Day 71: Morning hike

Dad, mum, Scotch and I went on a post-breakfast morning hike, up the Anuvavi hills. There’s a little temple mid way up the top that I remember going to as a kid as well. Remember my confusion with growing up and everything else looking smaller. It happened here too. I remember it to be much higher, steeper and more strenuous than what it actually was this time. 

What do you mean it was not that bad? I had to keep climbing and I thought it will end with every ten steps. But it went on and on. Think I counted a million steps up,  S” Scotch 

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Day 56: Growing old with parents

I was 16 when I sat behind the wheels of a car for the first time. Our phoenix red Maruti Omni seemed like the perfect testing ground and I was super excited. We hit the under-construction inner-ring road post-midnight and after a few debacles with the clutch-accelerator pedals, we were go. And in a few, I was cruising down that road; it was a time when Bangalore did not have the manic traffic problems of today. I had heard from friends about the gears and shifting, and I was switching over seamlessly when my dad let out a strong yell and I hit the brakes immediately. 4th gear? I was just a newbie and I had switched to the top-most gear? We’ll wait for some hours of driving before we get there, OK?

 

Driving has always been portrayed as an overly-technical feat that requires extensive hand-eye-leg-brain coordination. Add to that the general societal stereotype about women driving and it is made to seem like a humongous achievement. When dad got his first car, the phoenix red Omni, mom got behind the wheel as well. To this day, her driving down the roads of Bangalore and Coimbatore are shared as humorous anecdotes in family gatherings. This comes mostly from relatives who have been driven around by their husbands all their life. When I came back to India and started driving again, I felt the need to ‘practice’ before I got on the road because of the huge task that driving on Indian roads was made out to be.

 

Add the importance attached to driving to the Indian mindset of gaining one’s parents’ approval to be considered successful, and I was always conscious about my driving around my parents. When the folks visited me in the US, there was always an extra attempt to be the responsible driver. A smooth lane transition, a successful overtaking maneuver or a last-minute save-our-lives braking and the ears were always perked to hear that nod of appreciation. Most drives were spent in utter silence, and I could feel my parents holding their breaths, not letting conversation distract their attention from the road. Somehow, the thousands of miles driven and the 8-hour non-stop drive back from Niagara falls were all validated only by the approval from the boss.

 

This week when the parents visited though, things seemed very different. The pressure was strangely gone. And they did not mind me driving them around as well. I did not have to do the usual fight when dad is around, to get into the driver seat. Very few have won that fight with him and I did not even have to make an effort this time. There was very little pillion-driving as well, and except for an occasional remark, they continued on their conversation, almost unaffected by the driving.

 

As I thought some more about this, I realized that we had all grown up a lot since that night from 2000. My parents had grown to accept me as an adult, specifically in the last few years. I had grown to accept them as human beings, with their fears and insecurities. We had grown confident in each other’s strengths, and weaknesses, and turned to each other for advice when needed. We knew when to hold off on those uncalled for suggestions. And i think that maybe my need to prove my worth to them was all in my mind after all. Maybe they knew from the beginning that was good at it; I was their child after all.

You will always have my nod of approval, S. Who else lets me sit up front while in the car!” Scotch 

Cliched… yet… Nostalgic….

It was a thought that struck at a weird moment..but i sat wondering…have i ever come across a synonym for ‘nostalgia’…? Was a tough squeeze…hit the aisles of google..to find out meanings like…’longing,yearning’..’homesickness’…? not quite an impact like ‘nostalgia’ itself….

Sure go back in time…a long time back..when wearing frilled and lacy frocks was okay…it was not an issue to get boys back home after school….when you dint think twice before stopping the local ice cream man for a native bite of ecstasy…It was a time when you needed just a tear to get your way…it was then when beating your sis up red and blue was totally ok…

I remember very little of times in the pink city…except that guy whom i made friends with, with no idea of the language he spoke…and of my dad comin back home all pink and wet one day, after a blast at holi…then there was that whole bunch of kites in the attic that got me interested for their mere colour and the vibrance that came along…vaguely remember one curfew that left us sittin at home with no school to worry about….

Then there was the move back home…a life amidst family….yeah we flew back i know…my first flight…but i remember none of that…
coz recently when i sat on that plane after nearly 18 long yrs…i felt like a kid on her first flight onboard…eagerly stared out of the window…and continued doin that till all the skyscrapers seemed miniscule…and eventually succumed to a blanket of white…then there was the pleasure of looking at the sun from the same level…it was a new sun..staring back at me…and that rush down your lungs when the plane travels the runway…woah..!!

Coming back to the stay at home…there was all that singing in that little school…arraying at the ground for prayer every morning…and remember that fish shop in the same road..from where we flooded the tank in our house with those lovely ones…Then i remember those drills in school that we prepared so rigorously for…to go off to the main branch..with starched white clothes..and crispy white shoes…to act smart with those kids…always won in that i know…

I remember hiding from that mad man who lived on the corner where the road turned…felt an urge to prove oneself courageous by looking into his house every time we passed that way..Then there was that outburst of excitement every time i heard the quiet thump of dads yezdi as it turned into the street…recollect playing the bully…forming the favorite groups every summer vacation…remember those weird in house plays that we put…with family playing audience and cheering for every crap we put up…oh..those summer vacations with cousins were fun…with all those back biting and ear pulling…miss them….

Till date i feel the move to hitech city was destined…to move away from all that politicing…but then it had its own memories too…the wait for holidays to welcome cousins home…and take them around the city…and then there is school…the place i learnt to live..remember runnin out at 5 when school closed…running out to waiting junk sellers….there was always that craving to buy everything out from the canteen…when all those rich kids dined there every other day…and for us it used to be a blessing to get enough money for that..morning assembly was a pain…roasting in the hot sun…with kids around fallin unconscious every other day and waiting to be able to do that ever….

Oh i remember that first cycle…it was a weird one running on four wheels…trying to hold me on….there was the embarrasing attempt to hide from classmates when i took that to school the first time..I used to chain it to the tree by the canteen i remember..Then was the move to a bigger one..Felt good with a nice big one..remember exploring a lot of the neighbourhood on it..with harini tugging at the back at times…Kept it till i left college..it took me up and down those dirty college streets…a winner it was….

I totally recollect that little house on the 2nd floor where we grew up…Still see it in my dreams…we eventually outgrew it…and shifted to that house in “layout”…Thats where we actually turned little adults…grew up to being children no longer…Dont remember doing any studying when there…coz i used to be tired for gods all day…going down two buses to that school on the other side of the town…gettin there was a different story all together…then there was that phase of being a misfit…and still finding some great friends…boy..!!

Yeah I remember a lot of that too..then i remember moving out…to college…to adolescence…to freedom….whatever….

hmmmm…Its always at a point where you have nothing else to do but write blogs that you seriously get thinking…and the past floods into you…and you manage to write crap…like how i have successfully managed to do right now…

If you’ve managed to read this far..then your as jobless as i am, i understand…Long live thee….