Monday, January 30, 2012

Act Your Age

I tell Neel, 7 1/2, ‘C’mon – don’t roll on the floor. Act your age!’
I tell my Mom, in her 70s, equally indignantly, ‘You can’t demand candy floss. C’mon, act your age!’

Because there are these rigid AYA (act your age) rules, aren’t they? Which we’re all trained in, without exception. These rules allow you to stare at morbid fascination, at someone digging his nose when you’re 3, but insist that you politely avert your eyes when you’re 30.

Niks at almost 5, launches himself at anyone he likes. ‘Launches’ because any other word won’t do this action justice. He doesn’t welcome you, or hug you, or even insinuate himself into your arms. He launches. He hits you with a hurricane force, that propels you backwards and out through the door which is supposed to welcome you in. If you survive in vertical position, he then climbs you – to land up somewhere with his legs wrapped around your neck. If you have fallen back onto the floor, he sits on top of you.

I, on the other hand, (at unmentionable age) smile, and do not throw myself or any of my body parts at you, lest you take it badly (if you are a woman too) or a little too happily (if you are male). I will smile at you whether I am thrilled you have come, or whether I have something burning on the stove, 2 assignments to hand in – and wish you’d freeze at the door and visit 2 hours later.

This is because I am AYAing.

Acting Your Age forces you to look interested when you’re falling asleep, to insist it’s no trouble when you’ve spent the whole morning cooking. In short, AYA teaches you, as you grow up, to learn to lie. And to stifle whatever is spontaneous and honest and straight from the gut, and to wrap it up in tinsel instead.

Learning : Can’t really go about telling people that they have wobbly chins, or that they talk too much. And can’t launch at guests or pick at bellybuttons in public or laugh till the food dribbles down your chin. Wottodo? Wottodo? Wottodo? C’mon – Act Your Age and tell me what to do!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Murphy on Holiday

We decided to leave Ole Murphy behind, locked firmly at home while we had that ‘perfect holiday’. Did too. Almost.

Here, for a change, is what did NOT go wrong.

1.       Did a train journey to Goa. Air-conditioned 4-seater to ourselves. Kids did not fall off the train. Niks did however, fall off his lower berth SEVEN times in the night, which meant, I had to wake up SEVEN times in as many hours – and shove him back on.

2.       The hired car guy ditched us when we reached Goa, asking for double the hire rate. Met my darling college buddy, who I wanted to spend hours talking to. She spent hours talking – to every car operator she could think of – begging, pleading – and finally getting us the car. She did not talk to me, and I don’t know if she ever will again.

3.       We spent every day at the beach. With cousins. The kids turned purple and peeling – and would not get out of the water or sun. The bottle of sun-screen lotion got lost on Day 1, and the un-sun-screened kids had a blast.

4.       All the kids got tattoos. Made of HAIR DYE! Niks is gonna have a purple scorpion running  in rivulets down his forearm – and Neel is gonna have to wear a jacket to school for the next month to keep his hidden from his teacher. Niks, back in Bangalore, bared his arm to a little girl on his school bus, and I could hear her scream. (Desired response achieved. Niks sat back, pleased!)

5.       We ate. We walked. We ate. We shopped. We ate. We drank. We ate. We partied. We ate. We ate. We ate. No one got sick. We put on a total of 24 kilos – 4 adults. We tried to walk it off – only till the next bar, where we ate some more.

6.       I bought tons of flimsy shell trinkets, and sarongs in scraps of cloth, that were perfect for the beach. And that I will never ever wear again. I ate, to make up for the guilt.

7.       We met family and friends in our aunt’s beautiful old house. We ate. The kids made tunnels through the hedge, and collected sticks and bruises. Their clothes turned red, their faces black.

8.       Lost the keys to the suitcase. Twice. Scratched the hired car. Puked into the sands of the Arabian sea. Sat through a Konkani mass. Got into a bar brawl. Chased a Goan pao (bread) guy on a cycle at 7 in the morning.  Fed stray dogs.

9.       What we brought home: 2 kilos of sand – sand in clothes, shoes, hair, cuffs, ears... shells, broken sandals, feni, cake, tattoos, cuts, poison ivy itch, sunburn (found the sunscreen bottle when we got home). If anyone wants to come over and share our Goa loot – you’re welcome to any of the above. P.S. The cake is over!

Was a perfect holiday. Came home to ole Murphy. Got out of our sunny holiday plane into Bangalore. It was raining and cold. The sunhats and shells got soaked.