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Memories & Special Bonds

It’s Payback Time!!

I had just started to lose myself in the melodious world of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi the other day when something jarred me out of that happy place that I was floating in. There were these weird assortment of noises emanating from the kids’ room. I could hear those noises through my InEar earphones.

It's Payback Time!! - Payback Time For Parents - Parent Child Battles

Trust me, when I say weird, I’m actually toning the whole thing down a bit here. A screech, followed by a weird sort of thump and then there would be some staccato banging – it really sounded like a live concert of Stomp, right here, at home. Out of the blue, pretty much like mustard seeds dotting an Indian curry, there would be the occasional screech which pretty much sounded like someone in the throes of agony. To be honest, I’ve been through childbirth twice, completely natural births both the times and I don’t remember stretching my vocal chords to that extent even when in the final states of labour.

Curiosity, they say, kills a cat. If it can kill a cat which is said to have the proverbial seven lives, how was a mere mortal like me going to keep myself away from being curious. I was drawn to that ghastly cacophony pretty much like a moth drawn to a flame. I knew I was heading for trouble but my feet behaved as though they had a life of their own. I peeped in and found Macadamia nodding and shaking, jerky movements in tandem to those screeches and yells. Every once in a while, her hands would start chopping imaginary vegetables (I guess) or swipe across air like she was slapping someone – all this with her eyes closed. And through it all, there was, of course, that horrendously noisy dissonance that had drawn me to the room in the first place.

“Are you feeling alright?” I asked her, feeling more nervous than I had, in a very long time. No response. The karate chops suddenly gained momentum and with a sudden twirl she found herself face to face with me – me with the eyes as big as saucers. I must admit I must have been one hell of a scary sight, eyes wide, jaw hanging slack, slightly sweating and what have you.

Pandemonium – that’s what it was. I experienced firsthand that day, the meaning of the phrase “all hell broke loose”. It was indeed hell and it had indeed broken loose – inside our home!! The sounds emanating from the CD Player sounded like an alley cat high on Ecstasy.

“Pink!!!!!!” yelled Macadamia. “Don’t you see, Mum?. It’s Pink!!” she hollered, apparently having decided that she was going to compete with the CD player in the decibel competition department.

It was close – I have to give her that because I had a tough time figuring out who was belting stuff out louder – the CD Player or Macadamia. “Pink?? What’s Pink? Nothing here is pink”, I shot back, looking haplessly confused. “Yes, Pink!! Oh Pink!!” she replied, looking like an oracle in the grips of a trance of some sort.

“If that horrifying noise is what you are referring to, it is anything but pink to me”, I countered. I heard a loud thud and realized that was Macadamia’s jaw – hitting the floor, I mean. She stared at me in complete horror, spluttering and stuttering like a car without gas, she choked out “You don’t like Pink??”

I was looking confused to begin with but my confusion was now compounded to the power n. “I like Pink but not this Pink ”, I said, managing to look all offended through the confusion that was beginning to fog whatever little sanity those screeches from the CD player had left in me.

“Pink is good. Very very good” said Macadamia as I stood there, obtusely looking as blank as I could. “It’s just a whole load of noise”, I said, eagerly anticipating the drama that I was sure would be thrown my way. “Awwright”, she said, as she threw one of her famous “eye rolls”, my way. Now, for those of you who do not have a teen at home (yet!), I shall be kind enough to explain that eye roll to help you picturise it.

Just in vocalising that single word “awright”, so many of the facial muscles are brought into play. So much so that I do believe, sometime in the future, this is sure to be incorporated as an integral part of physiotherapy. Along with vocalising the word “awwright”, there is a simultaneous roll of the eyes (heavenward, of course). Add to this a downward twist of the mouth and a hiss that escapes through teeth tightly clenched and there – you got it!! That’s one killer combination, one that can give McDonalds a run for their money any day, any time, in terms of combos.

She did realise pretty soon, of course, that I had been yanking her chain and all was soon well. As long as she listened to Pink or Glee or Maroon Five or One Direction or whatever else that transports her to a different worldly plane, with her earphones on, it would not disturb my mental equilibrium and peace would reign supreme at home.

This did make me go down memory lane, though. During my school days, even the world of pop music was a more sedate version of what we see today. Those days, it used to be Boney M and the very noisy versions used to be in the form of Duran Duran. Then came the era of Bruce Springsteen yelling away with “Born in the USA”. As I reacted in horror to the cacophony at home (thanks to Pink!), a little portion of my mind did register the fact that my mother had, at one point of time, reacted quite similarly to me listening to Duran Duran or Bruce Springsteen.

It is often said that in any form of battle between a parent and a child, an amused spectator can always be found in the form of grandparents. The amusement, as I have been informed time and again in the past, is because grandparents consider this “payback time” for all the travails that we have put them through during our growing years, as our parents. This time around, however, I can’t wait to introduce Macadamia’s grandmas to the spectacle that is Pink. I would be able to describe what happens after that, in just a single word. My choice of words would be restricted to either “spectacle” or “debacle”. Either way, it promises to be interesting, not to mention, amusing.

Like I said, I simply can’t wait to make the necessary introductions. Once I do that, it would be my turn to say “bring on the popcorn, will ya?”:)

Gauri Venkitaraman dons many hats – a wife, a mom, a teacher and many more. Working as a full time English teacher in HongKong, Gauri also raises and nurtures two terrors, affectionately known as The Nutty Siblings a.k.a Macadamia, a teen and Pecan, the ten year old who behaves like he is fifteen. Gauri’s family means the world to her. Life is a lively roller coaster ride and we, as a family, aim to enjoy the ride together. is where Gauri pens down her thoughts and musings, in an attempt to preserve memories for posterity.