Sunday, June 26, 2011

Yup, I am nice.

Kinda Scary.
I am a nice person. Well, at least I think I am a nice person. Most people think they are nice - that is why you have family. They are there to keep you grounded. To keep you from becoming too full of yourself. To keep you from walking around like you are the second Mother Teresa. Cause they remember. They remember all the things you did and forgot. Family does not forget. Then there is Skype, the pin to burst the bubble of assumed niceness that you may have about yourself. No matter where you are in the world you can be reached and reminded of the little things that you let slip your memory.

My sister is touring the world and we often catch up over Skype. A few days back there was a message for me to come online. She had something to tell me. Worried/Excited/Concerned I logged onto Skype. “I fit in size 26 jeans, didi” she told me excitedly. She had been working out and watching her weight so I was very happy for her. “Do you know what that means?” she asked. Obviously my excited responses had not sufficed. “Do you remember the size 26 jeans from 9th grade?” another clue was sent my way. I was still as dumbfounded as when she started.

When my sister was in 9th grade she was a little plump. I had been plump growing up and had recently shed many many kilos. I am not into being super skinny but even today I can remember reveling in the feeling of not being fat for once. So, as I am told, I decided that she, by the virtue of being my sister, would be skinny too. So, I bought her a pair of jeans. Nice right, except these were a few sizes too small.  A size 26 pair of jeans. It was not an accident. I told her to keep squeezing into them until she fit in them.

Over a decade later I got the call – she fit in them jeans. Well, not the jeans we bought together but the metaphorical size 26 jeans. She had done it. She had finally squeezed into the expectations I had set for her. It made me laugh but it also burst my Mother Teresa bubble. That was mean. I mean that was one mean thing I did. And the worst part was that I had forgotten about it.

Like I had forgotten the time I had taken her into a corner behind the refrigerator, put my hand around her neck and told her I could kill her. I was seven and I must say I was scary. Like the time I convinced her that mango bars were made of coagulated chicken blood. The time I showed her a man carrying a sack and told her that he was going to kidnap her if she kept following me to the park.

So, I must say, I am a nice person. I mean I must be super nice. Like over the top 200% nice because in spite of all this I have a wonderful, beautiful (and now finally ;) size 26)  confident sister who actually loves me. We talk all the time and she is one of my best friends. So, if I threaten to kill you and you still love me it just goes to prove one thing. I am super nice J


Here is an amazing peek on what my sister is upto as she spends the WHOLE YEAR travelling the world -

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going ParaGliding. Pre-Booking Excitement

I want to go paragliding. I have seen people do it. I have met people who do it. It was not something I wanted to do growing up, I actually never thought about it. I was not one of those people that wanted to be like a bird or anything. I was kinda happy parked on the ground and flying in planes. I never discounted it either as I never gave it much thought.

It is 4am and now I can barely contain my excitement about it. I have found the people I want to do my first tandem jump with and am waiting for their office to open so I can call them. Since I decided that I will do this next week I have closed my eyes a few too many times. I picture myself on the mountain ready for takeoff. I see myself running and reaching the edge. Then I get the funny feeling in my stomach - the kind you do just before a rollercoaster starts. This nervous excitement causes me to open my eyes and I always find a big smile on my face. Give it a shot, close your eyes and imagine the whole thing.

I had considered doing this in Bangalore on my return from US but there is a place 15 minutes from where I am staying - so I am going to give them a try. If all goes well them I’ll try it in Bangalore too. So between now and the next blog on it I know for sure I am going to be nervous, excited but above all smiling a lot.

Why are moms dumb?

Thinking Inside the Box

Why do birds fly?
Cause they have wings.
No, not that. Why do they fly? Why can they fly?

We were sitting on the plane when Ashvin, four years old, asked me this. A few days earlier he had asked me why people were different – why did we all not look the same?

Some seven years back I had similar stuff thrown at me by Ankit. “Why do only men and women marry?” “Why do we die?” I made up cute things then – about you having a mommy and daddy, about space on earth. I did not explain the contention about same sex marriage or how chromosomes open up on ends and mutations cause cells to die. I really did not discuss evolution or use big words and terms that would take a long time to explain.

Six years ago – a year after the questions started - Ankit told me the computer was not working. I asked him to see if the green light was on. “Did Papa tell you to check that?”  I felt that Ankit thought I was slightly dumb. I had coddled him so much in my answers that he had gone looking and found more. He knew stars did not twinkle to make him happy; it looked like they did as there was dust in the atmosphere. It was fine, that he knew things I had not told him but what was not fine was that he thought I did not know those things. The mom was dumb.

So now, I have a chance with Ashvin. I don’t have to tell him birds fly because they like to chase airplanes or to reach the stars that twinkle for him. I have to make sure I am not busy when these questions come up and tell him to go ask his dad. I have a chance at having a five year old look up at me. I have a chance at not being dumb.

For this I have to compete with his brother (already dumb in those eyes) and his father (who remembers physics theories I forgot before I finished school). I have to think more, explain more and be more logical. I have to be less busy, less emotional, less of a storyteller but above all less mommyish.... hmmm, I think I’ll go with a little dumb.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures on an auto - a smack for an eraser.

I could write a whole blog on this. Things that happen in and around autos - the three wheeled tuk-tuk, rikkis - that navigate precariously through traffic in Indian cities. Stories to do with bargaining to get the right price for a ride, stories of those that cheated me and those that were nicer to me than you can imagine. Today's episode has some action in it - where people smacked and all.

I was on my way home - writing a note on my phone to ensure I took a cap with me for my next auto ride as my hair was going crazy - when the auto driver swerved and pulled in front of a bus that had just stopped. He jumped out and without a word went into the bus. I was sure there was going to be a fight. The bus driver must have been driving too close or something like that. However, I saw him make his way to the back of the bus, shout in Kannada and smack three boys on their backs. They cowered down. More Kannada scolding and he came back. I kept shut.

The sullen driver.
There was still a long ride home and once his temper cooled down he told me the story. The three kids had been trying to get my attention ( things you do on the way home from school) from the bus for quite some time. When I didn't notice they started to throw things. An eraser (luckily for me and oh so unluckily for them) hit the auto driver. It seems a few good smack is what you get for hitting people with erasers here. There were no cops called, not random mitigation. Street Justice. A few good smacks.

I sure would not have given them a beating myself  but I did not feel bad for what they got. This is what you get for being mischievous and not paying attention in your physics class - their aim was pretty lousy.

I get my nails done before my treks.

I lied today. When a hiking buddy asked me what I had done this morning I coughed and said something that sounded like gym. I had been out at the spa getting a pedicure.

In a cave in Utah. Solo night. All alone.
Yes, there is a shiny pin in my hair.
On hearing that I was going for a week long trek with an outdoor survival school, a guy at work pointedly looked at my heels and said "I did not take you for the hiking types" 

I enjoy being a women. Getting my nails done and all sort of wraps being put all over me. I feel so pretty and happy after a good haircut. I love dressing up and going for parties. I absolutely love high heels.

I also love trekking and camping. Biking and kayaking are fun to me. I can go for days without a bath in the wilderness and wear the same two set of clothes with ease for weeks. I actually enjoy roughing it out. Eating out of a  cup while coming up with a plan to dry my only pair of shoes does not freak me out.

I love both equally and indulge in both equally. But it does seem strange to people on either side of the camp - to understand the hiking types that likes to get her nails done before a trek. So, every now and then you hear me cough and say gym for spa, beach for hike and things of that nature. I know not to hike in heels so I guess I am doing ok.

P.S: It is a bad idea to get a pedicure before a trek - it removes the callouses and leaves you susceptible to blisters. However, getting your nails filed short is a good idea. 
(Women) If you do get them painted pretty then it does add to feeling little civilized when you wash your feet in some stream.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Easy like Sunday Morning.

For the longest time I thought the song went "Love you like Sunday Morning" It made sense to me. Made sense that you would love Sunday mornings. Personally I thought Saturday mornings were better as you had Sunday to look forward to but I was willing to agree with loving Sunday mornings. Now for the easy part...easy like Sunday morning... that was a little harder to agree with especially when there are two kids in the house. Love and wonder fill the place but easy is a hard word to swallow.

Today was a little different from most Sunday mornings. I did not wake up in bed with Ashvin cooing at me. He coos before he claws. I woke up with Ankit snuggling upto me. In the game of 
musical beds I had ended up in Ankit's room. It was nine in the morning. Two hours past Ashvin's pick me up time so I sneaked back into the bedroom to find father and son both asleep. Ashvin was upside-down- his head towards the foot of the bed - but fast asleep. It did seem easy...a nice easy Sunday morning.

Ankit and I snuck downstairs but then I heard Ashvin. I ran upstairs and saw him holding onto the headboard, bouncing himself, overjoyed that he was awake. He saw me and clambered over his dad to reach me. Ankit arrived and there was even more clambering and excitement. Somewhere along the way the keyboards were turned on and multi layers of unsynchronized music was played by the older one and joyfully appreciated by the younger one. I tried to find a pillow to put over my head.

"Are you three going down or do I have to really wake up?" It was past ten so I wondered why the want to sleep was still there. I am the sleepy one in this house and I had slept enough and I was already awake so why was the dad not awake and chirpy. It was way into Sunday morning. A nice easy Sunday morning. "Ashvin, woke up at seven and tried to dig my ears for an hour till I got him back to sleep" I knew that feeling. Full of love but not easy, never easy. That is why the song always plays "Love you like Sunday morning" in my head.

Reposted from a year back.