Posts tagged ‘Mr and Mrs Beige’

December 17, 2010

Holiday hiatus

Ranjeet is the sartorial equivalent of Christmas in the fine film Kashmakash, so he gets to take the place of my usual Gemma Torture Holiday Card

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September 23, 2010

The Dementia Diaries

If there’s one thing I can say for sure about my family, it’s that we’ve had a lot of laughs together. My parents quibbled constantly over small things but they always got over it quickly, and I don’t remember them ever having a major disagreement or going to bed angry with each other. Of course, it’s possible that I wasn’t paying attention or they made an effort to hide such things from us, but in any case my perspective is that we have always been able to find “the funny” in any situation (camping and the teen years don’t count).

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April 4, 2010

Weekend with the Beiges

As I sorted through a gazillion books and dvds, unpacked boxes, put things away, and found room when it seemed there was no more room to be found, it struck me that instead of doing all that at my parents’ new apartment in the Old Folks’ Home, I should be doing it in MY home. I have 1400+ dvds (yes, mostly Hindi) plus twelve million books (I am not exaggerating), mostly stacked in unruly piles which threaten to kill Gemma should they topple over on her. Obviously, I realized, I have come by my dvd/book habits honestly. But somehow the organizing and putting-away gene escaped me (except when Mom is cracking the whip).

While I moved furniture and flattened boxes, Gemma panted in sympathy for me in the 150-degree temperature which people over 70 always seem to maintain in their homes. She also refused to go to sleep, I think afraid that I might leave her there to slowly roast.

Once when I took her outside I saw a little old man arguing furiously with the large (but very polite) head chef about the gravy served in the dining room. The chef was pointing out nicely that he feeds a lot of people every day and nobody else has complained about his gravy, but his diminutive foe remained vociferous in his antipathy for it (especially on turkey, I gathered). Next time I go, I will be ordering something with gravy for sure.

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March 9, 2010


For the next week or so I am traveling not only over distances, but through time. As many of you know, I grew up in southern Africa, in what was then Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe. When I started at Belvedere School in Salisbury (Harare) in early 1972, my family had just moved into our fourth home in the span of two years—homes that were in four different places on two different continents. We had also lived mostly out in the bush and my mother had taught me and my brother at home. So with all the moving, not having gone to school with other kids much, and my painful (okay, neurotic) shyness, it was not an easy time for me. When a cheerful, outgoing, sports-loving classmate named Jillian befriended me I was both astonished and thrilled. Jill and I hung out at each other’s houses for hours on end talking and giggling. She was the first true friend I ever had, and her friendship brought me out of my shell a bit and helped me to find the confidence to make friends with other classmates as well.

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November 15, 2009

How I spent my vacation

Warning: This post is long and rambling (yes, even more than usual) and occasionally sentimental. And no doubt really dull for most of you. But I’ll get back to movie reviewing soon, I promise!

As planned, I spent a good deal of my time with the Beiges looking at (and scanning for posterity) old family photos. This is the oldest one I found, a daguerreotype of my great-great grandparents with my infant great-grandmother (my father’s father’s mother). It was taken in 1862 and is still in its original case, which is gorgeous.


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November 6, 2009

Time off with the Beiges


I’m off to hang out with my Mom (above right, frog hunting with my uncle) and Dad (not pictured, because she didn’t know him back in 1937).

I call my parents Mr. and Mrs. Beige, mostly in jest. They would blend invisibly right into any typical mid-western American crowd, but it’s only a facade. Internally, they are sparkly and rainbow-colored.

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October 19, 2009

A memsaab in the making


I haven’t watched any films in the past week or so because I’ve been busy scanning old family photos. It’s been on my to-do list forever (or would be if I had one). A lot of the photos are faded and discolored (my baby pictures are getting close to 50 years old! *yikes*) and I want to preserve them before they get worse. I rant on about neglected Hindi cinema history so I’d best not neglect my own! Of course it may not be of much interest to most of you (although there is something strangely compelling about family albums, isn’t there?) so forgive me for this small digression (I won’t be offended if you skip it altogether).

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August 25, 2009

Fun with old people

This is an actual real (unedited) email that I got from my mother today (my Dad has just gotten a wheelchair):

Thought you’d be interested in our first wheel chair outing.  It was exciting to say the least but Dad and I are able to laugh about it now. I had thought we’d take an easy walk ’til I got the hang of it and so headed for 9th St and Harbor View Hospital.  I didn’t think the sidewalks were that steep that way but we’d only gone a few blocks before I realized how heavy Dad is so began to think of ways to return.  Going down hill I really had to dig in my heels but we were coming along.  I finally got down to area where I could cut across by the Town Hall and decided to go down the alley away from street traffic.  About half way down I realized I had lost control as speed became a problem. So I turned the wheel chair towards the fence to try to stop it which sent Dad over in wheel chair and I flying face down over the tarmack scraping my nose, cutting my lip but all I could think of was I now understand why so many folk at H House have black and blue faces,  By then Dad had rolled out of the wheel chair but I heard a voice asking are you alright.  Yes, I replied as I began to get up so he immediately went to dad who was trying to sit up.  We soon had Dad back in the chair and thanked the fellow for his help.  You’re sure you’re okay.  Yes,  this is our first run so we are trying out where we can go.  Do you have brakes.  Yes.  You can use them going down hill.  Anyway he was most helpful getting us squared around. So I decided on Plan B for return and continued over to the plaza where sidewalk had several openings into the park there.  The one I chose mistakenly had large cobbles so of course I got the wheel chair stuck and couldn’t push it out.  But I saw one of the homeless guys on a park bench coming over to help so he pushed Dad down to the level spot and then pointed at the walk I should have chosen. From there on back home it was a piece of cake. Thanks to two helpful men.  Restores my faith in mankind.  Dad says I didn’t get any exercise out of that.  I assured him I had.  So I told him the gym downstairs was for him to do his exercises and the wheel chair is for getting out and around.  We did find if he helps turn the wheels going up hill that helped me but you know Dad he’ll have to learn how to handle that.  I’m going to have black and blue areas tomorrow. And a swollen lip but as Dad said you don’t look bad. We were glad we had waited to have tea until after our walk! (-: All’s well that ends well.

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