Saturday, November 24, 2012

One year already.

Today, it has been a year since my mother in law passed away from us. How this year has gone by, no idea. Initially the pain was very palpable. The sudden absence of one person whom we have been living with. Gradually we got used to the new state of things. For the past one week, many things came back from last year. But I was fighting to think of only the good things from very many years ago when she was still relatively healthy and active and took great happiness in life.

No one knows what happens to those that pass away, unfortunately there is no way to find out. I often wonder what must have become of the soul, if there is some such thing as a soul. Where it must be, if it was watching over what we were doing and all that. Or was it just a scientific, clinical passing, and post the brain stopping, there was nothing else.

If the soul is living on, I hope she is happy when she looks on us. That is all we can wish for now.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oldies are goodies

We had some friends over briefly on Sunday. It had been ages since we met although we all live in the same city! I often feel bad about how rarely we meet up with friends post-kids phase :(

So we have known this couple forever now. Subhash and the guy were together in engineering and the girl and me were in there too, in the same batch, three years behind the guys. So it is an all-in-the-same-campus set of people. I have known them for as long as I have known Subhash. This couple also used to live in the same area (the guy was in the same street as we were) when we were in engineering - you get the drift. Long long long time pals.

We did not meet for very many years while we were in the US. Till they moved back to India a couple of years ago. That was a long gap. But as soon as we met - we were catching up like we had never parted. That is the magic of friendships that people so often talk about I guess! The other day when we met, we laughed over a few things, general life goings-on, common friends etc. And somehow we never laugh like that or let go that way with anyone else. At least I don't. It is mostly my 11th-12th std friends and engineering friends that I am able to truly have fun with! School friends - thanks to lack of prevalent social technology - we never managed to stay in touch like I was able to with this other set.

All said and done, I am thankful for the people who bring fun into an otherwise mundane life. Although we don't meet very often (in spite of some being in the same city, sigh!), when we do, it is like the time-lapse never existed! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Minus two

My parents left for Hyd today. My sister is going to come stay with them for some time so they went back. They wanted to leave in the beginning of November, but after the last monthly ceremony experience, my mom decided to stay back till the last one was done, just in case the cook decided to not show up this time as well. He almost did that, and I was just thinking how lucky it was that my mom was around when he called to say he'd show up!

We miss them already. I think my father in law, more than anyone - he and my Dad got along really well and used to talk about all and sundry, suddenly the house has gone very quiet. The son seems to be taking it much better than I had feared. Hoping it will stay that way. He was arguing with me about why they need a house in Hyd when they have a house in Bangalore (their house is the same as my house, no?).

I am hoping they will come back with us when we visit Hyd and back for mother in law's annual ceremonies in December.

This was the first long term visit either of them has made after their US trip in 2005. Thanks to my mom being able to practice her medicine from anywhere (although she had to keep going to Hyd every month to replenish medicines for her clientele!) and my Dad deciding to take a break from work. Else with both of them having busy work schedules (even busier than mine, phew!) - it was always limited to flying visits. This time was great, having all parents around all the time - it is something I wished very dearly for always!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All done!

Today we finished the last of the monthly ceremonies for my mother in law. One year already. Time has gone by too fast.

There could have been a hundred different things that could have gone wrong and forced us to do it at the nearby temple instead of at home - luckily nothing did. I am thankful for all the small graces life offered during this past year.

A lot of thanks in the offing for a great many people too! Firstly my mother-in-law's sister who talked to one of her cousins through whom we were able to find a local purohit and cook! Her presence of mind saved the day! None of these would have been possible if we had to keep importing priests from Hyderabad every month. Next the priest himself - he made it every single month without fail. The cook - although absented himself a couple of times, did appear all of the rest of the months and cooked very nice food much to the delight of all of us.

My household help - Ponni. After every event, if I had to do the pile of dishes all by myself - I am sure I could not have managed so easily. In fact this month, she put off her festival travel (today is Diwali) so she can help us and is traveling day-after instead.

My Mom and Dad - they've been around for all of the last five monthly events - it has been possible to keep the son at home since they've been there. He was also able to participate and pray, thanks to this.

My father in law. The one person who has been our strength. Never wavering, always supporting, helping out with the shopping, planning, offering to relax rules when needed and so on, the list is endless.

Subhash - he is always all that I expect from him (and my expectations are usually set very high) and much much more in everything he does. If the son turns out anything like him, I'd be a very happy mom indeed!

One last milestone to finish diligently and hopefully my mother-in-law will reach her destination happy and satisfied for all that she suffered before she left.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Made or ruined

Yesterday at the last round of my morning walk - the son woke up and came out looking for me. I waved to him and kept walking. He apparently wanted to join me so my Dad got him out to the street - beyond the music in my ears I did hear some voice calling out. I looked back and checked and he was running to me. I was at the farther end of the street, just about to make the turn and I walked back towards him and he kept running all the way till he reached me with his arms out-stretched. It made my day and the next few days as well. I ended up finishing the last two rounds carrying him, my Dad walked behind us for sometime asking him to come, but he would refuse, so I carried him back home once we were done. He held my phone for the music - I asked him to hold it while I carried him and he dutifully did it all the while talking about going "20 rounds, 10 rounds" - round meaning he being carried around by me!

I was then at an all day event in a business hotel near work. The event was until 8 or so, but I left early so I could pick the son up at his usual time. I arrived 20 minutes earlier so we got some extra time to roll around after we got home. Priceless.

Normally, I am the type of person who cringes if any routine is slightly upset. But somehow when the son is involved it doesn't seem to matter. I've done things I would not have imagined a few years ago - just so I can be with the son, without him perceiving my absence for too long outside of his routine. So long as I can pick him up by 4.45, I allow myself to do anything ;). I have sat down in the middle of work-outs when he wakes up early, doing them much later once he is over the initial clingy phase when I hand him over to Subhash and carry on. If someone who knew me closely 6-7 years ago, saw this, they would be near shocked I guess.

They say being a parent changes you - for me it is the responsibility of this young thing's happiness and how much of it lies in my sole control, that makes me do things I would otherwise have never dreamt of! And I don't think it is limited to the son (so not necessarily about parenting) - it also applies equally to Subhash, to my parents and my father-in-law and in lessening degrees to my extended family.

Too sentimental - but all of these reflections came last evening when I was thinking about how life has been moving in general ;)

Monday, November 05, 2012

Wish and it shall be granted

Is pretty much my position now. Anything I say, even before it comes out of my mouth fully, is immediately taken care of by either dads or my mom (depending on whether it is shopping or cooking). If I continue this way for another fortnight or so, I think I shall become irrevocably lazy!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Mint chutney!

The other day I told both dads to bring Mint leaves when they go for their customary evening walk the next day. They were just back from the day's walk and I kept forgetting to tell them since a few days. I said we could make mint chutney to go with the bread for sandwiches. Both of them got ready to leave again. It took me nearly five minutes to convince my Dad that it is OK to go the next day while he came in to the kitchen to pick up a bag to go shopping. Finally he agreed to not go then and went to tell my father in law. But what do you know! My father in law was already at the store. So my Dad followed and they both shopped and came back.

Then my father in law said, "I thought you wanted to eat that so I got it - now you can have it tomorrow morning itself. Else if you don't want to eat it by the day-after, then what?" I was so moved.

I always did believe that marrying well is important in life, not just a good guy but a good family as well. Because end of the day it adds to the stress if you cannot get along well with the entire family. I knew that as long as the family I married into were reasonably broad-minded, we could make a hit together and Subhash's parents have always been much more than that. I've always had the greatest thankfulness to them for contributing in a very large part to the happiness of our marriage. One other thing I always believed, was that if at 25, my ideas and individuality were so stubborn that they cannot warrant any change for anyone, then at 60, their ideas must be allowed to be doubly so - stubborn and rigid. But despite of that, if they can adjust to us and our generation, we can always go that extra step and try to do the same.  Maybe it is a little bit of both, but it has worked very well for all of us so far. I hope it always stays this way. 

One mint chutney led to a lot of retrospection the other day!