Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Masked Woman

I have masks from all over the world strung up on my wall. It took a kid to walk in and ask me “Do you wear any of the masks?” to get me thinking.

I try hard to be honest – especially to myself… but...

There’s my Jack Nicholson Joker mask : The smile frozen in ice, when I want desperately to be somewhere else but am trying to look interested. “Yes, really, that is sooooooo interesting, tell me more.” (I wonder what’s for dinner?!!). “Yes, what you do is soooo interesting.” (Where is the loo in this place?)

My Raavana mask : (oooh boy, here comes Mama, with her 10 heads – all looking equally fierce.. we musta done something really bad today !) Followed by 2-year-old Niks who quickly said yesterday, “Ok, Mama, I’m going to stand in the corner.”

And then sometimes, it all slips !
To the Rain-goddess mask : I have had enough of everyone and everything… I’m underpaid and over-worked ! Watch out, the showers are gonna start ! hooooowl !

If I have a mask I pull out for every occasion - I’m wondering what the real me looks like?

I know people – a vary rare few actually – who are so comfortable in their own skins, that they actually are the same with everyone…. either utterly rude, or politically incorrect, or preachy, or whatever.. but it’s the same (take me as I am)…

But the majority of us, we’re multiple-masked bandits, aren’t we? The Kick-ass-Boss mask, the Lone Ranger (“no one better come into my corner”) mask, the Nobody-can-hurt-me mask, the yahoo-always-smiley mask…. No one really sees the real us… not even the mirror ?

And this is the part I hate : We teach our kids to mask themselves early in life. (Atleast Michael Jackson is open about it). I saw Neel come home from school today with swollen eyes.. but when he saw me, he tried to smile. That’s the Big-Boys-Don’t-Cry Mask. And I’ve been teaching him to wear it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

a nik by any other name

Giving birth to my children was easier than giving names to them.
S and I agreed on Neel after 6 months (ok, not on Neel – we loved him from the time we saw him) but on the name Neel. I offered a list of 12 fabulous strong boy names, and S said let’s call him Rohan.
2 1/2 years later, I went into hospital clutching my 110 agreed-upon girl names, and we had another boy. So I agonized over 15 strong boy names, and S said let’s name him Rohan. We went through all the books and all the sites and it became an international naming process, with everyone contributing. The baby was called Nemo because he drank like a fish. Then Yoda, because he looked like a wizened old wise man. He was finally named Nikash under threat. (Srini threatened to call him GilliGilliAppa). Let me also add that no one calls him Nikash. He’s Nik, Niks, Niku, Niki, Appu, Kutta, Nikky Poo, Sweet potato, and even Big Dinosaur (his name for himself).
What is it a name means to us? Do we want our kids to be proud of what they’re called? Do we want them to grow up into their names – Like a Rose or a Veer or a Sundari ?
Naming significant others in the family was tons easier. Like our pup got named Marco Polo, because he walked into the house, and explored every corner, also peeing in each one of them (not that the original Marco Polo did – or at least, I have no proof).
The toys also were named super-fast. One car is actually called Super-fast. Neel has a very descriptive and action-oriented approach to naming. When asked what he wanted to call his little brother, he replied “Rolly Polly Machine”. His stuffed tiger is Ferrari, his stuffed dinosaur is “Green Fire Nose”. And after agonizing over the name of his stuffed dog for all of 2 days, I walked in and asked him “Neel, have you named your doggie ?”
“Not Yet, Mama,” he said, and NOTYET is the doggie’s name ever after. Amen.

Learning :
Would love to hear from you what you named your kids/ dogs/ spouses/ cars – but the why – and especially the “how” . Was it the letter of a book? Or from the pages of a book? Or some old girlfriend you had a crush on? Or the name of grandparents, in which case, I would be named “Antonio Santana Felicia Anna Maria Cajetan Salvadore da souza”. Sexy, huh?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Niks in lock-up

High-tension drama enacted at D305 on Sunday evening, starring Nik, aged 2, and 12 panicked adults, aged – well – let’s keep that confidential, shall we?
Nik woke up from his afternoon nap and locked himself in the ONLY room in the house which has no key. This is the series of events, after that :

1. Me : Niks, open the lock
2. Nik : ok, mama… (does no such thing)
3. My mom : Nik, turn the black thing
4. Me : He doesn’t know colours
5. My mom : turn the round thing
6. Me : He doesn’t know shapes
7. My mom : You haven’t taught him ANYTHING
8. S has, all this time, been having a haircut (and probably massage and all that goes with it, at the local barber)
9. Neighbours rush in to help
10. Neenu : Nik, don’t cry
11. Me : (starting to cry)
12. My mom : I TOLD you both to get a new KEY – AGES ago !!!
13. Neighbours go to find a locksmith. It is a Sunday night and all locksmiths are at home, behind closed doors (like mine). The building handyman is called in. The security man also walks in. Basically, anyone passing by walks in.
14. Everyone : Niks, open the lock
15. Nik : ok (does no such thing)
16. My mom : I TOLD you both to get a new KEY – AGES ago !!!
17. Locksmith is brought in. He cannot open the door. He has not brought his set of spare keys.
18. Locksmith goes back to his shop to bring his spare keys.
19. My mom : I TOLD you both to get a new KEY – AGES ago !!! … (and says this another 27 times in a row)
20. S returns to see his house full of hyperventilating people, and asks : Where is Neel?
21. Neel has been taking advantage of everyone being busy and has eaten a whole slab of butter meanwhile.
22. OMIGOSH, now we’re gonna have TWO kids in trouble!!!
23. Locksmith returns with spare keys. Cannot open door. Totally breaks up my other spare key to my other door (we now have 2 doors without keys – and I HOPE no house-breaking thief type person is reading this).
24. Me : Break the @#$#* door
25. Locksmith cannot break the door. Who is this man? Is he a non-violent nun in disguise?
26. It takes 2 hours and 12 people to finally break the door.

12 adults in panic peer into the dark room inside – to see –
1 calm smiling baby playing in the dark on the bed : Hey Mama !

Learning :
Do not ever let your child lock himself in a room, which has no key, on a Sunday evening, while your husband is having a haircut, and the only locksmith on duty is a non-violent nun. The probability of these events happening together is 1 in a trizillion. But if it does happen, call me ! I’ll bring my 11 other adults to help you panic.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

whose mom am i ?

I am a mother to 2 little boys, and a daughter to loving parents.
Or sometimes I wonder, is it the other way around?

1 day, when I was in Bombay crossing a road with my big strong Dad, I suddenly found myself reaching out for his hand, in the traffic hurtling by. And I also realized it wasn’t because I was unsafe, but I though he would be. I wanted to make sure he went across ok.
When did the roles reverse?
Today, my mom lives with us. And I put 3 bowls of porridge out every morning. For my kids and for my mom. I take her out once in while to somewhere she really wants to go. Like to church. I scold her when she eats too little veggies, or when she eats too much sweet.
When did the roles reverse?

And sometimes late at night, when S is out of town, and it is my turn to take our doggie out, I find it is a little too dark and too late and too scary. And Neel, all of 5 years old, suddenly hops along, “because he doesn’t want anyone to take his mama away”. And I find his hand in mine, because he feels unsafe? Or he thinks I do?
When did the roles reverse?