Monday, July 12, 2021
Saturday, February 13, 2021
This isn't my birthplace and I am
louder for my heart is misplaced;
I dwindle but first I do no harm.
Then I turn calm, you must come
too--time shrugs on, on its own.
He hugs the walls when he walks
my sister says of our dad.
We should have bars in the shower
my husband says of my dad.
I think of my dad--
mightiest of his four brothers
how he sat all his brothers on his
meaty biceps--or was that Bhima
also second-born--I'm confused
by the words rolling in my mouth.
It's easy to break, ask water--what's
next in the shadow of time's coming.
Of first learning to trust every day's
ordinary dance, stepping to calm,
to harm; saying: I'll take it.
My father actually has six brothers, but my youngest uncle is seventeen years younger than dad and so the five older brothers were routinely referred to as the Pandavas in dad's childhood. Dad, although affected by polio as toddler, was somehow also the strongest and sportiest brother--captain of several teams in both school and college.
I routinely confused stories about dad and Bhima when I was a kid. Still do. I don't know if seating all the brothers on his arms was a dad thing, a Bhima thing, or a dad thing inspired by Bhima... and I'm not going to try to find out. Naturally, I was shaken when my sister told me this morning how weakened he's become because he looks not very different in photos and when we video chat.
The Mahabharatha because it is so long (the longest!) and has so many embedded frametales sometimes works on me as a reminder of how life is transient. Lives get lost in that huge narrative, and somehow recognizing individual insignificance is calming? Here, I'm reaching for an abridged version of that fatalistic calm.
Distance is a huge in the pandemic, and I yearn to see everyone 'back home' knowing it may not happen for months or even this year. So the other part of what I was trying to do was to call back to the old country "Bharat/Bharatha."
Friday, January 29, 2021
Met Nu's new therapist 💕; fielded pandemic tech suggestions from my mom 💕; handled paperwork and planner work.
A loooooooong walk by myself (Wonch Park) was the best part of today. Reread favorite bits of Piranesi, started The Lost Girls, took a loooooooong bath, and fell asleep for a bit with Scout (and Nu and Huck) while watching Korra... There's an absolutely brilliant moon out now, and I'm glad what's looming is the weekend.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
As we close out 2020 (with LB's food exchange, SD's Zoom party in MD, and calls and texts from all over the world), I want for all of us to rise up in every way in 2021.
And I'd really, really like to see my sister and parents.
Friday, December 25, 2020
Monday, December 14, 2020
My children's love passes right through me
(like an arrow, like a bullet)
My parents' love steeps all through me
(like a tantrum, like a blush).
I fear death; there are deaths I fear more:
My deaf father sleeps deep
through knocking, my mother and sister
My tired children sleep past the blare
of smoke alarms, heavy
I wonder if I can shake them awake
like a pair of dead batteries.
But the world does its singing, then
my body curls like smoke
plummets, coaxes with folded hands
draws doors in heartache.
So let me tell you how I scan the dates
of people's lives, guessing--from
the headlines of their last year--if death
might have felt like a blessing.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
The tiny tree went up this weekend--powered 95% by At and Nu.
While I was writing that poem about Chelli's moving day yesterday, I was trying to make the verses look like the many roofs we've been under, but it actually looks like a tree too!
Also, as she said after she read that poem, I completed it "so fast!" High praise indeed!
Saturday, December 12, 2020
8000 miles away
my sister is moving
her furniture is being taken apart now
it will be put back together again, very soon.
She remembers how I arrived at her
house in Delhi the week before she did,
how I cut my hand open unpacking boxes, how
I made that a joke about my rakta dan--"blood sacrifice."
I don't remember this story. But
she giggles and so then I giggle and then
we tell each other how much we love each other.
When will we see each other again? (There aren't even plans.)
And I want to say: Take a break!
Need to ask: Are you tired? Is that heavy?
But I look at the telephone; I just... miss you.
There's more air than we can breathe between us.
Exile now feels like breaking--
like an earthquake--inside out, fragile
as though an eggshell holding hatchlings,
a coming to--on the other side of worldliness.
There are stones in my throat all day
so I stumble. I speak slowly as though in
a foreign language (all language feels foreign,
cannot say what I feel, clots like moonlight in my brain).
I just parrot from poems I read:
"Art thou weary? Art thou weary?" I dream you
give the movers the address, but Bangalore traffic sounds
harmonize it into my name, send it--back in a whisper to you.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
(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.
Monday, October 12, 2020
From any direction
I try to meet you,
you greet me.
We hold hands,
"la biss" 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.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Tuesday, October 06, 2020
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
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
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
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
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
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 Non-Binary 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 them 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
Sunday, March 22, 2020
James R. Kincaid, an English prof. at USC, has been writing in The Slate, and practically everywhere else, about how we are given to autom...
Friends and old neighbors shutting it down in honor of John Crawford. _
At had us pose for this pic up at Aunt R's place on Lake Huron so he could put it up in his dorm. "Don't tur...
(Sorry to have been so solipsistic--although The Yunus Nobel and the Desai Booker provided the much-needed antidote to that : ) I have b...
Today is the birthday of the best sister in the whole world (mine:)! Happy, Happy Birthday, Chelli! [AA, my favorite aunt in the whole wor...
Sunlight. arrogance sees, sleeps Now i understand: every thing you say. In the dark. heartbeat dee...
Yesterday at lunch with the awesome Pied Piper and an accomplished, pioneering writer whose anonymity we shall preserve, Piper turned to me...
that they work with families on Detroit's Eastside, they deserve their own thank-you copy. _