A Room With a View – from window to door

“Through the small tall bathroom window, the December yard is gray and scratchy, the tree calligraphic. -Dave Eggers

Autumn had almost gone leaving behind this “calligraphic” tree. Earlier, I could barely see the birds on its branches for its leaves in Spring. It looks beautiful from my window in all seasons.

I love to have big windows in every room, and until now I’ve been fortunate enough to have grand windows opening to beautiful views. A window with a good view keeps me from feeling claustrophobic in a closed room. But things change with time and moving from country to country and different residences, puts you in rooms with smaller windows, sometimes.  And that’s where, now, I sit or stand and dream or reminisce or capture joy by just aiming and shooting!

These are photos from 2017-18. All I had was an old iPhone 8. No swanky, classy or new camera!

It didn’t dampen my spirit – I love clicking pictures of things that captivate me, engage my attention, revive memories or just… seep into me. I love looking at them later and reliving the moment.

May 28th, 2017, new places, new faces.

“A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.   -Denis Waitley

Every morning, I find something or the other that’s click-worthy to me when I look out my window. So I click away. Mostly it’s clouds! My obsession! I might delete most of these photos later for very poor picture quality…yes, even my untrained eye can see a very bad click, lol.

Some days are rainy and grey and the window looks gloomy and there isn’t much I can see outside save for the tears of rain running down my window pane! Back from my school days, teenage years, come the notes of Mary Hopkins’ song, ‘Knock, knock who’s there,’ and I start to sing or hum, and soon slip into another old-time favorite – ‘Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain…’ and another and another. And my day gets set to a very romantic, lyrical note.

But gone away is the Spring, Summer and the Autumn… and the winter is here to stay, at least, for the next few months! We’ve had our first snowfall and I’m grounded! Well, not seriously. 

“People ask me what I do in winter… I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. 

-Rogers Hornsby

The seasons pass by as I watch the changing scenes through my window! Back to the present…in a new region; a new city. Bigger, busier, and bustling.

I miss the previous, comparatively smaller one. I miss my room with a view and my window that opened out to lovely views and open spaces. I hardly stand at my window now, in another place, which is more of a brick jungle. It’s better I don’t; It doesn’t afford me any great scenery through my window… this is not a room with a view.

Neither do my walks with buildings looming on either side of the sidewalk afford any breathing space for a person like me… a city girl, who gets claustrophobic in a concrete jungle if she has to live in it under these conditions!

That’s where my memories, like these, in pictures come to my aid. It helps. And I become grateful for the reminders of big mercies and wonderful moments captured in photographs. This puts me in a mellow mood and points me towards what is there rather than what is not.

And the small mercies are always there if we get ourselves out of the negativity and moaning. Some such ‘small mercies’ are the spacious deck and a lovely green grassy patch and a small garden in the backyard. It affords a lot of openness and fresh air. One can even walk on the grass that stretches from the side gate at the front all the way to the shed that stands way back by the rear fence.

So what if the backyard is bounded by tall fences on three sides.

So what if the double-storey houses outside these fences, on all three sides, block out the open view of the sky, the clouds, the trees, the open spaces.

So what if the only glimpses I get through my window are of cluttered backyards across the road from my room that’s front-facing or worse, a view from the windows and door of the dining room and family room into the interior of homes at the back whose windows stand with curtains undrawn or open blinds.

So what if I don’t have any window in any room, front or back, with a view worth gazing at.

I have something else…

I have a door with a view!

The big glass double door, in the dining room, that replaces the ‘window with a view’ and looks on the backyard and provides a lovely view of grassy greenery and brilliant colors of the season’s blooms. And the little creatures, feathered and furry, who keep me engrossed and amused as they scramble and flit around.

The feathered one that’s busy building a nest under the roof over the deck! And also its mate that hops around the deck pecking at something or the other.

And the ‘outdoors’ black cat, that isn’t ours but is a regular visitor in our backyard. It’s got to know about the nest and threatens the bird by sitting and gazing at it hungrily. Or then decides to be a peeping Tom!

The squirrels that run about and at times sneak into the deck.

It is a fairly spacious backyard. A patch of our own green, open space…flowers and birds. A few pine trees. What if all of these weren’t here?

But they’re here. And that’s something I appreciate. To have this in a big crowded city is in itself a blessing, all realities considered.

I can be miserable and moan and groan about things that are not exactly how I’d want them to be. Or appreciate what is here and be grateful for that good fortune. I can make the most of what is here and enjoy life or mope and make life miserable. I build my own happiness or misery. A window or a door? A room with a view or a room with no worthy view?

The choice is mine… pitiful or powerful?

Period.

Dressing Up Nude Walls

It was one of those lovely sunny days in Summer; a weekend too! So we went down to a fair in the Harbourside area. On our way to the car park, I noticed a group of people excited about something happening down, in the water. They were all gathered by the railings and their conversation was animated, their faces intent as they watched whatever was going on below.

The curious one, as always, in the group, I turned right and walked to see for myself. I found a place among the spectators at the railing and looked down to see what was going on. Had someone drowned? My jaw dropped!

What I saw was amazing.

There was this guy on a tiny paddle board, with all the paraphernalia an artist needed, painting a huge mural on a huge wall. What was astounding was that he didn’t fall off the board, nor did he mispaint a single brush stroke as his board kept bobbing and shifting when he reached up, down, left, or right to create this fabulous picture of a girl almost submerged…whether she was drowning or whether she was just rising out of the sea like a mermaid, I couldn’t say. Her expression could be interpreted as anything according to how you saw it.

During the short time I stood watching, I saw him lose one of the paddles which drifted out of his reach before he could grasp it. So he had to go after it, retrieve it and get back to work again. So let me tell you who this man is and also that he is quite well-known in the artist circle, it seems. Meet Hula aka Sean Yoro.

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The work I saw him doing was this one:

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And here he is getting ready to go after the truant paddle!

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I was so engrossed in watching him I almost missed the artist sitting down on the ground beside me and painting the painter (Hula), in the water, painting too! If I didn’t almost fall over him, I wouldn’t have caught this fantastic scene of- a painter painting a painter painting! {how’s that for alliteration! ;)} Here you are: He’s made a seat for himself on his skateboard… what passion these guys have!

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That’s it for today.

Hasta Mañana. 

This post was first published on capturedjoyaimshoot.wordpress.com

Glorious Pageants

When I was a girl, I would look at the clouds and find figures of humans, animals or figments of my imagination floating in the sky. At times Mummy would join me and we’d laugh at some funnies and even make up stories about whoever or whatever we thought we saw in a cloud. These moments passed with time and cloud watching was relegated to the chapter called ‘childhood’. Through teenage years and young adulthood, there were many other things engaging my interests and clouds weren’t among them. Until I came to Canada, decades later!

People spoke of its natural beauty, no doubt, it is marvelous but I came here after living in Chile and India and have seen nature’s wondrous beauty in its many forms…mountains, hills, valleys, and plains. Rich flora and fauna, lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans, fertile greens and arid zones. Different cultures, foods, and people. Canada was among one of these until I discovered the old mates of my childhood: clouds! The glorious clouds in Canada’s blue skies!

Ye glorious pageants! hung in air

To greet our raptur’d view;

What in creation can compare,

For loveliness, with you?

~Bernard Barton

So, with an old iPhone, I clicked pictures of the ever-present changing clouds that broke the monotony of the wide expanse of blue sky. I didn’t find forms in them, I found joy, exhilaration…I found immense beauty in them. Most of my mobile shots are of clouds because…well because they are so beautiful and I have to capture them. Like time, they do not remain the same and keep changing with every passing second. Look at them with me and enjoy them.

Today I’m sharing the ones I took at St. Andrew’s and on the Highway while driving to and from. The Highway ones have all been shot from a fast-moving car. One may say, ‘you could have stopped,’ but, no, we couldn’t keep stopping. So I did miss some beauties on the way.

“See yonder little cloud, that borne aloft, so tenderly by the wind, floats fast away, over the snowy peaks.” 

– H.W. Longfellow

Some ride into the sunset, some drive into a cloud bank!

The one below was taken when we made a pitstop to pick up some coffee and hot chocolate!

I had an awesome day at St. Andrew’s and I clicked, and clicked, and clicked…the sky over the sea was amazing with its cloud display. But those pics are for the next post. Here are a few I managed to get, from the cache of pics I took on the way back home, that are ok to put up. {Remember: We were driving on the highway, no need to mention speed! I was shooting through the front windscreen. I am a grandma with a phone camera, in love with clouds…no experience, no photography knowledge. Just love!}

It was raining on the way back and when it fizzled down, this is what we saw…a rainbow! The road above the one we were on seemed to lead to the end of the rainbow…to the pot of gold!

“Clouds suit my mood just fine.” 

-Marie Lu, Champion

How many of you, go back to the days when kids would try to find images in clouds… animals, birds, fish, human faces, or shapes?

Memories – we hang on to

“Absent-minded professor!” That’s often how I am! I could walk from my bedroom with clothes to be put into the laundry basket, but en route, turn into the kitchen, open the lid of the garbage bin, and promptly drop the clothes in. Well, it’s happened just once, but that once has become a hilarious joke for me and my friends. The thing is, I had the lunch menu on my mind and a deadline to meet, and I had the less important task of putting my clothes in the laundry basket. And the kitchen door came before – get the drift?

Most times, there are two (or three) tracks of thought running through my head. And they tend to throw me off track if I’m too engrossed.

I’d have to think hard if you asked me what I had for lunch on a day where the workload is heavy.

Yet, there are memories from years back that I can recall quite clearly.

The greater part of these memories are of the times of happiness, fun, and enjoyment, and of experiencing and learning new things.

The not-so-good memories are there too. Of sadness. Disappointment. Fear. Loneliness. Struggles and hardships, etc. They are embedded in my mind. However, not all are stuck in the crevices of old memories. I realized this when someone would ask me if I remembered some incident or the other and my mind would be blank. Or then, the memory would be hazy.

How true! There are many memories that remain imprinted on our hearts, our minds.

And most often they are the ones of times, moments, experiences in the extreme… too sad, too scary, too painful, too happy, most difficult, exquisitely beautiful… memories that have impacted us; helped us, taught us, tried us.

Memories of people we have met, known well, or in passing.

And those who have been less than ideal people to meet or work with or befriend.

The strangers who became friends and the friends who became foes!

As time passes, I’ve seen that I’ve got a lot of them in all these categories, but I also realize that some of the mundane, too boring ones are also tucked in somewhere in the crevices along with some extremely bitter ones.

The latter don’t surface without context, and if they do then too it’s without the bitter, sharp edge and pain.

Just the learning point.

But rarely do I bring them up and refresh them.

They may not be totally forgotten, but they certainly don’t occupy front space in my mind unless I need them as a reminder of caution, alertness, in situations –

what to be wary of…

who to trust,

where to place trust,

and when to walk away.

When to be patient and not speak out and

when to not rustle feathers… kind of reminders.

The memories we visit often affect our mind. Our thoughts mold our attitude, our behavior, and our personality. We are built with blocks of memories. Our expectations, our hopes, our world view are all built through our experiences.

I accept the memories. The ones that have been instrumental in building my mental, and emotional strengths. The ones that provided unique experiences and insights into the attitudes, values, reactions, and responses of people with whom I connected socially, professionally, and even those within the broad area of family relationships.

I accept the lessons they carry. The wisdom they have imparted. The knowledge I gained. The joy they bring. The sorrow some carry. The bitter truth a few unveil. The honest truth that others bring out. The hard ones that show me my mistakes. The ones that strengthen my resolve to change what needs changing. The encouraging ones which boost my desire to keep learning and growing.

They are all a part of my life journey. I cherish all.

Gratitude springs for all – the best ones, which are in greater numbers, and for the hard lessons learned from the few worst ones!

Three’s A Crowd – Cagha with a bell.

I think I’m missing the flora and fauna of my surroundings in NB. I miss the crows that would often alight on the trees behind my room and the ones that frequented the big one outside the dining room window. So, I hopped over to my photoblog to view some pics I’d clicked through my window. I liked these ones and the refreshed childhood memory of my pet crow Cagha. A crow that I didn’t call my pet because it was caged. But a crow that flew free and wild but visited me and responded to my call if it were ever in the vicinity. I am sharing this post I’d written much earlier for my Photoblog.

Through my window, I watched a scene played out within seconds between 8.21 am and 8.22 am, on the branches of a tree. At 8.21, I observed a single crow land on a branch. Quick on its tail came the second one. That’s when I decided to click them.

I hurried but by then, I saw the third fly in and perch by them. I clicked furiously and before I knew it the third whizzed off. The other two continued in silent companionship for a while and then made for wherever their heart desired. Somehow I found some humor here and also nostalgia.

Two’s company, three’s a crowd,’ I thought. My mind going back to #Cagha… my ‘Cagha with a ghungroo’! A ghungaroo is a small dancer’s bell. A number of these are either stitched to a panel of cloth or strung on a cord which is then fastened around a dancer’s ankle.

I was looking for some quotes about crows and found quite a few; poems, quotes, sayings. There are so many things written about crows and not all complimentary or kind. Its black color and lack of any aesthetic features, its nature – predatory, all seem to go against it.

Back in my country, crows don’t come under such strong discrimination. At least, I’m not aware of it. In fact, superstition says, if a crow sits on the roof shingles, patio, verandah, garden or branch of a tree in close proximity to the house, faces your property, caws away to glory, it means you’ll be having guests, usually, unexpected ones!

When I was a little child, and we lived in the Southern part of the country, locals believed that eating crow’s meat would cure whooping cough! I cannot vouch for this cure but it remained a popular belief.

To me, crows were sneaky snatchers. I’ve had sandwiches and other eatables plucked out of my hand many a time. But as a child and an adult, my attitude towards them has never been one of hatred or dislike.

In fact, as a little girl, I found them interesting. I associated them with the occult, magic, and other sinister activities and since I loved reading about witches, ghosts, and everything scary, yes, they had my attention; crows were intriguing. This anecdote from my childhood will illustrate this better.

CAGHA my pet crow –

We lived on a Naval base in the South on a manmade island in the backwaters. Flocks or should that be a murder of crows flocked to our big front garden daily because I and my brother would feed them with crumbs or anything we could snitch from the store. I would call out “Aaa, Aaa,” {”come, come”} with an outstretched arm, goodies in my cupped hand {that’s also how, sometimes, my food would get snatched out of my other hand! ;)}.

One day, a young crow landed plonk in the middle of the spacious front verandah where I sat astride the balustrade eating and feeding the crows as usual. My elder brother picked the bird to inspect what was wrong because it was hobbling, and couldn’t fly either. Someone had clipped a few of its wing feathers haphazardly and injured one leg.

We swung into action. It was so exciting. We yelled for Mummy. She always knew what to do when we were stumped! Especially with wounds, cuts, bruises, or illness. She’d come up with some home remedy that would work winders.

Sometime later, Mummy, with the cook’s help smeared turmeric and some kind of oil, coconut or mustard, I’m not sure, on the wound and bandaged it. They put the poor thing in a cage that had once housed a parrot that escaped. I removed a small brass ‘gunghroo’ from my ankle bells {Indian dancers wear them around their ankles} and tied it around the neck loose enough so it wouldn’t choke, and tight enough so the bell wouldn’t fall off.

We nursed Cagha, that’s what I named the crow, back to health. The wing feathers grew back a bit and it would hop and make short flights around the room until one day, Cagha flew out the door and perched itself on the balustrade of the front balcony. There was a sudden shout of joyful cawing from a few fellow crows gathered outside; in the garden and the tree outside the wall.

Cagha cawed, spread his wings and joined the tribe. I was sad, lost and alone.

Many days passed and Cagha never returned. Mummy consoled me saying that the season had changed and the crows would be back after a few months. Still, I would ritually make my calls for Cagha every day from the front verandah. I have always been the ever hopeful, persevering one!

She was wrong. 

Cagha returned after two weeks or so.

He flew down to where I was, bigger and stronger, with the ghunghroo jangling around the neck. Words can’t describe my joy! Our twosome companionship carried on a few months and then, Cagha disappeared.

Later that year, I spotted him, the jangling bell giving him away. He was in the branches of the tree outside. I called to him. No response. I gave up.

Then I heard a flutter of wings, a caw and there was Cagha. He flew in like the wind, perched near me for a split second, and took off. Not alone, but with the other one on the tree. He had forged his own twosome – COMPANY. I made it a CROWD!

“Goodbye Cagha,” I whispered softly.

My seven-year-old heart was broken!

Years later in my teens another pet, the wild and free kind, a chipmunk named ‘Chippy,’ conveyed the same message to me with a tiny nip on my palm! It didn’t break my heart, but it took me by surprise!

How Do I Tell Thee?

To me there are three things we should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special...”

Jim Valvano

I often get tongue-tied and at a total loss for words. There have been occasions for which I have rehearsed lines I would like to say, and then, at the right time, when I have to say them, the cat gets my tongue. That speech which I had thought up, yet, I am at a loss for words. I just can’t articulate it when I am overwhelmed and I have to speak.

That’s speech which my mind has put together and not borrowed rhetoric that I should find it hard to recall. But, reticence, nervousness, anxiety, fright, or any such immense emotions play on the mind and tangle up speech. That’s what happens very often to me. Yet, communication doesn’t end there. When words become inadequate to express feelings tears do the job!

I am moved to tears by happiness and extreme joy. I am moved to tears by anything beautiful; an experience, a piece of exquisite music, emotional verses, a story or movie, happy memories, funny things… and also, copious tears express anger, frustration, helplessness, grief. Loneliness seldom moves me to tears, but the memory of good times in sad or lonely moments makes me teary yet happy. I’m moved by gratefulness for those precious moments.

When the mind fails, the heart speaks…through tears. Happy, joyous, funny, tickled, angry, helpless, ecstatic tears speak as eloquently and effectively as words.

These are those silent moments of release…of tears or unshed ones, which may or may not be understood.

“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. ”
― Colette

It brings to mind our dining table talk. I would be the one chattering on the most. The talk was mainly light, and also about the silly/funny incidents that I heard about or that took place at school. I’d ask questions about something to involve the others, my hubby and the boys. But, mostly, it was I who was doing the talking.

I didn’t realize how much my news, anecdotes, jokes about my daily experiences meant to the family, especially my hubs.

On an odd day, I’d be too tired or preoccupied with an overload of school related stuff that I had to see to, and I’d be quieter… not absolutely quiet… just less talkative than other days. It was on one such day that I got to know how much my chatter at the table enlivened our meal time together.

I was chewing my food contemplatively; I must have spoken the few usual words – Have some more of this or that. Do want more rotis? Like to have some rice? How was school? How was work? Did you…this or that… I was engrossed in my schoolwork plans and totally unaware of how the sound of silence hung over the table gloomily as the three boys chomped on their food.

“Are you okay?” The question broke into my thoughts.

I looked at David with raised brows and question marks dancing in my eyes.

“I mean, you are so quiet today. Did something happen in school? Is everything alright? Are you feeling well?” The questions poured out one over the other. And he did look very concerned.

“Yes,” I answered giving him that quizzical ‘what’s wrong with you’ look. “Why do you ask?” I continued.

“You aren’t saying much. You are unusually quiet. Tell me, did something happen in school?”

“No, nothing unusual or horrible happened in school. It was a normal day. It’s just that the Annual Function is coming up and I’m totally in charge of the whole thing and I have some ideas to change the way they’ve been presenting the show for the past so many years. I also have a play I’m directing which is absolutely different from what they’ve been doing. What’s more I’ve decided to do a Hindi version of the play Snow White and the seven dwarfs. I’ve got to get it translated by the Hindi teacher, check if it’s done the way I want it, simple everyday Hindi which everyone can understand, and then select the cast etc. Props need to be made. Opening presentation which I want to change too…so many things!”

By the time I was done with this explanation, I noticed he was laughing his silent laugh, his eyes were dancing with joy, and he was enjoying his food.

“What?” I said knitting my brows though a smile played on my lips.

“Nothing. Keep going. What else do you have to do? Can I help? Just keep talking.”

“What do you mean? What’s tickling you so much? Have I missed something?”

“No. You haven’t “missed” anything, but I was missing something… the joy you bring to the table with your small talk and laughter. It’s not the same when you are quiet. The whole eating experience changes when it’s not garnished with conversations and laughter; your stories and humor.”

I beamed a radiant smile as the tear ducts opened. I blinked the tears back. I had no idea how much my chatter lent to the family meal and what it meant to them… especially HIM! I was drenched in the sunshine and warmth of family love and joy!

“So keep talking sweetheart. Keep regaling us with your stories and jokes, don’t keep quiet, please.”

I couldn’t say anything… the smile and the withheld tears said all that I wanted to say – I was overjoyed.

However, I wanted to say something more… I needed him to know that I need my silence very much. I needed him to understand these silent phases. I wanted to ask him to understand my silence too. Not just for issues at work or on the domestic scene. I needed to be quiet within myself. For myself. With thoughts that had nothing to do with the outside world. I needed to be quiet for my soul. I wanted him to understand this. I wanted to say –

But if you don’t understand my silences, how will you understand my words?

– but I couldn’t.

I let myself drown in the pleasurable warmth of a family sobremesa. Ours starts not at the end of the meal but at the start and carries on through the meal! I’ll break my silence here.

I will be silent another time. I’ll silence the cacophony in my mind. My silences are for me as much as it is for my home and family. I will be silent for myself.

Tiny Conversations-the Chinese Whisper!

I was bent over one of the many notebooks piled up for correcting. One of the banes of being a language teacher in an Indian school! Skewed teacher-student ratios, written classwork, written homework, and all the work had to be checked regularly. There were regular checks by the Principal to see if proper correction was done (with remarks and suggestions where necessary).

Parents in India, most of them, check their kids’ notebooks too to see if their work has been checked by the teacher. 

In the middle of one such day at that particular time, a colleague and neighbor knocked on the door. I opened it, and in she walked with a broad grin which was met with a forced one from me and a muffled groan. 

“I was so bored at home, thought I’d have a cup of tea with you and some gupshup!” She said beaming.

Gupshup is a colloquial word for chat. I didn’t say anything and, thankfully, I had got up to put the books away and my back was to her so she couldn’t see my less than hospitable expression. 

I hoped she’d see the notebooks and that I was in the middle of work and in no mood to entertain her and certainly no chatting which would just be her gossiping about everyone especially our colleagues. 

“Be warned: A person content to sit with you and criticize others will speak critically of you out of earshot.” – Richelle E. Goodrich

“Oh, you’re checking the books?! I finished mine.”

“Good for you! You have a ‘handyman’ to help with other things.”

“Handyman? I don’t have a man servant. I have a Bai (maid). You know that. What made you think I have a male servant?” 

“I wasn’t referring to domestic help. I was referring to your hubby, I laughed. He helps you around the house and even with the marketing. I don’t have that kind of help.”

I sensed rather than saw her tense. She clenched her teeth. Her eyes lost the convivial look it had just a moment ago. 

I realized she didn’t understand the joke in my comment. So I tried to explain it to her. Not that it helped!

“Come on. You know I wasn’t referring to your hubs as ‘domestic’ help. And you do know that having a husband at home does mean you don’t have to shoulder all the responsibilities or tasks. They do pitch in, in many ways, and lighten the burden… physical and mental.” 

“Of course I understand. What do you think? I’m not daft!” And she laughed loud shaking her head in disbelief. I wanted to believe her.

I would have believed her but nothing in her reaction conveyed that feeling. Neither her laugh nor the off-handed way she assured me. I had known her long enough (before we became colleagues) to read through the fake show. 

Anyway, I had much more important things to see to and such silly things couldn’t bother me much. As far as I knew, nothing I had said could be, even remotely, misconstrued as me labeling her husband as domestic help! 

“There are people who take rumors and embellish them in a way that can be devastating. And this pollution has to be eradicated by people in our business as best we can.” – Bob Woodward

However, the next day, the gossip mill was churning furiously with the latest breaking news! Yeah, you guessed it. 

Mrs. J had called Mrs. T’s husband a domestic help.

The general rumblings were, “Our husbands help us too. Does that mean they are servants?” And soon the Chinese Whisper grew to encompass all men who helped their wives at home. And from there it went further. They wanted to put me through the mill and grind real fine. 

“She’s a widow and is jealous! Is it our fault that she doesn’t have a husband?!”

Good heavens! If it wasn’t such a far-fetched notion that was so absurd and ridiculous, I might have been hurt. But I laughed my guts out at the stupidity of people who were ‘educated’ and working as educators themselves! 

Honestly, life brings you the hardest and best lessons and teaches you well in the times when life is a grind!

Suzy Kassem says it best in these lines:

“Never judge someone’s character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment. An honest woman can sell tangerines all day and remain a good person until she dies, but there will always be naysayers who will try to convince you otherwise. Perhaps this woman did not give them something for free, or at a discount. Perhaps too, that she refused to stand with them when they were wrong — or just stood up for something she felt was right. And also, it could be that some bitter women are envious of her, or that she rejected the advances of some very proud men. Always trust your heart.” – Suzy Kassem

A Better Morning. A Proverb. And A Mare’s Snort!

Needed a reminder to hold on tight to my sense of humor. Sometimes, it threatens to slide and I feel a weight on my shoulders! Well, it’s back up where it should be. I am so glad I read this today. The memory is funnier than the account.

It's In The Tale

FullSizeRenderA street in Viña.

It’s a cold day… it snowed in the night and was snowing when I awoke. But now it’s stopped and I’m feeling the cold. My thoughts, as they tend to, travel back and forth to better memories of places or incidents; times that could take my mind off the cold by warming my heart. So, I read through my journal.

This entry brought a smile as it ended. I do recall that day.

A Better Morning

Well, it’s usually a good morning every day for me. So, I thought I should qualify that by a degree and add “Better” instead to the morning. Chilean mornings are different. The house is quiet, in fact, the whole world around our block and a couple of blocks away too are blissfully silent. Not even a squawk from the gulls. Probably, there are no gulls anyway.

How different from the…

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Tiny Conversations – Gloating, Glowing & Loved!

The biggest change that came about when I became a grandparent was the way I’d allow relaxations on rules on more occasions than I did as a mother with my children. And I’d join in the huge fun they’d have because of it. I also noticed that while I loved my sons and still do to the moon and back, with the grandkids it’s difficult to explain how my love surpasses that! I was proud of my boys’ achievements back in the day and in the present too. But with these little ones, I’m ecstatic and over the moon and gloat (shamelessly!). It doesn’t matter if someone might not be so pleased to hear about what they did and how proud they make me. I crow! (shamelessly!)

So here’s a warning: This is a gloating, proud grandma posting!

I like to keep a Word Search booklet with me. It keeps me happily occupied when I’ve done all that I had to do or when I need to take a break from something or the other! For a few days Amaara, the older twin ( by a few minutes) had been watching me. The twins were 7 yrs old then.

Amu: “Dada, why aren’t you doing your word search? Are you tired of it?”

No! I’ve finished the whole book. I need to buy another one. And with all the restrictions and warnings, I don’t go to crowded places myself.

Amu: “Then why don’t you ask mama or papa to get it for you?”

No… I don’t want to bother anyone. Besides, I prefer to buy my things myself. I like to pick and choose what I want. Someone else will not know exactly what I want.

Amu: “Oh! Yes, they won’t know. And if they get something you don’t like, you won’t use it. It will go waste.”

Exactly my point! It will be a waste of money as well. That would be worse.

Amu: “Oh, Dada! she said with the most loving and adoring look.”

She left my room after a bit of chit chat. Later, that afternoon, Miraaya, the younger one, came excitedly into my room with a broad grin on her face.

Mia: “Dada, Dada! Guess what! Amu has a surprise for you!”

She sure had the biggest, sweetest, and most loving surprise for me. My little sweetheart had made a Word Search booklet for me.

Amu:“Dada, see what I made for you. You don’t have to go out. Now you can do your word cross puzzles!”

But I don’t do cross word, baby. I prefer the quicker and easier word search. It leaves me more time for other things.

Amu: Makes a funny, disappointed face. “I made a big mistake. I forgot the name of the activity and wrote Word Cross Puzzle instead.”

She gave me the stapled 3-page booklet with a cocktail of emotions. On her face and particularly in her eyes, I could see the great waves of love, kindness, caring, thoughtfulness, and they engulfed me. What a special bonding we have!

Here is the little booklet Amu made for me so lovingly.

The mix-up in the title she was sorry about.

And I was quite impressed, one day, when the younger twin, Miraaya, brought back this Math feedback she gave to her teacher in class.

I went through the three points she had mentioned and thought back some decades, to the time I was a 7+! I’d have never been able to write with such clarity about what I wanted more from my Math lessons. And in any case, I wasn’t doing what they are learning now in Math class! At seven we weren’t talking “strategies”! And even if I could express myself so well in writing, I wouldn’t have written a positive ‘feedback’ about Math. I never liked math! LOL

I am so glad she likes Math so much. And I’m so blessed to be able to experience these little day-to-day activities. Being a grand parent is such a beautiful part of life. I’m fortunate to be able to be a part of all my grandkids’ daily life. I learn so much when I talk to them; play games with them; when they share their thoughts with me or ask me numerous questions.

Well, if you’ve reached this far – Thank You! I appreciate it 🙂

Tiny Conversations… He gave me a recipe

Way back in 2013, I was living in South America, and I was often at the clinic with some ailment or the other. Nothing serious, just some prevalent osteo-related issues. A troublesome cervical disc and a lumbar disc were causing most of my mobility issues, not to speak about pain.

Pic: Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

The doctor listened to my problems carefully and then asked me a few questions about the treatment I had received and the instructions I was following. Among these health-problem related questions, he asked me a bit about my daily regimen and our culture too: food, exercise, medication, and also about religion, superstitions, beliefs, and so on.

Doc: “Señora, you eat very spicy food?

Actually, we don’t. And especially I don’t.

Doc: “But all Indians eat very spicy food, no?”

Broadly speaking, I suppose you could say that, but there are quite a few, like me, who don’t. In fact doc, there are a few Chilean foods I find too hot for my tongue!

Doc: He laughed. “Yes, we have some like that.”

Especially the dishes that have jalapenos! I added. We laughed.

Doc: “Are you Hindu? Do you speak Hindu?”

No doc, I’m not a Hindu. And the language is called Hindi not Hindu, I corrected him gently. And yes, I do speak Hindi and I know a bit of another Indian language – Punjabi.

Doc: You have many languages? How many?

We have as many languages as there are states or what you might call regions or provinces. So Hindi and English are commonly used if one doesn’t know the local language.

Doc: So if you have twenty or thirty states, you have same number of languages?

Yes. And there are dialects too. You understand what dialects mean? I don’t know the Spanish word for it.

Doc: Yes, yes. I know. That’s too many languages!

Doc: “You have too much poverty in your country, no?”

Yes, there are many who live below the poverty line. But we have a very large population too! So the numbers seem larger. Chile has its own too, but in numbers it seems low. You see your whole country has as many people who would fit into one of our metropolitan cities! I smiled.

He nodded in agreement.

Doc: “So you have many religions in India. Can I ask what is your religion? Muslim, Buddhist?”

You are right doc. We do have many religions in India. And we are Christians.

I thought that was the end of the conversation, but his curiosity about me; my cultural, socio-economic-religious background had been whetted.

Doc: “How did you become Christian? Are there many Christians in your country?”

There are quite a lot of Christians, but we are still a minority in comparison to the Hindu community. Well, as for how we became Christians is a very long story doc. Perhaps we’ll save that for another day, yes? I’m sure the patients sitting outside must be getting impatient.

Doc: “Yes! Yes! You are right.” He laughed heartily. “I have written what medicines you have to take. I have told you what exercises you have to do when the pain you are having now goes away. And your diet also,” he added.

Thank you doc. It’s been a very interesting consultation. I got up to go.

Doc: “Yes, señora. I like to know more about people of the world. And here is your recipe.

He handed me the prescription he had written while he was chatting with me.

I like the way they call a prescription a recipe over here. It sure has all the ingredients, and the right amounts of whatever is needed to make a healthier person. So with the recipe in hand I look forward to a strong and healthy me!