Friday, August 31, 2012

Parent much? Then you want to check these two out.

The Parent Rap

Chronos and Kairos

The article actually seems a little mistitled. It describes how I spend my days (I imagine more of us have these days than the breathless 'live every moment' kind) but I would say I carpe my diem. I seize my day, you see, not the moment.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yummy Mummy

Durga Das is in town. Maya and Cassia were also here earlier, but unfortunately the two visits did not overlap by a great deal. It was a bit of a pity because these kids are my youngest cousins and the two younger ones I met for the first time ever -- they are both younger than their nephew, my son!

Rahul took a shine to Cassia at the one party where they met, running up and down the party hall and stairs with her. Durga Das and he also get along like a house on fire and every day he talks about his 'little mama' (size indicated by gesture) and wants to meet him. And really, what's not to love about these kids. I may be biased (such very baby cousins of mine they are) but what with Maya's sense of humour and Cassia's quiet mischief and Durga Das' effortless domination of wherever he is, being around them is great fun.

I held a little party for them last Monday morning (it was Eid). As it happened, the gathering seemed to consist of Roy girls and their offspring: the three in our generation, two from the one above us and our kids; Cousin J was the offspring in our generation!

Cassia missed the party because she wasn't quite well but Maya was there, as Durga Das' "talking seatbelt", and the moppet himself kept things lively. Neither boy ate much but they liked the four-layer cake and the ice lollies/popsicles I fortunately had in the freezer. In fact, they liked the latter so much they started bouncing up and down in their stools chanting, "Yummy, Mummy!" Crazy kids.

I have looked forward to this month for a very long time, purely for the pleasure of meeting these cousins. I was greatly disappointed that Cousin J was around for less time than I'd hoped, but I'm still glad so many of us made it. I'm really bummed I don't have a camera this month, although I must say Didi is doing a good job of recording as much as she can.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Little girl

I'm much too old to go to my parents when I'm in trouble.

Sometimes though I wish I could.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A stitch in time [would have saved me an hour]

Yesterday evening I sat and caught up on some of my sewing. I haven't touched it in months and still have lots left to tackle.

I had no choice. Vicky spent the better part of a holiday in a shirt safety-pinned down the front. When I went to fix that I realised the shirt actually doesn't have more than half its buttons and has an open hem all along the back. (And in this list I havn't mentioned the trousers with torn hems and missing buttons, nor Rahul's mending nor the cushion that lost its ties ages ago.)

I wonder what they do with their clothes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No one cares about a farmer in Midnapore.

I do not understand our Chief Minister.

Portrait of a Writer Who Bounces

Kiran has been hounding me for a while now. Aneela too. Parul mentioned it in her gentle(r) way years before either of them.

I always meant to write but I have not written much since college. My own writing didn't interest me as much as I wanted it to. Last year, for a lark, I started the Lake Gardens Tales. They floundered, mostly because I moved away from Lake Gardens and the atmosphere that those stories needed. That writing was uneven, occasionally rambling, more often too abrupt, but a couple of the episodes delighted me. I still read them and laugh, so they can't be that bad.

Last week Vicky, Rahul and I went to Darjeeling with Smitadi, Ashokda, Mama and Tuni. I turned on Vicky's Macbook one quiet evening and started to thrash out a story I had long had in my head. It was based on actual events, so it didn't need as much prep as it might have otherwise. It's not complete but it's mostly done and it's somewhat funny so perhaps my, um, mojo is returning. (I've never precisely been sure that I actually have a mojo but let us assume I do.)

We returned to Cal and since then I've been brimming over with ideas. Every time I try to get one down on screen though, I find it's my story. Fictionalised, slightly altered or even when changed unrecognisably, it's still always something that happened to me. And because these stories are all mine, I bounce from one to another with no boundaries, no limiting closures. None of them ever get finished although I sketch out some very interesting characters as I go. It would be difficult for me not to, because I do meet very interesting people. I used to think I fell in love with men who introduced me to interesting people but the truth is that I do it myself. Almost every month, I meet somebody somewhere who adds something to my thinking and enlarges my view of the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm crammed full of other peoples and that I'm letting their stories slip out of my fingers. Irrepressible people who live lives that fascinate me.

When I try to write these stories down, I end up writing about the effect they have on me. All these stories become about me or people who are something like the different shades in me and this narcissism is intensely exasperating.

I bounce from story to story, unable to choose which to finish, which to elaborate. I bounce from character to idea, remembering other events, unable to cut an episode off at an appropriate ending, remembering how many, many things each event influenced down the years. I used to think I was a kickass editor, so what happened to that?

I suppose I should just be glad I'm writing, at least. Maybe with time even the poetry with return.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I was all out of words

Life hit me too hard, too often, a fortnight ago. Rahul's school called us requesting that we give his studies a little more attention and yet again, my mother-in-law was up to her drama. The school was entirely justified, the mother-in-law was not.

You'd think that given I haven't talked to the woman since April 2011 and prefer not to discuss her she would have the decency to stop talking about me? You would have thought wrong. This time my brother-in-law and his wife decided to jump in as well. I understand this is not a particularly intelligent group of people but even so... one does not like knowing that one's son has in him genes quite so stupidly vicious.

Then there was the work or lack of it. I have been cutting my freelancing down to almost nothing. Now, I'm no good unless I'm working but when I'm in this frame of mind I stop working, so it becomes a bit of a spiral.

There was also quite a lot of drama from my own side of the family about how I don't show enough respect, affection, welcome or thought. I think it's time people stopped expecting things of me and started looking at the person I actually am. I see them as they are and don't keep telling them what a massive disappointment they are to me.

I'm no longer angry or upset but I've been re-drawing a lot of boundaries. I'm too old now to put up with this nonsense.

On the other hand, while I was out of words and offline, there were some things I would like to remember:
1. The second show of Monologues.
2. We went out several times, Vicky, Rahul and I. We went to the sales, we went for dinner, we met Nilu and Shoma (with Shuki) for dinner at Mocha to celebrate their anniversary, we are meeting Smitadi and Ashokda for dinner tonight.
3. I set aside my lack of words and met Dana and Shuki after dinner one night and Shuki and Nibudi for coffee another evening and Dipali yesterday afternoon.
4. Tarana sent Rahul a rakhi and he made a card thanking her for it in his best handwriting. His first ever card. I received a rakhi call from my brother. It doesn't change anything but he did call.
5. I read through the five books of the Song of Fire and Ice set.
6. I've been making friends with the Android tablet Vicky bought me for my birthday. It's more than a lavish birthday gift, it's actually a very thoughtful present from the man who seems to have known after all just how much I missed my smartphone. (My N8 crashed yet again in June and this time I'm not getting it fixed until I stop missing it.) It's not an iPad, but it's fun and it lets me read ebooks and watch Big Bang Theory in bed.
7. I've been working with The Littlest Niyogy on his numbers and his letters and his reading and his spelling and his recitation and also his swimming. All of them could do with some improvement but hey, that's what parents are for. He is swimming. He doesn't think he is, but he swims 8-10 metres easy and could do longer laps if he remembered to use his arms! He reads out books to me and draws dinosaurs at the drop of a hat (Tarana's card has three, one multicoloured -- his new word).
8. Vicky's contemplating moving me -- us -- out of Calcutta and into a place that isn't even featured on the internet. I'm sure it won't come to anything and the place has a certain appeal but even so... On the bright side, if the universe -- and Vicky -- actually pull this through then I suppose I could put the place on the internet. I think I will go sew myself a nice little superhero cloak and leotard. Maybe I could also learn to use a lariat while I'm at it.

Lastly, Jamie Oliver on Masterchef Australia last night. Seriously, how cute is that man! I looked at all those women hugging him at the drop of a hat and turned a deep, deep green. I've had the hots for J Oliver since I was in high school!

Clearly, my words have returned.