field mouse

There are few things I dread absolutely. Parallel parking is one ( yesterday, my car was a meter away from the curb ! ) and visitors is the other one.
I don’t have any problems with my friends coming over. It is the bandhu/bandham ( related by blood/marriage) visitors that terrify me the most. I don’t talk to/send mail/or have any sort of communications with any of my relatives. Ideally that should be construed as my total lack of interest in having visitors over and my need for privacy. But most Malayalees are pretty immune to the need of privacy ! Curiosity is their middle name.

And then it starts.

1. The house is pretty small eh? They say to no one in particular.
2. Only two bathrooms?
3. You don’t have foxtel? ( satelite TV).

The above three are the main factors that are used to judge “how well you live” according to Mallu living well guide!
I failed miserably in all three, which somehow make my visitors extremely happy !
And I thought I would be spared any further comparisons. Normally, the moment the visitors feel that they have a bigger house and more number of bathrooms than you, they kind of leave you alone.
But not this time
Unfortunately, this time when they were home, Yaya asked “Mom can we go to Byron bay?”
“What do you do in Byron bay?” They asked Yaya.
“nothing” Yaya replied.
You know that feeling of impending doom..I knew where this was leading.
“Then why do you want to go?” they asked
“Oh, mom usually drive to Byron bay, we eat fish and chips there” my child spoke nonchalantly.
“You go all the way to Byron bay to eat fish and chips?”
“Yes” all three kids nodded their heads happily.
“That is crazy”
and the idiot worked out, travel distance, petrol costs etc to show my kids how preposterous it is to drive from Brisbane to Byron bay to eat fish and chips. He made my children feel tremendously guilty about something they absolutely enjoy.

After they left, I told my children why I take them to Byron bay every time I get a chance. It is because, I want them to be “greedy” enjoy the life they have now, not keep something for the tomorrows that may or may not come. It is our today’s that is the moments..If you can’t live your today’s without counting every dime, then what makes you think you can live your tomorrows free of fear of the unknown?
For me, driving to Byron bay with my children is an experience worth much more than what I spend on fuel. The drive itself is absolutely beautiful. My children take turns to play their music list. I find it amusing to see the changes in their music preferences. Few years ago, Yaya used to roll her eyes whenever I played my music list.. and now she listens to Bob Marley !!

I love sitting down on the rocks and watch the surf break..My children used to run and chase each other last year. Now, they sit with me on the rocks while listening to one of the hippies/back packers singing or playing the banjo. They eat fish and chips while chasing the gulls away and when ‘they think’ I am not looking, they sneak in few chips for the gulls.I love to see them sharing their meal with each other without fighting. Baby shares her share of the prawn cutlets with her brother and he gives her his share of the sea scallops. They both give yaya their share of potato scallops because Yaya hates sea scallops and prawns.
So, yes, it is a total waste of money to drive all the way to Byron bay to eat fish and chips.. and we will do it at least once a month. Because we intend to shake the grass before life slips away like  field mouse!

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass

Ezra Pound


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