Showing posts with label Family Tree. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family Tree. Show all posts

Saturday, October 24, 2020


I just typed, "I wonder if golding is an adjective..." 

(Big A has turned off the wifi for some maintenance, so I can't check online, but there's no squiggly red line so at least it's a word? If "greening" is a Spring time word, "golding" ought to be an Autumn word!) 

Anyway, I feel "golding" best describes both the turn of the woods and my delight. 

A long giggly conversation with my Chelli around 4 am*, then a little snooze, an early morning hike with L (from whence this photo), and then a long day on my feet doing necessary stuff that had been displaced by this past week of deadlines. Some of Big A's birthday dinner and cupcakes dinner to L, and then a leisurely dinner with the fam. Very minimal discussion board monitoring, some class prep, a handful of student emails, and now to curl up with my N.K. Jemisin. 

* AM, Chelli's old classmate and now a mutual friend, had forwarded a video of George Baker singing "Paloma Blanca," apparently a song Chelli and I used to bug her with. It's amazing how the song reached us at all (perhaps through VM who sailed a lot in those days?), and we were amused that we didn't even know what the title meant, but would just belt it out anyway. Hilarious.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Return (For my Chelli)

From any direction 
I try to meet you,
you greet me.
We hold hands,
"la biss" kiss-
kiss, kiss-kiss.

There was a time when all
I had to do was simply turn
if I wanted to see you or play. 
Do you ever yearn for when 
we were fed from just one 
plate--no yours, no mine?

To sleep together, curling like
vines? Discuss how parting 
our twin beds, sending them 
to opposite walls was painful
(almost as if conjoined twins 
beginning surgery, separation).

My room now--though bright
feels dim and scribbled over,
continents and years crawl
over--what I fear--were last 
visits. Lost keys, lost locks, 
oh--the stitches come loose.

If I am not an island,
how can I swim to you?
I am now just a body
of water surging,
my eyes growing 
round as our earth.

I am come to an age with
endings coiled inside me.
The pandemic's parting gift,
a gift of parting, is the empty
vision unfolding, trying to return
to decisions I made decades ago.

I want to walk up to you
talk about what I have/have
carried. I bring you all this... 
sadness because you'll say you 
see it, know just how to see it,
and be the first to throw it away.

From any direction 
I try to meet you,
you greet me.
We hold hands,
"la biss" kiss-
kiss, kiss-kiss.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Happy 13th!

Look, it's John Lennon turning 13! Ok, It's Nu  😍 😍.

Cupcakes (Tuptakes) by dad; special, surprise, overnight, 18-hour visit by sweet sib At; breakfast pudding by me; calls from all the grandparents, aunts, and great uncle and aunt (VM and AA).  Also--a special "picnic in Paris" themed birthday Zoom with beret-ed friends drinking Perrier and online tours of the Louvre yesterday; Culvers' for dinner by request today; bunches of presents over the weekend; and now they're spending some birthday cash on the internet. 

Happy birthday, my brave new teen!  😍 😍

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

King, Chavez, Parks... and Penrose

When I heard Sir Roger Penrose won the Physics Nobel today, the first thing that came to mind was that At had had some playdates with RP's son Maxwell (named for the mathematician) back in Oxford. Was it 2001? 2002? We knew Penrose on the fringes of JSA's work with him so I googled "Penrose and JSA," and sure enough--tons of collabs. Gosh--that feels like such a lifetime ago.

Today, I received logo-ed masks from the KCP program (King-Chavez-Parks, baby!) and will wear them everywhere with pride.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The one with the masks

Sunshine and puppies 

but also masks and distancing.

Eight + hours spent in the car

but also four hours of visiting

and lots of talks and talking

and smiling and sharing and handholding.

Time + travel have been weird and slippery

but I wish we'd visited sooner--

Also: I ate a Mexican pizza from Taco Bell. So many Desi and veggie friends were absolutely crushed that it's being retired and I'd never had it and didn't know what to think. Now I know; AFAIC, it can go.

Today will have to be about rest and prep and knowing Monday is coming.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Mid-August Notes

It's India's Independence Day and today's dinner is supposed to be reminiscent of the flag (maybe you have to squint a little bit?). I'm not a fan of the ethnostate India is under Modi, and I miss-miss-miss old-style India-day "unity in diversity" celebrations.

It was Fall term prep all day over here. Also, locking down meetings next week in my calendar helped--instead of holding hazy, all-day items in my head, I now have specific times and that's doing wonders for my general sense of preparedness and well being. 

I kept getting adorable texts all morning from bestie KB and mock called her out for procrastinating via text message. Then I went off on a tangent myself and did some editor-stuff for the current issue of Jaggery (needed to be done, but not right now). At least it got done?  I did a ton of other more normal procrastination as well, putting stuff in various online shopping carts and re-watching a few eps of Veep.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Taking a Few

A hike at Hawk Island and a socially distant picnic with Grandpa R (namaste-ing in this pic) before he returns to N.C.

The water was brilliant; the skies clear and blue; the woods deep and green and quiet. There were tons of people, but there was so much space that it didn't matter--or not very much. The bento boxes I customized (puff pastry rolls and salads) for each of us were a goddamn hit.

No significant 'real' work was accomplished today, and I think I'm going to be ok with that.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Going High

Out with L after a long two weeks of quarantine and the light as we came out from under the dinginess of Beal St. bridge was... radiant.

I'm thinking of protestors all over the world and thanking them for their radiance too.

Childhood's fave cousin (now ideological opponent) sent pictures of angry protestors  to the cousin chat-group hoping all of us were safe. I affirmed our safety and added an arch statement about militarized police being the real problem.

And all he said in reply was how glad we he was that we were all safe.

I guess I'm the asshole now.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

"Indian Enby Menarche Celebration"

Perhaps there was something portentous about the red lilies Nu planted this week... we celebrated with the red velvet cake they decided was appropriate. Big A made them a card with a "Congratulations" followed by a giant period and we all thought that was hilarious--that morning's laughter was definitely a celebration. But the South Indian in me needed to celebrate Nu more.

I googled "Indian Enby Menarche Celebration" and got nothing. My own menarche was marked by a wedding-level gala replete with catering and professional videographer--but it was too focused on "womanhood and fertility." (It wasn't as lavish as this video I found online, but quite close!)

So we did things our way. We got grandparents and aunts on video calls and read Nu a dedication that focused on their maturity, strength... their ability to reinvent themselves. We kept some elements of the traditional ceremony--anointing with turmeric but connecting its deep roots and healing capabilities with family; playing Carnatic music, but especially Bharati's song about his "kannama" hoping Nu would appreciate the fluidity with which he uses this feminine form of endearment for Lord Krishna. At brewed them a pot of spearmint from his own veggie plot, Grandma S made them a slideshow, the Bangalore grandparents and A Pinni beamed the whole time, N Pinni read her Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise."

Nu got the traditional trays of offerings (fruit, pampering products, books, and a ton of girlie presents), and we added rainbow-themed sandals, bag, visor, and sweetened the deal further with unlimited screen time for the rest of the day.  I think the pictures do a good job of demonstrating my earnestness and Nu's own enjoyment in all the ceremonial love. 😍 😍 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sitting Witness

Although my dad is more likely to read the sports section of a newspaper than pick up a book of poetry, his school experience of the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati would get him so fired up that he'd declaim "Thani oru manithanakku unavu illayenil intha jagaththinai azhithiduvom" frequently. So I'm no stranger to Bharati's radical outrage, the threat/aspiration to burn the whole world down if even one person is harmed. 

 I can mourn the horrific murders in the midst of this pandemic of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and don't find myself distracted by other actions a grieving people may undertake. But in case anyone hears it, thinks it, or needs it--here is a lovely primer of "How to respond to 'riots never solve anything.'"

And please donate, if you can. Every one of us with a credit card in this family (At, Big A, I) have donated independently of each other this time.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Each one reach one

(The lectures I got via FB messenger on how this was a government-instigated distraction were valid, as are the considerations that my parents are retired, in the danger zone age-wise, and genuine about their concern and support for healthcare workers. On we go!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Beauty

I am two years ten months old,
beloved first-born: am told my face 
is open as windows, my smiles gems
of happiness, when baby sister is born.

I remember being taken to visit
Amma and the wrinkly new baby 
too in the hospital, in the morning, right 
before I have to go to Mrs. Pinto's "school."

And I remember the chill of nerves
the clunky thump of suspense, feeling 
so sneaking clever when--patting her tenderly, 
I tell my parents: "Baby sister--Chelli Paapa--

is so, so beautiful; I don't want to go to school."
My ploy creeps on, it has lived many lives
it has floated past memory's borders, 
the recall slowly fading.

When I retell it now, on this whole other continent, 
my own kids chortle, roll their eyes, call me 
"playa." My face is a window, is a mirror, 
my face is a door that lets the lie in.

 But my parents have told this story for decades,
in a haze of earnestness, claimed 'blessings
--love or beauty or children, or the hazy
necessity of whatever comes next.  

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Secret non family

"My secret family wouldn't do this" was a weird sentence I used to say 6-7 years ago. It was mainly meant for laughs, and the kids knew it was a joke, but it used to make them AND BIG A a little bit sad when  said it anyway.  And then Big A told a story about how my secret family was a bunch of raccoons and the joke is very firmly on me these days.

They sent me this picture on the family group text while they were off visiting grandparents in Yellow Springs. Haha. SO funny.

I had planned to take a few days to myself while the rest of the fam was gone, and then our furnace died last week, so I had the perfect excuse not to go (had to keep the taps from freezing). My plans were to veg out with Whole Foods carry out and movies with girlfriends and a spa day. But I slipped in the garden and hurt my back and am sitting here hopped up on Advil and hot tea and and feeling a little bit sorry for myself.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Waiting Game

Back when Big A and his sister were tiny and being pesky and their dad was single parenting and busy, they'd play a game that had one rule and one objective: the player who was silent longest won. I know about this game because Big A tried to institute this game with our kids--perhaps a decade ago-- and failed spectacularly.

I'm not surprised--At and Nu were in charge of the raita today as I juggled the various tasks toward egg-paratha rolls (Big A's Boss Day pick) and every step of the way was chatter, and jokes, and negotiation (if I measure the cumin you should get the salt, I washed the cucumbers so you should wash the tomatoes, and on and on and on and on). I read somewhere that families should support kids learning to advocate and negotiate for themselves, but yesterday... I was torn between chuckling and wanting to     shut     it     down. The smoke alarm going off (as it does every time we fry up more than 10 parathas didn't help).

Still waiting to hear about things at work... but now I have a tower of toffee tea cakes, well watered plants, fully wrapped Christmas presents (not pictured), and a dwindling supply of unrefrigerated fruit to keep me company.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Meanwhile in India...

The littlest cousin married her longtime love, and this photo is also full of people I love. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I do declare

Nu (whose finger is in the picture) and I found this Vivek Velanki exhibit by accident. His grandmother, whose passport is the first exhibit is from Madras (like me!). 

I recommended it to the poco students at MSU.

Sunday, October 27, 2019


I mean I'd strung up the lights already, and Divali was the perfect time to turn them on. It felt like my own version of Kusama, was our trip just last year?

When Nu and I wished my parents in the morning, they seemed a bit sad for us that it would be just the two of us for the biggest holiday of the year (At is at college; Big A is at a conference). But I reminded them that Scout and Huck would be here too, and that seemed to help some.

As it turned out, there was a teensy Divali celebration at UU and then EM came over for dinner bearing sweets from Dusty's--it was a Michigan Divali!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Color me nostalgic

These trees on the way home from class are quintessentially autumnal, but my south asian mind is bungeeing into spring and childhood, because it's the kind of green touched by yellows, pinks, and oranges, that we'd call  "tender mango leaf."