Monday, 8 April 2013

Another one!

I had another birthday. Yes. Relentless these things are, following year after year with no letting up. In the days leading up to it, I felt like this was a momentous one. Conventionally, the next one would be the 'important' one as I hit forty. But technically, my fortieth year is now running, as of yesterday, so I was gulping a lot and feeling a bit excited, a bit worried.

So, 39 years old. Seriously, when I was in grad school, especially that bad bad year 2000 when I thought the whole world was against me (I still feel that sometimes, but 2000 was the worst, I swear, because I was living in someone's living room and drinking a lot of ginger flavoured brandy), I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it this far. Ridiculous, I know!

The thirties have been great actually - who knew? I had a baby. The baby is a big girl and we share footwear already, now. We have a home. With a giant swing and a wooden staircase. I found running. Or maybe it found me. My friends circle exploded and diversified big time. There were bad times but the good easily outnumbered those. I have very less to complain about, really.

In fact, I am ready to move on to my forties. I can't wait for these 365 days (364 now) to pass so that I will be 40 years old, fully and totally. Somewhere along the way, I felt like my thirties were much more enjoyable then my twenties. So of course I am hopeful that the forties will be even better!

For now I leave you with children on the swing. Yes, it can handle all of them together!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Mum's the word

I was away this past weekend, attending a wedding, somehow feeling super tired, and catching up with family. I go months without talking to my aunts & uncles, and I only very rarely meet the relatives next removed. Life is busy and I don't get too down thinking about this, but when I see them it feels so good. Plus there is my grandmum, who is pretty awesome.

I am reading the Murakami (1Q84), and I needn't tell you how brilliant it is. Mum read a couple of chapters and decided its a book of short stories. Nothing I said (in Page 512 at that point of time), could convince her otherwise, so I let it go. Which is the best strategy sometimes. No big deal.

She started quizzing me about my early childhood memories. Now this is a tricky thing, right. Sis and I have to talk about this stuff with regular disclaimers that we don't blame her for anything. Not that anything bad happened to us, just the regular parts of growing up and so on, but mum, she is getting increasingly sensitive about this stuff.

So I told her innocuous things. Like I remember being three or so and sitting reciting the alphabet. I was on the living room couch, I remember. It was brown that year. Dad was in his favourite cane chair. I asked him after I got done 'was that capital letters or small?' Of course I don't think this is a pure memory because the story has been told many times in family circles. (As evidence of what, I don't know).

I remember being in our little garden. Early morning, checking out the dew drops, climbing on the gate, plucking the delicate white jasmines, praying, snuggling up to mum early morning inside the mosquito netting, yeah well, lots and lots of things. These are like snapshots in my brain. Not videos. So I have to order them chronologically now.

I was always super tiny. They sent me to a different school than my sister, for a little bit. Because it was closer to home. And it would be easier to not lose me despite my Thumbelina like size. Or something. Well, that school sucked big time and I regularly had to deal with boys who would take off their shorts and run around and all sorts of nonsense like that.

Not that I told my parents any of that. How was I to know? I thought that was how things were in schools. Finally someone figured out that this school was terrible and they pulled me out. I don't remember too much but I think I can picture the scene where a bunch of us kids were taken by one of the maids hired for the purpose, to the school, in the morning.

My mum was always very busy. She was studying for her M.Ed. (when I picked up random words like 'curriculum' and 'corroborate' from her in my Thumbelina avatar). Then she was working at an Institute for Language Studies (where I hung out for ages after school amidst the mango and banyan trees with my quiet friend Vijayalakshmi-with the short cropped stylish hair-style).

Then the old folk at home fell sick one by one and she was busy dealing with that (while I branched out and went to school and figured I was good in studies but not so much in eating and waited the whole day to snuggle up to her in the early mornings). Then she started on her Phd (and I really think I wanted to help her, though all I did was grade the numerous exams she gave kids for the sake of her data).

Although she is right here, few hours away, I miss her a lot. I want to tell her everything. I want to sit down and have a good cry on her lap. But I don't. I spent a lot of time talking to her this weekend. We discussed family politics. Some philosophical musing type stuff. We talked about the kids. We talked about the wedding. And my work. And her apartment. Neither of us talked about ourselves, our feelings, as usual.

(And I still haven't directly told her I ran the Ultra Marathon in December)