Tiny Conversations – Does he miss me?

Some years ago, when Aly, the eldest of my grandkids was about two and a half years old, on a video call she asked me about her grandpa.

Aly – Dadi, do I have a grandpa?

“Yes, you do?”

Aly – Where is he then?

“He’s not here now,” I said, wondering if she had already learned that he had died long ago.

Aly – I know, she said, with wisdom beyond her years shining from her eyes.

“So you know he isn’t here with us, and you know why, yes?”

Aly – Yes, he is in heaven.

“Yes, sweetie. Your grandpa is in heaven.” I was relieved.

Aly – Does he know about me?

“I’m sure he does.”

Aly – Can he see me?

“I believe he can whenever he peeks through the clouds.”

Aly – (Beaming a bright smile) Does he love me?

“Oh, my dear, you cannot imagine how much he loves you. He adores you.”

Aly – (She’s glowing by now) Dadi, does he miss me?

I choked on my words as tears threatened to spill out and said, “Trust me sweetie, he misses you very, very much.”

Her little heart found a lot of comfort in that assurance. She flashed her angelic smile and settled into the couch more comfortably, content in the knowledge that her grandpa knew about her; loved her; missed her.

Sometimes it’s so much better to sugarcoat a bitter pill.

PS: Down the road, in the present time, she’s eleven and asked me about him and wanted me to tell her how he died, how I felt, and how her father and his brother took it.

This time, I didn’t sugarcoat the pill. She was ready to hear about pain and loss.

I Wonder Why…

I wonder how many like to write journals and how many also like to pick one up at random and read an entry written years back, perhaps. Well, I do. I like it because first of all, I don’t remember many of my thoughts or observations I made, maybe even a few months back, and reading old entries is often an enjoyable, at times enlightening, and often entertaining activity. But what I value most is the way I can track my growth through the years. The changes I’ve made. The ways I’ve adapted to the tough times; there were changes, many changes. If I’ve learned through my ups and downs… through my mistakes.

Here’s one 8-year-old entry which is a mixed bag of “wonder’ moments!¬†

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Sunday, July 31, 2011…¬†This Sunday morning, I saw a middle-aged couple on their balcony. The man was sitting and reading the paper while his wife colored his hair. Their retriever was watching the whole process too. I wonder… would this man do the same for his wife? Color her hair while she sits and reads the paper in their balcony?

I observed the pigeons that live in the nooks of the apartment blocks all around us. They sure are lovey-dovey couples! But it’s the doves that symbolize love and peace, not the gawky pigeon.¬†I wonder…

Why don’t I like Sundays and why do I look forward to Mondays? I’m not in a regular job, so¬†why should weekdays or weekends make any difference to me.¬†I #wonder…

My maid loves Hindi soaps. She goes all googly eyes and flapping ears if one is playing on the TV. I don’t care for them, at least most of them, yet, I switch on a particular soap. Now, why do I do that?¬†I wonder…

Tell me to fill in a form, any form, and I get an anxiety attack! I’ve filled N number of forms; just two recently, but the stress stays. Now, why does that happen to me?¬†I wonder…

I’m terrified of lizards… house lizards aka gecko. We have a lot of them in all sizes, crawling up and down the walls, overhead on the ceilings, hiding behind things and jumping out when startled, giving me a near heart attack! I don’t recall any frightening incident concerning them or any such thing. But I even get nightmares, at times, with lizards in them! Makes me¬†wonder why…

I love to sing in the kitchen while I’m engrossed with cooking. One hears of bathroom singers but I wonder why¬†no one mentions kitchen singers.

I rarely feel lonely when I’m alone. Most of my loneliest moments have been those when I had people around me.¬†I wonder why…

I was with a group of teachers (women) recently, and they were all talking at the same time. It was a cacophony of voices and I wondered who was listening to whom and if anyone caught what was being said as strings of sentences flew across each other.

All of a sudden, one of them looked at ‘quiet’ me and said apologetically, “We’re teachers you know, we can’t stay quiet for long and neither can we sit still for long. It’s the bane of the job.”

To which I replied, “I’ve taught for over twenty-two years, I’ve never suffered the ‘bane of the job.’¬†I wonder why not.

I go out for meals alone, I shop alone, I travel alone, I live alone… but I can’t watch a movie alone in a cinema hall! I keep¬†wondering¬†why…

When people ask me what I do the whole day at home… I start to¬†wonder…

I’ve been walking, religiously, for half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. Is the lard gonna melt? Don’t even suggest that I walk longer. (My condition limits me to this time at present) Then I remember how it would take me 10-12 painful minutes to walk even 15-20 steps and by then I’d be drained and could do no more. I take heart at my progress and #wonder¬†at God’s #goodness towards me.

There are moments when words seem inadequate, so I employ tears. I’m moved to tears with joy. I’m moved to tears by anger. I’m moved to tears by beautiful music, songs or poetry. I cry when someone I know cries. My eyes get wet reading sad stories and the tears flow when I laugh! Why do my tears have to speak when I’m pretty articulate?¬†I wonder…

During the day, I rarely miss company but when evening falls, especially at evening tea, I would love to have good company. I wonder about these evening blues. 

I needed some passport snaps, which meant I’d have to go to the photographer; which also meant, I’d have to call a cab; which meant I’d be paying more for the cab than for ten copies of my PP pictures. On the advice of someone, I went to a small photography shop in the market near my place. It was called Light Of Life (LOL). Yes, they had that included, in parenthesis, on the signboard! My pics were clicked but they said I would get them in the evening. They also said I’d have to pay in advance, I did, and went home thrilled that I had saved money.¬†

I forgot about the pics by evening! When I went to pick up the pictures, the next day, the shop wasn’t there. Well, the structure was there, but the business wasn’t. They had shut down overnight and vamoosed! Well, LOL! I’m laughing out loud!! I¬†wonder why…¬†

I used to have an elephant’s memory (that’s how a good memory is referred to) but now I just have its body and there’s nothing to¬†wonder¬†about that… I’m actually smiling, you know. I’ve finally found something I don’t have to wonder about today, and I can wrap up this piece and look forward to a great week!

 

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GK…Forgotten

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My posts, The Messenger, and ‘Superstitions, Myths and Black Magic’ would be unbelievable¬†to some, so here are more believable and interesting pieces of GK, which I know I knew but discovered I didn’t know much of now… does that make sense? I’m putting up a playful, funny, post today. #notseriouspost.

Do go through it. Like me, you might find that you didn’t know a couple of things or you’ve forgotten a few things. I’m sure you’ll find a thing or two that puts a smile on your face, so don’t skip reading; be a sport and go through it.

I’d like to add, the blogger is not responsible for any discrepancies or falsehoods. The blogger didn’t have anything to write about…mental block…so has posted a forward she received some years back (forwarded many times, I presume!)

General Knowledge – Forgotten!

In the 1400s, a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have: ‘the rule of thumb.’

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Many years ago, in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden.’ And thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language!

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The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone. (Really? I find that hard to believe)

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Coca-Cola was originally green. (Yuck!

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It is impossible to lick your elbow.

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The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: £ 10,120.00 (this was the cost 11 yrs back! Do the math.) My dog Heidi died at seven so I have no idea.

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The first novel ever written on a typewriter was Tom Sawyer.

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Each King, in a deck of playing cards, represents a great king from history.

Spades: King David

Hearts: Charlemagne

Clubs: Alexander, the Great

Diamonds: Julius Caesar

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Math: 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12, 345, 678, 987, 654, 321

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If a commemorative statue of a person on a horse has the horse with both front legs in the air, the person died in battle.

It the horse has one leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle.

If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

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Q 1. What if you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter ‘a’?

Q 2. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers have in common?

Q 3. What is the only food that doesn’t spoil?

 

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Ans: (1. One thousand. 2. All were invented by women! 3. Honey)

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*In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase:¬†‘Goodnight, sleep tight.’

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*It was the accepted practice in Babylon, 4,000 years ago, that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month. We know it today as the¬†honeymoon. (Betcha didn’t know that!)

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*In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So, in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them, “mind your pints and quarts and settle down.” It’s where we get the phrase, ‘mind your P’s and Q’s.’

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*Many years ago, in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. ‘Wet your whistle’¬†is the phrase inspired by this practice.

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At least 75% of the people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

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You are living in a hi-tech world and you do one or all of these things…

1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven’t played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three!

4. You WhatsApp the person who works at the desk next to you.

You also WhatsApp your kids in the upstairs room!

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don’t have WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, and maybe no email address!

6. You pull up in your driveway and use your mobile phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry the groceries.

7. Every commercial on TV has a website at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your phone, which you didn’t even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go online before your coffee or tea!

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. ūüôā

12. You’re reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly who you are going to tell a few things from here and quiz them about some others.

14. You were too busy to notice there is no No: 9 on the list.

15. You actually scrolled back to check if there wasn’t a 9 on the list.

And Finally…

Now you’re LAUGHING. The post wasn’t that bad after all…

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AND STOP TRYING TO LICK YOUR ELBOW!

 

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

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A street in Vi√Īa.

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 mornings I experienced in a bustling city in India! The world there woke up before daybreak! At least the moms or women did, I presume, as I didn’t see many men hitting the kitchen to rustle up breakfast for the school-going kids or themselves at that hour.

I mean no offense nor a barb intended for the husbands. It’s just how it usually is in India. And with the waking would come the sound of a grand welcome ushering in a new day; the kitchen band struck discordant notes: clangs, bangs, whirs of a mixie and whistles of a pressure cooker.

What a contrast!

Here, in my room where I’m all by myself, it is certainly a quiet morning. I’m as quiet as a mouse. The only sound that you can hear is me shuffling about, the wooden floor squeaks under my weight (which is great!), and there’s the click of the bathroom door shutting; running water and the occasional thud/clang of me or a pan falling! Otherwise, as I said, I’m as quiet as a mouse. Is my tongue in my cheek?

In truth, I haven’t fallen down and I hope I’m not speaking too soon. But in my haste to get my hot cup of ginger tea… well, accidents do happen! You can’t hold me for that, can you? I don’t expect an answer. It’s plain rhetoric.

A Proverb

At my Prayer Breakfast, I got a verse from Proverbs for meditation. I was listening to the lesson: A Teachable Spirit. The verse says:¬†“Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.”~Proverbs 17:10 (NKJV)

Think about it. I had a lot on my plate as I mulled over the verse and attempted to plumb the depths of its meaning and the application in life.

Do I have a teachable spirit?

Do I walk in humility?

In all honesty, I’m not there yet, but I’m on the way. This tells me I’m not a lost cause. For today, that gives me hope and as I said, it’s a better morning… however, my tea got cold!

A Mare’s Snort!

I went to buy some vegetables yesterday. I walked down to the store not far from our place. I was halfway there when I saw a group of young women coming my way. One, in particular, caught my attention as she stared at me and tried to hide a snicker. I’m not very observant but since I was getting a snicker, I gave her a look-over too and passed by.

Nothing about her drew any thought; good or bad, funny or ugly in my mind. As we passed each other, I heard a loud snort of laughter… the kind that goes haw-haw-snort, haw-haw-snort! It reminded me of a horse… or a mare in this case… of Sandra Bullock in one of her movies where she plays this character who snorted when she was actually laughing!

I smiled and that led to silent tummy-shaking laughter. I’m glad she gave me a funny moment rather than a nasty one.

I knew what she was laughing at. First, I had on very loose trousers and a very loose sweater! And I walked awkwardly. Loose clothes so I could accommodate double layers to keep me warm. Also, so I could conceal the bulky waist support with rods in it and the knee support around my right knee. Add to that the collar I had for my neck. I am obese and I walk awkwardly with pain.

Although not justified, I can understand how some young people are insensitive to alien sights. And I must have qualified as one; a foreign face, ill-fitting clothes, and an awkward gait. But, a spoonful of humor helps the untasteful go down, if I may misquote a line from Julie Andrews song in The Sound Of Music.

Since I started writing, the weather has changed. The sun has put his hat on, hip-hip-hip-hooray! The sun has put his hat on and is coming out today. On that kiddish note, I sign out. It’s a Better Morning already!

Five years later, as I read this account on a cold day, my spirits are uplifted. I recall how it was for me then. Today, I’m not obese. I don’t have to wear my waist support with its rods, or my knee support and the collar daily. I’m not in constant pain. And though I know I’ll never be free of osteoarthritis; it’ll worsen with age, I’m filled with gratitude, praise, and worship for my present state of good health and mobility.

The sun hasn’t “put his hat on” and it’s still cold… but it is already a Better Morning!

“Every time you find humor in a difficult situation, you WIN!”

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Tiny Conversations – Stork or God?

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The twins, Amu & Mia, joined a Montessori¬†School and Day Care. It’s been¬†a few days, actually. I was glad to hear they had settled in well and have already made friends. In fact, going by the latest conversation that drifted down,¬†they’re doing pretty well in the socializing department ūüôā

They are in lower kindergarten but at break time both higher kindergarten and lower KG kids play together. So they chat with the older children too. One fine day, the conversation veered to the twins’ class teacher Mrs. N. She is expecting and the topic under discussion was her tummy!

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“I am expecting and my 5-year-old asked how babies are made. I told him, ‘God took a piece of me and a piece of Daddy and he put them together to make a new baby.’ My 2-year-old studied me carefully and said, ‘I don’t see any bites out of you! What piece did God take?'” -Emily Clark

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What I gathered was that the twins and some others were wondering about her protruding¬†tummy and some of the older kids informed them that there was a baby inside. Amu and Mia found that very interesting but weren’t convinced. So they decided to confirm it.

Twins: “What’s inside your tummy? Is it a baby?” they asked Mrs. N.

“Yes, it is,” she replied, amused.

“Oh!”

It was confirmed! There was a baby inside. That was sorted out but now another thought popped into their heads.

“Who put it there?” was the next question.

Mrs. N. wasn’t ready for that. She thought she had dealt with their curiosity. But they were eagerly waiting for more information. If there was a baby inside how did it get there?

I can imagine Mrs. N’s position. What should she say to these 4-yr-old, curious kids? And as the story proceeds, I realize that a lot hasn’t changed with the typical Indian mom/grandmom’s answers to this question.

“I prayed for a baby and God gave me a baby,” she said. (I imagine she must have prayed that they wouldn‚Äôt ask the “how” question!)¬†

“Ok,” they chimed. Thus ended that tiny conversation!

And like everything that you can’t comprehend about God but believe, they assumed it was something beyond explanation and went home satisfied. ūüôā They got their answers.

It amused me more because it reminded me of the time my younger brother was born. I was ten, these girls¬†are just four, and I believed the “God gave the baby” story! I also believed He put the baby in a cradle in the hospital LOL. Talk about unaware, silly, dumbo… I was all that and more. OMGosh!

The part that tickles me more is; I hadn’t even noticed my mother’s tummy. Nothing appeared different or rather, I wasn’t the kind to notice such things. I spoke to her a lot and nothing about her face had changed!

So when I came home from school one day and couldn’t find mummy because she was in the hospital, I fell for the: “God dropped off your baby brother at the hospital and mummy has¬†gone to pick him up” story hook, line, and sinker. I never noticed a big tummy, so it was the only way the baby could have come.

Besides, I was brought up with Bible stories and there are so many miraculous things there; I counted this as just one more. What’s funnier is that fifty-three years later, someone is repeating the same “God gave the baby” story.¬†

In my mother’s days, it was the stork. But that didn’t hold for long. Most kids weren’t familiar with this long-legged bird so soon God replaced the stork. Every child in India knew about God and his power to perform great miracles. It made him greater than Superman and Batman put together in their¬†eyes. He could drop off babies anywhere; homes, hospitals. At least I believed that.

PS:¬†For a long time I wondered if I was really picked up from a rubbish heap LOL. That’s what my elder sister often told me when we were at loggerheads. My doubts dissipated only because Daddy assured me that God wouldn’t be so unkind as to drop me in a garbage dump when I had a nice home and family waiting for me!

I’m sure the twins will not have such ‘tiny conversations’ when they are ten. Theirs will be a few notches above this. Our time was the time of radio, transistor, spool tape recorders, record players, and the ubiquitous big, black telephone! Knowledge was not a click away; at our fingertips, and no one spoke about the birds and the bees or sex education, not during our days.

So, where my granddaughters are at four, I was at ten! Now, things are different but only in certain sections of society. It’s still a taboo thing in most conventional homes. And that means a majority.

The Little Joys of Grannyhood

I have always enjoyed my conversations with my grand-daughter, who is now four. The other day she wanted to Face Time with me and she sat down and talked about many things: her best friend, her baby sister who will be born next month and so on and so forth. She calls me Daadi. All of a sudden she changed course and asked me:

“Where is my Papa’s papa?”
“He’s in heaven, Aly.”
“Is he with Jesus papa?” She refers to Jesus that way quite often.
“Yes, he’s in heaven with Jesus papa.”
“But why did he have to go to heaven?” Aly hasn’t seen her grandfather (Daada)
I wasn’t sure how I should answer that. She knows he died when her papa was a boy. So I wasn’t sure about what she wanted to know. I guessed she was asking why he had to go so soon.
“I think Jesus wanted him in heaven for a reason. So he had to go.”
“He did? So, now is my papa’s papa my Jesus papa?”

Where did that come from? I wondered. I guessed she must have seen garlanded photographs of parents who’ve passed away, in her Hindu friends’ homes, where the family pays obeisance to them¬†and presumed that dead parents become gods.

“No Aly, he’s still your papa’s papa, your Dada, who’s in heaven with Jesus.”
“Okay,” she said thoughtfully, then added, “Does he miss me?”

Oh! that wrenched my heart. I wanted to hug her, she looked so sweet, as she gazed at me on the screen, waiting anxiously for an answer.

“Sweetheart, he does. He misses you a lot and is so happy when he looks down and sees you.”

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Her face lit up and she beamed a 1000 watt smile across the miles that lit up my heart and soul.
The joys of being a grandma are indescribable. Ever so often Aly says or does something that bursts upon me with the joy of life; of living: the joy of inexplicable blessings!

 

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