Tag Archives: Family

13 And 30 On The Beach

I’m back from my week-long break and I’ll write a more detailed post in due course of time. It’s been a week full of experiences (travelling to another place always is, isn’t it?). I still have to sort out my thoughts, shake the sand out of my shoes (yes, there was a beach too!), sift through the photographs (the camera gave way near mid-way but the trusty phone-cam backed me up) and put it all down. Still, I wanted to say hello and it’s good to be back and did you miss me?

Here’s one picture from the collection – from an evening spent on a sweeping vast beach aptly named ‘Lonely Beach’. That’s my 13-year-old cousin along with me, displaying the spoils of our visit. This is for Siddhu, the mischievous, lovable bundle of energy who shared his energy with me…for making my vacation so much fun and really completing the experience of visiting with cousins at the native place.

siddhu-and-i-shells

Whether you’re 13 or 30, a good old-fashioned summer vacation with the family will never lose its charm.

At The End Of The Lane

The Raja family took the flight out today. Uncle has retired so they’re moving to the house they bought in their native city awhile back, in anticipation of just such a time. They leave behind a spacious flat on the top floor of a building at the end of a leafy, shaded lane, a company flat in description but home for nearly two decades to a family I’ve known well.

On our mantlepiece there was a family photograph that was shot in the Rajas’ living room by uncle. We had a new party-for-two-families on their sprawling terrace one year. When a powercut during late class stranded me in a deserted college building and I couldn’t reach my parents, I called aunty and she said, “Come over, I’ve made pulao.” I’ve spent innumerable Sundays lounging around in front of their TV set, drifting in and out of conversations with uncle-and-dad and aunty-and-mum, playing Uno with their daughters and napping in their bedroom. After the weekly tutorials I’d go over to their house next door and meet my parents for dinner there. The ‘Neglected parents association’ was formed one evening after a gripe session of how the younger generation never wanted to spend time with them anymore – resulting in a monthly (if not more frequent) movie/dinner/outing plan between my parents and uncle-aunty.

During the July 26 deluge, the worst ever rain in Mumbai and the only natural calamity I’ve ever had to face, I couldn’t cross the water-logged areas to get home. So I turned around and waded down a dark gulli, the water level rising with each step, even as my fellow-traveller urged me to pull back. I trudged on because I knew exactly where the road would stop sloping, I knew we’d make it to the building without drowning. I knew this because we were going to the Rajas’ place and I’ve been going back home there for years now.

We said our fond farewells yesterday. I know we will keep in touch. Uncle and dad are buddies, an unusual friendship for both of them, typically shy South-Indian men. Mum and aunty will continue their phone updates of health, TV, movies and unwed daughters. Priya, the baby of the family left for the US ages back. And her elder sister messaged me last night,

All the best to you, babes. Though we are not best friends, we have a different relationship. Keep in touch and come down to see us soon.

I know. This is a relationship that goes beyond an individual’s common interests with another. It is bigger than any of the pairs in our two families. It is a familial bond and it binds us all together. We will stay friends and family.

But the top floor flat in the building at the end of the lane is second home no more.

Not According To Plan

I wasn’t a cool kid. I wasn’t a hip teenager. I was perpetually confused, secretly angsty and with no Lakshya. I had no life. But I had a plan. A decade later I look back and wonder, How ever did things turn out so differently?!

Here’s how.

I dropped out of college for a year so ended up graduating a year late. Still, I thought I’d make up for it with extra effort in that last year. I almost made it. I missed getting into the b-school of my choice by 2 points.

I also managed to get my heart broken and shattered to smirtheens (some of the shards have still not been recovered) by the person unlikeliest to hurt me – my best friend. The worst bit was that I had resisted him for years, knowing all along that it would ‘only end in tears’. It did and knowing that beforehand didn’t make it any easier to deal with.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I still had a plan and at that time I couldn’t think fast enough to change. So I decided to give it one more shot and just revise my schedules by a year or two. Everyone advised me to not spend that year sitting at home and studying. So I got a job. My first job changed my life in unimaginable ways.

First and foremost when I fixated on MBA, I decided that with my innate interest in human behaviour (I used to cut physics classes to sit in on the psychology courses or reading popular theories on human interactions)…human resources would be the place for me. In the seven months that I worked for a marketing agency, I realised that my interest and my skills lay quite elsewhere and thus came the first change in my gameplan. I switched my preference from H.R. to Marketing. It’s a change I’ve always been grateful for. I think I’d have been miserable as an HR professional.

Secondly I was working (still driven insanely by a desire to prove myself and leave the failed year far behind) and preparing for the entrance exams together. In that very fine balance, I somehow tipped over into work and at the end of the year I was even further from that prized college admission than I was a year back.

So I squared my shoulders and decided a change was in order. I reasoned that it did not make sense to spend more than 2 years preparing for a course that lasted 2 years (no matter how prized the degree/diploma may be). It was the first ever big desicion of my life and I remember it clicking into place practically overnight. I brooked no arguments from family and friends (all eager to see me follow in the footsteps of my high-achiever cousins) and (quite surprising to me) no one asked me to consider changing my mind. I had never thought of myself as a desicive person and it was odd, how right that felt.

So I started my post-graduate program at 22 instead of 20. I was still keen to stick to the plan.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I never anticipated the dot-com crash, the twin towers falling and the economy dipping so bad that there were no jobs available when I finally finished b-school at 24. I also did not think (not in my wildest dreams) that I, of all people, would fall into an abusive, destructive relationship. These two things are inextrobly linked in my mind as the causes of the most tumultous phase in the last decade of my life. At 24, I was drained out of every drop of my hopeful, cheerful, inspired energy.

On one hand, it was a stomach-twisting experience to scrounge for jobs (when I’d got my first one with practically zero effort) after an MBA (and I thought it would actually enhance my prospects) and when I did get offers, it was for half of what I had earned as a fresh graduate. On the other hand there was the acrid, heart-burning sense of humiliation during the relationship and the residual low self-esteem and hopelessness after it ended. I felt like every single positive emotion of love, joy, happiness and hope had been wrung out of me and stomped to death. All that was left was an empty shell of a human being with nothing at all to look forward to.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I finally got a job six months after the b-school graduation. It was an triumph and an angry triumph. Not a happy celebration but an ‘up-yours’ answer to the placement cell I had walked out of (on a matter of principle, such pride I had in my beliefs in those days), the classmates who’d borrowed my notes for two years and then refused to acknowledge me at the farewell meet because I didn’t have a job and everyone else who’d written me off as a failure.

I also found a man, not the love of my life, not a steady relationship but the love that healed me. The difference is the same as that between a nourishing, hot meal and a life-saving drug. He salvaged what was left of me, the real me, the one that could feel..and for that I will forever be grateful to him. But I did not fall in love with him or find that elusive soulmate connection in our relationship.

That experience blurred my definitions of love and relationships. Timing stopped being a part of it after that.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

At the end of that year, I realised that it was a miserable job, one I hated and that drained me of whatever little joy I was managing to dredge up everyday. In the second no-two-ways-about-it desicion of my life, I quit my job and career, indefinitely. It was the biggest and best desicion of my life. My parents asked me when I was planning to go back to work and I replied,

Maybe never.

I’m sure that didn’t make them very happy but I was all out of the make-other-people happy ingredient. I’m proud to say that I continued to pay my own bills and didn’t even need to cut down on expenses in those paycheck-less months. I’m also happy at the memory of the next alumni meet I went to, where the same bunch of people who’d followed me through college, ignored me at farewell, sucked up to me again as soon as I got a good job, finally had no clue how to react. One of them said,

You’re on a break? Wow, lucky yaar. I wish I could do that.

I replied,

Why don’t you? Have you taken any loans? Are you married or supporting someone else? Haven’t you saved anything from the past two years?

Once again, that ‘up-yours’ feeling but laced with a little less bitterness. I don’t know if I was growing up but I think I was definitely starting to be a little less intense about other people’s reactions. Not forgiving of them, (oh not yet) but at least accepting that some people would be jerks and cowards and miserable louses.

I think I did put the 5 months to good use. I wrote a lot. I took long walks on the beach by myself. I fell in love once and let him go, with complete peace and not a leaf of anger or injury. I learnt to read the tarot and even wrote a blog about my spiritual experiments. I blogged and discovered that I had a captive audience.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Then I woke up one Thursday morning and said to my mother,

Today I’m going to get a job.

And it really was as simple as that. I drafted my resume and mailed it out. In less than 24 hours, I had a call lined up. I trekked across the city for a written test, stayed back for an interview and was offered a job before I even got home. By Tuesday next, I had accepted and was poised to start my new job in 10 days.

In those ten days, I finally actualised something I had dreamt of since I was 18. I got a tattoo (which went on to become my personal symbol and logo). On the same day, I watched the love of my life get engaged to someone else. That week, I severed the longest, most poignant (and poisonous) relationship of my life and walked away, vowing not to shed another tear for him.

I was 26.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

So much has happened in the 3-odd years from that time. The only thing that’s been constant (apart from change, as the Gita would remind us) has been the company I work for. I’ve been promoted twice, had 3 bosses, changed office locations twice and made an internal transfer. I still don’t know if I’m ‘someone important in the workforce’ as I’d hoped but I can reasonably entertain such illusions.

I still love kids and continue to hold out for the dream that I’ll be a mother some day. Maybe I’ll adopt, maybe I’ll get a donor. Or maybe my plan will just shift by oh, about a decade. 🙂

The Gameplan (The Perfect Life)

One of my landmark conversations with my boss started off with,

I have a plan.

He smiled and said,

I’m always glad to hear that. Let’s hear it.

And in that moment I knew he had assessed me (right) before I’d assessed myself and he liked what he saw. I like it too. I like being prepared, I like making lists. I always have a plan.

Of course I would have a game-plan for life. It got formulated somewhere in my late teens and pretty well fell into shape as I eased out of them, so let’s say for convenience that the plan is about a decade old now, shall we? Here’s what I planned my life would look like –

20 yrs – Graduate. I was put into school a year early so this wasn’t really an unrealistic goal. Next step: get into one of the big b-schools

22 yrs – Complete education (finally!) and start working.

23/24 yrs – Get married to an intelligent, loving, sensible man (preferably a few years older than me) and be a part of a cool, smart, urban couple. Have great sex, read together, enjoy music together, lounge around Sundays in kurtas and jeans.

26 yrs – Have baby no.1. Having spent at least a year enjoying the marital relationship before comitting to parenthood. Maternity leave to be spent exploring art and music since presumably working life wouldn’t allow for it.

29/30 yrs – Have baby no.2. Preferably of opposite sex as baby no.1 (one of each). Three year gap is recommended for healthy sibling relationships. I definitely want to have more than one child. Having been an only child myself, I wouldn’t want my kid to grow up without siblings. Maternity leave no.2 activities to be a continuation or alternate to maternity leave no.1

30 yrs – Take a sabbatical to spend time with children and re-assess career. By this time, I expected to have worked for about 8 years and be an ‘important’ person in the workforce. Probably work from home.

32 yrs – Back to work. Kids in school and pre-school respectively.

45 yrs – Quit career. Kid no.1 is 19 yrs old and kid no.2 is 16. Write a book.

47 yrs – Both kids are legal adults now and presumably able to fend for selves. Husband should have had as much sex, affection, attention, energy as he could possibly want from me by now. Leave home and spend a year in a Buddhist monastry.

48 yrs – Return to everyday living/stay in the monastry/who knows? I figured that by this time I’d know what I really wanted to do with my life and would have checked off all the necessary expectations so people would leave me alone to live my life as I wanted.

Career success – check
Financial stability – check
Artistic fulfilment (music, art, writing) – check
Marriage – check
Motherhood – check

I still think it was a damn good, if somewhat ambitious plan. What a lovely life it would have been if it had gone that way!

Another Candle On The Cake

My body really is a wonderland. It celebrates 29 years of existance this week. And I’m still discovering new things I can do with it.

I don’t feel old. Or older. Or wiser.

All I am is happy, very happy. I’ve felt very loved and cherished this month. Thank you, world.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Almost every single present I received this year was a book! 🙂 Yes, my world finally understands me. And Landmark ought to make me honorary platinum-studded-with-diamonds something and give me books free for all the publicity and extra sales I’ve single-handedly generated for them!!

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I’m happier and more grateful. I’m also thinking that it is worth learning to be a bit of a brat. Since people don’t always take you seriously or consider that you have feelings…unless you let them know it – I’m going to!!

So those of you who did not make it to my party or turned up and left in 20 minutes (yes, you know I’m talking to you…I hope you are cringing)…I’m very, very, very upset! Yes, I did have a number of wonderful people who did turn up and stay to celebrate with me. But people aren’t like oranges where if you lose one, you can pick up another. Each of you is special to me and irreplaceable. My party (and my life) is incomplete without your presence in it. And you reminded me of that on my birthday. Are you feeling guilty enough about it? Good, because I want you to. I would if I had done that, too.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

My parents think of the most amazing gifts! One year they organised a treasure hunt with each clue attached to a gift! Some of the things I received were a book, new sandals, a handbag, a gold chain, a diamond pendant and a stuffed toy. This year I received a book, a new blouse (the kind mum is always raising disapproving eyebrows at my wearing), a silk tie/sash and among other things…a set of towels! 😆 So cute, no? But I needed them anyway.

When I think back to the best gifts I’ve received from them…

1. Childcraft
2. The Landmark Forum
3. The lesson of always thinking for myself
4. Life

Yes, I’m aware that this is extremely Hallmark-greeting card. So I’m sentimental, so I’m cliched, so sue me. 🙂

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

A late realisation that made me feel good – while battling allegations that I..

– diet
– am anorexic
– suffer bulimia

…I protested,

But my body is that way!!! I haven’t lost an inch since I was sixteen. I’ve worn exactly the same size of jeans for all these years!!!

My friend observed that most people in their late (very late!) twenties couldn’t say that. Yes, errm.

And the Evil A.E. remarked on b-day,

You’re eating chips and cheese dip?! Now that you’re older you know you can’t be doing things like that..!

Phooey to him, I’ll eat what I like. And stay happy with that, I hope.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I also had some flash revelations right during my party.

1. I don’t fall in love easily. It’s like the second-most difficult thing on my planet, right after getting me to stop talking.

2. I am a wanter. When I want, I want want WANT want. Nothing stands in my way. Not emotions, not fairness, not relationships, not social approval. That’s quite different from caring, love or committment.

3. I find myself in possession of an ego. A SuperEgo. I don’t forgive easily (but of course I told you that). I can be annoyed, irritated, upset, angered, enraged, wrathful and furious. I know the difference between each of these. And the object of my ire will know…eventually.

4. There is too much ‘I’ in this list so I’m stopping right here. I’m bored easily, even by talk about myself.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I even managed to spend an hour at my favorite bookstore, reading. If my ‘imaginary date’ had come looking for me, he would have found me in the very boy-aisle of comics/graphic novels reading the very girl “Spiderman loves Mary Jane“. I’m a just a girl in the boys’ section. 😉

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

So I had a party. The first one in this new house. The second one in my twenties, the last one being 5 years back. Only two guests from that party were at this one. One of them was my chaddi-buddy whom I’ve known since I was three. I gave him a rundown on the guests, adding “She’s a really good friend” to which he raised an eyebrow and said, “Tell me who isn’t?”. Well, I’m just lucky. In a way, sort of. I know some wonderful, lovely people. Only there are loads of them and they don’t all stay lovely for that long, simultaneously (especially if I date them, wherein they turn into Neanderthal man-meets-Psychopathic Creep). So there’s a new set of wonderful, lovely people now. But I really, truly adore them all to bits.

Maybe it isn’t that I’m not meant for love. Maybe I’m meant exclusively for short-term love.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

They say Cancerians are loyal. They say we’re changeable too. I’ll quote something I read a long time ago…

Here’s to me and here’s to you
And here’s to love and laughter
I’ll be true as long as you
Not a single moment after

And that is my birthday toast to my body, my relationships and to this world. Cheers!

Photographs

I was burrowing through my closet the other day. Buried beneath the long-forgotten scarves and shawls and tee-shirts, I found an album.

Just before he left for his first trip back home to Delhi, he asked me,

What shall I get you from there?

And I said.

Yourself. Lots of yourself.

‘Lots’??

Yes. You with your family. Your school. College. Friends. Festive occasions. Baby memories. Photographs. I want to see what the rest of your life is like.

He looked at me like I was crazy. (Those were early days after all..in the months that followed, he got used to my weird requests). But he brought back photographs. An album full of them.
Continue reading

The Vagina Dialogues – 2

My last tweet reads:

Ever get the feeling you’ve said all there is to say? That’s NOT where I am. I feel like nothing I can say now can top what I already said.

Let me try anyway. It’s not going to be pretty or classy or well-written. There are just too many thoughts running around in my mind and crash-boom-landing into each other.

I wrote this post last week. Of course you know that, you were there. For the first time on this blog, I’ve felt like I wasn’t alone, speaking out to a vast vacuum with no idea of where my words and ideas were landing, who was picking them up and what they were turning them into. Not any more. You were there with me, reading, re-living my experience and comforting me.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

It wasn’t a ‘this happened to me now so I must note it down in my journal’ entry. The Idea-smithy is very little a journal in that sense. But it was something that was experienced a long ago, a multitude of experiences – of events, of situations, of sensations, of emotions, of relationships, of people and of realizations. That’s what I write about and so I wrote about it.

Like I said, I wasn’t confident about sharing it online so I sent it to a few friends. Finally, after a couple of hours of sitting on tenterhooks, I did what I always do when I’ve been nervous long enough – threw out my fears, walked out and said,

I can’t bear to be scared anymore. So here I am, come and hit me if you will!!!!

Metaphorically of course, to the demons in my mind. Then I published the post, switched my computer off and walked out, intending not to look at the blog till Monday.

I went out with my dear, darling N and the little lord. My little lord, the only man to read the post before it was published, woke up from his nap and hugged me. Then the three of us played a giggly, silly Scrabble, ate dinner with our fingers and went home. As N dropped me off, she hugged me and said,

I’m glad you put it up. Brave girl! Good night!

As I opened my door, the phone buzzed with my no-nonsense, rockstar friend messaging,

You make me a proud blogger tonight! I’m so glad you put up the post! You rock, girl!

Earlier that evening, the lovely Meetu told me,

I shared the piece with some friends and they all thought it was beautiful! You should put it up!

And later that week, when I met her for lunch, over the fun, back-slapping banter, she leaned over and said,

No weirdos as yet. I’ve been watching. People are surprisingly decent!

So yes, this post is turning out to be a sentimental replaying of the things that people have been saying to me about my post.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

There is a reason I’ve been quiet for a week. A week, can you believe that of me!! No new posts, no changing the yahoo avatar, not even a reply to the comments, prompting my indignant spitfire pal to remark,

Woman, at least answer those comments! People are saying such nice things to you!

The truth is…I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to say.

I wrote the post for purely selfish reasons, like something I should have written in a diary years ago but decided to finally go ahead and do it – on the blog instead. I thought I’d get a few comments from people sympathizing (which I’d hate) and a couple of friends patting me on the arm and maybe, oh just maybe a couple of weirdass-trolly reactions.

What I was completely unprepared for was this. It feels like that post was sitting atop a huge lock of emotions and experiences – my own and a lot of other people’s. All week I’ve been caught in the flood. Comments, emails, IMs, tweets, messages and phone calls. Friends have called of course. Strangers have written in and shared intimate experiences that I can’t even talk about since I’m bound to silence by their confidence. And most of all – the people in between, neither friends nor strangers, people with whom I have a connection but not a relationship – have shown me their human faces and I am finding it really difficult to keep them at arm’s length now.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Someone I was annoyed with months back and stopped calling, called me and said she had read the post. And in the next moment, she was in tears and telling me about a relative who had abused her at age 5.

A colleague sent me a message telling me how much it had touched him. A colleague I say? Yes, I’ve maintained a strict no family-no colleagues policy on this blog till last week. Writing that post dissolved a lot of my own rules. And when someone at work asked me for my address, I gave it and found this message the next day.

People I hang out with often and never discuss anything more personal than my boyfriends and even that only in jest – spoke to me and told me quite honestly that they didn’t know what to say. I just wanted to say that I appreciated that. It was like I showed them my real self – the one behind the smart comments and style statements – the messy, emotional one and they responded. Well.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I was also pleasantly – most pleasantly! – surprised by the reactions of men. Friends and strangers. I do not believe (well, not anymore) that every man is a sex-starved monster. I have had the privilege of knowing and being loved by many wonderful men. Family, friends and yes, lovers too. Some of the men who have commented have demonstrated in their own ways how much they love and support the women in their life. For the women who have suffered and relate to my experience, please do read those comments as a reminder that half of the world – the other half – may be just as caring and wonderful as we are.

I want to add that my experience does not trivialize the brutal experiences suffered by hundreds of little boys worldover. Child abuse is not gender-specific and I suspect a lot of men relate just as well to my post as women do. What’s worse is that women still have a chance of receiving some comfort and sympathy when they share their experience but I think most men don’t even feel comfortable enough to talk about their horrors. My heart goes out to them. I wish I could say more. I wish I could do something to make the world a safer place for children – girls and boys.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

The most heart-rending of all has been reading and listening to the experiences of others. People who haven’t spoken about their horrors opened their hearts and bruised souls up to me. I feel so helpless, so powerless. I have no balm for their pain. Nothing to say except mumble,

I know, I know. At least I think I do.

Almost guiltily I find myself feeling really grateful, so very thankful for how lucky I am. I was not assaulted by a member of my family. I was 9 or 10 and reasonably old enough to understand what was happening. And though my post didn’t cover this very well, I had a supportive family. They believed me when I told them and did everything in their power to make things easier and as normal as possible for me. They did not restrict my freedom, guilt-trip me or even probe me about my experience. And years later, I learnt just what a horrible experience it was for them to learn that their little one was experiencing something that they could not protect her from. But they let me learn and supported me in every way they could, my parents did. What a blessing that was, I can see only all these years later.

In the later years, I also had access to books, media and the Internet where I was able to learn more about what I had experienced. I learnt about trauma, child abuse, sexual assault and the various ramifications (physical, psychological, mental) on the victims. I discovered – and which to this day I hold true – that the nastiest cut, the most potent poison in such an experience is the fact that the victim ends up as the casualty AND the guilty party. Whether it is self-imposed or societal, most people I spoke to after this post exhibited either directly or otherwise, an unwillingness, an embarassment, fear even of sharing their experience with other people. My first reaction while putting up the post was defensive as well.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

One particular friend I shared this experience with, shared something of her own. A brutal experience but also the pain inside her, which didn’t come out in the form of tears but which I could see in her eyes. Her words chilled me.

I find sex disgusting.

And then for thought,

You know the odd thing is that we are the kind of women no one would ever expect to experience things like this. We’re bold, proud, smart and independent. The kind of women who won’t take shit from anyone at all. Who would think it?

It made me think that we’re that way not despite our experiences but because of them. Somewhere after the realisation that there is no one around to ‘make things alright’ for you – no teacher to shoo off bullies, no parent to pull you out of trouble, no friend to stand up for you – somewhere after that, you make up your mind that you’ll take care of yourself after that. Forever and forever.

All I can say is how glad I am to have written it. I really thought it was over and the fact is that it is. And yet the healing goes on. Every conversation, every relationship is a proof of the fact. Every minute is a reminder to myself that it is okay to ask for help.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

There’s something else I’d like to add. From the comments I received, I gather that some of you think that I’m being brave and noble and forgiving of my guitar teacher. The truth is that I’m not. I am not a forgiving person (ask my boyfriends, ask my ex-friends, ask anyone who has ever stood me up, said something nasty to me or hurt me). I am one of those people who carries a hurt like a badge of honour long after the war is over. But the truth is that I really feel nothing more for my old teacher. No anger, no resentment, no fear, no coldness, no disgust. Nothing. It is just as if he were a total stranger and I didn’t know him at all.

Perhaps not entirely unrelated, I took guitar lessons for 3 years and even played on stage once. But to this day I can’t play a tune. It isn’t that I haven’t tried. But I hold the guitar, mutely and there is no recollection of the chords and notes that I know I used to be able to recognize. I have no connection or recollection with that music anymore. It is as if my teacher and my guitar are both strangers to me. I gave away my guitar a few years later, donated it to an orphanage. I can only hope that it brought some child more happiness and music than it brought me.

I remember reading once that Rudyard Kipling grew up away from his parents, with a nanny who battered and abused him. He wrote much later that the experience had left him unable to feel any anger or hatred. I know just what he meant. There is nothing more that I know how to say about this experience.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Thank you.

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you so much for writing to me. Thank you for telling me that it will be okay. Thank you for sharing your souls with me. I’m so, so very touched.

And finally, I’m sorry for being such a moony, loony sentimentalist and embarassing you (some of you anyway!). I blame it on the rains, they always have a weird effect on me. If you like my fiery, sharp-tongued, stylized self better (and oh, say you do, I work hard on it!), I’ll be back soon!

Daddy Cool

He picks out the notes to a vaguely-familiar tune that I recognize as a part of the ‘Beginner’s Basics’ on a guitar. Mornings are practice times. During yoga class, he’s the only one who can bend over and touch his toes gracefully. This following week, he’s signed up for a workshop on Kallaripattu, that ancient martial art-form from Kerala.I am not sure but I’m willing to bet that in the second, just as in the first, he’s the oldest member in his class.

He’s well over 50.

He’s the first man in my life. Also The First Man.
Continue reading

The Generation Gap

Happy Mother’s Day to my maddening, delightful, one-and-only mom!

(Click on thumbnail to see the comic)

mums-the-word.JPG

More idea-toons!

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