The Title really says it all!!!Both my daughters just love going shopping----but while Lotta mulls over things that she plans on buying---Sayali just rushes in pell mell----impulsively and full speed!!!Even today her Closets are overflowing with these and for Shoes---she owns atleast 50-60 pairs at any given point of time!!!Sudhir used to think I exaggerated till one day Kartik(Sayali's husband)made her count all the pairs she owned---the total number shut Sudhir up effectively!!!Now her Patronage is spread over a wide spectrum----besides the Shops the Internet too has been added---and the Parcels by Courier or Post too have started pouring in!!!
Though she adores a lot things her pet buys are Shoes,Handbags/Purses,Clothes,Perfumes and Cosmetics-----of all these the first three are the nearest and dearest to her heart!!!She has always owned a large amount of each--and it was a pain trying to fit all these into the Kids' room!!!!The number of various items lying around was so big that each time I shoved these into the Closets and locked them---woe betide the next person who opened these Closets---a Deluge of Stuff would descend on that person in a rush!!
Let's take one of the main items ----Shoes.Bombay (as it was then) has always been the Commercial Centre for everything---there are plenty of Sales going on----these take place in Rooms of 5/7/9 Star Hotels or in the various Art Galleries around town----and people like Sayali just flock there---it's so crowded that these places are literally bursting at the seams with people!!!South Bombay used to be a hub---specially for Sales of Italian made Footwear.These used to be swarming with Sayali types looking for bargains---the Mantra "Buy 2 get 1 free"collecting all the Bees to the Honey!!!Now Sayali was prone to going to these and collecting 5-6 pairs at a time---almost every 3-6 months----piling up her hoard one on top of the other-----since it was impossible to find a closet large enough to fit these in!!
Each time she'd wheedle Sudhir nto giving her Money to indulge and no matter how vociferously I remonstrated---it all came to naught!!!Finally I started calling her "The Centipede" for the number was definitely edging that way!!!
Ultimately Time passed and Sayali was to leave for RIT at Rochester N.Y. for further education.It was with great difficulty that she picked out a few pairs from her hoard----keeping some for me to carry when I'd be visiting her and giving away some of the better pairs remaining to her Friends----since the constraints of weight of the Cargo Bags---so it was an emotional period for her---saying "Bye" to her beloved Footwear!!
Finally she flew off----leaving behind a huge pile of almost unused Footwear----and an extremely relieved mother-----no more fresh Footwear!!!I got rid of most of the Pile within a month by asking everyone I knew to come over and pick out whatever they preferred and by giving away the residue to a Charitable Institution.
A few days after she left Sudhir and I went to visit my sisters-in-law in Khar where they live.On the way we passed an Art Gallery with the Board"Italian Shoe Sale---RAWHIDE!!!"Instantly I turned to Sudhir and said"you dare tell Sallu about this-----or you've both just had it!!!"Sudhir looked at me and frowned-----for a moment I couldn't understand the frown----THEN it struck me----The Centipede wasn't in Mumbai---not even in India---oh what a rush of Relief I experienced---had Sudhir stopped the Car I'd have danced a Jig of Joy on the pavement!!!
This incident took place some 12-15 years back-----and again it features Sayali!!!Now Sayali is an incurable Shopper----she has loads of stuff---the Closets are overflowing with Perfumes, Clothes,Shoes,Cosmetics,Purses----you just name it---and you'll find what you're looking for somewhere in her Closet-------which is stuffed to the Gills!!!
This incident took place when she was still living with us--- she'd drive me around for my shopping in the afternoons and we'd be frequent visitors to a Store named "Eternia"in the Premsons Gallery on Bhulabhai Desai Road also called Breach Candy.This "Eternia" stocked a collection of imported Cosmetics from "Chambor" and other foreign Companies. These were in great demand and pretty expensive in those days.One day she decided to go shopping there for a particular Lipstick and I agreed to accompany her.
Inside this Gallery and just outside "Eternia" there was a stall selling "Biotique" and "Lotus Herbal" Products----these Companies are the Indian Versions of "The Body Shop" and "The Bath and Beauty Products" abroad.Their products are really good and very suited to Indian skins and Weather---besides being made according to Ayurvedic Formulae.I love buying these Quality Products---specially the Soaps----and am a great Fan of both these Companies and love using their Products specially the Soaps and Foot Creams regularly!!!!!
To come back to the story----while Sayali went shopping for her imported "Chambor"Lipstick inside the Shop I started browsing through the Products on the Stall.Now I love to gather information about the various products available------the uses,composition etc.,etc.While I was chatting to the Salesgirl about this ,Madame Sayali came sailing out of the Shop having made her expensive purchase-----and stopped short when she saw me browsing through the Products."Maa---what're you upto???You never even USE these things!!!" then turning to the Salesgirl she said"I'm so sorry----but my mother's one of that typical species----The Eternal Consumer!!!!"
Each day the Sun rises anew and by the time it sets ----an entire day is given to me to with it as I will!!!!That entire day is my goal----my Present and my Future----whatever I can achieve in that 12-18 hour period is what I've earned------the Future beyond it ceases to matter!!.I make no plans anymore for I've learnt that not fulfilling the Agenda unsettles and upsets me----so I just try to float with the flow-------I'm the mistress of the daily Chores---not they of me!!!
Since as far back as I can remember I've lived with a preset Pattern----certain Goals to be set,certain deadlines to be met----and somewhere the time just quietly flew past-----and thanks to stressing my body out finally one day it rebelled against me!!Till 2002 December it was just me---both my Body and Me were very much one despite my Diabetic condition but after January 2003 we split into two-----and became The Body and Me!!!
The Body that I'd so constantly and ruthlessly pushed rose against me in fierce Rebellion----and dictated certain terms to me!!!!This developement was totally unexpected and completely unforeseen----and absolutely shocking!!!The Dengue was very bad---and necessitated my going on an absolutely Fat free Diet for the first 6 months------and a much easier pace in my day to day routine.Loss of Strength and Stamina took getting used to---two things that I was so proud of and relied upon heavily came as a great shock------but my Stubborness wouldn't acknowledge it.Time would bring back my Body to my original Constitution----I convinced myself of this!!!Time did heal but I got a new bedfellow----- Fatigue---hitherto almost unknown to me-----but now shifted in lock,stock and barrel----as a permanent member in my Body.He began rearing his wizened Head each time I tried to do things that had been just a breeze in the good old days!!!The Body forced me to accept the basic fact-----both of us were separate and distinct from one another!!!Grudgingly I had to accede and accept this defeat----the Battle was lost but the War was still on!!I just altered the Course a little and again imposed my Will---albeit in a lesser capacity----on The Body again.!
The Body was conspiring against me silently------4 years later this Conspiracy came to light----a Cancerous lump in my right Breast!!!This time the Revenge taken on me was more severe----The Lumpectomy,Chemotherapy and the Radiation hit Me one after the other-----but I treated all of it as a Game----a match I just HAD to win---and win I did---with the skin of my teeth!! Again by sheer tenacity of Will I recovered to a semblance of my earlier Pattern-----but the Final blow of this War was just 2 years away-------February 2009 was when the second Conspiracy hit me-----one that forced me to accept and acknowledge that my Body and Me are two Individuals---my Heart Attack and Angioplasty.This has forced me to concede considerable ground in my private War----we have reached an Armed Truce---we grudgingly acknowledge and respect each and work together wherever necessary------but both are forced to make concessions towards each other!!!I have accepted and agreed to take things easier than before and relegate certain Jobs that I didn't earlier--preferring to do them myself before-----and The Body has agreed to let me live the remaining years of this Life in Peace----provided I stick to the bargain we've struck!!!
This is why I no longer make Plans anymore---merely try to cram as much as I comfortably can into each day---Sunrise to Sunset-----instead I spend a major portion of my Day trying reconnect more amicably again with my Body!!!!
The Weather is beautiful in my part of the World these days---perfect Nostalgia Season-----specially when old Melodies play in the background!!!My father loved Bing Crosby,Frank Sinatra,The Kingston Trio,The Platters----the memory of winding up the Gramophone and the Old 78 r.p.m records----they touch my heart with a poignant longing!!
Around 1983 Sudhir found an old Gramophone in the famous "Chor Bazaar" or "The Thieves Market" in Bombay and brought it home with a mixture of old Records and Needles for playing them!!!The children were thrilled----the polished wood Turntable and the sparkling Brass Horn settled nicely in one corner of our Drawing Room------fitting perfectly into the Interior decoration---those days we had a traditional Indian Theme---with soft mattresses and cushions placed on low wooden Divans -----brass Lamps and Tables and loads of Indoor Plants------typicallly Indian .At night we'd light the Brass Oil Lamps and in the soft glow of these old Melodies would play on the Gramophone ranging according to our moods----English---Hindi--Marathi---the Music differed but one thing remained constant---Sayali dancing to the old songs being played.We viewed a lot of old Films on the Video those days-----so she was familiar with all the different styles---both Indian and Western--- and she loved to dance----- it was the after Dinner entertainment that we enjoyed the most!!!Sayali loved Dancing and my greatest regret today is that despite having the access to Ms. Kanak Rele-----the legendary and wonderful Mohini Attam Danseuse we never took advantage of our relationship-----anyway those days are gone today!!!
Both Lotta and Sayali sing beautifully----they get it from Sudhir---I just croak offkey----and since we all love Music the house was always resounding with it.I had made a collection of different LPs---"The Sound of Music","Fiddler on the Roof","My Fair Lady" to name a few-----and the girls had perfected their singing techniques to such a melodious pitch-----they'd sing the songs in tandem together in such a perfect pitching of their voices melding together to weave a magic that could only be felt----wordlessly!!!The Rain would fall softly in the background with a gentle hush and my World would be replete with Happiness!!Often I'd play a Cassette or a LP softly in the background just before sleeping---I love drifting off to Dreamland with the sound of Music washing all over me!!!
There is this beautiful recording I've made----the Cassette begins with "Old Man River" and meandered on through similarly poignant songs---"Lara's Theme","Love is a many Splendoured Thing",'The Umbrellas at Cherbourg"----if you get the drift??I loved playing this Cassette during the days it poured heavily---and these songs made both the Girls cry----they thought that since I just lay back with my eyes closed while this played I was heartless and insensitive!!!I have both the Vocal as well as Instrumental Versions of these---and can listen to these incessantly!!!!!!Now these play non-stop when I'm alone---either on the F.M. or the Tape Deck--- during the Rainy weekdays---their lilting Melodies merging with the soft sighing of the gentle Rain-----the Idiot Box takes over from 8 p.m. till bedtime---so no more songs!!!
Memories are like Waves on a Sea shore--constantly rushing to the Shore and receding!!!Certain old Photographs posted on my daughter Sayali's Facebook Wall brought some sweetly poignant ones to the fore!!!One of Sayali's friends since Kindergarten posted these-----and those days came alive again!!!I have a habit of giving nick names and Sayali's was "Silundrikar"----"Undir" is Mouse in Marathi-----she had a sweet but squeaky voice as a child and was always asking endless Questions about anything and everything!!!!The other name that still is used by me is Sallalee Sallalum!!!
These Photos show all those children in their School Uniforms smiling away at the Camera----some seated some standing surrounding their Class Teachers seated in the center.The first one shows my tiny little pigtailed,round faced Silundrikar smiling so sweetly into the Camera----so innocent and guileless----only those who know her know the truth!!!She was a madcap child----full of mischeif and fun!!!We always celebrated Birthdays on the Weekends with the entire Clan attending------it was our Family Tradition.I think in the 2nd.Grade Sayali invited a friend---Rahilla---over for her Birthday Party----and I found out when Nirmalaji---Rahilla's mother------ came to drop her at our home that evening!!! Sayali had conveniently forgotten to tell me about this "Party"!!!
A very friendly child---Silundrikar had loads of Friends and her group of "Close" friends numbered 15 or so.The Lunches and Day spends at each others homes was a usual thing---all these children have still retained close contact-----through their School,College and adult years---now also!!!The core group consisted of Laxmi,Supriya,Rahilla and Sayali-----of these four Sayali and Laxmi were like two peas in a pod---very close!!!The two of them were inseparable and went everywhere together-----Silundrikar and The Duchesse de Luxembourg as I called Laxmi!!!
Sayali had an irreprisable sense of Fun(still does) and was a good mimic too!!!Her favourite act in School was to pout while singing"River of no Return" breathily like Marilyn Monroe as she undulated languidly down the back Stairs!!!A good Singer as well as Dancer Sayali's acts were very popular with her Schoolmates and our Family-----she was always centre stage entertaining everyone since babyhood!!!A thin child,it was Typhoid that changed her thin frame into a robust and heavy one----but her Stamina was great despite her bulk---she was undefatiguable!!!Her sunny nature and sweet disposition made her beloved of everyone.
It was during Lotta's engagement Ceremony that she realised she needed to lose weight-----the Video captured her girth in a Sari very starkly!!!"Maa my butt stretches from one end of the Screen to the other"she wailed"you never told me I'm THAT FAT!!!"To tell the truth she looked okay to me---it was puppy fat and would melt as she grew older was what I thought and I liked her cute and cuddly!!She weighed 78 kgs. and was just 18 years old------this was August and she made up her mind to lose all that extra weight by the Wedding in February!!!
Sayali is blessed with an iron will and a ruthlessly competitive spirit-----she also is possessed of a very intelligent,articulate and sharp Brain and Tongue----as well as being exceedingly mulish and stubborn to boot!!!She attacked her weight with such ferocity that she lost 32 Kgs. by February---but that wasn't all that she lost.With that weight she lost most of her Stamina and Vigour---she began tiring easily and became volatile and irritable too!!!
Today she drives herself hard and she has made her mark in the Corporate World-----but I miss that sweet cuddly little Baby who always was so sunny and sweet---squeaking away at the top of her sweet little voice asking those endless questions!!!