Monday, November 10, 2014

A love letter

Dear Dear Netra,

I am writing this to you in the hope that it will bear witness to the immense love I feel for you but am not probably good at expressing.

I don't love you like Papa does. For me you are not the perfect child as you are for him. I don't kiss you and smell you and hug you when you sleep like he does. I don't buy you everything that you put your finger on and I don't cry when you bruise your knees, arms, nose or cheeks.

So what is my love all about? For beginners let me tell you that you hold the key to my soul. You are my very 'jaan', just like the 'jaan' that the magician had put in the parrot. You are my that parrot. I like any mother want you to turn out perfect. This roots from the fact that I can't and won't be able to bear anyone point a finger at you or raise their voice ever at you. This privilege lies with me exclusively. Your father also doesn't share it.

This is not the perfect way to love but this is the only way I know. Loving you this way comes naturally to me and this has made me understand how deeply my mother loves me (which though isn't of any help when I get mad at her and so I don't have high hopes from you too!).

The love that I have for you doesn't want to cuddle up with you always but please know that it does so occasionally. My love for you doesn't always make me buy things for you but helps me choose what I know you will adore in your saner moments.

Since the news of the arrival of a sibling was confirmed, you and only you have been on my mind. We went to Palampur for three months because I felt that my pregnancy was a perfect excuse for you to get some adulation from your grandparents before the road became a bit tough. I was worried sick about your comprehension, your handwriting, your drawing classes, your dance sessions and your play time.

My love for you makes me vulnerable and stupid.It makes me yell at you (yes that is my love in action) and cry after giving you a shouting or a slap.

But whatever form it may take my love for you is limitless, inexhaustible and full of what else love!!

And though it hurts me very much when you choose other people over me to listen to or tell me to go away I know it won't diminish my love and that you are just loving me back.

Love you always

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The drawing lessons

Dear Netra

From time to time it seems that you do not like the drawing classes that I make you take once a week. Maybe now you do after doing them for some 4-5 months but I still have my doubts. First your grandfather and now your father have also pointed out to the same fact and like I said I also do realise that you do not like it much  but I think that your thing is against homework and thwarted freedom to draw as you like. So here are some of my reasons for making you stick with the drawing class:

1.       I believe that it will give you some sort of artistic sensibility of which I and your father are bereft. And I think it is important to have a leaning rather an understanding of things beyond the mere necessities of life to be able to enjoy all that God has blessed us in the form of nature and art.

2.      I insist on these lessons because I feel that having learnt to draw will someday give a mega boost to your morale, self confidence and faith.

3.       I think you have begun to enjoy it to a certain extent.

4.       I think you should devote yourself to something, any one thing and see it through how much painful it might become. Giving up is always easier. Continuing with something is difficult but a fun thing to do. And I know you are a fun loving girl.

5.       Now the most important reason- I believe that learning to draw also prepares you to observe and interpret which I hope will be important lessons that you learn while doing this.

LLove Maa

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Growing up

Growing up was supposed to be fun. It was supposed to be the escape from all the miseries in life- school, studies, teachers, homework, rules. ...It was to be the end of the pain of the misery of teenage years of heartbreak.

Growing up was supposed to liberate me. It was supposed to give me wings. It was supposed to bring happiness in wake and achievements and conquests of all kinds.

While growing up I hardly knew that this was a non-stop process. That there are certain things about which you do all the growing up in a night and there are others which keep hassling you over long days and endless nights.

While growing up I had not even realised that it will bring along its own pains. Its own horror shows like none other. Irreparable damages. Bitter words with lasting impacts.Massive losses.

Yes. Massive losses. Losses that leave you shaken. Losses of a different nature. Losses that don't make sense and losses that shatter the sense this world made (if ever that is).

Losing dear ones is what I am talking about. Its not even a year since we lost Shaurya. This was the most unnatural thing to happen to me.

It is the law of the nature that elders leave first. How could a young one, make that the youngest of all, leave first? It was not his turn. Since this happened a dialogue from the film 'Bhumika' keeps running in my head. Nasseruddin Shah tells Smita Patil, "Hum keedon ki tarah hi zammen pe paida hote hain aur mar jaate hain. Un main aur hum main koi farak nahi hai" She asks him,"Phir to kisi cheez ka koi matlab hi nahi reh jata". To which he replies, "Tabhi to maayne daalne padte hain".

This conversation till the second line is where I had come to stand still after Shaurya's passing away. The third line....I was still looking for an answer when I got the news about TP uncle's demise.Was it his time or turn? Can such things ever be answered, resolved? Him... whom I had spoken to just 20 odd days back?? He...who had gone off to bed after watching a late night movie. The man with the music and photos and classics in that brown cupboard. The most generous man ever......A man to whom I feel indebted, my very core, my talent, who showed me the way when I was so lost, who held my hand during one of the most depressing phases, who told me not to give up, who became the reason along with Nalini Bua for me to stay on in Chandigarh.

TP uncle I can hear you now. See your face now. How quietly you have come up from behind and surprised me! Shaur I keep thinking of you at night. Why did this happen? How could it have not happened? I know there are no answers. Neither is there any way or means that I learnt while growing up to deal with this....Maybe this is one sphere where I am still learning to grow up. Most probably this is where I will never ever fully grow up.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Recalling childhood

What do you remember when you recall your childhood? I am assaulted by doubts when I think what my daughter will remember of me during her childhood.Will it all be evil? Full of shouting? Angry outbursts? Hurtful words?

Then I decided to see what I recalled from my childhood.

There are sights and there are sounds that came flooding. Often there have been episodes and incidents which crop up from nowhere, at times surprising me with the intensity and clarity with which they come on a perfectly normal day. But when I made a conscious effort of remembering the days bygone I was surprised with the warmth and fuzzy feelings that I encountered. Here is a peek.

I recall changotra sessions at my naani's house. This is quite vivid. I can smell the winter sun of Palampur even now at its mere mention. The fragrance of this huge citrus fruit as it was brought out before the lunch hour from a tree in front of my naani's house.The peeling, the preparation of a special herbed salt and then the process of distribution- my maasis and naani at work diligently trying to reach a perfect taste by striking a balance between sour and sweet.

Another weather memory in conjunction to my own nanihaal is that of the rains. I see it in my mind now. I come from the school. Being told by my naani about mangoes in a bucket that I can only have after changing out of the school uniform-the grrey skirt and white shirt. I can see the small sized iron bucket kept in the verandah, brimming with small green coloured mangoes. And I can see myself discarding the shirt hurriedly, throwing off the satchel in the room besides this veranda and then going for the mangoes with the school skirt still on. I ate and ate till I could eat no more. Mee ji had gone for her afternoon nap when I had come and there wasn't anyone else around to stop me. I think I must have fallen sick the next day...hahhahaa. Surprisingly I can also see the exact shade of grey that filled the skies while I looked over the balcony as I suckled the mangoes. The rain had stopped but the grey ruled the day and my memories. From that house I remember a huge wooden dressing table filled with all the wonders of the world. A rouge, lipsticks, nail paints, assorted hair pins, kajal ki potli and what not!

Of the Palampur afternoons I remember being treated to katori-full sugary sessions with my Bauji after every meal. I remember being sent to his shop for one chore or the other, which to think of now, was just a ruse to get me out of the house and out of the way of work which Meeji had plenty.

Books can't be far behind from this storehouse of memories. I remember an evening in the drawing room of this very house where I was teased for mistaking Enid Blyton as Gnid Blyton by my Mama. Alongside him I remember a big  box of 5 star chocolates. I remember sitting on the floor with the special bhujia that he would bring from Bikaner in a katori and with a glass of water on my side.

Of the smells that I associate with my childhood, a very fond memory is that of a big cake being baked in an electric oven at Meeji's house. This one comes with the taste of the batter which I was given to lick from the big pot that held it before the majority was transferred to the baking dish. Here I also see Anju maasi whose complexion resembled the yummy batter of the sponge cake.

From one of the rooms of the same house I recall stories, songs on the radio and high heels belonging to my youngest maasi. I partly think that I inherited the radio from her- Mamta maasi. Sitting at a window, gazing down the street, we would listen to songs and jingles on Vividh Bharti. I recall lying in bed with her appreciating her slender fingers, crossing them with my chubby fingers and wondering if I will ever have long, gorgeous nails as hers.

Of my own home, one of the most interesting sounds that has always stayed with me is that of my mother's ring as she rubbed a steel glass between her palms to cool down the milk in the evenings. I was intrigued by the sound and often used to wonder about its source. It took me a long time to figure it out but that tak-tak sound is like none  other that I have heard or tried to produce myself with many a steel glasses.

Of the favourite sights that are fresh in my mind one is of my father coming home from the University on his grey Bajaj Chetak. The sound of the horn from the top of the street alerted us that he is about to reach. Me and my sister would abandon whatever we were pretending to study and rush downstairs to meet him at the gate of the house. During the holidays this run was made to grab the movie cassette that he had been asked to fetch from the market on his way home while on the other days this was just an excuse to get away from the books.

Like I mentioned in the beginning as a mother I always feel that I am falling short....short of patience, short of being a good example. I am really not a picture of a gentle, loving, calm and composed grown up even when I am at my best behaviour. I am more of a nutty meets happy meets shaky. So when I see these mothers who seem to be fully in control of everything them- their houses, kids, selves I try to think of my own parents and decipher whether they were nutty or the in control of everything.

Alas! I fail. I don't remember of that much and there is hope in this because I can maybe depend on the fact that my daughter too shall not remember my outbursts. What I remember though is my lovely mother in saris and how she walked across the school ground. Confident. Happy. Smart. I remember the sudden happiness that gripped me from inside when Papa reached home. So, like I said there is hope in here.