Category Archives: Love makes the world go around

P is for Postcards from Port Blair

I am totally going to cheat on this post. For most of you Port Blair is a travel destination, for me and for a lot of us who grew up there – Port Blair is a feeling. Last evening as i sat down to write about this place, the words felt inadequate. How do i put to words the place I was happiest in – an innocent carefree life. How do I describe the place I don’t want to go back to because I fear the memory is more beautiful than the reality. It’s the place i most want to take the Tall One and the Elf to but i dont want to because i feel they wont see it with my biased eyes

I posed this question to my “chaddi buddies” who grew up with me in this idyllic islands and got them to write about living in Port Blair. What amazed me is that each of our memories and thoughts are so similar. Some of us grew up there, some of us (like me) were there for a couple of years, some still called it home (where their parents still are) but we all felt the magic. The magic was in its simplicity, in its beauty and its purity. Bear with the post as 66% of my chaddi buddies recount our wonder years.

This is what Gi my friend of the lemonade fame had to say:

Growing up in Port Blair was fun. Everydat was a picnic -the kind you read in Enid Blyton books. We could see the sea from everywhere. We could go on boat rides whenever we wanted to, have a mid night picnic in the middle of the sea on a full moon night, go swimming and snorkeling. I still miss the smell of the sea and the feel of the sand under my feet, even though its been half a decade since I went back there. I would like to say that apart from all the good things, I personally saw pretty rough times too and Port Blair was my refuge from the world.

A few of us had been living in Port Blair since we were very little and left it when we grew up and a few us came and went with Parents postings. There was a magic bond that was created and I think it was because of the place, the sheer simplicity of it. I can say this for all of us that we would all like to go back there together and experience that again.

And this is what my other friend P had to say:

They called her a junglee – a quiet shy girl, full of dreams and ambitions. She geew from being a little girl, to a a teenager and a young adult on these beautiful.From the shores of the sea to the middle of forests a life which seems like something right out of the jungle book.

Carefree and happy full of memories- Running to catch a seat in the bus to get to the ferry, watching the sun rise and set each day along the horizon,the shimmers of the waves still catch her eyes and remind her of many picnics and outings movies and birthdays with her favorite bunch of the buddies -people she has known for most of her life…

PortBlair will always remain part of her no matter were she is or were she goes…

There is Reshmi from mum in the curry fame – she looks back nostalgically to the place which she still calls home (this was by far the toughest post to edit, i do hope she features the whole post on her blog someday

Living in a country  (US) where I did  not grow up but moved for education and job, I have often been asked ‘Where are you originally from?” Since my answer is not the simplest and the place not the easiest to know or locate, I i usually pull up a map to show. The reaction I get from people when I show them the speckles in a vast ocean on a map, never ceases to amuse me, followed by the ‘What’s the place called again?”

As much as I love telling people about my home, it’s the next question from them (which almost always follows the first) that trumps me. “Why in the world would you leave such a beautiful place to come HERE?”
However pragmatic my answer  sounds about a better life and job and all that jazz, truth is I ask myself that question more often that I have been asked by someone else.
How can you not love a place so beautiful! The only image that conjures in my mind when someone says HOME is that of a small town, views of the sea from every where, hills, clear skies (of course when its not pouring!), fresh air…I can go on. This is the place I spent 18 years of my life. Place that taught me the charm of small communities and simple living; the value of finding small joys in mundane things (getting drenched in the rain while walking back from school in spite of that umbrella in the bag!); where I made friendships that have lasted for so long that I don’t remember how long. Where I met the love of my life. Where my parents still are, where some of the people I value the most still live. The place that shaped my profession. The place that I would go back in a heartbeat (but then life’s reality blah blah blah).
Port Blair is also the place that I also miss the most. My husband thinks it’s only a matter of years that this love will give away to a mere memorable affection, and I fight him for that unwanted opinion. It is true that I may have chose to ignore the fact that the place and times have changed. Things may not be the same. But my Port Blair will always be what I remember from when I left. Port Blair may have moved on without me, but I will remain in denial that it has. And that is the reason why every time the sky becomes over cast, I remember home.Any time I hear the rain lashing out in the night and pounding my windows, I close my eyes and pretend I am home, lying on my bed, and falling asleep to the sound of the rain.
This is what my friend – “Ginny” had to say
It is and always has been about the people. Port Blair to me was my friends, family,and neighbors. These people shaped my experiences of the town, and my childhood.With my family I explored most of what the island had to offer- hikes, boat trips, snorkeling and swimming on some of the most remote islands. My neighbors were the playmates during the scheduled power cuts in the evenings, and companions on various picnics that our mums organized. But, it was my friends who made Port Blair come alive for me.

It was with and through them that I appreciated what it had to offer. Not, just the beauty, but a sense of community and self. Even though we were thousands of miles away from everything, I belonged. We were behind the times, but it didn’t feel like that because my friends (the chaddi buddies you’ve heard about before) were way ahead of the times. With our fabulous sense of fashion and selves, we had a blast in what could often be a sleepy town. Countless hours were spent on the phone (we used them to talk to each other, I know…how ancient!), and then countless more at school and tuitions.

As with most things, our collective time on the island came to an end. We dispersed off to corners of the mainland, and some left the country. It was then that I realized,going back to Port Blair was nice, because it had been home, but it was only fun and real when my friends were around.

So, to me Port Blair is a state of mind, and thanks to my friends and our whatsapp group, I’m there each and everyday soaking in the sunshine, feeling the spray of salt on my skin and swimming with the dolphins.
This is part of the blogathon for April and this is my blog spot for P
Advertisements

M is for Mamma Mia

It’s almost blasphemous for me to choose anything else for M. M is for my mommy and I am totally going to cheat on this blog! I wrote this many many moons ago about my mommy and is still as relevant today as it was then. My thoughts or feelings haven’t changed.

https://dropzofjupiter.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/the-lioness-and-her-cub/

Did I still say that this holds true. Yup believe it while it was written 6 years ago, I am still 28.

The only thing that has changed since is that I have someone who now calls me mamma. Sometimes more often that I would like 😉

Having a baby has proved to me once again why I need my mommy around – the way my mom looked after me when my kid was born was well… What only a mother can do.

My only advice to all going to be moms is – however awesome your mil is, go to your mommy when you have a baby.

The one person in the world who was as bothered about me as she was about the baby.

The person who walked with my kid for 2-3 hours as he screamed during his colicky stage.

The person who stayed up with him the night he was born as I slept almost comatose after a long long 17 hour labour.

The person who took over from “‘munde tai” his personal masseuse when he was born and gave him extra special baths and massages – he still gets them when she is here.

The only one who told a starving nursing mother to let the baby cry and finish my food.

The person who gives me confidence that I am raising my kid ok.

And most importantly the person who told me not to feel guilt and to prioritise me too.

The best compliment I get is when she thinks I am a good mom. Because while other kids my age are now looking after their parents – I am still being looked after.

And knowing her (and knowing me) that’s not going to change when I am 60 either

J Is for Jaipur and Jabbering

Now before you think that this is about me because of the word jabber involved in the post you are wrong.

I do not talk much.

It’s about 4 ladies ….

It took an instant for 4 ladies to decide that they needed to take a trip together.

It took them an instant to a create a foolproof way of ensuring that planning for the trip can commence -Of course there was a “Girls just wanna have fun” WhatsApp group made – I mean is it even possible to plan a trip or dinner without a WhatsApp group anymore.

It took them a lot of deliberations and intense scrutiny of their social and work calendars to work out an ideal “DAY” for this trip.

A lot more discussion and after let’s do Goa being constantly recommended by some crazy individual – the city of Jaipur was deemed suitable.

And if you thought that was a lot of discussion for a one day trip – well you should have seen these ladies on the trip. Some of them started talking at 6 am and finished talking at 4 am, the next day. No exaggeration.

The ladies throats thanked the God above that this was a one day trip. And as proof that God always helps the needy, the ladies went in for a spa in individual rooms, that allowed the poor throats a one hour respite

But wait have I been saying ladies – ha! Not really ladies, they haven’t truly evolved into ladies of today. Much like the chimpanzee who almost looks human but doesn’t have a thumb.

Just imagine they lack basic survival skills required to be a lady in today’s day and age.

They have zero selfie taking skills.

Uselessness in this skill should be reason enough to kick them back to 1995. You know the time when your phone was a stationary phone that didn’t click photos!

All they did was laugh at themselves and others In their selfies.

Oh look you don’t have a neck. You look like a floating head

Wait you both look like you share a body. Like the 2 headed creature from Harry Potter.

My hair is looking electrocuted.

Your head is occupying three fourths of the photo.

My double chin has given birth to triplets.

Someone needs to press the click button. Oh wait that makes your arm cover us all up .
em>

U get the drift right. I mean think about it an absolute inability to pose or click selfies. And worse still there was no check in post about a fun trip with the girlies and no immediate upload of the 3 selfies that didn’t make them look like Martians on earth.

One of them might have been slightly higher on the evolution chain and reluctantly suggested that maybe we should upload a couple of snaps onto Facebook. Imagine 9 hours after the trip ended.

Selfies apart. The trip was a detox – away from the daily grind, we discussed it all. Opinions advice, laughs, husbands, kids, careers – we talked and talked and talked. We had planned to visit a couple of places instead we talked.

And it didn’t seem enough.

Oh wait since this is about jabbering and I am not really not that talkative – this post is not about me . It’s about 4 half evolved ladies

Any recommendations for this throat pain I have?

since I *may* or may not have been part of these jabbering Jaipur day trip ladies. ( pause for pink panther suspense music) I didn’t really have time to post last night.

This is part of the April AtoZ challenge and this is my entry for J

I is for interloper

It was the day after her marriage. She clanked her bangles as she went out of the room excited and nervous to start her life as part of the family.

Her Mil was not like the sasumas you saw on TV. A mother of two sons she had proclaimed loudly how excited she was about having a daughter in the house. She sat contently at breakfast listening to all the stories about her son’s childhood.

She felt lucky. Really what more can a girl ask for her?

They were leaving for their honeymoon that night. She was ready for the flight, she went to search for her mil – the door was shut, she pushed it open and her mil and her new husband were counting the money from the reception and talking intently. When she entered the counting and talk both stopped.

She made some excuse and stepped out feeling like an interloper.

She shook her head at her over reaction.

Over the years she shook her head again when she got to know that her mil was traveling to the USA only when the visa arrived, when the family property was sold off to invest into their business, when she knew about her fil’s cataract surgery day only a couple of days after it was advised, when her inlaws didn’t remember where or what she studied or the names of her nieces.

She justified it thinking that it wasn’t important or maybe they didn’t think it mattered to her. She should be happy that she was treated well and by and large her inlaws and she got along. She was after all just like a daughter.

But then why did it hurt her?

She hurried home from work – Mrs chaddha mummyji’s childhood friend was visiting and she had to be there to make her famous pasta and salad. As she prepared the food in the kitchen, she heard Mummyji tell Aunty about the family’s recent trip to Singapore.

A trip she had planned to the last T.

You know Shradha planned the whole trip. We stayed at such an amazing hotel and the best thing about a family trip is the memories you create. I finally got the perfect family picture that I have always wanted. I have even got it enlarged and framed. Help me find a spot in my room for the picture. I want to see my family right before I close my eyes. At my age family is most important.

As Shradha entered the room, she saw the picture mummyji had enlarged. The family grinned back at her. She wondered if she should be flattered as she had taken the picture.

And no it was not a selfie.

Even after 10 years she was an interloper

This is part of the atoz challenge for April and my entry for I. For some weird reason the word interloper has been in my head all day and hence the fictional story

H is for holidays

So on 28th of March my house was stuck by an earthquake and on 29th by a tornado and the subsequent jolts, quivers and speedy breezes have continued since. I am surprised that the walls in my house are brave enough to stand.

The floor has given up and understands that its existence is going to be dotted by 32 small hot wheels cars and innumerable others cars and vehicles of different shapes and sizes.

My feet understand that until June every time it takes a step, a Lego will attempt to pierce right through my foot.

My sofas have put on a brave face and steadied their springs to the incessant jumping!

The artifacts around the house quiver when ‘
the whoosh of a ball passes them.

My fridge groans in despair after it has been opened for the 10563th time in the day.

My lap and nose and various body parts wonder in silence where they will live to see my 35th year of existence

As I walk around my house, I feel their accusingly looks and if they could talk they would say

Why nuttie why?!!

Sure every school has holidays but haven’t you heard of summer camps. Every Meena, Teena and Ameena is sending their kids to advance the kids skills while the mothers maintain their sanity. What bravery medal were you aspiring for when you decide your kid should be free during summer holidays. You wanted him to be able to do as he pleases during his holidays just like you did as a kid. Unstructured play it seems. Pfft…imagination some more pfft,

I take a deep breath and tell them only 7 weeks more.

I hear the low hum of chanting/praying and beseeching to the Gods while I walk away!

this is part of the Atozchallenge – unofficially of course and this is my entry for h

G is for girlfriends and G is for Gi !

I have been secretly very pleased that today was the G day because i was meeting my bachpan ka dost “Gi” today. Gi is a silent reader of my blog so everyone wave to her now.

For the record Gi is inspiring – life gave her lemons, and at the moment she is making lemonade, sure she complains about the occasional lemon but on the whole, she is a very cheerful lemonade maker and I know for a fact (and I know she doesn’t believe it) that her lemonade is eventually going to be Michelin star worthy.

Gi I am documenting this here so that I can tell you told you so someday.

But the story of her lemons and lemonade is hers to tell, let me tell you about us.

Us would totally be incomplete without the addition of 5 other lead characters from school – we call ourselves Chaddi buddies which when very very loosely translated into English is “Girlfriends” which again is what G is for.

During our school days, we were never a mob of 7 friends who walked around together like you see in the movies. Though now that I think about it that would have been totally cool. We would have looked the part in our cringeworthy clothes of the 1990’s. The ones we will never ever put up on Facebook!

I have to admit though that even in bunches of 2-3 we were quite scary. Against the quiet conservative landscape of Port Blair, we were the girls laughing away while we troubled others.

But no we were not a mob, we each had individual relationships with each other, at various points of time – the degree of “closeness varied’ but when we came together in 2012 to create Chaddi buddies on whatsapp – we all just fit. We were just right!

We started off exactly where we left off some 15 odd years ago. Recounting old jokes and incidents, discussing old crushes, gossiping about our classmates – but we started building on our friendship – husbands and kids were introduced, recipes and ambitions were discussed, advice and threats were pelted out.

I know for a fact one of the main reason I didn’t suffer from Post partum depression was these ladies – there was always someone to talk to, or laugh with, always demanding a baby pic (thanks to which I have pics of almost every day of the elfs first year – at that time I have to admit I was pained but now i am grateful for the memories)

Our relationship with each other is easy – there are no demands and no expectations. These ladies are my backbone; their babies are mine, their lives are part of my story, we have each others back, we might chat a little less now but we still chat everyday. Everyday since 1st Jun 2012.

We know we are friends for a lifetime .

Mini reunions have happened and all we now wait for is that big bad big reunion.

Someday we will be a mob of 7 women walking around – you and you and you be scared!

The blog is part of the April A toZ challenge

Letting go…

My baby started school today. As an excited elf wears his uniform, my heart feels heavy. I have been feeling this way for a couple of days I wonder why because he has been in daycare since he was less than a year old.

He is very excited, excited about the swings and the slides he has seen, excited about the uniform he gets to wear.

We enter school and I sense his mood change. He keeps telling me to come in with him. We enter his classroom and hang around for a while. It’s time for me to go, I kiss him goodbye. In the commotion, I don’t think he registers what I am saying. We look back and he is crying either joining in the general tears or he actually wants to cry.

I worry – I know he will stop crying once something interests him. But I worry, if his heart is heavy, if he is scared or if he is worried I won’t pick him up. Who is going to reassure him.

We peak in from a window and the tall one sees him trying to open his bottle, the teacher helps him. The bottle is new – what if he has forgotten how to use it. I should have practised with him more.

I worry about school just being too grown up for him. In a daycare he was looked after. Didn’t we look after ourselves in school?

Who is going to blow his nose or help him in the loo. Make him eat?

I know he is not the friendliest kid in town – will he make friends or would he be sidelined. I know he doesn’t know to hit back – will he get bullied?

Is this the right school? Will the school interfere in the unique way in which he thinks?

The logical part of me knows he will figure it out – learn to stand up for himself, eventually make friends – but the mama in me wants to protect him.

I walk out of the school with tears in my eyes. The realisation dawns that everyday I need to let go of my baby a little more. Everyday is a step away from babyhood to becoming a real person

God bless little one! Spread your wings and fly. Don’t mind your silly mama crying at every milestone. Fly my baby – soar!