Love at First Sight

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

His eyes were my undoing.

Those soft, melting, brown eyes.

It was love at first sight.

You know its love at first sight when you cant take your eyes off each other.

We gazed at each other longingly.

I didn’t need words.

His eyes said it all.

That, come, lets walk this path together.

But my heart knew that I was not in a position to commit my time and attention to him, though my heart was already his.

With a soul-wrenching sigh, I turned away.

As I walked away, I could hear him whimpering a plea.

I didn’t look back because I knew if I did, I would follow my heart and take that darling puppy home with me.

A Matter of Convenience

So..what do we see here? A pair of shoes, right? A mundane pair of shoes. Which you and me wear on our feet and walk about in. At present this pair is airing on my windowsill. Very recently I realized that I was not the only one using this pair of shoes.

Every few days I sun and air my walking shoes on my windowsill or keep it on the grillwork just below my window. Just beyond this window is a beautiful mango tree, home to some crows and mynas. I was quite surprised to see one crow hop over to my window every now and then. (You may wonder how do I know it’s the same crow? But if you pay enough attention you will realize that each and every living beings has some marking peculiar to it.)

Initially I didn’t pay much attention. But soon realized that it was taking extra interest in the shoes kept outside. Then I thought that it was interested in the shoelace, which would make a good lining for its nest.

One morning when I went to get my shoes, I found a bit of toast inside one of the shoes. I didn’t think much about it and just knocked the shoe about a bit and cleaned it up. After a few days I found a bit of some unidentifiable food item inside my shoe. While I was staring perplexed at the deposit, a crow sitting on the branch of the mango tree started cawing insistently. I then realized that my shoe was being used as a pantry/ larder by one the crows in the tree. And while I whole-heartedly support the theory of reuse/ recycle/ etc, this was one time I was not willing to be a willing party to this. So though I do continue to air my shoes on the same windowsill, I do so by upending them, much to the dismay of Mr.Crow.

PS: the crow still continues to use the gaps in the grillwork to store his meals.

20 Things I Associate with Durga Pujo

  1. The butterfly, which wanders into the house just before Durga Puja. My mother used to say that it showed it was time to buy new clothes for the festivities. Uncanny, but this is the only time I have seen butterflies enter the house.
  2. The thunder showers just before the advent of Navratri. They remind me of my  paternal grandmother. She used to narrate the story of how every year Goddess Parvati wants to visit   her parents and when she asks Lord Shiva for permission to do so, he gets angry. The thunder is his anger vibrating through the skies. That Goddess Parvati comes down to Earth nonetheless is a different tale altogether.
  3.  Pandal Hopping
  4. The colourful, sometimes bordering on garish decorations of pandals.
  5. The sweet echo of the conch shells.
  6. The feet-tapping, steady rhythm of the Dhaak
  7. The intoxicating fragrance of the dhuno or the dhoop.
  8. The chant of the mantras when we offer flowers to the Goddess.
  9. The combination of the hot weather and the piping hot khichdi.
  10. The tantalizing aroma of vegetable and chicken chops, and fish fry and mughlai    parathas. The mouth-watering array of rosogullas, gulab jamuns and sandesh.
  11. The bright,crisp new saris.
  12. The even brighter flash of the jewelry on women.
  13. The latest trend in sari blouses.
  14.  The loud exclamation of delight on spotting someone after a span of a year.
  15.  The expected pinch on the cheek by that old friend of your parents’, who just can’t get over the wonder of you finally having grown up! He has seen you since you are two years old but each year will inevitably exclaim, “You have grown up!” And you smile at him and let him get away with it as he carries a bit of your childhood in him.
  16. The coy look on the faces of young, prospective brides who have come to may-be make a match.
  17. The eagle gaze of the mothers of the prospective brides.
  18. The confident look on the face of the mothers of prospective bridegrooms.
  19. The hesitant smile on the face of the prospective grooms.
  20. The little children running amok.

And Then There Were None..

The sweet and heady fragrance of vanilla essence.

A mound of tutti-frutti.

Some flour and few eggs.

Bright spoons and a measuring jar.

Even brighter face of my 11-year-old.

It’s the weekend.

Time to bond over some baking.

As we whisk and stir, she shares her school news. At 11 the world is not so simple as when you are a single digit old. There is so much buzzing in the head. School, studies, peer opinion, her own queries. The kitchen is a melting pot of various sounds, strangely soothing. She chats, I hmm. There is the soft whoosh of the eggs and flour being stirred. The fan whirls above. It’s our own little world.

No matter how many fancy restaurants one has eaten in, comfort comes from the simple foods. We are making a fruitcake. One of our favorites. A simple teacake. But the aroma is heavenly. Infuses the whole house.

My son comes home from a class and throws his head back to inhale the welcoming scent. Next comes the husband. And then before we know it, there are only a few crumbs left on the plate.

My Other Half

Bosom buddy. What a quaint term! Old fashioned but conveys so much more of the relationship rather than the more impersonal BFF.

I am blessed. I met my bosom buddy when I was nine. We lived in the same residential complex and initially wouldn’t even glance at each other. Then one day she said a tentative hello to me. And there was laid the foundation of a friendship,which has spanned over three decades and thousands of miles.

We schooled together and spent all our free time together. And as we could see each other’s balconies from our homes, we had this elaborate sign language to pass messages. I remember this neighbour asking us very curiously indeed, that what did we find to talk about all the time?

When one has been friends for such a long time, one tends to invent a language of their own. We speak with no reference to anything. We leave sentences incomplete, we string weird phrases together. Yet what we say makes perfect sense to the other. It’s not that we have never quarrelled. But no matter what, even if we were not on speaking terms that particular day, it didn’t stop us from walking together to college, albeit in total silence. It didn’t stop us from holding hands when it came to crossing that big, wide road where the weaving traffic was scary. 

We laugh at things others wouldn’t even smile at. We pick the phone and wail when we feel our world is falling apart. And again we pick the phone when those perfect moments in life cross our path.

There have been times when we haven’t met each other for four to five years, but when we did, it was as if it was just yesterday since we had last met. That is one of the things I wish for my children. To have that kind of friendship with at least one person in their lifetime. These are rare bonds. So while I have my better half in my husband, I have my other half in my buddy.

Some more fish

Ardent followers of the Master Chef series, my children are more than happy to see a well ‘plated’ meal. Tonight was no different. When I served them grilled fish with coleslaw and herbed potatoes on the side, there were two beaming faces at the table. My 11-year-old also loves to use the terms she hears so often on the show. So she exclaimed over the ‘plating’, and then proceeded to ‘drizzle’ some lemon juice over the fillet. She has always been interested in the intricacies of cooking and it’s due to her enthusiasm that I have been nudged into trying out new dishes. The other two members of the family are willing partakers of these new experiments.

a moment

It was hot, muggy and humid when I took my walk this morning. Took a lot of pushing to get myself to reach the goal I had set myself. Then I got distracted by the cheery yellow blooms along the way. And before I knew it I was scouring the sides of the walking track, looking for fresh blooms and greens. In my search, I really didn’t realize when the heat and humidity had been shoved to the back of my mind. Before I realized it I had completed my walk and headed back home.

Got me thinking that if I could focus on the ‘blooms’ in every situation that I face, every path that I walked would be as effortless as the walk I took this morning. Being aware, and convincing our mind, is probably tougher than actually implementing any task, big or small.