16 October 2007

Precious gifts

She looked at me with barely supressed tears in her eyes.

We were both, at that moment, looking at a gift she had given me six months ago. I could see that she could barely control her tears at just how much I'd cherished her lovely gift.

The day I turned 21 (and let's not go into just how long ago that was), my neighbour came over with a gift. She gave me a plant. A lovely little plant, in a decorative pot. She asked that I cherish it, and that it was a gift from her and her family.

I talked things over with the old man who helped around the garden at home. He said that the little plant wasn't too healthy, somewhat sparse and scrawny, and that it would need a lot of care and nourishment. I took it up as a challenge. I watered it everyday, manured it as per the old gardener's instructions, kept it in a nice part of the garden where it would get lots of light and air.

In six months it was three times as large. It was lush and healthy, but the old gardener and I thought that the leaves weren't growing very well. I bowed to the old man's judgement when he said it was probably a 'fancy hybrid', which was why the leaves weren't growing as well as they should.

In the meantime, the family next door had moved away to another neighbourhood, and contact was limited to the sporadic phone calls. Until the day the lady of the house happened to drive by her old home, and dropped in for a visit. We were catching up on all neighbourhood news, and I was waiting to show her just how much I'd cared for her gift.

I told her that I had a surprise and would she follow me outside, please?

I lead her to that sunny nook in the garden and told her to look. She was a little puzzled as she looked around trying to figure out what it was that she was that I wanted her to see.

Then it happened. I saw the light of recognition in her eyes. She remembered that really pretty terracotta pot. And then her eyes brimmed with tears. Her little plant was thrice as large as it had been six months ago, and had way more foliage.

She turned to me and said, "You know, I worked 10 years on that little plant before I gave it to you." Wow! That was really something, and in three months, I outdid what she'd achieved in ten years.

Then very gently, trying her best not to cry, she said, "Maybe I should've mentioned that it was a bonsai."

Startling revelations

You never know everything about anyone. Sad but true.

Last week, in a random conversation with my cousin Pt, the significant other made some rather startling revelations. Something that I never knew.

SO, Pt and I were discussing movies. Pt mentioned that she was a fan of Hayao Miyazaki. "Miya-something, who?" went SO. I very gently prompted him, "The guy who created 'Totoro'." After an awkward pause, he went, "Totoro, who?"

Pt and I stared. "My Neighbour Totoro? Tonari no Totoro? The animation film?"

Blank looks again. "Spirited Away??"

"Never heard of it." says SO, looking at me like I'm from another planet.

In his defense, he never knew until a couple of years ago, that the Little mermaid was not a happy story, unlike the way Disney told the tale. I'm married to the only person in Japan who doesn't know Totoro. And I plan to rectify that soon.

And before you jump to conclusions, he can unfold a protein better than anyone else. So there.

13 October 2007

Mission: Accomplished

It was a quiet afternoon. As I approached, kids in tow, I saw an elderly lady doing it. She was smooth, really smooth. She did it in one smooth move, no glitches.

I watched in awe. She must have been in her late sixties. And she didn't hesitate the way I would. She seemed to function on autopilot. This was bad. Why did I hesitate to grab the bull by the horns? What did I have to lose after all? (That, my dear readers, is a purely rhetorical question)

I furtively scanned the place. I was here well ahead of time, and the place was empty. I had a good five minute to go before there would be any witnesses to my attempt. Not that there was anything wrong with witnesses, but I didn't want anyone watching me do this. Not the first time at least.

I had my kids to think of. They were both with me, and the older one is at a very observant phase of life. What would she think if I was very obvious in what I was trying? Even worse, what if I failed?

'No,' I said to myself, 'I have to do this. It's now or never.'

With one last look around to ensure there were no witnesses I went to a relatively isolated area. I took a deep breath. I took the plunge.

I looked around. And I had done it. Flawlessly.

I called the better half.

BH: Hello.
Me: I did it! I finally did it!
BH: (slightly slow on the uptake) Huh? What?
Me: Take a guess. Take three guesses.
BH: (sounding distinctly worried) Do I want to know?
Me: I reverse parked. I reversed into a parking slot without mishaps. Perfectly in line.
BH: Cool!!!!!! Good work.
Me: Of course, there were no cars two lots on either side of where I parked. And three lots in the row in the front were empty too.

That's what baby steps are all about. One thing at a time. One small thing at a time.

And it's also the first time that I backed into a lot without hitting something.
I'm so proud of me!

A minor footnote.
I've only made two attempts before this. The first time I reverse parked, the car had a casual fling with a wall. Lots of hurt feelings as the wall didn't really seem to care that it hurt my poor car. The other time was when a really rude concrete pillar got in the way and refused to apologize.

03 October 2007

Lock?? I spit me of locking

I'm all for 'technology-for-all'.

These guys simply rock.

I salute their spirit.