2020-2021 school year done!

One full academic year of remote learning done for Hari. He worked hard, coped well with less instruction time on a rigorous subject content (esp. bio), and just went with the flow. He made the best out of this unusual school year.  I am so proud of his resilience and perseverance. 

Ram along with other elementary children had to adapt to all kinds of learning. Imagine being masked all day. Imagine sitting in the classroom in winter with windows open. No, it’s not the end of the world. But it takes adapting, which he did without a whimper of discontent. I was reading one of his essays in which he talks about Covid-19 and the resulting learning experience. He wrote about his glasses fogging up so much that he decided to remove glasses because he was able to see better without them. He vented his frustration at not being able to connect on Zoom during the library hour, and having to ask for help in the Google Classroom  hoping that someone would respond. He wrote about being in the classroom meant they were together and not alone in their learning. Even when he didn’t complain, it looked like there was a lot that was going in his head and heart. I am just so very proud of his flexibility and adaptability. 

Thanks to all educators and administrators. You came out with flying colors in these testing times! 

Then and Now

Then: She thought being married was an entitlement. It just happened in due course. You get married, you have kids, you build your nest. The naïveté ! All the more because she got married sooner than she thought she would. 

Now:  She knows better. So many many things have to align to make a marriage work. She is immensely grateful that her family is her sanctuary and that he is her person. 

Then: She pined for things that she did not have. Being surrounded by desi friends, and having an active social life. Instead, what she got was proximity to the library and public transportation.

Now: She appreciates the first few years of her married life. She may not have had the  social circle she was craving for but it taught her to be open and seek out opportunities. For someone that easily blends in, that initial experience taught her to be ok with standing out and to think for herself. . 

Then: She got irritated with his obsession over paperwork, for the lack of spontaneity. He, on the other hand,  just could not understand how she could misplace things and not obsess over finding them. 

Now: They both know they each  have their warts. It is who they are. They tolerate when they can. They fight when they cannot. They are raw, candid and honest with each other to the point of being rude. Thankfully, the irritation and the annoyances are fleeting just like passing clouds, and they do not hold grudges, let things fester and allow resentment to build up. They swallow their pride and ask for forgiveness. 

Then: She thought having the same wavelength, and being someone with a sharp intellect is what she wanted in a partner. 

Now: She knows it is not in the sameness but in how they handle the differences that a marriage thrives. How much are they able to be and let the other person be in that space that defines their differences? Intellect is good but pales in comparison to love and kindness. She sleeps well at night knowing that he treats her loved ones just the way he would treat his. His love for her speaks loud and clear in the little and the big things he does for her and their children. Really, what more could she ask for?

Memorial Day Weekend

Hari and Da are away this weekend. Their first time traveling since the pandemic. From the checklist for travel  to the drive to the airport, I felt a little out of touch. It has been a while. What do we typically need when we travel? What do we need in the light of Covid? Not having driven as far as the airport since the pandemic, the busyness of the airport road felt  a little alien. After being together within the same space, day in and day out, Ram and I felt a little bit of vacuum the first evening that the rest of the Jing Bang Gang was away. 

The first step is the hardest, the next step and the step after that feels like we are treading in familiar territory. In their absence, Ram and I are enjoying some exclusive time. Lots of TV watching, cuddling, reading, and what we call as ishi pishi. The work days are all consuming leaving little time for anything or anyone else at all. The long weekend has brought in the much needed slowdown to my routine. The weather is wet, so the temptation to be out is not there. Less truly feels like more this weekend. 

I am thankful that Hari had a chance to play some cricket. Sports took a beating with the pandemic and as academics gets more rigorous in high school,

New Normal

Cases in the US have been steadily declining for sometime now. About 50% of the population is vaccinated. I felt a wave of gratitude and relief when Da, Hari and I got our first shots. Just to know that so many people have worked so hard to get us to a safer state is humbling. The US has vaccines manufactured by three companies – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. We all took the Pfizer vaccine and had mild to no after effects. We are waiting for the little one in our house to be vaccinated. 

My state has relaxed the masks requirements. It is not uncommon to see people without masks outdoors. Ram’s school is back in full strength full time. Hari’s too but given the school year is so close to an end, we have chosen to have him remote. Extra curricular activities have resumed in person for the most part. Da has been going to work in person for three days per week.

From being surreal to hunkering down, we are now graduating to living with the pandemic. On our part, we are trying to strike a balance between resuming activities and not letting our guard down. Keeping fingers crossed. 

Second Covid wave in India

It is hard to talk about the second wave of Covid in India without feeling like a hypocrite.  It triggers a lot of difficult emotions. Not being there, not doing enough, just watching it all unfold with a certain numbness. We all know someone who has succumbed to this treacherous pandemic. A life lost too soon, families with multiple deaths, and folks scrambling for hospital beds and oxygen. In my FaceBook and WhatsApp groups, I see families making frantic efforts to bid final good bye to their loved ones. It’s heartbreaking.

Words feel meaningless and emotions feel useless in the face of this devastation. I donated thinking that it would make me feel like I am doing something about it but it feels like nothing, an escapism from doing something more substantial.

I surrender and fold my hands in prayer. I hold my loved ones and my country of birth close to my heart and pray for their well being. Let the ones facing devastation have the strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Let the ones suffering heal from the pain. Please keep my family and friends safe and healthy. To those brave souls risking their own lives, deep heartfelt thank you. May you live long healthy happy lives with your loved ones. Take care India, rooting for you.

Gratitude

Gratitude to UL for creating this podcast and giving us this vehicle of mindfulness. Contemplating one word a day for 31 days has been a fulfilling practice. Not just that but helping me make sense of the practice through her thoughtful comments and emails. Thank you UL. Can’t wait for the second season!

Day 31 – Mindful Moment

Catch up on the podcast here.

Peace. What does peace mean to you? How do you find peace in your mind, body and heart? Can you bring peace into every activity you perform? 

To me, peace means being at ease in the moment. It is a  feeling of lightness. A sense of satisfaction in knowing that I did my part to the best of my ability.  Peace is accepting and letting go of things that are not within my control.  Peace is focusing and giving it my all to things that are within my control. I find peace when I listen to my intuition and surrender to the powers above. I am at peace when I accept myself for who I am. 

Day 30 – Mindful Moment

Catch up on the podcast here

Practice. What does practice mean to you? What are your favorite practices? Take time to engage in a practice. 

To me, practice is doing something over and over purely for the love of it, not because it is expected out of me. I practice things that bring me joy. I practice things that I want to get better at. Practice is about the journey. Practice can be hard but it seldom feels like drudgery. 

Reading, writing, dancing, walking, and meditation are few of my favorite practices. I realize that it does not matter whether I am good, average or bad at these things. It’s not about the abilities at all. It is all about the experience. My practices fulfill me.

Day 29 – Mindful Moment

I did not abandon the practice on the 29th day. Just had to take a break from writing as I was upto my eyeballs at work. 

__________________

Catch up on the podcast here.

Light. What does light mean to you? When did you last shine some light into your own life? How do you shine light into everything and everybody you encounter? Is it hard? Is it difficult? 

To me, light means dispelling darkness. Bringing to the forefront that which is hidden.

The word light, similar to the words edge, intuition, and question, dare you to come face to face with your truth. Things that you are running away from. Things that challenge you to go beyond your comfort zone. Things that you do not want to see. So yes, shining light on our life is hard.

Day 28 – Mindful Moment

Catch up on the podcast here

Question. What does question mean to me? What are some of the questions that arise in your awareness, from moment to moment, day to day? Do you question with a childlike curiosity? If not, why not? Have you lost the need to know and acquire knowledge? Question everything in your life today with genuine interest. 

To me, question means wanting to know. Some questions that arise in my awareness from moment to moment – What matters the most in this moment? What is occupying my mindspace? Am I doing this for the right reasons? why am I avoiding this? What did I learn from this experience? How can I do this differently next time? 

Asking questions comes naturally in the work environment. I am never embarrassed to ask questions and I am always eager to learn.  In my personal life, asking questions with curiosity does not come naturally. Too often, I am lost in the day to day commitments, operating in an auto pilot mode. However, when processing difficult emotions or the need to ground myself on an overwhelming day, I tend to ask the above questions. 

I forgot to question everything in my life with genuine interest. The intensity of the day swept me away