Lessons from my Grandmother

This article was published in The Star Malaysia’s Heart and Soul column on 1 July.
My grandmother, the original Wonder Woman, who gave the best Dunlopillo hugs. 

mutch.jpg

*****
“My grandmother didn’t tell me how to live. She lived, and let me watch her do it.”

I am paraphrasing a quote by American writer Bud Kelland, but it is so apt that I had to borrow it.

My grandmother glided through life effortlessly – and always with a smile that radiated from her heart and twinkled out of her eyes. She faced every challenge with strength. She embraced every moment with love. And her chicken curry was legendary.

These are some of the lessons I learned through watching her:

Always maintain a sense of humour. Laugh often, and loudly. Your enthusiasm will be infectious. Your smile can spread through oceans of despair, over mountains of troubles, and soften even the hardest heart. Get on with it. Complaining is a waste of precious time. If you have a job to do, do it with grace and courage. Be grateful for your responsibilities – not everyone is so lucky.

Chill out. Getting angry or upset is hazardous to your health. A calm approach based on compassion and common sense will do everyone good, especially yourself. As will a hot cup of chaaya tea.

Hugs are underrated. Never underestimate the power of a genuine, warm embrace. It can melt away fear, tension and sadness in the young, the old, and everyone in between. Hold close the people you love. Hold them until you feel their pain evaporating. Don’t be the first to break away. If a child tells you, mid-hug, that you are as soft as a pillow, take it as a compliment.

Stay curious. You’re never too old to learn something new, be it a language, a card game, a skill or an idea. In an ever-changing world, adapting your mindset without compromising your values shows self-awareness and self-preservation. Also, being interested makes you interesting.

Get stuck in! Your appetite for food mirrors your appetite for life. Savour every moment. Lick your fingers. When you cook for others, cook with love in your heart, for this is the secret ingredient, in food and in life.

Rest in Peace, Muthashi.

(Sarada Menon passed away peacefully on April 11, at the age of 95.)

*****

©2019 Seetha Nambiar Dodd

National Bikini Day?

1fbadf23-11e6-4636-ada3-950c878c1657.png

July 5th is ‘National Bikini Day’. I only know this because I get a lot of junk mail. Scanning through my inbox, I find a swimsuit company (Australian) proudly declaring this special day via email. There is even a hashtag: #nationalbikiniday. They aren’t just imparting useful information, of course, they are also sneakily trying to sell me swimwear.

But as I read this email, while wearing thermal pyjamas and drinking hot tea out of a thermo-flask, I sense it isn’t National Bikini Day in Australia, where July is the coldest month of the year.

So, as any curious writer would do, I Google it. And here’s what I find:

  • The bikini was first revealed on 5 July 1946 in Paris by French mechanical engineer turned fashion designer, Louis Réard
  • Réard wanted the name of his new swimsuit to be shocking, and for the launch to be ‘explosive’, so he named the garment after the Bikini Atoll, a group of islands in the Pacific Ocean where the atomic bomb was being tested in 1946.
  • Bikini Day is observed on 1 March in Japan, to commemorate the Japanese fishermen who became accidental victims of nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll.

But while we’re talking about shocking swimwear, I feel the need to discuss the new micro swimwear trends that have bombarded the internet recently. Buckles instead of straps, bikinis that look like they’ve been put on the wrong way round for the lack of coverage, and swimsuit bottoms cut so high they reach your armpits.

Exhibit A. Swimwear I don’t understand from an online retailer that I love. bikini-day.png

A few observations:
1. I am not surprised this is on ‘Final Sale’ – must be hard to shift. Out of your crevices.

2. ‘This product cannot be returned or exchanged unless faulty.’ Well. Seems there is already a fundamental fault in the product, i.e. it would be tricky to swim in it.

3. The discount, because I had to check, works out at 66.6%. The greatest trick this ‘one-piece’ ever pulled was convincing you it is a swimsuit.

4. $29.71 (plus postage) is not the final price you will pay. What about the additional considerations of waxing, tanning, chafing, and then the cost of another swimsuit for actual swimming.

But that email isn’t just a marketing ploy. Sources confirm 5 July is indeed, Bikini Day. Other notable days this month include:
10th July: Piña Colada day
13th July: International Rock Day
16th July: Guinea Pig Appreciation Day
31st July: Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to celebrate July by sitting on a rock, Piña Colada in hand and preparing to play the comb & tissue paper. Until the sun comes out, I’ll be accessorising my bikini with a full-length puffer jacket and Ugg boots.
#bikiniday? #i♥guineapigs

©2019 Seetha Nambiar Dodd