Sunday, September 27, 2015

Laugh AT me, if you can’t laugh WITH me!

                   This is how you learn to smile... first at yourself!

My daughter has requested me, a plea I would like to believe… however, an ultimatum at the least. “When you write about me, at least tell me!” 

Apparently I got some ‘facts’ wrong and she was confronted in school. “It’s not Thomas telling Brenda to keep her undies on. Thomas doesn’t say that…” she made her point.

I’m at fault. I can’t stand young adult fiction. Only the slang in there catches my attention. So, yes, I messed up the characters. [Am eager to know which set of parents are my readers, but she has no intention of revealing her source].

My dad has requested, a plea I would like to believe…however, an ultimatum at the least. “What all are there in this world to write about. Why write about our family!”

Apparently, some in my extended family were offended by one of my recent posts and they had an audience with him… I would like to believe, rather it was a veiled complaint at the least.

I guess my dad reacted thus as the heat got closer now, because earlier, a gentleman – I presume  – apparently cautioned my dad that “your daughter writes against Malayalis” and my dad gave two hoots.

There have been instances when my friends have taken offence to my expressions, too.

Guys, gals, friends, foes, acquaintances, relations, neighbours, strangers, my readers… The pun has [and is] always been on me!

This is no defence rather an explanation in the simplest possible words I know.

Missing the wood for the trees and pouting is like boozing and blaming the brewery when you puke. Ha… here I go yet again. Now, this is a foul-smelling simile, I admit and confess I mean no offence to anyone in general and none in particular!

This is me. Living amidst you. And so when I write it’s about me and you. If only I lived in ether, I could snort helium and make light of all egos…here I go again. Now, this is a heavy-handed allegation, I admit. But snort it out and read me again, I bet, you’ll laugh WITH me, when not AT me!

Or like my girl, have the nerve to spread out the facts! I love being defeated by my baby. Any day!!

PS: Learning to laugh at oneself is the cheapest remedy to all ills! Try it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Giving birth is easy, I learnt

“Relax,” said the surgeon, as my wet palms grabbed his wrist the fourth time.

I idled. Half-lying, half-sitting, gaping at the roof attempting to pray for it to be all over without my knowledge and all the same petrified I would pass out, so much so I mumbled: “How long will this take.”

“Few minutes more.” He waited for me to chill as I counted deep breaths, when I heard. “What you are feeling is pressure. Not pain. Relax. We are almost there…”

The last time I laid helplessly listening to these words was in the delivery room. But then, I vividly remember the feeling was pressure and that pressure was pain.

“Let loose”, he said, pulling my cheek apart as if gutting a fish and I felt the hammer come down on my wisdom tooth. I shut my eyes tight, fooling my hyper-working brain that if I don’t see the armoury over my head, it would not hurt. But my hands once again attacked him. 

He stopped for the third break in the 15-min procedure, trying to pacify me. “You are numb. I cut your jaw bone. Did you feel?” I grunted. I drilled around. Did you even know?” I grunted again. “It’s not pain. It’s just a sensation you are feeling. Nothing to fear. All I need to do is extract it out. The major part is over…”

Two days after the procedure...a 'swollen' selfie
Yeah, I thought to myself. The major part was, indeed, over. It had all begun the previous day, with a casual visit to our dentist to clean my teeth, when I mentioned that one of my wisdom teeth acts up once a while. After examination, he revealed that half of that tooth is still embedded inside and has no space to pop out. “It's better to remove it.”

And before I knew, a wire with a black square peg went on rampage inside my mouth clicking X-Ray. “Let the tongue loose. I need to place this beside the tooth", the dentist said, thrusting the peg almost into the epiglottis and I wrenched. “Don’t do that, you’ll hurt yourself,” he cautioned.  

"Let me place it," I volunteered. Graciously he agreed and waited patiently checking the monitor screen. “No. I need your tooth,” he said, pulling at my cheek, maneuvering the wire back and pushing it deep within…all at once and I jumped up. "Please! I’m petrified of puking." He smiled, "okay, we'll make do with this." 

What a gem of a dentist! 

"So, we'll fix it tomorrow. How about 2pm?"

"Fine by me."

"Good.  I'll pass on the X-Ray to the surgeon..."


“This is not a normal procedure. Your jaw bone needs to be operated upon to extract the tooth…” 

What did I get myself into! 

“Now I felt my alive cheek being slapped. Relax,” I heard the surgeon say the nth time, when my gem-of-a-dentist said, “Maybe she’s in pain, it’s not numb...”

“No way. I’ve injected the [some name I can’t remember now] nerve. This is phobia, doctor…” Then he turned to me, “the only other option is to give you general anesthesia. But why go for such a step, when we have come this far. It’s almost over.”

I gripped the armrest with both hands and squeezed my eyelids tighter, as I felt the jaw almost rip apart from my face. Tapping me again, he stopped: “Open your eyes. Now I'm going to try moving the tooth. You'll feel the pressure. Okay. It's just pressure.” I took a deep breath. "Relax. Keep your eyes open. Just a couple of minutes more."

Was he afraid I'll pass out?

Forced to keep my eyes open, I saw a heavy-looking tool go inside my mouth and I tensed. "Relax" he said and I decided to look elsewhere. That's when for the first time that noon I looked at him.

Damn it! Thick shapely brows, unusual for a man, set on light skin above dark eyes shaded inside long lashes…His gelled hair gleaming under the surgical light, with two thick strands hopping over to the side brushing his broad clear forehead made me trace his chiselled nose from under the mask. His fingers were long within the off-white glove going to and fro from inside my mouth to the assistant to his right. The coffee-brown button on the carelessly-rolled-up white linen sleeves, made me squint down to check and lo! he was in denims!

“It’s over!” he said, dropping the mask down on his neck. 

"Really?"  Tall men in white-denim combination have always distracted me.

"Yes ma'am" 

Me, ma’am!! Why… 

“I’ll prescribe a painkiller. Don’t worry, You’ll be fine.” 

Uh! Fine!! That night, I tossed in bed popping painkillers. I was on baby food for the next few days. A month later, I’m still cautious on using my right molars… And I thought giving birth was the most traumatic experience.

However, am yet to figure out the consequences of the two experiences… The other day my baby said, “You know what mamma, now you should stop advising me because your average wisdom is less than mine!”

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Shamelessly I requested invited guests...

This weekend I slept with my feet wrapped in hot water bags, thanks to my lineage I am conscious about.

On Friday, I stood for over 7 hours in the kitchen, followed by entertaining guests. But before cracking down, I did stand upright for the record.
After a tiring yet exciting day... one for the album 
"Do you really want to do this?" asked my girl when I requested her to click our pic. 

"It's not everyday I drape a saree and your papa a mundu. Come on, quick." 

"Honestly, mamma. You are so obsessed with yourself," she replied adjusting the lens.

We had our Onam celebration and I was determined to have the banana leaf filled from tip to edge. Managed to layout 18 items for each of the 13 invited guests. Now, that's not a big deal as Onasadhya means the more the merrier.

The problem was that I was on my feet, paranoid, cooking second round of most of the dishes afraid it would not suffice. Pots of rice were boiling even when the guests were at the dining table, which will now last me the whole week after distributing it to my houseboy, car cleaner and watchman.

After cooking, re-cooking, topping up... finally
“Why don’t you sit with the stuff at the building entrance and give it all those who walk in," quipped my in-house grandma, before threatening me, “Don’t give this when I return from school on Sunday. One more day I’ll manage.”

"Well, my dear. I have no intention of dumping these. Why do you think I packed food for the guests when they left..."

"Oh my God, exactly. That was so shameless, honestly mamma... 'take whatever you like'..." she mimicked me.

I blame this paranoia to serve on my genes. My mom’s family are generous servers. You can gather your entire neighbourhood [no exaggeration] and visit any of my maternal aunts unannounced and you will be sumptuously served. In fact, force-fed. For them feeding guests is the way to peoples' hearts. And my mom’s always fed the best to guests, while my brother and I only got the left-overs.

My dad’s family, on the other hand, are stingy givers. My paternal aunts reserved the best for their families and offered the remaining to guests. One day, I saw one of my aunts place a banana bunch comprising over 20 bananas on the table before three guests. “Please take. It’s from our farm.” Neither of them took any. What a trick!

On another occasion, another aunt of mine fed just fish gravy and yoghurt to two guests who had arrived uninvited during lunch hour, saying, “How sad. We just finished lunch and no fish these days. Please manage with this.” One of these guests returned to collect something that she had left behind only to find the family having a lavish lunch, including two varieties of fish!

An acquaintance of mine waits until we take leave and at the door says, "you should have waited for dinner". This has been her staple statement every time I visit. I guess, the fault is mine. Next time I’ll drop in during the day.

I caught another one serve three dates on a plate before a group of five guests, saying "please help yourself". When I gave her the head count, she replied, “others are diabetic”.

I love tracing problems to their roots. So, while my lack of confidence in cooking and kitchen judgement may have resulted in my sore feet, upon peeling the layers I discovered that I'm overtly jittery when it comes to serving guests, only because am petrified lest my lineage force-feeds confused genes into me!

Seriously, am not cooking this up… I was wide wake on Friday night, despite retiring to bed early, wondering how I can make space in the fridge!