The Round Table

Well, my television appears to have called it a day. The quest for a younger and more efficient replacement is on. So, when I read the prompt ‘round’, I start thinking of curved screens and surround sound. Wading though a dozen comparison sites I have realized one thing, they were all merely rehashing the same analysis, and me the fool was going around in circles reading the same thing.

Luckily my obsessive web surfing was interrupted by my son who wanted me to pick him up from the station. It’s my lucky Sunday, he has deigned to come home.

We have a round dinner table, with a rotating center. He’s walking around it and comments, ‘I miss walking in circles.’ That’s so strange. His college has nice manicured lawns and he misses walking in circles! But then I realise, its not the table or walking in circles, it’s the familiarity of things that we did as children. The comfort of what was. It’s exhilarating to spread our wings and soar, to explore, but every once in a way, it’s nice to come back to our nest.

Very soon he’s going to stop missing walking in circles around the table. His mind will be on other more exciting adventures. But some day, when he reflects upon his own childhood, that round table is going to star in a few memories.

I know it does in mine. My mother never tires of telling people how she personally designed the table when she was pregnant with me. And I always tag on about how I would sit on it and spin as a child. She’s too old to bear the weight of children atop her, so now my kid walks around. Three generations of attachment to a damn round table!

In response to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday word prompt – ‘Round’

Don’t call… Even a text would do…

Call me when you reach.

Those were my explicit instructions to him as I dropped him off at the airport. Of course I know my kid well enough to know that he would never call. For some reason he hates phone calls. (Perhaps that reason is me. Can hating phone calls be hereditary?)

What I did expect were a few WhatsApp messages.

It’s the first time that he’s left the country alone. Well traveling with a bunch of strangers escorted by some professor who I don’t know, is still classified as travelling alone in my book of parenting. Expecting a few updates is not too unreasonable, right?

Wrong.

Here is what I get…

Day 1: I’m here. The wifi sucks.

Day 2: Still alive.

Night 3: All in good time.

The last being in response to my barrage of messages (3 actually) asking how his day went.

He’s coming back on Day 8. By then I would have probably exited WhatsApp just to keep my phone safe.

I’m tempted to play the sentiment card and ask questions like – What if Manado is hit by an earthquake or a tsunami? How will I know of your welfare? But I shan’t. Knowing him, the response would probably be – Don’t worry, you will hear about it on the news. He can be very infuriating that way.

His father worries too. But he has a silver lining he hangs on to at moments like this. ‘You know he gets his attitude from you‘ he annoyingly provokes. I don’t understand the man. After twenty three years of marriage who doesn’t learn that it is unwise to prod a simmering lioness!

In response to Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt – call.

The tongue is the sword

It’s kinda ironic that the sense organs are the ones that come into play when we are being most senseless. Like the tongue.

Such a tiny organ but can make such a huge impact. It can inspire, it can conspire, it can decimate a person’s soul. They may say that actions speak louder than words, but I beg to differ. You can do the kindest of actions, go completely out on a limb for someone, but if you follow that up with harsh words, then all your kind actions are for naught.

I should know. I’ve seen my mother do that over and over again.

As a teenager I almost hated her. She was nagging, critical, and screamed at the drop of a hat. I swore to be nothing like her. In retrospect most of the mistakes that I made in life, were dictated by the urge to spite her or the obsession to do everything differently than her.

It’s taken me half my life to realise that her actions were never wrong. She was friendly, open, extremely helpful, very generous, and knew when to fight for her rights. I should have followed all of that.
Just minus the incessant critique and volatile temper.


In response to this week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt – Organ

Welcome to my break-down

Mom.

My crazy mom.

Who loves me like crazy, but drives me crazy too.

This Thursday we had been invited to her very close friend’s grand child’s naming ceremony.
Let me give you some additional information to better paint the scene.

First of all, my mom has a lot of very close friends. Secondly, whenever she is invited, her presence is imperative. Thirdly, she assumes that any friend of hers is a friend of mine, and worse still, any friend of mine is a friend of hers!
So naturally I was invited too.

On Wednesday, I left home at 3pm to go to my health center. After a rather stressful month I had decided to indulge and had booked myself a massage.
But I made one critical mistake – I left my phone at home.

At 4pm my dearest mom suddenly hit the panic button. It was 4. She had to go for the ceremony at 5. Her daughter was not back. Five frantic calls later she realised that the phone was ringing in the very next room.
There was only one possible deduction now. Some tragedy had struck.

I dont even want to elaborate on what happened next.
Calls went out to my spouse, my son, my friends – My daughter hasn’t come home yet. I cant contact her. Do you know where she is? Do you have any way to contact her?
One poor gullible soul even drove all the way to my fitness center only to be turned away after a five minute wait because ‘Madam is in a therapy session and can not be disturbed.’

Suffice to say that by the time I returned all the calls explaining that it was a simple unnecessary unfounded illogical unreasonable mix-up in dates by my mom resulting in utter and embarrassing chaos, I was far more stressed out and in knots than before that ill-fated massage.

However, do you know what the clincher is – I’m quite sure that this will repeat again.
Sooner rather than later.

God!

In response to the Friday Stream of Consciousness prompt – Start and end with a three letter word.

Grilled. Now Toast.

I’m sorry to say it, but the people in my life, especially the men in my life, don’t get a fair deal. They are all victims of what I refer to as – my marriage PTSD.

For years I let my husband play emotional ping pong with my head. I was grilled, examined, cross examined, every statement dissected, every intention extrapolated, while I attempted to respond with the patience of a saint.
Which I was not.

Eventually I exploded.
But that’s a story for another time.

Now I lash out at every innocuous question. An eye for an eye, and lets throw in a few extra limbs for shits and giggles.

Just today someone asked me, “Why do you never message me?”

“I’m messaging you right now.”

“But that is only because I messaged you first.”

“We are too old for this conversation.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“Not yet, but I will be soon. Stop grilling me.”

“All that I’m saying is that you could reach out first once in a way. I’m not grilling you.”

“Feels like grilling.”

“We are friends. Friends have expectations.”

“I don’t do expectations. My friend should know that I have marriage PTSD.”

Yup! I have actually convinced them that this is a legit excuse.

It’s not fair on them. I know. It’s not healthy for me either. I know. I’m working on it.

Step one – accept the problem.

Step two – find someone else to blame 😉

Nah.

Bear with me. Work in progress here.

Triggered by the Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday “grill.”

Familial dichotomy

My last post was almost a month back.

I am appalled. It started with ‘Not today. Positively tomorrow.‘ and eventually became ‘Is today actually today or is it already tomorrow?‘ By the time my brain smog cleared, I was wallowing in ‘Shame on you. You need to get your act together, lady!‘ Until today, eventually, after hours of self-motivating perk-up monologues, I resolved to ease myself back in with the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

A very wise Linda said – When you’re ready to sit down and write your post, look to the publication closest to you, and base your post on the sixth, seventh, and eighth word from the beginning of the page. Enjoy!

I picked up the paper beside me, which happened to be a real estate commercial, and read the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th words.
image_6483441

That’s it. That’s bloody it.
The reason why I have not been able to write for the last month – I just couldn’t get what is the serene location nor the quiet down time.

Visitors tire me. In-laws tire me out even more. Just having to constantly watch what comes out of my mouth is tiring, its tiresome. What was fascinating, and only in retrospect, was the familial dichotomy between shared upbringing and divergent lifestyles. There was a warmth that seemingly infused the room as the siblings reminisced, and yet we were constantly aware of the undercurrent of egotistical clashes that could suck that very warmth out at any moment. Verbal communications did not always speak the same language as the emotional interactions. We smiled, we laughed, we feasted, we bid tearful farewells, and then we heaved a secret sigh of relief as some unnamed burden lifted from our souls.

It took a few more days to reclaim my living space and my routine.

Now here I am. A little older, a little more cynical, but definitely also a little richer for having gained some more insight into the intricate tapestry that is my family. After all, family shapes us. And constantly reshapes us.

We look to connections with immediate family in order to understand our place within larger communities: our neighborhoods, cities, countries and worlds, our genders, economic classes, generations, races and sexual preferences. ”
– William Tolan

The oblique clique

Oblique comments – how I hate them.
They leave you tethering on the precipice. Not direct enough that you can tell the speaker to piss off, and yet not so subtle that you miss their meaning. They leave you with such a bitter taste.

Would I rather that they just come out and say it? I don’t know about that either. There are far too many people who think that they can get away with being rude, simply by claiming that they are being frank. Mind you, frank is rarely a two way street.

As someone who has always avoided any form of confrontation, I suppose I should take oblique over frank. At least this way I can simmer and run through a mind-blogging arsenal of quick and witty retorts in my head, that I could have said if only they had been explicit. Frank, leaves me with only one excuse. I am the more polite person, which sorta makes me feel like the spineless gutless coward.

Ideally I would like every one to just mind their own business. Everyone should be very polite to everyone all the time. But where am I going to find that ideal world!


Badge by J-Dub @ https://jilywily.wordpress.com/

In response to the Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday: “liqu.”

The Leaking Ink

I’m sick, down with a terrible flu. All that I feel like doing, is to stay curled up in bed and rise only for that intermittent cup of steaming hot coffee. I guess, I’m one of those people who, if faced with the predicament of choosing their last meal, would go with a cup of aromatic South Indian coffee.

But when one writes a blog titled ‘Leaking Ink’, then it seems almost blasphemous to not respond to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt of ‘Ink’.

I was never a writer.
Let me rephrase. I was a dreamer who never put down her dreams. In school I was often reprimanded for having too vivid an imagination. [As if there can ever be such a thing!] Tone it down my English teacher would comment. Stick to the often trodden path. Do not speak to yourself. It gives the impression that you are cheating.
Suffice to say that slowly but surely the education system nipped the nascent writer in the bud.

But not the dreamer.
On no Sir, I didn’t really care that people on the streets thought me crazy for talking to myself. When you have an entire soap opera playing out in your head, you need voices and gestures. [If only I had grown up in the bluetooth era, I could have easily passed off as someone having an animated conversation on the phone.]

Life played out as life does.
My collection of stories grew. Some I lived, some I witnessed, some I created as an alternate reality to escape to. With time the stories became darker. The happily ever after morphed into So what now and If only. When life threw me lemons, I made exotic mocktails.
All the while I kept my stories safely ensconced in my own head. Drop by drop the reservoir filled up. Critical mass was reached. I tried to build the walls higher. I tried to keep it all in. I really tried.
Until one fine day, my cup runneth over.

And here you have it. The Leaking Ink blog…

image

Psst-Psst: That awesome sound

Psst – Psst
The sound that transports me back to simpler times. When it was easy to open the gate and walk into the neighbour’s house, but it was way more fun to just jump the common wall. A wall that partitioned only on paper. To the children who lived on either side, it was a nice place to plonk snacks on, while we stood or sat around chatting for hours together. A wall that served more as a net across which we threw ball, or a hurdle to jump. A wall that eventually tired of six kids climbing two and fro, decided one fine day to start crumbling to lower the hurdle height.

Psst-Psst. That’s how we called each other. The signal that meant ‘meet at the wall, below the coconut tree’. Even the coconut that once fell on my sister’s head, requiring her to be rushed to the emergency room for stitches, was no reason to shift the rendezvous point. Too naïve to realise that sound carries at night, we would loudly hiss psst-psst, and one parent or the other would snap back, ‘GO TO BED’, triggering an endless senseless peal of giggling.

Psst-Psst, the sound that preceded many important conversations, much idle chatter, strategy discussions, or confessions, as children transitioned into young adults.

Until one by one, the birds left the nest, and now all that stands is a lonely ageing wall and an almost barren coconut tree.

In response to the prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – “psst”

Arms

Arms
Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that picked a crying babe
Arms that made a tub feel safe
Arms that walked a child to school
Arms that could ride better than any hero
Arms that could fix anything at home
Arms that made the warmest pillow
Arms that made the world feel safe
Arms that taught and gave good guidance
Arms that meticulously filed every accomplishment 
Arms that never wavered in their grip
Arms that could stoke softer than a feather
Arms that were strong enough to give a bride away

Arms that rocked an infant to sleep
Arms that told stories not in books
Arms that calmed when parents raged
Arms that could hammer harder than Thor
Arms that signed and taught secret codes
Arms that clapped louder than any crowd
Arms that were never too busy to play
Arms that sagged with each passing day
Arms that moved far too slow
Arms that petrified after a stroke
Arms crossed over a body laid to rest
Arms 

Your grandson and I miss you daddy. You will always be the world’s best pillow and our secret superhero. 

Triggered by the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt – Arm.