Grace

I am working from home today. Somehow, these WFH days end up being way busier than you think they would be (they should really be called WTF days, I say!). Spent most of the morning hidden upstairs working away and yammering on the phone. Did pause to congratulate self that our cook, R, was coming over today, so didn’t have to ponder the one question that I find absolutely nerve-wracking – “Mommy, what’s for lunch?”.

Dropped R home at 2:00 pm after she made some delicious lunch (aloo parathas, paneer capsicum sabji, and sabudana kichdi – super yum!!). As I drove her home, we were commiserating with each other on our busy mornings. R mentioned that she had been out cooking since 6:30 am, and that as soon as I dropped her at home she was going to make dinner for her family, since she still had another cooking job this evening which would go on from 4 pm till at least 7 pm.

Man, felt like a total a$$hole for whining to her about my busy morning. And told her that I hoped that the rest of her week is easier, and that I felt like sitting down and having a cup of tea after just hearing about her busy day. Which, come to think of it, was also a dumb thing to say. I mean, if someone is overwhelmed, I don’t know if it’s reassuring to hear “oh no, you are so overwhelmed”. Anyway, that’s what I said.

I was blown away by her response.

“Do you want to come in to my house? I can quickly make you a cup of masala chai”, she offered – 8 hours into a 12 hour, entirely on-her-feet, work day.

That, my friend, is what they call Grace.

Not a Prayer

Amma and I were at the temple to do vadai malai for Anjaneyar today.  Where were the others, you ask?  Well.  The last vadai malai was just a couple of weeks ago.  Decided (correctly) that there will be a minor rebellion from the other three if the temple outings got too frequent, so didn’t even invite them to come along.  For which they were infinitely grateful.

The temple parking lot was quite empty when we got there, which was promising.  I absolutely love having our little local temple to myself – sitting there in that serene environment alone with my thoughts and prayers soothes me like nothing else.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

We entered the temple and it was largely empty, except for a group of about 20 people, deeply engaged in chanting/singing Sundarakandam in front of Anjaneyar.  Which could have been quite fine, really.  Except, they were each singing to their own tune, loudly and confidently.  Which the (dormant) singer in me found mildly amusing and (with the passage of time) a tad annoying.  The priest quickly decorated Anjaneyar with our malai and disappeared off to a remote corner of the temple (no prizes for guessing why).

Amma and I sat for a half hour but there was no sign of Sundarakandam ending.  I looked at the prayer books that the people were singing from, and it seemed like they were not even half way through.  I had spent all my morning making the vadais, so there was still the small matter of getting back home and organizing lunch for our party of 5.  It was noon by then, the clock was a-ticking and my stomach was rumbling.  Plus, the singing was totally starting to get to me.  The accompanying tabla had a beat going that was like the beginning of “inji iduppazhagi”.  Leave alone sitting in serene environment with my prayers, there was no getting through even one little slokam in the middle of all the chaos.  Made an executive decision to leave the vadai malai with Anjaneyar (let the singers enjoy the prasadam), and made a speedy exit.

Oh, one coherent thought did cross my mind while sitting there listening to the singing.

Yennamma, ippdi pannreengale maa” 😉

Multitasking Mania

Surely something’s wrong when I am standing fully dressed in work clothes and:

  • Making dosais for my breakfast
  • Eating aforementioned dosais while hovering between the stove and the nearby countertop
  • Making mini-trips between dosai bites to the fridge and microwave to plan and pack my lunch
  • Brewing my coffee on the side to take with me on my ride to work

And still giving sidelong glances at my laptop sitting on the kitchen table, with a nagging feeling that I should be more productive and get a head start on my work rather than waste time on inessentials like food.

It’s going to be a busy work day, but really, my first meeting is not for another three hours.  So what’s up with the constant drive to be productive?  Che!

Are you this crazy too?  Please tell me you are. 🙂

Travels

I was in Boston earlier this week for a business trip. The last out of town business trip that I went on was in November. Of 2001. Before little N was even on our radar.  Amazes me, given the ambitious career woman image that I put out (and actually have of myself).  But I am happy that it’s worked out well so far for me.  I dislike any time away from the family, and don’t think frequent business trips are my style at all.  Spent my one free evening wandering around Quincy Market (shopping for little gifts for my munchkins).

The upcoming months are full of travels.  N is off to India this week for 10 days to spend some time with his mom.  He will spend part of his birthday there, and part of it here – should be interesting!  I have another business trip to Virginia coming up in May.  The trip to Boston was to prep for the upcoming trip, so I can’t whine about too many business trips coming my way back-to-back (but I sure will if even one more pops up on my radar this year).

N has two other business trips coming up in June.  I have totally lost count of his travels.  Find myself wondering why it’s (relatively) easy for N to up and leave for business trips, while I churn and plan and schedule every tiny bit of detail endlessly.  Perhaps because N’s word is “Work” and mine is “Mom”.  I wrote about this almost five years back (https://momto2cuddlebugs.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/eat-pray-love/).  Deep, no?

Speaking of trips and more trips, we will be off to Indonesia and Singapore later this summer for two and a half weeks of pure sun and fun.  Now, that’s one trip you won’t hear me complaining about! 😉

Blackboard Wisdom

Blackboard wisdom has been going strong for two years now.  I don’t change the quotes every day (not so much vetti), but have been changing them pretty consistently once every week or so.  My cleaning lady, H, totally enjoys reading and commenting on them, so I remember to change my quotes at least before she shows up.

Here’s the latest.

Nice, no?

I am currently in fantastic oasis situation (mentally, of course).  Just got through two weeks of intense craziness at work, and am looking ahead at (and dreading already) a couple of really crazy weeks coming up at the end of April and in early May.  However, at this moment, I am poised at the beginning of a (relatively) light week and working from home (spring break!).

Think I will use this fabulous (and rare) idle time to sprout lots of blackboard wisdom.  And hopefully remember some of it when s&^t hits the ceiling in a couple of weeks. 😉

Speed

There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

I recently realized that I have a preference to rush through things.  Especially, mundane tasks where I don’t see a huge return or value, or when I am doing something for myself.

Like when I am out getting a haircut, or shopping for myself, and it happens to take more than a half hour.

Thinking back, wondering when this might have started (yes, I had some fantastically idle time this week), went all the way back to grad school.  A strange era when, on my own for the first time, I did grocery shopping or laundry (ugh!) only when absolutely necessary.  Just so I didn’t “waste” precious time that could have been spent on studying and research.

The more aware I am that I do this, the more I catch myself doing it.

This evening, after making dinner, decided to do yoga to stretch my aching muscles.  Went upstairs, got settled, and started my warm-up exercises.  First thought that crossed my mind?  “I don’t have time to do 18 repetitions of the warm-ups like they do in yoga class, so I am just going to do 5 repetitions.”  I heard this chatter and found myself wondering “why?”  Dinner was ready, N wasn’t back home from work, Amma was reading, little N and her friends were working on a group project in our living room, and little A was doing her math homework at our kitchen table.  Who in the world was looking for me, and why did I feel like I didn’t have enough time for yoga?

Within a couple of hours, caught myself feeling the same thing again.  I was putting away the laundry upstairs, when I felt like I had to finish quickly and go downstairs, like something or someone needed my immediate attention.  When in fact, N and little A were playing a game of chess, Amma was still reading, and little N’s was in the middle of a violin lesson with her teacher.  I was not even on anyone’s radar.

So, WTF is this, this thing in me that’s urging me to go quicker, and get on with the next thing?  I know that there’s no getting to the end of that to-do list.  Ever.  So what gives?

Hmmmm…. something to think about, huh?

I Wish I Could Tell

Sollathaan ninaikkiren…

Sorry, this is not a post about some deep, dark secret (although, wouldn’t that be fun!).  Some other time, ok?

This post is totally about something else.

Last week, little N had a s&^t load of school stuff to get through one night.  Fabulous supportive mom that I am, decided to give her company (without realizing that she was going to go on till 1 am, but that’s another story).  Made her some masala chai around 10:30 pm, and tucked myself in on the couch across from her.  I usually don’t watch movies on my own, but didn’t think little N would tolerate my just sitting there watching her toil (and let’s face it, making small talk).  So.  Decided to see what was up for viewing in the old tamil movie world.

Landed on “Sollathaan Ninaikkiren”.  Normally, N and I would have by-passed such ancient offerings (N just refuses to look too far back).  But I was left to my own devices, and happened to notice that the movie was made in 1973.  Not such an old movie, I thought to myself.  Hmmm… does everyone have this delusion that the year they were born in was really not that long ago?.  Anyway.  Print was surprisingly decent, so plodded on (and finished it) despite several instances along the way where the resting feminist in me felt quite riled up:

  • Father of three girls: “Oh, one must never be born a girl.”
  • Girl’s family to potential groom’s family: “Girl is a teacher.  But if you don’t want her to go to work, just say the word and she will quit tomorrow.”
  • New bride to husband: “Now that you have tied the thaali around my neck, I am just overwhelmed with respect for you.” (adiye!!!!)
  • Potential groom to girl’s father: “I don’t want to marry your older daughter.  I want to marry her sister.” (And the sister agrees to marry this rat!)

But the movie was not without its plus points.  Chennai from the 1970s looked so uncomplicated in black and white – empty streets, PTC buses, old cars, saree-clad women, sambraani.  Felt soooo nostalgic.  Also, bonus – I only recall seeing Sivakumar act as Rama or Vishnu in most old movies (always oru blue color and constantly smiling, che!).  Watching this movie now, I was totally struck by the young Sivakumar’s resemblance to the Singam (mmmm…got my money back right there, I say!!).

Overall verdict (feminist outrage notwithstanding) – not too shabby for a solo late-nighter. 😉