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June 27, 2020

27.06.2020

Dearest Antu,

You think that you have figured me out. That I am sad that you are one more year older and that I am going to flood the house with my tears that my baby is turning 12. But I refuse to be predictable. I am very excited and very happy, I would like you to know. 12 is a wonderful age. Just perfect. One year closer to the Teens. I cant wait! See? I can do it. I am smiling and NOT at all crying inside. I am NOT looking at your baby photos and its NOT breaking my heart into a million little pieces. In fact, I am so overjoyed that…. Fine! I give up. Who am I kidding? I am dying, alright? The world as I know it is coming to an end and I am terrified that I am gonna have two teens at home by this time next year. You have changed so much in the last one year. Unlike your sister with her devil may care attitude, you care too much and get hurt too much which in turn hurts me way too much even though I am the one causing the hurt most of the time. Go figure! Dysfunctional family, for the win!


You are very insightful and the topics of our conversations throughout the day range from favorite color to existential questions like “Who will tell your story when you die?” Sometimes I have to take a moment and reexamine my whole life just to answer a simple question from you. You are obsessed with all kinds of games like 21 Questions, Would you rather, What if.. and drive the whole family crazy with your non stop questioning and I do wonder if you would do well as a lawyer or a counsellor when you grow up! This one time you nagged your sister to play with you and she being who she is came up with “Would I rather play this game with you or jump into that pond there?” and you earnestly replied to her with a “jump into the pond?” half hoping you got the right answer and at the same time worried that she means that! Oh my poor little darling! Always worried about when your moms going to blow up, when your sisters going to get upset, when your father is going to stop making you pancakes! (The last one will never happen, you and I know that!) We all love you in our own way and would do anything to make you happy, got it?

You are majorly into paper crafts and make all kinds of awesome stuff watching youtube videos. The 3D and pop out cards you make for us are legendary in our family and I have no clue how you got to be so talented. Taken after your sister, truly. Also the reading. We have turned you into a total potterhead too. You finished reading all of the Harry Potter books multiple time in both English and German and and currently you are reading them to your dad. Interesting thing about reading books in two languages, I asked you the other day if you prefer to read in English or German and you said “I prefer German if they are originally written in German” and I was blown away by that information. Go forth and conquer, my girl! Music is also a big part of your life. You are very interested in what I am listening in Indian film music. You are learning to play Piano, you have made a huge progress in Carnatic music and can sing like a dream. (Though extremely shy to sing in front of an audience!) My favorite part of the day is when I am prepping dinner and you sit near the kitchen with your Shruthi box and practice your singing. I could nt be more proud of you.

School and friends are your raison d’être and the 3 months of lockdown this year was quite hard on you. But it also gave a chance for you to be glued to your father like you used to long back and its heart warming to see you both spend so much time together. That man has been a goner from the moment he laid his eyes on you, the exact second you took your first breath but he’s truly and deeply wrapped around your little finger now and I am equal amounts proud and jealous of that fact! You worship your sister and any praise from her is a gift from the Gods for you. You respect me but also afraid to disappoint me. You adore your grand parents and uncle and aunt and very much upset about the cancelled travel plans this summer to meet them all. You are kindness personified and almost always make the right choice. May be, you will tell our story, Antu. I would very much like that. Keep being you, Kannamma. Wishing you a wonderful 12th Birthday!

Love,
அம்மா.

June 05, 2020

05.06.2020


Yes. It's one of those mushy anniversary anecdotes. 20 years together and I think it deserves some reminiscing. The husband of mine is an enigma. And I don't mean that in a mysterious or layered way. He's just an unpredictable idiot with a side of adorable. You can put any two beings together for 20 years, throw in a couple of kids, privileged life, barely-there-first-world-problems and I ll bet my last Rappen that they both can live relatively happy ever after! Same goes for us, I guess. Nothing earth shattering there. Love, shove, death do us apart are all fine and good when ones young and clueless but if the art of loading a dishwasher is what makes or breaks a marriage, we are at a strong 8/10 after 20 years of training. (I mean how hard is it to try to fit one more spoon, I ask you?)



Hiking with the kids is always accompanied by some weird games Antu comes up with. Shes the master of Questions. So this one time, we were playing a mix of "Would you rather", "Two Truths and a Lie" and "What would you do if..." 


Question 1: Which one thing or one person would you take with you if you are stranded in an island?


Me (even before she finishes the question) - Your father!


The said father (after thinking about it for 2 whole minutes) - A dog!


Question 2: If theres one thing you would change about Appa/Amma, what would it be?


Me  (after thinking about it for a bit) - nothing exactly. No, wait a sec. I ll change something so that hes not allergic to pollen anymore. Hes really in a bad shape in spring.


The said allergic Wimp (immediately) - Her anger! I ll make her less angry!


Question 3: Two truths and a lie?


Me (Baring my heart and bringing out childhood trauma and untold secrets)


1. I had a crush on a boy when I was in 5th grade.  (True.)
2. Once I did nt talk to my father for three whole months (Also true.)
3. When I was 15, I went on a hunger strike for 5 days. (Lie. It was only for 4 days!)


The said Enigma:


1. I like Jasmine
2. I like spiders better than bees
3. I like flying.


I swear on God, I was ready to kill the man in spite of his 8/10 dishwasher loading capabilities. No one is that desperate for perfection! (Fine! Who am I kidding? Perfection or death is my motto in life!) Anyway, the man is the Ron to my Hermione. Especially his "emotional range of a teaspoon"! Of course, hes also an ace strategist like Ron and got out of his murder situation by explaining that he would nt want me to suffer with him stranded in an island and he would always want the best for me and went all deep with Q2 "I like you just the way you are. But you are always upset with yourself about your anger and I want only what you want for yourself"! (Ahem. Where's the damn tissue? May be I am allergic to pollen too? *wipes tears*) But that still does nt explain his LIE. He does nt like jasmine, it seems?? WHAAAAA? Which self respecting Tamil Male does nt like jasmine now?? Whats the next big reveal? He does nt like (H)alwa also? Anyway, I digress. What I am trying to say is that you think you know a man after twenty years of being his jailmate out of which the last 90 days, you were literally his cellmate thanks to the lockdown but he still manages to surprise you!


Dear Enigmatic Idiot,


I would hate you if I did nt love you so much. I don't know what good I did to deserve you in this life, but I hope I am doing enough good to deserve you in my next too. Happy 20th! 
Never stop surprising me.

Always yours until the end of time aka the elusive 10/10,
S


April 27, 2020

27.04.2020

Dearest Ashu,

Yet another year gone by and you turn 15 today amidst interesting times. The last 6 weeks of being cooped up together in our house with the four of us with just a break here and there and we both have nt attempted to murder each other. As yet. I am so proud of both of us. Not just for these past weeks but the whole last year where I finally feel we have grown up in our tumultuous relationship. You are showing much maturity and I think Im inching towards being patient. A big phew and all that! That does nt mean you are nice or anything. You are the reputed snark queen in the house and sarcasm could be the lowest form of wit but its your choice of weapon to wield! Oh and how you wield it! I used to get so annoyed with your utter lack of respect and my oft repeated mantra "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything!" fell to deaf ears. But later I realized that a snarky, sarcastic Teen who is at least talking is better than one who keeps to herself and never shares anything! So bring it on, Girl! After all, you learnt from the best and I can give it back as good as I get it!  Challenge accepted! 


You are very creative and have such clever hands. Be it playing the violin or plaiting your hair or your sisters. Playing Table tennis and winning medals in school tournaments or baking and decorating delicious and stunning cakes. Solving rubic cubes or drawing and sketching. Setting up elaborate projects on domino effect or making and editing ultra cool videos. You are a true star! Your talent astounds me and the amount of hard work and dedication and creativity you show at this age makes me feel like I was a total Buffoon when I was your age. And if my ego would allow me to say it, I still feel like one! You still have nt met a book you did nt like and listen to music all the time! Billie Eilish is your current Queen and your devotion to her is up there with JK Rowling and that's saying something! Keep reading and keep yourself surrounded with music and do something creative every day of your life!


My second best moment of the past year would be our girls trip to Berlin back in October.  I had always wanted to go on a trip with just us three girls and decided it was high time for me to adult and we flew to Berlin for 4 days. To put it mildly, I was terrified! But we had such fun and you were so responsible and were so happy and had such a good time that we were planning another trip even before we landed back in Basel. Which has nt happened yet and seeing how the world is going right now, it might not happen again in a long, long time but we will always have Berlin, won't we? And in December, we 4 went to the Andalusian region of Spain and we had a fantastic 8 days in Seville, Malaga, Granada and Cordoba. You were in love with the choice of food there especially the churros and chocolate combo and wanted so badly to extend the trip. We walked close to 100 kms in those 8 days and had an amazing time sight seeing. Even if we are quarantined for eternity, I could look back at all our family vacations and be content knowing how we have such a wonderful travel history. Especially you at this young age.  Always remember that you have been gifted with this privilege and please pay it forward in any way you can.


Now onto my most favorite heart melting moment of you at Age 14! A little history first. So its a known fact that I love Harry Potter. And I have a love/hate relationship with a certain Mr. Snape. Both you and Antu cannot for the lives of you understand why I adore him one moment and call him a selfish B@$T@&D, the next second. And having watched the movies like 17 times with Alan Rickman portraying Snape as if he was born to do the role does not help my case one bit. And I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS (Get it?) attracted to these kind of grey roles. Good is boring. Bad is terrible. But the ones in between are just right and delicious to devour in fiction. I love to analzyse these characters to death. And there's one scene in the 7th movie which is my favorite scene in the entire HP franchise: the back profile of Snape against a huge window. I love that scene and the framing and keep telling you all that I would love to own a poster of this frame whenever we watch the movie.(which is a lot!) Its just such a melancholic and breathtaking scene even without a single dialogue. So what do I see when I open my birthday present from you this year? A handmade notebook with a cover of the above said scene. WHICH YOU HAND PAINTED! I cried. I ugly cried. I cannot begin to describe the emotions I went through when I saw your thoughtful gift. All I will say is, I love you Pattu. Have a wonderful 15th Birthday. Stay blessed. Always.

Love,
அம்மா. 
The gift.

April 13, 2020

Life in times of Corona aka Life goes on...

Exactly one month ago, on my birthday, the lockdown began in Swiss. Hd had a dinner date planned for me and we were wondering whether to go or not. Ashu who loves any chance to get the adults of the house insisted that we go. "Could be the last time", the ever morbid teen prophesied. And I am glad we did! At least I ll remember fondly my last romantic meal in an Italian restaurant when I am dying on a overdose of Rasam and Rice with a side of kids whining and not to mention Hds annoying zoom calls!

The first week was a breeze. The kids were happy with no school. Hd was working from home and relaxed. I was cooking and cleaning and generally grateful for life. The second week was a bit crazy. The kids got school work and were stressed. Hd was putting out too many fires at the same time at work and I was cooking and cleaning and slightly grateful for life. The third week was painful. The kids were spending too much time on screen and fighting like dogs! Hd was using too many coffee mugs to my annoyance and I was cooking and cleaning and cursing my life. I planned to set up a hunger games sort of thing for the fourth week to see who would come out of it alive but I did nt want the prophecy of the resident teen to come true because obviously she would come out on top because she has been  planning our murders for far too long! So I resigned to my fate and cooked and cleaned and screamed and yelled and all was back to normal. Amazing how we get used to things given enough time, huh? 

Hd and I go out for a walk almost every day. One of us go out to do groceries twice a week. We get almost everything. We are safe and healthy and relatively happy and still it feels like we are in a limbo. I stopped reading news except once a day. Not reading or clicking on any forwards unless and until a certain stubborn sibling calls up and yells at me to see it because I will like it! (I did nt!) I am reading like crazy. (Questionable content though! Don't ask!) I finished a 12 week coursera course I began in Jan as a new year resolution and am very proud of it. Began another short course three weeks back. I am so thankful for technology and all my privilege but still it does nt stop me from yelling at Hd when he comes back with Avocados from the grocery store. Current gen dudes are useless in the face of apocalypse or what? In his defense, it was on sale it seems! Like I said, we are doomed!

Jokes aside, I hope you and your loved ones are safe. I hope the totem stops spinning soon! (The kids are nt the only ones with too much screen time!)