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

Saturday, September 18, 2021

people-ing

A long walk-talk with KB yesterday; I begin to feel I can handle the world again.

Early morning chat with my sister; figuring out all the things on our list for this year--many of them impossible without a passport (which I don't yet have as everything's so backed up). But she makes plans seem possible anyway.

Midday yoga in the forest with Nu and L on either side of me; a sort of peace washes over me.

Garden party at our place this evening; the comfort of sharing food with CF, SB, SD, and AH and others. 

Talking to strangers on an FB Golden Doodle page about Scout's difficulty walking; lots of new things to obsess over and bring up with doc/E.R. visit in 48 hours.

Baby cousin K and her partner J arrive tomorrow; I get to spoil them. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

instant classic


I smile every time I look at this picture of mom and her siblings weak with laughter (I bet it was something my uncle said) at my aunt's 60th birthday weekend.

And I love that this picture was taken by my baby sis who dutifully took tons of pics because I couldn't be there.

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, August 30, 2021

check-in

I video chatted dad for his birthday last night (by myself, it was already morning in Bangalore) and this morning (with the rest of the fam). Video calls are better than audio-only calls, because it's easier for dad to understand what we're saying when there's visual context. I wish I could have been there. I miss my parents.

<<<Amma sent me this picture of a long ago beach day--I guess the beach has always been a happy place for me. When I showed this picture to At and Nu, they chortled at tiny me. One of them claimed: "It's like you took your face and put it on a child's body." I mean, I was a child once.

It's EM's birthday too (just goes to show how astrology doesn't work as she's nothing like my dad!) and BS's first day as a prof. so I took them cake to sweeten their special days.

The rest of the day has been little fires and email fire-fighting and finishing up final edits and diagnostics... classes start tomorrow! I'm my usual mixture of yikes+yippee.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

I find myself falling




I have tried falling down
the way you used to 
whole flights at a time
it's impractical

how it now reminds me 
of my grandfather
atoning what he'd done
--it's typical

what you did for laughs
he did because 
he'd left mother crying
made invisible

all the mislaid expiations
in search of love
where we are, the border
of admissible 





Pic: I turned in some stuff in on... Submittable. Ha.

Friday, July 30, 2021

today in vignettes

An early morning walk with L after SO MANY days. Between her travels and mine, it's been way too long. The Radiology Gardens (where I snapped this pic) had a fundraiser, and we bought a giant planter of coleus each and lugged it around with us.

At took me to the car dealership earlier in the morning to drop Bluey off for a two-year service. When the check-in person asked if I needed a loaner or a ride back home, I felt so proud telling them that I "brought my son." The son in question was amused that when he stopped to get gas, I hopped out to help him, but was so lost around all the slots and buttons after two years of plugging in Bluey.

A boozy cousin B called as we were getting dinner on the table. A bunch of cousins are getting together at his new beachhouse in Pondicherry and he MISSED me. I've been seeing pics on cousin chat since, and everyone is talking about a big reunion in December. Today I'm pretending (even to myself) that this might actually happen.

And today is officially the day Nu picked their new name. We had tried a name that started with "N' for a while. But then one day as I was getting dressed, I saw Big A's money clip with his initials, and the thought that At would be able to use it one day slipped into my mind...  I wanted that for Nu too. Nu's new name begins with "A" too, so they'll still be the "Baby A" who debuted here in 2007. And even better, it kind of starts the same way as their old name, so I can course correct before I reach the end and avoid slip-ups. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

our mother would hate this poem

I dreamed I was listening to my
parents' fight from decades ago 
when they were fighting always
and always passive-aggressively

my father sounding patient
my mother sounding smart

neither of them listening to each other...
from our room: my sister and I listened,
grading them--not on how right or wrong 
they were, but how not mean they were.

our mother lost our ratings
for our father lost the fights

afterwards, he wouldn't talk to her for days...
every time she happened to be in the room,
he'd be whistling or humming something 
to show how he didn't care and didn't hurt--

like at all--not even a little bit
even we kids didn't buy it



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, July 10, 2021

Loveliness


It has been magical. This gathering of happy faces and hugs... congratulations, commiserations, reminiscences, and sweet sillinesses. Turned out, seeing A+M getting married was the cure to my pandemic year.

So much group dancing practice, group dancing, dancing with Big A. Turns out I still remember all the words to the Spice Girls, and when the DJ slipped into Bohemian Rhapsody for a minute, Big A and I promptly decided... it was a slow dance. Ha. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

weather or not

Rain again today; lots of it! But we snuck some other stuff in there as well. 

Met up with DD and TD who are visiting Lansing after 15 months for a walk outside and a catch up. 

Pride Parade was rained out, but the kids and I went to Salus Center's open house and my gay babies got some merch to supplement the stuff they got at our in-home pre-Pride party yesterday. 

I made "leftover rice" for dinner (rice from Indian takeout; bean and corn salsa + tomato, cilantro, and onion salsa from our pre-Pride-party's "rainbow nachos;" veggie sausage, seasoned potatoes, frozen veggies, a pinch of garam masala, and a couple of teaspoons of ghee... voila).

Then the weather alert system started going off on the radio and our phones, and tornado sirens started up too, so we all trooped into the basement (Scout and Huck anxious, Big A needing to sleep before work) for an hour and half of weather-mandated family time 😅😂.

[Pic: We found this highly apropos duo of national flags outside Salus! My parents were so delighted by this photo 😇.]

 

Monday, June 21, 2021

old school laughter


to sit down with strangers talking talking
talking, the sun stunning in its brilliance 
like our laughter, sounding like we never 
heard of hurt, happy as an escaped key
I start, you finish, then we restart again  

the sisters say: "quiet now, settle down"
they turn their backs, snort their grace
and then we're off on one more round... 
odd how though it's made only of sound
laughter never loses its meaning--or place

[Pic: Waterlilies at MSU Radiology Gardens]

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Fathers' Day*

The kids and I called my dad last night (already Fathers' Day in India) while my sister was making him a "full English breakfast." Everyone was super excited and happy and talking over each other and couldn't hear very well. My dad legit couldn't hear us, I suspect 😞.

At and Nu took Big A brunch in bed and got him a couple of cans of the beer he likes and a very VSCO beer cozy. They said all they knew walking into the store was that the kind Big A likes had fish on the logo... they nailed it.

Pic: My one fancy nursery planter splurge didn't make it too long before it was colonized by a family of house sparrows in the most beautiful, mossy nest I've ever seen. But now the baby birds have flown and I am going to see if I can rejuvenate the planter.

* I'm going to punctuate it this way and not this.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

third wave


A lovely start to the day, going up the riverwalk with L... Then a chat with my sister who said that a third wave is expected in India by the end of the year... After that, everything felt very off for the rest of the day. 

I made a summer soup for dinner in the InstantPot (stove's still not working), but left everyone to their own devices and put myself to bed with a bar of chocolate.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

a two-hike kinda day

I needed TWO hikes today.  

First was the usual one with L, getting to the MSU gardens just as the sun was beginning to skim the tops of the waterlilies and set off the frogs like blobby, plopping fireworks. 

Later, I managed to somehow ruin the stove when some lentils boiled over. Now I wouldn't be able to make the raw mango dal, a summer staple from my childhood. I made do by microwaving the chunks of mango and adding it to some canned cannellini beans. A heaping spoonful of turmeric, the tadka I'd made earlier, and a good potato masher... and I could imagine it came from a kitchen long, long ago untouched by canned beans, a potato masher, or a microwave. L showed up like a lifesaver bearing an electric skillet she had in her basement, and I used it to make aloo parathas later. 

I'm glad I made it to Ted Black Woods with BS after all that. The woods were lovely and deep--as was talking to B. I needed that.

(L doesn't mask outdoors, B does; I am ok taking my cues from whatever my companions are comfortable with now.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

minding the gap




I think about this a lot; and I feel a lot of guilt and sadness. The panic some of my school friends in India are feeling about their kids being ineligible for vaccinations (because too young and thus unprioritized in the face of vaccine shortages) hurts even though I can access vaccines for my own kids.

I'm also dismayed--In an interconnected world, none of us is safe until all of us are safe.


Saturday, May 29, 2021

At's graduation redux!


At is in graduation robes again, the sibs are wearing ties, we got grandparents and family on FaceTime/WhatsApp...

It was a bit chaotic and didn't go completely as planned, but this international photoshoot is the closest we're getting to a graduation party this year.

🙂

Saturday, May 22, 2021

passing/passage


The blue blob is me with Scout's face wedged into my hip and what seems to be his preternaturally elongated body is actually part Huck. 

At went to Alma to visit friends (he's post vaccination and also an adult ¯\_(ツ)_/¯); Big A went to work; Nu had been irritable and took themselves off to bed early.

So this was me for the rest of the evening as I started and finished a novel--Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half--in one long gulp. I read the parts about passing breathlessly--racial passing + gender/trans passing. And it began to feel like being an immigrant is also somewhat like passing--in the sense that you leave an old self behind, propelled as much by necessity and accident as by some form of selfishness/self-centeredness. 



Saturday, May 15, 2021

shit shit shit


The first signal is my head turned 
sideways, listening for him
my dad too, listens to me,
he warns me of shit.

This was literal: he identified each 
congealed hazard on the trail.
"Look out for the dog shit,"
he said. "OK--horse shit."

Or sometimes even: "I don't know, 
kanna--some kind of shit here."
Huge oceans connect us now;
my finger tenses on redial.

------------
Red Cedar River, this morning with L.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

dissonance

On the one hand: Getting to hang out with dear (vaccinated) friends at a brewpub (first time in 14 months); planning to get Nu to a walk-in vaccination clinic this weekend now that vaccinations have been approved for the 12 and above set.

On the other hand: Whatsapp messages on cousins' chat sharing fundraisers for treatment for people they personally know; Facebook posts about relatives in India sick and dying.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

unsee, undo


The urn, a yearning
pressed into bruise
into battle

I know this word, I 
mouthed it until I 
learned its taste 

Save me;  save my 
past--words, bring 
me to rest

My heart breaks and breaks and breaks: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/21/system-has-collapsed-india-descent-into-covid-hell