in flagarante delicto

My relationship with my mom alternated between friendship and her being my mom.  I was extremely independent, had a mind of my own and could be rather mouthy. My mom was incredibly understanding- my best friend and my greatest enemy all rolled into one. She was a friend but didn’t delude herself that it was her only role. She was my mom first and had no issues calling me out on any bullshit . She also didn’t particularly care to explain herself to her kids. “Because I said so”  “I’m your mom and that’s good enough”  ” That’s just too bad. ” “Life is so unfair.” So in all those huge altercations with Amma, I would swear  ” I’m never going to be like you”. “You’re so uncool. ”  I had this huge list of parenting things that I would never do.  Looking back , I was a walking, talking, rebellious , pain in the ass.

One of the things that annoyed Amma big time was my brother and I fighting over chocolates. She considered it fighting over food and it was something that always got her goat. She didn’t understand why we couldn’t just share. While we didn’t seem to have any problems sharing other things , chocolates were a huge no no. We would argue and fight over who got the bigger piece. ” Aren’t you both ashamed to fight over food?” she’d go in Malayalam- between her tone and the Malayalam language the disgust over us fighting over chocolates was conveyed loud and clear. One time she got so mad, she took the whole bag of chocolates and gave it to the maid for her kids. And given that those were chocolates an aunt had brought from abroad, I was so mad!! She did hit upon a solution. One person broke the chocolate and the other person got to choose first. So we were careful to break it equally. Looking back, I don’t understand why she just didn’t get us individual chocolates. She always got us one and said, “Share. ”

Cut to 2014.  In my home, we speak mostly English. While the kids understand hindi and malayalam, they both speak in English.  Mom was visiting and we went to meet my aunt. My aunt gives my kids this big bar of chocolate and they decide to have it at once. Of course, in two minutes, the fighting began. I was quiet for the first five minutes. Figured they could sort it out between them. But hey, do they stop? No. it’s getting very intense. And in someone else’s house. I lost it. I rounded on them : ” Stop fighting right now!” And then I just continued…” Aren’t you ashamed to fight over food? Give that to me. Here, D .. you break and S gets to choose. And if I hear you fighting again, I’m giving that chocolate to jaya didi for her kids. ”  There !!  That should sort it. My kids are looking at me wide eyed. My aunt and my mom seem to have identical grins on their faces.

And that’s when I realised what I said. And I said it in Malayalam. In the same tone. The one I HATED growing up.

And here I was. Caught red handed. In Flagarante Delicto. In front of the two women who were very explicitly told that I would be nothing like them. All strict and not understanding and railing away at my kids. I had done just that. heck, I’d even used the exact words and tone!

Well played Karma . Well played.

It’s a different thing that, today, I feel that if I could be half the parent she is, then my kids will be fine.

But really, Karma, did you have to make me eat my words IN FRONT OF THEM?!!

Image source:

sometimes

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Writing as a part of team Blue Lagoon.

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Of a Hero

His mother once told me that he was stubborn (still is!)

That he got that from her.

When he was born, the oldest of 8,

His mother decided that education would be his ticket out of their difficult circumstances.

So his parents educated him. Went hungry sometimes but made sure he ate, his fees were paid and that his education never suffered.

He paid them back by making sure they never went hungry again. He went on to become the most educated person in his family. Moved out of Kerala. Took care of every one of his seven siblings and made sure that each was well settled.Made sure his parents were taken care of. Every wish his parents had, he made sure he fulfilled. Unconditionally and without expecting anything ever in return. Despite all the difficulties he’s had to face.

When it came to me, he played different roles in my life.. at different ages.

He was my elephant between the ages of 0-4

He was the master storyteller of ONE story.-of the hen who made payasam. One that he still insists on telling. It was the most important story ever since it meant I wouldn’t sleep until I’d heard it.

He was the experiment who sat patiently while I applied several coats of powder on his face, put 7-8 ponytails in his hair and three bindis on his forehead.

He was the man on my who believed that I am destined for greatness but I am also too lazy for my own good.

He was the confused relation during my angst ridden teenage years. Because he didn’t get the rebel without a cause concept, and I expected unconditional acceptance. He was the angry man and the opposition in our legendary blow-ups since we never seemed to see eye to eye on anything during this period.

I don’t know when he made the transition from angry confused relation whom I didn’t relate to, to a friend.

He was the person I talked to when I first thought I was in love.

He was the friend who made me a cup of coffee when I was hungover the first time.

He was the friend who held me while I bawled when my heart got all broken.

He once told me that I was raised to think for myself so I should use my god given brains to take decisions. To own my life and my responsibilities. If my decisions screwed me over, at least I’d know they were mine.

He’s always had my back.

Even when he didn’t understand.

Even when he was hurt and I’d hurt him bad.

Even now.

I don’t always understand him. We still argue. Fight.

But it is because of him that I am who I am. He filled the house with books when he didn’t even have a reading habit. He gave me the best education. Exposed me to things that a girl from a super conservative society in Kerala wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Told me that my grey matter and thoughts mattered and that anyone who thought otherwise shouldn’t be given any space in my life. Of course promptly regretted it when all i did was butt heads with him and his thought processes and question every damn thing. I’ve been told he was rather proud of me though thoroughly annoyed by it.

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He’s been there. Always. Counselor. Friend. Man with high standards.

He’s been there. Taking care of everything and everybody. He still does. He never gives up.

I’ve inherited quite a bit from him- my love for cooking, for good food,  and according to my mother- every single annoying habit he has.

He’s been through a lot. Hard times. Happy times. Been betrayed by people he thought were friends. Not been given his due. But through it all- his faith in people never seemed to take a beating. His love never changed.  He doesn’t hold a grudge and tends to forgive pretty damn quick. It’s taken me ( I can hold a grudge and I take a terribly long time to forgive) a long time to realize how special that quality is. That, that kind of love was a strength and not a weakness. And that forgiving meant those people never really occupied mind space. That you could continue to see the nice side to people love them for that. He was nobody’s fool, but he chose to do things he thought was right. Always. His standards were high and he upheld that- irrespective of the behavior of others. Even people who may have disliked or disagreed with him, always respected him. His work defined quality-personal or professional.

He is a person who makes the ordinary- extraordinary- just by doing it so well.

He talks to my kids everyday. They tell him stories and stuff going on with them because he lets them know that every thought they have is important to him.

He is a Hero. One that most of the world won’t meet, see or hear of.  He’s touched the life of so many people just by being the wonderful person he is.

Today he lost his brother in law. So it’s been a rough day. In the midst of death, grief and chaos-He turned 70 today. I thought it was important to celebrate life. One that has been lived beautifully so far.  Happy birthday to the first man who held my heart. My dad. I am incredibly proud to be your daughter. Whenever I meet others and see how differently and awesomely I’ve been raised- I realize I have you and Amma to be so thankful to and for. And I am. Grateful Everyday.

Happy birthday, Achan!

 

 

 

 

Of illnesses, mom, Friends, ‘pregnancy brain’ and Calvin…

I had a weird day today… My son and I were running a fever, the man is out of town and I was too sick to take my little one to school… My silver lining was in the Shatabdi train to Bangalore and all the three of us were waiting for ” Amme” to get here.

It really doesn’t matter how old you grow, the moment you’re ill, the only person you need is your mother.  I managed till amma got home, coz the moment I saw her, I just  crashed..

My pregnant friend A  was sweet enough to come with me  and my son to the doc tonight.  She drove while Dhruv and I sat in the back seat. After getting the med prescription from the doc, A got the car and I put my son in the back seat and headed to collect the meds from the pharmacy only to turn around to find the car missing… I got a panicky call two minutes later from A who was wondering where I was… She apparently thought I’d gotten in and driven off.. and realisation that she’d left me behind dawned when she wondered why she was having a one sided conversation 😀  Its wonderful to have friend like A around. Even on super weird days, she makes you laugh!

Now the kids are in bed and I get this from my sis in law. Made me burst out laughing.

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So today- I’m grateful-

For Amma who’s always been there when I’ve needed her

For a three year old daughter who gave me loads to pretend ” Dawai” , hugs and kisses and kept her naughty side in check till Ammagot home

For friends like A  who’ll make you laugh and will drive you to a doc and J who called through the day to check if I needed any help or drops off meds at your house even though she lives a good 10-12 kms in the opposite direction.

For my father and my husband who kept calling to check on me…

and for my sis in law who always manages to put a smile on my face!

Yup, sure I was sick, and I felt even worse seeing my boy sick…

But as I sign off right now- exhausted and feverish-

I have a little glow in my heart.

Choices

Today I logged into my pinterest account after a pretty long time! And one of the first pictures I see this is.  Consequence can be a bitch sometimes. But it’s a good thing I believe in second chances 🙂 And as I read somewhere… that’s why there are U turns!

And I’d rather have the freedom to choose than be free from the consequence of my choice.