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.

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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.

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Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Introspection, Learnings, Memories, Us, Wishes

2017 – the year that was

There is pin drop silence in the house. Strike that, I can hear Da snoring his heart away. I can also hear some footsteps headed towards the bathroom, a sign that one child is up for the day. My tummy weighs like a ton of bricks from all the food indulgence last night. It was a cosy gathering. We met, we ate, we laughed and we dispersed with a full stomach and a light heart.

I have a couple of hours before the intensity of the day sets in. A time that I am carving out to reflect on the year that is coming to a close. As I look back on the year that has gone by, these are things that are at the top of my mind.

My paternal grandma, Andu patti, passed away in April. She had a really difficult end of life, with dementia wreaking havoc on her and the ones caring for her. Longevity means very little when it is not paired with quality of life. How our life comes to an end and when it comes to an end are not in our control; we can do all the right things and yet have an undesirable end. So taking proper care of our physical and mental health when it is in our hands seems not only responsible but also sensible.

I pushed myself to give back to the local community. I provided tactical support to a friend who stood for school committee, and played a small role in making our voices heard on a school related issue. I helped organize workshops in the local library and continue to edit the school newsletters. It was gratifying but I also realized, that they are very transactional in nature. Meaning, once it’s done, it’s done. This is an epiphany because it will help me choose where I want to spend my time and energy going forward.

I poured my heart and soul on my dance productions this year. I pushed the limits of what I can do and it was another humbling experience. There was wonder in knowing that I am capable of doing things that was challenging at the outset and there was also acceptance in knowing I come with my own limitations. Talent is something that we are born with, and we have no say in how talented we are. But striving towards our full potential is within our control; it’s not an easy path but one worth trudging on.

We renovated our house this year. We moved into this house a decade back and have worked our lifestyle around what was given to us, which worked well. The renovation gave us a chance to think about our needs and wants and how we want to customize the house to our personal preferences. For the most part, the project was enjoyable and I am proud of us for having taken the discomfort and inconveniences in stride. This project also gave me a newfound appreciation for all the details that go into the making of a house.

It feels like the outside world is filled with pain, suffering and destruction. My very liberal neighborhood was in the news for hate crime, there have been several break ins, and a life was gone too soon. This is within the short circumference of my neighborhood. Beyond that, if at all anything, the magnitude of the events happening are confusing, nerve wracking, and overwhelming. Yet, I am trying hard to not get hopeless. If we give up hope and faith, what else can we hold on to? We need to stay informed, be aware and push ourselves to do what little we can. If not anything else, be kind. I like to believe that kindness goes a long way in counter balancing the negativity around us even if we are not able to directly impact the events.  

I wish you a very happy 2018.  I wish you the freedom and courage to be who you want to be, relationships and friendships that matter, deliberation in thought and action, unshakable faith in your effort and values, compassion towards the self and others, grace and wisdom to handle the unknowns, bountiful little moments and happy surprises, unconditional love and acceptance, uncluttered mind, full presence and focused work, and a strong body and sound intellect. I wish you the best that life has to offer. In 2018 and always!

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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. 

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Little Moments, Wishes

Halloween To Dos

  1. Pumpkin carving – check
  2. Pumpkin seeds roasting – check
  3. First round of candy buying – check
  4. Second guessing, panicking and buying the next round of candies – check
  5. Collecting last year’s post-Halloween sale toys as back up treats – check
  6. Booing friends – done
  7. Deciding costumes – done (second born will go as Ninja, first born is going as someone with a broken head)
  8. Planning what houses to go trick or treating – done
  9. Reminding no matter how many candies you loot, all you will be allowed to eat is two pieces each for two days – done once, done twice, done thrice!

Halloween, here we come!

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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

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Detox, Food, Gratitude, Health and fitness, Introspection, Wishes

Fitness Diary – Day 2

After faltering, falling flat on my face, rising up only to fall flat faster and harder in August, I have taken up the two-week nutrition workshop. God bless the nutritionist for coming up with these seasonal workshops! As part of the workshop, we are are suppose to maintain a daily journal, reflecting on what worked and what didn’t, and express gratitude for three things every day.  I jotted yesterday’s thoughts on google plus. But switching to my blog starting today. 

Today’s focus in the workshop was hydration. For my weight, I am suppose to drink 8 cups of water. I don’t think I had 8 cups but definitely drank more than what I normally would. My eats were ok – oats with fruits for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch, banana for snack, and adai with sambar (poor combination, I know! But truth be told my adai is more like dosai than adai ) for dinner. The banana snack did not cut it out, I need to have something more substantial. I had sugar and caffeine withdrawals late evening. A couple of dry figs made a difference. Meditated for 9 mins – the mind was all over the place but it was peaceful just to sit in one place. I jogged for 20 mins today.

Three things I am grateful for today.

  • I had a productive day at work. Thankful that I could maneuver around a crisis situation at work and could knock of some critical To Dos.
  • Today, my childhood friend’s son turned 15 years old. I can’t believe 15 years have gone by just like that. I feel fortunate that I have been part of this child’s growing up and I am mighty proud of the fine lad that he is blossoming into…!
  • The 87 degrees outside – loved that I could could go out wearing my old salwar without having to worry about a pullover or sneakers.
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