family

Matters of the heart!

“Archana, tell me what do you really like about him?” My friend PN just want to make sure that I made the right choice…

Hmm… What do I really like about him? His love for his family and the fierce pride he has about his father. The way he gently teases his mother and how she acts annoyed. Having a brother’s protectiveness for his sister the struggle he had to let go of her. The difficulty he faced to accept someone else in the ‘protector’ role. A profound respect that he has for his brother – in – law which was earned by that amazing gentleman over time…

I love the way he seeks out my hand, the gentle pressure of his arm on my shoulder. The way his resolute brown eyes sparkle with laughter and darken with passion; his big palm that stays firmly on the small of my back when I’m boarding a bus or climbing up the stairs; Strong legs that walk many a mile just to meet me… I like watching him look at cars and admire bikes, cheeks rising up in a faint smile of approval, eyes glistening with excitement, his chest rising and falling in tune to the thrill. For all I know he could be that little boy in Ooty racing his lone tyre downhill!

 It’s all about the way he loves life and each day. Facing it dead on with fervor and faith, he never fails to keep me afloat.  Many years back, my good friend Sophie and I had a long discussion about flaws in people. There is no such thing as a perfect person, is there? We agreed that flaws can either be like holes in a boat or like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle… The ship can sink or the puzzle can be completed by binding it with several other pieces.

 In his case, neither is the hole big enough to cause damage, nor is he a difficult piece to fit.

God truly has loved me much.

I hope that answers your question PN!

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White-Knuckled Freefall…

Ok, here’s the thing. Everyone goes through a hard phase in life. It goes by many names: depression,time out, burn out, breakdown etc.

The past month has found me in one of those hard phases in life. Many changes have to be made, realities to be faced, truths to be accepted. Having been a listener and a soldier all this time, it’s no surprise that life has left me with no one to turn to.

How do you turn to people for help when you’ve been their shoulder in similar situations? How do you cry and not listen? How do you cut in and say “I’ve heard enough of your whining, I have some of  my own”? How do you make people understand that you aren’t avoiding them, just trying to make sense out of your life? How much can you hope for people to realize that you are human too?

Looking back at the past month: “Been busy”, “I’m meeting someone else”, “At work”, “In a meeting”, “On the toilet”, “I was sleeping”, “Taking my dog to the vet” were some of the reasons I spewed on friends who wanted to catch up. I’ve been absolutely free, met no one, not had a meeting in a long while, don’t have a dog and I don’t use my phone in the bathroom.

There were people who decided I was haughty and just plain stopped speaking to me. “You are too busy for us huh?”, ” She must be busy with her ‘other’ friends”, “She’s not here when I need her, what color shirt should I pick now?”, “Whatever, I’m not bothered”

There were also the ones who saw the walls and shamelessly barged in dragging me out kicking and screaming. I owe my sanity and smile to them.

Here are  10 unforgettable moments:

10. The bottled eyed fish says “What’s the point in just being there for the heehee s, I have to be a shoulder too. Come on, what’s going on?”

9. My sister and I go out on a girls’ night out. Too disturbed to enjoy, I drag her to unrelated places that just pop into my head. That night in bed, I get her SMS “I enjoy spending time with you! We should do this more often you know? I love you”

8. Marcus calls from far far away:  “My friend will pick you up, you are getting a full day at the spa. Now tell me, is something wrong Boogs?”

“You can’t BUY information from me like that”

“Plan B is coercion – choose wisely”

7. Long ride to my favorite restaurant in the world with my best friend.

6. Mom treads carefully and makes sure she doesn’t leave me alone a lot. We find our way to a play through pouring rain. Quite an adventure.

5. BPC (Haven’t obtained permission to publish his name yet) makes sure that I get a huge hug and we tell each other that we’ll be ok. The plays and movies make us feel a little better. His dandanakka dance made sure we laughed our asses off for sometime, like nothing bad had ever happened…

4. Ashwin notes that I haven’t been eating. I get a call at 1.30 am at work. “Hopey, I’m at your office and I brought food.”

3. Thomas takes me to watch ‘The ugly truth’. It actually helped a little. “You are my best friend and my sister. I can’t see you like this. I need you”, he says. For once, my eyes well up when am not sad.

2. My little brother IMs me in the middle of the night : Arun: wat happened???am so worried about you…
1. The need to get away from people and places and faces drives me to church. The silence irrigates my parched soul and tears finally feel free to run their course… Feeing a tug, I open my eyes… Between my bowed head and my lap is a tiny little fist peppered with my tears, it opens to reveal a small candy bit in half.

As I walk out, the candy tucked in my cheek and the tears back in the vault, there seems to be something different about the night air… Atleast I’m walking now…

I ran to you…

I half opened my eyes and grunted… The sky outside my window was ominously dark. I scrambled to find my phone which had disrespectfully trod on my dreams.

Managing a thin smile at the doorman, I walked unsteadily towards the restaurant where the famous breakfast buffet was in full swing. 12 hours had passed since Uncle S had called and invited me to breakfast.

Uncle S, as I call him, is the father of my late love J S. It has been 5 years since we lost him to Leukemia and the wound is as raw today as it was back then.

I stood there amidst the invisible bustle of a 5-star breakfast buffet, my feet held ground and surely by slowly hardening industrial concrete.

Courtesy:Photobucket.com

Courtesy:Photobucket.com

Uncle S rose to greet me, built like a linebacker, he stood six feet two and gently ushered me into the chair he held out with all the grace of a 70’s gentleman, which only he can pull off.  He patiently answered my inquiries about his family and health and I offered excerpts from my life, which I was sure he held no care for.

Half way into buttering our toast , we stared at each other, small talk exhausted.

“How have you been?” he asked for the second time. I stared at my piece of toast noticing how thinly the butter was spread and yet the piece of toast seemed very heavy in my hands.

Placing the offensive piece of toast on my quarter plate, I assured him that I was fine.

Scooping some beans into his mouth he looked at me. His onyx eyes glistening, betraying the tempest within… I paused and listened to the kettle drums in my ears dreading his silence, the most eloquent herald of bitter tidings.

Fortunately he just sighed and we went back to pushing the food around in our plates for a decent time.

“Do you still miss him?” He asked, staring stiffly at his knees.

An imperceptible drop in room temperature led me to draw myself together. “Yes” I answered knowing what was to come. The chill would spread to my spine and I would go into that subliminal state of shock where I would want to escape into J S’ arms; the only place in this twisted universe and the next, where I would find the warmth to sustain me. It was how I have dealt with it all these years.

Men in crisp hotel garb walked back and forth in the periphery of my vision, in the distance Uncle J was asking me a question that didn’t carry over the table, my fingers were curled around the arms of the chair… I was battle ready.  A shiver passed through me and I fell back into the comfortable warmth of strong arms. Horrified I opened my eyes; those weren’t J S’ arms.

Excusing myself I ran to the powder room and looked at the mirror long and hard. Staring to my eyes, looking for guilt, betrayal… and they were as elusive as a sweet rain drop on a hot summers’ day. That instant I knew my answer.

With renewed strength of spirit, I walked back.

“I miss him every single day Uncle J. But, I also know that loving and caring for someone else does not mean that it is a betrayal to his memory. I love your son very much”

Choking up I stared at the man across the table. A single tear tracing the rivulets of the worry lines in his face. It wasn’t clear when the salty drop had escaped its confines or why. But the knowledge that we both crossed a barrier, which had held our hearts captive for a long time, restored every thread of hope in my weary mind.

Bidding good-bye I walked back to the parking lot, hitting the number 4 on my speed dial to see the contact picture pop up… “I ran to you” I whispered to the picture… “God help me”

I-am-back!Buhahaha!

So yes, I’m back!

And what have I been doing all this time?

Well, I’ve been on an excellent family vaction to Kodaikanal!

The hills were magnificent and the cold was soothing! We traveled by train from Chennai to Virudhunagar and my uncle picked us up in his car. We drove uphill to Kodai. The guest house we stayed in was at Kohinoor (Yes like the diamonds and the condoms) and it was a sight for sore metropolitan eyes!

One of the many beautiful valleys @ Kodaikanal

One of the many beautiful valleys @ Kodaikanal

Most of the pictures are in my Orkut / Facebook albums.

I also had one of the best weekends ever! I caught up with Thomas (Same Restaurant but no crazy photographer this time)! Then we decided to hit a multiplex. Come weekend and all the movies were sold out except Terminator Salvation. The movie wasn’t bad. I liked the bikes! After the movie I succumbed to a waffle basket and then we rode by the beach.

Waffle Basket @ City Center!

Waffle Basket @ City Center!

I was wiped out by the time I reached home as I had not slept since my night shift the previous night.

Sunday dawned bright and early with my brother Arun Joseph offering to take me to Ice Age: Dawn of the dinosaurs! Little did I know, that our brother and sister quality time would be shared by 31 other friends !!Who am I to complain, we had the best seats in the house… Wait, we had almost all the seats in the house!

I love animated movies and I’ve been a fan of Scrat and Sid since the very first part. Disappointing however, is Diego, who turns out to be a big softie. No saber tooth tiger here folks! He acts like an overgrown fur ball. And to think I loved him! Kind of reminds me of Chandler Bing in Season 9 and 10, where he is always reading a newspaper or a magazine and isn’t really ‘Chandler’ ish anymore… After the movie and some fun with the gang, I came home to await the arrival of my irritating Uncle R. (Don’t’ ask, rolling eyes).

I was supposed to meet with the blogger gang and Apar and Aaarti called in (Hugz Y’all!). Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it as it was too far away , to make it back home on time. Thankfully, Ashwin (my friend who lives close by) invited me over as a mutual friend and her husband were visiting. I couldn’t make it to her wedding and so I sheepishly dragged my behind there and offered an apology for the second time. She didn’t seem to mind and it was all laughs and hugs just like old times…

I came back home in time to catch Uncle R gorging on rotis and mangoes at my dining table. Mom seemed relieved to see me and my brother who was at wits’ end never looked at me with so much love!

I spent most of Monday drinking coffee and basking in peoples’ lovely comments on my new hair cut…

Hopefully I’ll find time to blog more often!

That’s my weekend folks! Hope yours was just as much fun and eventful.