Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Friday, April 02, 2021

Daffodils Etc.

It's spring in England, and my mother visits,
So there is her readiness in colonial desire 
like urgent rain--where squandered things 
find great reception. Electronic billboards! 
Gargoyles in Oxford! Museums are free!
Hunger satisfies easy when you're eager.

Until one day at the grocery checkout she sees
daffodils--papery, plastic-wrapped, "solitary"
not a "never-ending line," "dancing," or "gay."
And Amma--at least a third-generation learner 
of Wordsworth's praise--is first silent in disdain,
her outstretched words rebound as if swindled:
"This? This is what he made such a fuss about?"

In her contempt, I hear comparisons--to the
languor of unkempt jasmine, lotus, plumeria... 
the warm, unlocked softnesses of oleanders, 
parijaths, ixoras... In her derision there hides 
history's list of pain, the sharp bite of the ruler 
when she couldn't say "jocund" right (at least).
And Babu: fish and chips were disappointing too.


I first wrote about Amma's reaction here--so many years ago.

Picture is from Daffodil Hill at the Radiology Gardens earlier this week; they seem to have been bigger this time last year?

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, October 05, 2020


So I'm coming back, I'm coming, I 

run rabbit tongue 'neath rabbit teeth.

Sift half a laugh through salty hands.

Lift away grand new memories, but

only say: So-sorrySo-sorrySo-sorry.

Remember when I traveled--was it last

winter--and you said I'm with you, but 

you aren't me, never will be. I still bring 

prayers to this plague. Will sing through 

whispering airways: O-stayO-stayO-stay. 


Saturday, September 19, 2020


And we're off for the day, making the trip to Yellow Springs to see MIL who's had a few surgeries in the six months of the pandemic. Four hours there and four hours back, and the plan is to return home later tonight so we don't expose MIL to our germs or pick up icky hotel cooties ourselves.

(I've packed an extra change and puppy supplies, just in case!)

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Other Side

These signs mandating face coverings on MSU's campus (indoors and outdoors!) have just popped up: I'm so happy to see them; I'd be so much happier if all the panting runners and cyclists would wear masks already. 

In other news, while waiting for my 11:00 am meeting to start, I snatched about 40+ minutes to do some work on a writing project and that felt really, really, really good. 

I didn't get a lot done, and I definitely didn't get great work done, but I got started! I'm glad I didn't let the lack of scheduled time or the fact that that the clock wasn't precisely aligned at the top of the hour throw me off (this is a ridiculous but real procrastinating trigger for me and has been since grade school days). A good lesson to remember for tomorrow if our departmental meeting goes on for longer than planned and I have some magic minutes before my noon meeting. 

And I'm getting in some sustaining one-on-one time with the human kids--the alternating walk-talks have hit a rhythm and I watched a couple of good movies--Misery with At the Stephen King fan and Never Let me Go with Nu who at 12 read the Ishiguro novel last month. (Yes, bragging; sorry! Byeee.)

Monday, July 06, 2020

Food (related) notes

These are the first of At's tomatoes and he has high hopes about serving them with breadcrumbs and mozzarella whenever they he happens to be ready.

I watched a few eps of the new Masterpiece/PBS orientalist fantasy Beecham House--somehow simultaneously overblown and underdone. William Dalrymple is a historical consultant on the show and it's directed by Gurindher Chadha, but despite those two it's really, really bad. I got so irritated almost immediately that the hindi dialogue gets mentioned but not translated e.g., "X speaks in Hindi"--What did he say?! How could it not matter?! Anyway, it inspired "Anglo-Indian" elements at dinner prep time--the peach chutney, ghee toast, and curry-poached cod came together from whatever we needed to use up before our Imperfect Foods box arrives tomorrow and the steamed veg was tongue-in-cheek homage to stereotypical Brit cuisine/me running out of time and imagination.

At dinner, it got us talking about trips to England (especially last year's "Cosmopolitan England" Spring term trip) and all the good meals we've eaten there (some straight out of Sainsbury's). I miss travel.

Friday, June 19, 2020

It's getting hot in here (SO HOT)

I've just embraced the non-AC-having, south-facing double-storied-windows-and-skylight having solarium as my personal beach: working on my tan, reading trashy novels, drinking cold drinks, and falling asleep in a sweaty heat haze. I guess it's not as hot as last summer because of the tarp over one skylight. which we're not fixing until next spring? I mean--I don't know if we'll get to a beach this summer. So I have some travel books up there too (Greece!). Sometimes I'll text the family chat to say, "at the beach--bring your books and drinks" and might get a kid or two to read with me for a while, but no one loves this sweaty lounge spot more than I do.

And yes--it always makes us chuckle that Nelly's transparent play to get women to take their clothes off has somehow been my (conservative, India-raised) mom's favorite summer song since At was a baby. But yes, it's a good idea to take off some clothes.

And it IS getting so hot--I was going to cook, but it turned out that we got some pizza from Art's instead.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Notes on 'camp'

Quick overnight trip to Chicago. (In classic irreverent fashion, the human kids called it the great Corona Virus Vacation.) Actually, it was a birthday trip organized by Big A as I love long chatty road trips with all the lovies, having carpet room-service picnics, and falling asleep to a range of deep snores.

As I texted KB who was incredulous that I'd do this to myself--it's the closest I'll ever come to camping.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

So Bae

I'd taken the BART in to the city when I arrived, but I was running a bit late and took a taxi back to the airport. I'm so glad I did! I got to see the sunrise over the bay, have a great conversation with my Eritrean cabbie, and got an upgrade at the gate from a kind, young woman who called me "milady." OK.
Late yesterday I was elected caucus chair for the year, and I'm not sure if that deserves congratulations or commiserations yet. Not bad for a day which started with me and my roomie EH poring over the weather app and trying to figure out what the wavy gray lines were. (Fog, duh.)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Madras Madcaps

SR and I have been taking this picture we call the "Madras Madcap" series at NWSA because we both spent time in Madras and like to wear hats and things:

            2019                                        2018                             2017

Friday, November 15, 2019

Panels, panels everywhere

For someone who was was dismayed about three nights away and was ready to leave the day they arrived, I ended up having a pretty good conference. I went to every panel I could and learned so much. Special love to MG's activism panel and the Kashmir Studies Collective.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

DTW ----> SFO

I took the shuttle to the airport in the ice and snow sometime around 4 (am) and Delta then spit me out in San Francisco and I had to hurry to the Hilton in Union Square to grab my NWSA badge (but it turned out I hadn't registered!) and I had to pay for registration (but I couldn't find the card I wanted to use and thought I had lost it and needed to report it lost, but it tuned out to be there all along!) and then I couldn't find the room I was supposed to be presenting in... but I finally did and I somehow presented, answered questions and then took myself off for some quiet and a tea. It was as much of a jumble as this here picture: Christmas tree, skating rink, homeless person on the wet grass, and all.

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, November 10, 2019

Tiny Dragons

With L and Nu at the MSU Global Festival, where Nu could have gotten their passport stamped at all the booths, but decided they were too grown up 🙄. We  had a good time, nevertheless. I found lots and lots of stocking stuffers--all the proceeds go to funding international studentships, so I didn't even feel any guilt.

The dragons are also a tiny way of celebrating the new D.A. of San Fran, the lovely and kind Chesa Boudin, whom I knew way back when in Oxford. I'd been paying attention to Chesa's campaign since he aired it on his personal FB page months and months ago. I tried to tell At, but he didn't pay attention until Bernie Sanders endorsed him. I hope it teaches At a nice lesson about paying attention to his mama 😛.

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."


Sunday, October 13, 2019

Heading back...

and driving really slow, so we don't run out of battery power, and I'm staying/playing in the car with Scout and Huck as the others go get dinner (Popeyes!) while Bluey the E-Tron charges.

Why do electric cars cost so much? Why aren't there more EV charging stations? Why does it feel like it's more difficult when you're trying to do the right thing?


Monday, September 02, 2019

Labor Day/Boss Day

We had no plans for Labor Day, so armed with a hardcore DSA poster, an excellent batch of biriyani, an ironic floral/pastel mug meant for someone's grandma, and all the baby sibs, (who address him as "Nana" in the one word of Telugu they do know), we made the trip up to Alma for At's Boss Day. I love my babies. The babies will save us.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

An Epistemology

The planes and birds just fly past
the long conversations
from our history

In the doorways amongst trees
we are getting bigger by
one more breath

With loud shouts, are shared maps
for the future, showing us all
the three ways to survive