Monkton Mondays!

It’s that time of year again! February’s here and the World will go crazy in 645px-Love_Heart_SVG.svg or at least pretend to 😉 Come Valentine’s Day, all those who are lucky in Love will celebrate and those that are not will hang down their heads and cry…I suppose…or hold them high and celebrate for all I know 😛 I have no problems with Love and even less of a problem with celebrating it, but these days, it seems like everyone celebrates it because it’s what’s expected somehow, because they want to feel like they belong. I also don’t like how Valentine’s Day has become almost exclusively about ‘romantic’ love! Just my personal opinion – feel free to hold your own!

I have known my husband for 25 years. We’ve been married 22 of those. Our love has been fluid through the course of our relationship – as a lubricant when there was need for compromise; like water – for dousing out those infernal arguments; a fuel – for you know when 😉 It’s also been the glue that has held us together; the rubber band that has allowed us our space when we needed it; and the hope that keeps us afloat in the many storms that Life sends our way. And that’s how it been in ALL my relationships – with my Parents, my Gran, my friends and now with my Son…Love does what it can to show me a good time if I let it! If I don’t interfere too much, it generally knows best, even if I don’t see it at the time 😛

And so here is a collection of Valentine Day messages in inimitable Monkton-style…messages that I would love to send and receive on VD if I were into that sort of thing 😉 

Happy Monday People!

Celebrate LOVE…Everyday! Always & Forever, Won’t you? ❤

A Perfect Birthday!

Let me start by saying a warm & heartfelt ‘Thank-You’ to all my friends and family for their warm wishes and love 🙂 I had a truly smashing B’Day! It’s Monday and I’m rather exhausted as is wont after a bout of prolonged euphoria!

I was overwhelmed by all the wishes I received through modern media…my FB wall was flooded with messages starting from the night before; my Gmail Inbox had more than a few e-greetings; and my phone rang pretty much non-stop the whole day!! Made me feel very important and special and happy 🙂 Somewhere in the little traditional corner of my heart though, I still miss the give and take of greeting cards by snail mail! With the advent of the Internet…letter writing and card-giving are fast becoming obsolete (well, in my life they are!), and I used to enjoy both. Now it’s just not practical. No, that’s actually untrue! It’s just that I’ve chosen what I perceive is the easier option, helped along by the fact that the cards I truly like are atrociously priced and so is postage! I don’t often feel overly guilty about my choice though, given the fact that most cards will end up as fodder for the recycle bins (unless they are really special), or lie forgotten in dusty storage boxes in basements and attics, or just get lost in the general clutter of homes. But every once in a while (generally during a clean-up), I’ll come across cards I saved and savor the unexpected trip down memory-lane 🙂 That’s rather hard to do with an e-greeting that will be deleted from the system after 3 months, whether or not you’ve viewed it! These days the only things I receive by snail mail are bills and wedding invites (this last only since I’ve come to Goa!). But I digress…wishes from all quarters are very welcome and I was duly thrilled 🙂

After 2 continuous hours of the phone glued to my ear, I finally escaped long enough to shower and go out to lunch with hubby. But not before a fabulous surprise in the form a much coveted B’day gift…the Nikon D 90!! While still on the phone…hubby guided me to the living room where reposing on the sofa was this large box with the picture of a camera, not just any camera…the camera that I had lusted after for a year…and there it was, sitting quietly on my sofa!! I just stared rather stupidly open-mouthed, until it finally sank in!! When I opened the box, there was another surprise…it was EMPTY!! Uh huh!! Hubby has a weirdly misplaced sense of humor don’t you think? I asked him where it was, the camera, and he just kept grinning like the Cheshire Cat, until I swear I was vacillating between a strong desire to hit him on his silly smiling head and apprehension about the very existence of the damn thing! Between phone calls, I couldn’t look for it, which made matters worse, until he finally revealed it, carefully concealed under a pile of smelly laundry!! That’s hubby 😉 Sweet, weird, and at the moment, very much in my good books 😛 Love you darling! (I know you’re blushing as you read this ;-)) More camera posts are now inevitable, coz it’s a seriously mean machine and I’m looking forward to getting friendly with it 🙂

Lunch was at Azur, the lounge in the Marriott. It has splendid views of the Arabian Sea and they serve snacks, sandwiches and crepes and have a good bar – the perfect combination for Birthday lunch! We had margaritas and crepes and some chicken kebabs and mushroom starters that were out of this world!! A languid lunch that I enjoyed more because of the private time it offered hubby and I, so we could catch up with everything that’s been going on, which is a lot. Then back home and a cozy Saturday Siesta, before a Karaoke evening with the family!

My Cointreau Cake...alcohol everywhere 😉

 

I was never a fan of Karaoke in the nineties when it became the rage all over, with Karaoke pubs and bars popping up all over the place. It always seemed to me to encourage any body who could read to stand up and sing!! Note I said ‘read’ not ‘sing’. Most dinner buffets were accompanied (or should I say interrupted), by tone-deaf people attempting their favorite songs way out of their league, unfortunately for us hapless listeners!! Many people seemed to find it funny, not me! Listening to out of tune singers is not high on my to-do list 😛 I was thankful when the initial craze vanished, only to reappear when I wasn’t looking! This time though it seems more subdued and having a cousin who is a kick-ass singer of Bollywood oldies, is an added incentive. I’m now a convert, an official FAN, much to the horror of said cousin’s sisters, who are not 😉 We spent the evening, being serenaded by K, drinking copious quantities of alcohol and gorging on great food 🙂 Ishaan for his part, stuffed himself with salted cashew nuts until we were all convinced he would puke!

The best part of the evening – most definitely dancing the waltz with my boy 🙂 One tiny hand clinging to my neck, the other nestled in my hand, cheek to cheek, while K crooned an old Bollywood favorite…Perfecto!

Happy Family!

Have A Good Week, People 🙂

A Bittersweet Goan Diwali

I’m really not in the mood for writing. Crabby & exhausted – mentally & physically from 3 days of celebrations. No, definitely not in the mood for writing, which is why I need to write. Unending rituals, entertaining guests, constant eating, firecrackers, the rush to get stuff organized and then the worst part of all festivities, clearing up after…all fun in short bursts…but exhausting collectively. Also, it has finally sunk in…Diwali will never again be the same. The vacuum left by my brother’s loss will never be filled, and so an undercurrent of sadness runs through the festivities and my heart. I thought I could deal, but the tears come unexpectedly, triggered by seemingly random events, thoughts and things people say or leave unsaid. Sunday was especially difficult…it was ‘Bhaubiz’, a day that celebrates the ‘brother-sister’ bond. Lets just say it’s no longer on my favorite festival list.

Alright…enough. I didn’t intend for a festival post to be morose, and it’s not like we didn’t enjoy, so on to the happier things…Thursday night, the night before Diwali, we set out to survey the ‘Narkasurs’ on display. ‘Narkasur’ is the name of the demon that Lord Krishna killed on the eve of Diwali. He had hidden himself in a fruit that Krishna crushed with his big toe!! Talk about easy 😉 In Goa, it’s customary to make effigies of the demon and burn them early on Diwali morning (4 am), a sort of Indian Guy Fawkes. This year the unseasonal rain put a damper on the event though…the effigies are stuffed with firecrackers and those were wet and ineffective when the time came to light them. Still, we took Ishaan and did the rounds and though he enjoyed himself, he is now going through a ‘I’m scared’ phase! Anything new scares him, from a peacock feather to a demon 😉 Here are a few effigies we saw…rarely scary and often downright hilarious!!

Don't miss the Demon six-pack 😉

 

Deadly fangs & a serpent!
No neck Demons!
This guy just made me laugh out loud 😀

We spent Diwali morning @ my brother-in-law’s place. We ate different kinds of ‘puffed-rice‘ dishes (another Goan custom based on the assumption that Lord Krishna loved ‘puffed-rice’! Why couldn’t he have loved chicken?), before which my sister-in-law did a little puja for her hubby and daughter, my hubby and Ishaan, who of course was the star of the show. He’s older now and impatiently interested in everything that’s done, which makes him accident-prone and me temper-prone (that’s not even a word, I know!). After the puja was done, we all relaxed and Ishaan got to his favorite activity – playing cricket 🙂 That evening we worshiped the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi. We had a small puja in Dad’s shop (he sells auto spare parts), as did the rest of the shops in the neighborhood. More rituals, more crackers, more ‘prasad’ (sweets) to eat! Later we had guests and by the time the last one left, it was after 9 and we were all pooped! Granny and Mom had been up and on their feet since 5 am, cooking and getting stuff organized for the puja. None of us was particularly hungry and hubby in fact had a bad tummy upset. We turned in early and were dead to the world as soon as head hit pillow! Saturday was relatively quiet and I took the opportunity to visit my favorite bookstore and get our next Bookclub selection – Empires of the Indus by Alice Albinia, among others. It was welcome relief from all the madness at home, what with sick hubby and whiny Ishaan. In the evening I went out again to another favorite – Fab India, for some last-minute shopping.

Searching for his reflection in vermilion water, symbolizing Demon blood.
Are we done yet?

Sunday was Bhaubeez, as I mentioned earlier and hubby’s brother’s family come over. A difficult day for me. My niece did a little puja for Ishaan and they exchanged gifts. I’d got her a neat pair of silver earrings from Fab that she loved 🙂 Then we were off to Goenchin for lunch. Let’s just say Lunch didn’t turn out the way I had planned. Oh it wasn’t the food, which was wonderful as it always is in Goenchin; nor the company. No, it was Ishaan, who had a tummy upset and lets just say I barely got to sample some stone cold starters and a bite of the main course between trips to the loo. I didn’t handle the situation maturely (a polite way of saying I lost my cool and my displeasure evident), and my already frayed nerves reached dangerously near breaking point. Everyone else seemed really cool and calm, which just served to piss me off further…yeah, what can I say…I was just having a really, really bad day. I survived. We all did and back home again, were able to relax. Ishaan of course was quickly back to normal, being his charming entertaining self, making everyone laugh, once again showing off his cricket skills 🙂 The resilience of children impresses me yet again. How I wish I could bounce back like he does. Or perhaps it’s his innocence I yearn for.

The 'brother-sister' bond 🙂

Sunday evening we visited my best friend Beena’s parents and looked through her brother Vinod’s wedding album and video. The album is a book…very well done with gorgeous pictures of the couple among family and friends. We’re in it too 🙂  and it was wonderful reliving that happy time. And then Aunty brought out Beena’s wedding pictures from 18 years ago and we relived a fresh set of memories, from a time when we were all so much younger, innocent and ready to take on the world, unaware and as yet untouched by major tragedy. Good times, happy times 🙂

And so ended another Diwali. Bittersweet and rather forlorn for me on a personal level. But Ishaan had fun, especially with the crackers and for that I am thankful. Next year, I’m thinking of an out-of-town Diwali…might help with the bitters…we’ll see.

Until then…Stay Happy People!

p.s. There was no getting away from President Obama this Diwali! Local media went overboard with their coverage of his visit! Surprisingly International media didn’t seem to think the visit too important…other than a mention here and there, I rarely caught a glimpse on CNN or BBC!! Wonder why?!

p.p.s. This post has taken me two days to write…sigh. Ishaan is becoming increasingly clingy and it’s tough to get even a few minutes of uninterrupted time 😦 Oh Pushpa…where art thou?

Birthdays…

Yes, mine is a few days away. A few friends have asked me, what my plans are and all I can say is…for the first time in my life, I’m clueless! I have no clue and certainly no plan…not even a figment of one!  It feels kind of strange…maybe cause this is the first birthday in a long time at home with my parents and without my brother. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I am now so busy with everyday stuff…work, Ishaan, house, that I have no energy nor the inclination left to celebrate.

My 40th last year was a Blast – in more ways than one! It was the day after the horrendous Mumbai attacks began and for the rest of my life, I know I’ll always associate my birthday with violence. It was all just too close to home! Still, my friends pampered me with an intimate lunch and many gifts 🙂 and we all had dinner together. That’s how I’ve spentmost  birthdays; with friends and the hubby (who if I’m lucky sends me flowers!) Gifts are harder…he usually gives me stuff at odd times during the year (most often on return from a trip) and will say something like, “This is your birthday and anniversary gift for the year

This year, I feel lost. I’m still getting settled in Goa and life here is so different from the one I’ve led so far, it might as well be a different universe! I have friends – dear childhood friends and I have close family who care deeply – but things are different here or maybe it’s just me – I’m different! Changed somehow by all the stress and craziness around…

So, here’s my Birthday wishlist…lets start with the basics, shall we?

I hope the family remembers my Birthday! Don’t scoff!!! They’ve forgotten before!!

If they do remember, I hope they find it in themselves to get out of their various depressive moods long enough to smile for a while…

Flowers, cards and gifts would be in the present circumstances – nothing short of a miracle!

Hoping for Miracles 😉 One will do 😛

A cozy dinner & a long drive with hubby would be a welcome change 🙂

To get through the day without major fights with anyone!

And of course…World Peace 😉

There, is that so much to ask for?

We’ll see…

Happy Birthday to Me!