Thursday, June 25, 2009

When will this pass?

Its going to be close to a week since we saw off dear sissy at her work - and the emptiness is yet to go. What bothers me more is the state my parents are in. I have not heard them happy since Monday. There is a strange note in their voice - something which makes me feel like leaving everything and rushing to them.

When I moved out of the house, which was a good 9 years ago, never once did my parents urge me to come home. Yes they used to miss me and they wished I was around with them, but they always stressed what I was doing then was more important than home. I always had stern directives, if classes are a bit slack then come home. If the project release is over, then come home. I always had an assurance, they are fine without me. Even if they missed me, it never came out overtly except sometimes over phone calls and letters. I always felt my parents are self reliant and I used to be proud of the fact.

But now that they are alone, their loneliness just comes through in every word they say. In spite of having an active social life, I feel as if they are yet to escape their loneliness. Mom asked me if would be possible for me to come over for a week in July and dad went to the extent of saying, take a month's leave and be with us. I know they are saying all this in a fit of weakness and emotions. Still it makes me feel helpless. It is so unfair, that parents spend a good part of their lives fending for the very children who one day might not even be close to them. The gross injustice of this fact leaves me suffocated.

And I feel completely at a loss reaching a solution for this scenario. 2 days back, I was nearly tempted to ask my supervisor, if it would possible for me to attain a work from home option alternate months or so. On another occasion I was thinking, how good it might be if my parents move base for a year or so, say take up a house in my city and be here just to be closer to us. Otherwise I keep mulling how good a puppy be in replacing us and then again I wonder, how about adopting a child and giving a good upbringing for someone with a disadvantage. I do know that all these options are just an eye wash - a mere veneer to cover a deep scar. But I so wish, I had some remediation. I see the same situation for a lady who is our neighbour. She too has 2 daughters, married and settled and her husband is no more. She is as busy as any other working lady being voraciously involved in religious and charitable activities. I admire how she gives the same commitment to so many activities she is involved in. But when sometimes mil says, she breaks down into tears sometimes when she was misses her husband and her children, I felt exasperated.

Phew! I am not sure if I went through a whole lot of ranting. Some of my readers are in the situation my parents are in - I would love to hear how they deal with it and maybe give some insights into how my parents might be feeling at deeper level. If they feel there is something I should do that could better things, I would be most welcome to do it. I hope this passes over soon :S

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feeling blue

Since the month of March, ever since I came back from a visit to my parents, I was waiting for June 17th. The day they would come to Chennai and we would make a trip to Mysore to see off my sissy for her job. And the run up to their arrival was filled with so much anxiousness. I wanted everything planned to the T. Since there would be 6 of us travelling- I had the hotel rooms and the cab for travel pre booked. When I learned that my sissy (being my sissy ) had a luggage count of 5, I started scurrying for an optimum vehicle. I had to scout quite a number of cab providers in the city to finally get to the one which would be able to provide a large enough vehicle. That apart, I got planning on what to cook the next day. My dad has a tongue for non spicey food - which is not so much of a norm in southern India. So I had to coax my mil to let me tweak the food to adhere to my dad's taste. She was exasperated seeing the miniscule quantity of tamarind and red chilly I used. She felt it was sacrilege to make sambar with just a pinch of tamarind and one red chilly (for 6 people) but then I put my two dainty feet down and said "Today you adjust :P "

The whole day prior to their arrival I could barely contain my excitement. My friends would vouch for how I was all pepped up for the upcoming vacation. I was waiting for the clock to tick the day away.

When my folks finally arrived - it was some feeling. The house was full of stuff. The gifts were exchanged - the best being a diamond ring for me from my dad! Over the chatter everyone forgot their apetite. Inspite of my cajoling that mil and I have been up since 6:30 cooking, my folks barely had the hunger. It was only excitement that prevailed - nothing else. A meagre breakfast done, mom, sis and I ventured shopping while dad chose to avoid the tan :) With mom shopping is typical - its a frenzy. She makes sure she checks out everything, more or less visits every shop and ends up buying a lot but each one is simply unique. Sis and I survived the period with mom and also managed 4 awesome buys. That done we strutted home where there were a zillion+1 last minute stuff to be done. Till the last moment we were zipping bags, pushing things into polythene bags to put it properly later in the station, yelling at each other, reminding whether one has taken this or that, checking the taps, the switches, the gas stove - it was pandemonium personified. Thanks to all this - all 6 of us slept like there was no tomorrow in the train.

Reaching Mysore, we had an awesome time. The lesser said the better about the tour. We ate good, we slept well, we had some real nice time talking with eachother, we argued about which way to take, we felt exhausted, we clicked a lotssssa pixies :). The penultimate day did turn out to be a bit on the off side, since we chucked the plans to tour around cos of general exhaustion. But the choice made us all feel a bit lousy and bored towards the afternoon. But then - nothings perfect. That night mom, sis and I chatted late till the night. The conversation just flowed easily and did not dwell on anything in particular. We kept on cos we had a feeling - tomorrow yet again we go separate ways, having no idea when we might meet up again. And tomorrow, the baby of the house - my sis, leaves the nest. It was a feeling full of trepidation and anxiety. But more than my sis, I was worried about my mom and dad. I know having 2 daughters, they might always have prepared themselves for this time, when inspite of needing them the max, they would be without them. But no amount of preparation comes close to the actual event. While dropping sis at her stay, when my dad also shed tears, I felt too frustrated at the damn distances between us :( Wish any one of us was a bit closer to them :( I know my condition is much better than folks who stay across the continents, but then ......

Through out the return journey I was bursting into sporadic tears. I am not a person to let my emotions flow easily, but then yesterday I felt it was better to let go. Giving two hoots to what people might think, K just hugged me and let me be. All the planning, all the preparation everything over in those 4 days and all that remained was a lull and fond memories. K was so used to the ruckus that morning he too had a forlone look. Our house which was such a mess just 4 days ago, seemed so empty. My parents today went into a house where the dirtiest room was the cleanest. It was very painful. But then when sissy called and said, she had slept well and last evening had gone cycling with friends to "survey" the place- we all smiled in spite of her tears. Life is so bloody ironical.

Monday, June 8, 2009

We went greeeeeeeen

No no no not with envy.

Friday, 5th of June was World Environment Day, which had the city plastered with images of save the earth, save water, save the sky and what not. And the next day, which had devil's numbers of 06/06 - K and I went an extra pedal to go green. While other couples may be hitting at the new Ford Icon or the Honda or the Nano (for them who want to start small), we went ahead an bought a Hercules Arrow.

For people getting this image in their mind and wondering what gibberish am I muttering - This is what we exactly brought home.

And it was such a wonderful little thing. K rode it the way back from the showroom and he was sweating! And he did feel glad about some of the tomato tummy melting away :) The next day I felt like a child again going round and round in the cycle within the apartment complex :D Felt silly no doubt at first but after a point the inhibitions were also gone.

We were long contemplating the prospect of getting one more vehicle - because sometimes when there were clashes of appointments among the 3 of us, we ended up either siphoning money to the auto rickshaw owners community or one of us ended up chucking the whole plan. And it was never for long distance, only one of us would actually be venturing on a longish journey while the other would be needing the vehicle for a short errand within the perimeter of 5 kms. Under such circumstances buying another vehicle was not so much of a solution, since we were sure the vehicle would just lie around and rot. We keep such busy schedules, we hardly get time to go around a lot. And whenever its long distance its a taxi. So buying a vehicle for running errands was not sound economics at all. But then lately, especially mil's temple trips and my gym routines were clashing a lot.

K had be hinting at buying a bicycle for exercise purpose for a long time - but he wanted that old fashioned, tall, black and ugly looking bicycle made eternal by the Daakiya daak laya song. I somehow convinced him to getting a unisex model in a neutral grey color and one which was a decent compromise to our jarring height difference :)

It was some buy! :) We were thrilled to own it. K and I have vowed to take it for all the short trips around. No more scooty when either of us is going anywhere within 5 kms at least.

Today morning I felt especially proud. I always believe myself to be an environmentally concious person. As far as possible I try to avoid plastic bags, don't litter around, try to educate others and so on. But today, when I took the cycle, I felt really good. Afterall if each drop can make an ocean, each person's small act can change the world. Can't it?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I dreamed a dream

No this post is not an ode to the sensational Susan Boyle.
I generally have dreamless sleeps but when I dream, I dream like no one else I think.

Yesterday, rather early morning today I had a rather strange dream which gave me enough fodder to make a post.

My house is just a stone's throw away from the beach. And I dreamt we were being attacked by the Taliban from the sea route! We saw from our terraces the whole big fleet of the Taliban catamarans approaching the Elliot's Beach (If a few readers are reminded of the movie Troy, I appreciate their skills to put things in a proper perspective.) No sooner did we saw the approaching fleet, than we started making preparations to fend the attack. Everyone started bolting their doors and putting extra locks.

But in no time we got news of Block A of the apartment complex being completely taken under Taliban control (Thank God we stay in block B) We also started getting news of the atrocities meted out by the Taliban like ordering the inmates to cook food, provide fluffier beds and all. We were counting the hours before we too would be under their control. Then I remembered that my friend A stays in the same floor as us and just 2 doors away (She actually stays in a different city). She has the dubious distinction of being the last person to know things that are important, I felt it was my moral duty to warn her. I walked the corridor carefully and reached her house, and as I had expected, the main door was open. I was filled with trepidation. Then when I entered her house, I saw 2 militants, hiding under a rack, and thankfully with their back towards me. I tip toed inside and in hushed tones warned my friend that the militants were already in her house! We carefully walked back to the front door (again praise the Lord that they did not look back when we were walking out of the house in stealth mode. ) We locked the door from outside and ran to save our lives.

But by the time we got back to my house, pandemonium had broken loose. That is when the whole building was evacuated and we all started running. There were gun shots, sounds of siren, smoke and fume all around and we were all running being chased by the men in turban. And all the time I was thinking - I don't want to die running :(

Suddenly we spotted a cavalcade of trucks. We were scared again since we were unsure if they were friends or foes. We all started to run backwards. Some people started climbing trees and hiding in a park nearby. That's when my Dad called and asked me - "Where are you? Why are you breathless?" I said Taliban has attacked Chennai. He was aghast and asked why had'nt I informed him? I said, "But you were sleeping" (I have no idea why I replied that.) He said, "Atleast you could have told me, I could have got the car. Rather than running we could have used the car". Then I said, "Dad there is no place to use a car here. Everyones running!" Then the call got disconnected and I heard someone on the loudspeaker from the trucks saying "We are the Indian Army. You all are safe now" I heaved a sigh of relief and calmly opened my sleepy eyes.

Mil and K were in splits hearing of the dream. But imagine what all I can amalgamate. This dream had traces of 2 news stories - the Taliban and LTTE saga. It was also influenced by Dr. Manhattan's character from Watchmen. Plus I had my usual family characters and friends whom I love a lot and think about too. Some dream!