Thursday, August 30, 2012

On Decibel Levels

Just a brief note to say how high decibel levels have  come to profoundly affect my sense of hearing these days, so much so they are more like an assault on my ears! I simply CANNOT stand people talking loudly, particularly when they are standing next to me. It makes me wonder why they are screaming into my ears, and I'm almost tempted to blurt out, "I'm not deaf, you know!",  but restrain myself from doing so out of politeness to the other person. I also wonder if my low tolerance to high decibel levels is solely because I'm getting older! :)

My teenager at home playing loud music on his iPod or iPhone, the husband increasing the volume on the television or on the woofer of the home theater, a family member talking loudly on the phone (local or overseas) or to one another at home, the car stereo being cranked up, at times even the baby playing loudly - such instances are intolerable to me that I just long for some peace and quiet around the house. The same goes for a stranger on public transit playing his/her iPod music loud enough for the whole world to hear, or my friend increasing her volume while sharing something with excitement, or a raucous party that I'm at, or the deafening decibel levels of a rock concert. The husband tells me that when he went to India after a gap of 6 years, he felt the same way about the noise levels back home, and kept urging family members to talk softly, though he could do nothing about the incessant honking of horns on the road!

The irony is that I consciously talk loudly in the classroom to ensure that every student hears me! The saving grace then, at least for me, is that I automatically tone my voice down when I get out of the classroom. The problem is that I expect people around me to do the same. Perhaps there's something wrong with me and I need to have my ears tested, or perhaps it's just that now that I've joined the fifties club, my intolerance for increased sound levels is growing in proportion to my age!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toddler Tales

Our 2-year-old grandnephew, Kavin, is visiting us from Atlanta. It's been a long time since we've had a toddler around the house, so it was a long-forgotten experience for us, preparing the house for his arrival - dusting, mopping, sterilizing, sanitizing, and what not!Since his Mom has no time off from work, he flew in with his Grandma Anu last Saturday, and life has been so entertaining since then, watching all his antics and seeing the world through his eyes. The "terrible two's" they say, and Kavin is ample proof of that, albeit in a very endearing and enjoyable way.

My husband and I are Kavin's Granduncle and Grandaunt, but there are too many Aachis (grandmas) and Thathas (grandpas) around, so we were wondering how to introduce ourselves to the baby. Well, to make the story short, the husband is now "Kanna Thatha", but I am "Aunty", despite everyone telling him I'm "Grandma". So that's a hundred percent score with me ... LOL! We're still correcting him, every time he calls me "Aunty"! And my son is "Anna" (elder brother), not "Uncle"! The kid categorically stated, "I'm too young to be called 'Uncle'." ... so 'Anna' it is for now! I was teaching the baby everybody's names. "Thatha's name is ...," I would say, and he would complete it, "Kanna." "Anna's name is ... Dinesh," but when I said, "Grandma's name is ...," he promptly replied, "Aunty!" Ha ha ha ...

Everything in the house is Kavin's - the chair, the couch, the bed, the kitchen utensil, the medicine, whatever it maybe, "It's Kavin's!" The husband came home with a box of strawberries, his favorite, and also introduced him to blueberries. Instantly, the blueberries became his favorite, and when Kanna Thatha asked him for one, he covered the box with his tiny hand and said, "No, it's Kavin's!" And then there's the baby talk ... train is "choo choo", the ambulance is "wah wah" (imitating its siren!), toilet is "TT", and so on. Now all of us at home are so much into the baby talk that we're afraid we might forget the actual vocabulary while talking to others!

The baby has taken a shine to Dinesh and follows him like a lamb. We have to tell our teenager to be gentle with the baby, to which he goes, "He has to be tough. We have to raise him like a warrior!" Yeah, right! Kavin is used to watching his Mickey Mouse cartoons on his "iPa" (iPad), so when he sees me on the computer, he clambers on to my lap and asks for YouTube ... talk about wired kids these days! Having the little fellow around is like having a whirlwind in the house - just a bundle of non-stop whizzing and endless energy! He's a little thin now, so our mission is to make him eat healthy and put on some weight before he heads back home to his Mom. He has become so attached to us, we'll miss him terribly when he leaves ... and I bet his Mom in Atlanta misses him sorely now too! 

At the pier at White Rock Beach, Surrey

Love you, Kavin!!! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Milestones And More ...

2012 has been a year of joys and wonders and pleasure and pain so far, all within reasonable bounds, but needless to say, this has been a very special year that saw two milestones reached in the month of June. On June 7, the husband and I celebrated our Silver Anniversary, and on June 18, yours truly turned 50, the latter still something quite unbelievable to me! There have been health setbacks and heartbreak as well in these months, but as my mother often told me to, I'm counting my blessings and thanking the good Lord for all His infinite mercies!

25 years of togetherness and marital accord is no small matter, and I take pride in the fact that the husband and I have managed not to kill each other during this period of time ... ha ha ha! Jokes aside, the chemistry between us is still as strong as ever, and has endured the passage of time. I have seen many a marriage crumble around me, but we have had a smooth sailing so far particularly because love has been the overriding factor, above all else, in our relationship. That, plus  understanding and respecting one another, and being proud of each other's strengths and also accepting of one another's weaknesses, have kept major conflicts out of the door. The husband is a Hindu, whereas I am a Christian, but we have never allowed religion to be a bone of contention or discord between us at any time in these 25 years. Well-meaning Christian friends and family keep reminding me that I should "bring him to the Lord," but I, for one, firmly believe that religion should be a matter of choice and not be forced on the spouse in the name of love.   Even if he were to have no religion at all, that would be fine with me as well (in fact, that is the kid's stance, right now). The husband and I still keep our own religions, and our marriage has stood the test of time because of our tolerance for each other's religion. Also, each other's family has been very dear to us - another factor that has cemented our relationship, I must say.

And then, of course, I've joined the 50's Club recently, much to my disbelief! As the youngest child in my family, I have always been babied by my older siblings. I also teach young adults at college and my constant interaction with young minds has always made me feel young at heart. Besides, thanks to some good genes passed on to me by my parents, I still look young enough, and I don't feel a day older than when I was at 25! Milestones apart, it is my fervent prayer that life continue in all its goodness, that we live each day in love and in happiness, and count our blessings every single day!

Monday, August 13, 2012

London's Magnificent Games

The Brits have done it ... the thirtieth Olympiad has just concluded in London, and what a magnificent show it was! The British media went all out to criticize the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but eventually had to eat crow, and while the world waited this time round for London to falter, all was well that ended well. We have to give it to the Brits ... they sure know how to put on a spectacular show! The games were off to a fantastic start and thereafter filled with everyday events of heroism, extraordinary sportsmanship, repeated breaking of world and Olympic records, and the inevitable cases of heartbreak as well, but the closing ceremony ensured that the nostalgia would last until the next Games in 2014, in Sochi.

Looking back at the Games, certain moments stand out above all else. The coronation of Michael Phelps as the unsurpassed Monarch of the Pool and the greatest Olympian of all time, with a record 22 medals - 18 of them gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze - is certainly the foremost of them, and quite staggering at that! Usain Bolt's phenomenal wins in both the 100 m and 200 m sprints on the track in two consecutive Olympics sealed his reputation as the fastest man on the planet, and as "a legend," in his own words. I, for one, would appreciate some modesty and humility in world-class athletes, but Humility certainly doesn't seem to be Usain Bolt's middle name. South Africa's Oscar Pistorius astounded everyone by competing with his prosthetic legs, and so was every single Canadian by the unfairness of the women's semi-final soccer game between Canada and the US. 

The closing ceremony was a fitting finale to all the high octane, adrenalin-filled drama of the Olympics, and Britain did itself proud with its long list of stars and pop names. The exhilaration and euphoria of the evening was quite palpable - Ray Davies and the Kinks singing "Waterloo Sunset," Annie Lennox belting out "Little Bird" on a great ship, Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen with their "We Will Rock You," John Lennon's ghostly though inspiring rendition of "Imagine," the not-so-young-anymore Spice Girls reuniting for one last time, Fatboy Slim, the Kaiser Chiefs, the Who, Beady Eye, to mention a few - you name them, they were all there to entertain and to enthrall!  

As Sebastian Coe, the legendary British runner and one of the brains behind the London Olympics, put it succinctly, " heroism and heartbreak" characterized the Olympics, and there were plenty of instances of both in these Games. All said and done, the Games were simply magnificent, no doubt about that at all! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I'm Baaack!!!

I certainly feel elated to have regained my blogging mood after a pretty long hiatus of over three months! So much has happened over this period - the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful, and a whole host of other experiences that just made me pause, take a deep breath, ruminate about things, and take stock of my life, in general. Mercifully, I have survived life's roller coaster (excuse the cliche!) and am still alive to tell the tale!

There are certain moments in one's life when the need to escape takes precedence over everything else, and so was it with me. For reasons that are too personal to state on a blog post, I just wanted to lie low for a while and take things slow, one day at a time. Now that enough time has passed for a breather, and I've regained my blogging self all over again (the redundancy here is intentional), I feel compelled to share the most wonderful things (if not the unpleasant ones) that have happened to me in the intervening time, in my subsequent posts, so watch out, world!

It's been three years now since I started this blog, and the inexorable passage of time has seen me grow in years and in experience... no grey hair yet, but certainly the wiser in my outlook on life! The learning curve has been pretty steep with its inevitable highs and lows, but I am simply and truly grateful to all my faithful friends and followers who have sustained me with their loyalty and support! Until my next post, I take leave with the following chorus I learnt as a child:
    "Whether the weather be good
     Or whether the weather be not
     Whether the weather be cold
     Or whether the weather be hot
     We'll weather the weather
     Whatever the weather
     Whether we like it or not!" :)