I can sing my own song while the music plays loud,
I can sing my own song, of this I am proud.
I can sign loud & clear though it might hurt your ears,
Cos I’m singing a song that’s not playing!
You must understand that it’s not my fault,
You must understand, you must know what’s the cause.
It’s what I was taught in my aural training –
To hold my tune while someone else is singing.
The music plays loud but I hear the song,
That matches my current emotion.
I sing it out loud till I let it all out,
And feel like a different person.
I sing out loud when I need a release,
From the daily routine of cooking meals.
I’m wailing away while the dinner gets done,
And you walk in wondering what is wrong!
I sing my own song even when it’s all wrong,
Cos it’s not on the CD that I put on!
You hear me wailing and think I’m ailing
And that I might need to visit the doctor.
To my husband 🙂
Sometimes piano teachers have those days. And we need to decide whether to have a good laugh or scream at the walls after our students leave. I’ve decided to laugh at all the crazy things my piano students do.
So, here’s a to do list for my piano students :
- Arrive at class on time. Leave home budgeting time for traffic jams and other delays, so you walk in relaxed. You will learn better.
- Take all your books to class – that includes your homework book & theory book. Check you’ve not left your books on the piano keyboard at home before you leave for class.
- Carry your reading glasses/spectacles with you.
- Attend class or remember to reschedule if you need to miss. Else you will not get a make-up class.
- Leave a little extra time in your daily schedule so there’s time when you need flex or just want to relax a little in between. Practise needs to be done with a relaxed frame of mind to be really effective.
- Practise – don’t just play. Practise daily.
- Play games or enroll in a sports class for exercise. Getting enough physical activity improves focus.
- Pack all your books up after class and make sure you take them home.
- Read your homework book when you practise and follow your teacher’s instructions.
- Set a practise schedule with a choice of 2 or 3 practise slots, so you can change your practise time to suit your moods
- Play for your family, and participate in student concerts whenever you get an opportunity.
- Play a little to relax even on busy days.
- Did I say practise daily? Yes, that’s the most important thing to do.
We women of today are really quite reserved. I’ve come to this realisation after I heard Violetta express her love for Alfredo in one of my favourite scenes from La Traviata, Amami Alfredo.
The last time many of us spoke with such feeling to our families
. . . was probably the time we had had enough – and decided that clothes left on the floor would be ‘left’ there. We would not pick them up & put them in the wash like our mothers did, but would leave them be. Until our family came to their senses and put them in their proper place – in the washing machine or the dirty clothes basket!
And I wonder, do we need to listen to Violetta and learn?
How would our husband’s feel, if after all these years of being married, we wives declared our love for them with such passion. Would they be thrilled, or would they rush us off to the nearest doctor, thinking we had a severe stomach ache…..??
Some of my women friends are stuck. They’re amazing cooks & they were just so good at it, that other family members stopped taking turns with cooking. They loved cooking & took pains to cater to differing tastes, by cooking a wide variety of dishes at every meal.
It’s hitting them hard as they get older & their priorities change. They want time to spend with their extended family & often struggle to get time to meet up with their friends. Because running their home, looking after older family members & producing fabulous meals daily takes all the time they have.
They’re talking about it when we meet & realising that their being so good at cooking has made their family fussy. They now want to unlearn their amazing cooking skills & learn from women with cooking skills like mine!
If you are like me, and your cooking skills range from lousy on a bad day, to basic on a good one, don’t feel bad. Here’s 4 reasons why your family is lucky :
- No one will be terribly overweight, because they’re not likely to overeat.
- Everyone will learn the true meaning of the first line of Serenity Prayer “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” Your family will eventually learn to eat the few things you can cook that are edible. After many years, they’ll have gone so used to your cooking, that they’ll have lowered their standards and will even insist that you’re the most amazing cook!
- A lot more gets done at home, because you have the time. Because you can cook what you find easy, because there will be no special requests – for snacks, deserts or just about anything else…if dal (pulses), sabji (veggies) & a couple of chicken dishes are all you can cook that’s edible, everyone will be thrilled to eat it everyday!
- You’re always smiling when you have guests over – because you can enjoy spending time with them. Everyone will be really thrilled if you don’t put yourself out to cook for them and will even try to hint broadly saying “Don’t worry to cook dear, let’s all go out for lunch, or order in. We know you’re busy and will just be tired if you have to do a lot of cooking!”
I’m saying no to the requests I’ve had for cooking classes. The truth is, all I have to do is ‘try’ to cook well and that’s enough for things to go terrible wrong….so I don’t think I can teach it. It’s just a natural talent!
She was the one you could go to…
When you wanted to pick a fight with your neighbour without actually starting it yourself. A few well aimed barbs, whispered in her ear, and then, you just had to wait 10 minutes…it took just that long for your message to be delivered.
She always knew what was going on…
- She was the one who came to tell you that your car had been stolen, just after you’d waved goodbye to the thief. Because you were so busy sitting in your balcony, having a good laugh with your family, that you thought a relative was waving to you and driving your car away.
- She knew who visited whom, and what their business was. She had a job and she did it very enthusiastically, even though she was not paid a salary – “Keeping an eye on everyone around”.. mainly because, deep down inside, she cared.
And she kept us all safe. Because everyone knew there was always someone watching.
She was sometimes a nuisance, because she reported every minor transgression…Parents humoured her, and then had a good laugh when she left. They valued her, because she helped them keep track of what her kids were upto.
She's got lost somehow,
In the busy busy world of today,
and I miss her.
Who is she?
She’s a little bit of you and a little bit of me – she’s the way we all used to be. We used to be friends with our neighbours, get in each other’s faces, rub each other up the wrong way, but when it counted, we were there for each other.
Social media and television did not exist in the Mumbai of old and we needed to bond with the community we lived in.
I’ve used a lot of artistic license, here, to make a point. Mumbai’s changing a lot and we’re losing some safety, as we struggle to live without discord in a society where there are vast differences in standards of living and cultural attitudes.
Mumbai still is one of the friendliest cities in India, but that’s slowly changing.
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I could look at you in envy
I remember this doctor’s advice, years later and it still makes me laugh, to think that solutions are just so simple sometimes!
It was a couple of visits to the beach that did it….
I got some insect bites and my foot swelled up to 3 times it’s normal size each time. After that, it was a mosquito bite which gave me the same reaction, and my GP felt i needed to see a skin specialist.
The specialist gave a a good strong dose of allergy tablets, and i walked around for 2 weeks in a coffee-induced semi-wakefulness (no driving and walking very carefully, because i normally get drowzy with mild, anti-allergy tablets) But it worked, and i had to go back for my last visit, and this is what the doctor said :
“Since you have an insect bite allergy, you need to be careful :
- Wear long trousers or churidars – long sleeved tops – socks and closed shoes, when you go out to the beach, the park or anywhere with insects
- Cover all exposed skin with Odomos
There’s only one long term solution to an insect bite allergy – and that is – TO NOT GET BITTEN!”
My husband is in a state of shock – i did not know i could do this to him. It all started a couple of days ago, when i walked in and saw a picture on the computer screen.
A picture of this guy Luke. I saw it and immediately asked my husband if it was Luke Skywalker and he said it was. It’s funny, cos i just knew the name Luke Skywalker, but could not remember who he actually was. So, i thought for a moment and then it hit me. I said ‘It’s the Phantom isn’t it?’
My husband just looked at me blankly, so i elaborated ‘You know, the guy from the comic strip … The Ghost who walks?’
His blank look turned to shock and he just stared at me and i realised i’d got it wrong. After a moment of thought, it struck me that maybe Luke Skywalker is a character from ‘Star Wars’ and that he was the guy who turned into Darth Vader. I asked him if i’d got it right.
Shock turned into stunned disbelief!!
He’s had a couple of days to think and now realises he’s been married for over 15 years to a woman who does not know who Luke Skywalker is!!
I am grateful for your constant and steady companionship.
I have not always felt that way about your many many visits, but as time goes by I’m growing to value them.
When you visit regularly, I sometimes wish you away, but you know that I really do not mean it.
You bring me joy and sorrow, rude shocks and pleasant surprises. Continue reading
You no longer feel like you’re just out of college
You are 20 kgs heavier than when you were 20 but you feel very slim
You will never have time to do all that you have to or want to
You are wise and you have given up trying – there’s a long long ‘To-do’ list which will never go away
The Loreal representative at the local mall tries to get you to buy more natural looking hair dye – even though you don’t dye your hair
Even the Bhaji-walla who used to call you Baby, then Didi, then Bhabhi, now calls you Auntie
For the non-Indian:
The Bhaji-walla is the vegetable vendor
They call all children Baba(boys) or Baby(girls), all young women Didi (elder sister), the not so young women Bhabhi(sister-in-law) and Auntie is just one step away from Nani – which means grandmother – a title you get when you look like, or are a senior citizen.