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Help! Parent on Facebook

No, marriage is not the dreaded thing anymore. Shoo! New monster on the block. The parent is on Facebook!

You must have surely heard this one. A boy posts a new status on Facebook. “Dad’s on Facebook. WTF” Dad naturally sees the post and asks, scribbling notes in his head, “What’s WTF son?” Son says, “Welcome to Facebook, dad!”

Remember how you almost gave up the habit of keeping a diary just because a parent found it so convenient to read through it and interrogate you about the stuff, most of which you didn’t share with them for a damn good reason?!

Well, mom casually announced, “I am on Facebook dear; added you; let me know when you accept it.” I went ballistic! Social media was a place I could express whatever I wanted to, I mean without having mom or dad raise eyebrows. Now it seemed a lot of eyebrow-raising would happen. I quickly went to work. Filter, filter, add to a list that’s not restricted enough to arouse suspicion, but allows only the lovely, adorable pictures and updates to be seen and like. Ha!

I went to that party and mom did not know; photo filter! I was with some friends she would probably mentally marry me off to, or forbid me from meeting; filter, filter!

A half hour later, I was wiping off sweat and wondering if I should review my changes. Bah, let it be. Just one person added and a custom filter set. Cool!

And then the unhappenable happened! One of my friends had tagged me and HER privacy settings were obviously non-functional. “I saw that photo of that disco. I didn’t know you went to such places. What will happen if xyz uncle/aunt sees these things about you?!” Excuse me, they are all getting on Facebook too? Boy! I give up! Mom, this is the kid you didn’t know you had!

Over the next few days, I see her faithfully liking every post she can see on my page, and saying innocent momly things like “Put on warm clothes or you will catch a cold”, or often assuming I actually wrote some fantastic article that I just happened to ‘share’ on my wall. She reposts my stuff on her wall saying ‘My daughter’s poem’, ‘My daughter’s picture’. Dozens of elderly ladies and gents immediately lavish praise all over her wall. And then send me friend requests. Sigh! I get to work, putting up a photos.com picture that says, “Keep calm and love mom.” One immediate like.

Thank God she hasn’t seen my blog yet. Let me take the chance to ask you all for pointers on how to politely turn off notifications because half my newsfeed is full of posts on God, kindness, cleanliness, babies, puppies, flowers, trees, the works! And the inevitable “Did you read that post of mine I posted an hour ago? Yes, not the one I posted half an hour ago, not even the one I posted just now.”

Help; I still want my mom to whip up goodies for me, boo hoo!

P.S. Parent on WhatsApp and the dreaded blue tick…deserves another post altogether!

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Daddy Dearest

A father is not superman. He is mostly ordinary, with an average way of life, family, and the occasional bad habit or weakness. He is mortal, and so I will not wax eloquent about the qualities of the super-dad. No, he is most likely incapable of bashing up the baddies or saving lives when the scary villain turns up. Who is he, then?

Assuming you are among the blessed ones, ‘dad’ is the man who fell in love with your mother, and committed his heart to her for life. Dad is the one who dreamed of ‘starting a family’ with your beaming mother; he is the one who was perhaps required to think of how they would manage expenses with a kid or more around the corner. He must have bitten off his nails as your mother went into labour, with the entire household fussing over her. Well, to tell you the truth, folks probably fussed over her all nine months, assuming that the would-be dad was doing fine, no tension and no sweat for him.

Your dad was the one who held you as you slept, as your mother slept. He perhaps worried that you looked too fragile to be true! Handing you over to your mother, he must have gazed anxiously and attentively while the doctor went on and on about caring for you.

Your dad must have looked into places he never bothered about before, like schools and day-care centres, to help your mother decide where the kids will have it best. He is the man who may have kicked one or two bad habits, or promised to stop swearing around the house on his rough days because the kids should not be exposed to the bad world at their tender age. While your mother reigned over the household, acknowledged by all as the parent supreme, dad fumbled around to see how he could make life more comfortable for all of you. He was often the villain disciplinarian when your mother was the loving angel, or the parent who enjoyed fooling around a bit while your mother tried her best to officially instill good principles and mannerisms.

Your dad got you a bike, or took you walking if he couldn’t get you one. You probably held on to his little finger so tight because you did not want him to leave you, ever. Dad introduced you to the world in his own way. Perhaps taught you a few things unknowingly. Maybe you started scanning the newspaper just to see why he loved to read it right in the morning, and he patted your back when you read the headlines aloud with the emphasis only a child can offer to reading material. Perhaps he caused you to win the school race just by constantly telling you that you were capable of it alright. It could be that he did not know how to prepare you for a fancy dress contest, but he was right there, cheering you when you went on stage. The poor thing must have cringed to himself when he told you he could not make it to your big event sometimes because, of course, his boss HAD to get the report that very day. How bad it must have felt for him to break the news to the eager kid demanding his attention in the sweetest way possible!

Your dad is the one who may admonish you at home all the time, but will praise you to other parents. He may have seemed distant, choosing to peek into the little aspects of your daily life only when he saw an impending problem that needed action, or was informed of a ‘situation’ requiring intervention. He might not be the epitome of patience, but he sure did repeat things to you when you tugged at his sleeve wanting the explanation all over again. He carried you on his shoulders in the parade so you would have the best view, even when he had to wade through sweaty crowds. Dad is the one who told you off if your manner was whiny, or instructed you to be brave when you were at the doctor’s for getting those nasty stitches. He probably ran pillar to post to get things done for you. Who knows, he might have planned to go catch a game live with friends, but ended up babysitting you in his time off from work, and you took the chance to throw every possible tantrum.

Dad can be part-Hitler part-Santa part-Goofy, and you cannot figure him out half the time! You often wondered if you were important to him at all, judging him wrongly on his grunting or nodding or hmm-ing in conversations, when all the while, he considered you an integral part of his soul. Sometimes you might have been embarrassed about him making jokes that only he found funny, or giving your friends the lecture about their lives when they showed up at your door. Dad just feels good when he knows he is needed, and you most certainly did not assure him of that as you grew older. You probably dismissed him in that polite yet aloof manner when he wanted to talk to you. Do you remember how he sat and admired your toddler-level drawings for a whole hour as you narrated how the accomplishment came about?

Dad honestly does not expect he deserves your 100% commitment even if he demands it aloud; he probably hopes for 10. Could you give him 5 to see the smile on his face, or hear the familiar grunt of approval? Look beneath the bushy eyebrows and the aging jawline. You will find the proud eyes of a man who is but a little child within. All he needs is you to reassure him that he did not fail as a father, that those little shortcomings did not make him less of a dad. For while mothers are the angels heaven sent down, dads are also the fierce guardians of their flock. “My daddy may not be the strongest, but he is still my daddy dearest.”

FathersDay

Things I do on Sunday

Fridays and Saturdays have been thanked enough, this post is for dear old Sunday! Let me list out what I love doing on Sundays.

Champi: Ah, I miss that routine (need to stay at home on weekends for this special work). Granny or mom used to give me the typical oil massage before a long bath. Come Sunday noon (which is when I wake up sometimes!), I settle lazily on the floor while one of these adorable ladies begin the Champi. Slowly but steadily, nimble fingers move through my hair, patting my head so that the warm oil reaches every pore on the scalp. It’s impossible not to smile in contentment with eyes closed, under the influence of warm oil. I have an hour to laze, after which comes the long, soapy bath.*bliss*

Newspaper: Aich, the Sunday paper is one I seldom miss. The newspaperwallah throws the bundle in projectile motion at about 7 a.m, aiming at the doorstep. I rub sleepy eyes and pick it up eagerly. The colorful assortment of supplements is enough to assure at least an hour of time pass in the morning when Rangoli is playing long-forgotten songs on Doordarshan. Cartoons, interiors and real estate, lifestyle, gyan, gossip, puzzles, editorial, horoscopes, around the world trivia- who would look up from the sheaf of sheets? Oh,I know a few people who are avid paper-readers-in-the-loo! 😀

T.V: The good old idiot box transforms into a home theatre on Sundays. If I get it all to myself, I’d probably watch English/Hindi movies from a.m to p.m.  But mostly, it is Amitabh/Rajesh Khanna movies on Zee Cinema if mom or dad feels like it, or a Kannada afternoon show movie starring Dr.Rajkumar or Vishnuvardhan (old favorites) with my granny wielding my precious remote!

Music: Somehow, Sunday is the one day I feel retro-ish. Maybe it’s because I am at home when mom puts on those ancient cassettes with Kishore Kumar and Mohd Rafi duets with the Mangeshkar sisters. I hardly tolerate my own choice of western music on that day. How better can it get than to lie in bed and doze off under a warm blanket with the tape recorder playing soft music? For once, I can make sense of lyrics and comfortable rhythm, and actually feel the emotion behind the song itself. The shy serenades, the suppressed naughtiness, the tortured renditions of longing, ah. Bhoole bisre geet indeed. AIR FM Rainbow shows, with those Vicco turmeric ads are most welcome!

Family talk-time: Sundays have this quality of bringing back time into hurried lives, na? I honestly prefer to stay home in the evenings because Monday blues are not far off. I just want to hold on to that Sunday evening time, minute by minute. The lazy family banter in the living room often continues even as snacks fill the belly.  At times, my overworked mom may get indulgent and dish up halwa even! It is on a Sunday that I actually sit cross-legged and blabber to my folks about life, friends, problems, and everything under the sun.  It is then that I get the gyan from them – the ‘When I was your age’ or ‘Why don’t you?’ type of talk that actually is comforting for a change! If nothing, I end up getting the ‘Don’t worry everything will be okay’ statement which soothes my nerves like nothing. Don’t I cherish it or what!

The weekend’s a day away, but I seem to be missing Sunday!

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