Posted in Experiences, Gratitude, Little Moments

Gratitude Journal (LMT)

UL has started a gratitude journal for this month. Do hop over to her place if you are looking to read words wrapped with conviction. While I am unable to commit to journaling every day this month, I would like to use this as an opportunity to practice gratitude and jot down as and when my schedule permits. So here I am starting today and counting backwards.

November 06: Thankful for honesty 

Hari was peeved when I asked him to come home at a certain time as he was playing with the neighborhood kids. He snapped at me. I felt let down but did not respond then. It was running at the back of my mind as I walked back home – I want him to be him but I also want him to know his manners. But what is manners to a 10 year old who acts without malice?  How do I teach him without emotionalizing it? Half an hour later, the child returned home, had his shower and came up to me on his own and said “I am sorry I snapped at you. I just couldn’t help myself.” And that opened up the doors for an honest conversation.

I am thankful that the child confessed, I needed to hear those words. I am thankful that I held my tongue and did not use hurtful words or get judgmental with him. I am thankful for the underlying honesty and candor in our relationship.

November 05: Thankful for what is

Sometimes the mind wanders to a life that could have been. Of the chances I didn’t take, the opportunities I missed and the regrets I have. And I am overcome with intense remorse. But thank god for the life that is . There is much love, peace, joy, meaning and contentment. Right here. Right now. In what is. I fold my hands in humility and hum along with MS kurai ondrum illai and mean it from the depths of my heart. I am thankful for this state of mind that anchors me during turbulent days.

November 04: Thankful for silly goofy moments

I don’t think I laugh with abandon as much. Not because I am a grumpy person by nature but because such is this phase of life where carefree days are far and between. But on Wed. Hari and I unintentionally got silly mimicking the dialogs from his tamil play and laughed our heads off. I am thankful for the lightness that day brought for me.

November 03: Thankful for physical presence and timing

Ram was miserable with cough and was running a temperature. As much as it was hard to see him go through the setbacks, I was glad I was there with him physically. His warm hands over my belly button,  a certain sense of peace written on his face, as he dozed of knowing that his mom, his comfort item, was right next to him. Also, we are traveling out of country next week, so better to be sick this week than next.

November 02: Thankful for the silver lining on cloudy days

It was a tough day at work. Unexpected reorganization with many headcounts lost. I was not directly impacted but having seen so many changes over the years I have become somewhat of a  skeptic at work. The intrinsic value of my job is eroding with every restructuring. But that day validation came from outside, from someone I work with, and lifted my spirits. I am thankful for the silver lining on cloudy days.

November 01: Thankful for the opportunity, for the connection

At sunday school, the kids were gathered around, smiling wide, their eyes glinting with excitement.  We were listening to the Bhima and Bhakasura karadi tales. Their eyes met mine and I could sense that we were making a connection. It takes time to build credibility and trust with kids. You have to be patient, genuine, consistent and open minded.  I felt like I took one tiny step forward with my kids at school last Sunday. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to teach – I am not trained, I cannot even claim to know as much about Indian culture. All I have is a desire to be with these kids and the willingness to learn and put in the work.  I am thankful that the local Indian school community trusts me with this responsibility and not for a day do I take this opportunity for granted.

Posted in Holidays, Little Moments, Us

Halloween Excitement

“Halloween is my most favorite holiday” proclaims Da, the man who becomes a little child at this time of the year every year. He wears his Halloween themed tshirt, looks around for masks to wear, and does all the preparatory work – from carving pumpkins to buying candies.  On the night of Halloween, he so loves house hopping with the kids. 

I am more of a silent observer and a passive participant in this festivity. I love taking the kids to town trick or treating and looking for creative costumes. Ladybugs and RedRiding hoods are my all time favorites.  One of my school mates posted a picture of his child dressed as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alphabet tree. Now that’s called out of the box thinking, wouldn’t you agree?

I also like the pockets of innocence that little kids bring to the occasion. When Ram was two years, he would go around giving out candies instead of taking them. A couple of kids last night abandoned their candy collection efforts briefly and started playing with the slide and the trucks in our yard unmindful of the fact that they are in a stranger’s yard.

Most of all, I enjoy being part of  the post candy collection scene:

  • the endless sorting. By color, by shapes, by likes,  the criteria is endless.
  • the constant comparing – what did you get? how much did you get?
  • some trading – do you want to trade my Twix for your sour patches?
  • and the negotiation – amma, if I eat caramel apple does it count as candies? can I save the gummy bears for school snack? how about chocolate covered pretzel? Deftly throwing one thing after the other in an attempt to overwhelm the mom because the deal was they can have one candy on the day of Halloween and one more the day after. So of course, loopholes must not go to a waste. 

Hari is becoming quite the expert in pumpkin carving. This time he drew the design by hand and carved it without the pumpkin carving tools that we had misplaced. We also did something different this year. During the post Halloween season last year we got knicks knacks to mix up with candy distribution this year. 

On the costume front this year, Hari was different variations of Hulk – Bulk (Hulk in a baseball attire) and Sulk (Hulk in soccer clothes). Ram stuck to his original plan of being Superman with light saber. He went around outlining his eyes with his fingers because they had laser power, and he was using them to fight the bad guys. Da grabbed the kids’ Thor accessories. And I was just ME – the family agreed that that was scary enough!  

halloween pumpkin