November 16, 2010

A song

When I was dropping A to school today when it was raining this is what I hear her sing inspired by the song "The wheels on the bus"

The wheels on the car go round and round...
all through the town.

The wipers on the car go swish swish swish...
all through the town.

The children in the car go I want to jump in a puddle...
all through the town.

The mommies in the car go Please not now....
all through the town.

The daddies in the car go Please let them go....
all through the town.

Just a silly made up song tells you so much of what they think of you!!! (Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)

October 26, 2010

Two sides to a Story - Part 5

Continued from here

Gita saw the look in Meenu's eyes before she began narrating her story. It was a look of shock and disbelief. She knew that her friend could not believe that she was the same person she had known during the course of their budding friendship. Gita narrated her story which sounded like the many movies Meenu had watched. An egoistic husband who controlled his wife, and when there was opposition there were fights and strikes. Meenu could not believe that a person like Gita withstood all this for three years. Gita explained how she felt obligated to her parents who were back in India and had given their all for the wedding. Gita had been gaining strength for the three hard years from the stories she made up to her parents about a lovely happily married couple. She had been secretly praying that her life would change to that some day.

It had finally stopped raining around midnight, as Meenu sat holding Gita's hand as her friend sat expressionless. She had decided to leave to India in two days in search of the the confident Gita she had left behind three years ago. Gita had thanked Meenu many times during their conversation that evening for bringing back her old self during the little time they had spent together. It had given her the courage to finally break free from her obligations and think about herself.

As Gita got ready to leave to the airport, she hugged Meenu long and hard and told her how grateful she was for their friendship. Meenu knew she would miss her a lot but she had with her the many conversations they had in the past two days. Gita had shown her the light that she had needed to walk through the tunnel. And as for Gita, Meenu knew she was going to be leading a better life from here on.

As Meenu and Ravi drove back from the airport, amidst the many emotions there prevailed a silence. Meenu closed her eyes and surrendered to the silence, she enjoyed the calmness. It helped her grieve her friend's departure, rejoice her friend's freedom,  celebrate their friendship and question her future. She was glad she could respect all these emotions with the silence that they deserved.

Ravi shifted in his seat every now and then. He looked at Meenu sitting next to him with her eyes closed. The silence unsettled him, but he was not sure what to say. He had expected Meenu to talk about her friend, to cry for her, to curse the entire male gender, to fight with him because he was a man too. He had expected her to comment on their relationship. He could do anything to know what was going through her mind then. But when he looked at her face for a clue all he could see was a calmness. He knew that this was just the calm before the storm.

October 13, 2010

Small mind, Big thoughts

A: Why do dads not get babies in their tummy?

Me: It was meant to be this way. God decided that is how it will be that moms carry babies and not dads.

A: But why did God decide this way. Why not dads have baby in their tummys?

Me: Hmmmmmmn....(thinking frantically for some convincing answer) not sure..maybe...

A: I know....I know. Because dads cannot take a break from work for the baby but moms can take a break!


Situation: We had been counting coins from the piggy bank.

A: We have so much money!!!

That evening after B returns from work

A: Appa you dont have to go to office tomorrow.

B: Why is that. Tomorrow is not a holiday.

A: No appa you dont have to go to work anymore. You can play with me all day like mimi.

B: No A, I cannot do that but I can play with you on weekends.

A: No appa, we now have a lot of money. Mimi and I counted a lot of money today. You dont have to go to work any more!


A: I wish I had golden hair like Barbie

Me: Why is that. Dont you like the black hair we have because of where we are from.

A: Do we have black hair because we are from India?

Me: Yes our skin and hair is usually from where we are.

A: Who has golden hair?

Me: Some of the people from America do.

A: But I was born in America, why dont I have golden hair?!

Me: (Corrected my explanation to be more specific about origins and inhabitants)

October 11, 2010

Navratri at my place

This is what has kept us busy last week. It has been a fun experience and I am already looking forward to next year's.

Five steps of the Golu/Dasara Bombe

The first 3 steps has traditional gods/dolls and the fourth had three fairy tales depicted with A's toys and the last step has a zoo

The chennapatna dancer is my favorite. I had to search for it quite a bit when I went to India this time.  

Snow White, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderful seen in the background of the Zoo

The rest of the zoo with the water animals

September 28, 2010

Without You

When You are not here,
It seems like the sun has not risen.
When You are not here,
It seems like the wind has lost direction.
When You are not here,
It seems like there will be no rains,
When You are not here,
It seems like the world is filled with pains.
When You are not here,
It seems like my eyes are not seeing.
When You are not here,
It seems like my skin is not feeling.
When You are not here,
It seems like my head is not thinking.
When You are not here,
It seems like I am not living.

September 27, 2010

New Look

I think I finally found a look I like for my blog. The picture is a painting that A made for me about a year ago for my office cubicle. Those vibrant colors stroked by her tiny fingers brightened many gloomy mornings. 'This will make you happy when you think of me mimi', she had said and it was so true. This painting really did have that effect on me. And a big thank you to my then colleague KeepingitSimple for recording this digitally just as it was in my cubicle.
Hoping this has the same effect on my blog too!

September 24, 2010

It is not easy to be me

Fate had me to be born in America to parents born and brought up in India. What does that mean to a little girl like me, well a lot!
Life is not as simple for me as it is for my American friends born to American parents. They have fun and follow traditions during the holidays here. We celebrate some of the American holidays too, but I find my parents lost thinking what to really do. And it is not only these that we are celebrating. We have the Indian festivals too that my parents are so excited about. And both put together there are so many that I sometimes find it hard to remember what comes when. And when I excitedly go tell my friends about Diwali or Navaratri they look so lost.
When I went to India it was a lot of fun, but it was a lot hard too. Initially everybody was shocked at how little I spoke in any other language than English, but towards the end of my three months vacation they wondered why I did not have an American accent like their relative's kids. My parents insisted I speak in our language there as much as possible, but the kids in the playground replied back in English. I was made to recite Slokas while my friends there were free to sing any English song they wanted. It was all very confusing to me.
And then there are these friendly comments from everybody. My diet gets filled with sweets and butter when family in India think I am not chubby enough. Then I am soon spooning a lot of fruits and vegetables after a friendly American asks my parents if they have checked my BMI lately. There is so much obesity in America you see!
And then there are expectations set by others like me, I have to have the right amount of geekiness in me from my Indian genes and the right amount of groomed skills and social etiquette from my American environment. What will our friends think if I dont read at four and add complex numbers being of Indian origin? What will my uncle's neighbor's cousin think if I am not going to ballet classes?
So with all these expectations set, its not a surprise when I get looks when I say something that is not expected. Like when I listen to the song My name is Madhavi from Karadi Tales, I sing my name is A, I am from America and I speak English, I look up to see my parents exchanging a look. Or when I hear a song of Raffi, All I really that I can grow up strong and take the place where I belong, I say I belong in India, that is where my family is and I am going to move there, and I again see my parents exchange a look. I get laughed at when I call Salami as Ras-malai as for some reason I think they sound similar.
It is true that everything to me comes in two folds, the pains and gains. At just the sheer beginning of my life I am experiencing lifestyles from two different corners of the world. From the folktales of India to the humor of Dr. Seuss, from the pumpkin pies of Halloween to Pongal, from the lehengas to the leggings, from M S Subbulakshmi to Raffi, from Ballet to Bhangra, there has been plenty of variety. And with all this variety I have had a terrific start to my quest of knowledge and information.
After thrusting all these complications into my life they even have a name for me, ABCD (American Born Confused Desi). Sometimes I think it stands for American Born Controlled Desi.
All I know is that I just want to grow up like me, without the controversies and the expectations. And other times I wonder if that is what will form me. But whatever it is I wish I grow up to be an American Born Confident Desi.

---Perceived thoughts of a little girl at the door of four.

Two sides to a Story - Part 4

Continued from here

Meenu looked at her watch for the third time as she waited for Gita at the restaurant where they had planned to meet for lunch. She had met Gita a week ago when they had gone to the movies and they had instantly taken a liking to each other. Atul and Gita made a lovely couple and Meenu had found herself glancing every now and then, at them together. She had thought that they made a perfect couple.

As she thought of that night, Gita walked in. They had a nice lunch together complete with a hearty conversation in which they took each other through a journey of their life so far. Meenu was in awe of Gita, she was the girl she always wanted to be. Gita's confident and outspoken self was a contrast to her submissive and enduring nature. She knew they had just sown the seeds of friendship that would grow for a long time.

The next few weeks went in many lunches and phone conversations between them. Their friendship shone amidst the light of their stark differences. Meenu could not help but draw comparisons to her life with Gita's. She secretly wished she was as outspoken as Gita then she would have been able to have a perfect life like hers.

Ravi had been happy that Meenu had finally found a friend she liked. But he had been noticing that she now spoke all the time about Gita and her life. She had a dreamy look in her eyes all the time and she got lost in her thoughts every now and then. For the first time he got the feeling that Meenu was not really happy with what she had. He wanted to know so that he can help fill the void but he was not sure.

Meenu was curled up reading a book one rainy afternoon when she got that phone call. It seemed like the voice from the other side came from far away and it was more like a sob. She recognized the voice but her heart refused to believe that it was a voice she knew. She did not associate a meek helpless cry as the voice she looked upto. Amidst the cries she recognized the words Open the Door. When she did she saw her friend Gita drenched in the rain, her eyes looked like pale clouds pouring out saline rain, her face looked ashamed to reveal to her friend a side that she had hidden so well all along.

September 16, 2010

Life on my windowsill

It is a pleasure to see this every morning on my sunny kitchen windowsill. To think that I did not think of this before is a shame! Given how less of a time and effort it takes to plant these. I used fenugreek seeds and corriander seeds from my spice box. Just soaked them in water for a day and then drained and wrapped it in a kitchen towel and let it sprout for another day. I used small plastic drinking glasses to plant them in. (Now I am thinking I should have used something bigger considering how well they are doing) Just water them everyday with a lot of love. And the light green leaves that sprout out send back to you double the happiness! I have a mint shrub in my backyard, and am just attempting to grow it indoors for the winter months. It is taking time but is still doing well. I promise you just do it and you will love it. Not to mention that a yummy dish of aloo methi will just be a pluck away!

September 6, 2010

Two sides to a Story - Part 3

Continued from here

Ravi had been uprooted from his country 5 years ago and the mechanical pace of his new life had slowly turned him into a robot. He was instantly likeable by everybody but he was not very sensitive to emotions any more. He had spent too much time on himself for these years, grooming himself physically and emotionally to suit his new environment to become insensitive to others feelings. He had stepped onto the belt of life that rode at the highest speed and he did not have time for much. He was on a mission to prove it to all and he made sure he did not miss an opportunity. Now he had his wife by his side on the belt.

Meenu had been a romantic at heart. She never failed to notice the beauty in everything around her. She was a dreamer, taking life at her pace. She found it difficult to understand why Ravi led his life at such a pace. She did not understand why he had no time for anything other than the essentials or that attracted the attention of his friends. She tried to run her life at his pace, but her heart tripped, her mind stumbled and her life fell.

Their life together had varied hues of the day two weeks after she landed. It was painted with her imagination and dreams and his vision and plans. She tried to speak to him about how she really felt, but words denied her. All her lips could sport was a smile. He saw her smile and his day could not have been better. She was with him in everything he achieved.

As she seasoned the sambar she saw him enter the house. She had imagined their dinner that evening, about what she would tell him and how he would finally see what she wanted. He was a good man, he would understand at once she thought. Ravi strode inside the house excitedly sporting two tickets to a movie which would start in an hour. He rushed Meenu upstairs to dress her best as they were going with a group of friends from work. He loved to surprise Meenu like this every now and then. In thirty minutes they left together, leaving behind the sambar and the conversation at the table for another day.

August 29, 2010

Two sides to a Story - Part 2

Continued from here

Meenu awakened to the sound of rain that early saturday morning. She rushed out to the balcony to watch the rain as it brought memories from back home. Her family had made some beautiful memories of such cozy rainy days. She thought it was a perfect start to the day, finally Ravi and she would get a chance to spend some good time together. The two weeks since she came had gone by with she being jet lagged and he being busy at work catching up with things. She got lost in her thoughts of how good the day would be as her imagination sketched a beautiful picture of the day.

Ravi awakened to the ring of his cellular phone that mid saturday morning. It was his friend Atul reminding him of their saturday morning routine to head to the gym. Ravi looked outside the window and thought what a dull rainy day. He would have just loved to have slept till evening, but he was looking forward to going to the gym with his buddy. It was not so much about the exercising as it was getting to have a good talk with Atul about politics and the market trend.

Meenu was setting the table for breakfast when she saw Ravi come downstairs dressed in his workout attire. Her heart sank, she had imagined a warm breakfast together with a hearty conversation forgetting his weekly gym routine. Ravi was already late when he saw the table laid out, he was kicking himself for not having reminded Meenu about his gym routine. He hurriedly explained to her and left promising to himself that he will make it up to her for this.

Meenu sat reading a book, as she heard Ravi enter the house. She hurried to greet him downstairs as she thought of how she was going to start all over to make it a beautiful day. Ravi had been thinking during his drive back home about how he would make Meenu really happy. He could not wait to tell Meenu how he had decided to introduce her to all his friends. And he could not wait to see his friends' expressions on seeing his lovely wife and taste the delicious food she cooked for all of them that evening. All their wonderful comments would make her really happy. That way he would have made up to her for that morning as well.

Meenu for the next few hours washed, chopped, sauteed, ground, fried, stirred and garnished her emotions. Ravi had been busy calling and inviting all his friends for dinner. Ravi thought Meenu looked flawless in her saree, her face made up and lit with a smile. Meenu looked at Ravi's proud face swallowing and smiling more. Meenu was drowned in praises and Ravi thanked everybody for it. He felt elated and as he saw her smile he had no doubts that he had made his wife really happy. Meenu felt tired and as she saw Ravi's happy face she knew that her smile had deceived him and she would never tell him about how she had really felt that day.

To be continued....

August 16, 2010

Two sides to a Story - Part 1

Meenu stirred the sambar in the pot, seeing the red of the sambar powder and the yellow of the lentils unite in harmony. She wished she could say the same about her wedding with Ravi. She had met him a year ago at a friend's wedding where both of them were dressed their best, it had been instant attraction. There was a lot of happiness around, there were friends who teased, relatives who stared, parents who encouraged and they were engaged in a week's time. They were married within six months during his next visit to India.
She had packed her bags dreamily for a new life that awaited her in a new land. She felt like she was flying like a parachute lifted to the skies by her dreams as the plane had taken off. The next few days went in a blur with her intoxicated by the fatigue of the travel mixed with the excitement of a new place. It was that day exactly two weeks after she landed when she first got a taste of reality.
Ravi sped across the highway in his new car, he had bought it two months ago. He had fallen in love with it instantly at the showroom just like the way he had fallen for his lovely wife. His life could not have got better he thought looking at a flock of birds flying back home. He smiled at the thought of the day when he had first seen her, he still felt the same way after a year now.
When he had flown to get married he was a little worried if he would indeed be happy with Meenu. He knew he liked her but they had spent a mere ten days during his last visit amongst a galore of people. There had been everyday phone calls but they were filled with giggles, teasing, laughter and excitement leaving him in a delirious state. The days around the wedding flew with a festive flare as he eagerly awaited the day of their return. As the plane landed he felt normalcy return back to his life. Things had been good since the day she entered his life and his house. But it was that day exactly two weeks after they landed that he felt he was the happiest man alive.

To be continued....

August 13, 2010

An encounter at the Park

A was playing with a boy of 51/2 at the park today. They seemed to get along well though they were 2 years apart. As I watched them play, I was chatting with the boy's mom and expressing that the kids seem to be playing really well. A girl of 6 overhears our conversation and says I think he is in love. I just laughed out loud and the little boy's mom explained to her that her son is very friendly and there is nothing like that. So the young lady of 6 explains that she knows when it is different, when you are in love it is not the same as being friends! GOSH have things turned so topsy turvy in this world that you have to hear this from a 6 year old!

Well we dismissed the girl as overly talkative and continued looking at the kids play. When it was time to leave, the little boy's mom and I exchanged contact information and told the kids to say bye to each other. The kids hug...oh how sweet we think. The boy asks A how about a kiss!?! I still did not get it. I thought it was an innocent remark like how many of her friends in school would want to do it and the teachers and moms explained about germs. His mom says no and he looked a little disappointed but he says, I think I like you A, I might marry you when I grow up!

August 12, 2010

The right start

The right start to a day for me is when I can sit with my cup of hot coffee and allow each of my senses to do a morning stretch and wake up one by one with a smile. The days I try to skip this by gulping down my coffee when I am busy in the kitchen or when I have to hurry to get ready to leave or if I am interrupted by someone, beware everyone!
If I am at leisure and A is still asleep, I sit with the curtains drawn back to take in the visual sights of my backyard. And then if it is still the early hours of the day, the semi darkness with just a hint of sunlight and the chirping of the birds and the crickets, it is an audio visual treat! An icing on the cake for me.
A is going through a transition phase where she is skipping afternoon naps on some days and sleeping for longer hours in the night. On such days I have more time to spare before B leaves to work. So I take off for a morning walk....just me and my thoughts. There are some wooded trails very close to our community with the promise of the same chirping of the birds and the crickets.
My day's start cannot get better than this!

August 9, 2010 passing

Nothing happens as planned over here,
we are once here and the next minute there.

Playing with the energy of three year olds,
To match yours I have to exert two folds.

I wake up with the hopes of achieving a lot,
But time drifts and all I can hope for is to stay afloat.

But I have not felt lighter, mentally I mean,
You are showing me places for days that I have not seen.

P.S - Okay I had planned to write much more...but not with a book on CD reading children poems right into my ears and A asking questions about the pictures in the book. I think I will retire satisfied today that I wrote all this in less than 10 minutes.

August 6, 2010

This one is for you

Well I am still struggling to write, yeah each word written here is being done with some effort. But I am overwhelmed with all the concern I am getting from people about why I am not able to write. I was especially deeply moved by an email I got today asking me about this.
So what do I do when I feel any emotion....well I write. That is all I have known to do. If I dont write I feel frustrated because its hard to find any other outlet for these emotions. So am I not able to feel emotions these days that I am not able to write? Or am I feeling too many emotions at once that they are all clashing with each other making my mind confused about which emotion to take the cue from to write? Yes I think that is what it is!
This is sure making me feel out of my elements.....almost like I am not able to breath. It has made me realize that I cannot be happy without writing. Not being able to write is frustrating me more than anything causing me not being able to write.
So forget serious writing...I have not been able to do that in ages. What I would like to promise myself is a post on this blog everyday. A simple post that at the least describes my previous day maybe? I think that would be a good start. It would give an outlet to convert some thoughts to words.
And Bee Gees if I may borrow your words at this time....
Its only words and words are all I need to make my heart sway.

July 15, 2010

Summer Reading

Back from India with the days and nights at our disposal in their entirety, A & I have been finding fun things to do this summer. One of the fun things we are pursuing is the local library's summer reading challenge. So these are age appropriate programs to make children read books. For A's age group the goal is 50 books between mid-june and mid-august. How fun!!! Well atleast that is what I thought...hopefully she is as excited as she looked.

Anyways the double fun is we missed a month already, so we have a month to read 50 books. So in my desperation I am picking whatever books we are spotting without being picky like I used to be. And I learnt without going with the big names and the Caldecott medal awarded books, you find many a hidden diamonds.

Apart from this we have a big kid's cycle to take for rides. I am yet to get over A riding a 16 inch bicycle. We just got it home yesterday and every time she sits on it, I am all teary eyed hugging her just for the fact that she is all so grown up. She later reminds me that she is able to ride it and then I wake up and compliment her.

And me...Amma (oh btw mimi got lost somewhere around april) is enjoying the new life so far. I am yet to do anything with all the great plans I had for I am hiding behind a big block. I am even struggling to compose emails. So by just scribbling today about everyday things, hopefully I have let some fresh air get into that little corner inside.

So here is hoping I will be writing here soon again...

March 26, 2010

Encounter with a Three Year Old

** I found this saved on my computer when I was cleaning up. It was written on Jan 5th and never got to posting it**

Favorite color – Used to be pink and orange, but my parents chose a blue room for me so now it is blue.

Favorite restaurant – Vapiano (I love the penne pasta there with butter and cheese)

Favorite book – If you give a mouse a cookie and Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see

Favorite playtime game – Being mommy

Favorite card game – Five Little Monkeys

Favorite Line – I am threeeeee years now!

Favorite Game with mom – School game/Memory Cards

Favorite Game with Dad - Building things with Lego

When I become a big girl – I want to be a doctor, a chef, a painter (not the drawing painter, painter who paints the walls) and a farmer.

Favorite Fruit – Pear

Favorite Vegetable – Vendekaayi = Vendakka + Bendekaayi (Okra)

Favorite Thing to do – Dance to bollywood music

Favorite Song – Desi Girl

Favorite Sloka – Mudakaratha Modhakam

Favorite Pet – Dog, I want a dog for a pet but my mommy is scared of dogs L

Scared of – Watching movies in the movie hall, they switch off the lights and put the TV so loud!

Person I can recognize on TV – President Obama

Favorite TV show – Dora the Explorer / Olivia

Favorite Activity in School – Art

Favorite Big People’s TV Channel – Food Network

One word I still cannot say – Knife (I say Life for it) (My parents never correct me, they would love for me to never get it right, because the day I do then there will be no baby talk left in me!)

Some of my ambitions - To go to office when I become Fiiiiive years.

To go to ballet class when I become Fiiiiive years.

** So many answers dont hold good today about 21/2 months later, but I didnt want to change a word for memories sake. Gal you are growing up too fast! **

March 23, 2010

Next Act

Last week I used the word for the first time against my occupation when filling A’s school’s application form: “SAHM”. That is what I will be starting Apr 1st, yes on the popular Fool’s Day.
That is what many people thought I was when I announced my decision, so it is apt that I start this phase on this day. But my heart has never felt this “foooller” with happiness.
Apart from getting to spend a lot of good times at home the icing on the cake is going to be a 3 month vacation in India to start off with.
Hopefully this will also mean more posts on this blog. But for now my thoughts are……

The last line: The last scene of this act.
I hope I did well, there is applause.
I hope I left a special mark doing my part,
I hope I lived up to the cause.

At the beginning of the next act,
I hope that I do well that I applaud.
I hope this part will leave a special mark in my heart.
I hope I live up to my cause.

January 27, 2010

Some like this and some like that

Some are like starved men fighting for the last slice of bread.
Some are like bold words that sound best when unsaid.
Some are like seeds that can’t fight the cold to germinate.
Some are like pests that you have to terminate.
Some are like flickers of a dragon fly.
Some are like a touch me not, too shy.
Some are like a volcano ready to explode.
Some are like orphans all on their own.
These are the kinds of thoughts in my head,
In the name of writer’s block they are put to bed.