Home… Dream Home…

Home — that blessed word, which opens to the human heart,

 The most perfect glimpse of Heaven,

And helps to carry it thither, as on an angel’s wings.

– Lydia Maria Child

It was January 2009, my mother’s birthday was coming up in May. There was nothing special about the year or anything. Owing to mortal fear of my soul burning for ever in hell, I cannot tell you how old she turned that year. My younger brother A and I liked to surprise mom now and then.

When I was in the 11th grade, we surprised mom by inviting her estranged niece over, I still remember the pineapple cake – all mom remembers is her niece walking into the living room. She still can’t remember the cake…

She is a single parent. She balanced her job, running the house, us… Completely brought back to the verge of bankruptcy thrice by people she trusted, she never let her children go without food or education. Our small apartment was pristine, we had nutritious food and went to  top schools in the city. We counted our blessings and thanked God every day.

As we sat thinking back on all the things she had to forgo for us, we realised how blessed we were. The people who stood by her were her friends. They never asked anything in return, they protected her, loved her, supported her, told her off, put up with her and were there for her in every step of life. In doing so they kept her focused, determined and strong. In doing so they also had a hand in creating the beautiful life we have. All these thoughts were swirling around in our mind… So… we made a plan.

It was 11.55 pm; we could hear the air conditioner in mom’s bedroom humming. We had this tradition, every birthday at midnight; A would wake mom up and play this movie he makes using all the pictures he took of her during the course of the previous year. Like a photo memoir if you will…

“Happy Birthday Ma!” we woke her up. Excited about the photos as usual, she rubbed her sleepy eyes, and sat in front of the computer… Picture after picture ran past her and as the screen faded to black A said “Surprise”… And there they were all of her friends, wishing her good luck, recounting old memories, telling her how much she meant to them. A and I had labored over the past two months, gathering information, visiting her friends and filming them, friends from other cities had their videos recorded in mobile phones and e-mailed to us. It was beautiful, she was beautiful, my mother sitting there her humble self, only thinking about what others meant to her, hadn’t stopped to think that she had enriched people’s lives too.

When morning dawned we spent the day with her and packed her off to visit a few churches with her mother in the evening. We had planned to have a surprise dinner in the terrace. So we made some paper lanterns and set up the terrace. She came home to an empty house and called us “Come on up to the terrace ma!” we said.

She was over joyed looking at the paper lanterns and rushed to hug us, but stopped in her tracks. She could make out some other shapes in the dark, dull lit terrace and there was a blur of saris and colognes and jasmine… Pandemonium- Friends meeting each other after a long time some of them after decades, laughing crying hugging and talking all at the same time. I would like to believe we found most of them and brought them together that day.

This is my home, built with tough love, some TLC and a lot of friendship. These memories are my dream home and every single person who touched our lives with love and friendship lives there with us and there is room for more…

Dinner was sponsored by my mom’s cousin. There was ice-cream and cake … maybe there was a pineapple cake, but I can’t remember.

 Thank you DP for the writing prompt!

I love when Amma says…

1. I’m proud of you: It has given me a sense of elation and accomplishment like no other just hearing this from Amma. It doesn’t matter if I finished last, not even if I didn’t run the race. Just hearing her say this makes me feel like a winner.
2. You make me happy: Coming from a woman who spent her entire youth trying to make people happy, this is one of the best things I can hear. Amma has been there for anyone who needed help, she has received a fair share of heart ache in return too. Making her happy can be the highlight of my day!
3. It’s OK: Amma can be really strict at times. But in the end, she always has your back. When I come to think of it, I had/have panache of getting into sticky situations and there is always Wonder Woman to the rescue!
4. I’m sorry: Admitting mistakes to your children may feel weird, but Amma made me understand that everyone is capable of making mistakes. I can gracefully get my uncomfortably wide feet in my even wider mouth and when I do, I always remember to admit my mistake.
5. I forgive you: This is something Amma does so graciously these days. I’ve seen her struggle to put things behind her, to forget, to accept, to forgive. I’m not there yet. It is very hard for me to forgive or forget. I only hope I can learn the art of forgiveness from her.
6. The last but not the least (cliché attack!) most favorite thing Amma has ever said to me is: “Dinner is ready!”

Pink, Red and Black!

We were supposed to meet up to pick up a new bike (Yamaha Fazer).

The order was placed a month back and he had to wait for a long time to get the color that he wanted – Black!

So finally the day arrived and I was waiting for Thomas to come, wearing my Oh so pink shoes and drinking sugarcane juice!
Sugarcane JuiceMy Pink Shoes!The Red Ambulance

There was a red ambulance parked in front of my scooter. As time went by, I noticed smoke coming out of the side windows. It had me wondering… so I tried to take a picture of it with my phone… Just as I hopped off my scooter, the doors opened and two scrawny ‘hospital attender’ guys jumped out and locked the door behind them. Am telling you they were smoking in the back of the ambulance! lol! Now, that’s a first for me. Never have I even imagined!Thomas Yamaha Fazer!

Anyways, we went and got the bike, took it to church, had it blessed. Then, I rode home to spend the some quality time with some other friends as well.
The highlight of the weekend was furniture shopping with Ma. It’s nice to see her giggling like a school kid, running around, looking at shoe racks, antique bedside furnishings and ‘authentic teakwood cupboards at 50% discount’.

It’s like she the prodigal son has finally come home… She sits on couches, measures kitchen fittings, tries computer tables, knocks on wood, shakes tea tables violently (probably an ancient fool-proof- earth quake-test) and brain drains the sales guy; all with an ethereal glow on her face (and no it’s not the aloe vera juice!)

When we leave the sales guy looks about to drown himself in a pool of acid. I loved it.

We then had dinner, just the two of us, talking, planning, dreaming, laughing… I realise that we both have missed this over the years. Just us girls, learning to respect each other for what we have been through and what we want to make out of it.

She looking back and I looking ahead.

If I turn out to be like my mother – I’d have only lived a righteous life, never giving up, doing things the right way, having no regrets and touching more people’s lives that I’d care to count.

Weekends… who knows what’s next 🙂