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

Saturday, November 13, 2021

going on goings on

don't separate me from what I remember
for I sin against completion 
I say I want want so much from this life 
and yet I keep giving it away  

my mom said she found a college friend 
from forty years ago on Facebook
she's a bit proud and shy telling me how
because it's detective shit/stalking

my sister gamely practices a funny line 
from a cartoon only I have seen
we bounce it between us: "back to you"
laughter shimmers in our mouths 

in the richness of boredom I'm dissolving
into blessings, learning lessons
of normalcy, finding myself in some stories 
I've braided out of ordinariness

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

birthdays and first days

It's my grandmother's birthday today, so this picture of her just before she got married at 16 has been doing the rounds on cousins' chat. As has something I wrote long ago.

First day of classes today... I panicked hard yesterday, despite having taught in person all of last year. But the usual combination of over prepping and the endorphin-adrenalin rush of being in front of a class kicked in and all was well. Finished up work with a small reception at the president's house for being on a search committee that met all summer long.

When I got home, Big A was napping ahead of a work-night, At was off canvassing, Nu was in the basement knuckle-deep in a paint project for a class. So I grabbed my Culver's dinner from L's fundraiser for Peacequest, queued up some Felicity on ye olde laptop, and ate with Scout and Huck for company. 

A bit of an anticlimactic end to the day, TBH. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

island times

Off to San Juan Islands --> 
Friday Harbor --> 

Day tripping to Cattlepoint, the lighthouse, lawn games, barbecue, dancing, laughing and snarking on cousins' old Chennai stories about 27D (bus # not Apt. #), cousins learning to play the parai, slideshows, baby cousins, laser-point astronomy demos, and chatting until I fell asleep on someone's couch... 

I have this seascape with the seagull on "loop" mode on my phone and know that I'll come back to this when I need a mental/emotional breather.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Concise Bharatha

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


A choppy day full of big and small edits to other people's work; meetings galore; + followups, feedback, and fuckery. 

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

Rising Up

I've loved this tree on the Red Cedar River from the first time I noticed it. Especially the branch that looks like it was laid low but decided to aim upwards anyway.

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.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Through my Head

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

Tiny Notes

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

Moving Day 8000 Miles Away

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.


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 Non-Binary 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 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. 😍 😍 


In the midst of mounting excitement about the start of the new school year, it was a shock to hear two people who'd been at the college ...