Category: If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee together – 8

If we were having coffee together – 8

If we were having coffee I’d tell you to pour yourself a cup and keep the kettle close by for this is going to be longish conversation. After all it’s been ages since we met up.

The Boards are Behind Us

If you’ve dropped by the blog over the last few months you’ll know the children took their Grade 10 Boards and came out fine. Even as we wait for the final results I cannot begin to say how happy and proud they made me. Exam scores aside, I was amazed to see that they handled the pressure calmly and maturely.

That said, I’m glad it is all behind us. 

It’s time for Junior College

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you how busy we’ve been sorting their junior college admissions. Choosing subjects, filling forms, scanning mark sheets and adhar cards, appearing for interviews. We as parents have also had to take interviews. One school wanted to know what school we went to, another asked for the marksheet of our last degree! That was strange.

While H is clear about what he wants to do, N is vacillating, still. Sometimes I feel it’s wholly unfair to expect a 16-year-old to know exactly what he or she wants from life. The Indian education system, inflexible as it is, with little room for changing streams or even subjects, frightens me.

I worry. A lot. What if I’m not giving the right advice to the children? What if a nudge in a different direction could prove life-changing? What on earth IS that right direction?

Uncertainty overwhelms me some days.

But then I have to remind myself to put it all away. I need to trust the children’s decision and mine even as I constantly assure them they have the freedom to take a different route any time they want, no matter the cost. In the end, it’s their happiness that counts.

A New Phase for the Children

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you that this will be the first time in their lives that the twins will be in different schools. Their timings are different too. It gives me a pang each time I think they will meet only in the evenings now.

I tell myself it’s a good thing. They need their space, they need to have different sets of friends and it’s time they forge their own different paths.

It truly is a whole new phase of their lives.

A New Phase for Me Too

If we were having coffee I’d tell you I feel as if this was a whole new phase for me too. I’m hoping, with their schools in order, my life can get back to some kind of a regular rhythm.

I have been exploring opportunities. I have to admit this change isn’t easy. Although I have been freelancing all these years, the twins have been a clear first priority for a decade and a half, specially with the husband being in another city. I find myself shying away from committing to anything full-time. I wonder if I will be able to strike a balance and be available if and when the children need me (which they won’t, one part of me reminds me, but the other me remains unconvinced).

I am allowing myself baby steps as of now and keeping my fingers crossed. Things have definitely eased out with the Husband coming home.

New Teachings, New Learnings

If we were having coffee I’d tell you how he and I have been taking turns teaching the children to drive a scooter. At 16, they are eligible to take to the roads although on smaller vehicles. We’re in no hurry since they still have two years to go before they can get onto a regular scooter but it’s fun, almost like the time they learnt to walk. One more step towards independence. While N remains cautious despite having a better sense of balance, H is, as always, sure of himself. They’re so different, these two, in everything they do.

If we were having coffee I’d wonder if you noticed how this post has been all about the children! That’s how much they’ve taken over my mind space this past month and that’s something I’m struggling to overcome. I really need to put the days of being obsessivemom behind me.

That’s it from me, for now. Tell me what’s happening with you. What’s been on your mind?

If we were having coffee together – 7 #wordsmatter

If we were having coffee together – 7 #wordsmatter

The maid has just left. The house smells of Colin and Lizol – fresh, inviting. As I step out into the balcony, the sky is thick with clouds, the air redolent with the promise of rain. It’s a beautiful day and I feel ‘settled’ like I haven’t felt in a long time.

If you were here and we were having coffee together, I’d tell you I’d finally found peace in this new home of mine. Together we’d raise a cheer to that – you with your extra strong coffee and I with my ginger tea – each with our preferred ‘hot beverage’, as Sheldon would put it :-).

You’d smile at the Big Bang reference, relieved to see me well and truly out of the dumps just as I was happy to be out of them. I’d apologise for having been fretful and whiny over the last month but you’d brush that off with a wave of your hand. That’s what friends are for, aren’t they? you’d say and I’d agree wholeheartedly.

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you that life had definitely been looking up for me since we last got together. I’d tell you about this house which was slowly, surely turning into a home. It was only now that I was beginning to truly appreciate it.

I’d tell you about other friends who had dropped by in happy batches exclaiming over each new fixture, opening cupboards and peering inside with the ease of long friendship, suggesting reading nooks and writing corners. I’d tell you how they’d complimented my freshly arranged bookshelves, picking out books to borrow.

I’d wonder if perhaps it was their excitement that had endeared the home to me. Does this happen with you sometimes – that looking at something through someone else’s eyes changes your view of it? That a glum lonely space suddenly becomes warm and cosy? It echoes with the memory of love and laughter long after everyone has gone.

It is this memory that wraps itself around me like a comforting hug as I go about my day prompting me to open my heart and home to more friends. I stock up happy memories, collecting them like Shylock hoarded gold coins, chasing away the gloom of the past few months.

If we were having coffee together I’d tell you how I had been inhabiting the kitchen more often, finding pleasure in going back to some of my favourite recipes. I’d tell you of the time I’d delighted in laying out a full homemade ‘party’ meal despite my rather limited cooking skills.

Together we’d look outside my window and watch the rain that was now coming down in a gentle pitter-patter. We’d watch the sparrows sheltering in the trees and I’d point out my plants that were slowly coming back to life, sprouting new leaves, making a new beginning.

Just like me.

Things weren’t perfect, but then perfection is a mere dream, I’d muse. It isn’t, you’d correct me, it exists scattered in small moments like this one, you’d tell me and together we’d laugh at our philosophical ramblings as we drain our cups and head out to meet the rest of the day.

So tell me dear friend, how is life treating you? What would you share if we were having coffee together?

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I am participating in the #wordsmatter bloghop. I received this tag from Pooja Priyamvada who blogs at Second Thoughts First and I’m happy to pass on the tag to Rachna at Rachna SaysDo follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!

If we were having coffee together – 6

If we were having coffee together – 6

“Reflections

 

I haven’t been feeling too chatty since I got back from the holidays and I thought a cup of coffee might help. Take a seat then as you read this, get your cup of coffee and I’ll get my chai.

If we were having coffee together I’d warn you right away that this was going to be a bit of a rant. I’d tell you how I was taking time to settle in here, in this new home of mine and missing, just a bit, the hustle and bustle of the old one. I’d tell you how I long to see familiar faces – of acquaintances in the lift, of children who I’d seen growing up, even of the guards who complained constantly about H and N.

I’d tell you that the feeling had nothing to do with this house which is large and airy and spacious – something I’d always wanted. Why then, I’d wonder, was I missing the time when the children were right in my face, annoying me with their constant chatter? Perhaps it was simply because I hadn’t yet made friends and the house reflected my loneliness?

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that the neighbours were cordial enough but finding friends was another matter altogether. I’d wonder if it had something to do with age. Did we lose the ability to make friends as we grew older, I’d ask. I used to make friends easily. From people years older to those a decade or more younger, I could connect with everyone. When the children were younger I’d take them out to play and bump into someone and before we knew it we were friends bonding over the troubles of toddlerhood, moving onto work, books and films. It doesn’t seem that easy any longer. When did I get picky?

If we were having coffee I’d ask if you wanted a refill because I wasn’t quite done yet. Together we’d ponder over this whole friendship conundrum. You’d perhaps tell me that I was still settling in and that all would be well once the school routine set in. I’d take heart from that because I’d see the wisdom in what you said; perhaps I was being hasty.

I’d tell you how grateful I was for the hundred small things that needed to be done to get the house up and running. They filled up my day and brought a measure of satisfaction as I went about emptying cartons and ticking things off my list. I’d tell you of other things I was grateful for, of the many small blessings that have made the move easier. I’d tell what a huge comfort the kids had been through the shifting. You’d smile and remind me that H and N were no longer ‘kids’, a few days from their teens. And that would cheer me up for I have a special surprise planned for them.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you how your presence, though virtual, made me feel happier, lighter and that I was glad I had you around to unburden myself, as always.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee together?

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“Reflections
If we were having coffee …. 4

If we were having coffee …. 4

Picture courtesy: PIXABAY
If we were having coffee… 
I’d invite you home today because I’m feeling a tad down. That perfect cup of coffee served by a professional on a neat little tray is tempting for sure but today I need the comfort of home. I need to curl up my feet on the sofa for a long chat, no matter that the cup is not designer or that Marie biscuits don’t measure up to the brownies. Maybe I’d invite you to my kitchen and we could take turns at beating the coffee. That’s your favourite kind, I know, and mine too.
Once it is poured, sweet and frothy, we could settle down to our conversation.
I’d probably ask about your days and tell you about mine. It has been a long and exhausting fortnight, with the maid on leave, the kids on holiday and husband home too.
I’d tell you, a trifle guiltily, that much as I love them all, I cherish my alone time. I’d tell you how I savour the silence. The absolute quiet as I tap at my laptop. The single cup of tea on my side table. Or the mindless chatter of FM (that no one else seems to have the patience for) while I go about my chores. I miss all of that. I need it to get me through the craziness of the rest of the day.
I’d tell you about the twin’s academic pressure that seems to have suddenly multiplied many fold and hangs like a dark shadow on me, always. Somedays, I’d tell you, I cannot sleep from worrying about them.
Mercifully (?) the kids seem completely unaware of it but that makes me worry even more.
How can they not care? Is it okay for children to be so completely unconcerned? Are they too young? Am I expecting too much from them? I look at the mums around me. I see how they urge their kids on and I feel hopelessly inadequate. I am just not capable of pushing mine. Am I doing enough to help them? Or am I letting them slide into laziness by expecting too little? Am I taking away their chance at a better life by not egging them on?
It’s hard. This not knowing. Like walking blindfolded.
You don’t have an answer either. I know. But simply telling you how I feel lifts my spirits just a bit. You’d probably smile away my fears telling me I was over-thinking. ‘They’re just ten’, you’d laugh. And you’ve no idea how that would reassure me. Yes, they’re just ten. They’ve just started secondary school. They’ll settle, their grades aren’t bad.
We’d lift our now cold coffees and smile at how that always happens – how conversation takes over coffee. I feel sorry for having monopolised it all the way today. 
And yet long after you’ve gone and I’m getting on with my day, I remain grateful for your presence. I send out a tight mental hug for friends who let me voice my thoughts and fears no matter how unfound, how stupid they might be.
If we were having coffee together… 3

If we were having coffee together… 3

If we were having coffee together dear friend, I’d have lots to talk about because my once-in-a-year trip home makes me garrulous. And if you’d raise your eyebrows at the word ‘home’ I’d reiterate that no matter where I go or how many houses I buy or live in, home will always be my hometown. That’s the city I grew up in, the city my parents still live in, the city where I, quite unrealistically,  expect to bump into a familiar face at each turn.

If we were having coffee together
I’d tell you how I squeak like an over excited child each time I spot a sign of development here. ‘Ah the university got a makeover’, ‘Wow a new flyover’, ‘Ooh an authentic Italian joint, a yoghurt parlour’, ‘My goodness how many coffee shops are there?’

And yet, I’d tell you how I look out for the well-loved and the unchanged bits even more eagerly – the chikan shops, the gorgeous monuments that dot the city that I barely noticed when I lived here, a favourite kadamb tree, the gulmohur lined avenues, the thandai, mithai, chaat and biryani.

Most of all I’d tell you about the people. People, who are bound to me with nothing but simple bonds of love. I’d tell you about the chachaji at the paan shop who continues to give me free meethi saunf just as he used to when I was a toddler, or the thandai wale chacha who refuses to charge us if he spots me. ‘Ghar ki beti hai,’ he says, ‘paise kaise le skate hain hum?’

I’d tell you about the people here, who still exude an old world charm – the time my mother-in-law and I were arguing over who would pay for the vegetables and the vendor calmly took it from my MIL saying, “Betiyan toh mehman hoti hain’. It sounded incongruous – a guest in my own home? How exasperatingly old-fashioned! Yet I could argue no further.

Then there was the time we got stuck at a narrow curve on the road. ‘Peechhe lo’ said the driver of the oncoming car. ‘Lo nahin, lijiye hota hai’, admonished my sister as she reversed the car. I cringed waiting for the angry, impatient rebuttal but the driver, a barely literate stranger, gave her a sheepish apologetic smile as he drove away.

If we were having coffee together
I’d tell you how it warms my heart to see these tiny courtesies thriving here, how I cannot but smile when I hear the aap and the ama floating on the breeze, even as ‘dudes’ and the ‘bros’ make space in its vocabulary.

Yeah my city is changing, becoming more like a metro with all modern conveniences even as it loses some of its character. That is bound to happen, and that’s good, that’s progress, I tell myself. And yet when the old-world ways show up unexpectedly, as they are wont to do for they are part of its personality, they are ever more quaint and comforting.

If we were having coffee together
I’d invite you over to this city known for its relaxed evenings, I’d invite you to come experience a sham-e-awadh.