Tag Archives: feel good

Tough Little Kids

Man, we were all such tough little kids. Kids have to be tough.. to take leaps of faith every single day. First time in a bath with hot soapy water scalding you, soaking you from head to toe but still being brave enough to endure it.. and learn to enjoy it. First step of walking on your fat, little legs.. stumbling, falling, crying…but still getting up until you learned to walk like a good little biped. First day in school.. ooh this one is really scary. All alone without mommy or daddy in a sea of strangers, snivelling with tears running down your face! Learning to ride a bicycle or swimming. What is it that makes kids so stoic? Acceptance. I have no way out from this bath, might as well just grit my teeth and go through with it, thinks the baby. Belief. Mommy says school will make me a big girl like her and Mommy is always right. Trust. Daddy has promised he will not let me fall of the bike and I know he won’t.

I look at my daughter when she faces something new, something challenging for her. I worry as parents are wont to do. I can see the confusion, the fear in her eyes, the set of her little shoulders. Sometimes she fails, sometimes she gets it right the very first time but the moment passes, she forgets all about it.. she laughs, she plays, she makes an absolute nuisance of herself and angelically goes to sleep. No new challenge keeps her awake the entire night, dreading tomorrow. I look at her and marvel what strength of character she has! But weren’t we all little kids once? Didn’t we all battle insurmountable (for us kids) difficulties every other day and emerged triumphant? What happened along the way?? We grew up, nay, we aged.. in our minds. But when I look at my daughter or any kid for that matter, it gives me hope. Hope that I can be kinder, braver, smarter and my most perfect self. Because, as they say, ‘Once you choose hope, anything is possible’.

Mothers-The Unsung Superheroes

Had taken my kid to the park the other day. She did an entire circuit of all the swings and slides available and quickly became fascinated by a rock climbing thingy which led to a slide. She tried and failed to climb it twice, thrice… Then she somehow got the knack of doing it. When I saw her climb up her last rock up to the slide, I whooped louder than she did 🙂

So, anyway, she was manically climbing and sliding when along came a mother-son duo. The boy was older and taller than my daughter but he seemed to be differently abled. He clung to his mother and cried. He could not get up the rocks. The mother cajoled and instructed him how to climb. She showed him my daughter nonchalantlytly clambering up. But the boy only shook his head and cried. And he really wanted to go on that slide. Then the mother climbed the rock thingy with her son clinging on to her like a limpet and all the time, she cheerfully and patiently placed his feet on the rocks till he made it to the top. I felt so happy and humbled all at the same time. The lady climbed down and stood looking at her son giggling madly as he came down the slide. Really, mothers! The word says it all!!!

The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough

This book is for the days when you feel you have read everything. No plot, no character seems to hold your attention and you keep on impatiently hopping from book to book. At such a time… read The Ladies of Missalonghi. Colleen McCullogh’s writing flows along gently and almost before you know it, you are hooked. Another of her books, The Thorn Birds is more critically acclaimed. Now, I have read them both and I much prefer this one. I must have read it atleast ten times.

Nothing really spectacular happens in the book. The heroine of the book, a thirty three year old spinster called Missy is somebody you would never give a second glance to. She is plain, dark and always attired in brown, poor but respectable. She lives with her overbearing mother and aunt in a house called Missalonghi. Incidentally that is her name! The three ladies live an extremely dull and uneventful life. Our Missy yearns to have a life, to go out alone and walk in the “valley”, to own a cat, to get married. 

And then along comes Una, a spirited, gorgeous widow who minds the library owned by one of Missy’s distant aunts. She lends Missy love stories wrapped in brown paper. Because even at thirty three Missy is not allowed to read that kind of books. Talk about stagnation! The two become fast friends. Una’s sparkling personality rubs off on dull, brown Missy. She tricks John Smith, the man she adores, into marrying her. She sheds her brown uniform and attires herself in sparkly, indecent red, like one of those scarlet women of Caroline Lamb Palace. She gives her wealthy, snobbish relatives who frankly never even knew she existed a piece of her mind sending the ladies into hysterics! She dyes Alicia’s (the clans darling young lady who is incidentally the same age as Missy) gorgeous hand me down apricot dress brown and she does it with cowdung 🙂 Go Missy! This book is a real gem. And it has a startling climax. Want to know what? Read the book…NOW!!!

The ‘joy’ of giving..

Okay, I know this title makes it sound as if I am going to launch into a tedious, goody-goody sermon but don’t worry, I won’t. But I can’t help puzzling about this topic at times. The other day, I ordered a couple of pastries to give to our household help. I gave them to her with a smile. She nodded, took the box and smiled back. End of story, right? But I saw her when she left our house. She was holding the box very carefully so as not to upset the pastries inside. I imagined her going home and handing over the box to her kids. I could almost see the grin the little boy gave to his mother as he took a huge bit. I could see our maid smiling as she ate the last tiny piece of cake. And I felt joy! Now, I feel happy when I dig into the moist, chocolaty Death by Chocolate pastry at my favorite patisserie. But that happiness pales before this one. This joy is more overwhelming and somehow it lasts much longer. It’s as if God has deliberately fashioned us this way just so as to ensure that we do our bit to help those less fortunate than us. What do you think?

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

In the mood for some chic lit? Then, Sophie Kinsella is your man, oops, woman! There is hardly any Sophie Kinsella book which I have not read and reread and loved. But I’ve Got Your Number is my absolute favourite. The book has a novel premise. Poppy Wyatt is a delightful, lovable, relatable character. She loses her engagement party which is a family heirloom and very, very expensive. On top of it, she has the misfortune of losing her cell phone. So, she pinches, no, picks up a cell phone from a bin. And that is how she meets Sam Roxton, one of the cutest and most adorable of heroes. But you see, the cell phone belongs to Sam or technically to his PA. The two end up sharing a cell phone. Ever heard this plot before? No. So, check this one out!

It’s like this Cat by Emily Cheney Neville

This is another book which I got from a second-hand roadside stall. It a very old book and winner of the Newbery Medal for Excellence in American Children’s Literature. That’s what made me buy this book and the cover, featuring a boy and a cat. And boy, what a gem this book is! Its one of those stories which you can read time and time again. Like comfort food, there are comfort books too. And this book definitely qualifies! Nothing really exciting or mysterious happens in the story. But I feel books which interest you despite any out of the ordinary occurrences are really special. The connection with the characters is somehow more intimate. The story follows the life of one Dave Mitchell, a typical 14-year-old American boy. He shares a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with his father who is a lawyer. A neighbourhood lady called Kate, who is mad about cats, introduces him to Cat, a tomcat. Dave adopts him and christens him Cat. One of the principal reasons why he wants a cat is because his father always pesters him to have a dog. I am sure everybody can relate with that. Parents do not understand, do they? And once you grow up and have kids, its your kids who do not understand! Moving on, most of the relationships which our Dave develops have some connection with Cat. Tom, an older boy and friend and Mary, Dave’s ‘girl’ friend. Read this book if you can get hold of it. It is definitely worth the effort!

To Diet or Not to Diet

“What is that noise?” asked Rahul.

Surbhi clutched her stomach guiltily. ‘Was her stomach rumbling so loudly?’ She quickly downed some water and tried to school her face into an indifferent expression.

“There is some problem with the AC” answered Ruchi who had been investigating. “Why does the cooling in our department always suck?” she grumbled.

Surbhi let out her breath in a whoosh, idly glancing at the time. It was just past one. ‘Was it just half an hour since she had had lunch? If you could call one malnourished idli and one runny bowl of spinach soup, lunch.’ She sighed and determinedly turned back to her work.

She had just got into her rhythm when she saw the office boy in her peripheral vision. She glanced up to see him holding a box of pedas, the ones with the individual wrappers, the ones topped with pistachios, the ones she did not like one bit! She smiled in relief and graciously refused the pedas. Three more weeks of dieting and she would hopefully (please dear God!) be ready to get into the dress which she had foolishly bought for her cousin sister’s grand wedding. She had deliberately bought it two sizes smaller than what she usually bought. The amount of money she had shelled for the dress was her biggest motivation to lose weight. Surbhi was something of a miser where money was considered. And now she was being miserly about food!

Surreptitiously she glanced at Rahul’s thin arms. ‘Why did so many men have thin, spindly arms which they certainly didn’t like and countless girls had potato-shaped hands?’ she wondered vengefully. Her own arms looked just the same as always, no thinner in any way. She pulled her chair a little further towards her desk, screening her body and quickly did some stomach exercises.

“What is the matter, Surbhi?” Ruchi asked curiously. “Why are you breathing so heavily?”

“Nothing” Surbhi replied in a nasally voice. “I have got a bit of a cold”.

“Have some hot chocolate” Rahul put in cheerfully. “Best remedy for the snivels”.

‘Really’ Surbhi thought in exasperation. ‘Do this people have nothing to do except for spying on me?’ Aloud she said, “Really, I am fine.”

“Why are you eating cow dung?” Ankur the office wit asked her during teatime. His friends laughed obligingly exactly like the canned laughter in a comic show.

“Don’t bother Surbhi, guys” Tania, the office hottie, unexpectedly came to her defence. With a wink and a lewd smile for Tania, Ankur and his cronies left Surbhi in peace. Tania came and sat beside her bringing with her a strong scent of perfume. Surbhi shuddered involuntarily. Strong fragrances always gave her a headache. Tania sipped her green tea and smiled up at her charmingly. “Which diet are you following, dear?”

“Er…the normal” replied the nonplussed Surbhi.

“And what do you mean by normal?” shot back Tania.

“You know, eating healthy, eating less than normal and exercising” she replied self-consciously tugging her top straight.

“My dear, you won’t lose weight that way” declared Tania. “There is a science to losing weight. First you have to decide which diet you have to follow. Then you will have to tweak it to suit your Indian preferences. You will need one dedicated resource whose job will be only to prepare and present everything that is required by your diet at the proper time.” She paused and unwrapped a block of cheese. Surbhi’s eyes widened seeing the cheese. Tania noticed her and said importantly, “Yes, I am having cheese on my diet. Because I am following the keto diet. High fat, low carb, you know. If you want, I can make a weekly diet plan for you.”

“Thanks Tania” replied Surbhi, uncertain where this was going. “But I don’t want to trouble you.”

“It’s no trouble” Tania waved her off. “I enjoy turning fat caterpillars into dainty butterflies.”

Surbhi looked at her suspiciously wondering if she was being nasty. But Tania was not like that. Sudden tears pooled in her eyes. ‘Was that how she looked to strangers?’ She wordlessly took the sheet of paper with her ‘diet plan’ from Tania, thanked her and put her mess of oatmeal into the garbage bin.

Once home, she weighed herself. She had lost 2 kgs! 2 whole kgs in 1 week! At this rate, she would just about make it into her dress. She sighed happily and nodded her head as if arriving at a decision.

“Maa” she called out to her mother. “I am going out. I won’t be having any dinner.”

Ten minutes later, she handed over her gorgeous, impossible dress back to the shop attendant.

“I have changed my mind” she said. “I would like the same dress in my usual size please.”

Without batting an eye, the attendant took her measurements. “Madam, your usual size will be a little loose on you.”

“I know” she beamed at the baffled attendant, unwrapping a bar of chocolate. “I want it altered to fit the thinner me.”

The Kindness of Strangers

I woke up with a sore throat. I couldn’t speak, could only croak. I croak a normal daily question to my husband. He doesn’t even notice that his wife is speaking like a crow. I get the morning chores done and take my kid to school. I talk to my friend on the phone. She doesn’t notice that I have a sore throat. I get down from the auto rickshaw. The auto rickshaw driver tells me, “You have a sore throat. Drink warm water and have that Rs.3 tablet which starts with a C.” HE MEANT A STREPSILS. Touched, I thank him. I go to buy a bottle of water. The shopkeeper wordlessly hands me a room temperature bottle of water, not chilled, as I normally buy. I go to my local café and order a burger. Its self service there. But he hears me croaking and tells me to take a seat. He will bring my burger to me. What is this world in which we live? Where loved ones don’t seem to notice you and strangers overwhelm you with their kindness?