Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Keep Your Mouth Closed Gift Horse!

I turned 48 yesterday. By doing that, I outlived myself by eight years

I was 16 when I first understood that my illness could rob me of happiness for the rest of my life. Until then, it was something I dealt with bravely every time I encountered it, without giving it any more importance than a short-term obstacle. It is hard to articulate how sad I felt the moment I realized its true power over my life. And what brought this realization was not the disease itself, but the medication I had to take to survive it. Those were not the days of Google, but being the daughter of doctor teachers, I had enough reading resources to figure out that the steroids I had been put on will soon rob me of my looks and youth I took for granted (as they surely did).

But that was not all. Somewhere around then, I got fixated on the idea that I would live to be at most 40. I don’t recall where it came from and why it seemed so plausible, but 40 was the magic number. So here I was, a 16-year old girl, sure she would die at 40. Not hard to understand why this young girl would hang on to every bit of joy she could gather, however socially unacceptable its source.

Then one day 40 arrived, and I was very much alive. That girl was wrong, but then again…

I first began to breathe freely at 40. It's a fact that I haven’t had a life threatening asthmatic attack since I turned 40. And because I could breathe freely, I started considering my body my ally for the first time and began to care for it. At 40, I started dancing for the first time and teaching others to dance. It was at 40 that I made a huge leap in my career (accidentally). I also decided to be a mother again at 40. It was indeed a magical age, almost as if at 40, I transformed into another person.

So here I am, eight years past that given 40. Now I take every day as a gift, and like any smart person, I never look this gift horse in its mouth. I take what comes my way with gratitude. I cry a lot, I laugh a lot. I am a good girl when it makes sense to me, and I am very bad when I feel like. I thumb my nose at silly rules. I flow with the flow without caring where it takes me. I don’t question why I feel instant connection with some people- I accept them into my life with wonder. I wake up with excitement every morning for another lovely pointless day. I do not know the answers to so many questions, and that’s OK for me. I am done being a seeker- let the effing answers seek my questions for a change. I love taking care of others but I am no saint. I am selfish, irresponsible, prodigal and full of myself. 

But I am alive, and Goddammit, I am 48! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Problem is...

Problem is...
I know everything.

I know why I run
And why it's not a good idea in the long run.

I know why I want to see my world in soft focus
And how that does nothing to blunt its sharp edges.

I know why I break rules all the time
And how it will break someone's heart one day.

I know why I ask too much of good things
And how that is not such a good thing.

I know why I want to be different
And how that makes me just the same as everyone else.

I know why I dream of prowling lions
And the secrets my mind wants to tell me timidly.

I know why I feel lost sometimes
And how losing myself in others is not going to help me find myself.

I know what scares the shit out of me
And how laughing in the face of terror doesn't make me any less a coward.

I know I know I know it all...
And that's the biggest problem of them all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Touched, Untouched

What is this thing they call love?
This magical ever-lasting selfless condition?
I am untouched by it...
A love virgin
An old maid.

But when I look into your eyes
The madness
The softening.
And when I sink into your arms
The madness
The beauty.
And when I lose myself
The madness
The ecstasy.

What is this thing we have between us?
This magical fleeting selfish obsession?
I am deeply touched by it
I own and and am fully owned...
Your young bride!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To My Second Rainbow

This post is for the quirky little girl who turns six today!

Everyone knows I am a foodie. I love to cook and eat good food. But what is lesser known is how much of a foodie this little girl is. When I come back from trips abroad, her only questions are about what I ate there, especially during the flights. She must be the only person in the world to be so fascinated by airline food!

Her dreams are often about food too. Once she she was very tired and went off to sleep before dinner and the first question she asked when she woke up at 3am was what we had for dinner! I am often seen scurrying about in the kitchen early in the morning because the little Missy has pre-ordered a special breakfast or school lunch the previous night. In the afternoons, she raids the fridge non-stop. I have come down from my bedroom many times to see all types of food stuff wiped clean by the hungry hog, the most notably shocking among them being a whole bottle of pitted olives!

Frustrated by the mess she makes inside and outside the fridge, we recently started locking the fridge and hiding the key. One day, when none of the adults could find the key, she found it for us. You see, finding the fridge unlocked, she was the one who had locked it and "hidden" the key!

Her food choices don't stop to surprise me. Once I made trout and green beans, and she ate up all the green beans and didn't touch the fish, which she was so fond of in Singapore! Once, she sat with RS in Singapore and ate up half of his sarson ka saag (pre-cooked microwaved stuff) and now keeps asking me to make the green stuff RS has. Her latest craze is Himachali karhee. One afternoon, she ate up a huge bowl of karhee that we had kept for dinner by filling her katori over and over again. During this recent trip to Kullu, she had karhee for almost every meal!

Aloka has the sharpest sense of smell I have ever known anyone to have. She smells everything. If I buy her a new dress, she smells it first before looking at it. If I cook something, she smells it first before eating it. Before reading a book, she smells it. Every soap is evaluated by its smell. She has a nice collection of soaps because that's what she likes to buy at stores. Freshly ironed clothes are smelled with pleasure, freshly washed clothes are deeply inhaled. I am not allowed to throw empty packets of detergents because she likes to smell them again and again. With her eyes closed, she can tell which shampoo I am using on her hair because she recognizes the smell. When she gets in a car, she comments on the smell. When she gets in a building, she tells me what the smell reminds her of. She knows when I am wearing a different perfume than my usual. It is hard to hide anything from her thanks to that darn sense of smell.

Her love-hate relationship with her nani has changed into more-love less-hate one in the last few months in India. She spends most of her time in her nani's room, watching TV, playing with her iPad, doing her homework and even sleeping at night. She can recite tables of 1-5 thanks to her nani who used the good old fashioned way of rote learning to teach her what I could not using my newfangled ways. I often hear them laugh like mad over some silly joke that nani has cracked or hear them talking excitedly about a game they play together on mom's iPad. Aloka has figured that as long as she follows most of nani's rules (no eating on the bed, no jumping on the bed, reduced volume of her iPad etc), she can have a lot of fun with her most fun-loving grandma!

But Asha, our house-help, isn't so lucky. She bears the brunt of Aloka's naughtiness in action and words. Now that she can speak Hindi fluently, she practices all her naughty sentences on Asha (e.g. Tu gandi hai Asha Aunty, Mommy dekho Asha Aunty ne mujhay pagal kaha, isko daanto yeh mujhay marti hai etc).

Aloka is fascinated by most young ladies, but mostly by her cousin sister Nishu. She follows her around when she is with her, and when away, talks all the time about her. Nishu is her role model- she wants to dress like her, talk like her, and be like her when she grows up. In any group, Aloka gravitates towards girls of Nishu's age more than she does kids her own age. And her aversion to men is legendary.

In another post about Aloka, I had written that she doesn't walk, she skips. That's still true, but now there is another addition to her list of favorite actions. She can twirl non-stop for as long as 30 minutes without getting dizzy. It's another matter that her grandma gets dizzy just seeing her rotating like a planet gone out of control!

Ever since I remember, I always wanted to be mother to a daughter, a child I could dress and feed and teach and have fun with and mostly, see her enjoy a childhood I missed. Aloka made my dream come true, and how! She is everything I dreamed of and more, a perfect quirky addition to my quirky family. She is truly the second rainbow in my crazy sky!

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