Month: December 2011

Bas yaadein baaki

Dear Maa,

As I go through your clothes, I divide them in to piles to keep, to give away, to donate. There are so many people who have come forward to talk about little things you did for them which meant the world to them, things they remember you by. They ask if they could keep a certain dupatta or a shawl or a saree of yours to keep as part of you with them. And as much I want to hoard everything I give them what they ask for. I don’t know what is worse, going through your things or the thought that soon there will be none of your clothes left when I open the cupboard.

I walk to the bank locker and go through all the jewelry and realize how much of mine I have left behind with you as the years have gone by and so has Bhabhi. There are the earrings that I forced you to wear because I thought the ones you had on were too big. There is the necklace that I wore during my wedding. There is the chain you gave D. There is the necklace that Bhabhi wore for her wedding. But what breaks my heart are the bangles I remember you always wearing from as long as my memory serves. And I wonder what do I do with all the things in that locker. Keep it as is? For how long? Take what is mine back with me? Do what with it? And how do I define mine since there are so many memories of you attached to them? Sell what was yours? Keep it as keepsake?

Every time Bugz reaches a milestone I can’t stop my eyes from tearing up. I can’t help remember the time Buzz did the same and how excited you would get and how you cheered her on. Buzz had so many of her firsts with you. But I don’t even know as I cry now how I will feel and how many tears I will cry when these comparisons stop, when there will be no more memories of yours with Buzz either.

I was ready for the challenges I would face as I headed home but I never did think the impact a simple note written in your handwriting would have on me. I stopped breathing for a bit, I think. How long before there is no note to be found in your beautiful clear handwriting? I already can’t find anything with your signature on it. And to lose everything else as times goes on is not bearable.

I don’t want to remember you with tears in my eyes Maa. I want to remember you for all the good things you did. I want to remember how generous you were. I want to remember how much of yourself you gave to everyone around.  I want to remember you with the way you lived your life, with joy, with laughs, with love.

But I am not strong enough just yet, Maa. I am working on it. I am trying. I fail but I will keep trying. I talk about the happy times spend with you. I force myself to smile through a lot of tears. I pray for strength.

Stay with me Maa. Just stay with me even if it is through memories.
-Your Gudia

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Someday we will learn

The concept of a broom and a mop is fascinating to Buzz. She is seen following the maid every single day asking the same question over and over again.

Aap kya kar rahe ho? Lochcha (pochcha) laga rahe ho?*

Somewhere along the following and questioning she gets over excited and starts to jump and run around. And woooosssh she slips on the wet floor.

Screams of aaoovi have given way to sheepish grin but no lesson has been learned yet.

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As Bugz plays, kicking her legs and rotating her hand, Buzz looks on. After a while she comes and holds Bugz hands down.

Hands down Bugz. No moving

she says. The minute she removes her hands Bugz is at it again. Over and over Buzz holds Bugz’s hand down. Over and over Bugz holds them up the minute they are let go.

Will there be a day when either of the two will learn, I wonder?

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I sit with Buzz as she eats her dinner. When I see her making faces and getting restless, I know she is done. I tell her 2 more bites. She looks at me and says,

No, 4 more bites.

I promptly agree and make her eat the next four bites.

In some things it is so much better to agree with the kids is it not?

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*What are you doing? Mopping the floor?

Currently we are..

Enamored with our A mama – we talk about him non-stop when he is not there. We talk with him non-stop when he is.

Fascinated with cows, dogs, horses – and the fact that all we need to do is step out of the house to see them.

Learning the joys of home-made butter – nothing we eat these days is complete without a dollop of the same.

Confused about the endless Nanas and Nanis – some new Nana or/and Nani come every single day to meet us. We can’t seem to keep a track of them all.

Angry with mosquitoes – they gave us aaoovvii in five different places in a matter of 10 minutes, one of them on our eyelid. Our right eye is currently swollen shut.

Pretending to talk to our Paa – all the time but for when Paa calls. Then we get too excited to say more than ‘Hi Papa’.

Enjoying bath time – with a bucket and a tumbler and all the water that gets splashed around.

Playing hide and seek – with sheet and blankets that are hung for drying. The cool, wet, clean sheets are so much fun to hide inside, so what if our legs are visible at all times.

Unsure about tu, tum, aap – so we use whatever we feel like at any give moment. So we speak like ‘Nana kya kar rahe ho tu’.

Waking up at 4:00 in the morning – just because Maa is up taking care of the little one. We greet the day with a huge smile on our face and start jumping right from get go. So what if Maa wants to sleep and keeps telling us it is not time to get up yet. And no it is not because of jetlag.

Excited about sleeping – next to Maa. Hence the waking up early.

Upset about our A mama – not being in town for the next couple of weeks.

All my bags are packed..

..I am ready to go.

And yet for once I don’t want to. I know what waits for me at the end of my journey or rather who does not.

..already I am so lonesome, I could cry.

The heart aches anew at the thought of entering the house where she won’t be there.

..every place I go I’ll think of you.

There are her clothes to go through and her books. Her jewelry to take care of and the saree she embroidered. Her CD collection and her notes.

..every song I sing I’ll sing for you.

The heart will probably break a hundred times a day and glue itself together.

..there’re so many times I let you down, so many times I’ve played around.

Yearning will grow and not be met, futile, never again to be.

..kiss me and smile for me, tell me you’ll wait for me, hold me like you’ll never let me go.

So all I ask from you people is that you keep me in your thoughts, pray that I find the strength to go on.

..the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn.

I will see you all on the other side.

..I am leaving on a jet plane

Spin a tale

D and I are talking food as we drive to a kid’s birthday party. Thai food to be specific. D mentions that he feels like having Tom-ka-gai ,the soup. Buzz sitting at the backseat chimes in,

Tom kahaan gai papa?* (Where did Tom go papa?)

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Buzz is having one of her without any reason crying spells. After trying to reason with her and get her to stop I give up and tell her to stop crying or she will get a time out. A few minutes later Bugz takes over from where Buzz left off. As I try to soothe Bugz, Buzz comes up with,

Timeout Bugz! No Crying.

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Buzz and I are playing the tickle game. As I move forward to tickle her she screams,

Mumma dinosaur aa rahe hein! (Mumma dinosaur is coming!)
Kon mein? Mumma dinosaur? (Who me? Mumma dinosaur?)
Haan Mumma dinosaur. (Yes Mumma dinosaur.)
Aur aap kon ho? (And who are you?)
Buzz dinosaur. (Buzz dinosaur.)
Aah! Mumma dinosaur Buzz dinosaur ko pakadne aa rahe hein. (Aah! Mumma dinosaur is coming to get Buzz dinosaur)
Buzz dinosaur Nana dinosaur ke pass bhag jaayega (Buzz dinosaur will run to Nana dinosaur)
Nana dinosaur kya kar rahe hein? (What is Nana dinosaur doing?)
Nana dinosaur laptop pe hein. (Nana dinosaur is sitting with a laptop.)
Aur wo kon hei? (And who is that?)
Wo baby dinosaurs hei. (That is baby dinosaur.)
Baby dinosaurs kya kar raha hei? (What is baby dinosaur doing?)
Kicking. Usko cheddna nahein. Wo khel raha hei. (Kicking. Don’t disturb her. She is playing)

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Buzz and I are out grocery shopping. One thing leads to another and I explain the concept of money to her. It goes something along the lines of ‘ Papa goes to office and works there. In return they give him money. He gives the money to us to buy things’.

Papa poins (coins) bhi dete. (Papa gives us coins as well.)
Haan papa coins bhi dete hein.
Buzz ka poin gir gaya 😦 (Buzz’s coin fell down.)

D had given her a coin one day which she would not let go. She took it to the same grocery store and after dropping it multiple times and picking it up, she lost it. Hence the sad face.

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Buzz had fever one day. After a trip to the doctor’s office and a dose of medication I let her sleep. She is a picky eater and fever meant she would not eat much at all. After she woke up I tempted her with Paratha. Much to my surprise she promptly agreed.

Haan matar ke saath. (Yes with peas)
Matar ke saath?* (With peas?)
Haan matar ke saath.

I made Matar Paneer paratha for her. She took one look at it and said,

Matar ke saath.
Yahi to matar hei. (this is peas.)
No white white matar.
?? Matar to green hoti hei. (Peas are green in color.)
White white matar.
Oh butter ke saath! (oh with butter!)
Haan.

Since then she never fails to say Bbbbb-utter ke saath. Bbbbb-utter.

*She never eats peas. Takes them out of her food if there are any. Which is why I was even more surprised.

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She is growing up so fast but in some ways she is still a baby, giving us tons of reasons to laugh every day.

End of a chapter

I had tears in my eyes. I could not string a sentence together no matter how hard I tried. I sat at work staring straight ahead but could not get any work done. My heart felt heavy with suppressed emotions and the guilt was overwhelming. I can never forget that day. I had just left my baby at a daycare for the first time.

This past Wednesday was another day to remember. I walked in to the same daycare to pick her up and there was a bag full of her notes for the day, her artwork, her spare clothes and a CD of her pictures taken over the course of the year, all waiting for me to pick up. There were warm hugs and goodbyes and promises to drop by often. She did not understand what the byes were all about. She did not know why all the teachers who have ever been with her stopped by to give her a hug. All she talked about was the cupcake she got to eat in class. She pointed to the picture of her reading a book with her teacher in the main hallway as she always does. She ran to the fish tank and said her byes and goodnights to the fishes as is the norm. She danced along the Christmas music playing outside the door. She walked out without even realizing that it was for the last time.

Me, well the emotional fool me could not control the tears. This place has given her so much love. The people here have helped her grow. They have taught me how to be parent. She has thrived under their care. I have become a better mom learning from them.

And then we cleaned up her cubby, said good bye and walked out the door. My baby walked out of her daycare for the last time.

As I sit down to give Bugz a massage, she sits next to me asking for oil followed by massaging Bugz. As I give Bugz her bath, she does her part by splashing water on Bugz and I smile. One very important chapter has ended and as sad as I am that my baby is growing up there is another chapter that has started. A chapter where bonds of love are formed. A chapter that warms my heart.