Experiences, Experiments, Family, Little Moments, Memories, Milestones, Us

Solar Eclipse 2017

The total solar eclipse of 2017 was an underwhelming experience in our part of the country. From what I saw on the live streaming of the eclipse, for folks who experienced it first hand, it was spectacular and profound – the temporary darkness smack in the middle of the day, the sudden chilling of the air, and the realization that we are all connected by this cosmic energy. I can only imagine!

We too had our share of fun. Yesterday, Da had made a contraption out of a carton for our viewing. It was super fun parading in and out of the house to catch a glimpse of the sun and the moon playing tango.

I hear we will be in the path for the next total solar eclipse in 2024, so better luck to us then.

See that crescent shaped sun? 

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Gratitude, Hari Katha, Little Moments, Ram Leela, Us

Little Moments

I am watching the Oscars as I type this post. Are they making a statement or what – on immigration, racism, public schools, Trump tweets and what not. I like that!

Here are my little moments from this weekend.

  • As I was puttering around in the kitchen on Sat. evening, Da called from the local park,  “Did you see the rainbow outside?  it’s so beautiful”  I am not sure what I cherished more – the rainbow or the call.
  • Reading Pashu by Devatdutt Pattnaik with Ram.  As if the tales aren’t enough to keep us hooked, the illustrations are so captivating. Once we finish the book, Ram and I plan to take a stab at the drawings. And just for the record, I am not artist, can’t draw a straight line with a ruler but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to draw when the mood strikes, which by the way is far and between.
  • Trying out dishes that I grew up eating but never really cooked on my own, and cooking them for my mother-in-law’s first death anniversary. Wearing the sarees that I inherited from her and reflecting on our times together.
  • Swelling with pride at the 2-minute video in Tamil that Hari created, starring him and his brother for World Language Day at middle school. It is a very ordinary skit (with language errors) but one that was done with extraordinary efforts – coming up with the storyline, using google translation to get the tamil translation, coaxing his brother to participate, teaching him to speak in tamil, putting together costume, coming up with creative ways to tape themselves, and more. 

Have a good week folks! 

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Experiences, Gratitude, Inspiration, Introspection, Life, People, seasons, Us

Free spirited

New Year’s day was sunnier and warmer than one would expect at this time of the year in this part of the world. So we picked our lethargic selves, and did something that we always wish we did more of – go to the city!  

Chillier than we had expected, the place was teeming with life and the new year spirit. We walked briskly as the kids played tag, sighted some ice sculptures that were slowly melting away, and then caught this street performer in action.  one-man-band

When I first say him, the term free spirited came to mind. There was something about him that said that he was doing this act for more than sustenance. He had random contraptions and knick knacks on his head, tied to his legs, and his hands. He was a one man band with a website! He sang the Beatles and even invited volunteers from the audience to join him.

Intrigued, I came home and googled him. This avid traveler was making music, and believed that the energy from the music created peace waves that free trouble spots in the world. The cynic in me rolled my eyes and thought it was bit of a stretch. Peace waves? trouble spots? really? But then it dawned on me – there is so much panic, cynicism, hatred and terror out there. Here is someone, who knows what his heart is after, has the courage to pursue it and in the process believes that he is making a difference in the world.

Selfishly I say,  more power and success to this one man band. We all could use some peace waves and free spirit in our lives, don’t you think?

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Loss, Uncategorized, Us

Lunar love (Gratitude Journal – Day 13)

Did you take a glimpse of the moon tonight? Majestic, pure, simple, stunning, and tranquil. I could have sat there gazing at it all night tonight. My love for the moon is a cultivated one, not the instant kind. It all started when Da and I went on long walks at night during the first year of our married life. Da would comment on the beauty of the moon as we walked hand in hand. I remember being amused. Meaning I knew there was the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars but watching the night sky was not my thing. But several such walks later, Da’s liking for the moon rubbed on me as well. The awe makes sense to me now. There is a certain connectedness you share when you stare at a cosmic object at the same time. It’s humbling. It’s magical. It’s peaceful. 

Much thanks to Da for opening my eyes to the beauty of the full moon. It has brought many rich moments in my life. Not only do I revel in it,  but also drag the kids out to soak in its beauty. There is something comforting about that shared silence even if it lasts for only a few brief seconds.

This year we are learning about lunar calendar in Sunday school. We have been observing the waxing and waning of the moon in our moon journal.  We talked about the super moon today. As I went to leave things for trash pick up tomorrow, I looked at the gorgeous moon knowing that there will be few other fourth graders who may have made note of it as well. That thought brought a smile on my face.

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Family, Life, Milestones, Uncategorized, Us, Wishes

Blessed togetherness!

It’s time to reflect and celebrate. 

togetherness

15 years back, a week before my wedding, I had a meltdown. I detested the idea of getting married.  Having to give up my nascent career, acclimatizing to a new family, and starting out from scratch with a person, that I did not know a whole lot, in an unfamiliar environment. If someone asked me what I wanted in a husband? I would have said someone with the same wavelength as mine. I look back and laugh at the naivety of that statement. 

The first year was filled with many firsts. First time flying in an airplane, first time moving to a foreign land, first time making a full meal, first time setting up a house, first time being in a house all day all by myself, first time not working or studying. What should one do with one’s time was the million dollar question that drove me in a whirlpool of self pity.  No car, no washing machine at home. My first brush with American television was at the laundromat. I went to the local convenience store so I could speak in broken hindi to a desi shopkeeper. I got a glimpse into the disparity in America as a I volunteered for an organization that served the  homeless.  Oh the rush and thrill of new beginnings! I look back, wonder and pat our backs for going through the nerve wracking phase without realizing the enormity of it. How could two risk averse individuals like us dare to be so vulnerable when we barely knew each other?

The assimilation into the new culture began slowly. Watching back to back Adam Sandler movies, dressing up for Halloween, daily visits to library, eating falafel, jalapeno poppers and haagen dazs, shopping at Abercombie, 4th of July fireworks, the driving lessons, fishing for friends, friends’ friends, second cousins, and third aunts. The never ending posing for and taking  pictures and getting two copies developed hurriedly to send back home. Keeping track of who is having babies? Should we be having one? Then when do I make something out of myself? Will we be going back to India for good? Who will take care of our parents if we don’t take care of them? Clearly, we had questions but no answers. Da was settling in his job and I joined grad school. He biked to work, and I took our car to grad school. Looking  back, this was probably the phase in which we laid the foundation upon which we have built our lives. We discovered things about each other, and were happy inspite of knowing the good, the bad and the ugly!

Then came other life events – being part of sister-in-law’s wedding, Hari’s birth, father-in-law passing away, getting into the job market, day care struggles, my brother’s wedding, living with mother-in-law, moving into new house, appa’s 60th b’day, having appa and amma over, new nephews and nieces, my grandpas passing away, getting green card, Ram coming into our lives, and so many other happenings. Looking back each of these events have shaped us individually, as a couple, and as a family. They have made us stronger and fond of each other.

Today, marks 15 years in this journey of togetherness. Life has been good, and the times it has not been as peachy, we have found strength and solace in each other. We have made mistakes but we have also learnt how to forgive each other. We fight a lot, but we are also quick to apologize. We have understood what works for us, and the trade offs we are willing to make. We disagree on more things than we agree on, but we accept each other for who we are. We are just glad that we picked each other to go through the journey of togetherness. 

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Family, Little Moments, Now, Us, Work life balance

Tidbits

The fan is humming along, making more noise than breeze. Hari and Ram are fast asleep. Da is tying loose ends – sending emails, catching up on housekeeping items. It has been a long day for all of us. 

Like all Thursdays, today was half a day for Hari. He has been craving for more freedom, to be treated like a grown up.  To go around the neighborhood on his bike, and check on his friends to play soccer, football and what not. I let him go, he is ready for it and I trust him to be responsible. We go through the drill of dos and don’ts before he steps out.  He reminds me of me when I was his age. I don’t recall a day that I was not itching to be on my own. 

Ram is signed up for Little League baseball. Tuesday was photo day. The hall was a parade of cuteness with five year olds and six year olds wearing oversized jerseys and baseball hats. Hari and Ram have been “practicing” at home. Hari has grand dreams for Ram. Poor Ram, he not only has to measure up to his parent’s expectations but has to  live upto his anna’s dreams. Da is coaching Ram’s team. It is his way of giving back to the community while being involved in Ram’s activities. 

As for me, I am just glad to be home this week after travelling for the past two consecutive weeks. 

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Us, Wishes

2015 Reflections and Happy 2016

Time just seems to roll by with unwavering commitment, untouched by all the drama that surrounds it. 2015 is over even before it sunk in.

We started the year with friends visiting us. Then for the first three months, it seemed like all we did was talk about and cope with the harsh winter weather. This meant that the first few weeks of spring were savored, every blade of grass, every ray of sunshine, filled us with inexhaustible love for nature. April to August was special reconnecting with friends. My very close friend visited us with her family, what a rare treat to spend all that time with her and hers!  I didn’t realize how excited I was to show her my town, my neighborhood, and our way of life here. In parallel, we squeezed a trip to picturesque California and historical Pennsylvania. The kind of vacation that combines people and place. Catching up with family and friends complimented by sightseeing and travel. We returned richer with experiences and perspectives. June and July were dedicated to my dance production. I have never worked that hard in my life, shedding sweat and tears, building my character and redefining my relationship with the art form. August was spent working on a fundraising event for the local library. I learnt that next to money, your skills are the next valuable asset if you want to contribute towards a cause or make a difference. Sept – Oct., school, work travel and holidays took turns to keep us on our toes. India trip was the highlight of Nov. Going back home after three years and seeing my parents, patti, and in-laws was emotional. That we got to spend time with my sil, nephew and niece was a nice bonus. We returned resolving to go back home often. I realized how much I love being in India. It’s truly an incredible place – so vibrant and rich in character. The first half of Dec. was about Chennai floods and the restlessness that it brought. We closed this year visiting the same friends that visited us in the beginning of the year.

It is with heartfelt gratitude that I ring out the old year. Immensely thankful for all the opportunities, the learnings and the fullness of life.

My wishes to you for the New Year – wisdom to let go things that you cannot control. Determination to work on things that you can control. Freedom from things that hold you back. Courage to pursue things that are close to your heart. Little moments that fill your heart and small victories that lift your spirits. Faith in your efforts and belief in your dreams. Meaningful relationships and dependable friendships. Peace and quiet. An open mind, a loving heart and a healthy body.

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