....and all that jazZ

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Chapter 47 : An ordinary moment

I decided to walk the kids home from school today. Why do we need a car for this - I explained to them as we walked in the warmth of the winter sun. The kids asked if they could stop at the ice-cream truck.It is after all a Wednesday afternoon of a busy week, we should get ice-cream, mom. Hard to argue with that. There is something about stealing an hour in the middle of a crazy busy day.We walked mostly in silence except for that one time I commented that the ice-cream might melt if they ate it any slower. It is for childhood though to pit the sun against time and throw an ice-cream as bait. I smiled at this stolen treasure of a moment and the mind wandered back to where I had left off. The smile quickly turned into a frown as I picked up my pace. The kids walked lazily behind. As we got closer to home, i was checking the time more frequently and Ponyo asked Meeting? as she licked off the last bit of sweetness off the bare stick. Hmm I muttered, Cant your brother walk any faster? Finally I turned to say - Hey I am heading back to work now, we need to speed it up. Barely looking up from the melt-defying riot-of-color-popscicle Mowgli said  - You miss all the fun if you rush through life. Then he looked up and smiled.

I laughed and decided to wait up for him and then race him all the way back home.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Chapter 46 : Love in another dimension

 She always shuffled into the house with a big smile, carrying her big bag that she would set down next to the door while she quickly first changed into her house slippers she kept in the cloak closet. "HI Papa " she would call out loudly to Mowgli to announce her arrival. Her big bag would quickly be unpacked - giant water bottle in the freezer to keep her water ice cold, bunch of stuff she picked up at the mexican store to make whatever it it is that the kids requested of her, a container of home made mango salsa for us, season permitting, and as the years passed, kids grew older and her visits turned from a daily caregiver to an occasional babysitter - gifts for kids. She would quickly survey the house, making a mental note of the things that needed to be put away, vegetables that could use cleaning and chopping, clothes that needed folding, fridge that needed organizing, while listening to me tell her about my plans for the day or the evening. She would listen patiently and wave an impatient me away - "Go, do your thing..". We were only happy to hand over the most precious things in our life over to her and be off so she could care for them while allowing us to be carefree.

She was part of our lives in a way that I feel a lifetime of gratitude for. A surrogate to us when we had no family around. She kept pictures of my children on her mantlepiece and carried them like treasures in her generous and kind heart. 

She loved freely and for all that love she showered on us - Thank you Ms Lupe. We love you and will always remember you.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Chapter 45: Mowgli Vs The unkind world

 Dear almost 11 year old Mowgli,

I picked up Dear Martin because you finished it in 2 sittings getting up only for lunch. I rarely have seen you read with such ferocity and when you said it was about "Racial inequality and police brutality", I was stumped. Who writes about such things for a tween to read ? But my interest was piqued and I, like you finished it yesterday in 2 sittings. To answer the question above, its is Nic Stone's debut novel and I am so so glad she wrote this book. Half way through the  book I asked you, "Did you understand what they are talking about ?". You nodded a yes. 

Well, did you like it ?

I don't know. It had too much foul language and I did not like the way it ended.

What do you  think, about race in America or the world ? How do you feel about it ? Do you think the world is fair or equal ?

I was not prepared for your answer. Plain and simple as that. You said and I quote

"The world is not equal, Amma. It is never going to be equal, Humans crave power. As long as they crave it, they will find someone to oppress. If it is not about the color of the skin, it will be about money or something else. That is the way it is always going to be with the human race."

I am still reeling from that, I did not know how to answer it then.. I led with, well we can all strive to be better humans, each of us.. but you shook your head and I had to stop myself and then you from going on the tirade you sometimes go on about the atrocities mankind commits on its own and its violence on Nature and creatures mute and helpless.

I am completely in awe of your adult like thinking and at the same time terrified of it. Actually the more I think about it, the more I worry. If you don't believe in the possibility of a beautiful perfect world now, when you are almost 11, then when ever will you ?Adulting is all about coping as life chips away at childhood assumptions and naiveté. However, for now and as long as possible, I want you to see this world as worth fighting for and saving. I am supposed to prepare you for that battle, to teach you how to survive, to never stop hoping. 

Then I think maybe this dystopian view is what we are all feeding you. My own assessment of humans is not far from yours. If I have ceased to be hopeful, how can I teach you to hope. In the last year and a half I have pretty much sleepwalked through life as a method of coping with the politics and the pandemic. I think it is time for me to wake up, take you by the hand and show myself and you how wonderful you and me are. So full of love and compassion and teach you that you are enough, you alone are going to be enough to change this world. You and me actually. 

Come, time for the beach !



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Chapter 44 : Coffee

The morning is bleak
and my coffee, black.
I am thinking of words,
I cant take back.

I wonder how and when
I switched over from tea.
No, definitely not in summer,
I remember leaves under my feet.

I came back home,
feeling a sense of release.
The leaves were yes, changing,
I looked at mom and said "some coffee please."

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Chapter 43 : Hanging

There, I've said it.
    It is now hanging in the air-
that emotion, 
   wrapped untidily in words
that are not quite enough.

It is October already,
      have you noticed ?
The wind will blow it around
   and maybe it will settle there
In that heap of cast off leaves.

I will walk back home now.
     Do what you will with it,
as one might with errant thoughts.
    or hold it, till it dissolves in time
like all things seasonal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Counting down to 10.

Mowgli : Amma, Am I adopted?
 I look up over the heavy pages I am holding : No.
M: Amma !!, Tell me the truth,
I am smiling now : No Kannu kutti, you are not. But why do you care? I would love you just as much.
His expression is grim so I add : However, neither of you two monkeys is adopted.
M: Where is the proof of that ?
I put my book down. : Just go look in the mirror.
M: I don't look anything like you.
Me : Okay, but you look just like dad did when he was a kid.
M: That does not prove anything. Maybe I was born and my mother died and he married you and you are now hiding it from me.
I am now worried : What have you been reading ? Are you watching random things on YouTube again?
M: I just want to know the truth.
His eyes that are, according to him, just like mine, are filling up with those tears he can summon like magic.
I sigh : Babe, If it matters so much to you, I promise that you are my biological offspring.
M: Any proof ? Who was present when I was born in that room other than you and Appa ?
Me : Ask Patti, she was there in a corner in the delivery room shivering with nervousness. She was there.
He is still defiant : But she is your mother. She will say anything just to support you.
I am smiling and I add : And what is it that I am doing right now ?
He is unfazed : I need proof, Amma !!
Grudgingly I get out of bed and pull out the folder with his name on it from a box of files.
He is watching me. Eyes are still brimming with tears. The folder is stuffed with papers, many that are random "I love you Amma, or You are the best Appa" notes from when he was not a teenager stuffed into a little kid. It was a brief precious window between toddler and till about when he turned seven. One of them is his birth certificate. I take it out and show it to him : See it says here, when you were born, which hospital, who your parents are. This here is my signature. I cant forge this. Its illegal to do so.
Just like that, the clouds vanish. The sky clears. The threatening storm is gone. The sun shines again. My mad boy smiles : I guess you are my mother after all.
I want to know now : But where is this coming from ? Whats going on ?
He is grinning from ear to ear : It's nothing !!! I just had to be sure.
I probe : And is love nothing ?
His eyes narrow : Ammaaaaa ... !!!! he groans...
I watch him walk away and I think of all the times in the last 10 years that I have wondered if I was a good mother, if I had a do over, would I choose motherhood ? The times I have felt trapped and shackled and struggled, when I have dig deep deep into nothing to find a trace of who I was and what might be and what else I might have been. Its nothing, kid. I would have found a way to you. Of all the shooting stars in the universe, you are the one I wished upon. In every universe and every version of my life, I would choose you !

Monday, June 15, 2020

Chapter 42: Dear Stranger

Dear stranger,
         The thing is that we
are connected through the dark.

In the abyss of
          my mind's maze,
there is a straight path to you.

It goes through
           unspeakable truths
and much chastised emotions.

Some day, when,
          these barriers break,
You will find me waiting then.

For you, in
         a place without time,
where nothing has to make sense.

Sometimes, I want to tell people that I am here to listen if you need to cry. But I know I am ill equipped to listen. That even if I did, I would be crying along my own tears. But perhaps, that does not matter. Perhaps, each of us, in the end is weeping only for ourselves.