Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Me, her and our worlds together

14th July 1965. When the first rays of dawn broke in all its golden charm and touched down lightly on my window panes, illuminating it with an unearthly glow, I was born again. It was the first time she wriggled restlessly in my arms, suffering conceivably from both fear and fascination for the big, bad unknown world I had led her into. She - my daughter.

I basked in the glory and peace of lustrous motherhood. It was as though a tender flame burned quietly within me, throwing a light never seen thus far. She clung on to me, her little fingers appraising the alien cloth that then seemed to have come between her and me. Did she know that I was her mother? What would I tell her – call me Mom, or Momma, or Mum or whatever? What was she thinking? What was running inside her little mind? Was it blank or was He showing her beautiful dreams as she stirred and smiled?

I held her close to my bosom, her head on my hand, her tiny fingers holding my gown. Oh, how exhilarating it was, I can’t explain. I ran my fingers all over her, feeling the supple and the beautifully tender skin, fresh with the smell of a new born. Such tiny fingers, toes, small eyes that hadn’t even opened completely, a small round mouth, that had broken into just one half smile, a nose that was yet to make its way out, such delicate folds – how marvelously sculpted by the Master Creator. I had carried a priceless gift from God and had delivered it to the world, I felt and hence, beamed with a satisfaction, that was definitely not meagre.

The first time she crawled, the first time she sat up, the first words she uttered (buh, buh for milk) – a long list of unforgettable firsts found a mention in my “My baby book”. One afternoon, while I was in the kitchen checking on baby food, I suddenly turned to see my little honey having taken two steps from where I had put her (it was near the kitchen door). She tottered towards me, carefully lifting her small feet and putting them forward, o-------n-------e, t-------w-------o, th------ree-------, fo--------ur, fiveeeee! I sank on my knees and held her hands. She beamed. I smiled. I cried. My baby had learnt to walk.

It wasn’t long after then that she started running all over the house and the garden, her father, giving her all the company. Vaccines, diaper changes, “Oomy” and “Addy”, baby food, prams, toys, baby clothes; they were symbols that dominated our lives together. Addy dropped her at pre-school and I would pick her up in the evening. “Oomy” she would say, “Colour, colour..”. Colours fascinated her and Addy only pampered her with crayons, colour pencils, more crayons, more colour pencils.

I think the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after..” is destined to find its presence only in fairy tale books. (Oh, how many we used to read out to her – “Beauty and the Beast”, “Cindrella”, “Snow White and the seven dwarfs”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “The Pied Piper”, “Pinocchio”..), for doom descended on us, like a huge black cloud. When my daughter was barely three years old and me, 25, my husband left us groping in the dark, searching for a future, that appeared to exist eons away. He died of cardiac arrest.

Faced with the huge responsibility of bringing up a child, single handedly, I shuddered. God, what would I do? Where would I begin? The amazing trait of family life is the division of responsibility. Momma would cook, run the household, Pappa would work, take care of financial matters, and both would play an equal part in raising the kid. Suddenly, I had to do it all, all alone. I felt stranded, as if abandoned in an island in the middle of the sea, with no one to help but myself.

She was after all, a child. Her questions were alarming and, never ending. She couldn’t understand why dad never returned home, why momma went to work in a bank while she also made food, why Addy never dropped her at school anymore and only a school van picked her up. Why was Oomy signing report cards, why was Oomy talking to teachers – Oh hell, why was the whole world upside down, why was routine so topsy turvy and was like what it once never was?

I was making tremendous effort; to build up my determination, to walk my way up to my ultimate goal. I sought employment, took stock of our family financial condition and retained our house. (We had bought it just a year back). I was earning only half as much as my husband and hence our lifestyle had to be adjusted to the inflows. Fatigue, work pressures, memories and sometimes despair would drive me to a corner.

I wonder how time starts ticking away without even you realizing it. In all those years of my daughter growing up, I wanted to make sure, she didn’t miss her dad but how could that be possible? I was missing my husband and how could I successfully fill up that void he left behind? My daughter seemed to me a mature girl for, over a period of time she realized that life had to go on and that father was no longer a physical presence of support but an entity in the memory, an impression and pillar of strength within our minds.

By the time she was eleven, we had gained ground and established a way of life for ourselves. We were determined to have fun together. After years, we laughed, rolling on our beds, had pillow fights, threw water at each other, cooked together, did homework together, went for picnics, watched horror movies and comedy shows, remembering him all the while, only that this time, we remembered him with happiness and not regret. It’s a lesson that life and time had taught us – to be happy when we could be.

Are anxieties and fears signs of growing old? By the time my daughter was sixteen, I seemed to have all signs of it. I was worrying, to say the least, that my daughter, like many other teens in the country, would lose track of her life. What induced the fear in me, I know not, but it sprouted out of nowhere and was growing to torment me in ways that I had not imagined. At fifteen, she was watching movies with her friends, having late night parties. She was good, she informed me of everything beforehand, yet, I panicked. I feared I was losing my daughter to undesirable ways of life. Drugs, affairs, sex – Oh Jesus, what if my daughter fell a prey to any of these? My daughter’s requests to attend parties slowly met with a cold resistance, which she had never seen of her mother. “Oh Momma, but why?” they are all nice folks, she would say. But I would put a firm foot down.

In the nights, I would see her weep into her pillow and feel terrible about silly notions I was entertaining inside my head. She is my daughter, I would tell myself, Why don’t you trust her? She, she understood but still didn’t understand. She was a nice daughter who loved her mother and knew momma loved her too. But, why wasn’t she letting her go? Why doesn’t Momma trust her anymore?

My fear was driving me to a point of atrocious insanity, bewildering for sure, to my now grown-up daughter. Our lives suddenly seemed to assume the nature of a bundle of contradictions, when each found the other’s attitude a dividing line – to her a fence to her freedom - a fence that pricked when she wanted to jump to her greener pastures, to me the very barricade that rose like a wall between us. In the process of me being protective, and she being assuring, we, like children, were exaggerating the line beyond proportion.

In the end, I trusted my instincts and let her go. She wanted to do her graduation, staying at a hostel. My fears rose in me again but at seventeen, I saw in her eyes, the confidence that had once sparkled in her father’s eyes. I let her go.

It was true I missed her and worried about her but her assurance was not merely words, they were really meant to assure a mother in a distant land, a single mother who had stretched herself to bring her daughter up in the best of comforts. I dutifully collected every single letter she wrote to me, spoke to her once a week over the phone and counted down four months to her winter break and then another four months for her summer break. And my daughter would return, unfailingly every time, to be with her mother.

Her assertion that I was still her best friend warmed up my existence and she spoke of her friends, her college, her professors, her classes and in her final year, her boy friend. I smiled and she sensed the worry plaguing me, “Don’t worry momma, he is a very nice chap,” I will bring him over very soon. I trusted her.

My hair grayed quite a bit over the years and looking at my own reflection in the mirror, I felt the shadow of old age creeping up my physical body. I continued to work even after my daughter was gone for her studies, for it seemed really important to me to keep myself occupied, lest an idle mind would conjure up unwanted thoughts and ideas.

The day my daughter spoke of a new person, a new man in her life, I realized that she was truly grown up and whether I liked it or not, her life would take a different course in which I may no longer be the mainstream personality. She would have her family, her kids to deal with and the ball would just roll on.

I think of the last 25 years in a flash, as my daughter’s latest letter flutters in my hands. She speaks of her work life and discusses her marriage plans. “Momma, I’ll always be there for you, Love you sweetheart” she signs off. Now, I decide, it’s time to see a new phase. It’s time to redefine my goals.

Heart warming victories, silent defeats, ups and downs. It isn’t easy to be a single mother.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

In loving memory

"Some people touch our lives in ways unheard of and unknown and when they are gone so suddenly, it's like the light of our lives is gone."

My very dear aunt, her husband, her second daughter, Suganthi, (a down syndrome child) and her grandson (and my nephew) Siddharth (her first daughter's child) all passed away in a fatal road accident on the 21st of May, on their way from Chennai to Trichy. All of them are survived by my cousin, whose parents, sister and her own son, died very tragically.

Suganthi, will you come back once more to do all that you did and say all that you said?

Siddhu kutty, all your cars are still with us. Won't you come back to play again?

Athai and Athimber, we will miss you lots.

May your souls rest in peace.

Folks, when you drive, please do not drive rashly. Not only is your own life precious, but so are the lives of many others who drive on the road. It's a humble request. Thanks.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The dark secret

Through trees that rose to heights
The moon white as a dove
The sky watching with a million eyes
We played the game of love.

By the brook rippling down softly
On the earth that smelled fresh
Wrapped in your arms so closely
We nestled in our youth’s mesh.

Ah, the memory of one glorious night
It pricks the heart and it bleeds
And now, it’s your spite that I fight
No more in the ring of your needs.

The secret, I bury deep in the wood
The truth falling like sullen shadows
Here once hand in hand we stood
O’ the passion in me, still bellows.

You vow your love and steal my right
Never again to see your face
I remain the mistress for a night
A lover distant in time and space.


Temptations - How they rise again and again? Creation is such a beautiful act to indulge in, for it transports you elsewhere..

Some more strokes from a learner's hand..

In the end, I felt a lot lighter! Thank you colours..:)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The couple and an Ipod Nano : A story

Good day! So, you decided to read the story!
Ok, if you please..

(Don't ask me if it's fiction, it isn't!)

The pair in the story is an awesome one, you know! (Yeah, trust me!)..Why not, if it happens to be me and my better half ;)(call him KK)! The Ipod Nano is ours (technically what I own, though my husband sponsored it..:p).

This Ipod Nano has been my secret desire for (if not ages), definitely couple of months.

Me, I was obsessed with the idea of owning an Ipod but was never willing to talk about it, even when tempted into buying it. I have this very strange tendency to say no to things I like. If someone asked me straight on my face, if I wanted something, I would say a no; outright. This is true even if it's a thing that I really loved. After having said a no, I would rue over it and long for it, like a dumb idiot. And that, is a terrible weakness!

Both KK and I, are Forum addicts (the much talked about mall in Bangalore), that we religiously spend every saturday/sunday evening there. For the first five of our last seven visits there, he would take me to the Apple Ipod store inside Forum, and we would gaze dreamily (me, longingly!) at all those cute Ipods sitting there. While I was caught struggling with my unusual emotion, KK was stuck with a different problem. He also (desperately?) wanted to pick up a nano, but his wife (whom he knew wanted to buy one, but unfortunately) was actually convincing him not to buy it, citing a huge list of unwanted reasons - big money, savings, investments, blah, blah..I am sure, he thought "Oh come on, it's just this time! Why all this Ramayana??"

From the third time on, that we walked into the Apple store, I was getting this uneasy, silly feeling that the demo person out there, would recognise us, as the "Couple Craving for a Cute, Compact, Charismatic, Cho Chweet Thing" (or abbreviate that to C7T)". The day we were supposed to make the sixth visit to Forum, we oscillated between buying and not buying an Ipod, hmm...let me put a number to that, 13 times, thanks to me. I think KK convinced me 6 times, and I said No, all the 6 times (remember my weakness?) and finally the 7th time, he saw me sitting glum and before he could ask me what was wrong, I yelled out, "I want an Ipod da!!!" And he, he just sighed!

When we walked into the store the sixth time, we had seen the demo five times already in the white and black models and I was severely warning KK that I would hide my face, in case the folks there recognised who I was. I had shocking (of course useless) premonitions that they would pull us up by the collar and threaten us into buying a piece once and for all!

The sixth time, was a decisive one! Finally, finally, yes, we bought the dream thingy out!

Awww...so much for an Ipod, you think? Don't you? Yes, yes, I know. But, sometimes it's fun to put up crazy posts like these that are not hard on your brain cells! The serious stuff is always there!

For a round up, why not take a peek at the top ten songs in my latest playlist? It's a mad mix!

1) Maru Murai Aval Vizhi (Run)

- Short, quick rap with a beautiful instrumental ending of "Panikaatre"..

2) Enna Idhu (Nala Damayanti)

- Soft, soothing, haunting melody..

3) Oru Maalai (Gajini)

- A treat on an Ipod, Karthik rocks!

4) Thottu Thottu (Kaadhal)

- Can you give a superlative to brilliant? I love the lines, "Karu Vizhi rendum karuvarai thaano, meendum pirandhen"!

5) Vellai Pookal (Kannathil Muthamittal)

- My eyes grow misty everytime, and that's rare! ARR, I bow to thee!

6) Signore (Kannathil Muthamittal)

- Singalathu Melody! Very cute!

7) Kannathil Muthamittal (Kannathil Muthamittal)

- Jayachandran's voice is soul stirring!

8) It's the time to disco (Kal Ho Na Ho)

- I love that beat, and the laziness in the words, "Hey, we are dancing the night away!"

9) Dekho Naa (Swades)

- The strings, Alka, Udit, ARR, simplicity - extraordinary combo!

10) Suraj Hua Madham (K3G)

- The violins steal the show!

When I am bored..

I try out anything remotely possible..

Like this!!! :D

Yeah, Like that!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Divine magic

What are you, but divine magic?
So suave, so dignified, so soothing, so elegant..

I close my eyes, open my arms wide,
I speak, I confess, you smile, you listen,

In the gripping power of your silence,
You absorb my fears and my happiness
And caress me with a tender breeze
Filling me with a beautiful tranquility..

What are you, but divine magic?
So enthralling, so mesmerizing, so striking, so magnificent..

O' dear Sea, You are true bliss!

[dedicated to Marine drive, where I have spent some of the best moments of my life..:)]

Monday, May 08, 2006

To Amma, with love..

Ask her. Even today, she would definitely brand me her biggest trouble maker till my sister came into the picture. Not that I make things any better for her now, but atleast am a little grown up.

Ma, remember those days when we used to play those little, little games? Hide and seek, doctor-doctor and teacher-teacher? Well, I know all of it only through pictures you have shown me and the ones you created for me, through your flawless, innocent recollections.

Then, I grew a little bigger and I still recollect those pretty, pretty dresses you designed for me, in Singer Fashion maker. You couldn't have asked for a better model, could you? :)

I have troubled you enough, haven't I? Demanded so much patience from you. But then you did everything for me - you poured strength, inspiration and motivation into me when I needed them the most and you smiled in relief when I crossed the worst hurdles in my life.

Ah, how can I forget those fights over arranged marriages and horoscopes? I told you I would get home a man of my choice.:p. You panicked and pinched my cheek and twisted my ear and then in the night, whispered into my ears, "Trust me, dear, I'll bring you the best," and I smiled and hugged you. And you did find me one, didn't you? ([Oh yes, You did, you did!:)]

Tell you what, You are sweet, you are adorable, you are special, you are my dear friend, my lovely technophobic lady!

As you turn a golden fifty today, I wish you lots and lots of years of happiness, good health and cheer. Happy Birthday Ma, You are the best! :). I promise I will do you proud! :)

Lotsa Love..
Your big dotter..

Saturday, May 06, 2006

What shall I give thee?

For the security in your embrace,
For the strength in your grasp,
For the warmth in your touch,
For the care in your eyes,
For the bliss in your kiss,
For the kindness in your words,
For the affection in your actions,
For the selflessness in your thoughts,
For the completeness in your love,

What do I have, to give in return?

Than this:
I love you, I love you, I love you beyond words, sweetheart.