Madras Diaries

We are seated at a corner table at a crowded restaurant at Bangalore. My cousin, a friend I haven’t seen in over 20 years and I. I order the thaali and watch with amusement as my friend carefully scans the menu for low calorie options. “Live a little,” I tell her and smile as she nods and goes ahead with her original order.

I am at the local salon getting my tresses massaged and treated into submission. It is almost four hours since I left home. My cell phone shows three missed calls as I walk out but I am not panicked or anxious. I take an auto home to find all kids fed and happy. I shower, load my plate and take it to the bedroom to catch up with Amma as I eat. It has been years since I have had this kind of time for myself.

I towel Laddu’s hair, clothe her and turn attention to myself. I can hear muted sounds from the twins’ tablet. The clock shows 1:00 PM. Worried the kids are late for lunch, I open the door and walk in to the sight of the two of them eating with tablets propped up against the water jug. Their plates are loaded and they seem to be tucking in. A rush of happiness is followed by immense gratitude for Amma.

In the many years post marriage, trips to India have meant visits to in-laws mostly with a rushed trip to Chennai thrown in. These visits have mostly felt like an extension of being at home (read same responsibilities) with the added complexity of having to deal with a kitchen and a home that is not mine.

This time when I earmarked a few weeks to stay with Amma I had expected it to be better but it amazes me how relaxing this is. I feel at home without feeling like everything is on me. Most days, I have coffee handed to me as I brush and step out. Lunch is ready before I can get the kids in the shower. Dinner is done before I can even think of the next meal. I make calls and watch my calendar fill up as I count down to my departure date.

i eat chaat, order 50 grams of sweets I want to try and on a whim order molagai bajji as well. I go to bed at 8:30 PM without feeling guilty. I am up at 5:30 AM just to soak in the cool morning air and sip my coffee in peace before the kids are up. I schedule weekday lunches with friends I haven’t met in ages. I get my hair done, my nails painted and dress up for no reason.

Live a little I tell myself and feel a laugh bubble up through me.


Author. Parent.

8 thoughts on “Madras Diaries

  1. So glad you managed a few weeks at your Amma’s place this time and are finding time to soak in life’s little joys to your heart’s content.
    Make the most of your stay and may I add I loved the ‘Live a Little’ motto 🙂

  2. I have been following your blog for a few weeks now. Your writing voice is so charming! I, too, live far away from my parents, and find the pampering amazing when I visit them. But as they are growing older, I am starting to feel a sense of guilt — after all, I should be the one taking care of them, rather than the other way around. But I do know it makes them happy to do what they can for me. What a conundrum! Your thoughts?

  3. I just go to the local Mobil gas station when I want to be pampered – 5 mins of someone else doing what I should be doing. I do not know if I like being pampered beyond that.

  4. I think we Women all share the same thought “Pamper Yourself a Little”.

    I too just Love to go to My Mummy or Sister and sit and relax watching TV while everything is given to me on the platter.

    I also love Salons and till recently, I would be positively seen in a Salon doing my tresses or pampering my feet.

    Then due to a horrible bout of depression, I stopped going to the Salon. I even stopped painting my nails or wearing Jewellery which I am crazy about. I would deliberately put oil on my hair and comb it straight down, firmly clipped.

    Then Thanks to Friends and the Grace of Jesus, I came out of the Depression and reasoned with myself.

    I went last weekend to the Salon, did a Hair Spa, Pedicure and painting my nail, Neon Green !!!!!! Imagine !!!!

    Now I feel better.



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