Experiences, Introspection, Life, Little Moments, People

Our green corner

We have a little green corner in our house. A row of plants lined by our kitchen window. Plants that were given either as gifts or were inherited when friends moved out of town. Each of them has a story to tell – a story of a significant milestone, a special person or a fond memory. So as I water these plants every alternate day, it’s more than plants that I nurture.

Take for instance our very first plant, the money plant, which came to us as a small sapling. This plant has seen us move three houses, raise two kids and has been part of many a heartwarming and heartbreaking moments. We bought this plant around the time that the first child in our friend’s circle was born. In some ways, this plant is a harbinger of an era of growing families.

The hibiscus plant that parades indoors and outdoors with the change in season hardly ever blooms, but it has withstood the test of time and the realities of New England weather. Da and Hari gifted this plant to me for the first Mother’s Day after we moved into our new home.

We have another set of four or five indoor plants that were given as gifts from my workplace when Ram was born. Needless to say, all these plants come with their share of sentimental values.

There is a curry leaves plant that is taking the brightest spot in the window ledge. It was given as a token of appreciation by a neighbor. I cherish it for the thoughtfulness behind the gesture. I had mentioned to my neighbor about my desire to pluck curry leaves from my own garden to garnish the rasam simmering on the stove. And she had remembered!

We also have a set of other plants given to us from a friend who is known to care for her plants like her own children, and in fact thought of driving from east coast to west coast just so she can take her plants along with them as they moved houses. Since that was not exactly practical, she entrusted some of them in our hands. Between her and us, a couple of them have lasted for close to fifteen years.

What prompted this post out of the blue? In our collection of plants, we have a jasmine that withered away when we went away on vacation during the winter break. We watered and watered for days together until one fine day, we spotted itsy bitsy tiny leaves sprouting from what seemed like a dead plant. Within days, it started flowering and gave us a bounty!

There is something very profound about seeing plants spring back to life. Something that’s reassuring and predictable about the changing seasons and cycle of life. Gives hope. Gives meaning. Paves way for acceptance. Tells us that, this too – the good, bad, and the ugly – shall pass!

I leave you with a picture of a little jasmine flower that bloomed from the said plant that little Ram offered with his tender hands to our collection of Ganeshas and happily said “Thank you for everything ommachi”

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Experiences, Hari Katha, Kids, Little Moments

Car pooling tales (LMT post)

Hari has been taking part in competitive swimming for the past couple of years. Something we are doing primarily to keep up with some physical activity during the winter months. This year was special because a couple of his friends joined the fun as well. And these kiddos have known each other since preschool days, so it’s always delightful to see them together and see how the dynamics are evolving.

I look forward to every other Thursday, when it’s my turn to carpool, to take a little glimpse into the second grade gossip and what’s happening in their little world. And if you thought chit chatting is reserved for girls, let me dispel the myth for you. These boys talk like there is no tomorrow, and like they have not seen each other in ages.

One day the topic is on how to cheat parents – “dude, it’s important, not to have weird expressions on your face” “don’t look guilty, ok.” Then on other days, it takes a 360 degree turn and it’s about making the right choices – “My advise to you would be, if you have promised your mom not to trade those cards, you should keep that promise. You should not do something that does not feel right to you because you are friends are asking you to do. You should do what your brain is asking you to do.”. Then on some other days, it’s about girls – “We like them, but we do not have a crush on them.” “And why are girls bossy anyway?”. And then on other days, it’s about money talk and doing mental arithmetic – “I think our moms are rich. They have 20 dollars in their wallet.” “ok, you have ten seconds, can you tell me what 1 million times 1 million is?”

I sit there in the driver’s seat pretending to be as invisible as I can, with a chuckle here and a giggle there. And then there are days when I get the honor of being invited to their fun.

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Hari Katha, Inspiration, Little Moments

Growing up (LMT Post)

“Mom, today I did something I am very proud of. My friend Jack said that a brown kid bullied his sister and he thought that it was me. But I promise it was not me. I asked his sister for description and found out who that kid was. So I brought him to Jack and his sister and asked his sister if he was the brown kid that bullied her. When she said yes, I asked him to apologize and he did”

You preach, your admonish, and you applaud. You instill values in the best possible manner that you can… and then you wonder, are these empty words? is the kid making any sense out of it? are these making a difference? And then once in a while when you hear stories like this, it reassures you that may be, just may be, we are sailing in the right direction.

And in case you were wondering if “brown kid” was used in a racial sort way. Not at all, kids of this age use it in a matter-of-fact manner, alteast that has been our experience so far. No offense is taken when no offense is meant. Kids don’t read in between lines as yet or worry about being politically right, thank God for that!

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Hari Katha, Little Moments, Milestones

Tamizh Pride (LMT post)

To those of you who do not know Tamizh, this post is going to sound like Greek and Latin. My apologies.

“Vannakkam. Yen payir Hari. Inniki sani khizhamai. Ennakku pushanikai pidikadhu. Ennaku mollaga pidikum. Enna athai payyan payer Vish. Avvanukku oru thangai irrukka. Ava oru kutti papa. Enna mama ponnu peru Shraddha. Avalum oru kutti pappa”

So goes Hari’s recording for his Tamizh homework. My eight year old knows to read and write in Tamizh. Talking not as much, but we are getting there. My heart thumps out of joy, when he uses colloquial tamizh “Dhoni semmayya kalakaran thatha” when he exchanges cricket notes with his grandpa. It’s labored, far from being fluent, and is heavily accented but is spoken with confidence, pride and joy.

He is able to read parts of the letter that his grandma wrote to him in Tamizh. He can recite Thirukural and Aathichoodi. He intuitively gets the difference between the moonu suzhi na and the rendu suzhi na. He can write roughly 80 words in Tamizh with very few spelling mistakes. He records five sentences in Tamizh as part of his homework.

Very glad that we chose to enroll Hari in Tamizh at Sunday school. Not sure how long he will be able to keep up given that both his parents will have to refer to textbook to check his spelling, let along providing guidance around how to spell. That he has gotten this far, and understands that there are nuances to Tamizh language, has had exposure to Bharthiyaar poems and Avvaiyar patti, are accomplishments enough.

And of course, he likes to use his learnings to his advantage. If I were to get stressed out, he would come up to me and say – “mom, aaruvadhu sinam” – a line from Aathichoodi that speaks to wisdom in calming your anger.

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Life

Knock knock?

Who’s there?
Maha here!

And if you ask me, “Maha who?”, I totally understand. I know I have not been diligent about keeping up with updates here. What can I say other than I have been busy meandering the maze called life while juggling a few curve balls it threw at me. Nevertheless, happy to report that I am back and will resume sharing little tid bits from my life and look forward to hearing back from those of you willing to share yours!

So tell me, how are you doing? and what are you up to these days?

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