In the gentle embrace of my youth, I fondly remember my mother’s words, their echo still alive in my memory. “You can’t do a thing right; you need to keep things back where you picked them from“, she’d often lament. Her never-ending to-do list for me kept my youthful chaos in check. Those were the days when I was a young girl, prone to moments of clumsiness, often making a mess in the kitchen, conveniently ignoring my mother’s meticulous instructions. None of it was on purpose; these mishaps simply happened in the whirlwind of my young existence. The most audacious part of it all? I had the nerve to correct her when she stumbled over her words while she repeated my instructions.
Fast forward to today, and my role has gracefully changed. As I watch my daughter, a young girl absorbed in her digital world, I step in, just as my mother did, to remind her of everyday chores like making the bed, setting the table, finishing her fruits, picking up that stray towel, and organising her room. Life, it seems, relishes its ironies. Today, in this strange dance of generations, I find myself in a scene oddly familiar. I’m swept up in a flurry of words, tripping over my own tongue, and creating an unintentional wordplay much to my daughter’s delight. She finds my linguistic slip-ups utterly hilarious and bursts into giggles. I reprimand, blaming my linguistic follies on the troublesome children I have. And they appear to have a talent for making me lose my train of thought.
Life’s transformation unfolds in curious ways. Despite feeling eternally youthful, my knees occasionally betray me, and my memory plays hide-and-seek, leaving me perplexed before an open fridge. My mobile phone seems to have adopted the spirit of mischievous hide-and-seek, only to reappear right in front of me when my daughter rings it. My reading glasses, too, embark on their own adventures, vanishing within our home, waiting to be found by my sharp-eyed teenager. Oh, how I miss the sharpness of my mind; post-its are all I have now.
In the midst of our usual dance of life, one day, as we were reviewing my daughter’s newly ordered ethnic dress on our last trip to India for a marriage, my mother chimed in, “How light is the colour of your girl’s dress? Could you not order something more vibrant and colourful for the function?” I sighed. “Oh, I tried my best to persuade her, but she has a mind of her own.” My mother chuckled and said, “It serves you right. You never listened to us either.” And in these simple yet profound moments, I can’t help but recall the wisdom of Lao Tzu. I once read, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
It was as if the universe was gently reminding me that, like the generations before me, I too have come to embrace these moments with open arms. This is my story, a tale of embracing life’s ever-changing tides, cherishing the beauty of the roles we inhabit, and recognising that wisdom is the most precious treasure we collect on our journey, with a dash of humour and a wink from the universe. For me, an Indian at heart who feels so at home in the land of two seas, I like to constantly remind myself to adapt to new environments while doing my best to preserve India in me. As cliche and insecure as it may seem, I still wonder about the amount of India that would remain in my son’s heart, who is studying in the US after having been raised mostly in Bahrain. Well, it’s a matter that only time will tell. As a parent, I would allow my children to explore and develop their own cultural identities. As I navigate life’s ever-changing tides, I’ve come to realise that embracing change not only enriches our experiences but also strengthens our connections with the world around us. So, the next time life delivers an unforeseen twist, remember to dance with it, for in those moments, we truly find our rhythm in life’s timeless dance.