Friday, February 27, 2015

Grandmas are special

A few days back I was telling the twins about my grandmoms. That brought on a wave of nostalgia. We had two of them, amma my dad's mother and chachi his aunt, who was just chachi to the whole world. They were inseparable yet squabbled all the time. My dad teasingly christened them Gulabo-Sitabo.

We had the best of both worlds - a strict mom who disciplined us all the time and the two doting grandmoms who more than balanced her out. Though it's over a decade since they left us, somedays seemingly inconsequential occurrences bring their memories flooding back.

When I'm pushing the kids to have their milk I think of amma who was hopelessly fond of it. Whether she was ill or tired or not hungry at all - offer her a bowl of milk and she wouldn't say no. It stood her in good stead when well into her 80s, she had a fall and even the doctor couldn't believe that she had come away without broken bones.

She was a snorer - a loud and consistent one. She would be snoring loud and clear, yet if one of us asked 'Amma are you asleep?' she'd wake up with a start, "Of course not," she would say indignantly. That turned into such a family joke.

She spoke chaste Awadhi (that's a Hindi dialect), one of the sweetest tongues to me. And whatever she said was peppered with the richest collection of age old proverbs and sayings. She had the perfect one for every situation.

While amma was the religious one doing puja twice a day, Chachi was a young girl trapped in an old woman's body. The high point of her routine was TV time. She had a fixed corner which she'd take right from the time transmission started. Those were the pre cable days yet she'd watch everything the television dished out - from programmes on agriculture and industry to the single weekly Bollywood film. She loved Bollywood.

She was the one who mended our clothes when the seams came off. She was the one who trawled markets looking for the perfect colour of yarn then figure out the 'latest designs' and knit sweaters for us even while pretending to complain about 'these new fashions'. She would much rather chat up our friends than women her own age.

She'd haggle shamelessly with the man who came around to buy off old newspapers. Whatever she made by fleecing off the poor man came to us. Back when pocketmoney was unheard of, those few rupees were quite a treasure. She had the best stories to tell. A bit of mythology and a bit of legend with enough twists and turns and drama to satisfy the most demanding listener.

And she loved my sister - beyond the rest of us. Of course she'd never ever admit it even while blatantly favouring her. My sister was a complete potatorian, she loved potatoes to the exclusion of most other vegetables. Chachi would avoid mom's eagle eye and dish up her favourite for her while the rest of us ploughed through the greens. If mum asked my sister to cook something, there was Chachi quietly and efficiently doing it for her and handing her the tray to go out and take the credit.

Of course it was completely another matter that our mum was a regular Hercule Poirot. She just knew everything. A royal battle would ensue but it didn't stop her from doing it again.

How I miss them. With due apologies to my kids' grandmoms, they just don't make them like the old ones these days.

Come now, it's your turn. What's your favourite grandmom story?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter G. Do drop by to see other G posts.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Friends and Fitness

These past two weeks have been crazy with even crazier busier weekends. Just as I was thinking I'd sleep in over the weekend I got a call from one of my gym buddies. She has recently got herself a Zumba license. Now where does a newly minted instructor look for students to practice on? Of course right at her exercise buddies. That was how I found myself all excited and awake at the ungodly hour of 6 am on a weekend morning.

What??? 6 am IS ungodly for a weekend.

A little later, there I was with a bunch of friends and the brand new instructor. She was quite a pro and no I'm not saying that because she's a friend. The best part - her mom came along to cheer her and shook a leg with the rest of us. And, just as moms are wont to do, she brought along a breakfast treat for all of us - tea, cookies and the freshest, softest, most delicious chutney sandwiches ever. 

Now this is a session I like!

Friends and fitness do make for great companions. Not for nothing are group fitness sessions so much fun. There are days when my freelancing work piles up or when the housework can no longer be ignored or I have a meeting at the kids' school or simply when the laziness monster comes visiting - those are the times when exercise seems like a chore but the lure of a few good laughs with friends pulls me to the gym.

If you find exercising a bore too, look out for a group or enlist a buddy. They are seriously useful when you need that well-aimed kick in your backside to get going.

Linking to Mel's # Microblog Mondays.

Also, linking to ABC Wednesday where I'm squeezing in the F for 'Friends and Fitness' even as G breathes down my neck.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The rendezvous

8pm. ‘They're late’, thought she as she laid the table. Impatiently she glanced at the clock. ‘I’ll be late... again’. She hated to be late. But then, a smile lit her face as she thought about her nightly tryst with her … ‘friend’ well yes, friend, love, companion. She relived that heady feeling; that touch of the evening breeze on her skin - cool and refreshing in the summer, arctic crisp in the winter; the intoxicating scent of summer tube roses that kept them company or the Chrysanthemums that filled the winter nights with their fragrance. And there was music, ah yes, the music had to be just right.

She smiled to herself then shook her head to dispel the image – later, she told herself firmly, it’ll have to wait. Only after dinner could she give in to her passion. First, she was a mum, a wife.

As if on cue, the kids rushed in.

‘Hurry hurry’, said she. ‘Wash and change. Dinner’s at the table’. Half an hour later as the Husband settled down to the day’s news before the telly, she tucked the kids in and kissed them good night.

Free at last, she walked out of her apartment, out in the open air for her nightly rendezvous - that one hour of pure, selfish happiness – hers and hers alone – with her love, her friend. She sniffed the fresh air with pleasured anticipation then reached for her iPod. Her friend was before her, waiting. ‘I’ve come,’ said she breathlessly, as the road stretched ahead – silent, inviting, encouraging.

She ran then, the pounding of her feet matched by the hammering of her heart, drowning herself in the pure pleasure of the adrenalin rush of her run, forgetting everything else - just she and the road, her love for all seasons.

So do you have a secret hobby too? Or maybe not a secret, but something special that you do ONLY for yourself? To unwind, to have fun - just fun? Do share here.

Linking to Blog-A-Rhythm's Wordy Wednesday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Where did my babies go?

Warm cuddly nights

A tiny hand wrapped around my finger
Baby hands reaching out for me
A spark of recognition in a bright pair of eyes
A toothless smile
Uncertain feet staggering around
A lisped out 'mama'
A tight hug after the first day at school
An invisible hurt that needed a caress

The best of time.

Then they grew up and all of that seemed a dream. 

'I can make my own ponytail,' she insists.
'No hugs at the bus stop, please mama,' says he.
'You don't need to watch us while we play,' they roll their eyes!
No longer do they follow me around. 
No longer am I needed all the while.

Where did my 'babies' go?

And then I see..

A half tucked in t-shirt needing attention.
'Combed' hair that refuses to sit.
A small hand tightening in mine as a dog strays too close
The call of 'Come na ma' as they dance to crazy music
A 'You have to read this one, mama.'
A 'just like that' hug when I least expect it

That's when I find them again.

Yes they'll need me - 
For cheering at the football match
For clapping at their graduation
For blowing up when they stay out late
For celebrating their first jobs
For crying at their weddings
For pampering their children
For that hug they'll want but might not ask for

Yes they'll need me always
and they'll remain ... my babies.


Sending out warm wishes to everyone on Valentine's Day. Hope you have a warm and wonderful time with your loved ones.


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