The reluctant hugger

I have realised I will never be a good hugger and I am glad most of my friends aren't either. Indians used to hug only in 'reel life' and not in 'real life' till it became a more fashionable thing to do. Hugging is a foreign concept much like pasta, noodles and cheese. Same with
'mwah'! Maybe with time hugging will become more commonplace and easier to do! We were never a family of huggers and I cannot recall a single instance when my Mom ever did that.

In her most vulnerable and emotional state (which I assume must have been when we each got married) my Mom would just keep a stiff upper lip tightly closed over the lower one lest a sob should escape and she would steel her eyes, opening them wide so that no tear would fall. Whenever she did that it made me more prone to guffaws rather than feel sad (of course I was too afraid to do that openly so while others thought bugs were biting me, I would shake all over trying to control myself)! She looked comical not trying to emote during my elder sister's and my marraige but with age the steel went away and we saw her for the first time sobbing freely after giving away my sister. It was funny but seeing my Mother like that, even my steady as a rock elder sister, P started crying and laughing together. It was a hilarious scene. The poor girl was being given away, her mother was crying, one sister looking pretty foolish doing both crying and laughing, and I shaking all over wrecking my make up with sobs and my body with suppressed giggles and she had this question mark writ over her face. Sensibly the photographer did not capture the moment though in retrospect I think it could have been the best picture - candid as can be! Dads of course have still no choice but to retain a grave look on their faces as crying is still not considered manly and no amount of androgynous fashion trend has managed to pervade real life yet (at least not in India).

And then I became a mother (before the younger sister's marraige of course!) and brought several books and attended several parenting classes. I did not pay for them. My organization believes in sending their employees to several psychology classes of which I have had the privilege to attend maximum and parenting formed a half day session as it was considered the most complex thing to do - rightly too! I read in books and we were also told repeatedly in those sessions that the best bond between a parent and a child comes from touch and so I decided I would practice hugging till I became a pro. I did not want to be caught giggling while hugging my children. My husband loved the practice sessions and his verdict after each session would only be - "No, no. Not perfected yet." Men, I tell you! I was surprised how naturally motherhood transformed me from a rough tomboy to a doting woman. Till my children turned 8 it came naturally to me also. Something snapped when they turned 9. One reason could be that they were turning into young adults. The more plausible one is that thanks to exercise and dieting I had lost my layers of cushioning fat around the same time and it was no longer a very pleasant experience for them. I still keep the practice going and my husband still feels I am not good enough but now I have a second mode of practice.

I end my mails with 'hugs', 'xoxo' etc. and hope the dear friend on the other side only knows as much hugging as I do.

I am even worse at pecking and 'mwah'. I have encountered embarrassing moments when I offer my hand and realize that my friend is giving a hug and it is a bit of commotion and we end up hitting our shoulder bones or me poking her stomach or something like that. These recent developments in social etiquette generally only have the effect of turning me to stone and freeze in my place when I find that look or manner which says - "Hey, I am a hugger."

What is your experience? Are you a good hugger? You should try writing 'hugs' at the end of the mail for a start if you aren't. It may help.

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