December 19, 2009

A Reason To Celebrate

We're heading into another winter from tomorrow. As I sit writing this post, I see snow slowly falling down in a steady yet random fashion as if the Gods wanted to remind us humans of the uncertainty of nature. Still, we try to conquer it by predicting the weather to as much accuracy as we can...and we do well, no doubt - Thanks to God's humongous investment in human intelligence!

Well, far from what I'm saying right now (all the weather talk, that is) I'm here again writing on my blog because another little thought occured to me. So, as I sit and write this blog watching the snow accumulate over my beach chairs that sit on the woodden patio all year long, I crave hot chocolate, cookies and pie even...Ummm....warm fudge over ice cream perhaps....And the best part is, 'tis the season - for all of this and more!

Christmas is just a week away (and we sure have a white one this time, thanks to the current snow storm!)and I can almost smell all the goodies in the air. Diwali just passed by and I added a couple inches with all the sweets and savory items I made and received from friends and family alike. Oh and there was Eid too... I saw a lot of my friends talk about the best biryani's and roast meats they ate.

But, above all this festivity and food..and beyond the fact that what we all are doing around this time of the year, is it so that mankind just needs a reason to celebrate? What reason, you ask? Well, think about it, most festivals come around the time the weather starts getting cold. And scientifically speaking, it only makes sense if you add on a couple layers of flab to keep you warm. Especially, back in the days of early mankind when warm clothing might (yes, I say might because I'm ignorant about it) have been a thing not many knew about. Was that why mankind started inventing reasons to celebrate?? I'm not saying religion is wrong or invalid, because I'm not an atheist myself, but its just a thought that came to my mind. Why do all the festivals just coincide around fall/winter?? Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, X'mas, Eid - All these biggies come in the fag end of the year... Now, that's something to think about, eh?!

November 10, 2009

The Scent of a Place

This happened not too long ago when we had been to New York to visit Tussauds. It was a lovely summer afternoon when we reached the busy downtown area after a quick lunch at a fast food joint. And as always, the city never failed to leave me stunned with all its charisma and charm, although crowded with people from all walks of live. But I guess that's why I love NYC!!

I'm digressing from the topic....NYC always does that to me!

Well, just as we walked out of the wax museum towards the train station to return home, we past by the umpteen number of shops and restaurants alike. And, suddenly there was a whiff of freshly baked bread that my nose captured and sent my head spinning around looking for the place from where it came. Obviously a bakery. But, what was more captivating was the aroma. I could relate to it so much and it took me back in time - to my college days in Bangalore.

It was then that my mind grew nostalgic and I remembered how I used to pass by this bakery everyday and never miss out on taking a deep whiff of the aroma of freshly baked bread every evening. Is it not funny how even the scent of a place can transport you to another place all together?? Umm.. whatever you say, now I'm hungry for some fresh baked bread :)

September 04, 2009

Bigger Than Time?

Pages have been written by plenty of authors about time and time management. I do salute all their thoughts. But is there something bigger than time that rules us? "Time is Money"... "Do not waste time" etc. are common phrases we hear as we grow up. But is there something that governs how we use (or do not use) time? A little something happened that gave me the answer to this question.

It was just another day - hectic mornings, busy noons and lazy evenings. Somehow, I had finished my chores early and put my baby to bed for his noon nap. I sat around thinking what to do. I had no mood to browse nor to read nor do anything I'd normally do around that time everyday. Then I had this sudden urge to do something creative since I have been on a home revamp mission. And bang on time I remembered the long lost stitching project I had left half done over 2 years ago. Well, I started it off with great enthusiasm but I stopped since I had better things to do. More important things took the place of my needlework project. More responsibilities let to different priorities. And this little stitch kit (which is completed now and looks lovely!) descended gradually down the priority list and settled back in its cover in the farthest end of my closet.

That's when it struck me. It's not just time. Its' not like I did not have any time to do this. But it was about priority. Had I not been revamping and redoing things in the interiors of my home (to whatever best I can with a toddler around)..I'd NEVER have thought about this needlework kit.

On similar lines, when someone asks you why you did not do something. We so easily say, "Oh I did not have the time". Think again. Its not the time.. its the priority of the task at hand. Of course its a simple thing ..and we all know it....yet, we blame time. So the next time you say this, think priority, not time!

August 17, 2009

Distant Connections

This summer saw me taking more walks every now and then than any past summer that I have spent here in the US. It has been a long journey from where we started - with absolutely no knowledge of how things 'work' here to being one with the everyday life of this country. Well, that being said, let me get straight to the point.

I grab a chance to go out for a walk almost every time the weather is pleasant and I am in the mood for some it with my lil sonny or without (If hubby's home that is, obviously!). And, I'm considering it normal to take a peek or two around and see things going on rather than concentrate on how you put one foot in front of the other on the road ahead. There were so many things I noticed this way. Regular walkers - some of them who chose to acknowledge my presence others who dint bother, kids playing, flowers, cars, bikes, sidewalk art by children, trees with their leaves slowly changing hues, pets - running outside, inside homes... and those peering outside windows!

With so much going on it was hard to miss things that lingered on every time I went out...and one such thing was a little white fluffy puppy that happened to perennially prop itself against the patio door of its home as if waiting to come out. I remember showing it to my son many times and he would be so excited and the lil pup would wag his tail or just move a bit as if he knew we were watching him. I never missed seeing him on all of my walks.

One day - I missed him. I missed the curtains that fell over him making him seem angelic. I missed the furniture that lay beyond my eyesight inside that house. I missed the lamps that glowed endlessly lighting up the indoors. I missed it all. They perhaps had moved. I did not even know them. I had NEVER seen that family either. Just that little puppy that sat near that patio door. And, one day it was all over. Gone.

Funny, how we make connections with people and things we do not really know and yet bond with them at some weird distant level. And when they're gone, we actually miss them!! Life and its funny ways, I tell ya....

June 30, 2009

The Chosen One

I finally got down to reading Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. It's a heavy read, nonetheless, but a refreshing change from Khaled Hosseini's Kite Runner. Not that the latter was bad. It simply was a different genre althogether and I cannot compare the two. I simply made a mention of it to show off what all I read. Ha!

I loved Kite Runner. I did crave for more of the emotional roller coaster ride that I was on as I read it. But, when it comes to Dan Brown, I can sit with his books for hours and rack my brains out trying to just get every intricate detail of his work into my head. I wish he writes more. I always wanted to read Digital Fortress. But, it chose me as its reader only now. And, when I say that I am reminded of a dialogue from the movie Transformers where an actor says, "The driver does not choose his car, the car chooses his driver".

But even before I saw that movie and heard and statement, I always believed in this philosophy. If something had to happen to you, no matter how much you wanted it, it will come to you only if it chooses you. Yeah, you can call it fate, destiny, luck. Call it by whatever name, but, with time its a matter of choice.

Of course, it is often believed a strong/wise makes his own destiny. But, come on... somethings are simply not in our hands. There is a power out there (who most of us like to call God) that decides what we get and what we dont. It's one thing to chase what you don't get and finally accomplish it and its totally another to get something you desired for ages when you least expected it. Perhaps its hard-work, perhaps it's luck. But whatever it is... it will come to you if you are the chosen one!

June 15, 2009

Fluctuating Interests

Oh, not another article about the financial meltdown. No, please! I know that's what you are thinking. No. Never. I don't have much contribution (as if there is less already) to make in that effect. But speaking of interest in terms of what the word means to a layman (yes, the one relating to being curious, the one that gets you concerened or something that seems to draw the attention of a person), I do have some thoughts to share.

Before we had our baby, there was one phase where all we thought about doing on weekends was hitting the pinball lanes. Bowling took over like nothing else. But with time the magic seemed to die down. Then all of a sudden there was a plethora of good movies releasing and we simply could not find ourselves away from theatres. Of course, things change after a baby. So, this pattern slowly faded away and if there was one thing we did every weekend, it was hopping around baby stores. Well, that's understandable.

But, in life we go through so many stages and phases, that I'd want to believe it's not only children who need to be kept occupied. Even with busy lives, there is a little part of us that devours pleasures in temporary infatuation with some activity. For me, that activity for a long time now, has been working out and exercising. Although that still continues... slowly blogging took over. And, now I can see myself craving some bollywood masala movies. Well, its unfair on our parts to expect our children to be "occupied" with that one set of toys all the time when we ourselves like variety. Sometimes to socialize, sometimes just to enjoy a little "me" time.

Hmm, God has made us this way. To want new things everytime. To hold on to the daily grind and yet subject ourselves to fluctuating interests. I'm thinking its those little things we do that keeps us sane, put-together. And, I also think it's these little things that keep our spirits soaring above the monotony of life. Don't you?

June 02, 2009

Trust with a Twist

Life and its monotonous ways. Weekdays - work, weekends - grocery shopping! Yup, we're all there. So, last weekend we went grocery shopping too. I had my list in my hand and my little sonny propped up on the shopping cart. My husband was fetching the things I told him to from around the store as I walked around looking at other stuff (Ah! That's SO woman-like!!hehe).

Well, so we were pretty much done with all our purchases and our gaze stopped on a huge stack of mangoes. Oh yes, 'tis the season to be drooly! We went right over and the placard on top of the stack said we could pick up nine mangoes for a certain price. I tried to fish around but there was way too much crowd had gathered there. So we swapped turns with baby and cart. My husband stepped in. I could see him smelling the fruit as he chose the ones he wanted to buy.

Funny part is we really have not ventured out to buy mangoes ever since we got to the US. But this time we thought we will give it a shot. So every now and then, before his count reached nine, he would raise one arm up with a fruit and show it to me for my approval/disapproval. Not like I know too much of it either, but sometimes I would like to think husbands make us feel important. But to make matters worse he was a good seven to eight feet away from me.

Anyway, as we finished picking up our share and began walking away, a gentleman walked up to him and asked him,"Are they sweet?" And with an air of confidence (and confusion) my husband shrugged his shoulders in an 'How-do-I-know?' manner AND said," Yes". I could not stop myself from turning away and laughing.

We came home and I was so impatient that I washed and cut up one to taste it. I gave my husband a piece and ate one too. What can I say? Haha! It was red outside but not ripe. It was a golden yellow inside but not (yet) sweet. I pity that man who trusted us on our word.

Isn't it amazing? When on one hand we say we cannot trust people, but on the other we take such chances? Well, this was a small thing.. but there are so many bigger things where we'd rather trust an unknown person than ourself or people we know. Life and its monotonous ways... or should I say weird ways?

May 29, 2009

Wheels of Fortune

Ok. As much as I avoid talking about baby, motherhood and parenting... I simply can't get it totally out of my head. It's a part and parcel of my daily life and I had to throw in this post on a teeny weeny incident that got me thinking.

The sun had (finally) decided not to set at 4ish and the sunrays made their way well into 7:30pm just the other day. Yes, I'm still in Spring into Spring mode. But why not? It's among the best feelings I've ever felt.

So, as the sunshine danced its way down the skies, the fresh air beckoned me to take a walk. But, it was not just as easy as you thought. Change, wear sneakers and off you go? Nopes! With me, I had to lug on my cell phone, keys, a water bottle, a diaper bag (if its a longer stay outside), a mind satisfied that my son will sit without throwing tantrums in his stroller!! Oh, I forgot to add stroller to my list.

The first time that I did this whole exercise I was only cursing myself (and the blood rushing to all my muscles) as to why I decided to take my little boy out. But, hey, he needed some fresh air too! And for all the glories of living on the first floor garden apartment (no elevator) I had to do stretches, bicep curls, squats, lunges and abs all in a matter of 2 minutes in order to get my "list" out and rolling. It took another couple of minutes to figure out in which handle I put what from my list so I could answer my phone just in case anyone called. Phew, and then I gave that little nudge and the two of us were out enjoying all the wholesome goodness of a nice spring evening.

As I walked, I thought about how much I complained to myself when I got out of home. How many times during my "mini-workout" routine did I reconsider what I was doing? How many times did I battle with myself about staying home as against going out simply because I did not want to encounter those 2 minutes? Then something occurred to me - How did my parents manage this? I mean, they did not use strollers back then. In fact, even now in India most people don't even own one. They carry their babies and toddlers all around the place. And that sure needs a lot more strength than my "mini-workout" to get us out for walk. And that moment, I thanked God for having giving some man somewhere the idea of inventing the wheel....and with time and evolution, a stroller! Trust me, they are wheels of fortune.

May 21, 2009

Ugh, the grapes are sour!

Yeah. Its summer. Well, almost! And I know you would disagree with me because the grapes ARE turning sweet. Ah, what a wake up from the cold, bitter winter indeed. Hmph! But what I want to tell you is a whole different story... and, its nothing to do with grapes. Yes, you can whack me for talking all about it till now. Hehe.

Its three years since Ive been wanting to go to Central Park. And I wanted to go there only in Spring. Oh yeah, I know they don't have grapes growing there, they just have Strawberry Fields. Haha!

Okay, sorry.. Ill get back to my topic. Yes so its been three years since I have wanted to visit this lovely, serene patch (patch? Wake up lady, its HUGE!) of green land not too far away from where we live. Well, the first year we just got to the US and by the time I learnt about it it was winter. And in winter, I would dare not step onto the walkway out of my house, let alone Central Park. Then the following year we decided we would go there, but on the way we met friends who were going to The Bronx Zoo and we just joined them. Blah. And by the third year I was heavily pregnant and due in mid winter. And considering how house-bound you get with a new baby the whole idea of going in Spring to NY had to be thrown out of the window.

But here I am, in my fourth year of hope... and this weekend we plan to go. Then again, I dont want to raise my anxiety until the event happens and is over! For all you know we will end up shopping in some mall down the road instead...

Funny, how there are some things in life that dont happen and we just settle with what is? We console ourselves that its never going to happen. Lets see if my grapes turn sweet this weekend!

May 07, 2009

An Ode to Mom!

Mother's Day! We could pass it off as just another "Day" in the year... Just like Valentine's day, Friendship Day etc. But I'm guessing it would be a lot easier to do this, had I not been a Mom myself. And I'm thinking it would be a pretty looking greeting card with some nice words - Mom, thank you for being there for me. For being so sweet always and being who you are!

Sounds good. Sounds fair. And, definitely will make her SO HAPPY.

But ever since I hopped onto this new role, I think its just not enough. This day seems to have taken over a whole new meaning for me although we don't quite celebrate it in our culture. For starters, I have come to believe its a lot more than filling tummies, changing diapers, and being a play pal. It transcends way beyond this. And the world will agree. But how I failed to notice all that is something that makes me feel totally stupid.

I never knew how much value that first smile from a baby held for a new mom until my little boy parted his lips, looked at me (yes, me!) and gave that precious expression!! I never knew the effort it took in putting just about ten morsels of food into that same little mouth and in the end of a one hour feeding session feel as if I had the meal! I never knew the unbound joy of hearing that same little mouth babble nonsensical words and believe that he was telling me he wants me with him always! And while I promise to hold his hand for until I can, I feel the pleasure of him grow with every passing day... with a bittersweet sensation at the back of my mind!

Just as I do that, I sit back and wonder - It's just over a year now, and I've come to this stage where I have a whirlwind of emotions running in my heart... I'm wondering just how MY Mom feels after all these years of being a mother.

Kudos to you Mom, and yes, this time I mean every word I'm saying - I Love You for Who You ARE!!!

April 28, 2009

The Net Effect

If you're thinking this is just another article about how the "Net" has changed our lives positively, you are right. And, if you're thinking this is just another article about how the "Net" has changed out lives negatively, you are right again! See, I just gave you a win-win situation.
So, what do I want to prove here? Something that lurks in the gray areas of the Internet-aftermath!

When the World Wide Web boomed in leaps and bounds, I was excited, to say the least. Like so many of you out there, I too was slowly but steadily getting addicted. Then there was this craze of getting all my friends connected via the web. And in a short span of time, as Internet cafe's blossomed in every street, even the ones who were not very technologically adept had an email id and got chatting.
I was simply overjoyed to be able to chat with my friend who lived down the road via my computer. Days went by, life took us our ways. She moved to another city. But hey, thanks to the net we were in touch. Years flew past and then I met her after over half a decade. And that moment, all of a sudden, there was a feeling of emptiness in the air between us. We used to chat often, but now were unable to begin a simple conversation. The exchange of words that seemed so easy through the paraphernalia of technology had somehow put us in a weird spot. It took us a while to really get talking because over the years chatting had made us portray another side to us. Not that we meant to do so, but it just happened. We had to use bits and pieces of our "net" conversations to actually get things flowing. Its one thing to say, time and lifestyles change people but its totally another with a situation like this.

Yes, we could argue saying its not necessarily due to the Internet. Things like this happened even during the times when snail mail flourished. That, I would say, was different. You dint quite chat, per se. The time lapse between letters did help to a certain extent. There is a lot more to real-time chatting than there is to writing letters. Online chatting gives you a lot of options and not to forget, flexibility! Im sure you'll agree with me the next time you tell that old friend online that you have to go out and click that little 'x' mark to close the chat window, but all you wanted to do was end the conversation. I'm guessing that's how the other facet of individuals slowly surface. Then, suddenly before you know it, that incoming message from an ex-coworker with whom you shared your coffee breaks becomes a hindrance.

No, I'm not against chatting. I do it almost all the time too. But I was wondering if I'm the only one who feels this way. Do you, too?

March 05, 2009

One for the 'Ages'

I sat across the table with my husband at a restaurant that we decided to stop by after months to have Mumbai Style Chaat. My little son, Samvit, was perched upon an old restaurant-style high chair next to me. We enjoyed the spicy snack while the lady at the neighboring table kept watching Samvit's antics as he made weird noises and kept himself busy with the tissue papers and ketchup packets. I could sense a question coming my way.

The lady asked - "How old is he?"

"Fourteen months". Fourteen months? Woah. Where did I pick that up from? I could have simply rounded it off as One year. Why did two months count? I realized Id picked up this way of saying my child's age from friends and other people who project their childrens' age in months.

I remember meeting a mother of a little girl at party and when I asked her age, the lady sighed and said, "Oh she is twenty two months.. such a brat already!". It took me a moment to decipher that. I realised she could have easily told me her daughter would turn two shortly.

How the months slowly fade away, I really don't know. At one time a child is thirty six months and the next thing you know he is four years old. And then before you know it he is in his teens. And before he knows it, its the late-twenties. And before his kids know it, its already mid-forties. And when its time to retire, phew, sixty plus!! No, Im not going to venture describing anythign beyond that. I dont think I'll make it anywhere close to my fifties anyway....!!

Let us

I still vividly remember my History teacher way back from seventh grade... Short, fair, neatly worn hair and a voice that made heads turn. Like most teachers, she had a favourite statement.... "Don't assume things I did not mention... Assume almost implies making an ass of you and me!Ass.U.Me. Get it?" At that moment it seemed funny and really nothing but just another remark from a teacher who was furious at her students.

But today as I look back and think about it, it makes way much more sense than I thought. And now, as it seems to emerge from my mind, it comes generously coated with all the ambiguity life has to offer. All that is certain, enveloped with all that is uncertain and intangible.

It may sound puzzling at first to know the way life leads us through its rather monotonous ways but yet gets us to milestones that we seek. And on the way, we encounter so much, that makes what we can call "life". One very nice quote I remember at this point is, "Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans". So true. You assume so many things and make plans but life takes you in an entirely different direction.

The reason this thought came to me was due to a simple incident that occurred not too long ago. On just another unusual day, we woke up, did all that we had to do and the day went by. We were invited for dinner at my aunt's place in Bangalore since we were to travel back to the US and had just two days left. We had a great time there. Then when we got home, just as you too may have assumed we slept. I too assumed that I will sleep. But the next thing I know I had the worst abdominal pains and was taken to the hospital and admitted there. And before I could gain back my strength I had IV/drips flowing down into my body. And the way the events turned it made us wonder if we could travel at all.

How comfortably we had assumed that nothing could go wrong! We all do this so many times. In fact, almost all the time with our near and dear ones. We assume that nothing can happen. But when it does, it takes us by shock and surprise. We assume that we can comfortably live in our own orbits and assume that nothing can happen to us. A neighbour happens to be a part of a car crash, we assume it could never be us. A stranger misses his flight - oh, that could never be us. A building burns down in the next town - that can not happen to us, ever. Terror strikes a country - oh, not us, NO Way!! We forget to count our blessings, forget to give credit to everyone in our lives, and forget to thank God what is in our hands. We assume, its all normal and cant change. We assume way too many things for our own good. We assume!!

January 27, 2009

Pinks and Blues

A month or two ago we met up with one of our family friends. We were generally conversing regarding children and the 'oh-so-scary-for-parents' peer pressure. We discussed how kids these days ask for fancy, hi-tech gadgets not because they want it but more because their friends have it. To a certain extent its easy to stop them and control their demands. But what if this so called peer pressure extends to a psychological domain? What do you do when it begins questioning your child's existence with other children his age?

This friend we met have a son who is about eight years old. One day after school he apparently came over to his mother and told her he wanted a new pair of sports shoes. She was surprised because the one he had right then was something he had picked up out of his own will not very long ago. When she denied his request he said, "Ma, but they all say if I wear this shoe I'm a girl". His mom was perplexed. She asked him, "Why would they say that and why would you believe so?". He replied sadly, "Because it has a purple line in it". This surprised his mother even more. He quickly added, "Purple is for girls." She stood looking at him with her lips pursed not knowing what more to say. The next day he had another pair of shoes with no streaks or shades of purple or pink.

I'm not sure sometimes if I could call this as peer-pressure or simply imbibing ideas into young minds. Ideas that they grow up with and ones that carve the way they think. Its amazing but true, but we elders too do fall for such things only so that we "go with the flow".

Not too long after a baby is born a major part of the child's wardrobe is dominated by shades of just one colour. Pinks for girls, blues for boys. I think its becoming so cliched and so boring too. In fact, its so very contradicting - In a world where we are fighting to have both genders equal, we begin by differentiating right from the start!! While nature offers us so many hues, we are busy categorizing ourselves in to the Pinks and the Blues.