Life, Mundane musings

Dare to Dream! (Part 2)

So Aunty called and he recognized her, and thus began their friendship. They talked often and Aunty tried to attend all his concerts because that’s the only way they could see each other. He used to send VIP passes to her and couple of times they rode to the concert venue together. He also introduced Aunty to his close friends including a famous poet who often accompanied him to the concerts. Since he had separated from his wife and Aunty was in the middle of a divorce herself their meetings continued to fuel the fire in their hearts.

Once Aunty was visiting Mumbai for a family function and hoped to meet the singer. Since he was busy and Aunty had a short trip he invited Aunty to a launch party he had to attend. Aunty excused herself from the family function and went to see him with Tinki in tow in total filmy style. He spent lot of time with Aunty and Tinki despite being chased by a number of people. Even with the infrequent calls and brief rendezvous they had a chemistry that showed, and his attention at the launch party further made his interest in her very obvious to all present.

Unfortunately in 2007 the singer fell sick and had to be hospitalized. His wife came back to take care of him. She must have heard or sensed something as Aunty got to learn by the haughty looks the singer’s wife gave her at concerts thereafter. Once she even spoke rudely to Aunty when she had called for the singer and told her not to call again.

The gentle singer seemingly bowed down under his wife’s wishes and distanced himself from Aunty. He changed his phone number and didn’t meet her eye at concerts. Aunty had to call his poet friend (who remembered her of course, making Aunty believe that she wasn’t imagining things) to get hold of the new mobile number. The wife had tried to close all channels of communication but who can tame another person’s heart! His songs kept telling a different story, which gave Aunty hope and strength even while they were not in touch.

The singer held a concert in Aunty’s city, which is a smallish place and was probably holding his concert for the very first time. They were not talking those days and for some reason Aunty didn’t get to know about the event through other channels and missed it. She regretted it deeply when the singer passed away couple of weeks later, his concert at Aunty’s city being his last ever!

4 years ago when I woke up to the news of his passing I immediately thought about Aunty and had the urge to call and pay my condolences. I didn’t know in what emotional state she’d be. Even though they did not have a formal relationship, he was an integral part of her long before they met. And after her divorce she didn’t even feel guilty about her feelings for him, and encouragement from him only made them deeper and stronger.

Tum Hamare Nahin To Kya Gum Hai
Hum Tumhare To Hain Yeh Kya Kum Hai

Kuch rishton ki paribhasha nahi hoti. As the song goes “Pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do…”

-A

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Life, Mundane musings

Dare to Dream! (Part 1)

Have you ever had a crush on a celebrity? Like a really huge crush on a big time celebrity? What will you say if you come face to face with them? How will you feel if this happens not once but more than a few times? Have you ever wondered what will happen if the celebrity shows a keen interest in you too, singling you out from millions of fans?

Impossible as this may sound, I have had the opportunity to see one such crazy dream come true almost effortlessly. And this post is about how love finds a way even in most unexpected ways, long after you have given hope of finding it.

I had a great friend at school, let’s call her Tinki. Tinki’s mom was very unconventional – she was fun, friendly, very understanding of our ‘crushes’ and mood swings and frankly talked about a variety of topics that other parents usually avoid. In short she was nothing like the other moms. We girls flocked around at Tinki’s home and loved to chat with aunty who always listened to our heartaches and sometimes offered us advice. 

Aunty was extremely fond of a ghazal singer and would listen to his songs all day every day. Maybe because Aunty was unhappy in her marriage or maybe because she did resonate with the singer’s compositions, she felt a deep connection with him. As we talked about cute guys in  school and our crushes Aunty would hum the songs from her favorite singer and joke about having a crush herself. 

After school Tinki and I went to college in different cities. As luck would have it, during a college function I learned that this particular singer is an alumni from my college itself and sometimes visited a close friend who lived in the university campus. The local photo studios proudly displayed pictures of him at the university concerts that he often participated in. Excitedly I shared this with Aunty when I met her during my next visit home. 

By this time Aunty had already had the opportunity to meet him when she went to attend one of his concerts. Though the event got cancelled because of rain, it proved as a blessing in disguise . Heartbroken at not being able to see him on stage Aunty and a bunch of Tinki’s friends had decided to hang out at the hotel the singer was staying, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. When the event management guys questioned Aunty had lied that she’s a relative and could get ahead of the queue of waiting fans. Desperate to see her long time crush and impatient with the knowledge that he’s just across the door Aunty had barged into the room where he was meeting local artists. She managed to have a brief conversation and was super duper happy. 

With her bold entry and candid conversation Aunty felt she had left an impression on the great ghazal maestro, stating his next music video proof enough. Infact through their decade long ‘friendship’ she saw glimpse of their story in his ghazals. Now who knows what had really inspired that certain music video and those numerous songs, for matters of the heat are often complex and who am I to question love’s mysterious ways!

“Bring me his phone number or address na Aparna. Ask your local friend, she may know where his friend lives. It’s such a small town afterall. Won’t you do this for your aunty.” She urged with good humor, and I complied.

A phone call to my local friend was enough to have her ride her scooty and locate the singer’s friend’s home. It wasn’t tough for he lived in the university campus as did my friend. Even if it was, my sweet friend never mentioned. That tiny paper containing his Mumbai address and his office phone numbers changed the course of her life, or so Aunty says.

Aisi Aankhen Nahin Dekhi

Aisa Kajal Nahin Dekha 

Aisa Chehra Nahin Dekha 

Aisa Dilbar Nahin Dekha 

Uske Kangan Ka Khanakna 

Jaise Bulbul Ka Chehakna 

Uske Pazeb Ki Cham Cham 

Jaise Barsaat Ka Mausam

A

Life, Motherhood, Parenting

Are You a Good Mom?

  

I am the most perfect mom there ever was… Said no mom ever!!

In fact there are millions of us asking the same question to ourselves each day, day after day… Am I doing it right? Am I a good mom?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a working mother or stay at home mom (SAHM), whether you have one child or four, whether you breast fed till 2 years or formula fed since day 1, whether you have a brigade of helpers or a one woman army, stay nuclear or in a joint family. This question plagues each one of us.

I feel our generation is stuck in a weird spot… we are not as selflessly devoted as our mothers have been and we can’t be too detached as well. We are ambitious, we want career, we want our own space, we value ourselves way more than our mothers did, we want an identity, we want to spend time with our friends, party late nights and go on fancy vacations…. yet we want to be the mom whose child points to all body parts and acts on rhymes by age 1, knows all alphabets and numbers by 18 months, recites poems and gayatri mantra by age 2, who makes beautiful crafts with you, fares well in school show and tell, builds smart models with his legos, greets all elders politely, eats by himself, oh! and of course speaks impeccable English too!

Managing all this within 24 hours of a day is not practically possible and so we constantly guilt trip ourselves for a variety of things. Several research experiments over the years have also proved that women are hard wired to feel more guilty than men…. its in our genes to care for others around us or maybe society has planted these seeds too deep in our psyche. So, its natural for mothers to keep winding themselves up on whether or not they are doing enough while fathers blissfully go about their business.

Since I have had VMJ I pay more attention to different parenting styles, approaches and theories of parents around me. And I have realized that most mothers are good mothers, despite their shortcomings, busy schedules, health issues, other constraints or despite their unmotherly personality.

I am not motherhood police, but for the sake of simplicity I feel if you are doing the basics, you qualify to be a good mother:

  1. Being there for your children and providing emotional support: Children thrive on love and attention. If your children get lot of cuddles and come to you for comfort when they scrape their knees or are having issues at school, you are on the right track.
  2. Taking care of their health and well being: If you care to keep your children healthy and give priority to their hunger and sleep over your own you are doing a great job.
  3. Investing in their future: If you worry about your children’s future from time to time and invest in making it better by way of giving them good education, values, good health, you are a brilliant mom.
  4. Spending time with them: If you spend time with them doing activities that make your children happy and loved, you are an amazing mom.
  5. Playing the bad cop from time to time: If you turn those pretty please requests down tactfully sometimes and refrain from buying everything your children ask for, if you maintain you are the parent and not give in to unreasonable demands… even though it makes your child hate you for a minute… trust me it means you are a brilliant mom.

Stop bashing yourself, ignore what others say or do, focus on building the loving bond with your child and enjoy motherhood. You are a great mom!!

Love,

-A

Life, Parenting

Mumma, I want to be 20 years old!

Today as I picked up my 3 year old from school, she asked the question she asks me everyday “What did you bring today Mumma?”. She was happy to see her blueberries and apple and as she started munching she said, “Mumma, I will eat apple and I will grow grow grow and become 20 years old.”  

Feeling amused I asked “Why do you want to be 20 year old?”

“Because I need to.” Pat came the reply.

“And what will you do when you are 20 years old?”

“Um… I will go to 20 year old’s pre-school.”

“20 year olds don’t go to pre-school, they go to college.”

“But I don’t want to go to college.”

As she started fretting and whining about not going to college, my thoughts drifted away 17 years from now. She will be 20 years old… staying away in a hostel… possibly rebellious. How will I let go of my little doll? How I will miss her dancing around the house all day. How will I sleep with her far away? How will I live without my daily dose of her hugs and kisses? I felt my throat choke and my vision getting blurred, until she pulled me back to reality.

“Mumma, but I don’t want to go to college.”

“Sweetie, all 20 year olds have to go to college. Or you can go to office, like Papa.”

That thought seemed to go down well with her because then came the excited “Yes, I want to go to office. I will go to Papa’s office.”

“You can’t go to Papa’s office, you will go to your own office.” 

“But why?” (in the same tone as George in Peppa Pig!)

“Because everyone goes to their own office.”

“Mumma then I will not be 20 years, I will stay 3 years old” said my grumpy little princess with a huge pout.

Yes my darling, stay 3 years old for a while, I thought with a smile.

🙂

Life, Mundane musings, Parenting

The Last Time

Sometimes you come across literary gems that you want to preserve somewhere so you never lose them. Since my school days I had a pretty diary where in I jotted down interesting poems or lines from a novel or magazine. It used to be my most treasured possession… until internet came along. With internet and laptops the old diary and pen lost its utility… who wants to make the effort of carrying the diary everywhere and noting down precious snippets when you have a handy tool to save it all in seconds? If only the laptop had the charm and longing a handwritten diary holds!!

However, there’s one thing that for sure makes technology far superior than the old world pen and paper… the way it enables easy sharing with people far and wide. 

There is a lovely piece I read on an online forum a few days ago. The words, though partly forgotten, lingered in my memory for days until I searched them again to safely preserve them for future. They seem so precious that I want to read them every now and then… and make my husband read them too! Hehe… Here it is… hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. Its not originally written by me and neither do I know who the rightful author is, but that shouldn’t stop me from sharing it with you –

“From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same
You might long for the person you were before
When you had freedom and time
And nothing in particular to worry about
You will know tiredness like you never knew it before
And days will run into days that are exactly the same
Full of feedings and burping
Nappy changes and crying
Whining and fighting
Naps or a lack of naps
It might seem like a never-ending cycle

But don’t forget….
There is a last time for everything
There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child
One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down
And never pick them up that way again
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone
They will hold your hand to cross the road
Then never reach for it again
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this
One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus” and do all the actions
Then never sing them that song again
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times. And even then, it will take you a while to realise.

So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.”

Life, Mundane musings

Learn Something From Everyone

Each individual is unique and gifted in their own way. If you look close enough you will find things worth learning even from the people you dislike most or from people you think are far less smart than you.

With my husband forgetting his tupperware tiffins at office all the time I am constantly buying new. Recently I met an Aunty who lives a few blocks from our apartment building who works as a consultant with Tupperware. The first time I met her, honestly, I felt slight pity on her. She and her husband would be almost 60-65 year old and live in a good neighbourhood in a small 2 BHK. The living room is like an ordinary middle class living room, with 2 huge pictures that stand out – wedding pictures of 2 beautiful couples. I thought these must be her son or daughter’s pictures and that they must be living in other city or country and with her husband being retired she has to work with Tupperware to make some money. The next time I visited, I asked her if the pictures are of her sons or daughters and she proudly told me they are both her daughters. I don’t know why but the pride on her face and in her voice when she told me they are her daughters’ pics made me think a little better of her.

One time when she didn’t have an item that I wanted she offered to drop it to my home in a couple of day’s time. There is a big temple near my apartment building and she said she comes there very often so it would not be a problem for her. One day I received a Whatsapp message from her asking if I’ll be home that day. I was impressed… the simple lady I was feeling sorry for is not doing too badly with technology. She came around noon and as I offered her tea and biscuits she refused saying she hasn’t done her pooja so cannot eat anything. Yet, she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave.

She told me she walked down from her building to mine and this would mean she could skip her evening walk today if she wanted to. She asked if I am working somewhere without sounding the least bit intrusive. By the time she left it was almost time for me to go and pick up my daughter. I usually take an auto for both ways since I don’t drive but that day inspired by Aunty I thought I’ll walk. And I continued doing that till the winter session ended, all thanks to an old lady!

Having known each other for some time, we talked more with each visit and I got to know that she’s also a Reiki practitioner. She said she can teach it to me and my friends if I am interested. She then went on telling stories about how she helped her daughters do better at school and work by doing Reiki for them. I noticed the pride and glow on her face when she was talking about her skill. She even offered to do it for me for free…. I mean come on, I had only met her a few times that too as a customer and this simple woman who seemed so ordinary on face and is so talented and enterprising under her humble demeanour was willing to offer her services for nothing in return. I was touched, a little by her generosity and more by the way she’s living her life. When she offered I told her I am not keen on joining Tupperware because I feel it is a lot of effort for a little money and she agreed with me, adding that she was only doing it because this keeps her socially active and she gets to meet lot of nice people through this.

And there I was, so bored of my life as a SAHM and yet not willing to trade it for anything. Comparing my situation with Aunty I felt it was not too different from mine at least on weekdays. We both stay home and we both have limited social circle and nonexistent social life. What is different however is that she has made a great effort in keeping pace with society – be it with respect to technology or going a little out of her way to meet new people or to keeping herself busy constructively and making herself feel useful again. It was something I must learn from her. When someone from an older generation can be so enterprising why couldn’t I? When someone who on face value is much less educated and smart than I am, can make her life more exciting and find newer avenues to explore why should I feel sorry for sacrificing my career? She gave me a lot of food for thought and helped me bring some positive changes in my attitude and life.

I hope we all keep our eyes open for such positive people around us and learn whatever we can from them. It will only make our life more enriching. 

 -A