Independence Day!

It’s that time of year again! Out come the flags and buntings, the patriotic songs that play on loop on the radio, the themed contests on TV, the patriotic status updates and cover pics…yup Independence Day is here…time to feel proud of flag and country! Time to celebrate ‘coz no matter how sorry the state of affairs, for once we have only ourselves to blame 😉 Oh yeah! This is our very own ‘Independent’ mess thank you very much! The Brits have been gone 68 years 😛 Perhaps I’m being overly and unnecessarily flippant – it’s intentional! It’s my safety mechanism…trying to, and inevitably failing to make myself feel better by being humorous about the stuff that in reality has me crying inside.

I’m the first to admit, that although I go through the motions of changing my FB cover & profile pic (the entire extent of my patriotism…a little sad that eh? I consciously didn’t do it this year though!), like a lot of fellow Indians; in my heart all I’m thinking is, ‘What a load of BS’! Not Independence per se you understand. NEVER Independence in itself, just the patriotic avowals that one feels compelled to make, as if to prove that on this one day among all others, our love of country is supreme and overwhelming. Before you hang and quarter me for treason – I do love my country. It’s inexplicable really. There’s not much to love on the face of it – India seen through my admittedly cynical eyes is sadly lacking in most qualities I prize and hold dear and want my son to learn and live. And although we love to blame our politicians for every catastrophe this nation of ours suffers, I blame US. We, the People. We – who tolerate and compromise and manipulate and teach our future generations to do exactly the same while all the time blaming a system that none of us raises a finger to change, coz it’s just too hard isn’t it? How on earth can we be expected to fight injustice and oppose wrong if it means putting our lives at risk? What will happen to our families that we leave behind? Heaven Forbid! No! That was another time – when people were still selfless and motivated. When they truly martyred themselves for Freedom. I’ve often wondered whether it’s easier against a definite foreign threat. Is it? Is it harder to rally, to unite when the danger is from within? When corruption, deception and subjugation come in the form of Indian politicians and goons and often our next-door neighbours, as opposed to the British? If it is, why is it so?

How many of us Indians are prepared to die for India today if that be the need of the hour? And I mean really die – take that bullet in the chest kind of dying as opposed to talking about being ready to die at the dinner table. I know I’m not. Hell, I’m not even brave enough to take a stand publicly for what I believe in. Mine is a closet bravado – I’m a crusader only within the safe confines of my home. Am I ashamed of feeling this way? Not particularly, no. Does it hurt that I’m not ashamed of being unashamed – maybe sometimes…but not enough to get off my butt and do anything about it. Honest to goodness. Not nearly enough. So why blame the politicians? Why blame Government? When the very fabric of our country is old and mouldy, whats the point of using it to stitch new clothes and wishing they would last longer, fit better?

I love India, love her like I love my Mom…it’s automatic. But liking her is a choice that often fails me. And pride?..I wish I could say that I had pride in my country, but I cannot. Not honestly. I had huge hopes when we returned home, to a country on the verge of exciting times or so I naively believed, and yes if success is to be judged by the number of malls being built, the number of cars on the road, the bevy of international brands that have set up shop here, then I suppose, yes, we’ve been successful. But I’ve reached a time in my life where I know for a fact that material success, attractive and desirable as it is, is just a minuscule part of true well-being. I feel like we’ve become selectively aspirational as a society, like money is now our only motivator, so that if we’re driving a ‘beamer’, who cares that that the road is non-existent! I’ve lived in Bangalore for a year and I can confidently say that the craters on the moon would be easier to navigate! The same goes for our education system…it deteriorates by the day and I watch as we continue to choose mediocrity over creative enterprise, marks over abilities and stereotypes over originality. We’re in the 21st century and apparently, with China, the next emerging superpower (this always makes me laugh and not in a good way), but in my state of Goa, one of the most advanced states in the country, we still don’t have enough drinking water and electricity for every citizen :/ The less said about states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Orissa the better. Why even the capital Delhi struggles with these basic issues! But we’re going to turn Mumbai into Shanghai. Meh.

Living here these past 5 years has taught me that much of the change I see is superficial, haphazard and poorly executed; so Mumbai gets a spanking new Metro but leaky-roofed trains! It’s a personal opinion based on personal experience, so feel free to disagree, as I know a lot of you will. I do believe that we must ‘Be the Change we want to See’ – but like most people I too am, at best inconsistent and at worst apathetic…easily swayed by my own moods and circumstance 😦 All I see is tons of wasted potential and a complete lack of motivation in changing status quo…from everyone concerned – government and citizens alike. If you have hope – well good for you. I don’t – not particularly. Not unless there’s a radical change in us from within. Not unless we give up this meekness (that so often masquerades as respect) and find the strength to truly stand up for ourselves, and by that I don’t mean FB status updates and more dinner table analysis. I mean a consistent, conscious effort to obey the rules – something most Indians manage to do only when they’re abroad! I should know – I’m one of them. Better than most, worse than others.

So the next time you break a traffic rule (of course you will! Don’t even bother to deny it!), it means not bribing the cop, not throwing around your connections (of course you’re the minister’s best friend) and doing it even when you know it’s going to lead to a whole lot of  pain and wasted time ahead. Would you? Could you? I know my Hubby won’t. He’ll think it’s a colossal waste of time that will achieve nothing, change nothing! The tragedy is that although I’ll argue with him, deep down I’ll know he’s right. When we’ve become immune to horrific rapes and endless wars, what’s a little bribe to the neighbourhood cop? It’s a Herculean task and I’m afraid one that we will have to achieve each one for ourselves without much support and few role models.

This has turned into a first-class rant eh?! Truly, I didn’t want to seem so negative and yet these are my deepest fears for my India, that I love despite everything I’ve just said, all the angst I’ve just unloaded onto you poor unsuspecting readers! So although I say I have no hope, I guess I do, even if it’s the tiniest shred, buried deep under a ton of cynicism, I guess I do. ‘Coz to utterly disbelieve is the worst kind of death and I’m not quite ready for that yet. Not just yet. I think the need of the hour is no less than a Renewed Freedom Struggle…this time from internal oppressors and from our own shortcomings – from weakness of character and the need to conform; from rabid materialism and defining success solely in terms of income; from vacuous dinner table conversations and the all-pervasive haunting inertia that I fear will be the death of a country with a glorious past and an uncertain future.

I feel like India is poised on the edge of a precipice, testing Her wings…I hope She chooses wisely. I hope She does what I believe She was meant to do. I hope She becomes truly Independent. I hope She FLIES FREE 🙂



Freedom & a Dragonfly Symphony!

Today is the day! Liberation Day! Today, after 2 months, I’m FREE 🙂

Ishaan’s started school!! He’s Happy & I’m Ecstatic, as well you may imagine! I love my son, no really, I do! But, and I know you’re with me on this readers, two months at home entertaining a toddler, while coping with my Dad’s illness, was no picnic in the park! In fact, I venture to say, a more trying and effective form of torture has not been invented! Don’t quote me on this though 😉 😛 Don’t get all serious people, just trying to reclaim my sense of humor, that’s been MIA these last couple of weeks.

After what seemed liked a lifetime (I know, I know, it was only two months!), the morning stretched in front of me, long, promising, delicious 🙂 And to think I might have had to wait for another day! Yup! Imagine that! Sacrilege! There was a Goa ‘Bandh’ today (more on that in my next post), which basically meant no public transport and a general shutdown of private enterprise including schools. Government offices were running but probably on skeletal staff. Ishaan’s school however assured me that they were open and that it was business as usual for them, and since school is only a 10-minute drive away, we decided to give it a go. It was pouring this morning (like it has been these last few days), and as I cuddled Ishaan, I must confess to feeling both relief at having my mornings back and guilt at that relief 😛 This double-edged sword of a ‘Mommy-heart’ is just so…whatever!

Ishaan was happy to be back in school! He’s been asking to go ever so often during the holidays that I dared to hope, he meant it! Turns out he did 🙂 He kicked off his shoes, and marched fearlessly into class only to slip on a damp patch of floor & land on his tush! That was enough to start the waterworks, especially since Hubby was around! But he calmed down soon enough and was swept away in his teacher’s embrace as she cooed happily in his ear! God Bless all Teachers 🙂 So with Ishaan happy at school, I spent a lazy morning tackling stuff around the house. Things that I had let slide over time. One large garbage bag of thrash and one angry outburst from Dad later, it was time for a break.

Out in the garden, the rains had taken a break too. As I walked around, I noticed a new Water Lily bloom 🙂 A vision of beauty on a slender stalk that grows in muddy water…Nature is full of miracles. The sight of that flower was such Joy 🙂 It made me feel like everything was going to turn out fine. 

My Zen fix for the day!

I took a lot of shots experimenting with my white balance settings and as I made my way back to the house, I found myself serendipitously in the midst of what can only be described as a symphony of dragonflies 🙂 They whizzed and darted around the garden to some mysterious rhythm, inaudible to us mere mortals, stopping occasionally mid-air, occasionally on a leaf or a flower, those translucent wings beating a million times a minute!! Such grace, such precision, such beauty, such freedom! In that moment I wanted to be a dragonfly. I wanted what they had. An escape to Freedom and the joy of dance! I noticed soon that some were in a mating frenzy! Perhaps that explained all the energy and joie-de-vivre 😛

This took me by surprise! Didn't intend to catch them 'in flagrante'!

It’s been so long since I’ve had a moment like this, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like. The joy of it, the peace of it, the serenity of it. I did take some shots but mostly I just sat quietly and watched, and let them heal me in the way only Nature and her wonders can 🙂

A thing of beauty 🙂

It’s been a wonderful start to my week and I wish the same for you 🙂

Here’s to Dragonflies, Symphonies and the joyful Freedom they bring!

Happy Monday, People 🙂

Funk-buster is Back!

There really is something magical about writing and letting one’s thoughts out into the cosmos…no sooner do I spill my funk-beans online…news of my first Funk-buster’s impeding arrival, warms my heart 🙂 I feel light and joyous like a bird that’s just been released from its cage! It’s Pushpa, my helper, arriving back right on schedule. My messiah, my bringer of sanity, my gateway to a free world 🙂

Then the crazy logistics hit me. In typical Sagittarian fashion, I’ve forgotten to tell her which station she needs to get off at! There are 4 railway stations in Goa and now we’re all in a panic as to where she’ll get off and, “How on earth will we trace her? Poor girl, travelling all alone too!”  The panic sets in because her cell phone is not working. Both hubby and I have tried her number every half-hour to no avail. The battery’s gone and died on us all, at this crucial hour (talk about Murphy’s Law!). Be that as it may, it still leaves us with no solution to the problem. Finally I decide to go to Margao, the last station on the route and also the train’s last stop. The station is an hour-long drive away and I don’t know the way, so I call hubby’s brother who lives in Margao and who kindly offers to come with me, both to show me the way and help in the search. He’s a gem 🙂

The NRP "Sagres", where hubby spends his evening...

Hubby meanwhile, is off to the port city of Vasco da Gama (named after the famed Portuguese navigator who first landed near Calicut, on India’s south-western coast in 1498), with his buddies from Portuguese class to tour the N. R. P. Sagres, which is docked in Goa, as a part of its round-the-world trip, commemorating that first voyage all those centuries ago. Hubby takes his Portuguese nationality rather seriously. Talk about priorities! So while he’s off on his voyage of discovery, I’m off on my own ‘Mission Pushpa’.

My brother-in-law and niece come along to keep me company. We get to Margao station at 7 o’clock, after ascertaining that the train has been delayed by an hour (which can mean anything here in India!). At the station, the disinterested man in the Information Booth, tells us the train is 40 minutes late and he’ll let us know the platform number when it’s decided later! There’s nothing to do and nowhere to sit. The railway station is a place in constant flux. Nothing is permanent, except perhaps the stalls and their wares; the hoards of cockroaches which scurry around making me nauseous and the perpetual stench of urine. The seats are full of waiting passengers, with varying degrees of baggage, whiling away time, eating, sleeping, playing cards and the like; families with children on their way home after the quintessential Goan holiday, their bags probably bursting with cashew-nuts, cashew-feni, and shell-souvenirs; gangs of workers in their patchy, sweaty attire off home to see their families; the small-town businessmen, clad in vintage ‘safari-suits’, greasy looking and full of self-importance, distinguished by the single smart briefcase or valise; all waiting for a ride to their next destination, which likely as not is delayed!

...while mine is spent here @ Margao Station

We stand around watching the comings and goings on the platform and make conversation for half-hour before the loudspeaker overhead, crackles to life and a disembodied female voice  loaded with static, announces the arrival of the Mandovi Express (that’s our train!), from Mumbai, on Platform No.1! Yoohoo! We are in the right place and there’s no need now to scale the gargantuan staircase that connects the two platforms 🙂 A good 15 minutes after said announcement, the train lumbers into the station. It screeches to a halt and we split up to look for Pushpa among the disembarking throngs. While I’m fairly certain Pushpa will do the right thing and get off here, deep down, the nervous jitters persist. What if she’s not on the train? What if she gets off at the wrong station? A ton of what ifs, each one frightening. My niece and I walk towards the engine, while my brother-in-law checks out the rear carriages. We see a horde of humanity but no Pushpa. We turn back and my nerves are back in full force, until we meet my smiling brother-in-law, gesturing to Pushpa, who’s following behind 🙂 We smile and embrace, and in that instant I see before me long hours of free time in which to write, read, sleep and just Live!

Freedom beckons.

Suddenly, all is right with the world 🙂


It’s finally here…15th August 2010…Independence Day, accompanied by the usual hoopla on TV channels, with every two-bit celebrity offering ‘deep’ insights into what Freedom means to them, what it means to be an ‘asli’ (true) Indian (what does it mean?), what they wish for their dearly beloved India (I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but the shallowness is just so obvious), and proceed to recite the all-too-familiar litany of cleanliness, godliness and the like, wishes that cease to matter as soon as the cameras are switched off; with ‘patriotic’ movies on every movie channel (there are too many to count); and every news channel worth it’s salt trying to get the most sensational happenings at every Independence Day parade held in the country. And Indians do not disappoint! This year, a disgruntled cop from Kashmir (an advocate for ‘Azad Kashmir’ apparently), threw a shoe at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as he stood saluting the Tricolor! The CM’s rather cool reaction seemed to be, ‘Better shoes than stones!’ I kept watching this bit of news, as though hypnotized, mesmerized by the way one channel had actually tracked the arc of the shoe (represented on screen by a large red circle encircling a fuzzy object), as it sailed towards its target! So, in 63 years, if nothing else, we now have the Freedom to throw shoes at our own leaders, instead of foreign rulers! And many of them deserve it too!

Oh well, be that as it may, I just thought I would post Nehru’s speech on the occasion of Independence Day 1947, to remind me, that there was a time when India had visionary leaders. For me this is right up there with JFK’s, “Ask not what your country can do for you…” and Martin Luther King’s, “I have a dream…” speeches. Whether or not I agree with Nehru’s politics, I recognize & respect a great orator when I see one! Love the strength in and tone of his voice. Enjoy!

I guess, you can see I’m not too impressed with this whole D-day circus! But I love my Freedom! Will leave you with my new Freedom Mantra: Born Free, Living Free, Forever Free!

Until next year 😉

Jai Hind!

Liberty: A Poem by Amey

As you can see, am still stuck in Freedom 😉 But it seems only fitting this week, and after tomorrow, I promise, I’ll be done! This post is about freedom too, but of a different kind, the ‘permanent’ kind, ‘Freedom of the Spirit’…

Its been 19 months since we lost my brother to DMD and have been dealing as best we can, with the empty spaces he left behind. I have now reached a place (I like to think, with his help, ‘coz how else?), where I can remember him without falling apart. Instead, though the inevitable pain of his absence remains (as it always will), I choose to remember him with joy. Joy, that he brought so much of, into our lives. I know that although he spent most of his life, physically confined, he was always a free spirit! I salute that spirit, sometimes envy it and always, always aspire to it 🙂

He was a completely audiovisual media person – my polite way of saying he watched TV 24/7!! That’s where he got his vast stores of knowledge from! Sometimes it seemed like he knew everything about everything…in that annoying way that brothers have 😉 We shared a love of wildlife and nature and music and movies, although our tastes in the latter tended to differ! He wasn’t crazy about books though, the way I am. Literature was never quite his thing, although he read his monthly copy of National Geographic from cover to cover! So I was pleasantly surprised, when he presented me with this poem he had written, after I shared my first one with him (He was my biggest fan! Completely biased in my favor!). As far as I know, it’s the only poem he ever wrote and while it’s not Wordsworth or Browning or the rest…it’s very very special to me, because it’s so like him – direct, to the point and profoundly simple 🙂

This is my tribute to my brother’s ‘Free Spirit’, on the eve of my Country’s Independence day. Here is to you, Bro! May you stay forever as you were here on Earth – Happy, Independent & Forever Free!

Freedom & Country: My Freedom Wish List

On this Sunday, the 15th of August 2010, ‘Free’ India will celebrate her 63rd Birthday…63 years of self-governance & freedom from British rule, with the usual pomp and ceremony! The hoisting of her flag, an address by the Prime Minister or is it the President (?!) and a Parade to end all parades – in fact, all the staples of Independence worldwide 😉 Most Indians including moi, will watch in bits and parts on TV whilst munching snacks and surfing channels. The National address (In Hindi & English as if once were not boring enough!), most will skip. Who wants to listen to an ageing leader read out a list of accomplishments that for the most part, we don’t understand, in a dry, diffident tone? How I miss leaders with vision, with passion that shone in their manner and through their oratory…sigh! O brother, where art thou?

The Parade is worth watching, with India’s military might and men in uniform on display,wowing us all with their skill, precision and immaculate army threads! The State floats are rather boring these days, each one with some relevant message or achievement on display, which I’m sure are interesting to some, but not for me. Then there the hoards of children who dance and march and create human flowers and rings and all manner of geometric shapes and the like! I’ve always wondered what they really feel while marching obediently in formation, concentrating on the drum beats – these young denizens of a modern, free India. Are they proud to be a part of the ‘Great Indian Circus of the Day’ or are they secretly cursing their rotten luck for having to forego a welcome holiday? I’ve taken part in a lot of State parades during my school days and I totally hated it! We had to practice endlessly, marching up and down, keeping to the beat, looking suitably proud and forfeit most weekends, for a cause most of us had no understanding of and little sympathy towards, like most kids our age! Flag, freedom and country were just parts of a history lesson (not a particularly interesting one at that!) and the loss of a Sunday was a serious blow to our freedom! The freedom to laze, play and generally be kids! Unforgivable more so, because both school and parents made it compulsory (unless we were seriously ill, and I mean seriously!), and so deprived us of the most basic freedom of all – the freedom of choice!

Well, am older now, don’t have to march in any parades I don’t want to; freedom, flag and country mean a little more than a mere history lesson; but weekends are still sacrosanct! In my previous post I wrote about my own personal freedom struggle. I’m beginning to wonder whether a country’s freedom struggle is any different. I think India is in the midst of a freedom struggle that makes the one she fought and won all those years ago against the Brits, look like a cakewalk. I don’t mean disrespect at all – I just think the greatest and most important struggle in life is the one that involves the betterment of self –often hard and painful involving strict discipline and much courage, yet miraculously cathartic and fulfilling when the goal is finally achieved!

Isn’t it the same for a country? In her last freedom struggle, India and Indians united against a single usurper, an outsider who invaded her shores and was rightfully cast out. That was the last time, in my opinion, that we were truly united as a country, not counting the times we fight Pakistan of course, whether in battle or on the cricket field! But what next? Is India truly free? Yes, in an obvious way, we’ve driven out the invaders and achieved the freedom to abuse ourselves instead, some might say, given the current state of affairs! There is no outsider now, no indeed, India’s battles are now well and truly internal, and that’s what makes them so much more difficult, delicate, dangerous. The enemy (or should I say enemies) within are many, some old and well-entrenched, others recent and emerging.  Poverty, illiteracy, the caste system, the growing influence and interference of religion in politics, the abysmal quality of our politicians, known worldwide for their narrow minds and wide-open pockets, our excruciatingly slow and cumbersome judicial system…I could go on, but you get the drift. This is the flip-side of all the growth and boom that our government & media love to focus upon. Yes, we have come a long way and yes, we have much to be proud of, but this is one struggle that has no true end, ‘coz what is true freedom, if not constant evolution and change? Every generation defines it’s own brand of freedom, sets its own goals and fights it’s own struggle!

And so, on the eve of her 63rd Birthday, here is my Freedom Wish list for India. I wish her freedom:

From all forms of prejudice

From self-doubt & fear

From false pride and vanity

From violence and wars

From corrupt leaders and unbending bureaucracy

From religious fanatics, intolerance & fundamentalism

From antiquated attitudes and crippling superstitions

From arrogance and laziness

From poverty

From illiteracy


From the need to prove a point, to anyone other than Herself!

Go India! Happy Birthday 🙂

3 Songs for Freedom

Rather like 3 coins in the fountain! Indians and music go way back…and given our history, it isn’t surprising that we have a host of emotional songs to stir up those good old patriotic feelings, pay tribute to our martyrs and express our love for our country. Why stop at one when you can have a thousand, eh? 🙂 Hey! I’m not complaining! In recent years, a lot of the old songs have been remixed and reincarnated in new avatars, presumably to attract the youth, who necessarily do not identify with India’s freedom struggle, the way old-timers do. Being born in a free country, it is hard for them to identify with the ignominy of British occupation and the horror of Partition.

I was born a good 3 decades after India won her freedom and it’s the same for me. I respect the struggle and am touched by the countless tragedies suffered by those who fought for their country, but much of it remains remote – stories from long ago that I read in school text-books or saw in fuzzy B &W movies! I never bothered with the National Anthem after I left school. However, recently I’ve had occasion to hear it played frequently at International sports events, when a modern hero has done his country proud, and before every movie in cinema halls! I have come to love it afresh – the soulful lyrics & the simple yet powerful melody, bring tears to my eyes every time! (Maybe it’s ‘coz I’m older and am going soft!) I recognize the genius of the Nobel laureate Rabrindanath Tagore who composed it and I doff my hat to him and country, both.

Here is a little gem I found on Youtube, the anthem, recited in Tagore’s own voice!

Here is a more contemporary version, by A. R. Rehman and India’s foremost musical artistes – Soul-stirring!

This is the original composition of the song Vande Mataram (India’s National Song), in Sanskrit, from the movie Anand Muth.

And this is another revival by A. R. Rehman. Superbly done as always!

This is another song that I love and was quite the rage when first released 🙂 It speaks of national pride and unity in diversity, staples of freedom songs in India! I love that it has music from all corners of India…that’s true integration 🙂

And finally, my absolute favorite patriotic song of all time. A tribute to the martyrs of India (and Heaven knows She’s had more than her share!), this song brought tears to Pandit Nehru’s eyes, when he first heard it in 1962, and never fails to do the same to me. Music by C. Ramchandra and lyrics by Kavi Pradeep. Sung fittingly by Lata Mangeshkar, India’s own  ‘Nightingale.’

Alrite, I know, that’s 4 songs, but who’s counting! There are many more songs that I love, but that’s another post, another time!

Meanwhile…’Jo shahid huye hai unki zara yaad karo kurbani‘…

Jai Hind!

Contemplating Freedom: Part I

Freedom has been on my mind more often this last year than at any other time in my life. Probably ‘coz I feel the lack of it – acutely and painfully, ever since we moved back to live with my parents (I know!) and I became a new Mom – two hugely freedom-sucking events! There are times when I regret both, times when I accept that this is just what I need at the moment, times when I convince myself, ever so fleetingly that this is just a temporary situation. Then there are times when I’m in such sweet denial that all is well with the world; others, when I think eloping with self is the only way to stay sane, when I can’t stand the family, can’t stand myself and can’t stand myself for not being able to love and need the family like ‘normal’, ‘good’ people should. To show you that I’m not a complete people-hating ogre – there are times when I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I like large, open spaces – physically, mentally and spiritually. I cannot stand being caged in, whether by wooden fences or absurd expectations. I’ve been independent in thought and spirit for too long to allow myself to be penned in now. And yet, breaking the shackles of ties that bind and love that suffocates is proving to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Don’t think I’ll ever get it done to be honest. Assertion within family is tough to do – emotional minefields are everywhere and one mis-step can ruin a lifetime of trust and loving. I’ve trampled my fair share of hearts and egos, and the only reason I’m still loved, I gather, is because families are like that – they love and hate, but rarely like. Well, mine’s like that. I love them, deeply from a distance and painfully when near, one of the reasons, my relationship with my Mom was so much better when all we had were weekly long distance phone calls!

Now that we live together, things are different – very different. And to add color, my Granny stays with us, my Mom’s Mom, so we have a definite hierarchy going here and no prizes for guessing who’s at the bottom of this particular ladder 😉 But strangely or perhaps not so strange, my Mom and Gran think they’ve got the worst deal! It could be because I’m short-tempered and impatient and can get real loud and aggressive if I think that’ll help me get my way! It could be because, I’m the intruder into their hitherto safe haven, where they were reigning queens and have managed to upset their carefully balanced apple-cart of housework and daily routine, with my impossible & impractical (or so they say) suggestions for change and betterment. “Who does she think she is? Waltzing in here and thinking she has all the answers and can do everything better?” I can see the thoughts in their heads! Do I learn? Sigh…oh well, all’s fair in love and war 😉 When I was younger and wet behind the ears, I always wondered, why whoever coined that phrase, imagined that love and war would have anything in common. Hah! Now I know!

My Granny is 84, extremely loud and deaf, and uses her high-pitched shrieking (I take after her :P) with devastating effectiveness on my Mom, who as the only soft-spoken one in our little trio, is always at the receiving end of one of our outbursts. Poor Mom! But she’s an ‘enabler’ if ever I saw one. She’s always trying to keep the peace and make the whole world (which in her case is her family) happy, which I’ve tried to tell her is impossible. You know what they say about keeping all of the people happy at all times? Can’t be done and a waste of time to try! Does she listen? Duh! In the process we’re either walking on egg-shells around each other or impersonating screaming banshees (That’s the third time I’ve used that particular phrase to describe us! This is getting serious.). It scares me, ‘coz I’ve begun to believe, this is how it’ll always be (which of course it will, if I don’t do something about it), days of uneasy peace and politeness, followed by edgy days with a definite ‘calm before the storm’ feel, if you get what I mean.

And yet…where else can I find not one, not two but three human beings willing to sacrifice everything and anything to put a smile on my face? Do you see, why I said this was a losing battle? I struggle with wanting what’s best for them (which ideally they should get to decide) and wanting what’s best for me and sometimes it’s difficult to reconcile to the fact that the two are so different. I mean, there’s plenty of love here, maybe too much, maybe it’s getting in the way…my hubby certainly thinks so!

He keeps telling me to stop thinking for them and let them do their own thing, however silly and laborious their attempts may seem to me. I hate admitting he’s right, I do! But he is! I know! I need to learn to let go, to allow them their own space, knowing how fiercely I protect mine. I understand that perfectly in my head and on paper, just not so easily in my heart, especially when I see them cling to old time-consuming routines and energy-sapping superstition; insist on ancient ways of doing things that can now be accomplished by the click of a switch; spend every living moment in the kitchen, and think nothing’s wrong!! If only they would occasionally meet me half-way or even a couple of steps down the road, things would be a lot easier. A lot this, is me trying hard not to disappoint them, ‘coz they’re not easy to please. They would disagree, but I’ve always known my parents to egg me on to do better, without really making a big deal of my successes (which admittedly have been few and far between). I know they’re proud of me, but it doesn’t hurt to hear it once in a while. But there you are, that’s just how the family is, praise is confused with vanity and the good stuff remains unsaid. I should know, I’m no different! But with the arrival of my son, I’m trying hard to be the change I want to see. It’s tough!

I’m making a start of sorts, starting with Mom. Her birthday’s coming up and I’ve made plans for a lunch together (Just the two of us! Can you feel me tremble?!), followed by a manicure and pedicure, and a surprise party at home with a few close relatives. If we don’t strangle each other, I’m planning on making this mother-daughter thing, a regular event, one tiny step at a time 🙂 Heaven knows we both need to find a way to be free with ourselves!

It’s been a long time coming!

p. s. With 15th August fast approaching, freedom and all things freedom-related are on the menu! These are my thoughts. I thought I would start with what I know first – family. Part II on country follows shortly.