December 31, 2021

I am not sure how to begin this post. 2021! One of the few years that will be marked in my life. For good, better, bad and the worst. The year started off with an okay note amid Covid fears and my sister's family relocating to Texas which was a huge reason to celebrate. While they were settling in, Texas was hit with a huge snow storm that caused distress and damage to thousands of homes across Texas. By God's grace, we were one of the lucky ones that got saved. We all huddled in one of our homes and played board games in candle lights, under make shift lights, cooked with the limited vegetables we had at home and survived. Boiled water on cooktops like the good ole days, froze our food in the snow due to power cuts and what not...

Come Spring as the weather was getting better, the son fell ill. After getting all the tests done, midnight ER trips, scans, ultrasounds...he had been admitted to the ICU at UT South Western Children's Hospital. I get shivers down my spine when I think of those two weeks of nightmare the child has gone through. I pray and wish no parent to go through that hell.

Along with this, we lost two key family members back home. The anguish, the pain, the fear that enveloped all of us won't be forgotten anytime soon. Not only us but many of our close friends and relatives have lost their parents, aunts, uncles this year. The irony is most of them are around 65 years of age. That seemed like a curse number to me. I wish no more loss for any of my dear ones.

Apart from all the sadness and helplessness, God has been kind in other ways too. We both had work and it made us financially stable to think about future investment opportunities. The son graduated high school and started his college. He moved to the dorm and made us half empty nesters. Though I see him every weekend is a different story. The husband had his milestone 50th Birthday. Thanks to all the friends who made it super special. I was able to go on a couple of vacations this year and one of them being a long awaited holiday.

Owing to all the madness, I haven't read any books this year. Though I started the year with a wonderful book, it just hung there...I completed only one book that I started last year. I am not sure what I will be doing this year in terms of reading. Still in the process of finding a genre that keeps me focused. Scribbled on the blog a bit here and there. Health has been fine so far but exercise has taken a back seat for many months due to broken equipment and long hours at work. That's going to change in 2022.

I joined a drawing class and started to draw freehand after decades. I hope to continue going forward..

Last but not least, I owe it to my crazy family for putting up with me, through my mood swings, through my meltdowns, through my tantrums and my whirlwind of emotions. I know they don't have a choice. Many thanks to all those who silently walked out of my FB list, my life, my routine. That made me realise how invaluable their presence in my life was. My relationship with some has thinned, with some has thickened and the gap widened with some...God always sends angels at different times in forms of different people at various stages of my life. I realise it only much later. Thank you my guardian angels for being there when I needed you the most. And for those who chose to stay back and for those who chose to come back, what else can I say? My heart fills with pride and gratitude. 

With this, I would like to end an eventful year that did not leave us with its surprises even until the last minute. Wishing everyone in my life, in my phonebook and Facebook and the blog world, A very Healthy, Peaceful, Joyful and a painless year ahead!! 

October 12, 2021

Not so long ago
I thought it was...
climbing those Guava trees
One in the front yard
one in the backyard

Not so long ago
I thought it was
When Nanna chopped off
Coconut heads
And I drank out of them
without a glass or a straw
pretending to slurp
Palm wine raw

Not so long ago
I thought it was....
When we dug into mangoes
Hidden under heaps of hay
On Summer Mornings & evenings
On noons and nights
Under beds
Inside Gunny bags of rice

Not so long ago
Did we sleep in open air
Under the guava tree
on wired cots and
On Terrace tops
Shooing away mosquitoes
and Monkeys

Not so long ago
I thought it was
when jasmines adorned
my unruly hair

Not so long ago
I thought it was
Life just happened...

Sitting at my doorstep
staring at the dark sky
and a silver lining of the moon
on a humid Southern evening
I reminisce all those days
That went by
Not so long ago....

September 2, 2021

The house was quiet. As if relatives stayed for a whole month and left. It was so silent all of a sudden. Ammu and I looked at each other. She knew the meaning of that look. S brushed it off in his usual emotionless state. We got into doing our regular chores but the mundane tasks seemed to be even more lifeless.

I would involuntarily call his name for dinner and the Rrr would stop in my mouth and I would swallow it within. I did not want to go to his room and saved it for a little later. That night the daddy daughter duo said, "Sleep's quiet". I know I have all the peace in the world now and all the quietness I always desired for. 

When he was at home, this was how the routine went. We around 9:00 AM before starting our work, "Rushi, get up. It's 9". Then the same scream at 10, 11, 12 ...he would finally wake up and eat cereal before we had our lunch. I would repeat the same thing everyday, "Why don't you eat lunch now when it's already late?" He immersed in his phone would say without lifting his head, "I'll eat at 1". The same words...every day. 

I know he is not far away like other kids in our community who are studying across the coast. I know I can see him in the time one can take a shower and get ready to work. I know he's only a phone call away but still it is not the same.

I wanted to say, Yes, I can sleep peacefully today as no one will be walking over my head at the middle of the night. So y'all must be wondering what the Bathroom Flush of the title is? When we built this house, we extended a bedroom other than what the builder had provided. That extra bedroom is exactly on top of my bedroom. The planner that I am, I planned it for the son and the other corner of the house for the daughter so they have their own privacy and would not get into each other's hair. Little did I know that one day I would be pulling my hair for the rest of the years...

The boy whined a bit that his room is smaller than his sister's but adjusted happily that he gets his own bed, room etc..Now, he was in his 6th grade when we moved. But will kids always stay in 6th grade? Hell No...he grew from a pre-teen to a blood sucking teenager who eventually got a phone who eventually has SM accounts, who eventually spend all his time in that damn thing without lifting his head.

Well! All said and done this is a normal teen life style...then why fuss? because the boy's day starts at the time when I go to bed. He showers for an eternity on top of my head...then eats cereal at midnight, because he hasn't eaten cereal during the day 😲 I think these cereal factories run on families of teens. Then hydrates himself for all the water he missed drinking in the day and keeps flushing the toilet another zillion times throughout the night.

This is what our texts typically look like:

I sobbed into my pillow wishing only if I could hear him walk once, only if I could text him one more time to sleep early. 😒 I went to his room the next day and tidied up all the clothes strewn over on the bathroom floor, made his bed, lifted the blinds; for the room could use some sunlight in ages.

A week passes by quicker than it seems to be. The boy was home and has his cereal first thing after he comes home. The room is messy in no time and the bedsheet all over on Monday Morning. I don't set it that day to have the feeling of him in the house for another day. 

Now, no phase is permanent, right? The boy will come back one day and start the music again. So, I have a plan to take revenge and let's hope at least next time God will be on my side. I told him I am going to switch rooms with him when he and his wife lives in this house and has babies and they have sleepless nights...I would be an old lady who would be using the rest room the whole night and keep flushing to his annoyance and be up by walking and watching movies and laughing loudly with friends across the continents! Sigh!!!!

p.s: Like many other posts, the trigger for this is my Big Mother as I fondly call her who nudged me to read :

MTV, Brats and me | The Cybernag

August 2, 2021

Richard Collins! The skinny guy. My very first vendor. My teammate. Later my lead, my colleague, boss, a friend, and much more. Rich, your sudden demise has surfaced all the forgotten moments. I know we haven't spoken in many years and we have parted ways, not in the most amicable way...but we haven't had any grudges either. I want to say so many things, so many memories...I want to write them all before I forget...

You gave me my first job, a job after a break, a job after the recession. Every time my project ended, you said you would call me back and I would happily relax. When you did not call back and I started to look for a job, you would call out of nowhere. You even gave a job to Sarath so that we could stay together. You trusted us!

I still remember the day you showed us your bank balance. I bet no one in my phone book would do that. No one. You and Red Bull..Ah!! always..always..I would joke with Sarath that I am going to buy you a carton of Red Bull for Christmas. Do you remember I asked you once, how many khaki pants and black shirts do you have? And you sincerely answered in your husky voice. How dumb was I back then? or maybe you laughed at my naiveness!

Rich was the first American guest to dine in our home and maybe the last one too to date. 7 Deadly Zins! Every time I see that wine, it reminds me of you and Christi. That night when Hayden had a sleepover with my son. 

Many people despised you at work for different reasons. But I always had a soft corner for you. Even when my payments were delayed by months...I would feel as if I were your pet and the most loyal servant as I knew you for the longest time than the whole gang. 

Your impatience and restlessness drove us nuts. We ground our teeth and rolled our eyes to leave us alone to complete the task. I don't think I have seen anyone cuss as much as you did at any workplace or won't find one in my lifetime. I think I picked it up from yaa...CAISO, EDD, DIR, DMV, BCBS...I think I wouldn't have worked with anyone else if we did not leave CA. We always thought Rich would give us jobs if we go back. 

One funny thing you said, Indian food and Italian food taste best the next day :) I remember it hundreds of times whenever there is leftover pizza. 

I don't want to put your shortcomings in this post; as I want to keep them with me, with Richard. There were dozens of times over the years when we thought, if only you did this...or you did things would have been different. But they say, it's all karma. You have seen it all our friend....the good, the bad, the ugly.....the riches.....the rags...and you left the world before you could rise again like a phoenix.

April 7, 2021

My mom was/is a tailor not by passion or choice but to survive. As a tween and an older child, I always kept guard of her at her tailoring shop. In free time or holidays, I would help her by hemming the blouses with my nimble fingers. Many a times, I tried to sort the threads and arrange them. It's quite a boring job to do but a busy mind is never bored, right? For everyone, they may just be a clump of threads but for me......

I tried to untangle them
from age very little
Some cut my hand
some cut themselves
Some curled at the edges
Some were stubborn
unwilling to untangle

I had to cut them
like a baby's umbilical cord
like a barber
like a piece of cloth
like a lawn mover
like a tangled thread

I tried to reason why?
Why women continue
in their valueless marriages
with worthless husbands

I tried to reason why?
she cannot live with him

I tried to understand why?
she cannot live without him

I tried to find the answers
for some of life's
tangled relations

Why do people drift away
Once together
Now apart forever

Why do sisters
become strangers?
Why do best of friends
are not best any more?

I tried to untangle them
like Mom's tangled threads
I keep trying
hoping to find answers
one day.....

My questions lay answered
like my mom's tangled threads!!