Friday, March 11, 2016

Well, hello Gorpy. It's been four years and I'm back at the call of the Fellowship (here's looking at you, Jam) (what's the female for 'fellow' that in could use instead, I wonder). I've been up for hours already with the baby, joined by the seven year old and the two year old and finally the almost-five year old, all following that strange mercurial pull. Their compasses point always to me. I am their North.

I suppose you could say I am their home. That's where they began, which is fact. At some point in the early hours N watched me feed the baby, my eyes flickering between him and the opening of the curtains where I waited for the sky behind the neem tree lighten and remarked "we all came out of your tummy, we were all in there". Of course the conversation quickly veered towards how they came out, which I sidestepped neatly. Four a.m is not the best time to discuss how vaginas work.

Am I home? With them I am. I've never lived in a place that was only mine, that I imagined into life. My parents' houses, my husband's house which is really his mother's and now this sweet wonky rented house that I have made mine, finally. I stopped waiting for my forever house. Forever is only now, and wherever I am my books and record player and pictures will follow and make it home. I have only recently realized this. People come to sit in my verandah or on the bird-patterned chairs or the funny faded brocade of the study sofa and say what good energy the house has. I like to think I put it there. That all these years I have spent, Mrs Galloway style, throwing the dinner parties and dancing with the kids and all the baking and hanging of artwork and shelving of books have become a nest around me that is Home.

I do feel at home. Home is my funny tin sign that says Haseena Atim Bum outside the front door. Home is not having a proper drawing room carpet. Home is the gigantic teapot shaped like a red telephone box I use when I have several tea guzzling friends over together. Home is Louis Armstrong on the record player in the mornings and Zeenat absently doing a jig to Hello Dolly as she putters about. I made this. I made this house where people drop by, where K and her friends giggle amongst the trunks of winter razais in the box room. It's why I call the sitting room the gol kamra, because it reminds me of my grandparents and also of Moonface's house.

It's really quite the best, feeling at home. In my skin, in the persistent baby flab even, the new silver hairs. The gold octopus from the Natural History Museum the girls are obsessed with. Sometimes I am that tentacled, juggling thing, but sometimes I am gold too.

Mina at 8:50 AM


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Something That Stuck

“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants - and DESERVES - is a parent who is SPARKY!”

Here's to never forgetting!

Mina at 8:59 PM


Monday, July 16, 2012

In the wake of a huge tragedy I am left speechless and awed by the strength and grace of people. Dear friends of mine have lost their twins only a month before they were supposed to be here with all of us, who were eagerly awaiting them. And now there is an empty room with the door tightly shut, and beloved friends, both of them, with a haunted look behind their quiet faces. I'm devastated for them, every time I think of them my eyes fill and as a mother I have wept every other day for the terrible pain of it, the gigantic, unimaginable pain of it all. I'm the sort of person who tries to do the things people don't think about when they are otherwise in distress- bring a pot of something to eat, babysit, stand fiercely in doorways and not let anyone in. What can I do, what can I do? I wish I could start a group for parents who have lost a child, a place for them to talk and interact and just not feel so alone. How can I say, with my two precious babygirls, how sorry I am? How can I ever relate to their enormous, lifelong sense of absence except in my imagination, putting myself in their shoes for a chilling moment? I can't. It wouldn't make any sense to them and I don't want to be one of those people who appropriate other people's feelings, even with the best intention. I have, for the first time, really thought about my beloved older phuppi, who had two stillbirths in a row. How brave she is, to try again, how huge and horrible it must have been to hold two chubby, beautiful sons in her arms, babies she had carried and felt kick and talked to, only to leave too soon. How she probably, obviously still misses them. I would. And to spend your life never speaking of it, like they did forty years ago and still do. To not be able to verbalize your love and honour the life you grew. Even to speak and remember requires so much courage. This post is for all of you, and I know at least a handful. To you brave, amazing parents who have endured, survived and still see the good and the light. I salute you with all the respect I have.

Mina at 9:08 PM


Monday, June 04, 2012

this is what you will do now.

you will make more lists because they make you feel like you're in control of things. and crossing stuff out makes you feel anchored.

you will allow yourself to talk about your successes. it's okay to be proud of yourself once in a while.

you will stop letting other people's illusions infect your reality.

you will remember and listen and remember again.

you will keep trying because you must. you owe it to yourself to keep at it, and sometimes it's okay to just go to bed instead.

you will refuse to stress out about things you cannot change. like servants, and the weather, and toddlers who don't want to take baths.

you will phone or visit more often.

you will leap before you look and it will be okay.

Mina at 11:20 PM


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

conversations with k #551

k: waiill shrieeekkk spoooo
me (trying to distract ): radio sunogi ya opera?
k: opera!
(i put on the halleleujah chorus thinking she won't know any better)
me: weell...technically tou yeh choir hai... (puts on puccini)
k (listens a bit): haan yeh theek hai.

Mina at 7:21 PM


Saturday, July 30, 2011

conversations with K, #453 dedicated to akka

k: amma suno
me: haan sunao
k: eik chuha aaya, woh kitchen main gaya aur GUMM gaya-
me (interrupting): kyun?
k: -kyunke woh cookie dhoond raha tha. phir woh kamray main aaya aur ussnay apni t-sirtt (sic), sorts (sic) aur nappy bhi utaar di aur NANGA hogaya!
me: hain, sub kuch?! kyun?!
k: kyunke usskey sorts main DINOSAUR tha.

Mina at 9:25 PM


Thursday, June 30, 2011

i'm so tired. i'm so tired i'm not tired any more, it's what i call auto-pilot. i used to be on it a lot in my senior year at college ;) N doesn't sleep much in the daytime so on bad days- like today- i'm still in my nightsuit at lunchtime and eating it standing up with one hand becase i'm holding N in the other and K is wrapped around my leg saying 'amma godi do'. and wanting to murder S because he's at the office doing stuff and having lunch meetings at cosa (cosa! for cryin' out loud! what happened to having meetings in stuffy board rooms?!) and i'm a grubby wreck with one sentence lodged in my head for a story i haven't written yet because someone's bum needs a wash or the lunch has to be ordered or someone is sleepy and no, i won't stay up after the four a.m feed to write because at that time i've discovered the carpet is wet in the dining room since the toofan blew in through the one open window and soaked it, my indonesian carved settee ka gadda and the books on my trolley including two signed ones and a brand new shantaram intended for a pressie so i'm drying everything with a towel and hairdryer.

Mina at 7:03 PM


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

S and I are delighted to (officially and belatedly) announce the arrival of

Syeda Naintara Urmila Hussain

born on the 18 of May, 2011 at 4 a.m

with her grandmothers and father in attendance! Please remember her and our little family in your prayers :)

Mina at 1:03 PM


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

i watch K snooter around purposefully singing songs and just doing stuff and it amazes me every time how it is possible- and natural, and obvious- that she be growing up and already know things like there is a sky and the ceiling is not the sky but the outside-the-window-blueness is the sky, and there is a moon that is also chanda mama and a sun and stars. and that she wants to go to 'cool' and wants an apple lolly not an orange lolly. that she sings baa baa black sheep and lakri ki kaathi and is right now saying 'come amma come amma utho utho upar jaana hai' and when i ask her to do what she says 'cycle lainay' and i just told shamshad to wash her face while they were at it and K says 'no only amma dooit' and puts her small hand on my arm and looks up at me with her big brown eyes and it's all just too amazing, in the proper sense of the word. i am mazy and enchanted that she was in my belly kicking and sucking her thumb on the ultrasound and here she is, in her shorts and t-shirt and muggermuch faux-crocs, hanging out with me. and i can't wait for number two, who is right now identically the same loved-but-unknown little baby pushing muscularly against my skin and sinews, biding her time for just a while longer. and in a while i'll be looking at her and marveling at all the same things, again. how fantastic :)

Mina at 4:41 PM


Sunday, May 08, 2011

and would it help to hear him say there: there
is the mole i loved, the brow
i kissed, there is the moment

that i loved you most
knowing well how fleeting the moment
how transient the dusk
and how final the night


no it would not do at all

Mina at 6:42 PM