These Veterans of Motherhood

motherhood

These Veterans of Motherhood

Young moms are moms. Sure!
Are older moms moms too?
Seen it all. Been there. Done that.
Rotund tummy, birthing nerves, joy at the new-born
Ones, who once changed and washed far more nappies
And soothed their colicky babies
Have now left teethers and rattles behind
Disposed them, barring a few…for sweet memories.

Arriving in an alien land, landing double-shift jobs
No extended families ever, lonely media-less times.
Walked their toddlers to child-care, settled them in a kindy
Initiated their primary schooler’s A, B, Cs and Ds
Exhausted weekends at (selective-school) coaching centres
Helped their prodigies with high-school projects
Made secure their future, saw them soar high
Empty handed moms – from their nest the kids fly
Soft-hearted moms become hardened moms

Young moms, still learning about motherhood?
Older mommies, the walking encyclopaedias
Been there. Done that. Seen it all.
Kind of still young, but growing older
Preparing for another dose of mom-hood
Booster shot, of becoming a grand(er) mom.
Some already are content grand-moms
Older moms, not less of a mom, if not more.
Not exactly passé, definitely not past

©Alka Girdhar 2016

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While writing this poem I had in my mind women friends who once arrived here in Australia as newly weds, or pregnant with their first child, while some had a toddler or two.

Over the years I have seen many of them undergo most of the above experiences as busy mothers, and now some of them are getting their children settled in jobs or marriage, while other moms would probably join them sometime in the coming years.

Recently I joined a mothers club. Many if not most women there are young mothers discussing problems faced by very new moms. There still are too many motherhood problems in this easy era of social media, even when most of them have plenty of helping hands around, that older moms never had.

Hence, I felt a need to remember the evolving role of the older, or should I say more experienced, mothers as well. Because the joys as well as responsibilities that come with motherhood continue for the whole life..

‘It’s All Within Us’ – A short story

It’s All Within Us

(The Drunk)

“Cuckooooo!!! Look who’s here!” I heard Jake’s jeering voice as I climbed up the few stairs leading up to our local club’s front door.

Two years my senior in school, Jake was a feared bully when he was in our school, and now in university he’s with my older sister Tisha. His long drawn slang ‘cuckoo’ was well-known within our school circles. He is still the same, I concluded.

I had not seen Jake for two years and here I was face to face, as he stood leaning against the wall, with his overlapping legs crossed towards the feet, while his one arm was way up the wall. A defiant pose with head tilted upwards.

All the courage that I had gathered to reach up to this club, only to see Jake, now seemed to be vanishing as I heard his gruff voice.

“Care to have a drink, ehh?” Looking penetratingly at me in the eye, he twitched his lower lip.

With bent head, I found myself awkwardly fumbling inside my school bag that hung from my shoulder. I gulped nervously and heard myself think “No thanks! I don’t drink alcohol.” Except that I didn’t say this. Even if it was true that I had never tasted any beer before, I didn’t want this pseudo to think of me as any less of a man.

“Bah!! You still a chicken? Bet you don’t drink!” Jake seemed to have read my mind. So I replied promptly “I do! Let’s go”

Jake straightened his posture. Yawning upright till his arms stretched upwards, he deliberately made a crackling sound with his hands that were knuckled together.

“Follow me!” he gestured with one hand as he took big strides ahead to enter the bar room. I had no choice. After all, I needed to talk to him about why he had been chasing my sister for a month now.

As we sat, he asked “Mixed or neat?”

His question made no sense to me but I dared not ask what he meant. Pretending unperturbed I replied, “Neat”

He whistled some peppy tune before he signalled the waiter to fetch drinks. With my ignorance about drink names, I heard him mention ‘malt’ and I wondered what’s ahead.

…….

Staring sheepishly at the plush wine glass placed elegantly on the silken tablecloth, I held it shakily with both hands, quite like a child holds a glass of milk. To boost my nerves, I consciously pulled myself upright.

With him staring at me, I had no choice but to start sipping. A bit of this dark fluid will not harm me, I convinced myself. After all, even as a kid I never got tipsy with strongest of cough syrups that mom gave me.

The first sip was ok. The taste was overwhelming while I felt burning sensation inside my food pipe, just as my stomach knotted. Starting to feel strange, I decided to bring up the issue.

“What do you want from Tisha?”

Dear me! I should have asked “Why are you after Tisha?” Obviously I had put my question wrong, so the answer came out more obscene than probably Jake ever intended to.

“Cuckoooo! What da ya mean I want? Hah plentiful. But what a bomb of a sis you have!”

Fuming with rage, I picked the glass. I felt like throwing the bitter brown syrup on his face, but instead I gulped it all in one go. Within minutes I was up from my seat, staggering up the nearby podium as I faced the microphone.

“Helllloo!!! Listen! Listen! Let’s meet Jake, the biggest lout you will ever come across….”

The usual continuous murmur of the well-behaved gentry turned into silence as everyone looked up to pay attention. Actually ours is a small cosy town so I knew many of the faces sitting down there.

cartoon-drunk-man-champagne-bottle-isolated-37246067After that, God knows what (or who) came over me, that I spoke full throttle, attributing all possible vile adjectives to Jake, while disclosing all his actions, his eve-teasing, his bullying….

The crowd listened rapt. Enraged Jake, who was more boozed up than I was, came up to me and slapped me hard, right there in front of everyone. I retaliated more vigorously but soon I was beginning to sink.

At that very moment things took a different turn. Lucky for me, Uncle Tim, my neighbourhood constable was watching it all. He came to my defense. Soon a huge drama unfolded that I watched with hazy eyes and groggy mind.

After Jake got the bashing that he would remember his whole life, he left the place. Uncle Tim dropped me home, much to my mom’s dismay on seeing me in that state. But she didn’t ask anything.

……

In the coming weeks, I feared the worst. Without any emboldening liquor, I would be no match if burly Jake were to corner me on a lonely road.

But it was all quiet for the whole week, and surprisingly Jake was nowhere around my sister. Just to ensure her safety, I decided to drop her and pick her up from her university each day.

Then one day, I saw him. He was coming towards us as we walked. He stopped.

“Hello Bob! Hi Tisha ”

Tisha ducked behind me and before I could reply, Jake apologized to me for the whole episode. He also said sorry to Tisha while we both looked at him in disbelief. Never did he misbehave after that day.

I’m still figuring out what brought this change in Jake, and what was it that worked for me that day at the club? But I learnt for sure that the world takes us just the way we present ourselves to it. If we are scared of someone, he or she will not be scared of us.

Bold, scared, funny, beautiful, happy – we can be what we want to be. It’s all within us. We don’t need a drink for that, do we?

©2016 Alka Girdhar

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For: Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt Challenge #31. The prompt word given was “Have a Drink

https://ronovanwrites.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/friday-fiction-with-ronovan-writes-prompt-challenge-31-have-a-drink/

Time Warp

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Wrote this poem for the writing prompt: “All Grown Up.” that had asked “When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever).” 

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Time Warp

Time_Warp_by_R_13

I am stuck in time
My age-mates pass me by

I look in the mirror
Not much change I find

 Yes I haven’t changed
Yet I surely have

I was born an old soul
Now so young I am

Getting younger day by day
Prime of youth came so late

Now I refuse to grow up
Have vowed to die young

To be old, to be a grown up
I’ll have to be born again

Forever Young

~~ Alka Girdhar ~~
© All rights reserved 2014