Archive for category Celebration

Weekend

This weekend felt both really long and extremely fleeting at the same time. How that could be, I don’t know.

Friday evening we were at a friend’s place when we learned that another close friend was just taken to the hospital as she was suspected to have gone into labor. They weren’t sure if it was truly contractions that she was experiencing or if it was some other uneasiness/pain that she was feeling. But once the doctor confirmed that she was indeed in active labor, all of us rushed to the hospital to be by the side of the expectant parents.

Understandably, we spent the next handful of hours in the waiting room satisfied with the brief updates about the progress every once in a while.

For a while there, I sat with the mother-to-be’s nervous mother. Holding steady her shaking hands, seeing her so worried for her daughter, feeling her affection in every word she spoke, I did all I could to try and calm her. At one point, when I asked her if she wanted to be with her daughter, she almost jumped with joy inquiring if that was a possibility. I quickly walked her to the room where P was and let her inside. In those few seconds that I held the door open for her mom to walk in, I caught a glimpse of P’s face. And in those mere seconds I read what an unbearable pain she was in.

Now, P’s father returned from dinner and he had a lot of stories and anecdotes to share about every topic under the sun. It was great getting to spend that quality time with him. The minutes passed by faster with his tales for company. He went in to check on her daughter once or twice; he ended up spending most of his time that evening/night chatting with us.

All this while K, along with our friend D, went missing. Where they actually went was to get antacids for A, but since it was late in the evening every pharmacy in the hospital was closed. Apparently, the duo walked into a closed convenient store, picked up the antacid from the pharmacy shelf, walked out hoping they could somehow find someone who will take a payment, only to be told by the security guards that the store was closed and they shouldn’t have entered it in the first place. They came back empty handed after all the drama and then drove out of the hospital to some store to finally get what was needed.

In the midst of all this, R, the father-to-be, came to inform us of the progress two or three times. His eyes mirrored the pain that P was going through. He was almost in tears as he kept repeating “She’s so strong; I don’t know how she’s doing it.” I could relate faintly to the words that he was uttering. But, at that time, all we could do to alleviate his grief was to merely tell him not to worry and assure him that it would all be over soon.

If it was over soon or not I can’t tell, but six hours later R walked into the waiting room one last time to let us all know that he is now a father of a beautiful baby girl. Weariness was washed out with those few words. Hugs were exchanged. Smile found a permanent place on our faces that night. Discussion for finding her perfect name surfaced yet again.
After P was somewhat out of that surreal experience that she’d just had, each of us took turns to see the baby. And what an adorable little one she turned out to be! I was smitten the minute I laid my eyes on that pink bundle of joy. Those little feet, the rode bud lips, those tiny palms and the long artistic fingers – she was beautiful beyond words. I still have that frame of when I first saw her etched in my memory.

Weekend was spent falling more and more in love with Peanut every time we got a glance of her. One incident of noteworthy mention is that I held the newborn baby. I was super scared, but she was weeping really bad and her mom was not available to hold her at the moment. So, I was asked to step in and after a little panicked hesitation, I agreed. I was terrified all those minutes that she was resting on my lap as I held her, yes. But it was a blissful experience at the same time. I don’t think I can do any justice trying to describe it.

So, throughout Saturday and Sunday we shuttled numerous times between the hospital and P&R’s home trying to help in any which way we could. And those trips came to an end last evening when we went there one last time to bring P and Peanut home.

That last visit to the hospital was strange and needs a special mention in itself. K and I were almost near the hospital when we heard loud sirens near the area. As we walked out of the parking lot and towards the building, a cop stopped us and inquired where we were going. We let him know the details and he asked us to walk into the building and not come out since there was as shutdown in the area. As soon as K heard those words, he rightly guessed that there’s probably a gunman on the loose somewhere. We quickly found our way to the building and were made to wait in the lobby since they were not letting anybody in or out. And while we waited there, we confirmed K’s theory that there was indeed an armed person in the campus and that the person was being actively pursued by the police. So after a bit of a wait, they announced that all was ok and that routine could resume. Thank goodness.

Anyway, back to the happy part of the weekend.

I am head over heels in love with the newest member of our circle. I am enamored by Peanut’s every move; she has a doting aunt in me who adores her to bits. I wish the new parents and their little bundle of love all the happiness and health.

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Happiness is…

…peeking into the partner’s book, asking him what point he has reached in the story to be met with him pointing to the name of the chapter. I don’t remember, what happens here? you ask. Read the book if you want to know, he says and smiles gleefully, satisfied with giving you a dose of your usual response to his questions about the book. 

…waking up to the ring of doorbell and receiving a big package filled with Diwali delicacies and loads of love.

…letting the partner work his magic. All pain melt away!

…being fed amazing homemade dishes, one meal after another, at your Uncle/Aunt’s, until you are too full to move even an inch. To top that, they also pack a bag full of sweets and savories to take home. What a delight to the taste buds!

…having friends over to light sparklers and fountains on Diwali night. The laughters that echo through the backyard is enough to call it a grand celebration.

…turning on the fireplace for the first time and enjoying its warmth on a cold night.

…looking at different photos of diyas and candles on emails from friends or on some of your favorite blogs and reveling in all that beauty.

…seeing a beautiful drawing made for you by a precious little one. The thoughtfulness of the said little one’s Mom is no less.

…watching the partner place an order for one of the book collections you’ve been eyeing for years.

…treating the kids that come dressed in various costumes on Halloween evening.

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Last Birthday and some more…

This post is going to be here and there, sort of incoherent. That’s what ends up happening when I don’t record anything for almost a year and suddenly realize that there are all incidents that need to be noted down before my memory fails me, for that happens more often than not. For instance, last week the partner and I were discussing something and the question of what I did for my last birthday came up. I drew a blank. I knew there was something about the day that made it special, but the mind refused to go back in time to try and recall even snippets. And it was the partner who finally aided my brain recollect it all.  So now, I want to go on record and say that my last birthday was wonderful.

The partner and I were driving from Boston to DC that night to attend a conference where my sister was to give a speech the day after. Right around midnight (I noticed the time only later), the partner pulled over at a service area. The dozy version of me asked him a million questions about why we were stopping, reminded him that we were already running late and I was getting grouchier by the second, and finally, gave up and closed my eyes letting him do whatever it was that he wanted to do by taking a break there. Within a few minutes, I heard the door to my side of the car open and there he was with a cake in his hand, wishing me a happy birthday. (Was there a candle? I am guessing there was, but I don’t remember. See, that’s why I should’ve noted it all down within few days.)Oh, that’s what the stop is about, that inner tube light turned on.

With the merriest of heart, I cut the cake. A cake that the partner had baked by himself. There were signs the day before, you know. He had called to ask me for a tiny detail about the recipe. He had mentioned that his roommates were baking something and they wanted to know. And I’d believed that. The thought didn’t even cross my mind that he was planning something so perfect for my birthday. A sweet surprise, it sure was. And there was more of it in store!

Once we resumed our drive, I got a call from a friend who sent big birthday wishes my way. How so very touched I was that she remembered, worked out the time difference and rang me right around midnight! And the fact that this was the first time I was talking to her made it all the more noteworthy (I had conveniently forgotten about it until now, how so unmindful of me.) I was ecstatic for the rest of the journey, needless to say. We reached DC really late and obviously, I fell asleep the first chance I got. Having gone to bed few hours before dawn only gave me an excuse (like I need one) to sleep a little more than usual next morning. The partner, though, I realized woke up way before I was even ready to open my eyes. He was getting ready to step out; I asked him where he was going. He mentioned that he’d forgotten something in the car and had to go get it so he can get ready for the day. Ok, I said and went back to my blissful slumber.

When I woke up a little later, there was a big gift next to me on the bed. Unable to contain my excitement, I sat up and unwrapped it carefully. Inside I found something I’ve wanted for months. A pair of boots! I remember going on and on to the partner and my then roommate S about how I definitely want a pair of boots for the upcoming winter. But I never bought myself one because any pair I liked I turned down because of the price tag. This pair was gorgeous. He shared the tale of when he went shopping, how/why he chose this particular one, and how he was sure I would fall in love with them. A huge grin appeared on my face and a few tears trickled down my cheeks.

There was a sign of this too, you know, only I’d yet again chosen to ignore it. The partner had called me to inquire about my shoe size the evening before. He mentioned that his sister wanted him to buy her shoes (he was to visit India in a few weeks) and he wasn’t sure what size to go for. So he wanted to know my shoe size given that his sister and I share similar stature. And yes, I believed that.

After trying on the boots and falling head over heels in love with them, I got ready to face the day ahead. We went to a café nearby to have some breakfast. And there, the partner pulled out a greeting card from his bag. The Office is one of my favorite shows and in that card, the partner had written out wishes from each of the main characters of the show in their unique style. What a laughter riot it was reading through those thoughtful messages for the birthday girl!

 The day was spent visiting museums, planetarium and just walking around the city. The phone was on silent for most of the day, which meant I missed a few calls from friends. Listening to their voicemails later made the day all the more amazing. The sister joined us in the evening and the three of us went out for a fancy dinner, which was my birthday treat from the sister. She had also sent a bunch of books as gift a week earlier. What more could I ask for! After dinner, I think we went sightseeing, a few monuments here and there. All the walking took a toll, especially since it was windy and cold, so we called it a day and headed back to the hotel.

So there, it’s all on record now and I can come back to it lest I forget it again.

Oh wait, did I say I was going to write about more than one thing? (I am too lazy to go back and edit the beginning of the post or the title. So I’ll just let it be.) I should’ve known better… no matter how hard I try I can’t ever seem put down only a few lines and let things be. It’s almost always going to be a full blown post dedicated to specific happenings. Weirdly, it’s just the opposite when I talk – 0ne can ask me the most open-ended question there is and I can still manage to answer with very limited words. Hmmm. Anyway, I guess this only means there are more posts coming up. Wait and watch…

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I can’t wait to see you!

Last night, I called my grandmother as I usually do once every few weeks. She is hard of hearing. Our conversations usually start with me trying to let her know which one of her five granddaughters she is talking to this time around; and, more often than not, after trying hard to get who is on the other end, she just goes on to assume, out of the blue, which one of us is calling and goes with that flow.  This has never been a problem for me so far – as long as she is hale and healthy, I didn’t have a reason to bother her much by continuing to push the fact that it’s me and not one of my sisters or my cousins.

This time around, though, it was important for me that she knew I was on the other end of the line. For I had a news to share with her that I didn’t want her to confuse it as coming from my sisters or my cousins. So I kept at it – my efforts to let her know who she was talking to. And after a few tries, she heard my name right and I was elated.

The discussion began as usual – me inquiring her about her health and she explaining her current situation, beginning from what went wrong that made her go see the doctor to how it’s all rectified now with ointments and other medications. Touchwood. With that topic covered to my satisfaction, we moved on to talk about family – general inquiries from both ends on how other members were doing, and it is in the middle of this chat that I let her know that I’m to visit India end of this year.

There was a pause. I thought that there was a problem in the line; Paatti, I called out, to check if she was  still there. So you are not able to make it this year too, huh? Your father told me few weeks ago that you were planning a trip, what changed? Why aren’t you coming? came a dejected voice through the phone. I smiled and repeated what I’d initially told her, and prepared myself to say it again, when I heard a soft joyful squeal. When are you coming? Are the dates confirmed? How long will you be here for? … a series of questions came flying.

And, at that moment, I would’ve given anything to see the face that carried her gleeful smile. But I happily compromised to be content with the delight that I could so clearly hear in her voice. It made up for all these years of disappointment of making and breaking plans. And I’m sure when I knock on her door not so long from today, the tight hug that’ll follow will make up for years of shattered promises.

My grandmother was an important part of life growing up. We lived in a joint family setup for a good part of my childhood and hence, spent much more time around our grandparents than our working parents. Growing up with her around, I couldn’t have missed that one thing about that made her stand out and made me look up to her. And of all values I would credit my grandparents for instilling in me, if I had to pick one that is most important to me to date, then it would be what I respected my grandmother for the most – how she was the embodiment of a strong, independent woman. She’s always been a proponent of women’s independence, especially in the financial terms, and she made sure she emphasized and encouraged it in all of her granddaughters.

She moved to the big city from a small town after she wed my grandfather in her teens. In the city, with my grandfather working long hours to provide for the family, she made sure she utilized her time in a constructive way. She learned Hindi and Sanskrit, with my grandfather’s help, and then started tuition classes to teach the languages to neighborhood children. And with the money she made from that, she not only supported her growing family, but also made sure she put away some for her future aspirations.

Till date, at the age of 73, she lives in the home that she built along with her husband. She refuses to move in with any of her children, just because she thinks that will tie her down in some way. She has put aside enough all these years – her earnings and savings from grandfather’s earnings – that gives her a steady monthly income today. And with that, she lives happily in her own haven, by her own terms, without having to depend on anyone.

At a time when everyone around me, including my parents, don’t let go of a chance to remind me that I’m getting old and that my biological clock is ticking, my grandmother is the only one who tells me not to rush into anything just because I’m soon approaching 30, and to take my own time to decide, for getting married at some particular age isn’t everything. Even though, growing up and understanding better what went on in the household made my relationship with my grandmother a little rocky, my respect for her in some aspects remained the same. There are many things that I don’t see eye to eye with my grandmother, yet there is no better role model than her when it comes to her principles regarding women’s independence. And for instilling those very values in me, I can’t thank her enough.

So, here I am now, waiting for November to knock on my door, so I get to hug and kiss that person who has been a big part of making me who I am today. I can’t wait to see that shine on her eyes when we meet. I can’t wait to nag her to buy me kulfi that she’s denied so many times throughout my childhood. I can’t wait to eat the most delicious potato fry I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to let her in on the happenings of life. I can’t wait to take her along to the new home, to see her meet and greet the family, and to have her by my side, as I pen a new chapter of my life.

I can’t wait to see you, Paatti!

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Happy Diwali !

Photo by K.

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Happy Anniversary

Hundreds of things both of you do to annoy each other; thousands of battles you both fight – some together as a team, some against one another; millions of arguments you both have, day in and day out…yet, you’ve stayed strong together for more than quarter century now.

The secret to this togetherness? I ask.

The love that binds your relationship, the dedication you have for each other, the mutual respect that you share – that’s all there is, you say.

Wonderful !

Here’s wishing you many many more years of this harmonious life even amid all the seemingly endless disagreements. Happy Anniversary, Amma and Appa.

I love you !

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Congratulations MTBs!!!

Its time to rub our hands in glee
We have something for you, dear MTBs
Little baby’s on the way,
Getting bigger every day,
Two tiny feet that will wave in the air
Two tiny hands that will tug at your hair
But before that there is some work for you.
The best we can do, is give you a clue!

Bravo to you on coming so far,
pat yourself on your back ‘cause you are a star.
It’s not over yet, there is one final twist.
Go to the abode of colors and lights, of the graceful mist.
And as you follow the clues, note down the letter
that shines bright in every blog; it will lead you better.
Once you have it all, type it in the address bar,
Followed by blogspot.com, to get to where we are.

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