Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's alright

It’s been almost 5 months since my mother passed away. I have been thinking for quite some time now that I should write about her. The question was what do I write about her? How do I summarize…well, my mother?

I suppose I could write about the risk she took leaving her family and even her country behind and going to Germany…to the unknown…at such a young age…seeking a better life for her dear ones and herself.

Or maybe about the romantic she was. About how she met the love of her life in Germany and started her own little family.

I could write about the hardships she endured, managing a full time job and bringing up three children without a support system.

You see, there are so many different sides to my mother. I would have to write quite a lot to cover what I know about her. And even that wouldn’t tell you everything about her.

This dilemma caused me to postpone this blog entry. Today morning, while I was thinking about her on my way to work, I remembered something and felt that THIS was the best way to remember her.

“It’s alright” (Saaramilla in Malayalam). These must be the words I heard the most from my mother.
Every time I was upset about something, she’d listen to my sorrows and console me with “It’s alright”.
Each time when I thought that my world was crashing down on me, she’d bring back hope into my life by believing. Believing that everything would turn out to be alright.

Every time that I called her to vent about something in my life, every time I was just itching to give people around me a piece of my mind….she’d listen patiently and finally say “It’s alright. Leave it.”
She never encouraged me to argue with anyone, no matter if I was right or not. She’d agree with me alright…but asked me to leave it. Because it would be alright.

And for some reason, it helped. I knew what she would tell me even before I spoke to her. And I’d argue with her about her advice. How can things be alright? Why should I leave it? But like she said, in the end, it would be alright and no one else had to be hurt / offended because I finished venting with her.
God only knows what my relationship with my people would have been right now if she had not stopped me all those times.

It was not just me. During the last two months that I spent at home in Kerala, I heard many people tell me about their experience of pouring out their sorrows to my mother and that they felt better just by hearing her say “It’s alright”. And they believed it too.

But say what you might, right now, I feel cheated in life. I feel cheated of having my mother around for at least another 20 years, cheated that she will not be there physically for many milestones in our lives.
Right now, I’ll close my eyes and imagine her holding my hand, gently stroking my hand with her thumb, and telling me that it will be alright.

Maybe it will be. I hope so. 


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thirteen – Lucky or not?

Sleep is eluding me again so I was rewinding and thinking about this year.

When the year started, I was worried and tensed about leaving my boys for a whole year. I was worried about missing out on important things in their lives. I worried about missing my parents. I worried about how I would manage on my own.

Sure, I was looking forward to the challenges / tasks I accepted, but then, for me there is always a sort of apprehension about the unknown…

Surprisingly, this year turned out to be amazing!
Yes, I DID miss out on stuff with my boys. Tim lost a few teeth, started attending catechism and started school. But on the positive side, my boys were so cooperative / understanding about my absence. We didn’t have any “crying over video chat or the mobile” sessions or any such situations. They tell me from time to time that they miss me, ask me when I will be back…but other than that, my boys (all 3 of them) have been most supportive.
Thanks to this year we were also able to spend some lovely time together here in Germany. This is something I had never imagined earlier. We got to attend my best friend’s wedding together, something that I had thought impossible. I even got to be her maid (well, matron) of honor!

Yes, I DID miss my parents. The longest I have spent without meeting them would be 3-4 months at a stretch. I missed talking to them for an hour every second day. I missed spending Christmas with them.
But on the other hand, I got to meet a lot of their friends and heard a lot of stories about their youth. I connected a lot with my Mom on a personal level. I spent quite some time during trips thinking about her. I was able to see things differently, now that I am also a grown up, a mother. It helped me understand her much better. I feel so much closer to her.

And yes, I DID manage on my own. I was surprised myself, but I realized that my dependence on others is not something that cannot be changed.

And most of all, this year was MY year. This was my year to go down memory lane, to meet old friends, to visit places and people and to make new friends. And I made some wonderful friends. I am so thankful for meeting the people I met this year…for the relationships that were forged this year. SO, so thankful!

So, ups and downs – this year was a good one. I am optimistically looking forward to 2014!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

To plan or not to plan...


We moved to India when I was 10. One thing that made this move easier was a secret that I had with my best friend. The plan was that I accompany my parents to India, stay for a while and then sneak back to Germany. It was going to be easy…I had a passport with which the flight attendants would let me board, I’d tell them that I wanted to go to Germany…they’d take me, of course…and then my friend and her parents would adopt me. Like I said, easy…right?

It did take some time to realize that this was a case of “Easier said than done”. When I recently met with my friend after 22 years, we had a good laugh about how naïve we were as kids.

What made me think about this now? I happened to attend a baptism at church the other day. My thoughts drifted from baptism to other highlights in life…marriage, family and eventually, of course, death.
It made me wonder about all the plans that I make now…about the family, the trips, retirement, meeting friends….all those things…am I still being naïve? What guarantee do I have that any of these things will ever happen? None at all….but I still keep on making them.

I have plans to settle in Kerala some day, a nice home, meeting with friends and traveling around… I dream about the boys growing up and all that..
Would it help if I stopped making these plans just because I feel that I might be building castles in the air? I don’t think so. Making plans is good. They help me go one even when life seems tough. They are the promises I make myself that no matter how difficult life gets, it will be better soon.

So yes, I am going to continue planning my lovely future. Yes, there will be ups and downs…but I will just plan some more and enjoy each moment that I am granted.


Sunday, October 20, 2013


Imagine this. A little girl. The princess of her family. Apple of her parents’ eyes. Not a worry in the world. THEN….one day it all ended. There was a new princess in the kingdom, who kicked the little princess off her throne and hogged the limelight instead. 

Now comes the part that is going to make you cry – That little princess was me. Okay....the picture is exaggerated, neither was my hair brown nor was I that pretty. But you get the idea, don't you? And the new princess? Obviously, my little sister.

When our parents told my brother and me that we were going to have another sibling, I hoped for a sister….which girl doesn’t? Couple of years later, I wished that we had a little brother instead. At least then, the kid would have tailed my brother instead of me.

We started sharing a room when we moved to India and when dear brother broke his leg, he used the opportunity to escape from the “kids’ room” and claim his own, citing that he couldn’t climb stairs. I’m sure he could have if he tried….but maybe he had some kind of foresight on the kind of life he’d have sharing a room with two sisters.

If I had to use one word to describe my sister as she was growing up? I’d choose “pesky”.
She was always there. Trying to find out what I was doing and trying to get me into trouble. And hey, don’t think for a second that I don’t know that you tried finding my diary to get me into more trouble!
When I'd look forward to enjoying a night listening to the sound of heavy rain and thunder, she’d disturb me from her side of the room “I’m scared….can I sleep with you?” and there ends my night.

When I left home to attend college, she took over our room and made me (and still does) feel like a visitor to MY room when I come home. Over the years she became a teenager and I was a “been there, done that” know-it-all elder sister. This led to constant fights between us. I felt that my parents were too lenient with her and that she got away with everything she did.

And then, as if magically, it all changed. She got married and moved out of country. Our talks became more of sharing and discussions. Being there for one another. When I found myself in need to cry the other day, I didn’t have to think twice about talking to her. Somehow I knew that she’d be the right one to open up to. Maybe I accepted her as an equal (well, technically she has to become the mother of two to become my equal)….but still… I feel nice about the relation we have today. We tease each other; we share our joys and troubles….
Do I wish we had developed this relationship years ago? Actually….no, I don’t.
I am happy remembering the pesky little sister days and moments.
And I am sure that the past, the way we came, will help enforce the bond we have now.

A short story before I stop:
Once I was called by our school principle because li’l sis had signed her own test paper and tried passing it off as our uncle’s signature. When I asked her why she used that particular name instead of using the name of an actual uncle, she replied “But this was the only name I could spell!!”

:) Love you li’l sis!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My elusive friend...

Sleep – A wonderful pleasure that most of us cherish. Many a times there is nothing that brings more joy than the very thought of being asleep soon, or waking up at night and finding out that there are couple of more hours before the alarm rings.

Quick flashback….. There used to be a time when I abhorred the idea of sleeping. Weekend or holiday afternoons during our childhood in Germany used to be preceded by a stern warning from Dad that if we do not sleep, then there would be no TV for us in the evening.
 I even remember this particular occasion that bro and I had been looking forward to watching this movie (Valhalla). As usual, Dad told us that in the event that we do not sleep, he’d not show us the movie. Being the obedient son that he is, Bro went ahead and slept, while I spent couple of hours tearing off the wallpaper on my side of the room, counting minutes as they went by. When I heard Dad approach our room, I quickly climbed under the covers and pretended to sleep. I waited patiently, listened to my Dad bending over Bro and then over me to check if we were sleeping and then I heard the door shut. I immediately jumped up to find my Dad standing inside the room – He noticed that I wasn’t asleep. And guess what? I didn’t get to watch the movie. Part of his parenting style, there were no empty threats. However, he recorded the movie (unbeknownst to me), and surprised me with it after 2 days and after he made me promise never to try and cheat again.

Since Bro and I shared a room, we also had the habit of telling each other made up bedtime stories. He would tell me stories of wars, machine gun sounds and bombs and everything to which I had to audibly nod every 5 seconds. The next day, I would narrate my story of fairies and princesses and unicorns. If asked to acknowledge that he’s listening, he’d assure me that he was….only for me to find him snoring by the time I finish my story.

Fast forward. We reached India and I discovered the joy of sleeping. Afternoon siestas on weekends and holidays and sleeping in really late during holidays (and I mean really late). Bro had a tough time waking me up every morning at 5 o’clock during my 10th standard to ensure that I study (only to find me asleep on my books, or in the midst of a suspiciously long personal prayer half an hour later J).

Hostel life was a wonderful time. I used to get up at 5 on weekdays, but on weekends, I would get up only to eat and to attend calls from my parents.

I’ll cut short a long story, but I am sure you get my drift. I love to sleep and even having kids changed nothing about that. If the boys try to wake me up on weekends, I pull them into bed and scratch their backs and encourage them to sleep with me for a while.

Coming to Germany, I was really concerned about my sleep. What if I overslept? There’s no one to wake me up here…. And sleep, is one thing that I have not done after coming here. I go to sleep early (by 9 pm – so that I definitely get enough sleep) and I started off by waking up to the alarm at 5:45. Slowly, I started waking up earlier and now, I wake up at 5 or 5:15 even on holidays!

Now the reason I am writing all this? The time now is 23:20 and I actually went to sleep an hour and half ago….but was (obviously) unsuccessful. So I thought I’d put my thoughts down and that I’ll hopefully be yawning by the end of this (not a yawn so far). Maybe I will be like those grandmas who love telling their visitors that they just can’t sleep because they are so old. Well, I think I will head back to bed now and will myself to sleep….maybe I should try counting sheep….or ask Morpheus or the sandman to visit me…


Thursday, April 18, 2013


Huggy came into our lives on Tim’s 1st birthday. He was a gift from our dear friends and that evening we wondered what to do with him.

Huggy is a heart-shaped soft toy, with a pair of legs and 2 outstretched arms and a big smile on his face. What else do you call someone like that, if not Huggy?

During his good years, Huggy has been there for all of us to hug. Tim and Nathan spent a lot of time hugging him and even I have occasionally sat down somewhere hugging him. Through the years he developed some tears here and there and I tried my best to patch him up every time.

Now that the boys are “big boys”, Huggy has been kept in storage. He comes out for air at times, gets hugged and goes back in. We’ve not had the heart to gift him away… after all, he’s OUR Huggy J

What made me write an ode to Huggy? The fact that I really understand what Huggy feels like in the cupboard.

Some of you might know that I am currently not at home and will not be for a while. Hugs are so abundant at home. Tim and Nathan like to come by every now and then, hug me and say “I love you, Mama!” and I really miss all that. I told Lindo to keep on hugging the boys every now and then so that when I come back, they won’t feel that I am suffocating them. They are growing so quickly…what if they outgrow their huggable years by the time I am back?

This time has also made me realize that we are very touching people (for the lack of a better term). We hug friends when we meet them; we hug them when we leave. I walk arm in arm with my cousin….. And I miss all that.

Please don’t get me wrong. This is NOT an invitation for random people to come and hug me! I am just thinking out loud….

Well, anyway, I’m going to be optimistic and know that the boys will hug me tight when we get back together. And I vow to take out Huggy from his hiding and give him a big hug when I am back home!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A new experience

A long, long time ago….

Well....around 1 month or so, Lindo and I found ourselves with an unexpected long weekend since his parents had to go out of town and the boys had holidays from school….  While we were wondering about ways to make the day off worth its while, we hit upon a great idea. 

“Why don’t we paint the boys’ room?”

Yes, why indeed, any other person would ask him / herself…but then, we are not those sane people who do everything for a very good reason, or sometimes just because we haven’t tried our hand at it yet.

So out came the paints and out went the toy boxes and mattresses and everything movable except for the beds. The boys had their hair covered with old T-shirts and Tim became the official paint stirrer and Nathan was in-charge for the food…mainly eating it :)

The previous paint was 3 walls of light yellow and one dark blue wall…we covered all the walls with fresh yellow. It was rather easy on the previously yellow walls, but the blue wall took quite some time. By end of day 1, we were done with the base coats and were wondering about how we could transform this yellow room into something that the boys would love.

Those who know our boys well know that they love vehicles, planes…any mode of transport, so that was what it would be…next came the green paint and we painted hills and some more hills. Lindo took the bigger wall while I was assigned the one with the window (maybe because he knows that I can’t draw???) We bought a sponge (Asian paint royale, none the less) and somehow managed a semi-decent sponge finish on one wall. 

2 days later we completed the project and I have to say, the nursery kid in me is pretty pleased with my effort. I agree that the sheep that I drew look kind of sinister (they kind of remind me of Bane from Batman…with the neck muscles and all), but the boys didn’t notice any flaws and just loved the whole room. 

My art (i know, i draw like my kids do...sometimes even worse)

 Lindo's side
  My side (there's an aeroplane too....i couldn't squeeze it into the picture)


So here we are with a room that looks as good as new while we had a lot of fun experiencing something new :)