Cycle away…

Being born and raised in a bustling metropolis in India, learning to cycle was a far fetched idea.

With my house on the main street, and cars whizzing past all the time, cycling was never an option.

So that 2 wheel vehicle was an enigma to me all my life!

Yes! Until my little ones started cycling…………my aim was to make them do all that I couldn’t first (strange fetishness I say!).

Then the day came when they just mastered the art and would go off speeding on the cycle paths. With poor me huffing and puffing behind them!

No, it was time to learn the cycle.

The teacher my very reluctant spouse, who soon graduated to become a relentless coach!

Phew!

I learnt to cycle finally.

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It felt good, it was freedom of sorts, a dream was achieved.

Most happy were my children, as they were my strongest supporters and cheerleaders.

The day finally happened when we would all be out and about on our cycles, exploring trails or simply going to the nearest supermarket.

The final glory came on that day when a very ambitious lady organised a 10 km ride and I signed up for it.

The day dawned cloudy and blustery , each gust of powerful wind shaking my will power, I stood the ground I needed to do this.

Many other people had signed up for it too.

The time finally arrived when we were off on the cycle paths, a whole bunch of us, cycling as  a group.

It was tough as the path sloped up and down and tested my legs, the wind blew my helmet off as well…

But as I completed the ride, the sensation of having achieved something was phenomenal, however small it might seem!

As a quote on a social media site says…

“A path emerges when we walk on it”

So, my bicycle diary continues….

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Luchi

Coming from the eastern region of India, Kolkata to be specific ‘Luchi’ is something quite dear to me. To the uninitiated, ‘Luchi’ is a food item, made out of flour specifically, round and fluffy, deep fried in oil. In other parts of India it is referred to as a ‘Puri’, a cousin of ‘Luchi’, as ‘Puri’ is mostly made out of wheat. If you are wondering whether this is healthy? Well! Not by any rational explanation, considering that it is deep fried and made of flour.

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However, my post is not about discussing the health benefits or the lack of it, of ‘Luchi’. My post is about Luchi.

So, there I was frying some Luchis, trying to prepare a meal for my children, they love it too! The faint aroma and the sight of it brought back memories of another day. Another time when I was a little girl myself.

Some days I would hop onto the school bus only to be told by the bus driver that I was being dropped off at my grandmother’s place (maternal grandmother). I would be delighted to hear it. The reason being Luchi! Didima (my gran) would mostly prepare  them if she knew any one of her children or grand children were visiting her. The trip to her house was a gastronomic delight.

She is a woman of habits and discipline, so lunch would be served only after I had taken a shower and changed into fresh clothes. The whole process was a Luchi day- dreaming exercise!

After the essential things done, I would hop onto the table. Sometimes food would be laid out in advance. It was a spread. There would be around 7 to 8 items on the plate, all in small portions obviously, and there would be Luchi. White and round, just like a small tennis ball. She was a great cook, her style vastly different from my mother’s. I loved eating the food she cooked and she gave us the whole variety. There would be vegetables, dal, greens (yes I ate them too!),fish and sweets of course along with rice and Luchi. The aromas from the plate was heavenly and I did feel like a Queen being served a lavish meal.

This was not my meal plan at home at all, this was gran’s house’s many delights! Now at that time my grandfather was also alive and he was the sweetest man around, sweet in all possible literal sense. He had a sweet demeanour and loved sweets and indulged us (grandkids) to the hilt.

During the summer holidays in school, sometimes my cousin would come over to stay at my grandparents and I would join him. That meant playing all the time, we would play away hot, sweaty afternoons as the fan whirred slowly above us, completely oblivious to the heat. Then from a distance came the sound of the ice-cream cart, a man’s voice shouting ‘ICE CREEEEEEEEEAM’, that was our wake up call. We would rush to our grandfather, who was napping, wake him up and demand ice cream. The sweet man that he was, he never protested and gave us money to rush down the stairs and stop the cart, to buy ice-cream.

What followed was the next few minutes of glee as we licked off ice cream from a stick while our grandfather watched us amused. He would often sit down to play a game of cards, mostly solitaire. He would spend hours playing them by himself, completely unruffled by the chaos we were creating around him.

Luchi, yes! that was the trigger. It took me away from my present and gave me a peek into my childhood. A childhood in my maternal grandparents house, my grandfather died long back but my grandmother is still alive. A very frail woman living in a retirement home. To see her or even think of her like this fills me with sadness, such is old age! She is now a shadow of the woman she used to be, strong, assertive and very capable. Her cooking skills long gone, her house where we visited her often, long sold. Sigh!

So, as I fry my Luchis, I wish I could serve my children such a wonderful spread as I was treated to. Alas! Present day lifestyle prohibits such a thought. While the Luchi fries and puffs up, sending an aroma with another wave of nostalgia, in barges my child…………..

Dad in a rush…

Life is a journey of moments, good and bad stringed together through a single thread, like a necklace. Each necklace carefully crafted to be different and unique by the master jeweller!

The beads which represent the good parts maybe small or big, it is up to us how we define them, or give importance to them.

So is my life! Mostly filled with routine chores and mundane jobs. However, I might clarify I like routine, normal, mundane life it is safe and secure. That does not mean I don’t have my share of happy beads. This following incident is a small, happy bead which brought humour to my otherwise normal day.

So there is a  dad in my world, a dad devoted to the family, a very hardworking dad. Dad tries his best to please everyone, especially his children.

So dad gets ready to go out for work at the same time his kids are getting ready to go to school. Setting an example you see! (A very non-smiling statement by me)

On this particular Thursday dad goes swimming before heading to work, his timings are carefully planned.

But what could dad do if the alarm failed to go off?

So dad got late, very late, embarrassingly late (his swimming coach will glare!).

But still dad went about his business, greeting the children in the morning, helping them with their breakfast and waving them off to school.

Then dad rushed, he usually packed his swimming bag along with his formal wear, shoes and office bag into his car. The routine is to head straight to work from the pool. So there, dad gathered his stuff.

He took all the things. Opened the door of the car and shoved all his stuff inside. The car’s engine was switched on and off went dad.

His first stop the swimming pool.

He got out of the car, opened the car and prepared to take his things as he had to change inside. So, out came the swimming bag, formal wear and .. but where are the shoes? Dad looked and searched frantically. Panic was setting in, the shoes were new and cost a pretty penny. No shoes means a detour back home and time lost!

Exasperated dad looks up and lo! behold! What did he see?

His shoes on the top of the car. All the while it was there, as dad drove from home to the pool.

Dad doubled up with laughter! What a ride?!

By the way, the story does not end here. Dad is late remember! He rushes to the pool, certain to get told off by the coach. What does he find? His coach was absent for that day, not well he was informed by the substitute.

Gratefully dad jumped into the pool.

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There, that is my small happy bead. Hope you enjoyed it.

 

 

 

The Unexpected

She looked at the mirror, gave a final touch.

Then she was ready for her day.

Her beauty did not lie in her makeup, it was her smile

A slow, wide smile which lit up her whole face.

She looked forward to her day.

She had just given birth to a baby

Today she would be able to take that bundle of delight home.

She was ready, ready in her best possible attire.

Friends and family had poured in steadily for the last few days,

congratulating her and wishing her.

Her room in the hospital was filled with flower bouquets.

Finally it was time, time to go home and fill it with joy!

Her husband was there, his face reflecting happiness and pride.

Family life was about to begin, their own little joyful nest.

She went…..

She returned….

Back to the hospital, this time without the smile.

This time all alone without the baby.

This time with her husband who had confusion written all over his face.

She had lost consciousness, she was barely there!

Doctor’s verdict, she has suffered a stroke.

Long nights, tense moments, fervent prayers.

All happened, all experienced.

Then the day arrived, she was decked out again in her best possible attire.

She was surrounded by family and friends.

She did not have her baby with her.

She did not wear her smile.

She was just there physically, her soul long gone.

Miracles did not happen, though books say they are a reality.

A shock coursed through her entire family.

Darkness, darkness everywhere.

Is God still there? A baby cried in answer!

She lives on through her little one!

His needs are foremost and honest.

The rest as they say, time is the best healer.