Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Those baby steps

Circa early 90’s - It was utter chaos in our household. The first born is going to her first day school. The dad was polishing shoes and the mom was checking her snack box for the fifth time. She has never been away from her kid for more than fifteen minutes. However, the kid seems absorbed in her gaze of shiny books and slowly dangles her feet for the dad to fasten shoes.

They walk on the small lane to primary school. The way is filled with doubts – did I manage to get the right shade for her pinafore, why is her hair still messy, did I keep a spoon along. She talks on how to use her hand towel, to finish the lunch fully, to not talk during a class, to smile often, to keep eyes closed during prayers. The kid refuses to participate and keeps making stories from what she sees around. Her answers are standard.  I-know-it-all look and an only-three-teeth smile.

7.45 am, this morning – It is a sunny morning as she sat down with her tea. I am still asleep and a familiar voice shakes me out from slumber. Precisely, it has been two years and fourteen days from the last day I had to wake up by this alarm to work. A still sleepy I walk out to see her sipping tea and reading a book. A hug and some clean up later, we chat with a mug of tea and she listens patiently to my never ending dose of instructions. 

I keep reminding her to keep the door locked, to take keys when she goes for a walk, to remember and use the favorites on chrome, to not sit and scrub every window until it is clean. I also ask the same questions for the last 72 hours – if she wants me to subscribe to Indian channels, if she knows how to use the bathroom showers, if there is enough of this and that in the pantry, if she knows the nearest bus routes. Her answers are standard. I-am-your-mom look with I-can-manage smile.

I am too young to comment on bigger stuff but if there is something beautiful about being a daughter, it is watching your mom use YouTube at ease and send a what’sapp message to ask if I reached office on time. I am pleasantly surprised to see this circle of feelings, care giving and roles. Talking about taking baby steps, I think it will always be me. 

The mom is here, and I am in delirious joy. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bring on the good talk, please!

How good are you at taking a genuine compliment?
Rather, how often have you heard a genuine compliment?

For one, I suck at taking it graciously and another, I hear is very rarely too. Recently when a group of us met for dinner, a friend casually mentioned my style of making potato curry is what appeals him the most. He went on to share the list of horrible potatoes he has had and compared the best ones with my version. I should have preened and smiled but all I did was to keep negating him. This was how my mind worked.

My Mind  : What is the big deal with a potato curry? I mean, it is not like making French macroons with fancy fillings or wait, like making swissrolls.
My alter-arch : (yup, she lives within me and makes uncanny appearances): Damn, this point only proves I am more domesticated now.  Sigh!
My original fairy self: Oh God, I am feeling uncomfortable now.

To those who think he did go overboard – no, he did not. He was very plain and mentioned it in the utmost friendly manner. Why, why do I have to sigh at a compliment?

I have never really received too many compliments in the looks department. And in all honesty, I have not been too bothered. It is like no girl who visits a library has the time to manicure nails. She probably believes in sitting by a bench and daydreaming. At least I did. And then, I got hit by the new wave of girls who look awesome all day. Now, it is not just important that I make devilish potato curry and read Steele ( who, btw is not my favorite), I also have to look decadent and nice.

I did. I fell in love with Bodyshop and made friends carry shikakai powder and generally became more pleasant looking. Months later, a compliment came by. A co-worker generally commented on how beautiful my hair is. Even writing beautiful and my hair in one sentence seems like a joke to me. But yea, she really did. I knew she meant it.

My Mind : Yup, this my dear is your crowning glory moment (quite literally)
My alter-arch: Wait, did she not see the dandruff? Or, is she being sarcastic?!
My original fairy self: Oh God, I am feeling weird but nice.

I am slowly but effectively becoming the girl who has shiny hair, manicured nails and still visits a library. Yaay, to me!

On a semi honest note, most people rarely know how to graciously accept a compliment. Most preen over it and go on to talk about how perfect they are ( or their potato curry is) and the rest act arrogant. I will be very surprised if you have not met such folks in your life. The loveliest way to accept a compliment is a smile. Only if asked, give details on the shikakai.

On an extremely honest note, I think we suck at giving compliments. (esp women).You know why. 

P.S : The author can’t do much if the general tone of this article is not acceptable to you. In fact, she is not even bothered.
P.P.S : Let  me know if you want shikakai podi from Chennai. I know someone who makes it too well. Okay, back to playing mum.