Showing posts with label The Old Country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Old Country. Show all posts

Monday, November 14, 2022

a Madrasi madcap history in pictures

One of the many, many reasons I love going to NWSA is because SR and I have been taking pictures in hats/headgear and calling it our "Madrasi Madcap series" because both of us have Madras (now known as Chennai but not while we were growing up) connections.

We hadn't been able to since 2019 as the 2020 conference was canceled and 2021 was online only. So we got back to it this year: it feels good to have fun.

In other news, I feel better AND continue to test -ve for Covid. Also: was reunited with all my loves and three of my classes yesterday, took Nu to the dentist, bid Big A goodbye for a week, and just generally jumped right back in to post-conference life. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Happy Diwali!

May there be bright and sweet  happiness through the year!  

It was a long work day today, but we'd already had a pooja last night after birthday cake (with the whole fam), and another one tonight (just Nu, the pups, and me). 

Also, I love this picture of my babies' hands.

In "baby" news: At took some diyas and a box of kumkum to set up his own small altar at his place. Nu had to come in to work with me Friday and today (odd four-day weekend)--I expected him to be grumpy about it, but he was quite sweet and annotated the new Taylor Swift for me in the car. 

In "India" news: Lots of pictures of beautiful lamps and altars from home. One of the sweetest holiday videos this weekend was one of my parents and assorted aunts and uncles playing dumb charades at a party. It made me laugh (and also cry). 

Friday, October 21, 2022

there is no deadline

I started a letter when I was nine years old
then I began adding pictures of skies
wondering what to say

I've now moved to a place knit with passions
and second chances and curious panics
happy in some ways

my letter unfinished: words run down, hidden
like heartbeat or birds far from home 
I've stayed unwritten

Saturday, October 15, 2022

"L(ove)" Notes

  • L and I were both feeling feeble and fragile (L is post-Covid and I'm post-Covid-shot) so we went for a gentle stroll in the woods behind L's house. I thought this turn in the river was absolutely breathtaking. 
  • L is just the best at sharing her view and the river--she lets the whole street keep their kayaks in her yard.
  • Also, when I called my mom this morning, I got a whole carful of aunts and uncles, which was fun. When I told my mom that I was sick from the Covid booster, she said, "Oh, you did that? We're not even wearing masks over here, everyone is fine." My mom does her own thing, so I didn't say anything. However, when I archly relayed this story to L, she rightly pointed out that *I* had had a bunch of people in my house for pooja a week ago and that everyone has their own magical thinking about Covid. She's not a friend who always agrees with me 😃.
  • Nu needed some extra kindness today, and L was the one to give it to him when he brought L some salad for dinner.

Friday, September 30, 2022

all set to start

 Navaratri celebrations tonight!


"Take homes" (snack boxes and gift bags) and our miniature magic forest "Golu" are ready for guests!

Sunday, September 04, 2022

my joy


The day was bookended by their grandmothers' worried and in tears about them on the phone (Grandma S starting with texts in the morning, Ammama on a video call at night) so it felt especially nice to hang back and watch these two goof off as usual around the dinner table. 

I (have to) believe every little thing's gonna be alright.


Friday, September 02, 2022

(long)winded

My mom told me that her dad told her that Napoleon Bonaparte could will himself to wake at whatever time he wanted to by repeating the time firmly to himself before he went to bed. I don't know why this handy knack needs to come prefaced by Bonaparte because I would guess that most people (like me) don't particularly want to conquer swathes of Europe or be imprisoned. (Also, I just googled and can't find anything that supports this factoid. What did my early-twentieth-century grandfather in India know that the rest of the world doesn't?!? Ha.)

For the most part I can will myself to wake when I want to too. I'm up 5-ish most days, but I can make myself wake up whenever it is that travel or work necessitate. I always still set an alarm as a backup though.

Anyway, all of this to say, I'm not setting an alarm tonight and I'll wake up when I wake up. I do have an orientation to run tomorrow, but it only starts in the afternoon. The first week back after summer and sabbatical has been... a lot.

Pic: Fuzzy parking lot sunset clouds. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

India at 75

After a few writers shared it on FB, I've been reading this WONDERFUL collection of 75 writers on India's 75th birthday from PEN all day and bugging my cousins to read it too.

Each piece is so beautiful in its own way and every piece is so poignantly regretful about the way the promise of India--a secular, multicultural, pluralistic democracy--is sliding out of grasp. 

The slide towards authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism in my country of birth (and my country of residence) makes me sad on a daily basis. I nearly cried when one of my cousins said that since everything is only about Hindu values now, we wouldn't have the friends--Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Parsi, communist, atheist, etc.--we'd had if we were growing up in India today. 

I tried to share something from the PEN anthology, but how could I pick just one? 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

rakhi talk

I felt overtaken by the news yesterday, but it was a good day for my little family. 

At came over and the four of us headed to the movies (for the first time since the pandemic?). We saw Nope (I'm still processing). 

Back home, we had a nice puja for Rakhi. Traditionally, sisters tie rakhis on their brothers' wrists, but we've been bypassing gender and species rules for years now, so At, Nu, Scout, and Huck all promise to love and protect each other. I wish my sister and I had done this for each other instead of bemoaning the fact that we didn't have brothers all those years ago. We always did the love and protection--we should have gotten the bracelets too.

Pic: Nu's bracelets at breakfast this morning (I forgot to take photos yesterday). 

Friday, July 08, 2022

Make some noise (rattles, anklets, and whistles! O my)

More of Nu's kandi-craft... These little (they fit in the palm of my hand) star-shaped rattles make such a happy sound. The beads inside the rattle are heart-shaped. They're not visible, but it's very important to Nu that there are tiny hearts inside.

It reminded me a bit of the anklet in Silapadikaram The Story of an Anklet  and I was gratified that Nu remembered the plot-point about how there were rubies inside the heroine's anklet and only pearls in the queen's.  

We picked up Big A from the train station yesterday--horrifyingly for me and Nu who tend to be very diligent about masking--he hadn't worn a mask on the Amtrak, so we made him test at home. Also, WTH. I mean he seemed suitably chastened, but I thought we were on the same page about this.

And I got my Bluey car back! A couple I met on a shuttle in an airport parking lot a while ago told me about "Save A Deer" whistles, so I'm putting some on this weekend. Please stay away from me on the highway, deer!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

tiny celebrations

Loved this Louise Erdrich quote; I needed a reminder of sweetness and hope today. Life can be sweet even if it isn't so every minute. My reminders for today, yesterday, and tomorrow:

At UU today I learned that Opal Lee "the grandmother of Juneteenth" was 89 years old when she started the campaign to make Juneteenth (today!) a national holiday.

Last night when I called my dad to wish him for father's day, we talked for longer than usual, because he could hear me better than he has lately. That felt so lovely.

Big A will be back tomorrow, and we'll celebrate his Father's Day the day after that.

Monday, June 13, 2022

"it ain't over till it's over"


The end of the night came in the early hours of this morning. We were so tired and sweaty from so much time on the dance floor in the LA heat. The playlist was both Indian and Mexican (like my cousin the bride) and very... energetic.

Memories of our silliness and shenanigans are making me smile on this very long flight back to Michigan where I will resume my very responsible parental persona on arrival.

Pic: Photo booth with my baby cousins


 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

fuzzy

So much talking: a mix of nostalgia, memories, and future plans. 

(This included an all family summit on how do we solve a problem like the Nu. In my book, there is no problem, but I know this came from a place of love, so I listened and made the right noises.)

My memory of this day is as fuzzy as this pic, but I remember feeling so loved.

#LaterPost

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Sari: this is special

An early pic from the Henna and Sangeet part of the wedding before we got our henna done and before the rehearsed and unrehearsed singing and dancing got underway. 

I managed my sari ok. Nicole, you asked--and it really is six yards of fabric wrapped, pleated, tucked into a petticoat, and held together by safety pins. I did make the rookie mistake of not putting my shoes on first, so my sari (I'm in the center by the pillar) is not 'floor level' unlike the other saris in the picture. 

My favoritest part of this is how my favoritest aunt is just holding my hand so close because we've missed each other so much these last couple of years and it felt so good to be reunited.

#LaterPost

Friday, May 06, 2022

here and there

 

Look! It's my baby sibling and my ole parents looking extra cute in matching baby pink outfits to celebrate their first visit to a mall since the pandemic started. #TwoYears #Bangalore

It's Mothers' Day AND my mom's actual birthday on Sunday, and I wish I could be there for that!

Over here, I spent most of the day on camera and yet felt like I accomplished very little. Having to be ON so much meant I couldn't read/write/run/snack/clean and that's usually what keeps me feeling balanced/happy/healthy/content/okay-ish.

Anyway... onward!


Saturday, April 16, 2022

lunar halo

 I'm taking this hazy lunar halo to bed with me. A long day: long hike, long hours in the garden prepping, long international phone calls with my mom and a friend. 

But it's nearly 3:00 am, so I'm not surprised I don't have a lot of thoughts to string together.

Sad about Covid-related drama nixing our Passover Seder with J and M this evening; but "next year"--as they say.

Friday, April 15, 2022

mixed up


A form rejection and also a publication in a special place (Madras Courier); a dear colleague's retirement gauntlet and also a dear friend's new baby's babbles; my sister's envy-producing trip to Chennai and also her unenviable task of taking my dad to visit his brothers (plural!) who are very sick; a lovely day with Nu at work (a run, lunch, long commutes) and also a silly fall (as far as I can tell from collecting my things for a meeting) that gave me a bruise spanning the entire inside of my arm.

This week brought me so many mixed feelings.

Pic: The amaryllis kit that AK gave me for Christmas bloomed spectacularly--three giant blooms and one waiting in the wings.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

the bitterness of mustard seeds


"Men!" she says, rolling her eyes
sputters: "Think--even the Buddha causes suffering."

I heed her assembly of outrage
the mustard seeds going off like grenades in the pot

it is true, yes, no one is to blame
Where do you keep scars? Can he see or imagine hers?

See her desire colliding with his wisdom
see her as the collateral damage of this one's own theology 

He might say it's nothing personal--it's true 
perhaps exactly what's missing, in his insistence on moving on  

on nights there is thunder, there is rain
I feel this whole world as an angry woman I do not blame

Thursday, March 24, 2022

puppy snuggles and cricket memories

It was national puppy day, I think? I'm late as usual. I love this one with Huck's arm draped around Scout's shoulder... they're both lying on my feet (of course!),  which is why I couldn't get a fuller shot.

I've picked up the contradictory habit of watching movies in episode-length segments (it goes nicely with my other weird habit of watching multiple episodes of a show at one go). 

Anyway, finished watching "83" (in about four segments) and enjoyed how much old cricket lore came back to me as I watched it. It's a typical underdog sports story, and bit overdone in some parts, but I enjoyed it and yelped in surprise and delight when the real Kapil Dev made a cameo appearance.

Some of the nicest days in my childhood were when "pavillion" tickets to a match (passed on by cricketeer uncles/dad's work/well-connected family) showed up and we'd be allowed to skip school to spend all day at the stadium. Being stuck at school when a big match was on was the worst: kids these days don't know the painful suspense of finding out the score from the tuck shop radio or having to depend on friendly teachers who could bring us the latest from the teachers' lounge TV.

Friday, March 18, 2022

running, running

Having grad school feels today, I guess. It's application decision time everywhere, and students, friends, wards are waiting to hear where they've matched at grad schools and residencies and internships. I did my part by trying to get the admin stuff for MacCurdy (the women's house I advise) done. In fact, formatting it all for the board took so much time that I forgot to run before my massage. 

My (teensy) puritanical streak dictates that I do something physically strenuous before a massage. I have to "deserve" it. Well, I showed up in my undeserving state, and it was still a great massage. And I guess my muscles hadn't turned to slush overnight, as R, the masseuse, asked if I wanted to run a 5K with them. Yes! I like R a lot--they remind me of my Nu--and I'm happy we have plans to run together. 

Lots of cozy chats with people in different timezones (JG, mom, sis, cousins, BS) and finally finished Badhai Do, the gay Indian film streaming on Netflix that everyone loved so much. I went in wanting to like it, but it didn't grab me right away (maybe because of the small town affect and aesthetics?) but by the time the obligatory pride parade rolled around, I was (predictably) in tears. 

Dinner and cuddles with Nu, Scout, and Huckie and then off to read in bed. Big A is at work still (sigh/sob).

Pic: Another 2008 picture of Nu, which brought joy/guffaws to people who needed it today. One of my favorites.

simply

A cold day, but beautiful.  Walks with some of my favorite people: L, Big A,  me... Pic: An icy Red Cedar River