Have you seen yourself in the mirror recently? Is the reflection the same that stared back at you a year or two ago? Not the fine lines and the brown spots. The finer and less coloured, almost imperceptible changes that are from within, which are slower to make their presence felt on the outside? Well to put it simply - do you feel any different?
This is for all those who, suddenly, in a flash realise that they have changed-somehow it closely resembles `settling down` so one really is not too much concerned. It happened to us before when our babies were tiny and we ran and jumped and skipped and danced with them in our arms. Then, they grew and suddenly their baby bodies didn`t fit in our laps and of course they continued to run and skip and cartwheel and you saw them: your spirits ran and cart wheeled with them but you walked or sat and watched. A small change.
It happened to me. I suddenly saw myself looking like Nanni, my adorable elder sister but one who was certainly not I and one whom I`d also sworn never to be like. You know her type. You see them everywhere. Very efficient, very good housewives, very involved mothers, must add blue for white clothes and then dry them in the sun, salt must be added only when the vegetables are cooked, and of course, the grills in the guest room must be dusted everyday. I forgot to add, three different menus for three members of the family, the last bit of ice cream saved up (With cling film-its easy to find) for surprising her sweet 17 year old when he comes back from school. The list can go on but I have to now talk about the other side of the coin that`s me and hopefully many more `me`s. My house is clean and dusted, but there could be last week`s specks behind the trolley. My children are fed and loved but they are happily and guiltlessly told to order pizzas when mama decides that the last day of the sale may be over and any friend asks her to come. `My forte` was to be able to combine anything with pleasure and then never be able to talk of stress as it was all my own asking and doing. Like I said that was I.
Well today, I found myself even behaving like Nanni. The instructions would not end - Shut the gas; put the towels out to dry after making a long list in different colours for three grown up members of my family. The occasion - I was going out of station for four days - going to have fun in Bangalore with my friends - my own personal Mecca!
I have had this attack before - every time a trip is undertaken, every summer vacation I want to experience that magical, wonderful feeling of `closure` all is done and I can sit back and relax. The fact repeatedly stares back at you. When you are finally on your way sitting strapped up in your seat, you cannot retrace your steps, open the front door and `attend`. The fact is also that if you do, there might be enough chores to take you another four hours to finish.
Good, I stopped mid sentence. Good I called it `Quits!` I found myself in the same addictive path of mothering and housekeeping, which wears the garb of `efficiency` and `caring` that it is difficult to recognise it even if you were to look for it. I had simply not done this for a while and now my life had settled into a pattern and a very comfortable pattern at that. Especially for 18 and 17 year old daughters and a father/friend/buddy to the girls - 45 years old. Of course I make life comfortable- soothe brows and straighten sheets and dry wet shoes and towels in the sun. All this happily and effortlessly so happily indeed that when invited to go to the heaven I call Bangalore. Here I was wondering who would pick up P from school and how would N come back and unlock the door herself to a cold empty house!! Nanni, Nanni, just like Nanni. Before the questions were completed I knew the answer. It was manageable of course. In fact it was fortunate that they were getting experiences of the unavoidable kind. Where else would they learn that fridges must be shut after drinking water and sand must be dusted outside the house off feet and jeans or else you feel it under your feet throughout the house!
Thoughts continue to tumble out. I quickly gave in my temporary resignation and handed over the keys. Got my tickets and went and bought a new kaftan. Got myself a book from the library.
It was entitled-`Women who love too much`- Daily meditations.
P.S.- before leaving I had stuffed my bag with goodies for the friends I was going to meet and left the fridge stuffed with goodies for the ones I was leaving for four days!! My husband smiled quietly at me- a smile, which said-is there ever a woman who doesn`t love too much??