Experiences, Introspection, Me

The price of procrastination

We leave out recycling waste in a bin that has been counting its last few days for the past several years. Every Monday, I wince, look at the bin with disdain and embarrassment and promise myself to have it replaced at the town public works department by the following week. And nothing would have changed. Replacing the bin is a fairly straightforward process. It costs nothing. And yet, I kept procrastinating. 

Enough is enough, I told myself and headed to the center with the recycling bin this afternoon. All it took was 22 mins – 10 mins to go, 10 mins to come, 2 mins to deposit and get two brand new bins in exchange. The time it took to get the job done was a minuscule fraction of the mental space it had occupied over the years. 

A classic case of self-inflicted misery.

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. 

Experiences, Experiments, Learnings, Us

Photo book

Gifts don’t get any more personal than a photo book. The hardest part in making a photo book is the time commitment involved in selecting the pictures.  Most templates allow you to autofill the pages, but I prefer to manually select them in order to be able to sequence them to my liking. I have made three photo books so far. The first two were made through Shutterfly and the one I made today is through CVS. How would I rate the two products?

  • Design, layout and templates – the two are comparable
  • Ease of use – they are similar
  • Price – the cost of photobook by itself is cheaper in Shutterfly (25 pages for $15) but when you add shipping cost ($8), it is more expensive than CVS (20 pages for $20). You can offset some of the cost in Shutterfly through coupons and special deals.
  • Time – Standard shipping can take 5 to 10 days for Shutterfly. In the case of CVS, you can practically pick up the order within two to three hours from the time you place an order. Given that almost every town has a CVS, this option definitely maximises on convenience.
  • Quality – Shutterfly outshines CVS in terms of quality. With Shutterfly, you have more choice in terms of hardcover, the photo sheets are glossier, and the photo book sturdier.   CVS, in absolute terms, is decent. But relative to Shutterfly, it lags.

If you have the luxury of time and have promotions that you could use, Shutterfly is the way to go. On the other hand, if you need a quick turnover, CVS is a not a bad choice at all.


Blast from the past

I was checking some of our digital pictures from 2011 or so today. My heart soared and ached at the same time.

There was a video of Hari and Ram dressed as Balaram and Krishna for Janmashtami. Ram was barely able to talk but he was filling in the blanks for the Krishna story. Hari, patiently, playing the big brother role was filling in for him in broken tamizh and letting him have the last word. Those pudgy cheeks, eager eyes, and tender hands. I fell in love with both of them all over again.

There were several pictures in which Hari and his cousin Vish were dressed in similar clothes and doing all sorts of things from bursting fire crackers to playing cricket to the kumara bhojanam at Vish’s poonal function. They are about the same age. They barely keep in touch with each other but when they are together, they pick it up right from where they left.

My eyes became moist as I saw pictures of my mil, and grandparents – once people pass away, that’s it, right? You lose them for life, isn’t it? All you are left with are the memories and the love.  With every passing year, the memories fade but the love deepens, for absence creates fondness. Why do we tolerate people less in life but glorify them in death? Why is it so hard to be kind, nice, loving and forgiving when we have them in our midst ? Even as these thoughts swirled in my head, a wave of gratitude washed over me – short or long, we were so lucky to have had that time with them.

Experiences, Experiments, Food, Health and fitness, Intentions, Me, Uncategorized

January Reflections

I did the monthly reflections post last year for a couple of months and abandoned it after. Let’s see how far this year takes me.

January has been a slow and steady month.This is the time of the year I normally tend to push myself to build new habits. But this year, I am just going with the flow without any grand goals or lofty ambitions. Just making sure to put in small consistent steps every day. This month I focused on infusing some discipline into my eating habits and imbibing 15 to 20 mins workout. It is not a lot but it has helped me get some of my stamina back. I also worked on one of my very annoying habits – I often leave my handbag unzipped (yikes!) and forget where I leave my keys (I never lose them but always misplace them as a result spend a lot of time searching). I can’t say I have conquered the clumsiness (I doubt I ever will) but have certainly been more mindful.

For workout, I wanted to share the youtube video series called Jessica Smith TV. It works well given the weather outside. There are many styles to choose from setting you free from monotony. They are for different chunks of time ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins, so lack of time cannot be used as an excuse. There are different levels to choose from. And the person who does it, keeps reiterating that something is better than nothing, which is kind of a great slogan when it comes to workout because you don’t have to do a lot, just a little something everyday. Some days that pushes you to do more and on other days, atleast you know you did a little something.

How quickly one month has gone by, isn’t it? Where are you with your new year goals?

Experiences, Humor, Ram Leela

Nail falling story

Around mid-Dec., Ram injured his left thumb while closing the car door. After some icing and TLC, the child went to school with a mildly swollen thumb. A conversation with the triage nurse led us to infer that it was nothing serious (no fracture, infections etc.) Over the course of next couple of months, the nail went through bizzare phases –  turned purple, hardened, cracked and finally fell off. Apparently, that is not uncommon after a trauma like what Ram went through. The nail detaches itself from the nail bed gradually and ultimately falls down. In his case, the new nail has already started growing.  

Raising the band aid that wrapped the damaged nail, Ram asked us with naughtiness glinting in his eyes, “Appa if the falling of nail is like the falling of tooth, then is there a nail fairy like tooth fairy?”

Ayoo, we did not see that one coming! Nice try kiddo, nice try. But ain’t falling for that.