Category: Tears

Matter of heart

Buzz came back from school with an envelope, 3 pages of instructions and talked about heart, jump, donation, puppies. With a lot of things on my mind and emotionally not open to taking in everything she was talking about, I told her we would talk about it in a few days. With a long face, she walked away.

A couple of days later she came back and talked again. The school was hosting an event to support American Heart Institute and the kids were all to jump rope based on the money they collected, to educate about the importance of exercising and keeping the heart healthy. Could I donate some money, so that she could participate? Also there were different stuffed toy puppies that the kids earned based on the amount of money they collected, and she really wanted a couple of those.

I sat her down and explained that the idea behind the money raising drive was not asking parents to give the money. It was about talking to people, raising awareness about heart health and asking them for donate for the cause. Hard hearted mom that I was, I could not make things easy for her and give her money just so that she could get some stuffed toys and participate in the jumping rope activity in school. If she really wanted to do it, she had to do it all. Go talk to people and ask for money. We would donate some as well, but only if she did some work first.

She sat on the idea for a couple of days. Asked questions on how she could raise money. The grocery store, knocking door to door, the mall – ideas we came up with.

We were heading to the grocery store yesterday and she carried her envelope. She said her ‘excuse mes’ as she walked up to someone. Explained what she was doing and asked her question. ‘Could you contribute may be $5?’ She thought it would be easy. With $100 her goal, she did her math and figured all she needed to do was ask 20 people and she would be done. The script of course did not work as planned. A handful of people gave her a dollar or two but mostly all she heard was ‘All the best, but sorry!” After about 30 or so tries, there were tears in her eyes, here voice heavy. I told her I was proud of her for putting herself out there and knew it was not easy to hear ‘no’, but collecting money was not easy either. I asked her to stop and we could try again later. Demoralized we came back home.

Back home as she counted her money, $11.50, D encouraged her and told her that we would match everything she collected. $23 already she finally laughed.

Today after school we went to the mall. ‘There are more people there’, she told me. As I sat with my book, she walked around and made her case. After yesterday’s experience she took nos with a lot more grace. She smiled and thanked people. She talked and made a better case. At one point she spend 10 or so minutes talking to a mom and returned with a huge smile and 65cents in her hand. She jumped with excitement with every amount that she raised. And then when she was tired, she came and said ‘Lets go home Mumma!’

Current count is $54.34. She has also made a deal with D to convert her $4.34 to $5. $55 and matched by us she comes to $110. She couldn’t be more excited. We couldn’t be more proud. She did it on her own. She learned and can say she raised the money. I learned as well and can say, always be kind to kids trying to do something like this, even when you say no for whatever your reasons might be. Kindness goes a long way and the kids remember those more that even the amount of money they get. Buzz definitely talked more about those people than anyone else.

As she takes the money in to school tomorrow, she has to deal with a new challenge. Jump rope 220 times. Wish her luck!

 

Baby no more

Dear Bugz,

When we were on our trip, we did not order a baby crib for you. We wanted to see how you would do with sleeping on a regular mattress. The first two nights you were unsure, always weary of change that you are. Your Didi, besides whom you were supposed to sleep, asked if you wanted to hold her hand as you slept. That calmed you down and for the next week that is how you fell asleep – holding Didi’s hand. Once we were back, you were so excited to see your crib but mean parent took it down the same night. You were so upset and only when you saw the new sheets atop your new mattress that you smiled. You still asked, “Why?” every time you saw your disassembled crib in the garage, till you realized the freedom of sleeping in a regular bed. Now we can hear you running around in your room way past bedtime.

You used to love your sippy-cup. You only got it during naptime and nini time but that was not something that you were willing to give up. We conveniently forgot to take them for our trip and in all the excitement you never really asked for it but that first night back you insisted on one. We had to do a complete search of all the places, till you were convinced they were not at home. Unhappy is a very mild word.

You were so excited to start school but then you had such a bad experience in the first couple of days in a play care, which has a two week stop gap between when S aunty left and we started our vacation, that the word ‘school’ caused you to panic. The first few days you started your actual school, were horrible. Your Paa and I watched our phones constantly, a nagging ache in our hearts. For the rest of the week, you cried at drop off but not after. Then this week, just second week in to your school, you jump in to your class, happy to see your teachers. You still don’t play with anyone, stay glued to Ms. H but not one tear and we can’t tell you how relived we are. We expected worse, has mentally prepared ourselves for much worse but you surprised us.

And then you have your little observations that make us burst out laughing. You try putting on your own clothes or shoes and get them wrong more times than right. You look up and gleefully tell us, ‘ulta pulta ho gaya!” You saw an recumbent bike the other day. Amazed you looked on, turned and told us, “nini kar ke cycle chala raha hei.” A lot of people come up to you to tell you that you are cute, mostly because of your mass of curly hair. Your Didi picked it up and call you cute ever so often. The other day as I was getting you ready after your swim and a shower, you looked at yourself in the mirror and exclaim, “Me kitna cute hai!” Yeah darling, as I laugh out, I agree you are so very cute.

Changes have come in fast for you -we got rid of your crib, we told you “Baby took your sippy-cup,” we started you in a new school and but for minor starting problems you have cruised through them all and through it all you have kept your spirit. Your loud laugh when you find something funny, your pout when you don’t like something, your scream when you are angry, your stubbornness to get your way, your way to get away with anything with Didi, your insistence that all my attention be yours – if anything you have turned the dial to extra high on all of these. You rule our world, make it go around and all we wish for you is that you continue to grow in to the child you are. Be happy, be healthy, be you sweetheart.

Love,
-Maa

 

 

 

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

“Let’s go skiing on Saturday,” he said.
“I am done for the season,” she said.
“We will have fun! Come on,” he said.
“The day trip tires me out completely and I need some rest,” she said.

Back and forth, they went and a compromise was made. Weekend trip to the mountains, a place to stay the night, no TV, no internet.

“Deal!”
“Deal”

********

“Mandola! Me go mandola pe!”
“Gondola baby, Gondola!”
“Noooooo, madola!”

*********

The look in their eyes, the smile on their face, the bounce in their steps as they enter the Gondola, the chant of “Mandola..Mandola..Mandola!” which of course resulted in me singing the song and the two every excited kids asking their questions:

“What is Matru?”
“and Bijlee?”

Mandola, needs no explanation!

*********

The Gondola climbed up at a steady pace and Buzz finally looked around and saw the slope. Her face dropped immediately

“This is a big cliff. I will fall coming down.”
“We will come down an easier slope,” D told her with a smile.

**********

While Buzz and D did their trips up and down the mountain, Bugz and I build snow castle and snow car and snow bus and snowman, all while I took in the view and iced …errr snowed my backside (which I hurt in a fall down the stairs that morning)

***********

The evening was spend fighting over a place to sleep

“I want to sleep on the high bed,” she said.
“It does not have a protection bar, you will fall!” they said.
“I will not! I want to sleep up there,” she stubbornly repeated.

“Me sleep on baby bed,” she said.
“Yeah ‘me’ can sleep on baby bed,” they said.

***********

Finally Buzz did sleep on the top bunk of the bunk bed while we stuffed pillows around her.

Bugz, who wanted to sleep on the trundle bed was forced to sleep on the lower bunk of the bunk bed. And the trundle was left outside to catch either of them, if they fell.

***********

Somewhere in the middle of night, I woke up with a *puduk*. I looked up to see Bugz on the trundle but continuing to sleep. I poked D and he switched her back to the bunk bed.

Next was some *bump*.
“I did not fall, I did not fall! I jumped because I wanted to go to the restroom,” Buzz kept repeating as she ran off.

***********

Morning came with breakfast of eggs and pancakes and it was back up the Mandola. Back to singing, back to skiing, back to playing with snow and back to the amazing view.

View

 

 

Missing

Dear Maa,

When you left us, I was 8 months pregnant. The one thing I was told over and over, by everyone around, was “She is in a better place now.” I get how uncomfortable people are in face of true grief, especially when it is not theirs. But I wanted to throw their words back at them. Things like move on, be strong, God’s will – they meant nothing to me and they did nothing for me. I think all I wanted was for them to all shut up and leave me alone, let me deal with my grief in my way. Then again that really was not much of an option. Premature stress induced contractions, Bugz suffering because of all this and I think I clamped down somewhere. The pain was there and the tears came but for most parts I pretended that you were still back home and all I needed to do was pick up the phone and talk to you.

Now a couple of years in to it, that illusion also does not work. Sometimes in my dreams I walk those corridors, I breath in that smell, I look in through the glass door, I hear the beeping of all those machines, I see you in that all white room and I get up with a start. Who knew grief cannot be kept bottled up, it does break loose? Who knew sounds and smells are real even when dreaming?

I look back to the old days and realize that I always saw Paa and you as a unit. The rules of the family were set before my time, the task division happened before I knew about it, our family’s day to day life went on smoothly without any hitch. Do you know how uncomfortable it is to realize which part was yours and which was Paa’s? Every time I go home, I see the hole. It is like one half of the jigsaw puzzle has been taken away. Paa tries to follow the same rhythm, the same rules but some things can never be the same again, can it?

Last time Bhaiya was here, we sat talking late in to the night. We remembered the good and the not so good (as we saw it growing up). We remembered, we laughed, we cried and I realized how similar the two of us are. On the surface, we are very different. You always laughed about how we were like chalk and cheese. I tell you today that deep down we have the same ideals, we hate the same things, we believe in the same rules, we can’t stand the same things. Bhaiya talked about his feelings during the last few weeks, how as a total non-believer there was this desperate wish that there was truly a higher power. I followed up with now I understand why people believe in God. And he just nodded. We finished each others sentences, we understood each other with minimal words. We are still non-believers, we do not send out calls to the higher being but we both understand the ones who believe a little bit better. If you were around, I am sure you would have smiled at that. Yes Maa! we are close and we are together.

Back in college, I was visiting Mama ji’s place. There were guests over and as I opened the door to enter, their driver stopped me to ask if I was your daughter. Apparently he drove you for your wedding and he recognized me since I looked exactly as you did the day of your wedding. I used to hear it all the time that I looked just like you. I would laugh and say but for three things, “I am shorter than you, I am a little darker than you and I have wavy hair.” I never really saw the similarities. I only saw myself when I looked in to a mirror but now I find myself searching for a glimpse of you. Every time I straighten my hair, I part it in the center so see if I look like you. The other day while looking for a new frame for my glasses, I came across a frame just like the one you used to wear. I put it on and peeked in to the mirror, turning this way and that. To my great distress, I never see you, not even in this form.

As humans we have this fear of death, the will to live, there is always something more to live for but I have come to realize that it is much harder for the ones who are left behind. I don’t know what, if anything, happens when the end comes but I do know that the missing never ends. I miss your pyaaz paranthas and missi roti; I miss your besan ladoos and gajak; I miss your voice and the expressions on your face; I miss your scolding and your tight hugs; I miss your listening ears and your straightforward advice; I miss your big heart and your quite ways of giving to others; I miss your fights with Paa and your genuine care for him; I miss your strong personality and your soft heart; I miss your easy tears and your never ending strength; I miss so so much.

I sometimes feel like I have been sentenced to a lifetime in chilly winds and all the warmth has been taken away. The big embrace where I could rest for a while and re-charge has been lost. Once someone asked me if I feel that my kids will be deprived of love since they did not have one set of grandmother. Back then I had replied with a lot of confidence, “No, my mom has a lot of love to give. She will ensure that my kids will have all the love they need and more.” Now my biggest fear is that my kids truly will be deprived of all that love. No grandmom – to spoil them rotten, to envelop them in hugs, to protect them from the wrath of mean parents. You always said, “Kids should have a few people to spoil them.” Now the biggest someone has gone missing.

D, of course, is the one person who understands it all. The sorrow, the missing, the fears. He holds me through the toughest of these times but the grief still feels very private, something I can’t seem to share with anyone else. I see the struggle in him, but I am thankful he lets me be when I really need the time alone.

Tomorrow morning we will all go to get Paa from the airport. The kids are beyond excited. Then late night Bhaiya, A and the kids will be here as well. The house will be full. It will ring with laughs, running feet, fights. There will be experimental cooking, good food, lots of eating. Trips will be planned, places visited, excitement all around. Among all of that, I will search for a shadow of you. Be with us Maa, please!

Missing you,
-Gudiya

Twisted

Dear Power-above-of-all-things-ankles,

2013 I will remember, for you and mostly only you. First one friend and then another,  at work, had major ankle issues and surgeries this year. While I was just about realizing how difficult these injuries are, you ensured I really did understand. In the same week a dear dear blog friend, Paa and I hurt our ankles. The degree of severity were different but suffered we all did.

It is true that we don’t realize the importance of any part of our body till we hurt it and hence can’t use it. While doctors advised me to stay off my feet and reduce my activity level to bare minimum, I hobbled behind kids and went about my day to day life. I still pay the price of that excess activity but it can’t be helped.

I have not cribbed much, I can not cursed a whole lot, but I really could have done without this latest curve ball that you threw our way. A happy, smiling, active kid, doing exactly what kids do – ran, stopped, turned and feel down in pain. A trip to the store where she was excited about the new bedding we were buying for her, ended in tears and an ER visit.

Do I thank you that it only turned out to be a twisted ankle and not a broken bone? Or do I tell you about a child’s inability to deal with extreme pain? Or do I talk about the child who is so brave that even though she dreads the icing sessions because they hurt so much she goes ahead with them because they will make it all better? Or do I talk about a super active kid who sits in one place smiles and asks for books as we go around doing things? Or do I tell you about the child who woke up crying in the middle of the night saying she was scared? Or do I tell you about how she wanted to go to school because her friends would be there and smiled through all the pain to get there, only to burst out in tears when she could not practice for her winter performance with her friends, which she has been looking forward to for a while now?

I know it is part of life and part of growing up but can we be done with all this now? We have had enough of you and I would not wish you on anyone but can you please move on? Or better still with the festival season and the new year around the corner, can you please go on a long, extended vacation? I promise we will not miss you.

Thank you much,
-An angry mom

They came, we had fun, they left

One particularly depressing day, I picked up my phone and called them. The minute they answered, I went on a rant, “It is summer, the kids are out of school, why can’t you come over, even if it for a few days”. The two of them totally shocked, calmed me down and asked me what was up. Like a petulant child, I kept repeating, “Just come”.

Plans were made, tickets were booked and days counted. Sheets were washed, beds were made and towels in place. The day of, Buzz asked me why there were not here yet. I explained that she had to go to sleep and she would wake up to them in the house. The innocence that she is wanted to go to bed at 7:00 itself. D left just as I was putting the kids to bed and then the wait started again. It took forever for the clock to strike 10:07 and the garage door finally opened and I rushed down to fall in their arms and hold on tight.

Laughs, talks, dinner and it was time to catch some sleep. Somewhere in the middle of the night Bugz got up and started screaming, “Mumma” and would not stop. Groggily I walked in to her room, to see her pointing to *her* sleeping and saying “Kon?” (who). Soon *her* and Buzz where up too and giggling excitedly. Love, sweet words, angry words, big eyes – all were used to finally get all three of them back to sleep.

6:00 in the morning saw the same story repeated and I gave up on any further sleep. Bugz was re-introduced to big didi. And then with the rest of the family as they woke up.

Once Bugz got to know them, big didi became Didi2 while Buzz stayed Didi. Mama was Papa. “Whose papa Bugz?”, came back with a prompt “Didi2”. Similarly Mami became Mumma and the adults were thoroughly confused every time she called out, “Mumma/Papa”, which means there was increasingly frustrated Bugz pulling at someone’s shirt. Bhaiya had to make do with finger points and “enh”, poor little baby.

There was showing off of the cousins at school, trips to various parks, amazing food, picnics, splashing around in the lakes, ferry rides and long drives. There was teasing, fights, tears, time outs and making up.

There was a night of sitting and remembering, sharing of worries, re-living the horrible months, missing Maa like crazy, tears, holding on, re-assurances, opening of private feelings, reminiscing childhood days, laughs, promises, care – all soaked in so much love.

There were 5 rakhees made and tied to the utter confusion of 4 little munchkins. There were fights over colors and frustration about not knowing how to tie them. There were huge smiles on all four faces once the rakhee were in place. There were showing off of little wrists.

There were the hugs good bye and as they left, I walked around the house as a lost soul. A week since they left and the house still feels empty. There are art projects that the kids did to be collected and put away. There are socks and T-shirts and books to be found in obscure corners of the house, that I gather and keep aside for the next trip.

Bhaiya and A – I miss you so very much.
Kids – Can’t wait to hold you all over again.
December – Please come quick.

Yaad

Jindagi.. sawal..
askh.. khamoshiyan..
Dil ke gehraayioin mein..
tuta sa eak sapna.

Swayam ka wajood..
janna tha jis see..
Dhundhti hein aankehn..
wahi wo apna.

Pyaar ke boochaar..
milli thi jis see..
Chuta hei haath..
likha na ab milna.

Dil.. jaan..
waqt.. loriyaan..
Beetate din mein..
yaadoin ka silsila.