Posted in Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Little Moments, Milestones, Uncategorized

Regular programming resumes

Between jet lag, and transitioning to routine here, I couldn’t prioritize the writing of my daily gratitude posts although the sentiment was very much alive and kicking within me. 

Nov. 14 – Thankful that I reached safe and sound, with relatively small hiccups, to my ultimate sanctuary, my home, my family. Those tight hugs, loud kisses, the craving to be together, that feeling of being loved, cared for, and wanted. Deep deep gratitude for my Jing Bang gang. 

Nov. 15 – While it is full steam ahead with new challenges, grateful that the first day back to work was just about catching up with hundreds of emails that had come in. 

Nov. 16 – Thankful for the intellectual and spiritual high I experienced today. The intellectual high was from judging three rounds of debating tournament. It was my first time, I was a bundle of nerves. I knew I would like the experience but I didn’t quite expect how very intellectually stimulating it would be. Love that parenting gives me learning experiences and opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. The spiritual high was from watching a bharatanatyam recital by none other than Rama Vaidyanathan. It was soul nourishing! A class of her own, and I saw her at such proximity – how very lucky I am! 

Nov. 17 –   Grateful for : 

  • Two hours of much needed nap in the afternoon for my jet lagged body that is still very much operating at India time zone leaving me with fragmented sleep and an aching body. 
  • A quality evening with the family. After all the hugging and rejoicing the day I landed, we had to move on – school, work, cricket practice, birthday party, scouts, debating, Sunday school. It was therapeutic to finally sit down together in the same room and have a shared experience even if it was just watching T.V..
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 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? 

Posted in Family, Gratitude, Milestones, Wishes

Milestones

This year is a milestone year in our family. My twin, Sathya, and I turned 40 in April. Amma turned 60 in August. Appa is turning 70 today!

Happiest of birthdays to appa. He is someone who knows class, and has a keen eye for details. Whatever he does, he does it thoroughly, with discipline, giving his all. If you want to go shopping, he is the man you should go with. He would point out nuances that would not have crossed your mind in your wildest dreams.  He is an astute observer, who especially loves keeping track of directions and routes. Best of all, he has golden heart, and loves his family and friends fiercely and intensely. To a man of quality, wishing the finest quality of life that life has to offer. Wishing you happiness, good health and peace of mind.

I missed writing on amma’s b’day. Amma amazes me with her ability to adapt and reinvent herself. UNO, pretend games, lazer tag, painting, – she lapped it all this time! I am mighty proud of you amma, and I wish you with all the things that you wish for, now and always.

Posted in Family, Gratitude, Intentions, Life, Little Moments, Milestones, Wishes

Old friends, new neighbors

I wrote the below post (modified some parts here) about my childhood friend, V,  in my old blog in 2009. V is the kind of friend you can text and ask, can you get me thoor dhal? And then two minutes later, add, can you also get me some cooked thoor dhal ? She is the kind of friend whose door you can knock on at 4 am to drop off your first child while in labor with your second child and head to the hospital knowing that she would take care of your child better than you would.  You can ask for all these favors without feeling like you are imposing on her. We don’t label our friendship or talk for hours together but it’s a quite, reassuring bond where no explanations are needed or the intent ever questioned.

Last week, V and family moved into their newly bought house, which is two houses next to ours.  Sweet lucky coincidence!.Here’s wishing her and her family sweet moments, big and small, and happy memories as they settle in their new abode.

My association with her was through my brother. She and he were in the same class through secondary and first two years of high school. Then our paths crossed in 11th std. That was when we ended up in the same class as we opted to pursue commerce, economics and accountancy for higher education. I remember sitting next to her on the first day of class. Or am I making this up in my head?  I am not sure and that minutia doesn’t seem to matter after all these years. We hung out with each other. A lot. At intervals, during lunch hour, outside school, at the temple, in our houses, during tuition classes. Chitchatting about school, friends, family, this, and that. There was never a shortage of topics. I was fond of the BHEL quarters that she lived in, enjoyed some of aunty’s delicacies, deemed it a privilege being in the company of uncle, and took inspiration from her brother. I knew her extended family and friends by names.

After those much cherished couple of years, it was time to bid adieu as my dad’s job took my family to different places. We kept in touch. Wrote to each other regularly. I looked forward to sleep overs at her place whenever I visited Trichy and she came to spend a couple of days with me in Coimbatore. A few years rolled by in this manner. Then she got married, four days after I got engaged. Want to know the best part? Both of us were heading to the same destination after tying the knot- Boston. Who would have thought and how special is that! Her being here made a big difference to my transition. You see there were a plethora of things to discuss  – married life, America, India, setting up new home, groceries, cooking, cleaning, school days, deals, vacations. And who better to discuss it with than a good old friend?

After all these years, I think of her as family. Someone who knows my history and someone with whom I have grown up. Someone who will remind me of the person. We have seen each other undergo a number of life changing events. I have seen her in labor, hours before she gave birth to her son. I have seen her grieve the loss of a loved one two months later. I have seen the warmth she exudes on her mom, and the pillar of support that she is to her family and friends, Acceptance and Faith are words that come to mind when I think of her.

Posted in Family, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Milestones, Wishes

The newly minted teenager

“Can you believe it amma, I am a teenager!” the child posed a rhetorical question as he chomped his cheese filled crispy dosai on his special morning. We exchanged a knowing glance, as if acknowledging the enormity of it all,  but mostly to check how many dosais were left on the plate. A little voice in my head whispered, “No and Yes”

No, I can’t believe you are a teenager!  I can’t believe it because, it just feels like yesterday that I held your tiny body in my arms for the very first time. I can’t because even when you are strong enough to lift me, you will always be small enough for me to coddle you. I can’t because all I said was skip, hop and jump, and here you are nearly as tall as me. I can’t because I fight my impulse to protect you before I can let you learn from your mistakes. I can’t because I think of you as my darling darling baby in my head and can’t hold myself from smothering you with my loud noisy kisses.

Yes, yes and yes, you are so a teenager! I can believe it because of the way your eyes twinkle and your lips smack as we talk about chocolate pancakes, cheesy ravioli, bean burritos and masala pooris. I can believe it because I have seen you grow inch by inch right under our noses. I can because we are shoe shopping in adult aisles for you. I can because no topic is taboo or off limits for us.  I can because when you make a mistake you are mature enough to come up to us and confess. I can because you take ownership and responsibility to get your tasks done. I can because we have thoughtful conversations around how we can support each other, be it fitness or staying organized.  I can because even when it’s hard to accept, you understand our values and who we are as a family.  I can because when I hug and kiss you, I hold you a second longer knowing that it’s only a question of time before your smooth buttery cheeks give way to tiny buds of facial hair.  I can because I can count on my fingers the number of years that are left before you spread your wings and fly from our cosy little nest.

Happiest of birthdays to the newly minted teenager in our home. You are such a fun, kind, wise, and witty dude. We love you from the depths of our hearts and are profoundly grateful for your presence in our lives. Be kind. Be brave. Work hard. Make a difference. Be YOU. XOXO. 

Posted in Milestones, Ram Leela, Wishes

Super Seven

The feisty little kid of our house is turning a year older tomorrow. He is growing by leaps and bounds and yet in our eyes, he remains the pint sized love that has us wrapped around his little finger. He likes the attention, the pampering, being the little one, the pet of our household.  He is a child of leisure, one that enjoys being in his own company. He is self taught, one that likes to chart his own course. He perseveres, working very hard at whatever catches his fancy – be it a 90-page word search book or making 3D fuse beads from you tube videos! They say that children don’t come with instruction manual. This one does. One can read him like a book. He is consistent, predictable and articulate. He is sensitive but knows the art of standing up for himself. He is a very courageous and strong child, overcoming his inhibitions and doing what it takes to get the job done. An origami artist. A book worm. An on-demand crier. A Lego maniac. A cucumber lover.  A problem solver. A doting brother. The apple of our eyes.

Happiest of birthdays to dearest Ram. It has been a joy, privilege and an honor to see you shaping up to be this fine individual. Thank you for coming into our lives and filling it with so much happiness. Wishing you the bestest that life has to offer, now and always!  XOXO. 

Akhil