Navigating Landmines…

Tough and treacherous – Agreed?

When the field is family and the ticking mines are people you love…What then?

Lately the feeling has been growing on me, especially after the scary story last week. Obviously I’m nowhere near over it…don’t think I’ll ever be. It simmers within and boils over unexpectedly and in mysterious ways, when I’m least prepared and often on poor Ishaan :(I’ve become quite short with him this last week and I don’t like it. Since my usual inappropriate strategy of ‘denial’ & ‘burial’ doesn’t seem to be working…I guess I have to finally face stuff head on. Easier said than done…I hate confrontations and am a total ‘chicken’ when it comes to discussing serious issues with the family. We’re all like that actually – Ostriches!

But this living on tenterhooks – tip-toeing around issues, skirting boundaries and testing the waters – preparing ground as it were, not for any one thing in particular, but rather for everything, makes for an exhausting existence and I’m done feeling tired without any physical activity to blame! Ever since Dad’s accident, the need for ‘change’ is omniscient. I feel like I need to be doing something I’m not, being someone I’m not, changing things I’m not. I think what I mean is that I have this nagging feeling of having to ‘do’ something, anything, but without a clue as to what that something might be. In my head, vague ideas and imaginary scenarios float about, where I’ve been very clever, said & done all the right things and rather like a magician waving his wand, made everything alright, whatever ‘alright’ means. Doesn’t help much ‘coz as I’ve mentioned, all solutions at the moment are imaginary!

Yesterday unexpectedly, Mom and I had a talk. It started ‘coz Dad’s Parkinson’s was acting up more than usual and he called from the shop saying he needed help getting back home, ‘coz he felt like he was falling (a common symptom). The shop thankfully is within our compound and just a few minutes walk from our front door, so Mom rushed over with a walking stick belonging to Grandma and brought him safely home. Dad rested and the two of us sat at first silently pensive in the living room until we got to talking. As I mentioned, we are not a family of ‘talkers’, we don’t ‘discuss’ stuff with the intention of reaching consensus but merely for the enjoyment of arguments, (well my Dad & I do, my Mom hates arguments and will go to pretty much any level to stop them), and so ‘talk’ rarely helps instead leading to fights, discontent and sometimes tears. Luckily this was an unusual day and Mom, (who is otherwise one of the most reserved people I know), opened up and shared both her fears and plans for the future. As so often happens in such cases, we realized that we had both been thinking and worrying about the same things, just separately! We even seemed to agree on possible solutions! Ironic huh? But such a load off my mind and my soul 🙂 Such a relief to know that I am needed and that I am doing the right thing by my parents.

There are big changes coming. Not in a hurry but they’re coming. It’s inevitable really, coz deny as we may…the only constant in Life is change. Change by itself has never frightened me. I can go as far as to say, I’ve always enjoyed change and hated monotony. My parents however are the exact opposite (perhaps in the manner of all parents?), they abhor change of the tiniest kind and resist it with every breath in their frail bodies. It’s surprising the fight that lives in old bones! So it’s a huge comfort to know that we seem to be on the same page about what the future may hold. I would never do anything that changes my parent’s lives without their complete acceptance and agreement and so it’s good to know that I won’t be 🙂 They need time of course and their concept of time is very different from mine…I say hours, they say months, that kind of thing! Still, this time Mom seems determined and since she actually initiated the conversation, I’m daring to be hopeful 🙂

And for navigating this particular land-mine in satisfactory fashion and coming out tops…Thanks Mom!

The Day After…

Feeling a bit better after the yesterday’s rant…nothing’s changed of course, but have managed to hang on to my silence and have tried to be civil, when I can’t avoid speaking. I can tell you straight off, it isn’t going down too well with the rest – but do I care? Not at the moment, no! Just enjoying being in my spaced out zone for a while. We’re all entitled to that privilege every once in a while, right?

Am looking forward to leaving for Bombay this Sunday – get back to civilization, buy books, eat chinese, have interesting conversations…just chill 🙂

Oh the sweet escape – I can almost taste it!!

Maximum City – here I come!

Family Matters…

This post is just a rant…it’s not what I do on a regular basis publicly…vent I mean, I save that for my hubby, usually…but I just feel out of sorts today…one of those days, when nothing seems right, everything irritates and everyone is out to get you – or so you think!


Let me begin with what I think is a fact of life – certainly in my life experience – “There’s nothing scarier than 3 generations of women in the same kitchen!” It’s a sure fire recipe for disaster!! The fact that it’s your Mom or your Gran makes it worse not easier. Is it just me, or is it truly easier to forgive and forget strangers? People who pass through your life, leave an imprint or not, bring happiness or not, change your life’s course…or not. I’ve always considered myself to be a rational, non-prejudiced, non-judgmental kind of person – and yet when it comes to family – every rational thought goes straight through the window! For the life of me I can’t figure out why!

Why can I tolerate irritating friends but not an irritating Mom, a frustrating job but not a frustrating Gran, difficult help but not a difficult Dad? Don’t tell me you haven’t felt this way or thought about it…if you haven’t – you’re a saint and more power to you! Share your secret ‘coz I’m at my wits end!! Truly!!

So there it is – out in the open – I love my family but don’t like them an awful lot of the time. I never understood how important ‘like’ is! In my opinion – it’s crucial – much more important than love. Or maybe it’s the proverbial ‘Generation Gap’ ‘coz I live with a 65 year old, a 70 yr old and an 84 yr old, (I’m 40 – no baby myself!) all of whom are constantly telling me, how they have more life experience and therefore are ALWAYS right, no matter what the subject under discussion! A corollary to this statement is often – ‘We’re old, so we can’t change, you’ll just have to learn to forgive and forget what we say. We don’t really mean it anyway!”, which is code for “Shut Up and lump it!”

And yet after years of the same fights and arguments over and over – I cannot seem to stop making the same mistakes. The only way I know how is to be silent – if I say nothing, nothing will break! Right? Not! Silence as a rule, makes it all worse – ‘coz then they’re on my back about how I’m not normal (read – like them), how I’m so irritable (inherited – from them),  and when all else fails, the tried and tested emotional blackmail card – played to perfection, every time, victory assured – “Can’t you just forget what we said ‘coz  we’re old and how long do we have! Do whatever you want then!” I’m waiting to be ‘old’, whenever or whatever that is, ‘coz when your old, everything you say or do is automatically right and you can always play the ‘I’m old, forgive me, I know not what I say!!’ card, until the good Lord himself takes it away!

We’re different – like chalk and cheese are different, like cat and mice are different. We do everything differently – eat, drink, dress, sleep and think, most of all think differently – about people, about life, and very often we have nothing to say to each other, except cold words and sharp insults. Was it always like this? I think it was – just that when I was younger, they were younger and we each hid our feelings better. It’s makes me sad and yes I want it to end, but at the moment I don’t care. I’m tired and exhausted from trying to make changes for the better when all they want is to stew in the same routine – though that’s not what they say. “Oh no!”, they keep saying, “we want to make the change, of course we do! Just don’t expect it overnight.” “Fair enough – not a problem,” I say. Just that I’ve heard this line for 10 years now…how long does one need to change habits? Forever, my guess….but to be fair, what I think is better for them, may not be – and yet somehow I doubt that.

So, we all carry on, squabbling most of the time over trivial issues, maintaining an uneasy truce during the good times and me trying to be as silent as possible (mostly failing miserably – hence the post!)…after all they say ‘Silence is golden’, and when all is said and done – Family matters…right?