Saturday, December 29, 2007

Eighty fifth birthday

My father celebrated his eighty fifth birthday on the 26th of this month.

I wanted to write something to celebrate this rather nice human being who happens to be my father. I still need to find the right words.
So I'm taking a short cut and posting something that I wrote in my pre-blogging days, almost two years ago, which is also about my mother.

I am a privileged person, I know.

My father was, for most of his life,
like most people, biped,
walking on his own two feet,
till age and infirmity and a broken hip
added a limb, a walking stick,
made him three- legged,
a ‘tri-ped’, to coin a word.

Tri-ped, he managed, went to the park,
climbed the stairs back to his flat,
restricted, but not housebound…
Just needing that one extra limb.
Until the next hip fracture…..

Uh-oh. The tri-ped needs a walker now-
The four-legged frame becomes a trusty friend
I’m like an insect now, he laughs, I walk with six legs!

And my mother ‘inherits’ his walking stick
Her knees hurt her, she needs support
The height is adjusted to suit her,
Clever stick, adjustable, one size fits all!

Somehow they managed, “tri-ped” and “hexa-ped”
Alone in their flat, until yet another fall
Convinced them that it was time to move,
To live with a child, cede to the vicissitudes of Time…..

Much relief all around, despite occasional maternal yearnings
For lost independence. For me, no more long distance anxiety,
Or emergency flights- a peaceful rhythm established
It may be the back of beyond, but at least we are all

Together, sharing our lives, our joys, our sorrows…
After some years of use, one fine morning,
the walker breaks a leg- (at the ankle, as it were).
That too on the day of a major local festival, followed by

A Sunday- no way of getting a replacement for two days.
Relative immobility is something my father accepts,
But total immobility is frightening, especially when
Nature’s calls have to be answered- not possible
Without the walker.

The poor wounded thing needs emergency repair-
I look at curtain rods and broomsticks and mop handles
Nothing seems right. And then the walking stick appears….
Can you manage without it for a day or two? I ask my mother

I think I can, she replies, As it is I’m always leaving it
Somewhere or the other, asking you to find it for me
so I’m sure I’ll be fine. But how will you fix it?

That is easy- height re-adjusted, handle turned inward,
the walking stick tightly bandaged to the walker
once, twice, tight, safe, secure
a functional entity once more
tried out successfully, a great relief to us all!

It was symbiotic, and symbolic of my parents’ lives
one barely mobile, yet sharp of ear and memory, the other
hobbling along, despite aches and pains, needing the other’s guidance
for so many things, both their personalities deeply intertwined,

each alone relatively helpless, together still a viable entity
life companions, sharing a world of memories no one else could share
peopled with those long gone, a world changed beyond imagination.
Blessing my home with their loving presence, my father’s innate courtesy,

Gentleness and humour, my mother’s amazing faith and good cheer,
Their occasional arguments …..
Let them be together always, I pray, knowing that it’s unlikely…
One has to go first- that is the very nature of life.

In the meantime, the tri-ped and hexa-ped ( with brand new walker)
Walk slowly on, together!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Young Traveller- a lullaby tale

This post is inspired by Y's search for a good lullaby for Peanut.
Many many years ago, when my youngest was tiny, he would require much lulling to sleep.
His eldest sibling was already away at college, a non-resident child, so Sister No. 2 did much of the necessary baby-walking. (He wasn't a baby who needed baby-sitting- he demanded a couple of miles walking before he'd allow himself to sleep). He liked the 'vertical hold' position, and the little head would finally droop onto a shoulder and there would be much relief all around.
So we'd all take turns, and hats' off to the person who managed to get him to sleep.
When he was old enough to talk a little, he'd still love to be carried around when he was sleepy.
One day he asked me to sing him the " hinjay waala gaana". I had absolutely no idea what the little chap wanted. "Which song do you want? I don't know what song you're talking about".
"The song Didi sings for me on the road". ( The lane outside our house).
I was still completely clueless. Didi was summoned, and asked what song was she singing to her little brother on the road which was supposed to be the "hinjay waala gaana".
She thought for a second and then burst out laughing.
She used to sing him her version of "Nanha Munna Raahi Hoon" which went like this:

Nanha munna raahi hoon, Didi ka mein bhai hoon,
Bolo mere sangh Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind.

Got it, everyone? Jai Hind!

Monday, December 17, 2007

More quirks?

Dear 2B's Mom and Parul,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your tag.

Five of my quirks are already listed here (

Can I find even more weird things about myself?

I should consult the Sometimes Resident Engineer- I'm sure he'd have dozens of things to add.

6. I think I'm rather allergic to glamour. If someone is extremely well-dressed and well made up, I will assume that that person is rather shallow. I may take back that assumption later, but I guess I tend to like people who, like me, are more Zenful about their appearance.
(So if you are meeting me, be prepared for a casual and comfortable looking person, who will no longer be caught dead in high heels and who uses lipstick maybe twenty times a year. But I do have a wonderful collection of perfume, so I will smell rather nice!)
But if I've been reading your blog and I like what I read and hence continue to read your writings, you can be as glamorous as you want to be- I already like you.

7. I seem to be changing the colour schemes in the various rooms in my house more than most 'normal' people seem to do. Which means that I keep changing cushion covers and bed covers and rugs along with other knick knacks. I even colour coordinate the few perfume bottles that I keep on my dressing table at any given time. Not only do I kill myself doing all this, whoever comes home is supposed to notice and appreciate the new look. Especially the SRE.

I think I've revealed enough quirkiness. Whomsoever hasn't already, or has but would like to indulge in some more introspective revelations, please go ahead with this tag.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sue's tag!

Given that I've just turned fifty two, completing the decade i.e. being sixty years old seems unimaginably far away. (Since I'm considered to be a Rocking Girl Blogger, I guess I mustn't have grown up properly. I'm sure the Sometimes Resident Engineer would agree with me on this). Since I have nearly eight years to achieve these goals, I guess they may well get done. But given my firm belief in Parkinson's Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion), you can never tell. I'm also a generally contented, laid back person, so some soul-searching is required.
Here goes: Ten things I hope to achieve by the time I'm sixty:
1. To be more attuned to my spiritual self. (By sixty it would really be high time I was). This means being more disciplined in spiritual practices such as prayer and meditation, less interested in gossip and less of a glutton.
2.To be in really good physical shape. Once the gluttony is over, I should be a very shapely sixty!
3. To live in my own place i.e. be able to get rid of the umpteen trunks and original packing of many of my worldly goods which have to be around since we move every few years.
4. To have offloaded many of the above-mentioned worldly goods upon my offspring and other deserving candidates.
5. To have got all my documents well organized and filed, a process which has never succeeded till now, despite all my good intentions.
6. To be a good and loving m-i-l and grandmother. ( I have a son-in-law, but that relationship is always less fraught, don't you think?)
7. To continue to be my husband's best friend ( and severest critic, of course).
8. To para-jump at least once.
9. To have happy, contented, reasonably well settled children.
10. To be content.

Ten things that I miss having in my life now, in no particular order.

My brother. It's not yet two years since he left us, leaving this empty space in our hearts.

My kids, all four of them. Especially in the afternoon, when I would love to have someone make me a cup of tea! (Trust me to have a vested interest). Tea or no tea, I do miss them.

A flexible body. I can't sit cross legged on the floor now, my knees are too stiff.

Plants- used to have lots of them around. Giving them away each time we moved was a pain.
Last two stations, no plants.

Leisure time. I don't know where all my time disappears- I always have loads of things pending, this when I'm not gainfully employed. I must be most inefficient.

A good family doctor. We've had such a wonderful doctor some years and postings ago, no one else can live up to his standards.

Janahware pottery. I have some, have broken some, and would love to acquire some more. (I believe the factory is closed now). There was a bowl I used for about twenty years before it broke.

The 'kalai-waala'- I used to be fascinated when the brass vessels were all shiny and silvery on the inside when this itinerant craftsman wrought his magic!

Roads without traffic jams!

Enjoying sweets without thinking about my damn blood sugar.

I'd like to tag Jawahara, Hiphop grandmom, Neha, Broom, Lekhni, and the Mad Momma.
Let me clarify- this is for the next decade you complete, not necessarily sixty!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


[rockin'+girl+blogger.jpg] [schmoozeawardou81.jpg]
Yashodhara had given me these awards quite a while ago. While I was quite pleased to receive them, I was also quite quite clueless about to how to bring them to my blog! Young Sue came visiting yesterday, bearing a rather scrumptious chocolate and honey cake, and no Bhablet, who was enjoying a well deserved afternoon nap. She was consulted, and reminded me of the existence of the right-click button on the mouse, which I usually tend to ignore.
And, by trial and error, managed it this morning!
Y, thanks for both, especially for the first : I'm pleased to be called 'rocking', girl seems to be rather optimistic, but blogger is the identity I am really enjoying!
And I take Schmooze in the nice sense of the word.
Thank you kindly, says the slowcoach dinosaur.

With joy I beheld a.......... cockroach!

I can't believe that I've actually written this. Me, the eejit who used to scream if a flying cockroach was anywhere in the same room as I was. (I wasn't even very comfortable eating litchis as a child, because the seeds reminded me of cockroaches).
I'd been rather paranoid about the mouse that was lurking in my bedroom a couple of weeks ago.
I'd only noticed it because of an almost subliminal movement on the floor. It was a tiny, rather cute looking 'mouselet'. What was bothersome was its potential peskiness. I could see it chewing up the computer's zillion wires, the clothes that the Sometimes Resident Engineer so casually flings upon the floor, hopping into our wardrobes ( which Someone who lives in this house usually leaves open) and chewing up all kinds of belongings. And then finding a soul mate and going forth and multiplying. And then me having to buy nasty poisons, and trying to locate the stinky corpses from behind heavy pieces of furniture. So much trauma and turmoil induced by one night's sighting!
A week or so after that my parents, sister and I were watching a movie in our sitting room. Again, a fleeting movement on the floor. I get up to look, and joy of joys- it is not the mouse! Just another damn cockroach.....sprayable, disposable, easier to deal with vermin. NOT THE MOUSE!

I haven't spotted it in the last fortnight. I sincerely hope that it found its way out of my house.
Do you remember the movie "Fiddler on the Roof"? In the spirit of the rabbi of Anatevka blessing the Tsar, I offer a blessing to the tiny mouse: "Lord, bless and keep the mouse.......away from us."