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Reminiscences of the King of Fruits – Mango #AtoZChallenge

Reminiscences of the King of Fruits – Mango #AtoZChallenge

“The joy in a slice of mango is unmatched- pure bliss.”

What is it with fathers and mangoes? Why does a fruit as simple as this weave a web of memories of bygone days in my mind? Come summer and every year the season is welcomed by this green and yellow fruit. They may be juicy or tangy and sour. Yet, you could enjoy them in any way you choose. 

My father loved the fruit. My memories of my childhood summers are full of my father’s antics with mangoes. Though I loved the fruit myself, I could never really understand his obsession with the fruit. All that I was really interested in was to dig my teeth into the juicy pulp.

It was a whole ritual. Every time he would go to our roadside vendor to choose the fruit himself. The right one had to smell right, look right and feel right. He would judge how good the mango is by looking at the stem point. After he brought them home, he would wash them well and peel the skin thinly with a knife.  He would further slice them into thin long stripes or dice them and keep them on  a platter. It would be then refrigerated for an hour or so, and served after dinner.  Ah!!! The feeling then was sheer bliss…

Years have passed by….My Dad isn’t there anymore. And my passion for mangoes has somehow died along with him

I am a parent now and I do the mango ritual for my kids in my own way. I choose them randomly, hoping they are good. I lack the skill my father had. I skin them with a peeler, unable to slice thin with a knife. The only simlarity is that I refrigerate them for a while before serving. And yes, my kids love it.

I realized now, it was not his skill … It is the pure love that he had in his heart for the fruit and for us, to serve us the best.

Image Source: Pixabay
Of Children and their Thoughts #AtoZChallenge

Of Children and their Thoughts #AtoZChallenge

Children have this unique skill of giving the simplest of solutions to the most complex of issues in life. They can give answers to questions we ourselves never really manage to find. It’s amazing to see how innocence can address the complexities of life.

I lost my father in the early months of 2015, after a fierce and unsuccessful tryst with cancer. It was not a fight that was his alone, but it actually was the entire family’s fight. The grief that followed post death was pretty subdued. In fact it was more a relief that the pain and trauma the disease inflicted on each one of us had eased out. Through the months of 2015, despite me settling back into normal course of life, I would stumble upon things belonging to dad and ponder about the good old days.

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I sat in my verandah pondering over thoughts. The warmth of the afternoon sun was a comforting embrace, when all of a sudden my 7 year old propped her head on my lap, staring right into my face. She sensed all wasn’t well and asked me if I was missing grandpa. She had earlier asked me at the time of death as to what happened to grandpa, and where he had gone. I had then told her the usual story that now grandpa had become a star. But, somehow I felt like being frank at that moment and said, “Yes, I am missing him a lot today”.

My little girl thought for a while, held my hand and said, “Mamma, why do you feel sad? Grandpa is here only. He hasn’t gone anywhere”. I gave her a stare. She continued, “See Mamma, he has just become a star and it is morning time now, so you are not able to see him. When it is night-time, he will come out then you can see him”. She didn’t stop there. She added, “Grandpa is seeing you always, but you aren’t looking at him because you are always sad and then sleep in the night. So grandpa should miss you…”

I had a hearty laugh. Not that what she said made much sense to me, but I realized she had found answers in her own convincing way. Answers filled with innocence. It made me feel better and I smiled with an uncanny lightness in my heart.

Over and out to you little girl!

Image Source: Pixabay
Generation Gaps #AtoZChallenge

Generation Gaps #AtoZChallenge

Generation gaps- They have always been around, from time immemorial. The age difference between my parents and me is roughly around 25 years. And surely, in this time, there have been a string of technological advancements, lifestyle and societal changes. These changes are bound to bring about a generation gap by way of difference in opinions and thought processes.

What causes generation gaps?

Generation gaps are the results of the differences that creep in due to the changes in time and worlds we are born in. The world around us experiences changes with every passing moment. And over a period of time, these changes are noticeable. When people don’t grow along, adapt or evolve, clashes are bound to happen. Thus, understanding that generation gaps are a normal thing and exists all around, makes it easy to peacefully co-exist.

From teens to adulthood

For years now, I have had constant opinion differences with my parents. In fact, during my teens, these differences were on an all-time high, when I would find every single thing they said going against me. When they would not allow me to have it all my way, I would often become repulsive. It definitely is a common problem among teens, when one feels the parent isn’t really trying to be understanding. But over the years, with maturity having set in, I look back and thank God that my parents were actually strict. It probably made me the person I am today. Surely if they would have let me have it all my way, I would have made far too many mistakes and have caused irrecoverable damages to my life.

As a fully grown adult, I still experience clash of views with my elderly parents and I do lose my cool very often. But once I calm down, I look at the issue at hand more practically. Despite sharing the same core values with my parents, we still have starkly different opinions. Many a times we don’t really appreciate each other’s point of view. But over the years we have learnt to live with it all. Somewhere, we have understood that this world, is big enough to accommodate each one of us, with all are differences included.  We have learnt to co-exist despite all the opposing opinions.

Can the clashes be handled?

At a young age, parents are our primary caretakers and well-wishers. They are experienced and knowledgeable. Thus it makes more sense to respect their age. If you do find them to be over protective, do take that step to discuss the issue practically. As an elderly parent of full grown adults, do acknowledge the fact that the child is now a grown individual and has his or her own opinions and thought. They are old enough to take on the world and its best to leave decisions to their discretion.

How do you handle generation gap clashes?

Bonding With Your Child- When Do you Do it? #AtoZChallenge

Bonding With Your Child- When Do you Do it? #AtoZChallenge

Bonding with your child is building that emotional connect. It is when you and your child are together, doing practical things or whatsoever, bringing about a wonderful connection. Being the mom of two little ones, I spend hours doing things with them. So between all my daily tasks and work, and the kids school and extracurricular activities, there are activities thrown in. From craft work, to gardening or, simply just lazing on the bed with a book in hand, the girls and I love these moments as we giggle, laugh and smile away.

Bonding is essential to create lasting memories

But when I look back at my childhood days, I don’t remember my Amma doing any of the activities that I do, with my kids. Yet, there is a beautiful bond that she has created, and memories that would last a lifetime. Those were the days before the great internet revolution. Those were the days, well before the digital era. Those were the days before fast-food culture could take us by storm.

My earliest memories of Amma are of her being the busiest person in the household. I remember the kitchen lights going on at 5 in the morning, when Amma would begin her day. It would go off only by 11 in the night, well after the entire family had retired to bed. Yet, there wasn’t a moment when she complained, looked hassled or looked tired.

Joy in everyday things

On most afternoons, Amma would be busy making home-made snacks and savories. I would sit on the kitchen platform, as she narrated folklore and mythological tales of kings and Gods. I distinctly remember the months of February and March every year, when Amma would prepare rice crispies. I would be put in charge to guard the neatly laid out rice crispies that were to be dried in sun, from crows, before being stored in airtight containers. Sundays meant an elaborate oil bath, and as she would comb my hair, seated on a mat in the warm afternoon sun, we would listen to the radio and hum away old Hindi songs together. Somewhere she did it all so seamlessly. It wasn’t like as though she had set aside some time for us kids. She integrated it all in her daily life amidst all the other things she had to do.

Bonding isn’t about big gestures

And that’s what probably Amma did. It isn’t about doing elaborate activities together. It is in simple everyday stuff that we do, that make up our life. I don’t think Amma waited for any special occasion. She just blended it all so well, and the emotional connection just materialized.

The Magic of Warmth!

The Magic of Warmth!

“A soldier doesn’t fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind.” – Unknown

It was for the third time that we had to cancel our planned vacation. The bags lay half packed on the bed, as I looked up at his stoic face. His eyes said it all; the vacation was not going to happen for some time to come. I didn’t utter a word the entire day.

It’s overwhelming indeed!

From the time of the Great World Wars, there have been abundant discussions and dialogues’ describing what life for a soldier is like. Movies and bestsellers have well portrayed human experiences and mental outlook during difficult military deployments. However, there has been little attention on the effects these deployments have on the wife. When the man of the house is away on military operations, the family experiences significant stress, and dealing with it could be overwhelming.

The wife goes through loneliness, pressures of extensive separation, potential difficulty in bringing up children, disruption in family roles and many a times a feeling of a loss of emotional support.

I didn’t bid goodbye!

And when the unit “Husband” belongs to, decides to make last minute changes to its schedule, holidays planned with families may never see the light of the day. The air of disappointment lingered around as I sulked when the “Husband” picked up his bag to leave. It was evident- there would be a month of separation. The complex emotions were hard to counter, and I stood still without bidding him the ritual goodbye I had been doing so for the last decade.

Loneliness- When kids weave a magic to overcome it

I sat that night on my bed, looking outside the window. The vast expanse of the night created a deeper sense of loneliness. As I propped up my pillow, I felt my 8 year old’s hands moving through my hair. They felt warm as she gently massaged drops of oil with her tiny fingers. Children have this uncanny sense of understanding, of feelings that are seldom spoken. They are better able to comprehend what is not expressed in words and gestures, but what is evident in facial expressions.

Sensing my mood, she felt it right to just give me-her mother- a touch of warmth, hoping it would smooth things over.

I let her move her little hands through my hair, as the warm coconut oil sooth my temples. I closed my eyes. Maybe I was being unreasonable. Being married to the man in uniform, my life is a jumble of both joyous and lonely moments. And it is best I take one day at a time. Well, I wasn’t sure if it was the warmth of the oil or her tiny fingers that brought about this realization to me.

It was a magic of warmth moment indeed!!!!!

“I’m blogging about my #MagicOfWarmth moment at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed Hot Oil


*Featured image source: Pixabay
Parenting Alone? It’s No Easy Job

Parenting Alone? It’s No Easy Job

    I pretend to have all the energy in the world, when all that I want to do is hit the bed…. It’s no easy job parenting alone!

It isn’t uncommon these days, to find spouses living in two different places. The reasons may be many- better career prospects or children’s’ education. In such cases, the children end up being with one of the parent, meeting the other over long weekends or vacations. In my case, the husband being in the armed forces, is constantly away for long spells, leaving me and the kids to manage on our own in what I call our little mad home. So for my two little children I am their single parent (well, I shall ignore the parenting on the telephone done by the hubby).

So what’s the big deal here? Why does this take a toll on me?

I am charged 24/7

So here I am the super mom, charged up and on call 24/7. Of course most moms are on some sort of red alert through the day when it comes to their child’s needs. But hey think about managing the show single-handedly with no help whatsoever, making those daily small decisions on your own too. I am up and about, showing up at all school functions. I cart around them and their playmates on every single day of the week. I am the nurse, the cheer leader, the counselor, the cook; well the list just goes on…

I plan; really… even before the previous one is executed

Did you just think about planning the meals for the day? Oh wait there’s more. Like the craft activity for the younger one that involves paper quilling. And what did the older one want? A play date with her friend. What about the cycling session with both of them? Yes, that’s what I do all the time. The mind seems to be occupied, juggling various little plans.

Where did those 24 hours go?

The hours are just not enough in a day. Damn! The newspaper still hasn’t been read. Never mind, in a few hours the next day’s paper would be at the door.

Frustrations? What do they look like?

I sat with that hot cup of coffee, soaking in every bit of the aroma. The younger one decides to squeal. I rush to see what it was all about, only to realize that her little pony tail lay open. I head back to my coffee and as the first few sips go down my throat, the sound from the kid’s room doesn’t seem all too fine. I pretend to be calm, as I pull them apart after their violent fight of bites and scratches. A few minutes of consoling and I head back to my coffee which now is sans the yummy froth and aroma. Frustrated? Naah you wouldn’t spot them on my brow.

When does the day end?

And despite the tiring day, every single day, I find time to read them a bedtime story, and tuck them into bed. Bliss!!!!! The kids are asleep, the house is silent. I sit down and all I want to do is talk to someone.

Oh wait! There’s no one around!! Sigh!!

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Oh My Dear Son!

Oh My Dear Son!

Indian Moms seem so obsessed with their sonny boys. Surely, I may be generalizing here. But my observations almost always tilt towards this. So whether they are 10, 20, 30 or even 40, the moms just can’t stop babying their “Laadla Betas”.

For example, Mom Grey gets restless every time her son eats even one roti lesser than usual. Even if sonny boy explains that he is just simply full and there isn’t any major issue, she would insist on him immediately consuming a homemade brew to ease digestion!!!!! I really don’t interfere in the mommy-son relationship, but it quite amuses me how moms still baby over their 40 something son’s appetite. I am sure he is well aware of his stomach and could ask for any sort of brew if a discomfort was actually felt.

Another senseless thing I heard was from my colleague “P”. Buddy “P”has been married for just over a year. Her mother-in-law (MIL) loves to cater to every bit of her 30 year old son’s needs. So whether it is the socks on the floor or the towel on the bed, it is supposed to be “P’s” job. MIL would never let her son clear his dinner plate, or for that matter fetch a glass of water on his own. On days when “P” is really tired and insists on her hubby helping to clear the dishes, MIL would discourage the same by saying “He works so hard for the family and has come back after a tired day. Why trouble him with more work?” What dear MIL is probably forgetting is that “P” too could have had a tiring day. Pressures from office or simply pre-menstrual syndrome, she could well get a hand to help around. Further, on days when delicacies were prepared in the kitchen, the first serving would always be served to their son and the balance is then to be consumed by her.

I was once told that this kind of pampering comes from the love the mom has for the boy. I agree there is unconditional love. But I see no justification in babying their sons well into adulthood. Parenting as a responsibility comes to an end when kids grow into adults, irrespective of his marital status. But many mothers seldom let go…..

And yes, there are “laadli betis” too… But somehow when these betis get married the “Damaad” steals the show!!!!

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