Saturday, September 15, 2018

Sunny days

For a brief while this week, I was Sunny again.

The Riminis were participating in the 30-year celebrations of HAU on 13 September, and asked if I could Skype in to sing a song in the memory of Call Cutta. Of course I said I would! I did a couple of rehearsals with Stefan (and Simon) and then there I was, singing Papa Kehte Hain out loud to an audience in Berlin at 1 am IST and crossing my fingers that 1. I didn't wake the kids and 2. the neighbours didn't complain!

This is what the folks in the audience saw at HAU lol. It's not the clearest photo but you can see me on a giant screen surrounded by balloons, right?

Earlier in the month I hosted a panel for the Women Writers Fest curated by She The People. I did their Bangalore Rani panels for a few months and really enjoyed those but realised I couldn't commit that kind of time with regularity. This one, being a one-off, was less stress and I actually had a lot of fun. The video's available on their page.

Of late I've finally been admitting to myself that I am, in fact, quite isolated. Even my loneliest days in Calcutta were not this... alone? I like being in the centre of people and happenings, and the events of this year are hard on me. Nothing will change by this admission, but I needed to hear myself say this, I think. That I've changed, I'm no longer making friends like I used to.

I do want to be with people. I want to have conversations, and feel passionate about events and things. This afternoon I felt crushed by disapproval and I don't even know how much of it was simple self-projection. I don't really have anybody I want to take this feeling to, there's nobody I quite trust to not hurt me even more just now. That feeling is very lonely. And it's all on me, it says everything about me and nothing about the people who love me.

All in all, it was nice being Sunny for a wee while. It was nice talking to people who remember a more fiery me, a more capable, achieving me. I hope that part of me comes back one day. This person I am right now feels only half complete.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Two Circles, Completed

When we were new in Bangalore, Rahul got into trouble in school. A younger boy's parents wrote to his school about him, complaining of inappropriate behaviour. We were shocked, embarrassed and I remember feeling angry that they hadn't just talked directly to us (we live near each other). However, Rahul was older and in the wrong, so we did what we had to and the matter passed.

A few days ago, Rahul came home upset yet again because an older boy had been bullying him. I've spoken to the boy's mother directly after an earlier episode which had no lasting impact. The last two months of steadily increasing meannesses had culminated in cuts, bruises and absolutely unacceptable verbal abuse. V and I decided since it was happening in the school bus, the one place where Rahul could not get away and we had no jurisdiction either, we needed to talk to his school. His school dealt with it promptly and hopefully the matter is ended now. Now, however, I finally understand why the first child's parents had gone directly to the school.


One morning this week an older woman confided her troubles with her daughter-in-law to me. I heard her, and sadly told her she shouldn't have said what she did. I could understand why she said that to her daughter-in-law, but she, being older, should have realised how unnecessary and hurtful it was, what she said. And I watched her nod, agreeing, explaining, sorrowing over the rift her words had created. And I felt a great deal of sympathy for this woman who had done to her daughter-in-law what my own mother-in-law had once done so viciously to me. I don't have any sympathy for my mother-in-law's behaviour but I'm older and I think a little more tolerant of weakness, and I'm glad my mother-in-law had people to talk to when she was angry and hurtful. Watching my friend sadly agree with me made me wonder if my mother-in-law too ever wished she could have taken her words back.

And I finally understood that I've long forgiven her. She hurt me, and I will carry the scars till I die, but they are just scars, no longer cuts. She and I have made peace with each other.


At our book club meet last night we had a lively discussion about The Liberation of Sita by Volga, especially about whether Sita was strong or not. (What is strength? Is acceptance a sign of weakness? Does letting go show lack of spine?) These are questions I ask myself from time to time as well. As I grow older my understanding of strength changes. I don't feel strong at all, like I used to in my twenties, but nor do I feel weak. I feel... dormant?

Most of all, I feel glad I'm alive. There is a great deal of satisfaction in watching what went around come around.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Wanted: A nanny for two adorable parents

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition 
Please commit, don't split!
Play games, with the kids
You must be kind, you may be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Spare us for naps, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets
Never be cross or mean
Teach our kids they mustn't be heard, only seen 
Love us as a son and daughter
And make sure we always drink water
If you won't scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won't hide your spectacles
So you can't see
(Though there might be lizards in your room
Or mould in your tea)
Hurry, Nanny!
Thank you
Vicky and Sue