Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trivia. Show all posts

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tidings of 2015: and a Salute to 2016



Tampa, Florida, Dec 30th, 2015.










“You don’t need to be the tide to rise and fall, 
you don’t have to be a wave to touch the shore; 

just be a little sand-grain and feel them all” 
― Munia Khan



2015 was a giant tidal wave that left me breathless. 

I ushered it in with promises of a new career  - one that would offer me the flexibility that I needed while taking me a step closer to the path that I had always wanted to carve out for myself. The experience was still very new when I was challenged to confront the ghosts of the years past. Fears and my insecurities mocked at me, gave me no choice but to look them in the eye, surrender and embrace.

I had been looking forward to new professional path; just as fervently as I had been avoiding facing my own sorrow and despair.  Grappling with both, within the first half of the year, caught me completely off-guard and exposed my deep-rooted, carefully-hidden vulnerabilities to myself again. The first change was the one I consciously made, and was excited about; the second- even though I made the decision of my own will, was enormously heart-wrenching. But with both, I learnt that accepting the change as inevitable is the most difficult concept of all. Emotions and fear of the unexpected is just a way to come to terms with; and to cope with the change - of any kind. 

Krabi, Thailand, June 29th  2015.
The second half of the year threw more transitions my way. Not as emotionally exhausting; but equally inordinate. Looking back at 2015, I have learnt that however unforeseen or painful; life-lessons are meant to take us places we would never dare to go and transform us into people we were meant to be.

2016; will be.......2016.  An invigorating step forward in the path of life that is yet to come. As the sun sets on 2015 tonight, I promise to reflect on the years gone by; and ones yet to come; to again remind myself to face my fears, surrender and go with the flow of the inevitable, to be that grain of sand that soaks it all in and emerges stronger than the biggest tsunami.

For you, I will wish for Hope & Happiness; Goals & Successes; Love & Laughter.


I wish you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016.









Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother’s Day - and my 200th post


I recently heard on radio that salary.com has come up with logistics to calculate work hours of “mom” job; and according to them, a stay-at-home mom deserves a salary of 130,000$ per year. Of the jobs assigned to a mom, a few include being a driver, cook, facilities manager, teacher and computer operator. In case you are wondering, that figure is estimated at the rate of “per child”! Which to me, seems all fair. Of course A isn’t home for me to throw the hatchet at, but when he returns, he better find a way to pay me back for for the past 12+years - with interest, no less :-) What made my day even better was reading that a dad’s median salary is estimated at at just about $40K a year, assuming he does some amount of cooking, cleaning and laundry! Which of course the dad in my home does not- so he gets nothing!!!

A mom is on the mom-job 365 days a year, without a break. Yet, there’s only one day a year set aside for us to show her we care. I am hearing a lot from friends and family about how acknowledging mom on Mother’s Day is irrelevant and that we should show our appreciation every day. My take on that- please don’t ruin it for us. We know how you mean the love for us all year- I will take you SHOWING it to me once a year very gladly. It is the little gestures that count; big thoughts don’t always travel through unsaid jumble of trivia every day.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Turning a Page; and a Year.


“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering 'it will be happier'…” 

---Alfred Tennyson--

Sometimes, there are years that you can’t wait to be done with. Other times, the year flies by in a blink. Thinking back a year might make you laugh out loud, smile with love or cry your heart out. The year changes, we turn a page in the calendar and hope for things to change. In recent years, through this space, I have started taking a peek back at the year past; and re-living moments that weren’t significant enough to be etched in memory forever, but momentous enough to deserve a mention.  Well over a week into the year 2015, I want to recount to you some of the tiny, unforgettable moments that made up my 2014. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Praying for Peshawar


I was sitting in a public office, waiting my turn this morning when I saw the news on TV. Hundreds of lives lost in a school shooting in Peshawar, Pakistan. The images ran into each other as my brain numbed. Children in school uniforms. Caskets stacked against a hospital wall. Parents, searching, hoping. And then a random thought- isn’t this about the same time as that school shooting in Newport, CT? Two short years- almost to the day. Who would do this? Why? What of those left behind? How does someone cope with a loss as great as that of a young child? To me, as a mother, the ache I feel in the pit of my stomach while writing this is a real, physical pain. All I hope is, that my prayers somehow reach the grieving families….All I wish for is, this kind of a thing doesn’t happen again. Ever.  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Momspeak: A Mother's Day Post

A lifetime ago, deep inside my stomach, I felt the stirrings of a longing to be a mom. I blame it all on the fact that it was Christmastime and we were in the Toys R Us, in New York. There was no escaping dressed up little babies in strollers or adorable toddlers hanging onto their mammas for dear life. I didn't really "think" my "want" then.

Nine months later, I brought home my first little one. 

She was beautiful. Perfect. A headful of black hair, milky white smooth skin, all fingers and toes intact. For the first year, I loved dressing her up and cooing over her every milestone. I fed her every hour; stayed up with her  most nights. I couldn't put my camera down. In her two's, she made me grit my teeth and curb an urge to hand her over to another mom.  Right after she turned three, I started to have serious doubts on my mental stability when I decided to have a baby. By the time she'd turned four, I'd totally decided that my being a mom was all a big, scary dream. I was sure I'd wake up soon….

A week after her fifth birthday, we brought home our second one. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Finding ME


Today’s the mood for a little introspection….
…A little book-keeping of sorts for the last however many years of my life…..
…Maybe the perpetual gloom of this never-ending winter that’s driving it. Or maybe that big number birthday that lurks around the corner….or another invisible trigger…all that’s irrelevant....
…The fact is, I desperately need to find a little ME. I know it got born a few decades ago..those first cries were it’s very own herald of existence. That tiny glob had the power to make a lot of noise, and be heard….
….A little by little, as that ME grew bigger physically, it started to melt away in essence. Trying to gel in to the molds of the ideal daughter, an exemplary sister, a submissive daughter-in-law, a loving wife, a doting mother….the ME got lost.
…People didn’t fail to point fingers, to remind at the drop of the hat, that “Aham” is ego…But that “Aham" was also the voice of ME. Peeking out through the dark corners, waiting to be acknowledged. More often than not, it was pushed back by the demanding norms of the society and doomed into solitude.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Year Gone By.....


...and what have I done?
Plenty; but not enough......
As a part of self-improvement plan, I aspired to, and got into a fellowship program. Whether the goal came of  a need for a mid-life career change, or a sense of underachievement, is irrelevant. Just the odds of competing against kids almost half my age, and succeeding, was fulfilling. It hasn't been easy going back to the life of assignments and grades, but I've survived half a year...and I look forward to actually getting back in a classroom at the receiving end this Spring.
I've kept up with this space here...sporadically, but surely. Writing this blog and hearing back from all of you has been uplifting in my darkest moments. Lets just suffice it to say that through you, I've managed to fill in a niche as close to my loved ones as possible.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks.


The beginning of this week- A came home from work and told me. Some one we knew, not very well but well enough, had passed. I knew he had cancer. In fact he had had a surgery less than a week ago. He'd been delighted when I went to meet him in the hospital. " The prognosis is good"- he wrote for me since his tracheostomy prevented him from speaking. "The doctors give me at least 3yrs, but I'll show them how to beat it". Five days later, he was dead. The news left me shaken up. Made me realize how fragile and precious life is. And how obscure, the line between being alive and not. Though  Thanksgiving is not a traditional holiday in our family, today, I needed to look back at my life and give some measure of thanks. 

First of all, I feel blessed to have my life as it is today. There have been ups and downs, trials and tribulations. But that is what is meant to make us stronger. So I'll take whatever came my way and learn to be thankful. My past made me what I am today, shaped my dreams and hopes and expectations. I'll live up to them, and work towards a spiritual contentment, a sense of balance.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holi Greetings, and some chit chat...

I tried explaining Holi to my colleagues at work today- and all that came to mind was it is a Spring festival. But trust people to come up with interesting "observations"! I pulled up some pictures on the net, and a student asked- why is everyone wearing white? And why do you put on colors? The explanation I concocted on the spur of the moment- because white is the color of winter, and we're covering it with colors of Spring- sounded so right, even to my ears.....that I let them assume that this was age-old wisdom, rather than a fabric of my imagination :-)

This year, I've been pretty lazy. Haven't done anything to mark the day. But then, I was never a Holi person. It takes a special kind to love all the rowdiness and noise that accompanies Holi celebrations in India :-) The images that do crop to mind are ancient....

Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year (Almost) Wish.


Many years ago I resolved never to bother with New Year's resolutions, and I've stuck with it ever since. - Dave Beard

Now that we’ve survived Doomsday 2012 and the holidays are winding down to a close, it’s time to come to terms with the impending change on the horizon: 2013. The end of the year brings in time to reflect over the last 12 months, and what lies ahead. We look forward to new beginnings and possibilities, leaving the past behind. Now that we’re at the brink of saying goodbye and welcome all at the same time, 2012 strikes me as one of those very eventful years that went by faster than most…

Despite my optimism for the coming year, it is hard to neglect the adverse events that bring this year to an end. In the last month or so, as an American of Indian origins, I felt an immense heartache for all the innocent victims of senseless actions; be they the innocent children in school shootings of Connecticut, or the young, unnamed girl in Delhi, India who lost her battle for life yesterday. My prayers go out to them and their families. There is no greater loss than of those loved, and no greater sorrow than an untimely farewell.

In retrospect, I'm thankful for all good things that happened, sorry to have made some mistakes, happy to have moved on and grateful for all opportunities. The New Year, as it dawns, brings forth promises of a better tomorrow. So lets embrace the unknown…….it is now time to let go, and start afresh. The New Year, will be a New Me; as some one said- a blank book of 365 pages to write in. And I wish to be able to fill it in with cheer and smiles. I’ve made no resolutions, set no goals. For to me, each day brings forth its own challenges that I must overcome. And I shall prevail.

So that is it….

A Happy New Year to You. Put on your hats, bring out your party shoes.  And thanks for sticking by me all these years. I look forward to seeing you around.







Monday, December 17, 2012

Ramblings from a mom's heart - Newtown CT.


The times we live in are unexpected, turbulent and disturbing.  And nothing could bring it home more forcefully than the heart-wrenching tragedy this past week in an elementary school in Connecticut.  The young man who forced his way into school and killed over 27 people, most of whom were 5-6 year old Kindergarteners - did his mom have even an inkling that she'd wake up only to be shot dead by her young son that morning?  The 20 odd children who never came back home with excited chattering of what they did at school- did their moms, in their wildest dreams, ever envision the horror their babies lived through in their final moments? And the adults who were lost, they were moms and daughters and family as well. Life just lost balance and stopped for many people out there.  Grief cast its shadow over a community, irrespective of age of the victims. Including us. Spectators from far away.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Love; No Food!! Karwa Chauth


This is totally an unplanned post- just a few ramblings for today. 

This morning, I told Anya that she should take a bath and dress up in her Indian clothes after coming back from school. 'So what are we celebrating? Diwali? And I realized she has no idea of what today marks. So here I am, just trying to relive my memories for her.

My excitement at home for Karwa Chawth would begin the evening before; when my mom (with me in tow, of course) went out and bought a big bagful of sweet and savory mathris and fenni (thin vermicelli thats slightly toasted and sweetened). Where we lived, these goodies were very seasonal- you saw them for maybe 2-3 days around Karwa Chauth.  Then we'd trek all the way down to the local kumhar (potter) and pick out a karwa (clay pot) for her pooja the next day.  Third step, invariably, some place where she could buy new chooris (glass bangles) - always red, and always with a big splash of gold in them. I got my share of these too. Finally, we stocked up on some big red bindis and a new bottle of vermillion sindoor.  All spent, we'd stop at last for a treat of some gol-gappe and chaat in preparation for the extensive fasting the next day .

Friday, October 19, 2012

Delicious Fall: Pumpkinland and Apple Picking

Kindergarten is proving to be extremely extensive for us.....The first alphabet brought acorn and a  little burst of "but I have to find an acorn"...we did manage to find one in our yard; followed by "why isn't a squirrel coming to eat my acorn", ...when the acorn was safely tucked away under Baby P's pillow.

Then came Apples...and tears galore because 
1) The apples we had at home didn't have a leaf on them.
2) When we cut our apples; it didn't look like the "Parts of an apple" picture that Baby P had drawn at school.
Apple trees...laden with fruit
3) I did not know how to make "applesauce" the way their 'cheacher' did. 

Finally, about 2 weeks ago, she came home all excited....
"Do you know where we get apples from?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paryushan & Samvatsri: The Jain regimen and significance. Plus my menu.

I'd never thought I'd do this...a post about religious beliefs. But then I figured, that I did write about Diwali, and Holi and other festivals that are a part our social culture, so why not Paryushan- something that I grew up with and is an integral part of my memories.  I am not the best person to be telling you about this practice, for I myself know very little. But I'll attempt a little write up nevertheless. 

The 8-day long change in lifestyle that we call Paryushan typically adhered to at the end of the rainy season; or Chaturmas. Normally, we associate festivals with gaiety and indulgence. Instead, Paryushan is a celebration of solitude, minimalism, introspection and self-restraint.  The guidelines to be followed for spiritual up-liftment include modesty, self-restraint, penance, renunciation and celibacy. The strictest of my family members would sustain themselves only on a handful (chullu) of boiled water for these 8 days. The others took a pledge, or Niyam, to alter their lifestyle to fit the soul of this whole process.  I remember my dad making more time for meditation and introspection (Samayik); while my mom, who was always restless about getting things done for us kids would give up some of her favorite foods and activities, and just slowed down.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An open Letter from a grandfather....

Dearest Betu
    Your mom is going to throw a fit when she hears me call you Betu- but that is what you are to me.  Betu and Ghughu.  I gave you those names- the first, because it came to my lips the second I saw you. And the second, because those were the first sounds you made in my arms. All of 5 weeks old; and you were already connecting with me. It's been a while since you and I had a talk. Maybe now is a good time.....A part of me wants to give you advice; but today, I'll just let you know me.
   I'd wished for you even before I had my own children - your mom, and your maamu. You are so much extra special because you're my first grandchild. Your naani and I were so excited the day we heard that you'd be coming into our family.  The day you were born; we called up the entire family with the news. I couldn't wait to meet you.  But I had to. We finally met when you were about a month old. You probably don't remember. Your naani and I stayed with you for 6 weeks that year.  All that time, I never left you alone. I even held you while you slept. And after we left, your mom complained that we spoiled you because you'd no longer sleep on the bed!  :-)) I brought back pictures of you with me; and I had them all over the house. Even back in Delhi, I used to talk to your pictures and hope that my thoughts would reach you somehow.  When your mom called to speak with us, I'd ask her to make you cry or laugh; just so I could hear your voice.  I missed you so much, that soon after meeting you, I decided to quit my job. So we could come and stay with you for longer.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Things that matter....summer picnic with long time friends.

I started my life in USA as any other new immigrant - lonely and homesick.  With no one around me, not even distant relatives, and at a time when calling home was relatively expensive, life was as hard as it could get. A followed about 6 months later; and a year later, I had my first baby. Life got busier, but not less lonely. A lived and worked 3h away from us during the week, then lived and went to school in the same city, but away from us, on weekends.  I made friends with other moms on the playground, or in the library -  but they didn't feel like the friends that I was craving for - they didn't share my language, for one.  Festivals were the worst....and loneliness grew to a new level at this time. About the 4th year of our life in Philadelphia, A took me to a 'Diwali Party'. I remember not wanting to go mingle into a crowd of strangers. But we went, and I've never regretted that decision ever. I've made some very lasting friendships within this group.  Plus my holidays are cheerier with them around!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Black & White Wednesday: Ceramic jug


I like souvenirs- just about as much as A hates them. I love exploring the little trinket stores on the boardwalk, antique stores in little towns along the route as we drive to our destination and even the touristy, brightly lit stores designated as "Souvenir stores". A will go to great lengths to avoid my souvenir shopping. An exception to this was his trip to Miami and Key West, right after Anya was born. I asked him to get me a souvenir from there; and he obliged by bringing me this ceramic jug....

Ceramic Jug

 ....it's a beautiful jug; with yellow-beaked black birds and shining green leaves. Yellow-green vines make it's spout and handle. I just haven't figured out what it's meant for. There are no marks to show where it is from. A was prudent enough to throw out the packing before giving it to me, so I don't even know if it's supposed to be used or not. The spout is closed off, so it can't be used for pouring liquids - that I tried. As a result, it's sat there in my kitchen cabinet, the lone shot of color amidst my stark white dishes - and a reminder of the time when A went shopping for my souvenir.

Today, I've decided to show it to you via Susan's Black & White Wednesday. Feel free to let me know your thoughts on what it could be used for...



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Once upon a vacation.....and an open palm chair for B & W Wednesday

We've had quite a slow summer this year. Being sick and recuperating took away most of the season. The girls have been pretty forgiving most of the time. But when Anya saw summer slowly ticking away, she asked to go to the beach 'just one time before school'. Thanks to Irene and a last minute cancellation,  we found a 4-day rental in Ocean City, Maryland. I wasn't completely convinced of getting good beach weather so soon after the hurricane, but we took our chance. The ocean was surprisingly calm, and blue skies dotted with kites.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekend Chronicles- with Bread Pakora


Quite an eventful week it turned out to be. 

First came the earth-shaking excitement of a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the middle of the work week. Nobody could figure out what was responsible for our jiggling PowerPoint, shaking building and electricity blink during our weekly meeting. Of the various explanations put forth, the first one was that a plane had crashed into our building; afraid of a WTC repeat, most people prepared to jump out the windows (thank goodness everyone in the group is scared of heights- even if it is just the 4th floor).  Then we moved on to an equally outrageous subway explosion (the lines do run under our building) and a relatively sensible truck-crash with our building's loading dock (that happens to sit right below the conference room). The truck story also assumed explosive proportions by speculating that it might be a gas-tank truck: the one which brings huge cylinders of oxygen, nitogen and other medical gases to us. It was a breathless-with-fear South American colleague that mentioned an earthquake. The excitement that followed was astronomical!  The rest of the meeting, we brainstormed whether we sat on  dynamic earth plates, if End of the World Prediction included August 2011 and   whether to evacuate or not!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Echoes of Silence

I skipped along, marching step for step.                                    
My tiny hand curled around your finger tight.                            
Innocent and bright-eyed, happy and free,                                            
Every time I looked up at you,                                                 
I saw you smile down at me.                                                                

A vision flashed across my eye, I didn’t care,