Posts

"Don't Act Too Smart"

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I have so many memories of growing up in a small town in India with three sisters and a bunch of cousins. We had impromptu picnics at the Kharkai river near our house, we stayed up all night after exams to celebrate and commemorate with our little parties, we performed plays for the neighbors, and we had weddings for our dolls, long elaborate ceremonies with so much fun, frolic and festivities. Once, we walked over five miles in the rain and lightning to our aunt’s house and her daughter almost had a heart attack seeing us all wet and shivering at her door but, for us, it was an adventure. The world was our oyster and we were na├»ve, bold, unafraid and willing to speak our minds. Our parents were not hovering around us as helicopters either.  One vacation , we were going out of town in an open jeep with the four of us in the back, it was just our trusted driver and us, our parents were already there ( I forget the name of the city but it was somewhere not too far) and we were joining …

Laughter and Tears

Years ago, fresh out of college, I applied for a job at the local library. It was the ideal location and the job requirements were a perfect fit for my qualifications. I was eager to start working, putting my knowledge to good use and earning some money after spending exorbitantly on my education at graduate school here in America. Imagine my over the top excitement when I got the interview call and my enthusiasm when the interview went well (or so I thought!) I got emotionally attached to the job, dreaming about buying a new wardrobe of work clothes, the kinds of library programs I could offer, how I would spend my first salary and so on and so forth. My husband would jokingly tell me that if I get the job he will quit his and take a break and stay home for a while and he will do a better job of having dinner ready for me than I did for him.  When I got the call one morning that I did not get the job, I took it very hard and immediately called my husband who was at work and with tea…

What is Love?

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Few days before February fourteenth, my ten year old asked me for a needle and thread. I could not locate the box where I had stored all my sewing essentials so I told him that I would find it after some time. The box surfaced a few days later under a pile of dirty laundry but by then I had forgotten that Armaan had asked me for a needle and thread. On Valentine’s Day morning Armaan presented me with a beautiful napkin quilt sewn together by thread. He used rubbing alcohol and markers to write different messages/drawings on four napkins. I gave him a tight hug and asked him who helped him sew it. He told me that he used a paper clip as a needle and some thread to stitch together the napkins. I got really teary eyed that he went to such great lengths to make the card for me. I also felt guilty that I never gave him the needle and I felt proud that he was creative enough to use a paper clip. I gave him some more hugs and cuddles and kisses, and thought “This is love, pure and unadulter…

Of Opinions and Judgments

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Dilwale Dulhania le Jayenge is an iconic romantic movie from Bollywood. I had seen it in my teen years and gushed and fawned at every song and dialogue. When my daughter turned fifteen, I decided to watch this movie with her and I was really enthusiastic about her opinion of the much popular film. We sat down with popcorn and soft drinks in our living room, all warm and cozy with a blanket over our knees, just girls’ only movie night in, the boys were out with their dad and my excitement was palpable. Few minutes into the movie, my daughter says to me, “Mom, can we do something else; I really do not want to watch!” Dismayed and bewildered by her response, I asked: “Why not?” She said, “Well, the hero is such a dumb jerk, he failed school, showed up late for his graduation and he stole beer from the shop!” I was crushed and amused by her response but I know that she has every right to her opinion and I understand that she thinks differently than me. Luckily, she has nothing against Sha…

"Indian Summer"

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Sometime during the end of May, an incredulous co-worker said to me; “You are going to spend your summer in India? I read in the news that there is a heat wave going on and many people are dying because of the intensely high temperatures!” I calmed her down and reassured her that I was not going to die and I was really looking forward to this visit to meet my family. I was a little worried about my kids though, as previous visits have always entailed the usual tummy upsets and bug bites (Indian mosquitoes do love American blood) and I was hoping and praying that my children stay healthy during this trip.  I said a little amen in the plane as I was so thankful that my kids are grown up now. I have so much empathy for people travelling with small children. I remember those days when my kids were little and one of them always wanted to use the restroom when the plane was taking off and the seat belt sign was on or when they were babies, they would get ear pain and cry when the plane cha…

"Sweet Sixteen"

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Growing up in India, I did not know that turning sixteen was a big deal. The only thing I remember about my sixteenth birthday is that it was my first birthday without my loving dad who passed away when I was fifteen. Last December, when my daughter turned sixteen, my first thought was, “Thank you, God, she has a stable, loving and caring dad to celebrate her birthday with and her special day will be much happier than mine” Sweet sixteen birthday parties for girls are an extravagant affair in America. It is a coming of age party celebrated with pomp and splendor. Ballrooms are booked, DJs are called, and the birthday girl gets a car and a tiara and what not. Thankfully, my daughter is the sweetest and the most sensible sixteen year old I know and she did not want us over spending on a party. My friends had been asking me to have a big affair as everyone was excited for us and they also needed an opportunity to dress up and party! Sadly, I had to tell them that I may not do that as Ma…

" Forty Five"

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Yes, you guessed it right. That is exactly the age I turned this June. I had been anticipating this birthday with some apprehension. Birthdays come and go and the milestones are always those which end in 0’s. People tell you that 40 is the new 30 or 30 is the new 20. Thankfully, 20 is not the new 10. I am sure nobody wants to hear that at 20! When we are younger, we cannot wait to grow up and when we are older, the best compliments are those which tell you how young you look. The decade birthdays are brimming with bouquets and brouhahas while the ones which end in five do not get as much attention. My youngest son, all of eleven, gets really excited about my birthdays and he kept asking me how I felt about my fast approaching special day. I told him that I was kind of sad as I am getting older. He gave me a hug and said, “Mom, look at it this way, 45 is a good birthday to have, at least you are not turning 54!” He eagerly told me with all earnestness that I look about 25 to which my …