December 26, 2016

George Michael - Untitled

George Michael was my first pop star crush. The image of him with a blue jersey, longish hair and arms crossed is so vivid in my mind--my first poster. His music played incessantly at home, in the car and everywhere else possible. 'Faith' was an oft-hummed and whistled tune in the house, even by my parents. When my friends and I listened to the album, I turned down the volume (a bit) to 'I want your sex'. 'Ladies and Gentlemen' was the last album I bought, and 'Jesus to a child' was my favourite, if I could actually choose one. Hope, in times of despair and sadness.

On a somewhat recent trip home, I found a faded and torn life-size poster that my parents had gifted me for a birthday--torn jeans, white vest, bracelets, stubble, aviators, leather jacket slung on the side and staring away at a distance with a smile. Ah, I wish I had taken a selfie with it.

He was sexy, he was cool and he had a fantastic voice that held a note time and again oh so brilliantly!

All things past, for he is no more. 2016 turned out to be his last Christmas after all.  

And what have I learned 
From all this pain 
I thought I'd never feel the same 
About anyone 
Or anything again

But now I know 
When you find love 
When you know that it exists 
Then the lover that you miss 
Will come to you on those cold, cold nights

When you've been loved 
When you know it holds such bliss 
Then the lover that you kissed 
Will comfort you when there's no hope in sight

Your music will always comfort me. mwah.

December 17, 2016

I'm missing some letters

im trying to get te keyboard to work but it ust doesnt
all o a sudden te letters begin to appear on te screen
and makes it look like i’e been making typos on purpose
ow strange
ow strange
ow strange
ow strange
im not cray! Im typing ow strange until te begins to appear
tat’s all
im not mad
im ust persistent
i ust keep trying
no its not cooperating
i dont know wat to do now
i need to use te letter
or so many tings
but isn’t an ot-used letter you know
i was reading a page on a website and realised tat isn’t used muc
not as muc as te owels or r s and t
wy is tat

a sudden tougt enters my ead
sould i paste tis into my blog
to tell you ow i’e spent te last 3 minutes?
Typing away wit purpose
but to no avail?
Oh yay! V worked! Which means H will too! and z!
Yes!!!!

now fill in the blanks :) 


crazy little thing called love

it comes in many forms
yet, we struggle to understand it
an ideal version is what we look for 
one that fits the norms
that have been ingrained in us

a perfect other, a soulmate
someone who understands everything
who gets us in and out
right from the first date
isn't that what the movies say

not just the movies, but books too
and music, even those who rock
and comics, posters, cards and more
reinforce that this must be true
can we blame ourselves for believing it

but what happens to the rest
who have loved us and who still do
in their own way without definition
a way that, in us, brought out the best
all thanks to the multiplicity

of thoughts, feelings and experience
of what they've learnt and seen
in a gentle voice that doesn't judge
and to converse, is ever so keen

where do all these connections go
why do they get lost
is it because we sometimes pull each other 
so far apart that there is a cost

a toll that leaves us drained over a period of time
all because we want to possess, and feel, "they're mine"
also because we're louder
and supposedly mentally stronger
but are we really that

or are we hiding behind a mask
one that either smiles or looks tough
because both help handle the harshness
oh we've been wearing it long enough

and then one day we realise
the damage this has caused
from closing these other worlds
until at some point, when we are paused
by some circumstance or the other that lets us think, breathe and be
and look at our lives, minus all the certainty

then dawns an understanding
one that doesn't come from books
or movies, posters or cards
but only from taking a good look
at all that's happened in our past
everything that's shaped us
things that we can never change
but things that have made us

it's us, and them, and so many more
that we need to forgive for our own sake
it isn't easy, but what else do we do
so we don't make the same mistake
and more important so that we may find
the spirit that seems long gone
the one that was shaped by many
the one that will never be alone

can we bring back these worlds, one by one
back into our lives
and start slowly on the road to find
dare i say, sanity and a love that doesn't bind

December 13, 2016

rainy, with a ray of sunshine

dull, dark, gloomy and grey
in more ways than one
that's what started off her day
oh, how she longed for some sun

two little munchkins
under the weather
rough night resulting in
a sleep deprived mother

such a bad start
that even the third was naughty
she well played her part
but only out of necessity

she wanted to scream
she was so beat
she was tired and cranky
that it felt like a feat
to get through the day

but then she thought
that this was an opportunity not often got
just the munchkins and her

so her sleep she fought
and a hot coffee she got
and let the day unfold without a plan

all cuddled up under the covers watching a movie
sans snacks this time, oh for recovery
chit chatting and shooting the breeze
with her little muchkins throwing in an occasional sneeze

and then it was time for music and games
boy did it fly by, she wanted more of the same
for this precious time, time at home
she hardly got with them, almost never all alone

she wondered how they felt, were they bored at all
did they humour her or enjoy it, even if only just small
and so today went by, with a little of this and that
what will tomorrow bring, a repeat perhaps

she sees them growing up and feels melancholy
but only at times, she's mostly jolly
she's proud and happy that they are how they are
her little munchkins, but already ready to fly far

It's easier to get a divorce than to renew a minor's passport post-divorce!

I read a post on The Wire about the humiliation women face when they want to remove their spouse's name from their passports after going through a divorce. I went through a similar experience while renewing my minor child's passport after having gone through a divorce.

The Passport Seva site is quite well organised with links to most bits of information such as required documents, appointment dates, and Passport Rules and Acts among others. It lets one upload all their documents ahead of time, pay online and schedule an appointment as well. What it also unfortunately does, is trick one into believing that the rest of the process will be as smooth.

There are three stages to the passport application process of which the first two are 'outsourced'. IT service professionals verify, scan, snap and file away all the necessary documentation before one can move on to meet the passport officials from the government. While they are efficient at what they are trained to do, they are unaware of the formalities that the passport process itself mandates, especially in cases like mine--single parent who is also sole custodian of two children. In non-legalese, this means that my children will not need their father to sign off on their passport application--which is a standard process otherwise followed--because he had waived off his rights as their custodian after our divorce. There is a form, Annexure G, that is specifically for this purpose and I had this at the ready as well.

Armed with everything, I made it through the first two stages with not as much difficulty as immense delays. Glad to see my token number flash, my joy was short-lived. It was that particular passport officer's lunch time, but he couldn't reassign me to another officer as it wasn't protocol. After a 45-minute wait, he came back, asked for my documents and went through them cursorily until he reached Annexure G. He looked up at me and said, "You're divorced?" and I said, "Yes." "The father is not a custodian at all?" "No, he's chosen not to be." With a puzzled expression, he asked to see the divorce petition where this is explicitly stated, but he was still not convinced. He asked more questions about the details clearly stated in the petition, even though it wasn't his place to do so. Finally, he returned all the documents and reassigned me to another official who, supposedly, had some experience handling cases like mine. Murphy's Law or what have you, but it turned out to be his lunch time as well when it was my turn to meet him.

So another 45 minutes went by, and a conversation similar to the one with official one happened upon his return from lunch, but he made some notes in the system and told me to meet the Assistant Passport Officer (APO). So there I was, in line for the third time in a span of 3 hours, waiting to meet the APO. Luckily, she didn't go to lunch when it was my turn, but the conversation turned out to be much the same. I had wrongly hoped that a woman might empathise, but I felt judged at every stage of all those conversations which finally ended in her saying that she couldn't authorise the renewal and that I had to meet the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) in Koramangala who would take the final call on this.

By this time, I was livid. I had been in line with my 6 year old since 9 am. It was 3 pm and we had nothing to show for it except three annoying conversations and a cranky child. And I had all documents down to a T! If the outsourced folks had been better briefed, I could've been on my way out soon as the picture and biometrics stage was finished, saving me about 4.5 hours! I had no choice but to leave the Passport Seva Kendra that day, set up an appointment with the RPO for another day, go through this entire rigmarole of explanations one more time until the passport was finally granted. But it didn't end there. At the police verification, I had to explain all this one more time while the policeman in charge talked to his colleague in Kannada about my divorce when all he was supposed to do was to verify the address.

This was more than a year ago and now, unfortunately, it's time for me to renew my other child's passport. I'm telling myself that I should expect nothing. After all, a year isn't much time for any change, is it? If anything, a process change is possible but a systemic change? Hah!

I hope Part two of this post has a happier ending. 

November 17, 2016

insanity

sticking together through plenty, but feeling stuck,
physically side by side, but mentally so far apart,
forged by commonality, but equally split by it,
in sync sometimes, but completely lost otherwise,
that's life apparently, and that's what we must endure.
or so we're told.

isn't that insane?
apparently not.

insane is something else.
it's if we don't plan but live in the moment,
it's if we find liberation in difference,
it's if we fight for a cause, one that may not only be our own,
it's if we express, but quietly,
it's if we feel, but gently,
it's if we question without accepting blindly,
and it's also if we accept openly without judging.
we are the insane ones, the ones that need to be cured.

and there is always a cure, or so it seems.
happiness.
superficial, easy, stuff,
an escape, a distraction, a hobby or a class.
but these things will, at some point, pass.

and then we'll be back to reality.
but what reality? whose?
the loud one or the real one?
the majority's or the minority's?
the one we've been taught or the one that we see?
the one that's fast or the one that we feel?
binaries, alas.

we need more.
more spaces, more acceptance, more love, more time, more conversations.
not more stuff and not more rules.

insanity is dead, long live insanity.

October 17, 2016

protest

hands held, chain formed.
united,
but many links missed,
chasm revealed.

September 21, 2016

worlds

Published on The Wrong Review, March 2017

my worlds
yes, plural
not just two, but more
many more
and i inhabit them all.

the world of safety and security
discipline and light conversations
where lines blur between traditional and modern
but not as much as i want.
yet i inhabit it, happily even, off and on.

the world of laughter, freedom, lightness
long, late-night chats, memories now
where i can do and say anything
but maybe not as much as i want.
yet, i inhabit it whenever i can.

the world of routine
early morning wake ups, hurried tasks one by one
throughout the day
but does it make life easy?
i don't know, yet i inhabit it, all the time.

the world of randomness, chaos and drama
where everything comes to life
momentarily
definitely not as much as i want.
yet, i inhabit it with mixed feelings, as much as i can.

but these worlds aren't isolated
they often collide 
envelop, overwhelm, even suffocate
pulling, tugging, tearing me apart.
yet, also holding me together in an explicable way.

it is all these worlds that have made me
that have taught me to accept, to love, and to let go.
and letting go of these worlds might be the only way
that i can hold myself together for a bit longer.
just a little bit.

August 8, 2016

A new challenge

The first challenge that I distinctly recall that folks went nuts about on Facebook was the ALS ice bucket challenge. While I thought it was foolish as well as a waste of precious water and energy, it apparently raised a good bit of money for the cause. That was almost two years ago. Cut to today, and there are two other 'challenges' being showcased on many walls--the black and white photo challenge and the motherhood dare.

The first, as the name indicates, challenges one to post a black and white picture of themselves. Is this challenging because we are in the age of Prisma, where photos are being morphed into paintings and other such cooler modes making black and white impossible any longer? And the second, is it a dare to the children because they don't want to be seen with their mums? 

I wonder how these dares even begin. The ALS challenge might have been initiated by an ALS group somewhere but what about these other two? Was someone so tired of looking at colour or sepia-toned photographs that they wanted to shake things up a bit? And was some mum so thrilled when her child/children posed with her that she decided to dare other mums?

I was recently tagged in another challenge, one that hasn't made too many rounds yet. Something about posting pictures with your partner for 7 days in a row. Not 8 or 9, only 7. No idea why. Caught off guard, I decided to unfollow the person who tagged me on this post--not a very close friend obviously. I feel stupid about doing that now. No, I don't mean that I want to post the pictures but I wish I had written to her declining her challenge instead of being annoyed and deleting her as a contact.

I dare someone who's tagged in either the B&W or the motherhood 'challenge' to turn it down. Not to ignore it, but to say "No, I don't want to be a part of this challenge because I don't understand how it's a challenge" instead of blindly following it, posting a picture and writing I accept but I'm not sure how it's a challenge. Someone needs to stop this madness. Soon. I wish it had been me.

July 25, 2016

Late aa yezhudinaalum na latest aa yezhuduven!

I finally watched Kabali three days after its release and for one-third the release date's price! Thankfully, that was only one of the things I was pleased about. (Big bucket of pop corn all to myself, was another.)

For a Rajni fan, this movie was unusual to say the least. While he was obviously central to the movie, he featured in it quietly, even in the first scene. His slow walk out of jail was a contrast to his usual half-run directly towards the audience when he makes his appearance. His catchy oft-repeated one-liners were dwindled down to one word. And when he spoke, it was brief. He was hardly highlighted in any of the dance sequences (for good reason), and did not--thankfully--have a young love.

Instead, he wore his clothes and wig with grace. He appeared pensive rather than jittery, and he showed some emotion--not quite that of the Rajni from the 70s but certainly not the one from even two years ago. (Yes, I am referring to Linga.) He didn't fly in the air and perform any gravity-defying stunts, he just did a couple of pull-ups. And no, I will believe until my dying day that he, and not a stunt double, did that.

What worked in the film was the background score, the music and the Super Star himself. What didn't, was the illogical and unbelievable sequences, the 'romba sumaar' (average) screenplay and the incredible amounts of violence that left me wondering what had changed since Baasha released in the 90s, where he also plays a gangster. That was violent too, but this took gore to another, completely unpleasant level.

Although there was no comedy track at all--a first for a recent Rajni film--the subtitles provided enough entertainment. In addition to translating words like 'avall' to 'My beautiful Mrs', they also explicitly told us whether his laugh was a 'tickled-pink laugh', 'confident laugh', 'arrogant laugh', self-assured laugh' or 'brave laugh'. Rajni fan or not, we could've figured it out.

For a fleeting moment, I had wondered if I should take my children and introduce them to the experience of watching a Rajni film in a theatre. To hear the crowd go crazy when the words SUPER STAR RAJNI flashed across the screen! To not be able to hear the dialogues for the first few minutes because the whistles were so loud! To watch people cry and throw things towards the screen! But I'm glad that I didn't because none of it happened the way I remembered it. Maybe because it was a weekday, or maybe because it wasn't the first day, or maybe because it wasn't Madras.

I'm glad I watched the film but I'm even more glad that I watched it alone. Just me and my memories of how it used to be.

July 8, 2016

Accepting brilliance for what it is

"If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same", wrote Rudyard Kipling. What better place to immortalise that than at Centre Court, Wimbledon. And what better player to deal with both than Roger Federer.

He almost met with triumph today. Almost, but who knows. My mind replays 40-0 at 5-6 in the 4th and it makes me believe that he would've won the tie break and the match. And it also tells me that he would've beaten Berdych or Murray simply because he was inspired. Because he knew that it might be his last shot at a Grand Slam title.

Age, injury and fatigue that let him be thus far have suddenly caught up. When was the last time that a trainer came onto the court for him twice? And when did he last fall? I felt the same last year too when he made the finals and eventually lost to Djokovic. I thought that was his last chance and that he wouldn't make it this far. I was wrong, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the same again.

Younger, better, faster and stronger against brilliance. Does it stand a chance? Should I even wish that it stood a chance or should I just enjoy the brilliance as it happens? As it kicks the hell out of all the other things every so often, but only just? Should I enjoy it without hoping for more, without wondering what next year might bring or if there will even be a next year? That would be the real disaster, wouldn't it?

Triumph and disaster aren't exclusive to a select few. The impostors show their heads four times a year for sure, and many other weeks off and on too. I have to learn to treat them both just the same. Just like Roger.

June 1, 2016

Equal parenting equals a change in attitudes

In response to a post on The Ladies Finger

As a mother to two children who are well on their way to the eye-rolling tweens, a change in attitudes is what I wish for the most since my time to wish for a partner who would share with more parenting (at least the physical, rigorous demands) is out the window. Life experiences have made me understand how social conditioning leads many mums to believe that we are the primary caregivers for various reasons, physiological and cultural. We praise a father's active involvement when we needn't, we applaud a successful diaper change when we shouldn't, we speak of them proudly to our friends hoping to show up those whose partners aren't 'as involved'. And we are afraid to let go because what then, is our value?

Indian dads need to parent. That does not mean only being present on sports days and annual days or making clich├ęd statements at work, “I'll call you back, have to get the kids in bed”, and dropping an iPad onto the child's bed. Or taking selfies! I can list out a 100 things that a dad should do but the most important one can't be put on a list because it's innate. It's a feeling, a want, to be a parent. And a willingness to learn what that means as it's NOT a constant. Mums don't have parenting classes before the kids come along!

As India contemplates a six-month maternity leave instead of three, maybe we, as a society, should also contemplate how to change our own attitudes towards parenting. Both men and women.


April 6, 2016

the banyan

Published on The Wrong Review, March 2017

roots, roots everywhere
thin, thick, old, new
deep rooted to a fault
comforting, in a sense
but an unshakable identity
to everyone around

the same roots bind
strangle, compete
dry out, fall, break
rot and die
but an invisible choke hold
to everyone around

shade, conversations, secrets
people unburdening
happiness, sorrow
wants, needs
but a silent companion
to everyone around

oh, it was tired
its roots weighed it down
and the stories made it heavy
but it didn't know what to do
how could it stop?
what would they do?

should it break free?
but free from what, there was too much!
should it go deaf?
but deaf from whom, there were too many!

truth was that it loved to just be there
to comfort, to listen
save for the odd moments
when it all became too much

maybe it needed time
time to rest
to heal, to breathe
time to do what everyone did
with it, to it
time to let everything slip away
momentarily
just momentarily

before it would be back at it again
comforting, listening
doing the things that it loved
building roots, branching out
connecting new and old
people, stories
but being there
always there

March 26, 2016

World Culture Fiasco

I've written an objective piece on the same topic titled The Yamuna, a song, and a dance for India Water Portal. Be warned: The post below is more of a rant but with research, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. :) 

So take your pick on which one you read, but I urge you to read at least one of them. The situation revolving around the Yamuna and many other wetlands/floodplains in India is dire. It needs understanding before action. 


Maybe it should've been called World Culture Fiasco. That name somehow seems more apt given the way events have unfolded since news of the Art of Living Foundation's (AOL) mega event broke in December thanks to Manoj Misra, an environmental activist and convenor of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.

Enough has been written and shown about how the Foundation went about getting permissions, flouting guidelines and abusing their political (and spiritual) clout in order to make the event happen despite the National Green Tribunal fining it Rs. 5 crore—a sum that was supposed to be paid up before March 11, the first day of the event, but which is still pending.

I have to confess that my interest in the event came about only a few days after the event ended. An old friend was part of a German contingent at the World Culture Festival (WCF) and posted pictures on Facebook. She had praised most things about it including how well it was organised and how fantastic the arrangements were—contrary to what a participant from India had stated. True, it's one person's opinion. Call me cynical, but I'm fairly certain that this one wasn't the exception. But I digress.

“What are your thoughts on the environmental damage this has caused”, I asked and was met with a reply that was astounding in its simplicity. “Actually, it hasn't caused any damage as yet. People are speculating that the changes to the floodplains 'will' cause a problem in future. As a person who has witnessed the event in person rather than read it in the media, I believe the banks of the Yamuna will be left cleaner than found. The event has already drawn attention to how dirty the river was. Hopefully the cleaning will start soon.”

We traded a few comments back and forth on what construction on any floodplain could do, the resulting damage similar to what happened in Chennai last December (since we were both from Chennai, I felt compelled to put it in perspective), biodiversity and ecology of the region and so on. After a few exchanges, it became evident to me that these weren't issues that an average citizen—much less AOL followers—would be interested in engaging on. The constant refrain was that the AOL was an eco-friendly organisation with environmental consciousness built into everything it did, and that it wouldn't do anything to harm a river.

In fact, cleaning the river was a big part of the exchange we had—since 2010, AOL volunteers have cleaned the Yamuna itself with Sri Sri asserting that “we will turn it into a beautiful biodiversity park once we are finished with it.” I am not a water sector expert but one only has to read up recent news—and not even research papers or anything technical—to understand why cleaning is not the point of contention here. It is the extent of the damage to the floodplain, something which can't be estimated overnight because it is different from counting the kilos of trash removed from the river.

Newsflash! Remember the Chennai floods? Yes, those buildings on the marshlands in Chennai were permanent structures while the WCF-related structures were temporary, but a fair bit of tampering has been done on the ground to aid their construction. Now, a week after the event, volunteers are cleaning up, and that's supposed to assuage everyone's concern!

Maybe AOL followers—even those from around the world—feel unfairly criticised because it isn't uncommon in India to flout the law, get away with it, and repeat. This event being allowed is as much the fault of the various government authorities in Delhi as it is of the National Green Tribunal. The DDA granted permission as late as November 2015 because the Foundation had said that it would be difficult to cancel as too much had been planned already.

“Explaining why permission was granted for the festival, the official said, “In the past, DDA might not have given permission for events on the river bank but an exception was made in this case as it is an event for cultural emancipation and involves yoga and music. This event is spiritual in nature and permissions for such events are usually granted.” If that's not a poor precedent to set, the NGT judgement went ahead and did just that by saying that money can buy one anything including a 'get out of jail card for free' (or 5 crores in this case) when found guilty.

So yeah, there are a lot of people to blame but my biggest peeve with those supporting this event so staunchly is their blind belief in whatever the Foundation states as being done to 'save' the Yamuna. That, and statements that the Yamuna will finally get the attention it deserves so that it can be cleaned and restored to its original state. Environmentalists, activists, those whose lives depend on the river, and many more have been working tirelessly on this issue for years to no avail. The arrogance of the Foundation to think that a cultural event showing off its clout in all spheres will make the difference is staggering.


But who knows. Just like the wondrous rainbow that appeared on the first day of the event due to an act of God (and not due to the meteorological phenomenon that even first graders understand), maybe some intervention—divine or political—might actually make the Yamuna pristine once again, if only to save face.  

February 29, 2016

Not for another four years

I started writing a post about how dates aren't so important, milestones aren't that meaningful, and that it's not such a big deal that February has an extra day every four years. And I realised that the post ran to more than half a page! So much for it not being significant.

Deleted all the text but wrote this down just so I can mark an entry today.

Hah!

January 28, 2016

hmmmmmmmph

Was she sad? Or angry? Maybe it was a combination of both along with a good sprinkling of upset, thoughtful, analytical and so much more. Why did she feel so every time? Why did she get her hopes up? Why did she think that this time was it, this time he would pull through. Somehow.

The first two sets flew by but he somehow managed to squeak out the 3rd. Serving behind in the 4th, she knew that it wasn't going to be easy. And it went exactly how she thought. One break was all it took.

Truth be told, the far better player won. As a Federer fan, she found it very hard to even acknowledge that. When she first began to watch him, she always wondered at how amazing he was and how no one would ever be able to get to where he was. He was even more stylish than her childhood hero Sampras!

The truth hurt but one thing was for sure. Not many will come along who will play like him. That cracker of a serve down the T, the scintillating single-handed backhand down the line passing shot, that unforgettable forehand drive volley and those lucky-to-bounce even once drop shots, and that genial nature--memorable beyond memory.

The Djoker had the last laugh today. Well, he's been laughing for some time now and that annoyed her to no end. It seemed like a long time since their first meeting at a Grand Slam final and it took Fed all of 1.5 hours to finish him off. But today she had to admit that her dislike for him was only because he had routinely been taking Federer to school.

Someone asked her why he didn't retire and she wanted to scream and say, "Why should he when he's easily making the semis of a Grand Slam?" but she held back and said, "Maybe this year", while she thought, "Nah, there will be one more time."

January 25, 2016

Growing (up) pains - Part two

Protagonist: "Ma, I want a hair style like that guy."
Uncool mom: *stares at the pic of a guy with long weird hair* "Who is that?"
Protagonist: "He's in One Direction."
Uncool mom: *blinks stupidly* "What's his name?"
Protagonist: "Harry Styles"
Uncool mom: *thinks she's being funny* "Shouldn't it be Hairy Styles or Scary Styles?"
Protagonist:  "That's not funny, ma. He looks so cool! I want to grow my hair like that!"
Uncool mom: *horrified at what is going to come next* "What?!"
Protagonist: "Is there a way to write to them? I want to join their band!"
Uncool mom: *trying to appeal to his senses* "You know you can start your own band since you play the violin and others you know play the piano and drums?"
Protagonist: "Really? But I just want to join One Direction. Can I write to them now?"
Uncool mom: *not sure whether to laugh or pretend to be serious* "Sure, I'll check for their id."
Protagonist: runs off to the partner in crime saying "Guess what, I'm going to write to One Direction and join their band!", completely unfazed by the lukewarm response, "They're not going to take you."

As I recounted this story to a friend, she said that his joining will make them a better band for sure since they stunk at the moment. I thought "My God, it's his first band crush and it's One Direction! How horrible!", and then realised that's how my parents probably felt when I told them that I loved Wham and George Michael!

Yep, it all comes around...and how! I wrote Part one in 2011--another lifetime it seems like. Needless to say, my two cute whisperers have only grown up even more since.

Who said only tweens and teens felt growing pains!