Small Things#11 – Magic in our neighborhood!

This Summer not only flowers but magic blossomed in our neighborhood.

Driveways got filled with chalk art and innocent secrets were shared. Every beetle was observed and ants ran for cover as little scientists scaled the grounds. Stories happened and games got invented! There were nasty fights, cuts and falls but all was forgotten.

There were songs sung in chorus and amazing dance moves! There were dirty hands, feet as well, and soaked muddy shoes. Round eyes laughed and ruddy cheeks sparkled as they got engaged in charming chatter.

I saw stars in their wild hair and music in the shrieks. Imaginary characters came to life and so much was make belief.

Yes, I saw it all from my brown chair…experiencing it all like lines of an old prayer.

Many many years back, I was a part of the magic… now, sadly, just an observer!

Small Things #8 – The Legend of Latu Bhai

“Latu Bhai hid Vava’s glasses,” declared my Little One as we were rushing to find my Older One’s glasses this crazy morning. I was lecturing the older one on his carelessness as he was getting late for school. But my three year old came to his rescue. “It is Latu Bhai!,” he said with conviction.

So, it was Latu Bhai again! Latu Bhai and his ‘partner in crime’ Undistynx are responsible for all the mishap in my house. They hide things, make the closet messy, drop water bottles and even tickle kids. We have been hearing about Latu Bhai for quite sometime now.

And surprisingly, Latu Bhai sounds so similar to my ‘Paper Bunny’, a character I had created when I was 6 or perhaps 7 year old. He was a naughty person who would throw paper all over the house. How kids recreate their parents’ second childhood! I had created another character called ‘Ms Jealousy’, who was jealous of everything and would chase everyone.

This legendary Latu Bhai (I don’t know how he comes up with these names) brought back so many beautiful memories of us kids running all over the house, wildly and happily, being chased by ‘my’ imaginary characters.

I am not done with Latu Bhai yet! It does not matter how many mischiefs are done in his name! All that matters is he brings innocence, story, creativity and magic in my house. I want Latu Bhai to stay because the day he leaves, my kids will grow up!

(Art by Adiraj)

On the other side of the mirror!

 I see her everyday. The mother, the wife, the homemaker! I witness her pitter patter since morning as she packs lunch for husband and kid, in a hush hush way as to not rouse the baby sleeping in the bedroom.

But the baby is a light sleeper, he wakes up. She rushes to him. She has become an expert in doing chores while balancing the babe in one arm. She manages again!

When the hubby and kid leave, she catches her breath before tending to the little one. Juggling between bathing him, diaper change, feeding and cleaning up, she manages to gulp down her cold breakfast.

She has to plan out her day according to the routine of the baby. The bathroom and lunch preparing time would be when the baby sleeps. She puts the baby to sleep. The baby acts cranky. Her arms and back ache but she tries to soothe him.

Perhaps, the baby feels sympathetic towards mommy and sleeps at last. She enters the bathroom, just then the phone rings! She rushes out of the bath fearing the baby would wake up, but thankfully he doesn’t. She rushes through the conversation and hangs up quickly. She takes a quick shower and performs her ritual prayer.

It is time to prepare lunch. The baby wakes up before time. She has to play the jugglar again. She cooks as well as humours the little one. They play hide and seek and funny little games. She finds heaven in these moments.

She tries to relax after lunch. The older one returns, excited and chattering about his day in school. It is time to pay exclusive attention to him. The kid wants her to play with him. While his energy level is high, she has just her will power to hold on to. She has to keep an eye on both of them now.


Evening times are chit chat time. But I seldom hear her talk. She enjoys listening to them. Dinner is prepared and served. The husband helps as much as he can. He always does. She knows it was a long day for him too and feels loved!

Her body is sore when she goes to bed, ready for nighttime waking and feeding. She thinks and plans for the next day…food, grocery, kids’ school, doctor’s visit… a myriad things. She sleeps ready to wake up with the slightest stir or movement of the baby.

It is during her night time waking, between feeds, that she comes to me. It is the only time she looks at me closely. I, her mirror image, stare back at her! I try to look for that once carefree girl with a hundred dreams in her eyes…I do not see those eyes. The girls’ eyes were bright, ambitious and playful. Her eyes are different. She is different, the girl is gone.

These eyes are of a mother, who seldom thinks of herself. She is illkempt, preoccupied and always in a hurry. Everyday I look at the different shades on her face…sometimes she is irritated and tired, at other times she looks contented and occassionally she is ruffled, but one shade is dominant throughout – It is that of pride! Pride in fact that she is doing her duty well.

She knows the dreams of the ‘girl in her’ can wait. But the heavenly moments of motherhood will never ever come back. Her kids need her now, nothing else matters. After a few years, she will have enough time for herself then she will miss it all…hugging, feeding, playing…everything. The lady in one of the stores had rightly advised her – pay attention to your kids, they grow up very fast. The woman on the other side of the mirror has put motherhood above everything else that matters, like millions of mothers across the world.

She believes Motherhood is a ‘tapasya’, a state of selflessness that enables one to experience the sublimest and divinest emotions.

I look at her and read her mind everyday. At times, I feel sort of restlessness in her. It is a fact that not many admire or value a homemaker, and this affects her sense of worth. But next moment, that feeling of pride returns, her temporary conflict disappears and she becomes a contented mother again. I, her mirror image, admire her soft face at such times.

But I also want to keep reminding her of the girl, she once was. And I will resolutely do that. For I know, when her kids grow up and there will no more be aching arms, swollen eyes and lullabys, the dreamy girl in her, will keep her company. The girl will show her purpose of life further…after the kids move on in life. The girl is her essence, and she should be in touch with her.

Till then, I wish happy motherhood to her…to my beloved mirror image!

(This post is dedicated to all mothers, working and non working, who I am sure have great stories to tell about motherhood. This is my story! I have been a SAHM ( Stay At Home Mother) since the past five years and it has been the most memorable and rewarding phase in my life.)

Yesterday Once More

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Yesterday, my older one ran to me and asked to inhale the perfume his father had put on him. I smiled and told him he smelt great. He does this every time but yesterday it made me think. Would he come running to me like this always? Would he reach out for my hand whenever we go out? I think not, naturally. But then how will the transformation take place? I want to remember the day and time when he will let go of me and my opinions? Would this happen on a particular day or gradually? It is entirely expected that soon he will find it silly and outgrow it and move on. But I want to watch it consciously and make a note of it. Just like that!

I am sure I will stay on and wait for his every little acknowledgement just like my parents stayed and I moved on. I still wonder how the transformation took place in me and how much I left behind and simply forgot about it.

We just outgrow and let go of so many little things. We don’t remember the last time, date, moment when that particular ritual ceased to exist. We just abandon it, find a replacement, move on or just forget about it.

There are so many beautiful and mundane happenings from my wonder years that I want to relive one last time…but those days have gone, new routine has taken it’s place. In the years to come, I will miss my present too. We have a habit of taking our present for granted. I took it for granted while growing up. I have learnt from experience that we should not let go of our present without living it to the fullest.

I may not be able to go back and grab those moments once again but at least I can recount it, talk about it and list it…just to experience it indirectly, while I write. And to smile fondly, sincerely and simply. Here are some cherished moments straight from the innocent days when the world was a little more brighter, clearer and beautiful.

  • My father’s fictional stories of adventures in Africa on cold winter nights while eating ground nuts.
  • My mother’s laughter and mock fights with father and our intervention to settle the quarrel.
  • My grandmother’s ringing laughter that continued for minutes.
  • My late maternal grandmother’s amazing delicacies which included a variety of pickles and jams.
  • The laughter and jokes cracked by uncles and aunts in every family get together.
  • Attending marriages and vying with other kids to be the first one to peep at the veiled bride’s crimson face.
  • The sound of the bangles of our old bangles seller.
  • The comforting presence of our staff.
  • Our old two in one tape recorder and shutter TV.
  • Guava trees – my refuge from unpleasant situations.
  • Berry tree – the place where we kids learnt to weave dreams.
  • Our games – I spy, Fire in the Mountain, I want, basket ball, flying disc or just chasing games.
  • Wearing stitched dresses by the local tailor and feeling like a queen.
  • Teasing siblings until they cried.
  • Dreaming of Mickey Mouse.
  • Imagining seeing something supernatural and making up stories.
  • Screaming and overreacting at the mention of ghosts, murkatwa (the beheading killer) and witches.
  • The little old stores and their store owners in our small town.
  • The unveiling of the statue of Goddess Durga during Durga puja.
  • Lighting of earthen lamps throughout our house in Deepawali and the impatience to burn crackers.
  • Playing Holi with ink from our fountain pens.
  • Banging and shouting on the last day of every school session and before holidays.
  • Admiring the beauty queens from magazines.
  • Visits to our village where age old traditions still exist.
  • Praying for restoring of current after power cuts while watching Sunday movies on national television.
  • Staging dramas and dances for the family.
  • Little fights and outbursts but clean hearts.
  • Confiding in older sister about everything.
  • Nodding and sleeping in the school bus.
  • Jumping up and down in mud during and after rainfall.
  • Toppling down from stack of hay every harvest season.
  • Cleaning VCR head in between movies.
  • The sound of the bell of the ground nut seller, ice candy and cotton candy man.
  • The fragrance of mango flowers in the house.
  • The laid back existence without any urgency to complete a task.
  • The yearly fair in our compound and the rustic crowd.
  • The myriad colours of Chath festival.
  • Picnics at Betla National Forest and near Kechki River.
  • These are just a few of those memories. (The picture is of Betla National Forest). I would love to know about yours too, please do not forget to share. Come on, let’s live yesterday once more…