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In need of inner peace

In need of inner peace

Right now I feel like Po, in desperate need of Master Shifu. The twins’ exams kicked off today and that has me all in a tizzy. You’ve heard me ranting already I know. Bear with me, dear friends for another week or two. I promise I will try my hardest to not let my anxiety spill out here.
Correction: I will try not to get anxious at all.
But you know how it is sometimes? One knows the right thing to do and yet cannot? It is hard to not get anxious. They’re at that age when I’m not sure how far I should be helping them. It is hard to let them be, to leave them to find their own feet, to be ready to watch them fail. I know I have to do it at some point but is this the right time? Is there a right age, right time at all?
What if that ‘right time’ is different for both kids? What if one of them is ready for that push and the other is not? How do I push one child to study on his own while I focus my attention on the other? Is the first one old enough to understand why I’m not holding his hand all the way like I’m doing it for the other?
These are the things that have been top of the mind for me this week. I will add though, that there has been a move towards independence since the last exam – a tiny minuscule one – but it definitely has been there and that gives me heart.
I am trying not to let my anxieties reach the twins. So they have their television time and their hour of play and we have something called ‘exam treats’ too. They seem to be doing fine. 
Somedays I worry that they’re not worried enough and somedays I worry I that I’m making them too anxious. Yes, I’m one big bunch of confusion struggling to find a balance for the children as well as for myself.
I’m not really too nice a person to be around at this point in time.

A whole new world

A whole new world

Once upon a time life was:
A vibrant work environment : People to meet, interviews to slot, night shifts to get through, copies to edit, pages to be made, designers-ad guys-systems guys to bicker with
A bunch of friends: first day first shows, long hours at the gym, shopping in the old city, countless evenings at the coffee house
The Husband and I: Long conversations, Late night television, Endless games of scrabble, dinners with friends.
Our cosy comfort zone.
And then.. 
A decision.
To step out. 
A new life for us
with two new lives.
A whole new world.
This post is part of  Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda for the prompt ‘Out of my comfort zone’.
Keep your friends close

Keep your friends close

On my blog here, I generally haven’t been very forthcoming with my opinions on happenings around me in the country or the world. All I talk about is my small little universe here with the twins and the Husband. It does take up most of my thoughts (I am obsessivemom, remember?).
That’s not to say I don’t have opinions. How can I not, living in this age of information overload? We have unlimited access to news 24X7 and yet the truth remains ever more elusive. How weird is that! It might have to do with the fact that our media is so highly polarised. We get umpteen versions of the same truth. No matter what side we’re on we find more than enough information to sustain our point of view.
And so we end up believing what we want to and can continue to stick with it and argue about it without even considering that a different viewpoint might exist.
Many times when I’ve been reading a piece that doesn’t resonate with me I’ve shut it down in disgust because it made me so very frustrated and angry. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended for my peace of mind simply because some points of view unsettle me so.
However, there’s a bit of a danger in that, a danger of the formation of an ‘us’ and a ‘they’ – people who think what I think and those who don’t. That certainly cannot be healthy.
So how then do I get a reality check?
I get mine through friends. Friends who come from different backgrounds, belong to different parts of the country, friends who think differently, who support different parties, who come up with arguments different from mine and who argue vociferously.
I keep them close.
You should too.
The other day I was out for dinner with a bunch of them. Between spoonfuls of cheesy pasta and some first class biryani our conversation veered towards a recent political development. Before we knew it we were in the middle of an argument, a rather heated one. Ten minutes later we were back to the biryani and the baby potatoes and all was well with the world.
And that is how it should be.
As long as you don’t make each argument a point of prestige, as long as it’s not about winning or losing, as long as you’re willing to be convinced, to admit you didn’t see it like that, that you didn’t know a certain fact. It will be fine.
There will be times of course when you won’t agree at all and days when you won’t part on a happy note. But that’s fine too because you’re friends and you bond on many many levels not just on that one political or social point. And so you will come back to each other sharing exam woes and teen troubles while laughing over ‘fat’ jokes even as you plan breakfast outings or lunch dates.
Just as pasta and biryani share my plate happily making it richer for the difference, so can different thinking friends stay together and make your life that much richer, make your viewpoint broader, more tolerant.
Keep your friends close and your ‘different thinking’ friends even closer.
End note: If you find me getting into an argument with you it means I consider you a dear friend, a very dear one.

In outer space with Colgate

In outer space with Colgate

The twins love stories. They always have. I’ve spoken about it in many of my earlier posts. And they’re master story-tellers too, specially when they are the protagonists of their tales. In our weekly book club, story-spinning used to be one of the most loved games.
When Colgate came up with this idea of packs with readymade characters that could be cut out to form a story the children were absolutely delighted.

We received three packs from Blogadda with the theme – Magical Space Adventure (Space Launch, Space Walk and Alien Planet). This was such a wonderful coincidence because our current read-aloud book was Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is also set in space, at least some part of it is.

The children went to work. Once they opened the pack and cut out the pictures they lined them all up and then came the best bit – the telling of the story. You should have seen how every little detail was meticulously discussed and debated. You would have thought they were planning a Sanjay Bhansali style magnum opus.

They began with arguing about the name of the characters (how they settled onto those has a back story too but I’ll spare you the details). Mercifully one character was a girl and another was a boy so that tied in pretty neatly with the two of them. They then proceeded to completely get into the skin of their characters. They argued about who should play what role, who should be manning the controls and who should have the gun, who should alight on the ‘alien’ planet first and who should fight the alien. H wanted to hog all the action but N pointed out that the cutout showed the girl holding the gun so she had to have her bit too. Finally after two whole days they arrived at the story. 
And if you think it is a bit too long, spare a thought for me because when they first narrated it, it was a full length novel.
Here goes: 

Ra and Ri and the Crazy Comet

The cosmos was in grave danger. An angry comet was approaching earth. Scientists called it the Crazy Comet. They had had their eye on it for a year now. Each minute, each day it seemed to be coming closer to earth on a sure collision path.

Something had to be done.
Seasoned astronauts had been sent to explore. Not one had returned – all swallowed by the strong gravitational pull of the comet. Scientists needed someone smaller and lighter. A child. 
They needed a brave child, or maybe two. The moment the news flashed on the media channels aspirants flocked to ISRO headquarters. Parents with their wards, moms pushing reluctant children and eager youngsters dragging apprehensive parents  – there were all kinds.
Among them were the twins Ra and Ri. They stood waiting their turn, for each child had to go through many tests before they could qualify.
First they tried on space suits. 
‘Gosh’, said Ra, ‘these are heavy!’ 
‘That’s 127 kgs, my delicate darling’, teased Ri. Ra swiped her on her arm and they burst into giggles. Along with other children, they learnt satellite control and space walking and familiarised themselves with the Rover.
After days of training and testing and trials the results were announced. 
Ri and Ra were the only chosen ones. 
They couldn’t believed it even as they high-fived each other. They would get their dream of going into space and finding out information about the Crazy Comet which threatened the very existence of their dear planet.
The day dawned. Dressed in their space suits they boarded the satellite and off they went as hundreds of scientists watched their ascent. They waved by Venus and the jewel planet Saturn. Finally they spotted it – the Crazy Comet.

‘I’ll stay here’, offered Ri, ‘close to the satellite. You go and explore’. She knew they would need a cool head guiding the satellite should they need to make a quick getaway.

Ra, swam off weightlessly in space. He checked for the rope that tied him to Ri and felt reassured. No longer afraid, he circled the Comet looking for a weak spot – a place to attack. And then he saw it – that flame of fire. If only they could blow it backwards, it would burn it’s own Comet up. Yes thought he – that’s it!
Suddenly he felt it – the pull of the Crazy Comet. He was being dragged into its strong gravitational field. Ri felt it too. The pull was taking away her twin. Ra tried to scramble back. ‘Save me Ri,’ said he desperately. Quick as lightening she dashed into the satellite manoeuvring it as far from the Comet as fast as possible. She reeled her twin in. He fell into the satellite hugging his sister.
‘Thank God you’re safe’, said she. 
‘That was close,’ breathed Ra trying to make light of the situation. He told Ri of his plan. ‘You’re the expert. tell me, can our rockets blow the flame onto the Comet?
‘Yes we can, you’re brilliant Ra’, said a delighted Ri, her eyes shining.
‘Well some people just are!’
‘Shut up and help me you conceited bighead’, said Ri, still smiling.
‘Take the levers to your right and pull hard when I tell you’. She positioned the rockets carefully and began the count down 3… 2… 1 and PUUULLLLLL. 
With a mighty roar the rockets shot out making straight for the Comet. The fire from its tail turned round and in a few seconds the Comet was one huge red ball more magnificent than the Sun. For a moment it blazed and then with an explosion that shook the entire universe it was gone – Just like that – gone. Finished.
The Satellite was thrown up in space due to the explosions and then all was dark.
‘Are you okay, Ra’, said Ri.
‘Yeah I’m fine, but I can’t see anything’.
‘Is your oxygen mask in place?’
‘Obviously it is. Or I would’ve been dead, Ms Smarts.’
‘Alright alright, that was a silly question’, conceded Ri, grateful that Ra could still try to laugh.
They felt for each other’s hands, then prised the door open. They climbed down Ra propping himself with their satellite’s flag. They found themselves on a strange planet. A strange creature with a head as big a a watermelon was watching them.

Ri tightened her hold on Ra’s hand while her other hand was around her safety gun. She looked at Ra. “Don’t try anything silly,’ she seemed to say with her eyes.

The creature approached them. 
‘Who are you?’ Ra and Ri heard the question even though they didn’t actually hear any sound. 
‘We’re from earth,’ Ri tried to say. No sound came out yet the creature seemed to understand. Reading her puzzlement it said, ‘We communicate through our minds. I can see what you think’.
‘Holy Cow,’ thought Ra.
‘Holy Cow?’ asked the creature. ‘What’s that?’
This is awkward, thought Ra not liking his thoughts being read.
‘We’re from earth,’ repeated Ri, ‘We mean no harm. We came to destroy the Crazy Planet’.
‘We were watching you’, said the creature. ‘You are incredibly brave. The entire universe owes you a great debt. You saved us all.
But now you must leave.’
‘But how? Our satellite is destroyed’.
‘You earthlings and your toys!’ laughed the creature, ‘We don’t need satellites. We’ll teleport you. But you must promise not to tell those meddling scientists anything about us. We don’t want hordes of earthlings coming and making ugly buildings here.’ 
‘We won’t,’ promised Ra and Ri.
‘If you don’t mind may I keep your flag as a reminder of your bravery?’ asked the creature.
Sure said Ra as he stuck it in the ground.
‘Now stand on the small mounds there,’ said the creature. 
In the blink of an eye they were back right in the ISRO control room, scientists crowding around them.
‘That was brilliant. We saw it’, said they, ‘we saw the explosion but then you disappeared. We thought you were dead. How did you get here? What happened?’
The twins looked at each other. Amazingly, they could still hear each other think. ‘It is a miracle. A melon-headed God saved us,’ they chorused together.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.
No space for vanity

No space for vanity

I needed a bunch of photographs for some official work recently and happened to get two sets done from two different studios. One set was a faithful enough picture, with me staring rather self-consciously into the camera. The other studio airbrushed the final product presenting a new, very much improved, me. In fact when I went to pick up the photographs the man at the counter took a long time rummaging in his desk after asking me twice over, ‘Aapki hi hain na?’ (You’re sure they’re yours?). When he finally handed them to me, I thought I looked nice, way nicer than I’d ever look in real life.
The dark circles had been done away with, the blemishes all smoothed over and the skin was glowing. I sat comparing the two sets of pictures. The vain me was quite happy while the sane me remained amused. 
The son sauntered past, picked up the other one – the non air brushed one – then proclaimed, 
“You look prettier in this one.” 
“Not possible,” said I, “Look at this other one – you’ll see the difference.”
“Yeah but then in this one you look like some auntie, you don’t look ‘you’ at all.”
Which was such a valid point that the vain me threw up her hands and walked off in a huff while the sane me nodded in agreement. There really is nothing better than a tween son to keep you rooted in reality. Sigh! So I shall continue to wear my blemishes and my dark circles and the extra layers of fat too and I shall try to do so gladly because they make me ‘me’.
And I’ll try my hardest to not get envious of the yummy mummy’s because if God one day in his infinite kindness did decide to make me all beautiful, the kids would disown me.
Oh and you, you layers of fat, if you’re listening, nope I’m not giving up the fight. I’m going to keep on trying to get rid of you – just not by airbrushing – when it happens it shall be the real deal.
Picture credit: Pixabay
Linking up with Nabanita’s Mommy Talks 

And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
Edited to add: This post got me the featured blogger badge at Mackenzie’s at Reflections from Me.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

What is 'Natural'? #BookBytes 25

What is 'Natural'? #BookBytes 25

I just wrapped up Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes and 38 Seconds in This Strange World and while I still have to make up my mind about the book but some of its quotes were too good to not be shared. And so I’ve been sharing them on social media all this past week. Here’s one […]