Letting go

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Nayana pored over the latest muse, her mind quickly conjuring up several images of the final picture. She closed her eyes briefly to pick the one closest to her heart. It was like a jig-saw that needed several pieces to be infused as a whole.

The browser on her laptop had several tabs opened, each opening up a new dimension to her train of thoughts, throttling them to their destination through the route that Nayana simultaneously charted out in her creative mind.

Nayana cherry-picked her words and strung across a lovely tapestry of nuanced writing. She moved her critical eye over it, tying up loose threads, and adjusting the detailing. Satisfied, she took a deep breath and braced herself for the final stage. She had to let go.

As she let her labour of love travel through the digital space, Nayana imagined with anguish her label over it being peeled off, to be glued on with a different name. Sigh, the life of a ghost writer!

I'm like that!

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Like most of us, I've my idiosyncracies. Certain tendencies that are like reflex actions to me amuse others, for instance, my husband. Of course, I tell him off that he's the weird one. Now, don't we all display some quirky behaviour that seems absolutely rational to us? The operational words here are, of course, 'to us'.

I thought of sharing some of my quirks with you all. It'll be a fun exercise to see how many of you find them weird and how many identify with me. So, here you go:

#1. I need my mail Inbox to, at all times, have zero unread messages. Unread messages, some junk others spam, that keep piling up make me restless and I need to delete them, report as spam, whatever, almost immediately. The spam folder also needs to be emptied, pronto! There's something about those numbers within brackets denoting unread messages that play on my mind and I've to do something about it. So, you can imagine my state of mind after a long vacation where I haven't had access to my emails. This is an emergency. I come back and ruthlessly make a clean sweep, swiftly sorting the junk from necessary. A lot of emails come in as a result of subscription channels. Normally, these get a brief glance but not so during emergencies. Only the absolutely necessary ones remain from the pile and then a sigh of relief escapes through my senses. I immediately feel sorted and happy!

Likewise for WhatsApp messages. I'm, by choice or destiny, a part of scores of common groups that are active by the minute through the day. I've, to retain my sanity, put most of them on "mute for a year". Yet, I need to click on the group periodically and make the green pop-ups go away. And, it doesn't mean I'm reading the messages.

The husband, on the other hand, has 3785 unread emails lying in his inbox. Oh dear, I cannot express how it feels when I see those numbers in bold within a bracket crying out for attention! I asked him once and he shrugged it off casually saying those emails are not important, hence unread. Why not delete them? He shrugged again and then looking at my alarmed state, snorted with laughter. That annoyed me further!

#2. Same with spills, however minor, on the cooking stove. I need to wipe them clean immediately. Most people accumulate the spills over the course of a cooking session and then set on the cleaning task. Not me. The stove surface is simultaneously wiped off the sprinkles of oil, broth, milk, etc even as these said items may be boiling over the gas. I always have a wipe handy when I'm cooking.

C has branded me as half-mental or "ara-loosu" as he calls me. It seems once we had a tiff and in the midst of intense argument, I was simultaneously found wiping the surface furiously. He recounted the observation with great amusement much later in the day and chuckled to add that only because he feared for his safety he had stiffled laughter inside his throat and quickly escaped to leave for work.

#3. I once got a potted plant that had the sapling planted away from the centre of the pot. No, I didn't lose sleep over it but only mentioned it as a minor irritant to the husband. Ironically, we were discussing Sheldon (from the Big Bang series) and his OCD. C slyly remarked that I'm at times as crazy as Sheldon. For the record, I don't have any OCD. Just more particular about certain things.

#4. When I was younger, my mother used to have a harrowing time tying my hair into two ponytails. The difficulties were multiple. Firstly, I had very thick and silky hair rendering it quite tough to get all the strands together enough to tie them or braid them. To top this, I was very finicky about the hair being parted exactly at the centre point in the front of the head and continue as a straight line until the nape. A slight deviation and I'd know (sense the comb movement) immediately and ask mother to re-do it. Even at the cost of being late to wherever I was going to. I definitely drove my mother up the wall because the waterworks were also forever ready in case she didn't comply with my specifications. Sheesh! Now, that I'm a mother myself I'm completely in awe of her patience and kindness. And, so glad that karma didn't come back to bite me. I've a son :-p

So, now that I've bared my secrets with you, tell me I'm not all that weird. Even better, tell me your quirks and give me some reason to wink knowingly at you :-)

A sweet renunion

The house echos with familiar patter
a constant rain of chitter-chatter

A stream of hugs and kisses pour
"miss you's and love you's" galore

Stories flow of another home yonder,
a loving aunt, and sibling love grander

Suitcases full of love and warmth
grandparents had showered forth,

Got unpacked neatly with care
reminiscing about the fun affair 

Surprise gifts were thrown in
for us parents in the waiting

By the adorable, little guy
who's back from Mumbai!

A first Mother's Day card for me
Heart's melted now

Sweet nothings to reminisce about after a visit home

No matter how old you grow and how long it's been since you left home after marriage, your parents will always treat you special and will try to recreate the atmosphere like you'd never left. 

Usually, if the husband is not travelling with me, Appa insists on picking me up and seeing me off at the airport. And, I always argue knowing only too well in my heart he won't listen. This time, it was Amma who insisted and both of them ended up coming to the airport to see me off :-)

It's sweet to see how Amma feeds the crows and pigeons that feast heartily at a specially made food table outside the kitchen window. The food vanishes within just a few moments of serving. The regulars take the liberty of cawing hungrily and demanding food or more food on certain days and Amma smiles and obliges.

A visit home is never complete without the mandatory gorging on chats and vada pav and binge shopping. Gratifying to say that this was checked off the list this time too!

Love the way my niece and R bond together. They are an explosive pair, just a year apart and similar in nature. They can be more than a handful to handle for the ones in whose care they are in but the sibling love and camaraderie between them is beautiful.

Snaps from a few years back

This time, R decided to stay back for a few more days and we had long discussions about how he felt about it. From "Yes, I'll stay. No worries. You go" to "Amma, I want to play for some more days with S. But, I'll miss you. So, can't we shift here forever?" and "Please, tell Appa to find a job here!"

The conversation would take a different shape at other times,
"It has to be my plan and not your plan of my staying back with pati and periamma!" to "I don't want to come home with K periappa. Ask Appa to come and pick me up" to "Ok, then, but, don't forget to come to the Airport to pick me up!"

His innocent questions, concerns, and a constant plea to shift base tugged at my heartstrings. Finally, he made sure it was "his" plan to stay back! I was certainly proud to see my little boy, all of 6 years, weighing the pros and cons carefully and taking a big decision. I'd worry that he was a little too casual when it came to people and relationships. How wrong I was! He definitely has that tender spot in his heart and understands and expresses his vulnerability. 

It felt so strange to travel alone that day. Getting used to a quiet house too took some time. Yet, I'm grateful for my sister for coming up with the plan and showing the confidence to see it through. R had always bonded with my parents and sister indirectly; as a by-product of my relationship with them. While he shares a separate and special bond with S, my parents have been more of S's grandparents and my sister more of S's mother. I wanted that to change and this arrangement gives the perfect ambience for a direct bond with them to grow roots.