That’s it I reached that point at which I am so completely done with the heat, and this year the feeling came earlier than the previous one. The heat and humidity of the past week has gone to my head and I feel like I am a dumpling cooking away in a steamer the whole day long.
I miss my hour long walk after dropping Ishita in school, but just walking down the hill to her school is enough to sap me of all energy, by the time I walked back up to the level of the park where I walk I am soaked wet just wanting to walk the 300 meters back to my home instead of hacking a few kilometres on the jogging track, at 10 am no less.
The scary bit is that it’s not even May just yet, and it already feel hotter than hot in a very debilitating way, the monsoon is still a little over month away (if it comes on time that is) and I find myself in that state where my mind simply can’t wrap itself around the fact that in January I was happy and almost shivering in my sweat pants sipping cups after cups of tea in utmost bliss and never wanting to get out of that state. The memories of these days usually fade as fast as it takes for a puddle of water to evaporate in the hot sun, and I even find myself wondering if I just didn’t make it up. I never had that feeling in Switzerland, even though we have cases of “extreme” with cold icy days and snow in the winter and temps going in the –5 range in Geneva, and hotter days in the Summer where yes the mercury can go past the 30’s (Celsius that is), but contrary to here the hot days are few, and not so unbearable due to a far more moderate level of humidity in the air. Dry heat is far easier to deal with than humid heat.
On a long taxing Winter back home we would end up wondering if Spring would come at all, and once it was there knew we had several months of decent to pleasant temperatures and simply hoped for enough sunny or rain-less days but I never really dealt with the feeling I might have as well hallucinated the brief warm Summer days the way I feel I hallucinate the short pleasant Winters here in Mumbai.
And Bangalore had me used to some pleasant constants as well, we knew the month of March, April and May were hot, but not critically unbearable without an AC, and we still had he “Mango showers” that series of Summer storms that will periodically bring some relief and reassure you that yes rain and coolness still actually exist, and once the monsoon would hit in June, the days would remain steadily temperate until fall at which point we would see the return of colder days yet pleasant days. Mumbai has somehow the knack of making you feel like anything that is not blistering hot and humid weather wise is actually a fluke if I can manage to explain that feeling at all. By the second half of May you usually have everybody looking up to the sky anxiously for sign that deliverance is on it’s way and that yes we will get to see what a dark cloud and a drop of rain looks like again. because contrary to Bangalore where Summer storms occur all Summer long, Mumbai is pretty much bone dry until the monsoon hits, on rare occasion a storm might hit, but I am yet to see it happening, and people that have been living there longer all say that it’s pretty much a rarity for it to occur.
The monsoon in Bangalore cools things down permanently for the rest of the year, in Mumbai it plays a cruel joke on us the minutes it recess back to the sea, instead of keeping us cool until the next Summer, it ends up steaming us some more in October and November leaving us numb once more. Then and only then do we earn about 8-10 weeks of winter with only a few days in it being almost cold before the cycle repeats again.
Year after year I puzzle my family back home when I rave about things like rain, or shivering inside a shawl or squealing in delight at the idea of dumping my shorts deep at the back of the wardrobe practically shouting “Good riddance” doing so in the same way they do it finally telling their parkas, gloves and mufflers to just go get lost in the black hole of their own wardrobes not wanting to see the sight of said outfits ever again. And I still find myself smiling at that irony. How I went from being a sweat pants and shawl hater practically wanting to burn them just to conjure Spring into happening when I was living in Switzerland to now welcoming them with open arm and mourning their loss just a few weeks after having taken them out of the back of the shelves. While I now wish just shredding flip flops, shorts and light weight kurti would just be enough to invoke the spirit of the cold season into manifesting itself again. A feeling I might yet again add never stroke me while leaving in Bangalore but is on full blast here in Mumbai.
Until then I am living on salads, grilled things, fresh fruits and ice creams, and the idea that cooking should not be something that take more than 30 minutes of my whole day.
Leaving you on that note for now, as I have exactly 45 minutes left of my “me time break” to brace myself to go out again in the heat to go pick up my daughter in school and bring her back home, where an “aloo methi salad” will be waiting for us.
I finished my painting project yesterday! So now as promised, I am going to share all the things I did with the paint I showed you in my previous entry, and I am going to do it showing you the projects in a chronological order.
The original idea and project was to collect some smooth rocks and paint them. I collected the rocks a month ago while we were walking along the Bandstand promenade in Bandra…there are a lot of seashells, broken ceramic tiles and pebbles in the rocks just off the walkway there for those interested to know about it. I didn’t pick up as many as I wanted because we had a long day ahead of us and lugging stones in my purse for hours is not my thing, but it’s not like I can never go back there and pic some more.
It took me another week or so to decide to do put my plan to execution, but had no bright coloured paint left in sufficient quantity, so a few days more and I headed to the stationary supplies shop and get some, and that is how I ended up buying all these Acrylic paint tubes. A few days more and I came up with these:
Ishita wanted to paint some rocks too, so she went taking a few in her personal stash (she pics them up everywhere regardless of the shape, rocks are cool and must be collected in bulk) and painted these:
She fell in love with the blue over the other colours, can’t blame her, I love that one too. And if you remember from my previous blog post, the blue tube is not as full as the others…keep reading and scrolling down and you will see why.
I was about to leave it at that and use the pain on later projects later, but then the guys that have been painting the external walls of our building for the past few months, came to our place to paint the inside of the “flower beds” which is a waste of building space nobody can really access properly from most of their windows, and tend to accumulate water during the monsoon leading to water seepage issue, their mission have been to paint and waterproof these. While they were there to put the primer in the tubs, they also cleaned them of all the trash that falls from other floors above and the mess left from the previous tenants, in one of them, a bit out of reach for me to pick them safely was 2 flower pots, one full of soil with no plant and one with a very thirsty but still alive aloe vera plant, so while they were at it, I asked them to hand me these two pots, and since they were looking a bit old, sad and dirty we gave them a makeover:
Ishita helped me with these, and that is exactly what brought me to the next project I just finished yesterday. In wanting to help me, she ended up putting some big streaks of blue paint on a narrow wall strip of the balcony. And I immediately saw the opportunity to decorate it. As it is that wall was already permanently scribbled, and the walls inside the flat have been rubbed with magic eraser way too many time already, so the painting charges will go off our deposit money once we leave the flat, and since we have no immediate plans to leave, and I don’t like the idea to live with blue streaks on a balcony that have far more potential than being scribbled I did this :
Yup I painted the whole strip blue, then over the course of several days painted the little suns and paisley motif in yellow and orange over it. The reason it took so long is that a) I have to wait until Ishita is in school to do it because this not a thing she can really help with and b) due to the fact that it is close to the ground it meant I had to lie on my tummy and prop myself on my elbows and forearms to do it, this position gets uncomfy fast enough and after 3-4 motifs you need to take a break for the sake of your back and shoulder joints.
When we first visited that flat in December, DH and I knew that it was one of these place that would benefit from splashes of colours and an artisanal feel more than the minimalist look we had going in the old flat that was more modern and sleek in its architecture. The balcony will be a sit down area at one point, we are planning to get 2 bean bags there one of these days, and of course get some more plants. But that little strip of blue is already making it pop out more and bring some freshness to our living room (to which this balcony is attached). The painted rocks are currently in my bedroom but I can totally see them migrating to the balcony in the future too.
And I still have more than enough paint to get into more Summery-feel projects, though right now to be frank, it’s the Summer heat that has me floored and going into laze around mode.
I have had colours on my mind these days, bright cheerful ones at that, so much so I have quite a few creative projects in these bright hues completed and about to completed soon, instead of making several short posts about said projects I decided to wait until I am done with the one I am working on right now before posting pictures, but since I am am otherwise uninspired in the domain of blog posts and I promised myself I would not let the blog without at least one or two updates a week during my Summer hibernation stint. Here is a little tease :
These are the colours of my projects, well not the white paint one…yet, but I needed a little symmetry in that picture (otherwise the yellow tube would have felt lonely being the only small one). You can probably guess that the blue is the colour I used the most so far…and I’ll leave it at that. Stay tuned!
last year I announced an hibernating period of some sort due to the Summer heat getting to me and my desire to write about anything that would require me to think too much. I blogged of course, but on lighter non thought provoking things, to refresh your memory you can go read my announcement here.
Time has come for me to announce that the Summer blog period has come back. The heat is back, Ishita finished the school year last Friday and is now in Summer camp again, from 10am until noon. This year I do however head to the park for my 1 hour walk on most days, despite the heat, the truth is that going there an hour earlier than last week is just what I needed, the park is still pretty much in the shade then and I love having my frustration releasing outlet still there. Yesterday I spent sometime off the track and at home painting a project I am sure to blog about soon (but it is not finished yet). My afternoon challenges now consist of keeping Ishita busy on days she doesn’t feel like napping, because heading to the playground before 4pm is totally out of the question, and on days she feels like dosing off for a while like today, I or join her, or get involved into some creative projects.
The fact that our current flat is North East, North West facing means it is far cooler and we are still at a point at which the AC is only really needed at night to bust the humidity out, unlike last year when in our East facing bay window apartment we would be steaming the whole morning and needing the AC past noon to simply cool things down the instant the sun stopped hitting us. The difference between the two flats is radical to say the least, and it helps that in the late afternoon a soft NW breeze starts blowing keeping us ventilated.
That said do not expect tales of the outdoor and much in the department of thoughts and reflexions from my part, my mind has gone on vacation. So like last year expect things like pictures of my home, decor tips, pantry pictures (or similar), and of course craft projects since this is how I am keeping Ishita busy these days.
This past Weekend we ended up going to the mall, first for lunch and then to buy more books for the Summer. DH and I pretty much decided that Ishita could have all the kids books she want and we would happily spend the money there, no expense spared on books and craft supplies in our home. Toys are bought sparingly and with thought, DVDs are a treat.
So back to this weekend, as usual the sight of Crosswords got Ishita all exited and she ran inside straight to the kids section, and started pulling out books and ooooohed and aaaaaahed at them all, at one point she grabbed a book full of craft projects, which I grabbed and immediately decided to buy as much for Ishita as for myself, since we seriously restricted the TV time we need inspiration to use our craft supplies, and a book containing 365 projects…WIN
A couple of books and one DVD as a treat later we head home and I sit down with the craft book and a page about making seasonal paper garlands attract my attention, it shows mostly fall themed ones with pumpkins and orange leaves, the word bunting is thrown in and this was just what I needed to get my creative juice flowing. The next day I took the crafting paper out, some bowls to draw circles and we made paper watermelon slices. Ishita added her own touch to three of them that we put in her room, and I glued the other slices to a strip of paper and put it on my kitchen window:
Now the plan is to get more Summer themed thing in that kitchen, the bouquet of sticks is something Ishita had me put in a steel water tumbler a while ago and that I can’t throw away because she still regularly bring me some, but I need to jazz that one up a little, it looks a bit blah for the season.
In the afternoon, after she came back from school we got into project number two and the end result looked like this:
Buntings make me think of Summer country fairs and carnivals, they are bright, cheerful, and fun to make. This one is made of old gift wrap papers and craft paper, all folded and glued along a clothes drying line. The original idea was to tie them across the window, but the line was not only too long, it was not looking nice, see that window is North West facing and we are lucky enough to get a nice breeze coming in all afternoon long, it is blowing strong enough to damage our pretty little flags. And since i have been meaning to find a way to prettify the bed area for a little while, we decided that putting out work of art there would be an excellent idea.
Now I did cut all the triangles, Ishita just scribbled with her crayons on some of them, I doodled on a few myself and we left the gift wrap paper ones as they were. Then I found a few stickers we pasted on some as well. Ishita totally lost interest during the gluing them over the string, simply because the granny smith green rope was just much more fun to play with, one end was coiled like a snake…you can’t beat that kind of fun…no way!
The book is still full of ideas on how to make swirly mobiles out of sticks, paper plate crafts, hand and finger puppets, little figuring made out of felt…oh the possibilities! Considering we used a fair amount of our craft paper I even have a motive to go visit the stationary shop and stock up on a few thing now, and pretty much like the bookstore trips there is no telling how much we will end up buying, Ishita is equally exited at going there to buy stickers, glitter and paint.
Last Saturday was Ishi’s school annual event, the very same event type I blogged about last year when they asked us to pay 500 a week before the show and we found out it was Bollywood songs…you can refresh your memory here and here.
This year instead of giving you a couple of blog post with an air of deja vu, I’m giving you one post that summarize the experience. The school was less good at keeping a lid on it until the last minutes, one factor being that as mom of nursery students we had them fess up certain things early, not that we knew the songs, but we knew they were dancing in school, the second factor being that they have now a Jr Kg group and they were practicing a dance on Rang de basanti right behind the reception desk, so there was no mystery about the fact that the school was using the same tried and done Bollywood thing.
Now I knew what would come next in the sequence of event, the other moms in Ishita’s batch are all newbie, and I warned them that as the date would draw near we would be suddenly asked to fork 500 rupees for the costumes rental, whcih horrified them and made them wonder why the school was not asking us with enough time in advance to make the outfits. As the Been There Done That mom I warned them that they were going to be deaf and mute about the issue, and one day before the glorious event we would all be bringing supremely horrid and cheap looking costumes that would in all likehood not even fit our tiny tots, they didn’t believe me yet. Days, Weeks past and the teacher let one of Ishita’s song slip: Seniorita. At this point I knew where it was going, so unlike last year didn’t seethe and ramble about the stupidity of having toddlers dance to anything Bollywood when there is a whole world of classical music to explore if they wanted to keep it Indian and even more nursery rhyme if they wanted to make it easy for the toddlers to relate. But nope, Bollywood it is, yet again. With all the craziness that has been plaguing the school this year I was not expecting much more from them.
2 weeks ago a small note has been ceremoniously dumped in my daughter’s backpack with no teachers even telling us about it. And as expected they were telling us to bring 500 bucks for the costumes within 2 days. The other moms went fuming, I again warned them that going to complain will fall into deaf ears, we paid and waited.
last Monday, the starting of the week that would lead to the even, a twist in the plot occurred, one that left me biting at them. I dropped Ishita in school a bit late, due to a Q-tips situation that made us stop by the hospital first and the coordinator inform me that since Ishita is in two dances I need to bring a lehenga choli for her second number…arr-humph argggh gasp…WHAT? I told them I don’t have a lehenga for her, only an Anarkali churidar outfit. The lady ask me “Can you buy one” at this point I am trying hard to process why oh why she is asking me this considering that like the year before I paid 500 rupees and that like last year I am expecting it would be enough for the two costumes she would end up into on the stage, clearly I was delusional! I inform her rather sternly and a bit aggressively that no I will not spend 1500-2000 bucks for an outfit she will never wear much more than once or twice in her life, and that I am really not willing to run to Crawford market to score a bargain either and point out that it was their job to provide the costumes. She tells me that they can rent a second outfit but only if I pay another 500 bucks. I flat out point out that the previous year it was 500 for TWO outfit, not one, and she goes blank, stutter and mutter “I have no idea how that worked last year”. Pissed I inform her that Ishita will come in her Anarkali and churidar and that it was final, pointing out that they had quite some nerve asking for more money on these considering that out of the tuition fees none of the field trip money went toward any field trip, the school had been too lazy about these this year around. She blanks and looks embarrassed again and surrender saying the churidar outfit will just do fine. I bring it to school the next day, she again assure me it was fine (probably realising it looked fancy enough to look the part in God knows what song they planned to have her dance next, and the rest of the week goes smoothly.
Come Thursday, the horrid rental costumes are handed out to us to dress all kiddos in before the show and bring them dressed up backstage on D-day. Again I was expecting it, I ended up with a cheap red satin flamenco dress with black net and sequins ruffled, the outfit looked like it had been worn by many, some bits are snagged and frayed. But hey as I said I was expecting it. Two of the moms got handed white and red cotton sarees for their daughters and I thanked the stars that I lucked out on a tacky satin horror instead, at least it would be easy to keep her dressed and neat in it. One of the saree mom complained the next day that the outfit is way too short for her daughter and about half a foot from the ground (nobody in school thought of checking the sizes of anything) but is stuck with it. Meanwhile Ishita begs me to let her wear the dress all the time, she is beyond exited by it, to be fair the material is tacky and cheap but the cut of the dress is cute.
Saturday evening I drop an all dressed up Seniorita at 5.30pm at the venue, which unlike last year when it was in a party hall is this year in the middle of the BMC sports ground in our area (saving money everywhere they can!). We sit and wait for the show to begin. This year unlike last year there was a theme: Incredible India. Seniorita was the opening number, as the story goes we are following an Indian family that first decide to travel the world and their first stop is Spain. For that dance the girls are dancing with a boy partner, Ishita’s partner however broke into tears and terror the instant the music started, leaving Ishita totally confused at what she was supposed to do, clearly her boy partner was broken and would not hold her hands and spin around in circle so she stands there looking around wondering if she should console the boy, or just wait. A teacher comes to her rescue and make her spin around the crying boy who is by then in full meltdown mode. The dance end and the show continue, the family goes to USA and a group of 2-3 years old pre-schooler appear all dressed in flappers outfit designed to blind the audience in a sparkle of yellow and magenta so that no one would notice how wrong the outfit looks on toddlers they dance on the ketchup song waving cheerleader pom pom, then the story continues and the family visits Australia, cute little things dressed in brown bear outfit that are supposed to be kangaroos take the stage and hop up and down on a song about gummi bears (bite me I thought gummi bears were a German invention). Then the family apparently goes back to India, and this ladies and gent have been the tacky pinnacle, because as the story goes the Indian family is still exited about their trip around the world and can’t stop dancing…blast in the tune of a Vengaboys song I know oh too well as it was a popular club song in my youth and start displaying horror on my face praying hard for the sake of all the parents it was the instrumental version…no such chance, a few beats into it and we are all hearing “BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM I Want you in my room…” At which point the look on horror that was gracing my face was present on about half the people in the audience, clearly whoever picked that song had no idea what the lyrics meant!
Then they went into regional mode, because the family is now touring India realising that it is the best place on Earth. There was more kitschy costumes but at least with regional costumes undertones, songs I didn’t particularly recognize, Ishita’s second dance was to represent Gujarat, and all the kids in her group danced very well in that song, no meltdown, apparently give them dandiya sticks and they are happy. Then came the white saree group representing Kolkata, the daughter of the mom who reported her outfit was shorter was not exaggerating, all the other girls had sarees, her looked like a saree mini-skirt, clearly someone goofed up in the sizes there. And the only objectionable song in the India journey was a song about Radha, which was played when the family visit Mumbai and see a Bollywood movie being shot, in that song Radha wants Attention, Radha wants to party, and she is a sexy Radha…ummm ok, why are 3.5 years old dancing on a dance that want them to be sexy and an object of attention? After that it’s the West that is moral less, perverted and a bad example to follow…yes indeed!
Now to be fair the theme was a good idea, most of the dance numbers were nice, the songs at the exception of these two I mentioned were fine. That said, it’s yet again putting a lot of expectation on small kids, half the play-schooler had meltdowns on stage and they even had to call the moms to go dance with them the other half of the younger kids had no freaking idea what they were supposed to do, the nursery kids were playing along nicely for the most of them (though that class was not exempted from the meltdowns either), as it was the case last year, the fact it was an evening show had half the kids tired and cranky too.
I said it last year, I’ll say it again this year, asking kids that young to dance to Bollywood songs is wrong, asking them to even relate to them is even worse, like last year I felt very smug at the sight of clueless little tots. Sadly the school will like many others continue doing the same kind of shows…And I am not deluding myself much, the school she is going to next year will probably have its Bollywood moments too.
I said it recently, I got myself new sports shoes, and nearly 2 weeks into them I LOVE them. So much I thought I would write a review about them, because the more I walk (and I am close to 9km in 90 minutes these days) the more I bless my shoes for letting me do so without feeling any pain the way I did before.
But first a picture of my daily walking companion:
The are Adidas, and the model’s name is Response 21 (had to look around this morning, because it’s not written anywhere that I remember). The brand claims are that they are flexible while giving optimal support for people having a neutral stride and those having a high arch foot which tend to “under pronate”, a scientific term that means your ankle doe not rotate much in a step and all the weight of your body remains on the outer side of the foot, one of the thing high arched feet people tend to do a lot and can lead to ligament strain and pain in the joints. It also claim to respond instantly to the unevenness of the terrain and help you keep proper balance without straining the joints, and like most shoes gives you a good impact cushioning of the sole.
Now they are shoes that are suited for running, but do well for brisk walk as well. And let’s clarify one thing, I do brisk walk…a lot. The first 10 minutes of my morning walk is moderate, because I am dropping Ishita in school, the remaining 80 or so minutes is at brisk pace, my average pace these days is 6 kilometre and hour with many long intervals at 7-8 km an hour once I hit the park. So when I go for a walk, I mean business, I’m in there to get my heart pumping and get these emotional tensions out. With that kind of intensity over such a long period of time not every shoes will cut it. As I said before I killed an old pair of Reebok recently which had some ok-ish support but let me know I walked a long time even at the end of the day, I then killed my feet in a pair of synthetic leather shoes I bought for casual walking, blistered them silly actually, so much that I decided to walk in my Fila sandals, the sole was not too horrible, but the support on my feet inexistent and after 3 days my feet where screaming in pain.
Important to note too, I have high arch feet, and yes I under pronate big time. A thing I know I do since I was in my teens when my orthopedist raised the issue with my mom and urged her to get me some good supporting sport shoes for PE in school. I also have problem prone knees, even had surgery in one when I was 19 because I got into so much pain from it. My Orthopedist always advised I keep active but stay away from high impact activities, basically it means walking is more than fine, running however is a big no no, and of course to always wear quality shoes while doing some sporty things (which I obviously didn’t always follow and have been stupid not to).
For all the reasons cited above it made only sense to go for that particular model rather than a lower priced one (which felt fine on my feet at the store but not great). That pair I now have felt absolute bliss on my achy feet in the store itself, and I was eager to put them to the test on the track.
The first thing I noticed walking in these was that while all the other had me painfully remember for the rest of the day that I walked 7+ kilometre in one session, these didn’t, at the most I had the normal twinge of ache of well worked out muscle at bed time, not much more than that. I also noticed thanks to my fitness app that my pace had picked up, from an average 5 I went to an average 6-6.5 kilometre per hour with far more interval at a higher pace than before, without even feeling the increase in the way of pain. Clearly a sign that the sole does what it does cushioning the foot helping each steps being a fluid continuation from the precedent. I also noticed that my arch feels very supported and therefore the usual strain I tend to put in my ankle and knee went away immediately.
A part of my walk put me on slightly uneven terrain, thanks to the fact many roads in India are congested, and sidewalks full of potholes, bumps and obstacles. The road back home and to the jogging park has no sidewalks, many cars and goes uphill, I find myself often jumping out of the way of a speeding school bus, wiggling between parked cars, stepping on curbs and unevenly laid drain covers. This is where I put the claim of keeping the foot stable on uneven terrain that Adidas make…and it totally delivers, my feet and ankles do not even feel the unevenness, the shoe is flexible enough to absorb the impact of jumping on a curb or a tree root and still help me keep my stride fluid. I’ve done a lot of mountain hiking as a child and teen, none of my trekking shoes growing up ever did something that cool, I guess that says it all.
Another thing to point is that they are all mesh on top, so highly breathable, which in this climate is an absolute must. And with my having the tendency to sweat buckets and end up with soaked feet and socks after a good workout that is even more capital for me to have shoes that do not trap my tootsies in a pool of my own sweat, that’s actually how I ended up blistering my feet in my synthetic leather shoes. I still get wet socks with these shoes, but it’s not as dramatic as in my old Reeboks that also were made of breathable fabric, so it seems that whatever power is at work in my Adidas really does its work well enough to keep me comfy in the waterworks department as well.
All in all the shoe delivers all it’s promises, the only thing that could be a drawback for many is the price. At 6499 rupees they certainly aren’t cheap. However if you are like me with problem knees, arched feet and do work out at a high intensity everyday, they pay themselves up very fast, and always remember that surgery to fix a damaged knee or a thorn ligament will cost more than 6k and will likely leave you with underlying issues for the rest of your life. In this light 6 k on a pair of shoe doesn’t sound silly or even costly. Of course that doesn’t mean average shoes in any of the big sports brand around are bad, not at all, it’s just that some people have higher need from their pair of sports shoes than other. The mid-range shoes I tried there and were feeling ok would probably be awesome for people with no joints and feet problems or those walking less long or less often.
The fact does remain that when you plan on buying a pair of sport shoes, the price sadly can’t be the absolute determining factor if you care about your health, the factors determining your choice of shoes should go beyond that.
In my case I workout outdoor, the park is free, the road is free, I do not spend any money on Gym subscription, so the least I could do to myself is spend whatever is required on what stands between my foot and the concrete.
And I have a feeling that as I age I will end up thanking my shoes and the wisdom that led me to not go cheap on them more and more.
If you have been reading me for a while you know I love Christmas and the holiday spirit that goes with it, but I never mentioned a thing about Easter in the nearly 8 years I have been keeping this blog, and there is actually a good reason for that: I haven’t celebrated Easter in ages, and probably NEVER in any religious sort of way.
In Switzerland, Easter is pretty much one of these non-avoidable thing, they start selling chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies at least a month if not more in advance, because culturally it’s a Christian country. In my family I can’t even remember us making to any of the Easter church service, I remember a few Christmas ones (though never on Christmas day itself) but none for Easter, see my family is Christian by default but really not religious at all. I think I’m the first that claimed my “right to religious freedom” at age 16 and asked my parents to stop sending me to the mandatory religious class that leads to communion at 18, and asked them to stop filling my school papers with “Christian-protestant” and put “no religion” instead, I re-stated that clause when I was 18 when I filled my own paper as a legal adult, and even wrote to the church to stop sending me pamphlets asking them to respect my choice of faith (which they did).
I do believe in a supreme being, I just hate labels, and think religion is one of these things I don’t want to be bothered with. I had people question my celebrating Christmas considering how I felt about about Christianity, the truth is that it is also a pagan festival, it celebrates the solstice, and in my family it’s a family event of sharing, and re-connecting, coming together and having fun more than it is anything else, which is why this holiday gets a special place in my heart.
Since moving to India I attach the same value to it, it’s about being with those you love, friends and family alike, sharing good food and good spirit and celebrating cooler more pleasant days.
Easter on the other hand leaves me at loss, I vaguely remember going on a egg hunt at my grand ma’s place, she would hid chocolate goodies and bunnies all around her garden for me, my cousin and my sister to find. My mom would make us colour some eggs that would then stay in the fridge for ages because we didn’t eat that many, and it was just another family gathering with no magic associated to it, there wasn’t the anticipation of exchanging little gifts, or playing bingo at my maternal grand ma’s place, there was no carolling in front of a tree, it seemed more like an excuse to get into a family gathering and eat pretty ordinary looking food around an ordinary table, something adults might have enjoyed I assumed as a kid. I grew up and found myself on the adult side and found out I didn’t really enjoy it much, it was that weekend we had to go get together and eat some roast ham or pork chops, served with an aspic straight from a 50’s cookbook, would get a chocolate egg just because you know it’s Easter and then that was it, turns out that Easter was more fun as a kid after all, because of all the chocolate you get and the egg hunt. And yes in the early years the Easter Bunny as well, this mysterious figure that had no face in Switzerland (but learned later has one in the US). The eggs and rabbits are actually pagan symbols associated with Spring and the spring Equinox, a promise of fertile time and re-birth of the Earth after Winter, which frankly makes far more sense to celebrate to me than the death and resurrection of the Christ (Christians please take no offense here, I respect your beliefs, they just don’t make sense to me and do not speak to me on a personal level). Back in Switzerland I would celebrate Spring by going out on long walks and go cycling in the country side and that was more than enough, so was going out with friends and enjoy the first drinks out on the terrace of a cafe.
So it comes as no surprise that I don’t celebrate Easter in India, not even now that I have a daughter, simply because I can’t really relate or associate with this particular festival in anyway, and because celebrating Spring in India is done with holi and is much more fun, finding fertilty symbols like bunnies and eggs to celebrate the return of the good days seems oh so futile to me here, because Easter in India falls at the exact time the climate gets hotter and borderline uncomfortable which I don’t really feel like celebrating the way we celebrate it home. I welcome Winter with open arms, cookies, baked dinners and decorations, because this is the season that is the shortest in India and comes as a special treat in most of the subcontinent.
And I could not even really find a way to explain to my daughter why me must paint eggs around Easter, what would be the reason? “Because that’s what other people abroad do”? I’m sure if the festival in question held a bigger place in my life and had a massive significance when I grew up I would get into it and pass the tradition to my daughter, but it really doesn’t ring a bell with me at all. As i said Christmas is the one I would not skip for the world, because of the significance it had for me growing up, the idea of passing some of that magical spirit to my daughter makes me want to celebrate it even more.
And regarding Easter, I realise quite ironically that we did made an “egg” based craft project on Good Friday, and that it wasn’t even planned as such :
I just had some egg cartons lying around and needed something to keep Ishita busy on a no-school day, so we made these little monsters out of the base of the egg carton. It’s just when we were mid-way through the project that I realised that while many of my friends and family were probably colouring eggs while I worked with the egg boxes instead.
To all who celebrated Easter, let me Wish you a Happy Easter and hope you had a blast with your families and children.