I thought this up at 3:35 a.m. Yes, because I was awake then. Why you ask, well that is what the life of an artist/mother is. If you are wondering, why I am rambling about my motherhood role suddenly, let me take you to the beginning of the story.
A year ago, during the June holidays and between a hectic work schedule and a crazy year which saw me very busy artistically, I found myself signed up for a early morning knowledge session, to start the day out with. It was a great positive way to begin the morning and the knowledge was deep and at some levels still sinking in. It always ended in a lovely breakfast in Little India and sometimes that was more of a motivation to crawl out of bed.
The guide, for these knowledge sessions is a very motivated individual and I always love watching how he imposes upon himself these sadhanas*. Sometimes a 30 day sugar free diet, (and mind you that to me is ultimate tapasya*) and sometimes a 30 day exercise challenge. The knowledge and the exercise challenge I was completely sold on and managed to do it as well.
The sugar free I knew was not physically possible for me, as I am a Bengali and its anti my Bengali genes to be sugar free. Over the years no matter how much everyone tries to scare me with aging looks due to sugar, I would rather be a happy, wrinkled, rotund, grey mass, than an unhappy fit, beautiful, creature. Yes I have made peace with my tires and I know those of you know me will agree that there is more for you to love.
To get back to my early morning ramblings and where I am going with this. So now my same lovely self help group (and I must add each of them are such lovely souls and such precious gems in my lives that when they read this I know they will laugh along with me) announced a 30 day challenge of waking up alarm free to listen to these knowledge sessions in our own homes. This was announced on the whatsapp group. For one year we have motivated each other with lovely messages and I have always been very active in this group, if not in others. This group also has the privilege of not being put on a one year silence. However the alarm bells in my head went ringing on the sounding of this challenge.
The first day I noted they all woke up at 5 etc to listen to the knowledge sessions and share their take back from it. I kept mum. For those of you who know me, you do know how tough a challenge that was for me. In fact I am learning that through this challenge, how to actually stay away from an uncontrollable urge to react to each whatsapp message. Day 2 came and went with another round of silence from my end. Day Three started with me unable to wake up early for my cycling due to a late night return from a friend’s house after the Eid celebrations on Day 2. I am sure over here my husband will remind me (and as everyone knows in a long marriage we all just wait to point the others follies and it’s almost like there is an imaginary score board) that the late night return was due to my late realisation that it was an open house from 1 p.m. and not 7:30 as I had assumed, and even that thanks to being involved with a canvas I am working on. We only made it at 8:30 and although it was officially to end at 9 we stayed and chatted with them and it was a lovely evening.
So to get back to the story. I woke up on Day 3 at 6:10 a.m. when my daughter came to kiss me a goodbye before she was leaving for school. Yes after four years of waking up at 4:45 a.m. so she could make it to her school bus at 5:45, which involved dragging her out of bed, getting her bathed, ready and between the two of us struggling over buttons (as we are a majority of dyslexics in the family) getting her to gulp her milk and make it to the bus stop on time was a major feat for the day. It’s been three years since, when I have graduated to waking to just saying a tata before she leaves for the day. Yesterday however she decided to leave later and I could hear her phone blaring and I had to rush to remind her that Baba “needs” to sleep until 7:30. I went back to bed, hoping to catch a few more winks, however Little one comes in to say bye and rolls in and hugs and holds on hoping each day that I will tell him he doesn’t have to go to school. Instead as a ritual I motivate him torun along and take his bullies on, once for all. After he leaves I know sleep has become a fiction and on the other hand I can hear the canvas beckon me. I get up to tackle this new baby and also pack up another baby that needs to meet its new Mommie.
My life this year has had a few changes, amongst which is a life without a car. I actually love the time and freedom it has given me. It just requires better planning for the day. My day was chalked out, hair cut, drop off the order and then meeting an artist friend and seeing her lovely exhibition. All of this was a tick with a smile and I even got a ride back home in time for my art class with my little angels. Although I summed all of this in two sentences this did fill up the day rather miraculously. After the kiddos left I quickly whipped up a dinner between shouting out to my fifteen year old, who, was practicing her drama facial exercises, at the prospect of a humble home cooked meal, that gourmet food was gourmet because you don’t have it every day. The Mumma monster who shoves vegetables down her kids throats was quite shocked to hear her soon to be 10 year old retort, I think we should keep these vegetables, for the poor especially since there are so many who don’t get to eat. Between choking over my food and laughter and thinking I sent this one to speech therapy, I gathered enough composure to make him eat his dinner and pack up my paraphernalia for a sudden shoot for a 18 year olds birthday.
Quickly jumped into a pair of comfy pants and a bright top to match the occasion and was happily surprised with a very scenic venue. Due to client confidentiality I shall not reveal the rest. It was a fun shoot and yes I do event photography as well, as after so many years I can’t expect the husband to foot my art bills. For those who are still gullible to think that art is a financially viable option, let me tell you yes it is, but not for the artist. It is a money disappearing act for the artist while it may not be the same for the galleries, collectors and so on and so forth.
Came home and retired for the night. Was hoping to catch an uninterrupted sleep but as by now you have realised, this is more of a page from the artist-Moms diary, I was woken up with gentle shaking on my leg, “Mumma, I can’t sleep again”. I had to do the needful of stroking the head helping to count the sheep and amidst all this came out the phone and the mid night voyeur in me. After a while he was fast asleep and I was left with my thoughts. Here is when I thought, should I actually wake up and join these knowledge sessions on Day Four or ………. And a big pause here…….........Or just turn over and sleep. By now you figured out what was the choice.
Moral of the story, while some challenges are for me, others are not. I have to learnt to say No, and mostly to myself. I have learnt that I don’t need to pick battles. I am not a warrior and all I need to do is own my life and lifestyle, the way I want it. I am an artist, a Mom, a daughter, a daughter in law and amidst all this I do have a partner who not only is supportive but also the reason why this article has its punctuations in its place.
No persons or animals were hurt during the making of this piece. If hurt afterwards, sorry you did not heed the reader discretion. ;)