Posted in Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Intentions, Introspection, Learnings, Little Moments, Milestones, Us

2018 Year end report

Time for year end review post. What were the mile markers in this year’s journey? How did we do as a family?

The year started with all of us settling down in our renovated house. It was a humongous relief getting the house to ourselves after living with the construction noise, clutter, dust, uncertainty, and intrusion for close to six months. We hosted our immediate and extended family for Hari’s poonal function, our neighbors for thanksgiving, and are hosting the weekly Destination Imagination meetings. Many evenings, we are huddled together in the home office to finish up on commitments related to school, work and others. Weekends are spent watching movies as a family cosying up in the media portion of the attic.  The day is not complete without Da and Hari chilling out in the attic tossing a few balls and hitting a few shots in the attic. Ram has made use of every inch of his room, and has been royally kicking us out should we not honor the rules that he has set. All in all, incredibly thankful for the big and little moments that the renovation had made it possible for us.

Soon after that we got knee deep in poonal preparations. It was a ton of work, money and planning. It was an enjoyable and learning experience. It was a very humbling one too because you realize it takes many hands and all stars to align to make it happen. Lucky for us, our friends and family were such troopers! Loved loved having all the little humans gathered under our roof. Every once in a while, we, meaning I, guilt Hari into doing his sandhi or atleast the Gayathri mantram. Other than that, post poonal life has been business as usual for the chap.

We had Aaru and family stay with us for an additional month, and my parents for the next few months. T.H.A.N.K.F.U.L for the joy, for the bonding, and for the opportunity. And oh, our yard saw some pruning, trimming and planting, all credit goes to amma and Da. They made my dream of having rose bushes in the front yard happen. We did local stuff and celebrated festivals with appa and amma. Hari and Da went to San Francisco and Washington DC for cricket tournaments.

Fall went by in a blur with back to school, navratri, diwali, halloween and thanksgiving. A ton of stuff packed in these months, there was hardly any time to breathe.

Hari and Ram have lapped up all the affection they got from the family during their stay and have lavished them in return. They have been working hard on school and other activities. Private baseball did not work out for Hari this year but he has channeled all that energy towards cricket. School is keeping him on his toes. He has taken advanced math course and that’s been the training ground for him and us as a family for high school. Ram’s academics has ramped up too. His sole mission is to do all things required of him, so he can just relax and get bored. And I can tell you, there is no better motivator than that! Da has done well, and the highlight for him is taking up managing the Destination Imagination for a small group of kids. It is not easy work and I proud of him for doing it with enthusiasm, without an iota of resentment. As far me, the year was a mixed bag. Worked on a really interesting project at work during the first six months. I could not take up dance class due to schedule conflicts. I helped organize the diwali event for the town this year. I embraced a little bit more of technology in Sunday school. I have languished on my eating and workout habits. Going easy on myself is not an approach that works for me. Lesson learnt!

How did your 2018 go? What are you proud of? What are some lessons your learnt? 

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Posted in Gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Uncategorized

Early Christmas

“I guess so,” came the reluctant response from Ram when I asked him if he was excited about Santa. “Is it ok if I don’t write a letter to Santa this year? I just don’t feel like it,” said the child. My heart cracked a little. “Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but how about cookies? Do you want to do the cookies and carrot thing,” I asked him tentatively. “Let’s bake them amma. I want us to bake cookies for Santa,” chimed in Hari who was listening to our conversation. The much needed glue for my cracked heart. “Alright, let’s do that then.”  

And so we baked this evening. Ram and I. The child gobbled several and placed one under the tree. No insisting on milk or carrot though. Well, what can I say, much fun was had as long as the magic lasted. Time to let go what we have outgrown and embrace new traditions.

We are celebrating Christmas early this year as we are traveling. There are presents from family and friends waiting to be opened. The kids have gone to bed in anticipation and I know they will be up at the crack of dawn.

Have a jolly time you all!

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 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!

Posted in Gratitude, Little Moments

Little Moments Thursday

Thankful for the little moments that made my week.

  • Coming home with the christmas songs playing as the christmas tree is being set up.
  • I made the mistake of telling Hari that I am lacking motivation to work out. And the child has taken upon himself to be my coach. “You can do it girl,” “Atta girl.” I moan and groan as he cheers me. 
  • Tinkered with my Linkedin profile, expanded my network, and got it in decent shape. This would be my gold star for the week as I have been procrastinating on this task forever.
  • Watching Ram and his Destination Imagination buddies problem solve and work on Instant Challenges. I can never stop marveling at how well children at figuring it out on their own.
  • Memorizing accham illai accham illai with Ram. There used to be a time when the poem was an inspiration, now the gratitication is from the time spent with the child.
Posted in Gratitude, Uncategorized

Wednesday yoga

I went for yoga class today at work after a long break. Throughout the session, the instructor reminded us. To not rush. To pause. To ease into our body’s rhythm. There is a place of quiet within all of us, a place of sanity, and clarity that is available to us at all times. And those few minutes of savasana was utter bliss. No rehashing of the same thoughts or getting lost in the drama in your head. Just being there in that moment. 

For that one hour, it feels like you are transported to a different a world, a world where you are not running behind time or chasing deadlines or checking things off your to do list. It’s peaceful. It’s timeless. Much thanks to my workplace and the yoga instructor for this hour of calm.