Sunday, May 22, 2016

Minutes of a Party!

It had been a month that was delightfully eventful. Some of my son’s friends had kid parties for their birthdays and he had been on a sugar high all month.  Aaron’s five year old friends, majority of which are girls, arrived floating at each of these parties like they just dropped down from heaven. Of course it doesn’t matter for the boys whose lives revolve around their tee shirts and denim.

This could be the official theme of every kids party!
 Image Courtesy: Here

So the other day at a party I caught him sporting a confused face amidst two arguing girls. The girls and my boy had a bunch of balloons each. My son was witnessing the argument and was highly amused. He offered to exchange his bunch with the girl who was not satisfied with hers, but the girl declined. Who wants boys stuff anyway? Eww. Meanwhile, one of their mothers arrived trying to console the girls that the balloons were exactly the same. The girls were convinced that they weren’t. I analyzed both bunches and realized there was a pink balloon in only one of them. My son could not decrypt the argument even after I pointed at the pink balloon and explained the matter to him. He tried, but still did not make anything out of it because for him it was nothing but a pointless debate. I don’t blame him. Guys don’t see anything. Like my husband who wouldn't know if I get a plastic surgery, forget haircut or eyebrows. It starts at a very young age, you see.

There was a slide in which all the children played at the party. I kept an eye on that, because it always starts with happy squeals and ends in a war. After gliding quickly down the slide, my son looked back to see an almost teenage looking girl coming slowly behind him. 

He quipped ‘Why are you so slow?’

Pissed off girl: ‘Yeah I AM a bit slow’

He: ‘Are you a baby’?

The girl, both hands on her hips looked down at him. ‘Do YOU think I am a baby?’

He ran back to the slide, without answering that. I almost died laughing. I caught him calling a crying girl a ‘baby’ and annoying her further, few minutes after this incident. I realized I have to talk to him a bit about pissing off girls (or maybe I should talk to his Dad first?). How do boys get this uncontrollable urge to annoy peer girls? How hard is it to not laugh when a girl cries? I realized that it was high time for a little pep talk or no-TV threats if the first doesn’t work. However I cannot hover around him all day and watch what he is doing. This is the reason even atheist and agnostic parents become religious once their kids are in school.

Soon after when he was in a good mood, I told him that it is not cool to laugh when someone cries, trying my best to be casual and non-preachy. It is also very bad boy thing to be the reason another person cries, I added.  This talk was made when they distributed ice creams. He looked straight into my eyes (this rarely occurs) and thoughtfully said ‘Okay’. There was a moment of temporary peace. When he gave me that eye contact, he probably may have been thinking about donating that ice-cream to me because I am the official leftover eater. I know for one that when a male looks into your eyes and pretends to listen they are NOT listening. When they pretend not to listen and go about doing their thing when you are talking, they are in fact NOT listening either.

The next day as I dropped him off at his art academy, there was a notice board outside.

“Parents are responsible for the safety AND BEHAVIOR of their children”.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bring home the glass show case!

Image courtesy: Here

Have you noticed, that the luxuries of today were just mundane things in our childhood ?  I envied sky scraper apartments when I was living in a villa of sorts with a porch and garden. I envied arcade games when there were grounds and wide open spaces to run. Stupidity has no bounds. Now even if we want our kids to play in wide open spaces, we have to drive to that place and pay for it.

Most of us grew up in independent homes, and even though we live in compact apartments now, deep inside we don’t see the difference. We live in the 12th floor of a sky rise building with a living room smaller than the porch we used to have at our parents’ house. Our parents did not throw away things like cardboard boxes, newspapers etc. because SOME DAY we are going to use it. We talked of this ‘day’ like it was Judgement Day, because we are not quite sure it will come, still we don’t want to take any chance. If we have space for it, why not, right? However the day we used that box seldom came. The box housed rodents, grew mold and did whatever it could because it was bored just sitting there. Finally when some festival came that called for some clearing out, the box received it’s salvation. They kept bills from the day our first diaper was bought, even clocks they received from housewarming that happened at least two decades ago. Our kitchens had steel and aluminum vessels handed down to our Moms from beyond generations. They were used to house smaller vessels and cobwebs. There were toolboxes, paint tubs, old paintbrushes and what not. Our childhood homes consisted of all these elements and it gave us that kick for that nostalgic memory.

When we flew away from that comfortable nest that lodged stuff majority of which falls under the ‘will-be-used’ category, we took with us that tendency. Compact houses we live today have no room for anything. We look longingly at glass show cases and bigger wardrobes but we can’t own them.  Our homes are cluttered with the cardboard box in which the TV came, the books our kids used in nursery, and old toothbrushes. If you survive a year in an apartment just by routinely cleaning your stuff but not clearing them, the junk that accumulates is mind blowing.

We don’t need the boxes. If we have an equipment to sell, we need its bill, not the box. We know how to use the mixer grinder we are not going to refer the user manual anymore. We can save the books of our children and some of their clothes too, but not all of it. There are broken crayons under our sofa seats. There are newspapers we don’t need anymore. There are huge piles of plastic covers we saved to throw garbage, but we can never have that much garbage ever. There are spoons in our kitchen drawers which will never be used and we know it. There are medicines in the cupboard we haven’t checked the expiry dates of in a long time. There are bed covers and towels that have served its time. There are bills of stuff which were sold off long ago. There are chargers and cables whose purpose we don’t know. There are toys that are waiting to be disposed.

Remember, we are not living in our parents’ ancestral home where everything has got a room of its own with attached bathroom. We are flat dwellers so we better act like it. Last week I gave away one huge bundle of toys and another bag of old clothes. You wouldn’t believe the space that has started to see the light of the day. When the space is smaller it shows when you declutter it, whereas in bigger homes it does not make much of a difference.

Let us take charge and clear our homes first, and clean them later.

 Who knows, maybe we will accommodate the glass showcase!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Politeness Pays.In Installments.

These days we come across a lot of people who got more than they could handle and spectacularly messed it up. The King of Good Times apparently couldn’t handle 9000 crores. Hrithik Roshan moves like a dream but a breakup was evidently beyond his grip. Fame and position are difficult to handle as they have a blinding effect. Thank God I don’t have to handle either :D

It is indeed a highly competitive world, and there is no place for politeness. People are stressed out all the time. You hear ‘Excuse Me please’, once in a while but you get ‘Hey! Move it!’ every now and then. When did we become so egoistic, rude and ill mannered? Are basic manners slowly becoming a luxury?

I grew up in a household where the majority of shouting was aimed at me (which was well deserved) but everyone else was treated with respect. Mom used to call rickshaw drivers ‘aniya’ which means younger brother, and sometimes she even went over the top when the said person was old enough to be her Dad. Still, end of day, all-Indians-are-my-brothers-and-sisters totally applied. 

Image Courtesy: Here
Nowadays, cuss words have become trendy, so is rude behavior. People who are superfluously loud are encouraged by the ones who are victims to them and don’t speak up. Sometimes a mere ‘WHAT?' that is loud enough can change them. One cannot survive with a Gandhian principle in this world, because silence and forgiveness are often used as stepping stones by 'smarter' people.

Recently I was at a dance event rehearsal for which my son was participating. As I waited outside the gates, a volunteer appeared. It was just a rehearsal, there were only a few parents waiting with me, and the volunteer was acting like she was handling the crowd of Filmfare Awards. Volunteers are supposed to handle crowds when they get uncontrollable. They are otherwise expected to be human. I repeat, they are expected to be human, nothing more. This lady started yelling at the top of her voice ‘once you have left your children with us, they are our responsibility, please leave the place’ and repeated that sentence on my face two times on top decibel. I found few kids playing outside the gates – probably those kids were not part of her responsibility. The way she said that – my eardrums partially damaged from her voice. It wasn't necessary. Why do volunteers and security people verbally manhandle people?

I have a voice and the choicest vocabulary to shut her up for good. I most honestly do. Unfortunately I do not unleash the demon in me for the most undeserving people like these. I am not programmed to lose my temper and yell at random people for no reason. I simply can’t. This does not mean I don’t want to. Honestly.

There are many people around, like me. We get angry, we are emotional, but we have evolved into a state in which the threshold that prevents us from getting bothered is high. We are the ones that stopped bothering about the ants under our feet. We are the ones who do not get provoked to say ‘you m*****f*****’ when a person overtakes us on the road. We are the ones who do not get into an argument when a person squeezes himself in front of us in a queue. We are the ones that say ‘It’s Okay’ if a person apologizes after crushing our feet with CAT shoes. We are the ones that forgive another child even if he hurt our own for some reason.

We speak up when it is necessary, not when there is an opportunity. We are the ones who know what dignified silence means. 

All the loud and short tempered people out there, do not take silence for granted from anyone, because if you do, some day you will meet the demon. It is not pretty. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

To kick or to kick-off

Yet another academic year has kicked off, bringing with it parents orientation sessions(YAWN), books, brown papers, name slips and what not! Well, covering books in brown paper is not a joke, my friend. At least not for me. Since my better half conveniently opts out of these activities citing inexperience, I become the undisputed owner of Project School Prep. This is one of those situations in life when you have no choice. There may have been eight books, and I took a solid no-break two hours to finish those. I was also standing the whole while. Imagine standing the whole duration of a movie. Even if feet hurt, at least in the end we are entertained. In my case, feet hurt, and that’s about it. It was a weekend activity, so I had a no-break sleep for four hours to replenish myself. However I have a pretty good handwriting, so once the name slips were stuck, they looked cute. Anyone may misinterpret those books to have been done by a book-covering-enthusiast. It is a fruit of my blood! MY BLOOD!

Kindergarten Phase two has officially started and I had been prepping my drama king of a son for that day. Luckily for me and my sanity, they did not shuffle the classes, hence only the new teacher had to be dealt with. As expected, the teacher realized the mischief quotient of my son on the very first day, as he apparently did what he does best- annoy her. So they are at loggerheads now and my headache for this year has also  kicked itself in.

THAT's ME !!! :D :D Image Courtesy: Here

On the school reopening day, we went a bit early  to help him get accustomed to the new classroom. All other parents also were present and the cacophony that rose from the room made us yell our throats out just to make small talk with other parents. I watched as all kids were seated, talking and laughing, but my son alone wouldn’t sit. He has to go from desk to desk, doing all types of antics, much to the amusement of his classmates. I noticed some ladies eyeing me sympathetically. I blame my husband for this. He was a well-known brat in his school back in our time, and decades later his teachers still remember that. Even though verbally I can safely transfer the blame and make the genes responsible for this mess, it gives only a temporary relief. Ideally before we get hitched to someone we should run a background check to the point where you know how mischievous the person was.

As I watched my son laughing and jumping across tables amidst all the kids that were obediently seated, he suddenly turned and lovingly blew me a kiss.

**Heart melts**

So, what was I saying?

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Weekend Musical

Music has a magical way to set the mood. Classy restaurants and local dance bars have customized playlists that play an important part in setting their respective ambience. Why this revelation today? Yes, yesterday being the weekend, my mood was kind of SET by music, and not in a good way.

On Friday evening, we had this horrible experience of driving into a popular mall, doing rounds in the parking lot, searching for a spot. Had this been a temple, at least we would have been blessed by the Indian Gods. Finally we gave up and took the exit. The husband who was driving got so pissed that even playing ‘I like to move it move it’ did not cheer him up. Trust me to make situations worse. Sometimes keeping quiet helps, you know. The next morning, he woke us up to go to the same mall. He is an early bird by birth, and we are early birds by fate. This time I was behind the wheel. Saturday morning, so roads were conveniently empty.

The climate was pleasant, kiddo in a great mood and everything looked just right to go to the mall and indulge. Me behind the wheels meant that he took charge of the songs that played in the car. It started with his routine melancholy songs. One, two songs later, he continued to ignore the kiddo’s request for Lungi Dance. Being a novice at driving (for the past two years) the right to request a song is still denied to me - I am supposed to FOCUS (as if I know how to do that). Fifteen minutes down, the mood inside the car changed from mildly- sad to drowning-in-sorrow. My kid was lost in a philosophical thinker expression and I was about to shed tears. The spouse was seen laid back with the front passenger seat tilted backwards, tapping his fingers by the window and enjoying every bit of the ride. I was still trying to stay sane, but the feeling of grief had struck me real hard.

Why would anyone ruin a weekend on purpose? I mean, choice of music is absolutely personal, but I do not want it to be the reason generally happy-go-lucky people becoming suicidal. I mean who listens to a whole list of grief inducing songs in a row? There was growing intolerance in the car. 
Finally I spoke. ‘What the hell happened to you?’ 
He reduced the volume, sat up, and pretending to be completely oblivious to the situation asked, ‘WHAT?’

‘What kind of horrible, sadistic playlist is this?’ I yelled. 

‘Am I not allowed to listen to music of my choice anymore? GOD!’

‘This is not a choice! It is a punishment! What did I even do to you?’

‘What did I do to you when you play I like to move it move it and Hookah Bar and Lungi Dance?’

‘What is WRONG with Lungi Dance?’

*long silence* *His music was an apt background score for the argument that was happening’

I took that comment about Lungi Dance rather personally though. The argument was highly amusing to the one who was watching from his baby seat at the back. Kids get amused for no reason.

At least his mood got straightened out. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The February that was..

February had been cool climate wise, but logic took a back seat. Our annual office party was held outdoors, at a hotel by the beach. To be honest, I am not a fan of office parties. We have weekends to take a break from all those people we see every day, right? Oh well. Events were organized at least two weeks in advance, thus giving the ladies ample time to think things through. As the event drew closer, my interest to show up at this party hit rock bottom.
Even as I opened my wardrobe two hours after we were supposed to be at the venue, I did not search for anything new or party type. I wore something mediocre and paired it with pointed heels to add a punch. I should have thought this through. Colleagues who don’t give a damn during daytime wouldn’t care about me- forget my shoes at an evening party.

 To my surprise people seemed to be having a real good time with some spectacular events happening on the stage. I made myself comfortable in a place where I could see the people who usually sends emails with death threats as attachments during daytime. Out of the blue, they called all ladies near the stage area for a promotional Zumba. As I started walking, I realized that I have achieved new levels of dumbness. I wore pointed heels to an outdoor lawn party. With every step I dug into the soil with the heels and pulled it out for the next. I realized I was walking like a damn duck. Finally I made it to the stage and took the heels off when the Zumba started. However it was impossible even after to be seated and I had to walk around several times each time digging holes and pulling back. Basically I ploughed the entire party lawn thanks to sartorial sense combined with intelligence.

February had more in store. My housemaid left to India in early Jan and she gave me a temporary replacement in her absence. Miss Temporary had a temper and zero regard for time. Also Miss Temporary behaved like I stole from her ancestral property. 
Image Courtesy: Here
So by end of January, realizing that some people are alive only because murder is illegal, I broke up with her unceremoniously over SMS. Instead I found another person who came all of February three times a week and did a good job without talking too much. However on the 29th, he told me that his earlier boss wanted him back. Basically he dumped me. However he was polite enough to console me and said that he will check whether he can find someone who can help. I wiped my face and agreed between sobs.

The first of March had been an extremely busy day at work but I admit I was not a productive employee. I had just been dumped the previous day and I couldn’t begin to contemplate how the days ahead would be. Cleaning the house! The very thought of doing that by myself made be exhausted. The whole day went by and there was no progress in the maid hunting front. On the second of March post lunch, my phone rang. It was my old housemaid who had returned from India! She is back!

My joy knew no bounds. I have not been so happy in years.  However I suppressed my happiness and politely welcomed her back, but I was actually jumping around in joy. March has just begun. It has started on a good note.

I hope there will be no unpaid ploughing or break ups this month.