Posted in Uncategorized

Standing Out (Embracing Change – Part 2)

A month after settling in America

Ard brings home a guest

 

With a face as white as a ghost

Leather jacket

Peach beard

Eyes the color of the sky

 

Ard introduces me to him

His name is Tim

 

Glad that my husband made friends

I tried to show as much graciousness as possible

I tried to create conversation

 

Where are you put up?

 

It was a simple question

One we Indians ask frequently

 

However, his reaction was a nonconformity to me

His lips turned into questioning frown

I could sense Ard stiffen

I knew that I had made a mistake

Speaking out like that

 

Yet I did not know what had happened

 

Later, Ard informed me

And spoke to me

English in India is different from the English in the USA

People do not use that phrase

It is confusing to Americans when you say that

 

Ask “Where do you live” instead

 

Taking what he told me in

I felt a new sense of loneliness

I felt the world was so much different

Although we humans are all so similar

 

From then on

I felt

Settling in the US is easier said than done

Some context: What were some things that took you by surprise? Although people understood my english they did not understand how phrased the questions. I knew my accent was different but was surprised that how I phrased the question was different. 

Posted in Hari Katha, Uncategorized

Mixed Feelings (Embracing Change – Part 1)

Today is my last day living in India

No longer will I be

Under the influence of my parents

No longer will I be

The same little girl

That roamed the streets of India

That would hold her parents’ hands

That was afraid of being lost in a crowd

 

I am now a strong independent woman

Who no longer needs her parents to protect her

 

All my childhood memories

All of my encounters with people

Will vanish like a pot of curry during dinner

I will have to start from square one

 

My feelings represent the taste of a grapefruit

It tastes sweet as sugar, just like sweetness of the opportunities I will soon get

But bitter at the same time, just like the bitterness of leaving everything in India

And starting a new life

 

I look at my husband Ard

Who gives me a reassuring smile

I give farewells to my teary eyed family

 

Going to America is now a reality

Some context: I remember Hari had asked what were you most scared of as a child, and I had mentioned fear of getting lost in the crowd, in a bus. How did you feel leaving India? Excited and terrified at the same time. It is not easy leaving your life behind, I had told him.

Posted in Gratitude, Hari Katha, Little Moments, Uncategorized

A gem

As I was sorting through a mountain of papers in our home office, a handmade book stood out, taunting me to pick it up. It was titled “Embracing Change – a story based on the life of Maha by Hari (her son)” The cover had a picture of me as a 6 year old, with an arrow pointing to a picture of me from two years back. Ha, it slowly jogged the memory of what went into the making of that book. It was a book of poem with yours truly as a subject in the context of immigration. Hari had written it for his World Geo assignment last year (seventh grade). I remember Hari interviewing me, asking me to share the nitty gritties of my life story prior to and soon after coming to the US, asking me very specific questions. He spent a ton of time getting to know my story and internalizing it. The output was a five page, close to 950 words poem.

“A treasure… a lovely gift/tribute for your mother,” commented the teacher. I don’t think I appreciated it as much last year when he actually wrote it.  I mean I was touched but I was nitpicking on the grammar and the facts rather than appreciating the underlying intent. Today, in hindsight, I realize, being the subject of this poem has been the greatest honor of my life!

I will share this poem in five different posts here. Not to flaunt him but because this blog has sort of become the book of my life where I jot down all things close to my heart. The poem is poignant, in parts funny. Although it is in my voice, the child has taken some poetic license. 

Posted in Little Moments, Uncategorized

Little Moments

Another thursday, another little moments post.

  • We had a party to celebrate Hari’s birthday. It was much fun to see his friends. I love love spending time with Hari’s and Ram’s friends. Not just to see my kids in the context of their friends but to observe the different personalities packed in a room, interacting with each other. The party was based on virtual reality, so you can imagine the excitement over it!
  • As I reflect on the week that has gone by, the only thing I can think of is how much I have slept..! I have been happily  going to bed as early as 8:45 PM. What can I say, I have quite the envious nightlife.
  • Spending time with Hari doing Math. Spending time with Ram doing Tamil homework. Spending time with kids is time well spent!
  • Ram and I visited our happy place after ages – the local library!
  • Lunch at a place with ambiance on a work day.
Posted in Family, Gratitude

Slow Saturday, Remembering FIL, and Dinner Hack

Hello all the nice readers of the blog. How has your Saturday been? Busy? Relaxed? Meh?

I had a relatively slow Saturday with not much chauffeuring around. The time saved in not shuttling the offspring for classes was spent on inefficiently doing the weekend chores. The saving grace is, I made a dent in de-cluttering our home office, and did my bit with raking of the leaves.

It is around this time of the year that my father-in-law passed away twelve years back. We don’t do the devasam ritual that our tradition calls for but visit the temple instead. As I saw Da praying at the temple tonight, my heart went out for him. It must be tough and lonely to have lost both his parents. I reminded myself to be more kind to him; it is not going to compensate for his parents’ love but kindness always amounts to something even if we are not able to put our finger on it. We were reminiscing about appa tonight and Da recalled that he was a kind person and always did what he could to help people. He acted with integrity in all circumstances. He was lavish about buying books for Da and Aaru. Da is a voracious reader, and all credit goes to appa for kindling the love for reading. Appa also took immense pride that his son had earned a ph.d. He truly considered that accomplishment as the brightest feather in his cap.

After looking at all our options for eating out tonight, we chose to come home for dinner. As I rummaged through my freezer, the leftover dhal makhani from thanksgiving get together came to our rescue. This is so totally a life hack that I am following going forward. To freeze some leftovers for evenings like tonight wherein neither cooking nor eating out is appealing, and you want something to magically appear on your dinner plate without being inflicted by decision fatigue.

Ending the post with a gratitude to my neighbor, who texted me reminding us to park the car in our driveway as the overnight street parking restrictions kick in on the 1st of December. Thankful for neighbors who look for you!