Thursday, 14 March 2013

Have you searched your soul lately?

I love soul-searching. I try to do it as often as I can. In fact, my leading complaint lately is that I don't have quiet, alone time in which I can think. Or jot down ideas. Or soul search. "I don't worry about it. I will find time to think if I want to" dismisses my husband when I ask him if he goes through the same deal.

I had a quick, business-like chat with my mum, my only surviving parent, today. It felt good. I know I should do it more often. I am at exactly that mid-point phase of my life, I guess. I feel the dual pulls of motherhood and daughterhood equally, and both of them hurt, in a good way. In a 'I have so much to be thankful for' way.

My father was a perfectionist (by his own claim and admission). It took a lot to please him. From the simplest of things - like how his handkerchief was ironed, for e.g., to the tough ones - like my mum's Phd thesis chapters. Which she wrote painstakingly, burning much oil well past midnight, and he proof read for her, taking way-too-long to finish the work.

We are all, in some sense, messed up by our parents, I suppose. I was (am) very close to both of them. When I was small (age-wise, I mean), I was inseparable from my mum. As I hit teenage, my thirst for independence overwhelmed my need to be closely attached to her. I suspect she was also changing at that point of time - at least her life was changing, and we had less time for each other.

Due to the big elephant in our living room - dad's health - we all tiptoed around other parts of our lives, as much as we could. It was almost embarrassing, in light of all he was going through, to talk about your problems. Not that I had much to worry about, being a very disciplined child (something that I get entirely from mum), I was on top of all my shit.

He was hungry to learn, my dad. Constantly reading, and thinking. We were starved for good reading material, in those days. Not like now, when I can download it and read it on my phone. He used to read a certain book on Chemistry so often, I would have expected he'd know it by heart. He'd sit down and analyse any new device that showed up - and experiment with everything.

He was mostly unsuccessfully in his research, I think. When I got frustrated with anything that 'didn't work' the first time I tried it (or the second or third or fiftieth time, like with our joint effort to make a mirror out of a piece of glass), he would say "Did you enjoy it? Did you learn something from it? Did you analyse it scientifically? Well then, there you go."

Mom on the other hand is, to date, a completely un-analytical person. She will ingest any theory you throw at her. She used to make a file filled with newspaper cuttings for me - offering advice and tips on everything from menstrual cramps to yoga and anything in between. She stopped now because she knows I dismiss all things written in newspapers...

And so I plod on, at the mid-point between these two whose genes I inherited. I have no lazy bone in my body; and I like to be speedy in everything. Which makes me so very like my mum. But every so often, I want to be left alone, to think and analyse things, to search high and low in my mind, to re-read my books for the umpteenth time, for no tangible reason and just..sort..of..float...

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