I was looking for more ways of wasting time and thought of starting a new series called ‘Monday Memories’ . There are times when some little thing in the present takes you back to some moment in the past. Some bittersweet memory comes floating to you and then the things you remember are more real than the things you see in the present. I always wondered if a moment from past tasted the same . Sometimes it does. You can actually feel, hear, see touch exactly the way you did at that moment or maybe you believe you do and that’s all matters. It keeps you going in hard times, in times of loss, separation, loneliness.
My boys are now grown up and many a time a simple little thing as a pack of cookies, a box of crayon, a song or a sentence in a book sparks a memory of their childhood, a childhood that was an adventure for them as well as for me, and I realize how those memories are piles in endless stacks inside me.
My elder one is now 21 and I guess we spend 3,000 more hours on our first-born than the second one. Every little thing the child becomes precious. I don’t think I remember his “Firsts ” or ”Lasts” but I do remember some particular incidents that filled my young mother’s heart. Raising boys is not for wimps. It is a challenge only some can endure. I guess I developed eyes at the back of my head when Adi was growing up. He was one little explorer who was curious about anything that he could lay hands on. A complete foodie and an absolutely fearless boy. While I struggled to keep things under control without going insane he invented different ways to bring the house down. Those were moments when I cried and laughed at the same time unable to decide which was the best thing to do. Never thought that these very incidents will become irreplaceable with time. I had to think two steps ahead to find a way to involve him while I went about doing my household stuff. One of them was colors. He would sit for hours totally immersed in various types of coloring material, old newspapers etc and create masterpieces on everything in the color zone including himself. He would then look around quietly, make sure I am not watching and then slip through the door with a riot of color in his little hands. He would pin it somewhere or place it where I will surely see and then hide. Waiting for me to make the move. As I said, I had somehow developed superpowers so I would know exactly what to do. I would pretend to do something right where his treasure lay and accidentally discover it. It was such a joy to see him creatively involved. I would say ‘ look what I found. This is such a beauty and who made this gorgeous piece of art? ” and he would shyly emerge from his hiding place , his eyes sparkling with joy and pride and his a big dimpled smile lighting his face and say , “me’. I would hug and kiss him and we would sit and talk about his masterpiece all covered with colors of love. For many years I kept those paintings and drawings till they were discovered by another curious adventurer who had found the art of dismantling, dissecting, tearing and making new objects what could be anything from weapons of war to some new inventions of a technical genius. My second boy was exact opposite of his elder sibling. four years his junior he loved a leisurely peaceful life most of the time. Another bottomless pit was added to my misery. At times I thought I was created for just two things- cook and clean.
Shubhang was always curious about the “hows” and “whys” of life and he practically dismantled anything and everything to observe the intricate machinery that lay within the mundane looking objects. If a watch was missing we knew where it would be or for that matter bigger things like camera carelessly left unattended. It would all end up in the junk box or will be discovered months later buried under something neatly tied in a bundle. One really needed a high IQ to figure out what that originally was. Watching him working with rapt attention on some complex toy or gadget that he had decided to open up I would often marvel at the working of his mind at such a tender age. Of course I went into a rage on finding something destroyed for good but then there was some magical spell these boys put on me every time they screwed up something. Yes, they were a gang of two. Partners in crime and vowed to defend and protect each others honor at all times Unless there the offered bait was a better option . I had to shell out big time in kind more than in cash to get the desired information. This was the beginning of a very strong bond between them which I can see even now.
One thing one must remember as a mother of growing up boys is that anything can be converted into weapons and landmines. It is through cuts and bruises and spilling of blood one learns this unless you are prepared for it and you never are. You never can possibly know what will burst under your feet or hit you from nowhere. It just isn’t possible to know. I realized it when I watched these brats chew their toasts in shape of guns and shoot each other or target strategic places or people with things they found uninteresting to eat. Although I hovered like a chopper to watch over the proceeding they managed to turn almost anything into a missile. I just had to learn and master the art of being alive.
The space between these memorable moments were filled with hair-raising tales about which I will talk some other time and between those tales of horror I cooked endlessly to fill those bottomless pits. It was something I loved to do till it became the sole purpose of my living. “WHF, I would say , You guys just had your meal” and they would look at me with those innocent puppy eyes and I wold melt like butter on toast and tie my apron once more.
But you know what, although I could kill with bare hands and I got so tired at the end of the day that I wanted the earth to split wide open and take me in I never restricted them in any way. I disciplined them but not at the cost of snatching away their childhood thought they may feel differently.
That bond which we three developed grew with passing years and slowly we rose above the mother-sons relationship without even noticing it. This is a friendship which I think should be there between all parents and children where the kids aren’t extensions or your subordinates but individuals. You got to respect their uniqueness and intelligence to gain respect and love. You got to listen to them, praise , them, guide them and make them believe in the fact that they can count on you for anything and you value their presence in your life.
Anything is possible in the house with growing up boys. It is fantasy land where you can trip on cars, you got to dodge flying objects and things popping out of no where, where there are no time zones, where there is battles are won and lost every day and you can hear one of the finest remixes and music pieces ever written. It is also a warm cozy zone of love and togetherness, of laughter and craziness, of pains and pleasures that life offers. Here you will find yourself floating in a cocktail of emotions almost all the time. From birth every stage of their enchanting life is an irreplaceable miracle. You learn the biggest lessons of life and the greatest strategies of survival in this world. You got to enter at your own risk but once in you are part of the gang. Once in never out. That’s what friendships are all about.
This is for my boys with love and a warm hug. I treasure them and very proud to see them all grown up into sensitive, discerning young adults.
Thank you for recognizing that
You are precious.
So am I
˙·٠•●♥♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥♥ Happy Woman’s Day ˙·٠•●♥♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥♥
Here is a song I love.
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
Hippocrates had a dream theory that the mind received images during daytime and produced images during night-time.
Phantasmagoric is how I would describe my dreams. Usually I do not take naps during daytime but a few days back sheer mental, emotional and physical fatigue made me crash while my laptop and cell buzzed ceaselessly. I was in a sort of hypnotic trance and yet fully aware of the sounds that filtered through the closed-door of my room. The afternoon sun shone brightly and filled my little room with brilliant sunshine and warmth slowly sucking me into a gateway of a private fantasy land. Unlike the known realms of fantasy this one did not have any magical stuff . Somehow I feel that many of my lucid dreams are sequential and bizarre. It seems I am shape shifting into some another being or sometimes I see myself with people who are either part of my present life or past at places known and unknown though I may have known them at some other time. The scary twist comes to a normal lucid dream when your subconscious mind takes control and the dream feels like reality. You can actually feel, touch ,smell what surrounds you. The senses are sharper than normal and visual impact is much more than what it may be in wakeful state. The thin line that separates wakeful state and sleep diminishes and dissolves.
On this day I was taken to an old house. These are the kind of houses you find in old cities. Houses with many big and small rooms, a veranda, a store-room in an old style kitchen, steep staircase leading to terrace. Heavy doors and windows which bring in more darkness than light. Old style flat wooden beds, iron trunks and wooden furniture that makes the atmosphere slightly daunting. There is always fragrance of age, a murky presence of cobwebs and cold feel of stone under your feet if you walk bare feet.
I was in a big room where on a large wooden bed my mother sat but she didn’t look like her. Her physique resembled that of my paternal grandmother whom none of us have seen except in a few yellowing photographs. She wore a soft cotton sari of some pastel shade. Her hair silver streaked with black tied in a loose bun resting at the nape of her neck.
There is a small girl whom I call with my niece’s name but she looks nothing like her. A thin wispy creäture dressed in a frock and leggings. I bring her in and tell the two domestic helps to stay in the outside veranda. These girls work for us here now in real-time. So here is some present merging with past.
The room has another door at the other end leading to a row of dingy , vacant rooms smaller in size. I take the little girl to one of the bigger and airy rooms to wash her dirty face and change her clothes,
She is unusually quiet and obedient. Not her usual self at all.
The scene shifts from these dark interiors to one of the flats I lived in as a teenager. It shifts to my room with again two doors , one leading to the balcony and another to the lobby. The setting is almost the same as it used to be in my time but there is an overpowering presence of an old wooden wardrobe. Heavy dark wood. stuffed with clothes and things with bundles of more clothes and saris and sheets on top. I tell mom to clean her and put fresh clothes which she does. here her real image is clearly visible.
I may be in early thirties not younger for sure.
The scene sifts back to the old room where I put her on the wooden bed with a glass of milk. A modern glass with lid and nozzle, on of those insulated ones.
I go into the bathroom among one of the rooms in the row and come out to find a drunken , disheveled man shouting his lungs out to take his daughter back. I manage to push him out but can’t find the girl.
I call for the house helps but no one is there in the murky summer afternoon pregnant with various smells rising from inside and outside of the house.
I run around in panic constantly yelling for the helpers and the child. I find her sprawled on the floor face down at the bottom of the staircase and in the twilight filtering in from door I see the pool of blood near her head. The house help comes running down the stairs and swears to know nothing about her fall or injury. I turn her carefully . She is unconscious and cold as ice but her heart is beating. I rush inside to pick up my purse and car keys ( By the way I don’t drive) and by the time I return everyone has disappeared. There is a dark pool of red seeping slowly in the crevices of stone flooring . The door is open and swinging slowly with evening breeze. I run around in the by lane but there is no sign of life not even the usual street dogs.
I find the younger house help who tells me that a couple has taken the child to their house in the next lane. (These people are neighbors from where I lived two years back). I rush with her to their home crossing series of old dilapidated buildings. We reach a deep blue wooden door with a huge chain lock on it. I open the lock and step into another dark corridor and set of rooms. On my right is room with curtain drawn. I can hear hushed voices inside and a dim light is visible if you look carefully through the coarse material of the curtain. The gentleman comes out and tells me that the child is still unconscious but the bleeding has stopped. Nothing else can be done for now. I argue that we should take her to the hospital and he looks at me in surprise.
” Which world are you living in girl? There is a curfew in the town since last four days. I am surprised you even managed to get here and did not get shot. The town is shut.” I just stare at him wondering how long have I been cooped up inside the four walls of that formidable house.
As we talk we walk into an open courtyard. His fingers find a switch on the dark side wall and the naked yellow bulb springs to life. He turns to face me and his eyes freeze with alarm and concern.
‘What happened to you? You are bleeding.”
“What? Where?” My hand automatically reaches to the side of my left temple. I feel the sticky liquid run down my fingers. There is no pain, no sign or remembrance of an injury.
I woke up with the feel of blood still on my hand. I realized that my hand was still at the temple and it that semi awakened state I saw the deep dark liquid on my hand, that unmistakable irony smell of blood filled my nostrils. I could feel its sticky texture and how it slowly made its way down to the elbow and down to the floor as I looked at it with astonishment. By this time I was actually awake. The laptop battery had died and the blank screen stared at me from the side of my bed. The sun had gone down and the room was in darkness except for the tube light peeping from under the closed-door. I got up and switched the light on. My legs a little shaky and a definite ache in the neck muscles especially to the left. I realized I was sleeping in one awkward position for more than three hours.
Slowly the sounds had faded and the house had become silent with my mother bent over her book somewhere. I went into her room and into the bathroom. Switching on the light above the mirror I looked closely for any marks on the side of temple but found none. While washing my hands with liquid soap the same feeling of feeling blood between my fingers returned and for a second I actually felt it was blood but it wasn’t.
It is intriguing how I am able to actually feel the wetness of blood and know the right thickness and color of it. It is also intriguing how this is repeated in dream like sequence. This is the second time I bled in my dreams and surprisingly it never scares or upsets me. Read DEATH RED here.
I love pineapple. Sweet, juicy, delicious, it is one of the many nutritious tropical fruits. Pineapples are packed with vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is also rich in fiber and calories. It’s low in fat and cholesterol too.
Apart from the exotic raw fruit one can always indulge in the grilled version and make it as magical as one wants. I love to flavor it with aroma of spices and toss in dark rum to jazz it up and I call them “fruit kebabs” like Nigella Lawson :p
A perfect desert after a sumptuous meal or in breakfast or maybe as an evening snack like I did.
The trick is to pick up a fragrant nice ripe golden color pineapple. If the fruit is just a little soft to touch then that is what you are looking for. Anything green is under ripe and spotty browns are over ripe.
Now that we have picked the right fruit, lay it on a chopping board and cut off both the ends. Make it stand and cut the skin in strips. Once the fruit is skinned dice it in circles or make wedges. It is up to you whether you want to remove the core or not. This time I did not but usually I do and make wedges instead of circles.
Now, to grill the fruit you can either use the traditional grill or oven or even a non stick pan if you don not have the former two.
Here is how you do it.
Fresh Ripe Pineapple – 1
Dark Honey – 6 table-spoon
Cinnamon – I teaspoon
Powdered cloves – 1 /4 teaspoon
Lemon zest – I teaspoon
Dark Rum – 4 table-spoon
Prepare the fruit as described above and collect all the ingredients at one place
Here you see whole cloves but you need to powder them fine.
Take honey in a mixing bowl , add cinnamon and clove powder. Place the pineapple slices or wedges in it so they are fully covered with the marinade.
Heat the grill or oven (Preheat the grill at 400 degree Fahrenheit ) . I used a non stick pan here. Heat the pan and glaze it with a little olive oil. Arrange the marinade pineapple slices once hot. keep the flame at medium to low as sweet things tend to burn easily.
If you are using grill or oven arrange the pieces on grill tray and close the lid.
Check in sometime and if both sides have a gorgeous deep golden brown tan, remove in a serving plate.
This is how it should look from both sides when grilling in a pan.
Do not throw the remaining marinade , brush it on the top of grilled slices.
Once you have arranged the slices in a serving plate, pour the dark rum and sprinkle the lemon zest.
Serve hot just as it is or with chilled yogurt or vanilla ice cream.
Tip 1- You can use brown sugar, maple syrup, golden syrup or if you are adventurous then toss the pieces in marmalade with a little salt sprinkled over them instead of honey and it will blow your mind. I hate chocolate syrup with it but folks do use that too. ( too overpowering for me. Kills the natural sensuousness of the fruit) :)
Tip 2 – Try using fresh cracked black peppercorn and vodka instead of the above ingredients. It will tickle your senses like anything. Trust me, there is nothing like a spiced up juicy sweet pineapple straight from the grill.
Tip 3 - You can also try salt and cayenne pepper or red chili powder too. It rocks.
Tip 4 – Try using wooden skewers or chopsticks for each wedge /slice . Makes it easy to eat and looks neat on a party table.
Enjoy this tropical delight and let me know your experience.
Scent of yellow
Ripe bananas in yellow jackets
Juicy pears one in each pocket
Grapefruits and pineapples
Tangerines and mangoes
Sweet corn and lime
Amorous musk melon
Some Apricots time to time
Sunflowers and laburnum
A shaft of sunlight
Slipping through the
Flowing in your curls
Mellow yellow orange red papaya
And the golden yellow pumpkin
An old swing,
A surprise in the mustard field
And your smile on a soft yellow dressed afternoon
The yellow brick road
And the song
A yellow flash of mountain bird
Yellow birch, maple, beech
The butter gold moon spread over our bodies
A large cup of butterscotch
And the sparkle in your eyes
The marmalade skies
From the corner
Of your mouth
A bumble bee
Dancing amidst the marigolds
Irises draped in sunshine
Primrose blossoms and the daylily
A canary singing near the birdbath
Blush lemonade, sweet, laced with salt
A sunburst margarita
By your favourite window spot
For a very special friend. He knows. ·٠•●♥♥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ♥♥
“Silence is not always golden; sometimes just yellow.” It is sweet, tangy, full of sunlit dreams and vibrant hopes. It is the nectar of life of universal love. Be still, be silent.
Happy Basant Panchmi .. Spring love to all of you. Enjoy some sun-kissed pineapple flowers.