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Thinking of Babu Thatha

We call our maternal grandpa as Babu thatha. My earliest memory of him was visiting him in Manamadurai, where he was a station master. After retiring as a station master, he continued to work in other capacities in other places until he was 70.  That he worked for as long as he could was important to him because it meant he was self-sufficient and physically active. Amma would take Sathya and me to his “office”, and he would pamper us with “color” (sodas) and paneer sodas. He bought me “disco” paavadai and introduced us to noingu. He loved his plants and would care for them with his life. May be my mom inherited her green thumb from him. His garden boasted of several bounties – lemon, pomegranate, jackfruit, and jasmine to name a few. Before going to work he would recite slokams for an hour and a half, and we would eagerly wait for the prasadam call. He would dole out special gifts from his old bureau. He was a devoted husband, helping patti in the kitchen, picking saris for her, and nurturing her love for bead art. The kind of support that was not as common for that generation. He always preferred to drink hot water, and would not let us go to bed without a tumbler of pasum paal, no added sugar. And what is Bhogi without a visit from thatha. He would dutifully visit us, sugarcane in hand, and other groceries in tow. I vaguely remember his Sashtiabdhapoorthi. Thatha and patti being showered with a kodam of blessed water. My amma is her daddy’s daughter. You can say that she has a soft spot in her heart by the pride in her voice, and sparkle in her eyes as she talks about her dad.

Until a couple of months back, thatha was as healthy as you can expect a soon-to-be-90-year old person to be. No BP, no cholesterol, no sugar. Just age related aches and pains. But then he fell, and had to undergo surgery. He never recovered from it. He went through unsurmountable suffering these past two months. He passed away around 2:45 P.M. on August 12th.

Babu thatha lived a full life. He has seen, not one, two, but six great grandchildren. He added his grandpa touch to our childhood and has created a lot of fond memories. He had a kanakabhishekam with patti a couple of years back, which I hear is a rarity. My heart goes out to patti. How does one live life without a companion of 60 odd years? 

Rest in peace thatha. Thank you for being you. We love you and will carry you in our hearts and memories. Today and always.

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Posted in Family, Hari Katha, Kids, Life, Little Moments

Sibling-ness! (LMT Post)

For the longest time, it was a one-way street. Hari would lovingly proclaim, “I love you very much Ram kutti”, and Ram would reply with an air of entitlement, “But I love my mommy very much.”  The smile on Hari’s face would fade. “It feels like Ram doesn’t love me as much as I love him amma,” would complain the heartbroken child. With time, he took the lack of verbal expression in his stride.

This summer, the one-way street morphed into a two-way path. Ram would go to his brother asking him to check if he is wearing his shoes on the right legs. He would hog his library books and plead that he get a turn to “read” Calvin and Hobbes, Big Nate and Dragon Breath. “I want to sit with my brother and eat”, “Can I have a sleepover with anna amma?” In return, Hari would teach him some tricks of the trade. “Ram if you ask appa like this he will let you watch T.V. – “appa, I am begging you, I really really want to watch T.V. Please, please, please.” Make sure you have bambi eyes when you ask, ok?” And sometimes Hari would mimic us, borrowing the very words we use with Ram – “Anna is very proud of you because you used words instead of crying. If you cry, anna will not understand what you are saying”, And then of course he had to pass on his love for sports to Ram. “I will teach you how to play soccer Ram” and would proudly report to me, “Amma, I think Ram is a born thrower. Look at his throw.”

Don’t let this sugary syrupy description mislead you into thinking that it is all love and no war in our household. Far from that, the days are filled with tattle tales. “Amma, I don’t want anna to sing the Frozen sang. But he is not listening to me”, “ You do not even know to read, so why do you want my library books”, “I will not listen to you anna. I will only listen to appa and amma,” “Stop copying me Ram”, “You stop copying me anna”, “You started it, so you stop it”, “No you started it.” When a child comes to us complaining, we play the role of a  dutiful umpire reminding him the rules of the war in our house – hands to yourself, talk to each other and figure out a solution, don’t use your size to your advantage. If none of this works, take time out from each other.

Today after finishing up his morning routine, Hari settled himself on the love seat in our living room and got totally lost in the book that he had recently borrowed from the library. Ram who was clinging to me for some TLC slowly slipped and plonked himself on Hari’s lap. No words exchanged, just the comfort of being in each other’s company,sharing a common love for reading. It was a sight to behold..!

Nothing better than seeing the two people you love so intensely love each other.

 

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Quotable quote

A friend had shared this very inspirational quote on FB.  Yes, take it all in and go create something.

“You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.

You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. You are every single second of every single day. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colors fill your mind until there is nothing left to do but explode. There are no wrong answers. Inspiration is everything. Sit back, relax, and take it all in.

Now, go out and create something.”

– Jac Vanek

 

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There’s a cricket match in town

This has been a landmark year for the desis in our town. For the first time ever, a youth cricket league has  been formed. If this wasn’t groundbreaking enough, the league is competing against other towns in our state. Needless to say, as a mom of a cricket crazy kid, I am thrilled that my child gets to play more than just galli cricket. The team had their first match last Sunday and they tied with a far experienced rival. Go team LCL…!

Kudos to the person who had the foresight to create something from scratch and take it to the next level. He has poured in a lot of time and energy to make this happen. I am incredibly grateful that it happened at the right time for Hari.

After watching the recommended cricket practice videos on youtube, Hari was practicing his bowling this afternoon – using a trash can as a stump – “Amma, did you see that? I bowled a yorker?”, “Amma, did I chuck the ball this time?” and on and on he went. As my eyes darted between my laptop and his bowling, I felt an admiration for him. It is one thing to be passionate about something, it is another thing to be willing to put in the efforts. Today for Hari that passion is cricket. Who knows what it is going to be tomorrow? Whatever it is, I hope he gets to live it!