Miles to go before I sleep

It is one of those evenings that I really want to end. I am sleepy and tired. I just want to get in bed and not wake up until my body has had enough rest.

Alas, I can’t do that… yet.

So, I put on my plastic smile and trudge along with the boys.

I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Quota on seeing the Evening Sky

“That’s the nature of being a parent, Sabine has discovered. You’ll love your children far more than you ever loved your parents, and – in the recognition that your own children cannot fathom the depth of your love – you come to understand the tragic, unrequited love of your own parents.” – Ursula Hegi, Stones from the River

As I was driving Adi back from school, he was trying to get a head start on his quiz prep with heads down (pun?!) pouring over a folder.

We drove over a high bridge.
From that vantage point, the colorful sky and the sun setting was a sight to behold.

I urged him to look up and enjoy the beautiful sight.
He glanced up for a bit and said “Oh…nice”.
Then, he looked down again at the folder.

That signalled the mark of my math based lecture.

Here is what I told him – “We all have a quota. Let us asssume that I live another 4 decades.. then I have approx 15,000 sunsets to behold. Let us asssume you live another 7 decades, then you have approx 25,000 sunsets to behold. Of those, there are going to be many cloudy, dark days of fall and winter. So, the actual days that you are out and about on a beautiful evening and have the chance to see the gorgeous evening sky….will be far less than the 25,000 sunsets number. So, please, enjoy it…while you can.”

I am sure he won’t get it now.

Sooner than later, an evening will arrive, when he is on a lake, mountain or ocean …sunggling beside the person who captured his heart. The sun will be setting. He will behold that evening sky. And, think it the most beautiful thing ever. He won’t want the evening to end.

Do you think he will remember my math based lecture?

No way.

This whole parenting thing is so tragic.

I need to exercise self control and stop my stupid long winded lectures. What is it worth? Nothing?


My friend Priya Bala had this witty response to my post:

What is it worth? Nothing.”

Hah! That boy, if he takes after you my dear, will be a player. A more likely scenario will be when both of them are snuggling and he notices the beautiful sky, he’ll remember your math lecture. He’ll assume a far-away look. Then he’ll chuckle gently. She’ll probably ask him what he’s thinking. And he’ll look deep into her eyes and he’ll respond:

“We all have a quota. Let us assume that we live another 6 decades. Then we have approximately 22,000 sunsets to behold. Of those, there are going to be many cloudy, dark days of fall and winter. So, the actual days when we’re out and about on a beautiful evening and have the chance to see the gorgeous evening sky….. will be far less than the 22,000 number. I’m just so glad I get to spend this precious one with you.”

And she’ll sigh and swoon. Mission accomplished!

Every Day Life is very Interesting

Many of you ask me – “Ambal – How do you have so many things to say about every day boring things and occurrences?”

I don’t know quite know how to answer that question. So, let me do a show-and-tell.

life-is-very-interesting-ambal-balakrishnan

Top: #dominantalleles (or something of that sort)
Gets the fix-things-and-help-Amma genes from both sides of the family.

Bottom: #toomanyboys
How many boys (and how many hours) does it take to put a tiny writing table together?

See? There is so many things to say about everyday boring things and occurrences.

Turning Cynic?

I can feel it.
I can feel it crawling on me.

When I look back, I think 2017 might stand out as the year…that I started turning cynical.

I kid you not.
Slowly and steadily, my cynic index is growing.

Take for example, yesterday evenings happenings.

Kumar didn’t return home travel until later in the night.
I was holding down the fortress for a couple of days.
Work. Meetings. Deliverables. Kids. Chores. Breakfast. Pick up. Drop off. Carpools. And more.
Rear-ended on Tuesday evening. Back ache due to the impact. Car wouldn’t start on Wednesday morning.

So, yesterday evening. I drive away from our neighborhood for some chores.
It is drizzling.
The road is pitch dark.
Out of nowhere two unleashed dogs run through the road.
One is brown in color. The other one is dark.

I have to pause here.
Let me give you a backstory.

My driving instinct is not something that I learnt in the last 15 years.
The killer instinct on when to run and when to stop…was all fun tuned and became muscle memory from years of boarding overcrowded public buses that wouldn’t stop in the designated stops in my hometown Chennai.

I had to time it all like an Olympic athlete would.
I had to start running when I saw the bus far away.
The bus would keep moving. I had to pick up speed, hop on the bus and bring my body to a full stop.
Can you picture that? Can you picture your body doing that?
It is very hard to understand and appreciate if you have’t done it.

So, starting, speeding up and stopping are all instinctual to me and my body.

So, when I saw the dogs, I braked and didn’t move until I saw the running unleashed dogs pass me by safely.

I am thankful for that. Killing a life form (whatever form it is in) is a crime.

Here is what happened next.
The woman who owned the 2 dogs didn’t seem to care at all.
She didn’t come by and say “Sorry, I should have leashed them. I put you and your kids in risk by my bad choice”.

She didn’t even say “Thanks for saving my dogs by driving safely and braking at the right moment!”.

I truly want to see the goodness in people.
But, between the Mexico theft, the rear-ender fleeing the scene and the thankless dog owner….I think I have just about had it.

I have lost all hope with humanity as of yesterday evening.

It is official. I am a cynic.

Bring it on.

Glorious Childhood

“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don’t value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it’s been sung? The dance when it’s been danced? It’s only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature’s highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we’re expected! But there is no such place, that’s why it’s called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can’t arrange our own happiness, it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.”
― Tom Stoppard, The Coast of Utopia