MTV, Brats and me

It was spooky. The entire house was engulfed in an eerie silence. The three of us went through our morning routine. No, that’s not correct. I could not get any work done.  I had not screamed once. The younger fellow was so co-operative, I thought he was ill. Was this the same fellow that had to be literally dragged out of his bed and screamed at non-stop, to get ready for school?

Even the ubiquitous TV was silent. If truth be told, the TV had been ‘trained’ to only play the music channels (Idiots and the Box) and the person who had trained it was not there. The other channels were mute. And having never got control of the remote in our lives, none of us was confident enough of turning the set on.

So what was wrong? Well, our first-born had left for college. After his departure, the younger kid had become rather quiet. He did all his work without me having to scream nag him to get going. Gone was his boisterousness and antics that drove me up the wall. He clearly missed his elder brother.

How I missed him too! With him around there had not been a moment of boredom. It was one big round shouting by everyone to be heard above the noise of the stereo and TV, which ran not only simultaneously, but also played the same songs. He had this habit of recording his favourite songs of the week in a tape and put it in loop so that they played over and over again till they were printed indelibly on the mind of the listener —  even a reluctant one like me!

I wouldn’t have minded had it not been for the fact that the words were unintelligible. On second thoughts I think that it is for the best they remain unintelligible. For, the one time I had tried to get the words, I had almost puked. ‘Digging in the nose,’ went the ‘lyrics’, with a disgusting video of a giant nose being dug by a weird character.

Coming back to our house, the silence was deafening and getting to me. I was in complete panic. I had not been able to get any work done since morning. The breakfast was not cooked, the lunches remained unpacked, and the washing machine was waiting for its load. How could I be expected to function without my adrenalin pumping overtime?

When he had been around, the mornings went somewhat like this:

“If you don’t get up this instant, I will put ice cubes down your back!” I would scream and peel the potatoes in a jiffy.

“Do you want to turn down the stereo or see it sail out of the window?” I would holler, expertly flipping a paratha on the skillet.

“Pick up your clothes/shoes/books off the floor or I will stuff them into the garbage bin!” I would threaten while chucking  the wash load into the machine.

I couldn’t bear it any longer. I ran into the boys’ room, tried to switch on the stereo, and stopped dead. There was no stereo. That was not the only thing missing. The room looked bare. The walls had been stripped of the posters, the cupboards were bare, the wardrobe depleted.

It all finally sank in. my first-born had left home and lost to me forever. I felt like crying. I tried to tell myself that kids grow up and leave home and that it was okay to feel miserable, but it was no use. The house was too empty to offer me any kind of comfort.

The younger kid looked at me strangely when I sniffled while serving him half-done toast. I gave him some money to buy lunch at school. My head was banging like the blacksmith’s hammer. I went and lay down. The silence was getting more and more oppressive.

That evening the L&M and the brat went out. They told me not to worry about dinner, as they’d eat out. You rest in the peace of the house, they told me solicitously. I nodded miserably. If there were any more peace in the house I’d go crazy. But my ego wouldn’t permit me to acknowledge that. How could I admit that the ‘music’ that had been played by the older fellow all these years had seeped into my pores and kept me running? After they left, I moped around like a ghost in the empty house.

I lay down and began sniffling. I must have cried myself to sleep by the time they returned.

The next morning dawned bright and clear. I had woken up a little later than usual and was running round like a headless chicken. The water had to be filled and the breakfast needed to be made, the clothes to be run in the washer….

“If you don’t shut off that thing this instant, I’ll hang you by your earlobes…” I screamed as I quickly put detergent in the wash.

“Is this a home or a fish market? See if anyone in our neighbourhood screams as we do! WILL YOU SHUT THE SOUND OFF?” I banged on the brat’s door with both my fists before running back to stir the subzi.

Before I knew it, I had gone through half of the morning’s chores.

But wait! Did I say I was running round like a headless chicken? And why was I screaming at an obedient child? But then, he was NOT being obedient. He reminded me of someone else….

Then it struck me. The silence! It had gone! The house was gloriously noisy. Oh heaven! I went to the living room to answer a phone call and tripped — over a carton of a music system, the one the boy and his father had bought the previous evening.

I sat down with a look of wonder on my face and a prayer of thanks on my lips. Thank God for genes, for if not for them, where would the younger brat have got an ear for music (ugh) of the loud, disgusting (and wonderful) kind? I wanted to hug the kid — for bringing normalcy back to my world. So let the characters dig away at their noses for all I cared! My world was back to normal.

32 comments

  1. Ya the younger ones pick up habits of the older siblings many times to their parents frustrations..

    I have picked up all likes from my bro like Tennis, Cricket, music especially old Mukesh songs, now classical marathi songs.

    I remember when he used to get the magazine sportsstar home i used to drool over it even when i was akid and hardly knew the difference between short leg and mid off terms.

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    1. Oh, I used to imagine fielders with short legs and fine legs when I heard the commentary on the radio when I was young 😀

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  2. Ya i do, totally, same are the things here too..Its very hard on the parents …

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  3. Very nice. it reminded me of the days when I used to be at home and play loud music in my room, but when I was out for studies, nobody was there to play that loud music, so whenever i used to come back, Mom and Dad used to say “now we’ll get to listen to the latest music at home and even in car”… Felt nice but felt sad as well because it was always temporary and still is 😦

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    1. You can’t understand how much the parents miss the noise and cheer of having the kids at home, despite their cribbing about the noise when they are around 😀

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  4. wow, i think i had as much fun reading the post as the comments..a mom with interests in Dire Straits…vinni, you better not crib about THE MOM anymore..she rocks!!!literally!

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    1. Nice to see you back here Deepthi! If the post was about the brats, the comments were about ME, right? glad you enjoyed them both! I must ‘thank’ the boys for making a rocking (chair) mom of me!!

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  5. ROFL This was awesome post. I know what you are talking about . With two hard rock fans in my house I can well imagine the scene.

    Sometimes I wonder where is the song in all that noise but then they slowly nudged me to appreciate what they call ” the finer things in life ” other than tear jerking / sleep inducing melodies. ;D

    I began to enjoy Niravana , Guns n Roses even some of the Dire straits songs but ultimately realized why my head kept spinning all the time .
    😀

    I go through mixed emotions thinking what will happen when the kids leave. So when in nostalgic mood I pamper them by allowing an overdose of head banging music.. sometimes it seems some spirit has taken over all of us. ;D A sight worth seeing.
    will miss these times..

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    1. Psst! I used to like some numbers too, as both the boys have told in their comments! Dire Straits was a favourite for me. Actually these songs and tunes grow on one and I guess for mothers they have associated memories too! As for the tear jerking/sleep inducing melodies are concerned, the older one used to love Talat Mehmood numbers and played them when he had a migraine to help him relax! Enjoy the noise when you can. later on it won’t be the same even if you play them at `1000 watts!

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  6. I know the feeling. Six of my seven kids have left home now. We’re quietening down by degrees 🙂

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    1. That sounds better than the sudden silence which descended upon our household! 😀

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  7. Vinny…I ADORE your Mom…She is THE original rock chick!

    Zephyr..It’s an absolute delight to read your L&M and Kids posts.You take your readers through a roller coaster ride. I was laughing one minute and crying the next.

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    1. That was wonderful compliment Purba! Thanks a bunch. Isn’t bringing up children a roller-coaster ride?

      Rock Chick indeed! 😀

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  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Imp's Mom, Sneha Sharma, Sneha Sharma, serendipity, Vineet Rajan and others. Vineet Rajan said: Mom's latest post: MTV, Brats and me http://bit.ly/bgyyIa #parenting #music @yearning4d_sky @ImpsMom @SnehaSSharma @nehathakkar14 […]

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  9. I honestly dunno about my mum, but I’ve been told my brother used to hang around in my room after I left for college. He was 6. And eventually he picked up on my hobbies too – tennis, music, guitar. So much so, he knows his metallica n black sabbath by heart, while am happy to recognise the songs 😛

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  10. can empathise 🙂

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    1. Thanks Magicye!

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  11. ZM!!! Awesome post! Loved it 🙂
    After Class XII, Mom fought tooth and nail to wrest permission from Dad for my going to a hostel in Nagpur. Dad was dead against it. And when I finally left, she was so sad. But she still had my sister to fill in and occupy her time. Finally, when my sister moved to Mumbai 3 years later, I remember her telling me that “food is only cooked once in the house everyday and we eat that for a day” implying either (a) you guys ate too much (b) there’s no motivation to cook anymore. I felt really sad and then she turned around and explained how it is for my own good and all. Finally though I moved back to Pune a year after my sister left for my MBA. Now, two years later, though we are both out of the home. Folks at home have come to terms with it but you can see the marked happiness on their faces when either of us (both together is a bonus with the jobs) returns home even if for a couple of days… Elaborate plans are made to ensure every meal has a special favourite food item without repeating anything in the numbered meals at mom’s disposal… Reminds me of a friend who said it felt oddly like a guest to go back home from hostel 😉

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    1. I concur with the last line. Been feeling that way for sometime now. I never really got to see my lil bro grow up.

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      1. Younger brothers dote on their older brothers especially when the age difference is more. That’s the reason why they try to imitate them. I remember vinni even wearing his brother’s T shirts after he left home. it used to be rather funny, to see him in oversize clothes! 🙂 Howeverr, the age difference disappears when the younger one reaches the teens.

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    2. As I replied to the Nut, ‘moms are like that only!’ Parents want to give wings to the child so that he learns to fly and sometimes even fly away, but they are always glad, the mothers in particular, when the birds come back, sometimes to roost, at others just to touch base. That’s the reason why they try to feed their kids all they like in the short time they are there and then feel bad that there was so much more they could have made…

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  12. Funnily enough I was searching YouTube for the ‘ digging in the nose’ video a few days back! That stereo was exercised plenty in those days! When my head began buzzing with all the IIT math problems I would turn up the volume to the max, faces the huge speakers against each other and stick my head between them. Good relaxing technique 😉

    and amma … You used like the stuff too. You used to drive me mad requesting for songs. “Play that song where he goes ‘d di dum’ and sounds like ‘so and so’ … ” … Turned out to be dire straits ‘on every street’. Solving physics problems were easier!

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    1. That’s called telepathy! Did you find it? And now I know why you could never hear me even when I was banging away at your door!

      Like I replied to Vinni, these songs seep into the consciousness and start coming out of the pores! Of course there were some songs that were really good and I wouldn’t even know their names or albums, only that they went slow or had a guitar solo or something! Yes, I remember how I drove you nuts saying these things while asking you to play the particular song! 😀

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  13. Lol…Z, such a heart warming post, felt a little twinge in my heart too…i remember how i heard from “sources” that my usually stoic mom howled when i left Bangalore to work in Mumbai…!!!

    Lol…hugs Z!! u are just too cute..even more so after hearing about ur head banging moves…Upload a video for us maybe 😀

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    1. Moms are ‘like that only!’ Cute? Me? Ha. Ask the brats what they used to call me over the years (a post is in the making) and you will know how far from cute I am! 😦

      Head banging video? No way!

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  14. hahahah i cannot stop laughing and I’m dead meat if my kiddo sees me now.. I’m supposed to be doing my work!! 😀

    and i remember that “digging in the nose” song…am gonna listen to it again now 🙂

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    1. Nice to see you back, Imps Mom! Yuck! You too listened to that disgusting song? 😛 Don’t worry, kids are too smart these days and know that their moms are up to all kinds of ‘mischief’ themselves!

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  15. Don’t listen to him, people! I had no choice with the said music playing all day and night. it started coming out of my ears, nose and even eyes! 😛

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  16. LOL! I remember this. This was in Munirka, when i got to take over from Vikki and his room and finally had one for my own!

    One of the reasons why the house was so quiet was Vikki had taken all his cassettes and i had to start off with a collection of my own!

    Hey one more warning to everyone reading this post; mom is quite the head banger with her music tastes ranging from Metallica to Dire Straights!

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    1. *straits. 🙂

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  17. Hahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahah…

    Amma come home this instant!!! i cant stop laughing… _oh wait, i ll go pack my bags to Delhi!!_

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    1. Come on fast, Ratzzz! But don’t being any loud playing gadget, please!

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