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!!

February 23, 2021

This is a long over due post which didn't carry much importance and hence fell through the cracks. However, the weather past week has reignited few thoughts that were not paid attention for.

The past decade has seen a surge in people moving to Texas from all over the U.S. Like hundreds of families who couldn't afford to buy a home in California, we also made the call and relocated to Texas around 7 something years back. Back then the only thing friends told us is Texas doesn't have State tax and house prices are low. We did our math in terms of pay cuts and still moved for a better quality of life. However, there are few things that you discover only after moving here and which no really bothers to inform:

  1. There is no state tax but you pay Toll on almost every highway you get onto. I paid $5 (the least) per day for Toll for almost 5 years.
  2. If you worked in the East or the West Coasts and find a job in Texas, then be ready for a huge pay cut. If you are relocating holding a job in your respective coasts, then it's a jackpot 😉
  3. Property tax is double than what you pay in East or West Coasts
  4. Buying a house doesn't amount to only paying the Mortgage plus Tax plus Insurance. (This pointer is for first time home buyers). There are many additional costs to it. Changing your AC filters every 3 months. Paying for your lawn mowing twice a month, paying the cleaners every month.
  5. Texas weather is not something you can predict. Your day will start in Spring, midday is  Summer and evening a Fall. The trees are either Green or Brown. There is no other color in between.
  6. There is also a risk of Hurricanes, Hail storms occasionally. We are not equipped to handle the extreme Winter Storms that passed by us last week. When it rains, it pours and it suits Texas well 😀
  7. There are very limited outdoor activities for kids or sightseeing. The nearest is Austin which is a 3 hour drive.
  8. One thing to not get disappointed is the number of Indian restaurants and Indian stores. I have around 8 or more Indian stores within 5 miles of my house. Indian Restaurants, I lost count. Either I am living in a hub or Dallas is crowded that way, I donno 😏
  9. Public Schools are well funded and college tuition is much cheaper.
  10. Despite all this, people are still moving here for the affordability of houses which are not as affordable anymore.

Having said all of this, I have no regrets moving here. I made great friends, worked at one of the best companies in the country and made life lasting memories. Dallas also made us closer to family due to it's proximity. Above all, I have a small lawn and I can grow my own veggies or mess with it the way I want 😊

December 26, 2020

In the past 9 or so years I had the blog, I never wrote any gratitude posts, year round up posts, looking back or contemplation posts. But this year has been different for all of us in more ways than we know. Starting from March when the lockdown was announced, we all were struck with fear even to step outside and breathe freely. We washed vegetables and sanitized what not. We all lived in the fear of being alive at one point. 

I saw my immediate family get severely attacked with Covid and how terribly they suffered and survived. This year witnessed the passing away of my grandfather and mom silently weeping his death from here. I don't like this year for many reasons that could or could not be Corona related. Many of my close friends lost their parents. A loss that is not replaceable but a void that cannot be filled as they could not attend for their last viewing.

A dear friend of mine accidentally chopped an inch of her finger and how she braved and survived the entire ordeal and finally able to retain it...I cannot even imagine to bear a hundredth of the pain she had been through. My dear, you raised the bar very high in this regard. Another close friend's mom who is hale and healthy being diagnosed with lung cancer left me speechless. Valli's death left our family with a huge void that's irreplaceable.

Losing our most favorite SPB, a loss that's personal to each of us.. My heart aches and throbs even today if I see his music concerts on TV. I don't remember crying ever over a celebrity's death but he made me weep and how? I believe many of you echo my feelings. 

Apart from all the sad things, this year I did a wee bit of gardening. I did not plan on growing any vegetables owing to CTS for my both hands. A friend gave me a couple of saplings of Dosakaya and I planted them. My neighbors and other friends gave me a couple of Malabar Spinach saplings, Amaranth seeds. I was tempted to buy a couple of tomato plants. The beefsteak variety gave me some produce and other one was not so great. I tried Capsicum too but I couldn't produce the cost of the pots, soil or say at least the cost of the plant :( :( Man, Peppers take forever to grow. I even started a small compost bin and religiously put all the scrapes in it. I joined a gardener's group and got two small beds built for next year. Every evening, going into the backyard and looking at the 4-5 plants I am growing gave me immense pleasure. Pulling out weeds, looking at their flowers, tiny vegetables, hidden vegetables gave me hope for life everyday.

On the personal front, we had a couple of mile stones but we could not celebrate together as a family. My sis in law turned 50, my mother in law turned 70. I still had a job, my son is applying for colleges, my sister is moving to Texas. Finally I get to see my mom after an excruciatingly long year. 

2020 taught us a lot of things we have taken for granted. Planners like me wrote list after list at the end of the month when the vegetables were almost done. People who hated leftovers or thought freezer stuff was unhealthy loaded their freezers. Panic stricken folks hoarded toilet paper, wipes, laundry detergents and every cleaning supply on the planet. Many people I know said they developed stronger bonds with their families. All of our patience and tolerance levels definitely went a notch up. Priorities changed. Everyone learned to find comfort in their zones. Above all, it taught us to count our blessings!

With this, I want to end my reminiscing of the most dreadful year of the Century yet thanking God for still keeping me and my loved ones safe from the disasters and keeping it all together. I wish all my friends and loved ones and the few who read my blog and their families a great year ahead. I wish the vaccine comes soon and there will be a day when Covid is noting but a regular flu. Until then, Happy Holidays and Stay safe, folks!