7

I got a GPA of 7 (84%)  for the assignment I had to submit few weeks ago. To be honest, I still have no idea what I actually wrote. I was crying so much that I could hardly see the computer screen. The assignment involved creating a disaster relief project following the South Australian bush fire. I had to read about the effect of bush fire and then think of what disaster relief I was going to provide.

My best friend whom I have known since I was 5 years old had phoned me few days before the assignment was due. She knew about him and what I was going through. She called me to give moral support and I told her I really don’t think I can do the assignment. It was a huge project and required a lot of thinking and I was in no position to even to plan the project. I couldn’t even find information on the towns that were affected by the bush fire..not even the demography..

Unfortunately, my friend felt the best way to deal with the situation was to tell me that, you can’t waste your life for a guy.  Which I wasn’t. I really wasn’t wasting my life on a guy, I had just said goodbye to the love of my life and drowning in my sorrows.

All I wanted was some sort of support.. I couldn’t bring myself to do the assignment at the same time, I couldn’t think of failing a subject.

It was then that a 77 year old woman stepped in..and recited the poem it couldn’t be done

I wrote the assignment not because I didn’t want to waste my life for a guy, but because I knew it could be done, if I tried.

 

Colours

My youngest loves Kesari bath.. I usually make a batch of kesari in the weekend for her, and  she eats it for brekkie. There have been times, she came to my room in the middle of the night to tell me that she is really craving for Kesari and would I make some for her? (She can’t roll the letter R and it sounds like Kesali)

The kesari we had in Bangalore always came in orange colour and I too  added orange colour (saffron)..Till one day Yaya asked

“Why should the Kesari be orange in colour? Why not blue?”

I didn’t have an explanation why kesari always came in orange and explained perhaps in the beginning people might have used saffron. But it was really exciting to make something colourful..an unexpected kind of joy from something so mundane..

And so we started making Kesari in all sorts of colours.. pink, purple, blue, green.. Current version is deep blue. (yes, I am aware food colours are unhealthy..)

Yaya then remembered how her grandmother used to tell her the story of the fox that fell in to the dye left in a bucket(Neelakurukkan). Amma used to let Yaya pick the colour of dye in the bucket and every afternoon we had the same story, but different colour fox.

Unfortunately, my youngest hardly remembers my mom..

Today I wish, if only life had a different path….

Crunchy

Yaya accompanied me for grocery shopping last weekend. Before we left, my son reminded us to buy peanut butter.

“Mom, can we please buy crunchy peanut butter?” She asked while grinning.

“Only If you can deal with the consequences” I replied

And we bought crunchy peanut butter.

The deal we have at home is that, when I get back home after the grocery shopping, whoever didn’t accompany me for shopping has to take the stuff from the car and put it away. In this case, my son and my youngest.

I noticed Yaya whispering something to Baby and she too was grinning.

And I waited…in the kitchen..even though I really wanted to lay down in my bed and read the book I was reading before I went to do the grocery shopping.

It didn’t take too long.

“Crunchy peanut butter, you bought crunchy peanut butter, how could you? You both had one job to do and that is to buy smooth peanut butter”

I wish I recorded my son’s lividity. He was red and fuming. He was even more mad because both his sisters and his mother were laughing so much.

He likes to have a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and absolutely hates crunchy peanut butter. He has had a hatred for crunchy peanut butter ever since he was a toddler.

He huffed and he puffed and we laughed..

Little while later, he came and lay down next to me.

“Mom, did you realize that I spent my entire life until now with Yaya?”

I never thought of that.

“That is true” I replied

“When she goes to Uni, who will buy crunchy peanut butter just to annoy me?”

It was a question with no answers.

Europe

Yaya booked her flight ticket to Europe. She chose the countries she is planning to visit, how she is going to get there and where she would be staying. She has been reading about all the backpacker accommodations, reviews etc and have been booking her accommodation.

She plans to spend two weeks in London and take the train to Paris and spend a couple of days there. Then she is flying to Rome from London, travel to Florence, Milan and Venice. From Venice, she is heading to Barcelona and spend the rest of her holidays (and make occasional trips to south of France) there and then fly to US.

Except in Barcelona, she will be alone during her travels.

She is not known for keeping in touch..so I don’t really expect her to let me know where she is or how the trip is getting on.

On one hand I am terrified .. of the all the things that can go wrong.

On the other hand, I know I raised her well and she can handle herself well..

Hardest part of being a parent is this fine art of balancing the art of letting go.

Emptiness

Yaya’s best friend left her home few days ago. She completed grade 12 and took early admission decision in one of the Ivy league colleges and got her admission. Although her classes start only in end of Aug, she has decided to join a language school in Europe and travel around a bit before going to US.

Her mother is a good friend of mine and I go to their house often. Before she left, I went over to her house to say good bye.

“Do you want to see something?” My friend asked and then she took me to her daughter’s bedroom.

Apart from the bed(missing the bed sheet and pillow), the study table, the chair and the electrical fittings, the room was empty. Absolutely empty. All the posters that adorned the walls, the fluffy pink carpet on the floor, the bean bag and all the knick knacks collected over 17 years have gone. There were no traces of 17 years of life lived in that room.

Apparently the daughter felt, it is only right to clear out her stuff as she is leaving home.

The past few weeks Yaya has been busy cleaning out her closet and I thought that was a good thing. Now I think, she too is purging all evidence of her existence in my house.

I know as a parent I must let her go, but what I didn’t know was that letting go involved removing all evidence of existence..

Possibilities are endless.

Yesterday, I received a cheque from my insurance company. I had taken an endowment policy 20 years ago and it matured. As the policy payment is auto deducted from my bank, I had completely forgotten about it and was really surprised to see the cheque.

At the time I took out the policy, 20 years felt like it was galactic distance away. When we were in Canada, I regretted taking out the policy because I could hardly afford to pay the premium.

Today I am glad that I persevered. This was kind of a forced saving and the returns were really good.

I have enough money to

pay Yaya’s tuition fee for a year,

or pay down payment for a beach house

or go on a month long cruise on QE2

or pay down payment for the Schooner I always dreamt of owning.

At the moment, I am not sure what I really want to do.. so I am going to put the money in FD and dream.. the possibilities are endless.

Hmm

I am still moping around the house aimlessly.. trying to get a grip..and then things happen that shows me there is so much I need to do..

Yesterday, my youngest had school wide swimming carnival. Between the choice of school sports and a book, she would pick the latter any day. (She is very fit and was the first to reach the Mt.Kinabalu peak, but hates to do things for the sake of doing it) First thing in the morning she came to me and said “Mom, do you think I should go for the swimming carnival?” I knew where this conversation was heading and so I decided to nip it in the bud.

“I am not calling your school and tell them that you are sick”

“Fine, I will go, but I am not going to swim today” She said

“That is your choice. My responsibility is to ensure that you attend school, swim or not swim is your choice” I told her.

She didn’t take her swimming costume to school, so she didn’t have to swim.

I was home when she came back and as usual asked her

“How was your day?”

“It was boring, only consolation was there were plenty of shirtless guys around”

I was stunned. I think Mothers tend to not see their youngest growing up. She is 14. By the time Yaya was 14, we had already gone through plenty of crushes and heartbreaks and for me that was normal. Yet when Baby said there were plenty of shirtless guys around.. I was scandalized for a second.. that she was too young.

While I have no explanation as to why I miss a guy this much..and getting out of bed each day is a real struggle, I have to accept that I have very little time left with my youngest…and I must accept that she is growing up really fast..

So onwards I march…with a heart that is heavy..and a personal life that is on hold.. but the memories have to be created and cherished before time runs out.

Hmm

He was away sailing the last one week and in an attempt to get my life back on track instead of checking my phone every nano second for a message from him(knowing very well that he really can’t send me messages when he is sailing), I went to Melbourne for a few days. I really needed to do something to bring my life to some sort of normalcy. A long drive is what usually gets me going. But I think this time I really didn’t think my plans through.

First was the flight. I missed his shoulder. I can normally finish reading a book in half a day. A friend had gifted me three bags full of books and one book in the collection  that caught my attention was Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh Investigates: A calamitous Chinese killing. The book was interesting and it is now 4 days since I started reading it. Every time I try to read it, I think of him. If I couldn’t sleep in the flight, then the next best thing to do is to read and even that didn’t work. So it was a really miserable 1 hour 50 minutes flight.

As I got off the flight and walked to the baggage claim area, I walked in front of the restaurant..sixpence pie shop. We had talked about how the shop would have got the name. (Sing a song of sixpence nursery rhyme, I prefer the HenryV111, Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn Version and he prefers the Pirates coded message version). I noticed someone else was sitting on the chairs where we saw down ..Suddenly it felt like something was caught in my throat and I needed to take a deep breath.

Just as you come down the escalator, there is a window by the side and that is where he used to wait for me. I would find him sitting there as soon as I get on the escalator, reading his book and looking up every now and then to see if I was on the escalator.. and the way his eyes light up when he sees me..

Every nook and cranny I looked for him..and missed him.

I went to Melbourne hoping my aching heart would find a way to heal and I came back home even more traumatised than before.

I guess this is love..

 

Hmm

This post is more for me as I am trying to figure out what exactly I want.

If I had ever written a matrimonial ad (which I really should have, but in my 20’s I hardly knew what I wanted) In a couple of weeks I will be 45 and at this time of my life this is what I would have written.

Wanted, a man for Sarah.

First a bit about Sarah. I am strong willed, stubborn and sarcastic to the core. I am a voracious reader and in the last year alone I read 232 books  and that is not including the romance books. I have near perfect eidetic memory which means I will always remember every single thing. I like to travel and not like the once a year trip to homeland. I have really itchy feet and would go on a trip whenever(and wherever) I feel like. I like good food and spend a great deal of time and money in pursuit of culinary delights. My children are my world. I have absolutely no contact with my parents or  sisters and that will never change. I am a perfectionist and a creature of habit and hate changes to the way I have organized my life.

You should be intelligent. There is no way, I can live with a guy who is not highly intelligent. You should be well read. (The last time I told a guy that I am a voracious reader, he claimed he too is a voracious reader. Unfortunately our definition of voraciousness didn’t match. He considered himself to be a voracious reader because he reads one book a year). You should be sarcastic,  be able to get sarcasm and can say ‘snap’ when it is dished out in liberal doses. I can happily say ‘snap’ every time I receive sarcasm in liberal doses, because for me sarcasm has no malicious undertone. For me sarcasm is simply good wit that can cut through humbug. You should be stubborn and can argue your points sensibly and win. I really don’t mind losing an argument, I, however hate people trying to argue with ridiculous points that has absolutely no merit. You should know history and must love it.I love history and I am still learning. Right now I am reading about Cambodian history and if I find something really interesting, I need you to be kind of guy who I can discuss those things, so if you don’t know the capital of Cambodia or the name of the largest fresh water lake in S E Asia, we are wasting each other’s time. You should be good looking (as in own a pair of beautiful eyes) not fat, certainly no potbelly and must dress well. If I as a mother of three kids can still keep my figure, I don’t see the reason why I should live with someone who doesn’t care about his body. I certainly will not put up with someone who thinks wearing white socks with trousers is fashion!  You should love good food and not necessarily eat only certain types of cuisine. I cook whatever takes my fancy, which simply means you might get Mexican breakfast, Spanish lunch and Mongolian dinner in a single day. You should love travelling, be at ease in business class or in a tent. Most importantly you should have enough money (preferably born in to money), love spending your money and living a good life.I do not live for anyone nor do care to show anyone how successful I am with the usual trappings of success. I will however spend a great deal of money on things that make me happy such as the best mattress money can buy and the most expensive bed sheet.

Why this guy? He has really beautiful eyes, good looking and fit. He is exceptionally intelligent, reads more than me. He knows history better than me, knows the capital, flag, political party and leader of every single country on earth. He can argue passionately why Franco was not good for Spain ( while his father who was arrested during Franco’s time and I are pro Franco) and can graciously agree to disagree with both of us. He listened to my points and have agreed with me that prochoice is not always the right decision. He has very similar OCD like mine and it is a relief not having to force my values on him. He likes to travel and has been to more places (including Costa Rica, Cuba and Madagascar, three countries in my to do  list) than me. He laughs with me for my quirks. (not at me). I wash apples before peeling them, but not bananas. I don’t have any logical explanation to why I do things the way I do and he finds my quirks hilarious. He loves going for long walks. He is sarcastic to the core and always said that I am the only one who could get his sarcasm( I felt exactly the same with him). He is very caring and knows every little things about me. But more than anything else, we seem to have a connection that simply can’t be explained.. We are so different, yet we have so much in common.

In 2020, I will be 49 and my youngest would have left home. I want to retire by my 50th birthday and there are things I want to do after I retire. I want to live in S. America for a couple of years, learn Spanish and read some of the great books that are written in Spanish. I want to sail around the world for a year. After that I want to buy a house by the beach (not sure where) and then spend the rest of my life doing the things that make me really happy. Go for walks in the beach, watch the sunset, read all the books I want to and write. As such I could do all of these on my own, but it would be nicer if I did all these with that one person who can make my heart sing for joy by merely calling my name.

My children, my strength

I have always had a very open relationship with my children. When I met him the first time, I told my kids about him. They met him a month later. There was really no need to hide a guy in my life from my kids.

They adore him.

Few years ago, I had thrown away my son’s very expensive BMX bike. I had told my son over and over that if he kept leaving his bike on the lawn and getting it wet in the rain, then I will throw it away. My son didn’t think I would do it and I did it. He was devastated.

Before he left, he gave my son his bike. (He knew the story of what happened to the BMX). It is a very expensive bike and my son was on cloud 9. Yesterday, my son sent him a mail attaching a photo of the bike near a Brisbane river bicycle path, with the beautiful river as a background !

Couple of days ago, Ywrote to him about her travel plans and asked his opinion and he replied back and told her the places she should visit. (She will be staying with him in Barcelona)

My youngest talks to him  on FB.

In a way he is still very much a part of our life..yet I feel so miserable..Going to the city yesterday was tortuous, it hurts so much to not have him physically here… and I don’t think I can handle 4 years of separation..