Grandmothers

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I am awfully behind schedule, it was a hectic weekend. We were planning to move houses, and then did not.

I wanted to write an elaborate post on grandmothers, but instead decided to share my girl Samyuktha Hariharan Arjun’s status here, because I could never write something that heartfelt or poignant:

“I realised today how difficult it actually is going to work leaving my baby girl at home, especially when she wakes up and gives me the sweetest of smiles.. I cry almost every morning when I leave to work , even though I just started out with a half day’s work.. And I really can’t do all this without complete support from my Mum.. she really is the best.. I just wanted to dedicate this status to all the moms out there. The working moms who have no choice but to work, leaving their kids at home, to give them a better life, the moms who work because they love their job too and most importantly to the stay-at-home mums who sacrifice their career just for their baby.. but I personally feel that the biggest sacrifice of them all is made by the grand mommies who take such good care of the kids when we r away .. We are nothing without them.. thanks to them for being the best support system for us, for loving our babies as much as we do, for their extreme patience, and for guiding us through this beautiful journey of motherhood.. we love you 😊”

To all grand mommies- thank you. We can never have it all- but you help us try. Thank you for standing by us through this phase as well, just like you have stood by us through our lives.

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Thambi

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Thambi is ‘Little Brother’ in Tamil. The other man in my life.  My parents prepped me for him by getting me all excited saying ‘Thambi papa, Thambi papa’ and the name stuck. I do not know if it embarrasses him when I yell ‘Thambi!!’ across the mall- if it did, he has never mentioned it.

I am trying not to make this a sentimental post, but it looks like the earth is tipping south, the words are flowing into the sentiment sea, and I am unable to do anything about it.

Since dad, this little one (not so little now) has been the man of the family. He was 13 then. Now he shares me with N; he gracefully stepped aside to let N take his place beside me. During those initial days when I was dizzy with all the ‘New bride’ attention, I wonder how he coped with the vacuum. Or maybe I give myself too much credit 🙂

The other day, S’s (Thambi’s best friend) sister got married. We were at the wedding and immediately after the Thaali-kattu (akin to exchange of the rings) S ran into the men’s room, and my brother followed. Apparently S had broken down and couldn’t control his tears.

“Did you cry at my wedding?!!” I demanded.

“Ummm..A little” came the sheepish reply.

“But I did not see you!”

“Because you were busy!”

“Shut up! Don’t lie!”

“What nonsense. Why must I lie?”

“Because that is what you do!”

“Oh please. Get a life!”

“You get a life!”

“…….”

Did I say sea of sentiment? Apologies. That was the battlefield.

😛

 

Moms

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Mothers play such a pivotal role in our lives that we take them for granted so often. I would have vowed to myself a hundred times that I was not going to do a certain something like my mother, or behave in  a certain way like her, and now, I find myself mimicking her dialogues and actions. So many things she says and does make sense, and I hate to admit that I was wrong all these days.

Another aspect about mothers got me thinking the other day. When N is at his place, he gets pampered (like every kid in his or her own place, when he or she comes visiting) He says, “Ma, I want such and such and such” and it is done. Were we at home, N might not even demand as much, and if he does and should I be tired, I might make a face and get away without giving him what he wanted. And we have all these elaborate arguments about why men seem to love their mothers more than their wives! Ladies, wake up!

Similarly, few other families just wouldn’t understand why the daughters-in-law keep giving excuses to run away to their mothers’ houses. Because no matter who she is, or how old she gets, she will always be the baby of the house. She might need to do the dishes, cook and clean at her own place, but her mother might not let her lift a finger when she comes visiting.

The mother-daughter equation keeps changing, and like everybody says, one will never get it until she becomes a mother herself.

Harley Davidson

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When the better half is an automobile enthusiast, you have two choices. You could either try to read up, get knowledgeable and have intelligent conversations with him on the subject, or give up and nod yourself to sleep every time he launches into a monologue about the latest bat-mobile-like bikes in the market or why we must definitely purchase a fully automatic car. I have embraced the latter. It saves me trouble and energy, and the man comes off looking wiser and smarter, which is what men want to appear like anyway.

But my tryst with uncomfortable looking two-wheelers is an ongoing saga. Either I am dragged to showrooms to gawk at ridiculously priced vehicles that we cannot afford, or made to stand and watch, gnawing my nails, as N sweet talks showrooms into letting him test drive these automobiles and ‘vroom vroom’ 200 meters on a road teeming with traffic before taking a U. So now, yours truly knows a Harley Davidson from an Indian from a Royal Enfield. She used to refer to all the above as ‘Oh  look at that hot red bike! Oh look at that cool black bike!’ previously, so this is significant improvement in a year.

The other day we got an invite to the unveiling of the latest Harley Davidson at the local showroom. N pointedly rode past the showroom in our ordinary looking Honda Trigger and parked it a hundred meters away, behind a tree. ‘Let us walk’ he coughed, and kept turning back to make sure our faithful bike was well hidden. The showroom was full of tattooed men and women, with too much mascara and too many piercings. The three bikes to be unveiled were covered and the showroom owners waited for the two families that were to take possession of the two new bikes to arrive. N was muttering bike stats under his breath and was looking enraptured. Finally after much fanfare the bikes were unveiled and everybody walked around, touching the vehicles and going ‘oooh ahhh’ over them.

I smiled at the nice store manager who gave me some attention and I managed to have a normal conversation with him. ‘So what is the on road price of these bikes? 16 lakhs, okay.’ I gave him a watery smile and slunk away.

I was too dazed to talk, and N was looking dejected and sad. That was one quiet Sunday.

I nudge N now to ask which Harley Davidson model that bike was.

‘Which bike?’

‘Arre that 16 lakh wala bike’

‘Hello! That was a Triumph not a Harely!’ N cannot keep the sarcasm, disbelief and shock out of his voice.

I don’t think I will get this- EVER. I am not even going to try.

Dreams

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I always said the wrong things to nice boys who showed any remote interest in me and was saved from the not-very-nice boys only by sheer luck and quick thinking. My personality check-list of the man of my dreams kept changing with age and maturity. From ‘Oh SO HOT’ to ‘If you can’t earn it, or inherit it, marry it!’ to ‘We must discuss philosophy through the night’ it finally settled on ‘A good heart that would hurt me never, because everything else is transient’.

Everything, they say, begins with a dream

Chennai

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This post is as much about Chennai as it is about leaving your roots and following your spouse to a different city, embracing a different culture and lifestyle.

It is eight months since I left Chennai, and I miss it terribly. You develop bonds with a city you have lived all your life in, and leaving it made me feel uprooted and aimless. Society gives you a sense of belonging and ownership- everything from the dialect, the slangs, the movies, music, language and traditions envelop you and it is a combination of all these that make home feel like ‘home’. All my life has been Chennai, its humid heat, Besant nagar beach and Rajanikanth. Every single person I am close to resides here. This city has seen me blaze through its streets ever since I owned my first two-wheeler, and these are roads I know like the back of my hand.

In contrast, I am in a land now where I struggle to convey instructions to my maid. The angst I face not being able to communicate the simplest of things is a pain I seem unable to understand- this is new to me. I long to shop with my girls. I long to gossip and giggle with them. I detest having to stop my motorcycle every fifty metres and check google maps to look for my destination. I cannot stand the water troubles that bring Hyderabad to a stand-still every summer- hoarding water haunts my sleep- I wake up with nightmares of running out of our supply of water.

But much as I miss Chennai, I would rather stay in Hyderabad with N, with the dry heat, the bad biryani, the unbearably spicy food, the mad traffic and the telugu that I still struggle to make sense of.

Because he makes it worth it.

Advantages

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It is a year since we got married. Although I am not an expert on the subject, after much deliberation, I have decided to write about being married (and to include some of our travel tales as well- that qualifies too, doesn’t it?!) Starting with A for Advantages

There was an age when I did not want to get married- I am certain most girls go through that phase when (a) They are nagged by nasty boys who pull their pig tails and give them a hard time when they are really young (b) They get their hearts broken (c) They decide that no man can be as awesome as their dad

I was having the most amazing time of my life when I decided to get married- I was travelling a LOT, making good money, and working a job that I truly enjoyed. I was unsure if I was throwing it all away when I agreed to get  (and let my mother look for a suitable boy settling for an arranged) marriage.

Now however, I can count the advantages of being married off my fingers, like

  1. Being able to do every single thing that my mother disapproved of, her standard statement being, ‘Not under my roof- you can do what ever you want when you get married’. Don’t get me wrong, this list included things such as getting a tattoo, breaking curfew deadlines, waking up late and wanting a dog for a pet
  2. Doing things like the monthly exfoliation routine not because I need to, but because I want to
  3. Immunity from unwarranted attention because of my metti! Mettis FTW! (Mettis are silver rings that married women wear on their toes. They are not mandatory, but along with the sindoor- or vermillion that women wear on their forehead, they are the most obvious signs of being married)
  4. Being treated like an adult. After 27 years!

But though it is true that I rule my little home, I miss being under the wings of my mommy hen. I miss not having to make decisions, not having to worry about bills and rent, not having to decide what to cook for tomorrow’s lunch or if we need to buy a car or bonds. Sigh.