time round I’ll remember to slow down and smile too. One wave, one smile may uplift someone’s day like it did mine today.

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I’m so glad of Vidya’s Gratitude Circle that pushes me to get back to the blog each month.

Fitness lesson No1 #fitnesscapsule

Fitness lesson No1 #fitnesscapsule

‘I am going down with fever,’ thought I as I sat down with my breakfast this Monday morning. My head throbbed, my body hurt and I could barely feel my legs and arms. All I wanted to do was go off to sleep and it was just 10 am. The clothes on the stand, the mess on the table and my laptop all seemed to be staring at me, daring me to ignore them and make for the bed.

Monday mornings are not the most exciting part of the week.

I love weekends. Who doesn’t? I love the fact that I can wake up late, relax and spend time with the children. However there’s one small cloud that hangs over all my Saturdays and Sundays – my diet-exercise routine goes for a toss, completely.

And so it was this weekend too.

I started off pretty determined to stick with my resolution but then the grey rainy morning washed away all thoughts of a walk. I lazed around in bed and consoled myself with the thought that I’d eat sensibly through the day. I cooked separate meals for the children and for me. Puri aloo for them, sautéed vegetables and chapatis for me. However, once the food was out on the plates, their’s looked so scrumptious and mine so spartan, that I ended up eating more from their plates than my own. In my defence, take a look at this.

To make matters worse I went without exercise all of Sunday too. My excuse – ‘It’s raining!’ I could perhaps go with this excuse all of next month!

Come Monday and my over enthusiastic conscience, that had conveniently slept all through the weekend, woke up and asserted itself rather aggressively. And so I put on some exercise videos and, determined to gain lost territory, I worked out for over an hour picking out the toughest routines. Sweaty and tired I went on to the kitchen and spent another hour on my feet prepping, cooking, struggling to make something as palatable for my spoilt tastebuds as I possibly could with my limited skills.

By the time I was through and finally sat down to breakfast, I was regretting giving in to my conscience. 

So here’s my very first learning:

Never ever over-exercise to compensate for a lazy day. Click To Tweet

And a corollary to that: Never ever fast after a binge because it will probably make you vulnerable to another bingeing session.

There really is no other way than going slow and steady when it comes to losing weight. If you fall off the wagon get back on it slowly. I am on my feet again today with the promise to take it one day at a time, to make time to exercise on weekends, even if it’s 15 or 20 minutes and to not kill myself if I do falter.

Share your fitness story if you have one – did you ever stumble along the way? How did you get back?

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Linking up with #MondayMusings at Everydaygyan

Three is one too many

Three is one too many

They must have been about two and a half and it was H and N’s very first fancy dress show at school. They were then in the Jungle Book phase (we watched that film twice a day for almost one whole year) so N was Mowgli and H was Sher Khan. We practiced for days. N singing the song by Gulzar from the television series and H practicing Sher Khan’s roar. N, ever the talker, knew the song to a tee and H could really growl – about the only thing he had mastered when it came to talking. They were good. Of course I might be biased being related to them and all.

Anyway, the day dawned and soon enough there they were up on stage. And they just froze! Both of them. They came off stage and sobbed their little hearts out. N kept saying, ‘I couldn’t do anything,’ as if she couldn’t believe it. And her disappointment in herself was so heart-breaking I could have cried too. H, wasn’t really perturbed, but he cried in sympathy, I suppose.

I don’t remember much of the programme after that. They refused to let me go, refused to be comforted, refused to walk even, crying to be carried. And carry them I did. I remember standing by the side of the road, a huge bag with the fancy dress paraphernalia across my shoulders, one child in each arm, trying to hail an auto.

Of course it was one small fancy dress show and it didn’t really matter but for the twins their perfect world had just collapsed around them. As I looked from one sad face to the other bawling one I was just glad I could hold and hug both of them.

For me, three would definitely have been a crowd.

 

Three babies crying, three toddlers crawling about, three kindergarteners running around, three children asking for help with homework and then THREE TEEN MOODSWINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR. Lord my God!

If one and one are eleven, three and three would certainly be thirty-three. So thank you very much but I’m happy with my twins.

And if you’re a parent to triplets (or more), I totally bow to thee.

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Picture credit: Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

 

I’m taking part in the Bar-A-Thon – the fortnight long Blogging Challenge. It’s Day 3 and I’m keeping it really short for the prompt ‘Three’s a crowd’. Pretty predictable I think.

Five ways in which parents embarrass their teens

Five ways in which parents embarrass their teens

The other morning as we were walking to the bus stop I noticed that H’s collar was askew. Without thinking about it I reached out to settle it and he drew back like I was going to bite his head off.

‘What?’ I said surprised
‘Nothing. Just don’t do that,’ he said
‘Do what?’
‘Fiddle with my clothes. It’s embarrassing. I don’t even know why you come down to see us off to school. It’s not like we’d get lost from the building to the gate,’ he said trying to roll his eyes. He still can’t (roll his eyes) by the way, and I caught myself thinking how cute that is and stopped myself right there because apparently a smile that says ‘You’re cute’ is also embarrassing.

Seriously?? After puking on me in a flight, throwing a tantrum in the mall, flaunting underwear before guests, smearing banana mash all over me at a party (on my good top too, and I had to keep wearing it till the end of the party and pose for pictures in it), he has the audacity to say I embarrassed him

Obviously, the teens are on their way.

Everything I do these days seems to embarrass them – the way I talk (too loud), the way I walk (too slow or too fast), the way I dress (too bright, too strange), the way I laugh (too loud, again), everything. So here’s a list of the top five things that parents (like me) do to embarrass their teens – a sort of ‘do not do’ guide.

1. Fuss over them in public

Make that ‘any physical contact in public’. Do not settle their collars or their hair or tuck in their shirts. Don’t even brush off a speck of dust from their noses. They’re cool leaving it there all day rather than having their mum brush it off. And God forbid you reach out for a hug. They’ll probably not talk to you for a decade. Which might not actually be such a bad thing.

2. Talk loudly

This is such an unfair expectation considering that the only reason I talk loudly is because they refuse to listen any other way. To hold it against me is rather, as I said, unfair. But then who’s listening? When they have friends over, they can scream and shout and that’s okay but it still holds for you. You cannot even hum softly to yourself, not even in your own room.
Once during a football match a mom noticed her son’s shoelace had come undone and shouted for him to tie it up. There was such silence after that you could have heard a pin drop. Mercifully it wasn’t me.
Corollary: Cheering for them during a game is also a no no. Don’t do it. Their friends can, but you cannot. Don’t ask me why, just don’t do it.

3. Correcting them/their friends

I have a few house rules that I’m rather strict about and one of them is the use of proper language. So if I hear a ‘shit’ during a game I protest or if one of their friends asks me for a glass of water without a ‘please’ I point it out. I mean, their friends are like my own kids, right? So if I can correct my children I can correct their friends too, no? However, all I get for my pains are the most eloquent stares and then an earful later on. ‘Everyone says ‘shit’,’ they’ll tell me, ‘even teachers say it.’

All I’ll say is ‘My house my rules’.

4. Talking about baby stuff

This one is big. You see a toddler walking towards you and suddenly you remember yours when they were little. And you get all emotional and misty eyed and you strike up a conversation with the toddler’s mum, ‘When H and N were babies…,’ you begin enthusiastically until you catch sight of your not-a-young-one-any-longer giving you the daggers. So no baby stories, no baby poetry, no tales of cute antics or cute pronunciations, nothing. No nicknames too, please.

Note to self: Destroy blog before they turn thirteen.

5. Wear anything different

Once I went to pick them up from school and I wore a salwar suit, which is different from my regular jeans/trousers. And I got a, ‘What are you wearing? It looks funny.’ Funny? A salwar suit? I mean half of India wears it. Then one day I wore a dress and got the very same reaction. The thing is you’re not allowed to stand out. If you don’t normally wear makeup, you need to continue not wearing it, if you don’t normally wear heels, you cannot begin to do so now.

Basically you shouldn’t be heard or seen. You’ve to become invisible till they tide over their teens. Find a rock and get beneath it.

Here’s a better plan, though – This is the time for delicious revenge. So do your own thing and totally enjoy it. Suddenly we have the power. Between them embarrassing me and I embarrassing them, the latter is definitely the lesser of two evils, from my perspective of course. Moreso since I had all that practice as a mom to toddler twins.

PS: I have a good mind to fish out a wedding sari and appear in all my finery for one of their PTMs. Wouldn’t that be just priceless?

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I’m taking part in the Bar-A-Thon – the fortnight long Blogging Challenge and really stretching the prompts this time round :-). The prompt for today was ‘Lesser of two evils’.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

In Search of the Self #BookBytes -2

In Search of the Self #BookBytes -2

For #BookBytes this week, I have here an excerpt from The Liberation of Sita by Volga. This short read, packs quite a feminist punch. In this passage Ahilya talks to Sita, telling her to find her own self. You means you, nothing else. You are not just the wife of Rama. There is something more […]