Balancing act

With Huz back in Tanzania for a week, it’s just Amu  and me and Fuzzy in the bubble, with Zahooran making an appearance early in the morning to clean up the mess we make on a daily basis. Things get a little lawless around here without Huz. Without him we degenerate into serial felons. We play computer games like fiends (current obsession being Angry Birds…..what fun!), we watch multiple episodes of  ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on dvd till the wee hours and we sleep at 4 am.

We eat only Soupy Maggi Noodles (mast masala if you please) for dinner, pizza and a heap of fries doused in chaat masala, ketchup and lemon and garlic mayo for lunch, and pancakes for breakfast. It is telling that I have described our meals in reverse order.

Yup, the bubble is a very unhealthy place to be in these days.

In the middle of all this decadence, I’ve been busily subscribing to some interesting blogs, which means I get a flurry of emails every day. Which makes me realise everybody updates their blog way more regularly than I do. Which makes me feel very uneasy and prone to panic attacks, with a pretty constant naggy feeling of not doing what I SHOULD be doing.

Funny thing about blogging is, everything I do becomes bloggable, so while I’m going about doing things my mind is thinking about how I could craft something fun and witty out of the most mind-numbingly mundane activities. Like doing the laundry or watering the plants, or even brushing Fuzzy and getting the firmly knotted tangles out of his voluminous fur. I flip on my laptop and open up all my various tabs, forgetting what a dangerous move that is. I am immediately distracted by new mails, new tweets, new notifications on facebook and fresh comments on the dashboard. Any hopes of writing anything, fly right out the window without me even realising it until an hour (or two) later, when I have read everything, replied to everyone, pored over all updates and watched a few videos.

In fact, sometimes I read some really amazing posts on other people’s blogs and they say what I want to say so much better, my motivation fizzles out like carbonation from an opened can of half-drunk soda in the fridge. (There’s no point holding on to that unused soda by the way, I might as well pour it down the drain immediately.)

Yesterday, a thought struck me anew and I thought I should articulate it somehow, and to this end, I have consciously closed all the other tabs on my browser, a great way of staying focused.

I find that I hang out with Amu a lot more when Huz is away. And as a consequence I end up bonding with her better, which makes me wonder why we don’t spend as much time together when Huz is around….

For one, Amu moves into my room at night…it’s as if she doesn’t want me to feel alone. Though, being an only kid, she’s the one who sleeps alone in her own room every night, even though she gets creeped out by rattly doors and strange sounds that have a rational explanation but which escape you when you’re disoriented in the no-man’s land between wakefulness and deep slumber.

We talk and we giggle and she goads and cajoles me into taking her wherever she whimsically decides to go…..and I pull myself out of my summer torpor, grumbling and complaining, but in the end we end up having a lot of fun.  She’s into photography in a big way, but too timorous at this point to do anything more than point and shoot from the car window as we drive around our part of the city…..she has a great eye and it always surprises me to see what she considers interesting enough to capture. And she composes her frames well!

I really appreciate her personality, I find. She knows what she wants and what she likes, and I have an inkling she feels comfortable enough to share ‘some’ of her secret thoughts with me…. sometimes. I know she scribbles in a diary (which she keeps rather temptingly on her shelf….and no, I haven’t read it, though I’m DYING to, but I understand it would be a violation of her privacy…dammit)

She surprises me with her maturity sometimes. She makes all these conscious decisions without anyone having to really tell her, least of all myself. The other day she decided she wants me to fill her wardrobe with a bunch of shalwar/kameezes. The need to dress conservatively sprang into action of its own accord, because SHE judged it wise to do so, living in the kind of world we do, where men cannot seem to control their eyes and everything female must be stared at and stared at, until a child who finds herself suddenly ‘grown up’ is bewildered into being self-conscious ALL the time.

It’s 5:30, and the sun is streaming in through the window, which would not have been very pleasant  an hour ago when there was a power cut, but right now we have electricity and so we have air-conditioning, which is really awesome very nice. I’m trying to dash off a post for today before I get cracking on the pile of cloth I need to stitch into fetching outfits for Amu and I. In the meantime, she is trying out the blouses we bought yesterday and figuring out ways to wear them ‘decently’ with jeans. She says the boys in her gang have a way of making fun of all the girls. She just told me they call her Mike Tyson and snigger while asking if she just got back from the gym. She is wondering aloud why they do this, looking endearingly uncertain. I tell her it’s probably cos she’s so sporty and has such awesome incredible shoulders.

I shooed her off to watch some tv while I finish off this post, as she was being rather kitten-like and distracting, curled up next to me on the bed, texting one friend or other and asking questions or making random observations about me, or making fun of my incorrect use of the language that kids speak in these days. Despite all my inadequacies, I still feel like an older sister rather than a mom to her, and I let her insult me good-naturedly, because that’s how sisters are.

that's Amu reflected in the hand-painted mirror 🙂 and my hair's messy because of the fan 😛

I’m glad I can still pull out the mom card when needed though, because that’s how our relationship swings. When she listens to me thoughtfully and nods her acquiescence after a ‘lecture’, I know she needs that firm bit of guidance that only a parent can give, and I’m thinking, the teens aren’t as bad as they’re cranked up to be.

*throws salt over shoulder*

Mother’s Day, in retrospect.

So yesterday was Mother’s Day and here’s my two-bit for what it’s worth.

There’s been a flurry of posts and related articles, not to mention radio shows and TV shows on the subject…people debating whether or not said day should be celebrated. Some glorify their mothers and quote sappy sayings ad nauseum, declaring their love for all the world to see or maybe they’re just saying it cos’ everybody else seems to be doing it. No doubt they mean it too!

It started a few days ago when everyone began changing their profile pictures on Facebook to one of their mom’s. It was kinda weird to see a woman’s picture with a man’s name next to it. Those of my girl friends who look a lot like their moms left me confused for a second, but not to be left behind, I hopped on to the bandwagon and put up a picture of my Mummy. It was fun! I ended up confusing a lot of people too 🙂

It’s true though, all my adult life I have had people exclaim and tell me how much I look like a younger version of my mother. It’s rough hearing things like that when the last person you want to turn into is your mom. *mock horror*

When you’re one of four daughters, every one of you will have a different relationship with your mother. My eldest sister has the dubious honour of being the firstborn, hence has all the personality traits that go with being the eldest sibling. My youngest sister was born 12 years after the first and has, true to tradition, always been a brat. The middle two, of which I am one, didn’t know what was expected of them so we played it safe and behaved like middle children should. Reasonably. But all my life I have been accused of being my mom’s favourite, maybe cos’ it slipped out of the horse’s mouth one day. The biggest manifestation of being the favourite was being home-schooled for the first six years of my life. The Montessori system had just been introduced in Karachi and Mummy got to learn of the methods of teaching. Don’t ask me how. She just did. I hear she made a lot of flash cards and stuff and proceeded to experiment on my brain. If only I had known what she was up to, I’m sure I would have felt like a guinea pig. Sadly, I have no recollection of all the trouble my mother went through to teach me alphabets and words using pictures, but perhaps it was a result of her efforts that I fared better at school than my predecessors. 😉

When we were growing up, we didn’t get showered with hugs or kisses. We weren’t a very touchy feely family. We were fed and clothed and bathed and de-flead and put through school and could do whatever the heck we wanted, as long as we allowed ourselves to be dragged to the masjid and agreed to pray namaaz and read the Quran.  Mom was always busy cooking in the mornings and always had hot meals waiting for us when we got back, ravenous, from school, after which she pretended we didn’t exist and set to work with demon-like determination on all her various pursuits, only taking a break from it if one of us needed a haircut. Or a birthday party.

But to get back to Mother’s Day, I really don’t see why anyone would NOT want to celebrate it. There are those who say things like ‘oh, mothers should be made to feel special every day, not just one designated day a year.’ What a load of crock.

The fact is, NO ONE makes their mother feel special every day. We take our moms for granted. That’s just how we roll, my friend. It’s the nature of the relationship. Goes with the territory, like it or not.

I love my mother, always have, always will, and I’m not ashamed to say that I feel rather silly saying it. Because THAT goes with the territory too. My mother is opinionated and is extremely good at getting her own way, and she bugs the hell out of me most times. That’s the reality of it. As for all that she has done for me all my life, I can’t really say I feel grateful. I just feel entitled! That’s what parents are SUPPOSED to do! It’s give and take really. Kids give parents the pleasure of their company, parents take care of the kids. It’s win-win all the way. Imagine how lonely our parents would be if we weren’t there. Actually, it’s US they should be grateful for! There should be a day for US!

Seriously though, it’s only after getting married and having her own family that a woman realizes just how much she must do, and how thanklessly. We’re basically unsung heroes, even if I say so myself (on behalf of all mothers.) I shall leave the specifics to your imagination. (Hint: think…1) pregnancy/labour; 2) diapers; 3) cracked nipples. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.)

So my point is, by all means, be good to your mothers. Love them in your own way, whether you hug them or not, declare your love, or not. You don’t need me to tell you that, so I’ll shut up. But I’ll tell you this. Mother’s day is here to stay. So If you don’t do something specifically nice for her that day, it’s bound to hurt. Don’t underestimate the power of a present. Something you just KNOW your mother will love. It may just be a token, or it may be just another thing you do for her amongst the other things you do for her all year round. But why ignore the celebration of it, just because you’re against the principle of it? Being against a principle is a principle too. And it’s just idiotic. Does that sound opinionated? I can’t help it, I get it from my Mom 😀