Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One year ago today

One year ago today was a Sunday.

(This is a leap year, or else today would have been a Monday).

It was the last day our weekly satsang was held at Mr. H's home,
He had retired, and had to vacate his centrally located government accommodation with a sprawling garden, after 10-12 years of hosting our particular satsang.
After we moved back to the NCR, it became our almost weekly meeting place, my sister's and mine.

It was, perhaps, also a way of reliving our childhood and youth, when we often went with our parents to the satsang on Sundays, in a different location, but nonetheless an inextricable part of our Sundays.

Although the RE is not interested in attending our satsang, he usually drives me there, then sits in the car with his newspaper, iPad, book, mobile phone, keeping himself busy for the hour or so that I'm inside. I am truly grateful to him for this. We sometimes venture further afield, sometimes go straight home. ( I sometimes hire a driver for the morning, if the RE's not available).

On this final Sunday, my cousin and his family were visiting us from out of town. They decided to come too, which was wonderful. We'd planned to go to Dilli Haat afterwards, have lunch out, and then go home. My sister was often an insistent host, so we thought we'd visit her if she insisted, or else go on our merry way.

There was a poignancy to that morning's service. It was the end of an era. The new location was miles away, in East Delhi, and many regulars would not be able to go there.

My sister and I would always sit together in chairs in the verandah, as our creaky knees no longer let us sit comfortably on the floor. That was the day I noticed how beautiful and dark her eyelashes were. I even asked her if she'd used kohl, but she said that she never did.

We chatted for a few minutes after the service, and I hugged her and moved towards the car. She seemed a little tired that day, and wasn't her usual insistent self. ( I recall a time I had to go several kilometers out of my way to go and see the spring flowers in her garden. I'm so glad I did).
My cousin and his family spent a few moments chatting with her, and then joined us.

That was the last time I met my sister.

She passed away suddenly less than a month later. We spoke on the phone a few times, even a few hours before she died. It still feels unreal.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A very special day

So many loves throughout this life,
loves both given and loves received
Loves in the past, some long forgotten,
Many gone from this world, 
some merely lost to me.
Perhaps more love than I ever deserved
has come my way, truly blessing me.

And then there's this new love
who has overtaken our lives
whose name(s) we chant day in and day out
the spouse and I, crazy Dadi and Dadu
Far away though we may be, 
convinced that our thoughts get through
the miles that separate us......

So full of joy today, willing to shout out
to the world, be of good cheer, 
may joy abound everywhere, 
let the world forget it's myriad woes
just for a day
as we celebrate our little grandchild's 
second birthday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Owning half the year

Life was simple then,
summer months were
no big deal for us,
no particular events
made them ours.
But from Independence Day,
(my mother's birthday),
to Republic Day,
my parents' anniversary,
each month
'belonged' to us.
August, mummy's birthday
September, sister's,
October, brother's
November, mine,
and December Daddy's,
and their January anniversary.

Of course I've added
many more dates and months to this list,
but my original family calendar
feels so empty now.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Her voice, my voice.....

When you speak
your own voice
comes from inside you
the sound waves you generate
traverse both  internal and external paths,
impinging on your eardrums in distinct ways,
the voice you hear and the voice others hear
two different entities.

It's only a good recording
that helps you know
how you sound to others.

Recording the toddler's antics
on my phone camera,
I found myself
laughing aloud,
singing  along with the music,
and talking to her
or about her
in my late sister's voice.

After all these years of
thinking myself as
so different from my sister
Sounding like her
is now a comfort.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mommy House

Mommy House
was what my daughters asked for,
whenever they came over,
after the toddler had left.
Enough Dadi House now,
We miss the feel of home
and the toddler isn't here
but we are,
so make it nice again
for yourselves,
and your visiting
nearby children.

Me being me,
the colour scheme queen,
was inspired today
by the freezing cold
to do up the living room
and dining room
in warm, flame colours,
a welcome change
from the cool teal blues.
The maid had a day off
so the floors are dirty,
but after today's
yoga class,
breakfast making
dishwashing session,
and the big change
it doesn't really matter-
please excuse!

Let me share Mommy House, and Mommy herself in her winter headgear, (looking most squaw-like,
I know) with you, dear readers!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The unbearable strangeness of home

This rented flat
has charmed me, again and again
(though my heart still wants its 'own' place,
with no original packing materials
stored against a 'final' move.
Though I know that
nothing on this earth is final.
not the earth itself,
nor the people,
nor their houses).

Still charmed by the space,
the sunlight,
the fresh air,
all still present, still appealing,
but now also peopled by memories
of the tiny figure
who hopped and skipped around,
calling out to the pigeons, and her parents
and us, fond grandparents, and the fans,
and her toys ( especially Doggie)
it remains, more or less,
as baby-proofed as it was
ten days ago.

Those artefacts that added
character, personality, and colour
to our home,
I'm aware of their absence,
each one of them that is missing,
hiding in safe spaces.
I think of them stored away, safely,
asking me, softly,
when will we come out again?

The lacquered Japanese music box,
the Turkish bowls,
the ceramic candle holders
the brown and blue glazed jugs
on the sideboard,
the ceraminc Ganesha from Pondicherry
almost abstract, a subtlety ...
The fat turtle from New Mexico
with horsehair burned patterns,
a gift from one son,
brought to us by the other
The antique, timeless clock,
the Dokra musicians,
the lost wax 'people tree',
the many bowls and candles
and photo frames,
I remember them all
and I miss them all,
but I cannot bring myself
to bring them out again.

Not yet.
Not yet.
Not yet.

Life goes on without them,
As it does without
the toddler who left us last week,
who will be a different person
when we meet her next.

We see her in the garden downstairs,
where, like a little puppy,
she held my finger and led me
to where ever she wanted to go.
Holding on to her so that she wouldn't
fall into the ornamental pond,
fascinated by her own reflection!
The swings, the slides, the merry-go-round,
Many little people there,
but not our little person,
Who sat on my lap
in the colony vegetable shop
and ate a (complimentary) banana
after walking what seems like a huge distance
for one of her size!

Who knows when we will see her again,
and how old will she be then,
How much older will we be? 

And yet time cannot, and must not, be frozen.

We will delight in her as she grows,
our precious grandchild,
waiting for the day when Skype
and phones make sense to her,
until we meet again.
Our home still feels strange, though.
And so empty.......

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Toddler is Curious

As is but natural. All toddlers are. The world is theirs to explore.
Our granddaughter is no exception. My son calls her the FBI.
We called her Dopey Chand Jasoos, having combined the title of a 1982 film and a particular expression that our son also used to have in moments of deep thought.

We were meticulous in our efforts to toddler proof the house.We needed to protect both her and our valuables from each other!

Every accessible (to the toddler) plugpoint was taped shut.

All breakables were removed from low levels.

All our ceramic coasters were packed away.

Our large, low, glass topped coffee table was covered first with a folded durree, then with a thick bedcover as tablecloth. This was our phone table, and the toddler would sit on it and press the orange speaker icon on the telephone, thrilled with the sound it made.

We had small locks put on our 1985 vintage sideboard, which housed some crockery and our medicines, as well as some alcohol- the section on the right is called the dava-daaru almaari!

My old glass-fronted Parsi crockery cupboard had a lock but no key. The carpenter carefully removed the lock, which the RE then took to the neighbourhood chaabiwallah, and brought it back with a pair of keys., which the carpenter then re-installed.

The RE's filing cabinet had keys, which were in hiding in his desk which had been pushed to the wall. So the doors were tied up with a ribbon, but the drawers above were left to the mercy of the toddler, who would open them whenever she chose to. The contents were boring papers and envelopes, hence safe!

The RE thought that the bookshelf in the dining room would be safe enough, but I remember well the toddlers I have dealt with. My motto remains: never trust a toddler. I tied the handles of the bookshelf doors together with ribbons. One afternoon, while sitting on her mother's lap at the dining table, the smart young lady unties the ribbon and gleefully shows me that she can open the bookshelf doors!

All objects on our bedside tables are endangered. Books are picked up and examined. Picture frames need to be rescued, as does our early morning thyroid medication. Lamps and their switches fascinate her.

The day they were leaving was the day Ms. Toddler decided to raid her grandma's kitchen. After investigating each of the lower cupboards, she was happy with several empty plastic boxes, and also demanded my rolling pin, which is identical to the one they have in their home. Several spatulae joined the kitchen equipment on the carpet.

It's almost a week since they left. Our world has changed once more. We still haven't put many things back in their original places. The TV is reinstated as our major entertainment source. The carpet looks forlorn, bereft of both toys and toddler. We miss our little Jasoos and her thorough investigations.