Monday, August 19, 2013


This link - The day I stopped Saying "Hurry up"  reminded me of myself. I have spoken about this before, that I sometimes feel like a monster who can only say the words "Bega Bega Bega!"  (Quick!)  I sometimes joke to Puttachi that the word I say most often in a day is "Bega."

I wrote that two years ago, and things haven't really changed much.  Puttachi is still a dreamer.  And I still have to hurry her.  When I am hopping and looking at the time and fretting that it is getting late for school, Puttachi still wants to instruct her eldest doll daughter (in doll language, mind it!) to look after her younger doll daughters.   When I am tearing my hair out that she will get late for badminton class, she still wants to dance and watch her shadows move.  When I am hounding her to go to bed and close her eyes bega bega, she still wants to fluff her pillow up and smoothen the covers until they are perfect, and smile at some memory and..... hug me until my ribs ache.

I detest myself whenever I say bega bega but sometimes there is no go.  That's why I haven't put her in any summer camp during vacations until now.  No way did I want to say bega bega to her even during vacations.

But I wanted to try and see what would happen if I didn't hurry her.  A couple of weeks ago, she came back from school, took off her shoes and as usual, entered her dreamworld.   I didn't say anything to her - didn't ask her to go wash up, or change, or anything.  I just continued with my work. I talked to her if she talked to me, but I didn't bother her at all.  An entire hour passed, and Puttachi went on playing whatever she wanted to play, where a scrap of paper became somebody's food, and where a seed was a precious stone....

And then, suddenly, she realized she was very hungry.  And that led her to the realization that she still had to change and wash.  And that made her angry, and, her bad temper got compounded by hunger, and she threw a very rare tantrum.  Finally, I had to calm her down, help her change, and give her food.  That was when I comforted myself with - relax.  Sometimes you just cannot help it.

Things that help me deal with a dreamy child:

1) A structure and a schedule helps her. I guess when her brain is too full of important things like making paper-pulao for her dolls, mundane things like changing, and washing aren't important.  So we decided on a schedule/time table - we call it Step 1, Step 2, Step 3 - which makes her focus and do every task one by one until she is done with all the boring stuff, following which she can drift away to her dreamland again.

2) Sometimes I set an alarm and challenge her to finish all the necessary but boring work before the alarm rings.  She enjoys this race against the alarm.  But not all the time.

3) At times, I have to lure her with a story to get her work done quickly.

4) If nothing else works, I join her in fantasy-land 

What works for you?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Beauty parlour epiphany

Going to the beauty parlour is high on my list of most-hated activities.  I keep putting it off for as long as I can, and finally, I call the parlour and quickly make an appointment before I change my mind.  Since I'm wired to honour appointments, I know I'll stop conjuring up reasons not to go, and I'll go.   

The major reason I don't like parlours is that no matter which parlour I go to, they all treat me as fair game to heap me with advice.  Firstly, I am that specimen who doesn't straighten my hair (horrors!) nor colour my hair (double horrors!)  Besides, I apparently have a face that is a great example for the "before" in a "seven signs of aging" cream commercial and I get a whole lot of advice on what I need to do to my face to become presentable, and that usually includes the most expensive facial available at their parlour.  They put me in front of the mirror and map out my face, telling me what is wrong with what part, and all I can see wrong with my face is the frown of anger and annoyance.

Anyway, to avoid getting commented upon, I had started taking special pains to appear my best before going to a parlour.  Know that old joke about the woman who frantically straightened out her home before the cleaning-lady came in, saying, "I can't let her see my house like this?"  I'm like that when it comes to parlours.  I take more efforts to make myself "presentable" to go to a parlour than to go to a party. At a party, nobody comments on my looks directly!

And yes, I knew I was being silly, but I couldn't get myself to stop being affected.  And since I don't like to slather myself with chemicals that will keep my hair and face conforming to the prevalent standards of beauty, and since I am too lazy to research and sustain the use of natural products that are supposed to do the same, it is a kind of status quo for me. 

And then, yesterday, something happened.  I was at the parlour (a new one, because the lady in the old one commented a little too much about my looks) and this girl who was attending to me said the same things - the usual litany of how terrible my face and hair is and what I should do about it.  But - it was perhaps the way she said it, or maybe it was just time for an epiphany - I didn't get angry.  I just stood back and thought, "Shruthi, she's just doing her job."  Just like I cannot bear looking at a badly-written book or a poorly-crafted resume without an urge to edit it.  Just like an architect might look at an ugly building and think, "Oh I would have done it another way."  Just like a tailor sees a dress that doesn't fit well and feels the urge to set it right.  Just like that, this poor girl feels the need to turn my face and hair into that category which current societal standards calls beautiful.  It is not her fault at all.  She has been conditioned by society about what beauty is.  She is just doing her job. 

And then, I relaxed.  I smiled and nodded at everything she told me, and said, "No thanks" to the most expensive facial and hair spa available at their parlour, and asked her to get on with whatever I had gone there to get done in the first place. 

I feel liberated! :)
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