Posted in Experiences, Gratitude, Hari Katha

Side Hustle

Hari is interested in working. The intensity varies. Some days, he feels like he is ready for it, and on other days he wonders why hurry now? Some days he thinks he will be a good fit for babysitting. On other days, he wonders why not grocery stores. May be a math teacher assistant? Or a baseball umpire? Or work in the local comic store? Or may be mow someone’s lawn? Last week, he went to the town center, hopping in and out of stores, inquiring about the hiring process. Long waiting list, he was told. As we talked about the possibilities today, one thing led to the other, and we started working on his resume. What he thought would take a few minutes, took a few hours. Grammar, fonts, formatting, references, and what not. He learnt a lesson or two today about how to position himself, how all the things that he does adds to the big picture. I hope he sees that it almost does not matter what you do, just that you do something and keep building on your skills set. 

 

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Posted in Experiences, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Milestones

First gig

This past weekend, Hari hit a milestone. He earned his first pay. He was the Square One Leg umpire for an adult’s cricket match. This is the feedback he received. 

“… We also saw a very young Hari (MSCL U14 Captain) as a SQLeg umpire. He was professional for his age. Calm, composed and did a good job umpiring for 2 innings in scorching sun.”

He was a little nervous the earlier night. “What if the adults are upset with my decisions?” I will confess, I was a bit nervous too. Seemed like a disproportionate responsibility for his age. But he put himself out there and made it. He said the teams were very friendly and that the main umpire was very helpful. “It was a lot of work though amma. I had to be very attentive throughout the game.”  Looks like he has learnt his first lesson. To earn, you have to work. 

My gratitude to the enablers (coaches, mentors, and organizers), for the opportunities (playing, captaining and umpiring) , and for a child who is willing to explore and put in the work. Go Hari, mighty proud of you.

Posted in Hari Katha, Uncategorized

The World Stops (Embracing Change – part 5)

In early September,

Mona and I were enjoying some brunch

Just like friends in the USA do

 

Suddenly I felt like something was wrong

I felt like that the whole had stopped

I knew that something disastrous had occurred

I could feel it

 

Suddenly, my new Nokia rang

It was Ard

Did you hear what happened?

 

My head was spinning, I did not know what was happening

Looking across,

I saw the same look on Mona’s face

Some terrorist took down the Twin Towers

It was Ard

My face immediately became as large as dinner plates

I could not believe it!

The tallest building in the world

Destroyed?

 

What would people think

When they see an immigrant like me

Who in their opinion

May look like a terrorist?

 

I gave myself a reassuring smile

I should know not to digress like that

I have been through so much

And an attack

Will not prevent me

From being a successful person

 

I know that whenever I am faced with change

I should not panic

I should embrace it!

Some context: What do you remember the most about the year you came to the US? Can’t beat 9/11, can I? I was lunching with my friend and Da had called. 

Posted in Hari Katha, Uncategorized

A Unique Milestone (Embracing Change – Part 3)

Today is April 28

Which is also my birthday

I find it integral

To take the time

To reflect on my peregrination

From my childhood days

 

I lived in an exquisite town by the name of Trichy

Situated near Madras

 

I lived in a tall brick house

On a 100 feet road

 

I owned a twenty-inch TV

Where I would watch movies

During the weekend

I really looked forward to that

 

But now

All movies

Have actors as pale as milk

And speak with a weird accent

It is so different

 

I always put pressure on myself

When it comes to academics

For I know

What I am capable for me

Sometimes it is a challenge

Other times it is rewarding

 

As a treat

My parents

Would take me to the movies

And we would go to a restaurant

As a treat

I really looked forward to that

 

But now

My parents

Are on the other side of the world

And I am too old for school

I miss the good old days

Things are so different

Some context: What were some of your favorite memories? Watching oliyum oliyum, chitrahaar, hindi movies on Saturdays, tamil movies on Sundays, going out for movies after exams.

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 Gratitude, Hari Katha, Holidays, Wishes

The Best Thanksgiving Present

Today, we are celebrating not only Thanksgiving but also our first born’s 14th birthday. I have to pinch myself nice and hard on this day every year to make sure I am not dreaming. It feels fresh, like he was born just yesterday.

I believe that each age and stage has a certain beauty, something special and unique to that phase. Teenage years are no exceptions. The drama, the rolling of the eyes, the stomping of the feet, the dismissal of whatever is being told to him… it’s cute in its own way especially when you understand that it does not come from a place of malice but from a healthy dose of rebellion and an illusion of knowing it all. A teenager is a grown up and a child at the same time. He is an extra pair of eyes and an extra set of helping hands that you can count on. He thinks on his feet, problem solves for you, comforts you, and sometimes even nudges you. Beneath all that rebellion, he is still a child who seeks for your approval and validation. “Amma do you want to watch me play trumpet,” “Do you think you can come to see me pitch.” While sleep overs are thing of the past, there is still that need to catch up at the end of the day. “So what’s up amma? Want to catch up?” There is so much you can do with your teenager – watching Sherlock Holmes, discuss politics, share life’s conundrums, be each other’s accountability partners, to name a few.

To my loving, kind, hardworking, smart, sports crazy child, a very happy b’day. Be you, stand up for yourself and for others, practice kindness at all times, work on your daily habits, always give your personal best, enjoy the journey, follow your interests, and pour your heart and soul into them. Seeing you grow up and blossom into the person you are has been a blessing that we hold very close to our hearts. Love you immensely, our precious!