Humor, Kids, Little Moments, Ram Leela
  • I am reprimanding Ram for taking half an hour to eat half a dosai. “Amma, what can I do, my brain wanders when I sit down to eat dosai. It is thinking of other things and I forget that I am eating dosai.” Without using the word mindfulness, I tell him, “Maybe when you realize your brain wanders, you can start paying attention to how the dosai is tasting – does it have salt? Is it hot? How does the cheese taste?” To which he responds, “It’s ok amma. That’s boring. I think I will just let my brain wander.” Looks like there is no end in sight for my morning nagging routine. 
  • “Amma, I don’t like it when you don’t do things that you ask me to do.” “What do you mean?” I ask. “You do not cover your mouth with your elbow when you are coughing. Your hand gets all the germs and then when you hold my hand the germs stick to my hand.”   A little empathy for my incessant coughing would have been nice. But hey, we all have to look out for ourselves. Besides, isn’t it what I say to him (not the part about holding hands) when he is coughing? Now I know how it feels like to be at the receiving end of that statement. 
  • “Amma when you met appa, did you do a mating dance?” I nearly fell off my chair when I heard it. “What does mating dance mean Ram,” I asked him expecting to get an answer about bird calls or mating rituals in the animal kingdom that he may have learnt at school. “Calvin talks about it amma, that’s how I learnt ” You know trouble is brewing when your child’s heroes are Calvin and Garfield.
  • “Amma, if I were a food that would die if I get eaten, do you know what I would be?” “What Ram?” I ask him. “I would be the tiniest bread crumb that will fall out when a person takes a bite of the bread. I will get thrown in the trash and I will live in the dumpster forever without being eaten.” Some imagination, huh?
  • “Ram, would you like to consider participating in Variety Show? It could be lot of fun.” “No, thanks mom. I don’t want to share my talents with the world”
  • Valentine’s Day gift voucher for amma has a promise of “I will get up early”. Valentine’s Day gift voucher for appa has a promise of “I will not wake you up early”. The child is spot on when it comes to knowing what his mom and dad want from him.
Experiences, Gratitude, Learnings, Little Moments

Bar Mitzvah

Last week Hari’s friend since pre-school had his Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

This was my first time attending one, so I was eager to soak it all in. My very rudimentary knowledge about the ceremony was it was a special occasion, a rite of passage in the Jewish tradition. For the rest, we sought out Google’s guidance – how to dress for Bar Mitzvah? (women, dresses or pantsuits)? Is dressing in black acceptable?  What gifts to give? (multiples of 18). So on and so forth.

Hari was slightly more experienced than I was when it comes to Bar Mitzvah, so of course I had to eat his brain away while driving – is the seating like in church? Do we have assigned seating? Are we allowed to talk? Can we take restroom breaks? What food do they serve? Hari indulged me initially but when he saw that my questions were growing by the second, he put things in perspective and devised an exit strategy, “Mom, I was in second grade when I went to Bar Mitzvah, so I don’t remember all the details.” Smart move child, smart move, I thought to myself.

We entered the synagogue right on time, and exchanged hello with the mom. I was dressed in a maroon sweater dress and black leggings, that did not seem over or under dressed. I saw that Hari’s friends were more formally dressed in suits, and tie whereas Hari was dressed in black and checked shirt. I made a mental note to get a khaki pant and a plain neutral colored shirt for the next ceremony. Overall, feeling pleased with myself, and heaving a sigh of relief, I mingled with familiar faces. I got a bit of education, how the ritual, the invitees and the protocol vary  depending on whether you belong to orthodox or reformed sects. In orthodox following, I learned you do not get a Bar Mitzvah unless the mom is a jew. Non-jews are not allowed to the ceremony.

Next we headed to the prayer hall. We were given a prayer book and an agenda of the events. Hari and I were going to leave a little early so I sat in the last row with a couple of other moms. Hari had mentioned that the Rabbi had a good sense of humor and he  lived up to it. The beginning of the ceremony was more spiritual in nature. He set the tone by asking all of us to take a minute to go to our happy place and express gratitude. Then the prayers and singing began. There were readings and taking the Torah in procession. The big moment was when the Bar Mitzvah child read the Aliyah from the Torah – that seemed to be the pivotal moment and the whole point of the ceremony. Although I knew very little about the ceremony, it felt emotional seeing the a child you have known from pre-school to come to this point. I felt fortunate to have been part of this ceremony and the big day of his life.

Hari and I left soon after that. For the kids, the cherry on the cake was the evening party. There was DJ, plenty of food, and what not! All in all, much fun was had. 

Little Moments

Just bantering

It’s way past my bedtime. I ought to be in my bed instead of typing away here. But I have been itching to write. To write something. To write anything.

This has been the first full week of school since start of the year. It sure feels like we have boarded a non-stop express train. The days, like the world outside the train, is zooming by. Hari is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Quizzes, tests, practices, goals, aspirations. Ram is living it up. His latest experiment involves making food. He has designed a rather exotic menu – monster sandwich, junkyard salad, fudge beach, smore house, hidden blueberry. You can say that his imagination has been tickled, there will be no stopping till it has run it’s full course. He intends to lay out a spread on Saturday for us.

Little moments for this week:

  • I had a productive work week. Made good progress on the projects I have been working on. Yay!
  • Ram takes pottery class on Thursdays. Every week he brings home one of his creations. I so look forward to it and get immense joy in lining it up on the kitchen window sill. Today, he brought home a nest with what looked like a red cardinal and some eggs. It gave me such a burst of joy!
  • Hari, Ram and I went to middle school play today. A musical based on the Shrek movie. What fun!
  • Da picked up Ram most of the evenings this week. It makes such a difference to my evening routine. Thanks to him, every night I closed the kitchen by 7:30.
  • That 5 minutes I get with Hari before bed time. That’s when I get a little peek into his mind.
  • Like many people I know, I tend to indulge in self-deprecating humor. Except that sometimes the self gets extended to the husband and the children. At Ram’s bus stop I was making light of a situation that Hari was in with the other moms. Ram overheard the conversation, gave me a stern look, and reprimanded, “Amma, don’t do that. You are laughing at anna. It’s not nice to laugh at someone.” I narrated that incident to Hari that evening and said how much Ram was looking out for him. “Amma, I don’t mind you laughing at me. But don’t do it when I am not around.” And just like that I learnt a thing or two about what is not good humor.

Alright, tudlu for now!

Little Moments, Uncategorized

Little Moments

I thought I would restart the weekly Little Moments post starting this week.  Let’s see what extraordinary moments stand out in this ordinary week.

  • Ram has lost his upper two middle teeth. I feel a rush of affection every time I see the gaping hole in this upper row teeth. It adds an extra sparkle to his twinkling eyes.
  • A trip to Hot Breads. Treated myself to a bhel and brought home paneer puffs and chocolate truffle cakes for the boys.
  • Working in the home office next to Hari. He doing his thing and I doing my thing. Love our presence with each other.
  • Trying Calm meditation audio this week with Ram. I do find the background sounds very distracting and mildly annoying but thrilled to explore something new.
  • Hot hot pongal made by my neighbor. Relished every bite of it.
  • Worked on my LinkedIn profile. Needs further clean up but god knows how long I have been procrastinating. Overcoming that inertia was a small win.
Hari Katha, Humor, Learnings, Little Moments, Memories, Writing

With Hari’s permission, I am posting the personal narrative that he has been working on. I love how writing is taught here, right from elementary grade. In this narrative, he is required to check for transition words, sensory language, zooming in, zooming out, grammar and spelling.


Bad Kitty!

When I encountered a lion, things weren’t pretty. It did not bite me. It did not scratch me. Instead, it peed on me. That’s right, I was a john for a lion, a once in a lifetime experience.

While visiting my uncle’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas, we decided to visit a famous zoo located 25 miles south of where we were staying.  Although the drive only took 30 minutes, it felt like eternity as my eight year old brain processed the fact that I would see animals which were uncommon in New England.

“Bang!” slammed the passenger door, arousing me.  Not missing a beat, I hopped out of the car and headed towards the zoo, thrilled about what experience awaited me. When we entered the zoo, I gasped. I was astonished at the chimpanzee swinging in its cage like a trapeze artist, a bear expertly balancing on a tiny red ball, and an iguana blending with its surroundings. The warm delicious scent of popcorn from a nearby food cart welcomed me with its lovely aroma.

“Come on Hari,” my mom instructed. “You should take a look at these majestic lions. If you need me, I’ll be in the reptile section.”

“Sounds fine mom,” I replied. I trotted towards the lions, and halted when I spotted them, their orange manes flowing in the cool wind. Standing a mere inch away from the smooth, black cage was a kid about my age, staring at the lion. Turning around, he beckoned me to come sit next to him. Immediately, I started sweating. I felt that standing that close to the cage would likely come back to bite me. However, my undying curiosity to see the lion prompted me to crouch next to the kid and face the lion. I looked in awe at the humongous lion which peered back at me as if saying, who are you, and why are you in my territory?

“This lion is awesome!” I whooped, expecting the kid to respond. Instead, the kid, whose gaze was getting more alarmed by the second screamed “Look out!” and quickly dove to the side. I however, did not have quick enough reflexes. A yellow spray of liquid washed over me, sizzling all over my arm. Embarrassed I scampered away, avoiding as many people as I could, only to bump into my mom.

“What happened to you?” My mom cried, her face turning pale as milk seeing me wet.

“Ummmmmmmmm,” I mumbled, feverishly debating in my mind on whether or not to tell my mom.

“Spit it out, what happened?” She insisted, pushing me to the brink of telling the truth.

“Oh fine!” I sputtered, “A lion leaked on me.” Instantly, my mom put a hand to her mouth.

“Come on, we’ll get you cleaned up,” she replied, extracting a bag of tissues from her purse.

As you can see, I have survived that traumatic experience, but am still trying to live down the fact that I was a urinal for a lion. Now, I always stand far away from the cages of animals knowing well not to repeat the same mistake twice. Nevertheless, I still have nightmares, imagining that yellow substance submerging over me. Most of all, I have learned to accept the facts, and laugh along with my family when they make a joke about that incident – I’m Hari, I was a potty for the king of the jungle, and I am proud of it!


Gratitude, Little Moments

Cup of Joy

A fellow blogger asked what made you smile this week? Plenty of things filled my cup of joy actually.

  • We are in the home stretch of the renovation work. We started moving our belongings to our respective rooms. The kids never complained or ever asked for a room of their own. Now that they have one, it’s nice to see them charmed by it and take ownership for it.
  • Ram exploring the new washing machine and ceiling fan. The things that we consider as mundane are a source of fascination to him. I too sat with him for a couple of minutes, looked at the rinsing and spinning, with wonder.
  • I completely forgot something that I was responsible for at Sunday school. Not only did Hari provide a timely reminder but also did the work for me. I am embarrassed at my lapse but so very thankful that we caught the lapse on time. In response to a call for help from his dad at the same time, the child frantically replied, “Illa pa, I can’t help you. I am busy saving amma”. Brought a chuckle but he was not farther from truth, he was saving my dignity that day.
  • Hot creamy sweet semiya payasam for Karthigai Deepam. I know I am supposed to do urundais, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • In sunday school, my fourth graders shared their happy places in response to a meditation session. The range was far and wide – living room, kitchen, couch, their rooms, their desks, the library, reading nooks, and why even the Apple store. They all seemed so happy when they talked about what made it their happy place. That in turn truly made me happy.
  • The seventh graders did a variation of the Shakunthala and Dushyanta story. One team had a twist to their ending. When Dushyantha tells Shakunthala that he does not remember her, she gives a cheeky response – “I need no man in my life” and walks out of his life. Atta girl!
  • I was able to retrieve my comfy cosy sleep robe! I jumped up and down, shrieked out of joy and danced some. That’s about the only thing that I look forward to on chilly nights.
Experiences, Gratitude, Little Moments

Repair jobs

The main goal of the home renovation project is to add footprint. The secondary goal is to fix long neglected kinks in the house. While adding footprint is nice and great, what gladdens me the most is the repair jobs we did. We took down a diseased tree, we removed the broken gutter that had us scrambling for the trash can when it poured, we got the rotting flooring in our entrance fixed, and we took down the walls between rooms and made the area more open. These relatively small changes have relieved our day to day frustrations and enhanced the quality of our life several times over. My heartfelt gratitude!