January 22, 2020

The other day while driving, my daughter casually said, "2020! Wow! The first decade of my life went by really quick, Amma." I smiled at her and her thoughts. The first decade of my life? Is she that old to be thinking about how her life has gone by? What about me? Four decades of my life had gone by. What do I think about it? How do I feel about it? Where do I stand?
2020! I remember vividly how and where New Year Celebrations had been for the year 2000. The dress I wore, whose house we were at, the songs to which my sister danced and the feeling I felt the next day, "Wow! 2000. The turn of a century! A Millenium!" I remember wishing each and everyone I met and saw on my way, A very Happy New Year. When CBN used to say, Vision 2020, I wondered many times, where are we all going to be in 2020? Is this man crazy? Is he even going to be alive by then? These thoughts surfaced my mind many times. And see where we are in 2020. I'm sorry, Sir. For dreaming big for us and for we the people of AP having failed you forever. Shame on us and shame on the ungrateful people of AP. This topic was not my main intention of this post; however, I can't help it for my respect for this man.
I think more than half my life is over already. I feel satiated for being blessed with what I have, feel sorry for the relations that cut adrift and have become apathetic to many things in life. It doesn't bother me anymore for the vacations or holidays I haven't taken or the food I haven't experimented with. It does bug me why some people behave the way they do, but one cannot control things, not in one's control.
I stand at this point in life where I don't give a shit to what people think of or who I have to please anymore. I stand at this point in life where I can differentiate the genuine ones from the fake. I haven't mastered the art yet, but I will be there by the next decade may be ;-) I am at a point where I learned zipping the lips most of the time is better than expressing your opinions. I stand at this point where I am wise enough to pick my battles.
Above all, I stand at a point in life where I live each day with the fear of losing my most loved ones. With the fear to protect them by all might. With the fear, if my children will fail; with the fear of how they will be alone in the world when we leave them. Yet, I move on with new dreams, new hopes and small targets, one day at a time. Here's wishing you all a Very Healthy and Happy New Year! 

March 30, 2019

I must be in middle school then. Amma used to make idlis for breakfast once in a while. And I literally hated every time I had to eat those white rocks. For some reason, her idlis were as hard as rocks. She would say that they were hard because the batter was made in a mixie and not the rock age method of stone grinding. 

Image courtesy: Here

Amma and I belonged to an era which graduated from stone grinder to the electronic mixer. There used to be an old man who came asking for alms on weekends. Amma thought he reminded her of her paternal grandfather. We used to tease her, Go..attend him..your Appayya tata had come. She would admonish us giving us those looks which we were very much scared of back then. Not now though. That weekend, idli happened to be the breakfast and as usual, we did not complete them and there were enough to give them to him. She happily went and offered them to him and came inside. He stood there looking at her and the white rocks in his hand. Held them and turned them around, looking around and then threw it back on the compound wall and left. We kids roared with laughter at the act and the treatment the poor idlis got from him. From then on, the joke stayed in the family. 
Mom never got better at making idlis until she came to the U.S. (This is our claim, okay!). She would even say, you need to eat them hot..that's when they are soft. When they become cold, they become hard. I always kept arguing that the street side idlis never get hard even when they are cold. 
After I moved to the U.S and had a family of my own, I got the modern wet grinder from India as I learned that's the secret for fluffier idlis. And I would boast to her that my idlis are softer than hers and that I mastered the skill of making idlis. I still did not like eating them as much but had to make it for the husband and the kid. One thing I never understood is when people order Idli in a restaurant. I have this expression that says, "Idli? Who in the world orders an Idli in a hotel? Don't they have anything better to eat?"
Facebook tells me it's World Idli day today. I was speaking to Amma over the phone a while back and she said, they ate idlis today. I told her that it's World Idli day and reminded her of her Appayya tata joke and she claims...Oye...not anymore...mine are as soft as cotton balls now. And I say, Yeah...right!!! Here's a Happy Idli day to all the idli lovers across the globe!

March 9, 2019

Read this post by imagining me standing in front of a mike and I am trying to talk like a standup comedian. Just saying! You are at your free will to read it as you like or not read it at all. :)

So...apparently I decide to go on a non-cooking strike. Non-cooking strike?  One must have heard of Hunger Strike. But a No-Cooking strike? Yeah..right. You heard me right. So it started on a Friday night with all my might. As we went to file our taxes and ended up late into the night. We picked food on the way and ate very late. I normally cook for the week ahead and pack in boxes of five. One for each working day of the week. So the husband could grab one a day and go. Cos you know, people in my home are handicapped that way. They need a GPS even in the fridge or say, to serve their food.
Come Saturday and we attend a House warming and lunch is covered. I stand firm and say there is no food at home and we stop by a curry point to pick up some curries for the week. The son eats one of the curries with roti (I didn't make them btw..) and says, this is not so good...it's alright. I tell him, you better get used to it as I am not going to cook this week. What? Why? he exclaims! I didn't respond but got the kick out of it and conclude by, Cos I need a break!
It's Sunday and we visit the new Baba Temple. The daughter and I eat the prasad and feel our lunch is done. The son wanted KFC. So, we make stop. The smell of chicken makes us both hungry again. Pizza Hut is right next to it and the husband orders pizza so that he could eat it for dinner too. We hop in.   We come home and eat pizza again while the husband complaints the customer service for being denied of extra pepper. 
       I said I am on a strike right? But what can stop me from entering my kingdom? Though I resisted from the past couple of days, I could not stand it longer but then I really did not want to lose my battle..you see? So I fry some fish ...just because it has been defrosted a couple of days back. I cut the chicken and marinate it for school lunches for the week ahead. You see, these are compulsory tasks I had to finish. I do all of this while watching Marvelous Mrs.Maisel with my Bose Noise canceling headset. Let me tell you, that's the best investment the husband has ever done for me. I open the fridge to store the spices and notice a stack of beer bottles. Don't I remember they were expired? Then wtf are they doing in my refrigerator? I take them out. All of them. Open them one by one. Drain them, wash each bottle and then put them in the recycle bin. I am finicky that way. I put rice in the cooker...poor guys..let them not starve tonight...it's freaking cold outside. And I continue to watch Marvelous Mrs.Maisel. Now wait..Am I starting to sound like her? You see..these things have an impact on you.. The more you watch, the more you tend to talk like them, act like them. I will let you all have a nice weekend before I become one. 

January 16, 2019

"Amma...amma, Can I get bangs?"
"No, Nanna"
"But why amma? What is wrong in getting bangs?"
I have no answer. 
"Please amma..." this time folds her hands and lowers her chin"
I tell her to go ask her dad to escape from the situation
"He will say, No. He already said that before"
She sulks and understands that it's not going to happen and decides to move on with her work.

Another family: A father and son at the Hair Salon. The 11-year-old boy asks," Dad, I want to get a Mohawk this time"
"What Hawk?"
"No Mohwak...geehok. Just get a regular hair cut."
"Why? What's wrong?" 
To avoid further embarrassment,  the dad starts off in their local language. "If you ask one more time, I am going to break your legs".
The disappointed boy goes and gets his regular hair cut done with one on the sides and two on top.

A group of Moms of Teenagers: "Mine wants an ear pierced"
"Mine wants a Tattoo. A Tattoo! I can't even imagine that. What kind of people get Tattoos?"
"Mine wants to cut her hair super short. What happens to all the effort I put all these years in growing her hair so long?"
"Yours just wants to cut her hair. Mine wants highlights. What are people going to think about her with those red/brown streaks? As if she is going to dance in a club. Color. She wants to be highlighted."
Another sigh! "These kids are just out of their minds. Don't know what is wrong with them?"

How often have we heard conversations like these? Very often, right? If not, at least once in a while. Why are we so rigid as parents? Haven't our parents said 'NO' to one or many more things that we wished we had or wanted to do? How much hurt did that NO cause to our growing mindsets? Haven't we all been kids once? Teens, young adults, and adults now? Haven't we thought, "I am not going to be this way when I grow up"? But then, what changed now? Did the kid in us die on the way of becoming a parent? 
If your little girl wants bangs, get it done. It is, after all, a few strands of hair. It's going to grow back. Tell the boy that he could get a Mohawk for Summer but cannot keep it forever. They get bored with it after a while. No kid can go around with a Mohawk forever. Do the small things for them.
        Let the ear gets pierced. It will close when they remove it. A tattoo. Bargain with them to get in a small size, maybe not so visible. Let them know the reasons behind why and why not.
Did your daughter ask you to take the pain to grow the hair that long? Did she ask you to toil and oil it, wash it and take all that extra care? Kids never do that. We as parents do it as we don't have the extra long tresses that we desire for. Highlights are not permanent. They'll fade away in 6 months. It's hair after all. It will grow back. If the 15-year-old doesn't wear shots, is the mom or grandmom going to wear shorts that are really short? There's a time and place for things in life.
       Kids grow up before we realize, when? While raising them feels like an eternity, they are out of the house in no time. Once they are grown up and look at their pictures, they would definitely recollect the bangs they longed for, those shiny high heels for Birthday, or that cross body pouch for a picnic or jogger pants in high school that we never let them have. They would not remember the $200 Nike shoes you bought them for working out. They wouldn't remember the expensive dinners and Birthday parties you threw for them. They won't memorize or remember all the pain and money you spend on providing them the things you wanted to give. But, they would always remember those small, tiny things you said No for. As parents, we do think they forget it easily. YES. They do. Kids tend to forget that minute or that day itself. But deep inside their hearts, these small NOs pile up and leave a void that none of us can fill. 
       We may live only until half of their lives. They are going to live longer than us and look at those pictures for the rest of their lives. Make memories for them. Memories they cherish. Memories they feel happy about. Memories they fondly want to look at and tell their kids with pride; "See, my dad and I did this together". Not with a disappointing tone that sighs, "I wish my mom let me curl my hair". Let them live their life and not yours!

Here's wishing all my readers a Very Happy, Healthy and blessed New Year! Just realized this is my 150th post. Thank you all for being with me all these years and continuing to show your love in more ways than one!

Images from Pinterest.

December 12, 2018

She was there. Before I was born. While I grew up. She was there. She stood there on every occasion as our Mother, Grand Mother, and Godmother of all her siblings, their kids, their siblings, the kids' kids, and their siblings...Being the oldest of eight siblings, she always carried pride, elegance, and charm in her demeanor.

Out of your seven siblings and their kids and grandkids; be it my luck or the bond you share with your youngest sister; you have been there on every single major event of my life, Peddammama. 
You were the first pedda muthaiduvu to adorn my hands with bangles on my bride making ceremony. You were the one to make me seated for my engagement, you always received the first tambulam. For that matter, it coincides that you brought the first wedding proposal to me. I still remember how upset you were when the guy's family didn't respond for a while and how you chided that they send my photos back if the family is not interested in our proposal.

I was always proud that you were the first one to go on a flight when I was my daughter's age. Your stories from Singapore lured us for long years of my childhood. How your sister would boast and I could only see pure joy but not a bit of envy in her eyes. Only you could remember and bring gifts for each and every one of your nieces and nephews. You must have long forgotten what all you bought. The first tiny alarm which had a button to press and not a key. It made the cutest bird sound ever unlike the screechy alarms every one of us carried in our homes. That Gold Citizen watch.. And the Singapore Saris you got for Amma and Chinnakka..I can still remember the color and print on them. Oh boy! They just lasted for a lifetime.

Being the oldest child and the oldest sibling always comes with its own set of perks and drawbacks. Who else knows it better than you? If not for you, how else would pedda mamayya be the family doctor for the entire Moparti Siblings and for generations to come? I always felt sorry for some of your wishes not being fulfilled. I only thought I could have brought her here if she was my own grandma. But what did you not do that my grandma did? I wish I had all the courage, the liberties I have now, back then.  

You longed for people. One phone call and you would rave about it all the time with anyone who visited you. One small visit and it would go for years. I can't forget your amusement on seeing both my kids. We are your sister's grandkids but we were always Jayamma gari santanam. Only you could own certain subtleties. When you were alive, none of us bothered to tell you how much we valued you. I think that's the way of life. We realize and express our feelings only after the person has left us. 

Out of the few pictures of I have of myself; glad to be having some of the most precious ones with you. I know you are no more....I know you won't read this....but I am sure you will hear my ache to touch those wrinkled hands, to take those return gifts you save for us after each function. Your fuss over getting all the fruits plucked and packed for us will be missed. And our trips to Takkellapadu won't be the same again...That feeling of mandatoriness will be replaced by a new Vaccum. Why I write this now? Because I am not sure if I will lead a long life like you, if I will have your memory..I am afraid I will forget telling the stories of these memories to my grandkids....May you live the same grand life in heaven till we reach you one day! With all the love you have showered on us, we are truly blessed to share your legacy. 

 On my bride making ceremony...When I was in
an age when I just nodded my head to what has
to be done next....
Four Generations!

pedda: Oldest
Tambulam: Tambulam
Santanam : Offspring
mamayya: Maternal Uncle
Muthaiduvu: A married woman whose husband is alive