Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Social Network

Hard to say what prompted this post more, the movie or baby no. 2‘s social conduct these days or people’s reaction to it. I will try and navigate in order of occurrence. One episode per post.

We have been lagging behind in movies these days and not too happy about it.  In this weird world, people bond over the simplest of things. Travel, Art, Academics, Nature, Humor, Children, Charity, Cynicism, Faith are just a few of the sentiments that bring couples together and keep them together. Movies happen to be that “thing” for us. We can watch the crappiest movie together and still have a good time. That said we do watch some good movies too.

Sunday was just one day away. The list of skipped movies was getting longer by the night (movie time is mostly nighttime) and a few of them on the dreaded list gravely endangered our status of being movie buffs. How embarrassing was it that two people who were hooked on Facebook for an un-disclosable (forgive the use of a non-existent word) number of hours in a day had so far not watched “The Social Network”? Very.  Admitted, the joke on the number of hours was a bit of an exaggeration, but you got the point, right?

It was under such dire circumstances that Netflix delivered “The Social Network” in our mailbox. If somebody else wanted to watch the movie as desperately as us, it was purely a coincidence.

So what can be more entertaining than watching an engaging movie? Watching it with friends. The whole movie watching experience and the volume in the room reaches another decibel in which case. So it was 10 p.m. when we gathered with a bunch of friends at a residence which anchored the biggest TV within the group and put on “The Social Network”, expecting it to be some kind of a documentary on the inventor of the famous website. What we got to see was a witty, fast paced, engrossing and a thoroughly enjoyable film.

If I were to write a detailed review of the movie right now, I am pretty sure nobody will bother reading it and frankly it would be quite late in the day! But I cannot really take you through this whole movie watching charade and not give my two cents on it.

Since a lot has already been said and written about the movie, I will keep it simple. It didn’t bother me that the inventor of Facebook had been accused of stealing an idea that ultimately changed the dynamics of being social on the internet. Clearly, there are now friends and then there are Facebook friends. Whoever said an idea is worth a million was bang right on this one. I didn’t care much for the central character being socially inept, an irony highlighted all the way through. For me, the movie was not about the billions made or the millions paid in settlements. It was about friendship and its betrayal.  A hurt compensated by money, but never erased. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Growing up!

Daughters are a delight. From the time that they are born you just know this cute little hand which looks so frail right now is going to hold on to you and be your strength some day.

“Mom it’s my B’day tomorrow!!” I am reminded for the 100th time today, the enthusiasm in her voice escalating with each reminder. Of course I know honey, I gave birth to you remember? My humor is obviously ill placed on a 5 year old and the excitement in my answer is no match for hers. At this point it is hard not to compare how different our outlooks are on Birthdays, me and my daughter’s. But then, growing up and growing old ARE very different.

Simplicity is not a virtue we possess when it comes to special days. By “we” I actually mean the girls of the house but since dear hubby is hopelessly outnumbered, he might as well join us. We go all out when it comes to celebrations, sometimes to the point of overdoing it. Want an example? Baby no. 1 has already made plans for her next 5 birthdays.

Coming back to this particular birthday, we were celebrating it 2 days in advance, for gone are the days when people made time for people on working days. Weddings, anniversaries, festivals and birthdays, everything is now celebrated over weekends, it is like fun has been compartmentalized to those days of the week. The birthday girl wanted it at Chuck-e- Cheese and we had no objection. I would have preferred doing it at home, giving the special day my personal touch but it looked too much of work and it wasn’t what she wanted.

What did she want? Which brings me to a few days before today. We were at the mall choosing a dress for baby no.1 and whoever said kids have a problem concentrating on a single thing for a long time probably never met the kid in question here. She roamed 3 giant stores with us, patiently waited while I found sizes for her and tried on 7 different dresses before zeroing in on the final choice. And if you thought she was exhausted (I definitely was), no wait, we need matching shoes now. She also did choose her own cake and by then I had serious doubts whether freedom of choice was a good thing. 

Wasn't it better when I was a 5 year old and there was no cake on Birthdays? Mom did cook some special sweet dish and that made my day. That too would be a speculation since I have absolutely no memory or photographs of what I did on my 5th birthday.

So enter Chuck-e-Cheese on the day and it is a madhouse, as always. So much so that I am positive if people without kids attempted to visit, they would faint. Screaming kids, running kids, mad at their parents kids (for taking them home) and more kids. And in midst of all chaos there are several Birthdays celebrated all in a row with a giant mouse called Chuck doing the rounds.

For the next 3 hours we smiled a lot, ordered pizza for our guests and then ordered more pizza. For being a kids place, they had damn good pizza. Baby no. 1 had the time of her life being the center of attraction and also the receiver of so many gifts. She even reserved one of the return gift goodie bags for herself (I need to know what I gave to my friends).  

Do I look pretty, she asked me while we were going back. For all the trouble she took with choosing her dress, looking beautiful was indeed the last thing on her mind. “You are the most beautiful little girl in this world” I said, meaning every word.

Daughters are truly a delight. Sadly, they grow up fast, way too fast.


Thursday, April 7, 2011


Today is a rare quiet afternoon. Both the kids are taking a nap in separate rooms (of course) and that leaves me all by myself. So used to always being on the go, the first couple of minutes are spent picking up toys lying on the floor. Now what? I ask myself, let me prep some dinner while the kids are sleeping, comes an auto-answer somewhere from the back of my mind. Half an hour gone and that is also done. Now what? And the mind is blank. I am kind of shocked. Don’t I always complain that there are a thousand things I have to do or aspire to do but can’t because of being occupied with the kids. Why can’t I think of anything to do today?

It is bizarre, really. There are a dozen books lying unread in the bottom drawer of my dresser, also a couple of sewing projects idling around nearby and yet there isn’t a single book I want to pick up and read. Not in the mood to use the needle and thread either.

And the funny thing is at this moment, I am neither sad nor happy nor thoughtful. I sit on the couch watching the trees outside, fiddling with the laptop at the same time. 

Astonishingly, words come easily on the electronic paper from nowhere as I write and gaze at the beautiful white flowers outside, alternatively. A little away there are pink flowers on a tree and I think when did these arrive?  The pink Tulips visit us once a year for a short month of spring and before you have a chance to admire them, they wither away like rest of the leaves. As hard it is to ignore nature’s wonders right outside your window, being caught up in a routine can turn you blind to everything else.

Sitting unaccompanied is a luxury these days. I don’t know if I should but I am enjoying it.

There are moments when you are alone but not lonely. Those extraordinary moments of tranquility are not for reflection of the past. They are also not to be wasted on drawing up ambitious plans for the future. Peace, like every other emotion needs to be embraced and experienced to the fullest.

I look up to the clear blue sky, for it hasn’t rained today, then again towards the tulips. Beauty, it has been said, cannot be defined. I try and give up.

A quaint afternoon, a restful mind and a chance to soak up nature’s colors at its loveliest. I have been blessed today, now I truly know.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Before somebody reading this makes a dash for the social services, let me clarify, I am talking about myself and not the kids. Why else would I take BOTH of them shopping, try TWO new recipes and spend the evening running behind a toddler’s scooter, all in the same day ??

To understand it better let me take you to the beginning of the day, for it is as interesting as the finish.

Some days I wake up and feel energetic, you know that feeling of being able to conquer the world? Well, usually in my case it means passing the day hassle-free, scream-free, time out-free with the kids and a nice dinner to end it all. Yesterday felt like that day.  Unfortunately for me, that very day, Baby no.2 woke up feeling more energetic than me. So instead of the toothless smile and the “goo goo ga ga” that I get fresh out of bed, what I got to hear and see was screaming “ ba ba ba ba” and a wild stomping of tiny hands and legs. The message was clear. She was telling me “you heard me MOM, we are going out”.

I love going out. I can just wander around the whole day in libraries, malls, shopping places without a care in this world (yeah right, come out of la la land!). So baby no. 2 didn’t have much convincing to do. We bathed and we dressed and grabbed a quick bite to eat and off we went to pick up Baby no. 1 from school. As soon as I told her we were going to TARGET to buy her new shoes, she hopped into her car seat in the blink of an eye, normally a task that takes a minimum of 10 minutes and a couple of “final” warnings to the note of “I am leaving without you”.

And till the time we reached the store I almost believed my kids were “little Angels” as everybody calls them (can’t help but observe that those calling them Angels are usually people who are yet too young to have kids or visit us not very often).

If I start to describe my shopping expedition in detail, it will probably make your blood boil so I am going to sum it up as follows:

Items needed to be purchased – 1 / Actual purchases -13
Number of hours expected to be spent at the store – 40 minutes/ Actual time– 2 hours
Occasions on which I had the urge to tear my hair – Many/Actual action taken – None.

And yet, I wasn’t unhappy because we did get those shoes. There have been instances when we return with everything else but the thing we had gone to shop for. By the time we reached home, my slightly dampened spirits had been restored.

When I am in a good mood I like to eat and when I am in an even better mood, I like to cook. To come to the point, there is some advantage to taking the kids to a big store, they are dead tired by the time they are home and the result is a long nap, giving YOU some child-free time.

I ended up cooking a dessert first. We were supposed to have friends over the next day and the recipe for the dessert I had in mind said to cook a day or two in advance for best results. Now there was also this question of dinner. Just because you have been out most part of the day doesn’t make you any less hungry. One more recipe put to use. Though, afterwards I did wonder why I had to cook two new things, I could have stuck to some known food, would have been easier. I guess I was crazier than I thought I was or whatever..

All this and one would have thought we were done for the day. Not so much. Hubby calls while leaving from work to point out that the weather was nice (as if I didn’t know that already) why not take the kids out for a walk. Very sweetly I pointed out that I had more than my fair share of taking them out today and could he please do the needful? Of course when he came home and got the kids all excited about going for a walk and a ride on her scooter for baby no. 1, it was hard for me to stay back home alone.

Like I said some of the days I feel like I can conquer the world. Trying to catch up with Baby no. 1 who scurried away on her scooter, while Baby no.2 squealed in delight, I thought, this comes pretty close.

And why the big deal about a walk around the neighborhood? Because, even simple things in life cannot be taken for granted.