Tuesday, June 22, 2021

***When fear plays game with the mind***

Everyday I talk to my parents, mostly mom and some time dad. The topics are different with both of them and mostly unplanned. Specially with Papa, we have ventured into so many topics from politics, religion, books, people, relationships, friends and world. But with mom it starts simple.

I ask the usual questions about their breakfast, lunch and dinner , the calls they made to friends and families, conversation with my sisters and about their routine. What did you do? what did you eat, whom did you talk to and what did you read. If you have read my blogs you know my sister’s Amazon account is being used to the fullest for books. They have always been avid reader but Pandemic and lockdown has brought back reading more so in their life.

I show Amma my sarees, talk about my life and whatever is going on. There are days things don’t go as planned and we have been through awkward and unpleasant conversation too but thats the beauty of love and respect. You forget and forgive. We all are strong and very opinionated people. i think my mom is the mildest in a way, she will listen to everyone and sometime get hurt too but again she knows how much we love her so she bounces back with same affection and love. My dad could be hard to please sometime, but one thing for sure he adores his daughters. 

But today’s conversation I realized how difficult this situation is for them. not being able to go to Balaghat (our home town) whoever they feel like, feeling of being stuck. Slowly they both are giving up on “fear of Covid” being restless. “How long” has been in everyone’s mind but today I felt that the anxiety and fear is turning into something else. I hope we all find footing and survive this day and tomorrow brings some sunshine. This father’s day is not an exception by any means. I wish some love, happiness, calm and hope.

A bengal cotton for a simple BBQ dinner at old friend's home, it is refreshing to be able to do it.


 Found this Mr. Frog resting on my walk this morning. 
I must have walked through this 100s times. one day I decided to not talking on phone and noticing 




Saturday, June 19, 2021

You inspire me, you motivate me - Story of Long Island Tea - The Story session on HCAMTV

I wrote about a recording session in my previous post (read here) This is the story I talked about-

Year ago when I was a young mom I thought I had everything. A wonderful husband, in USA living our dream, comfortable life and two adorable kids. We bought our first home and moved to a new town. Life was just perfect. I decided to go to school and was looking for working full time. My younger son’s pre school teacher noticed speech delay and lack of social interaction and soon our long journey to special need had begun. Few year down the road he was diagnosed with Autism.  So much for my perfect world. It took me couple of year to really get a handle on the situation or so what I thought. In fact, even today sometimes l feel I don’t know what I am doing. Anyway, that complex journey for some other time.

In 2013 I got an email from a local Autism Resource Center about Mother’s retreat. Not knowing what it was, I asked for details. Got to know that one weekend in June the Moms with special needs children get together for 20 hours and live their life with moms just like them.

I have not spent a single night without my boys but the idea was very intriguing. Oh, there are other like me?? Nice -I decided to give it a try. 

I reached the venue on the day and then just couldn’t go in. What if I don’t enjoy it, I don’t know anyone, Will I fit in? I didnt know many Indian families with special needs child so was very sure that I will be only brown woman. I usually am adventurous  but that day I realized what anxiety really is. Made my SOS call to my husband and he really knew what to say to keep me going and encouraged to meet them. I walked in not knowing a single soul. They were checking-in all the moms; I got my deposit back with a smile and an instruction that the money doesn’t go home, it goes to the bartender. I didn’t drink much then but that comment with a smile made me comfortable. Rest of the evening, we all did our introductions and I didn’t feel alone.

 

By the night, we all were chatting  and dancing together like old friends. My first ever Long Island Iced Tea was sure very influential. After all I was just following the instruction - money to the bartender :) I very clearly remember telling the  same women that I feel like running away from all the responsibility of being a mom. She held my hand and said to call her when I want to do, she will gladly drive me to any place I wanted to go :) 

That one moment I realized I am NOT alone, I have friends who wont judge me. Strangely I didn’t even know them few hours ago. When I left the hotel next morning, again that feeling “I was NOT alone” stayed with me. I made some amazing friends who taught me what it is to have a non judgmental friendship.

Fast forward few years I founded Desi Moms Network  for Indian moms with special need children, inspired by those friends. They taught me - life is wonderful even with some difficulties if you have amazing friends. How it is to feel you are not alone, How important it is to pay it forward. How wonderful a smile can be for someone else, Smile because you never know you make someone’s day, extend your hand because they might have only you at that time. and dont forget to enjoy Long Island Iced Tea because sometime you meet the best people under its influence :)

An Irkal Saree with a khun blouse. I went to a musical meet after the live show. We had a turbulent evening at home. Anand's defiance at its peak. so needed to cool my head down. What works best than a beautiful summer musical evening, In person after 15 crazy months. We all were so happy seeing everyone in person. 




The Story tellers of the night 




Here is the link - please join me in celebrating friendship. Mine was third story and was at          29 Mins timer

 

 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

"I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends."

A Local town TV channel runs a program. Story telling with a topic.A friend introduced me to the organizer and soon I was in the list. The topic was very intriguing so I decided to participate. This will be a season finale episode and I know I am everything but patient, so agreed to do it even at the last minute :) I wore a nice saree and recorded the session. It will be live on Friday. You can watch it later as it will be available on tube channel later too. 

 Yesterday was a very special day. Made a promise to the man 26 yrs ago around the fire to be his partner. We both decided to take half day off from work for lunch outing. Something came up at his work, he chose to decline but I chickened out for lunch as there was a tiny possibility Anand could come for dinner. I didn’t want to miss the chance to go out as the family. So asked miyan to resume work and I went to have lunch with two Saree friends :) funny the husband ate left over for Anniversary lunch and I ate a fabulous meal thanks to my wonderful friends. I came back home with full heart and stomach. 

 A little rest and got dressed again to go out with the boys. In a long long time we all had happy and fun dinner out . The food was awesome and first born decided to pay for the celebration. Our outings are very tricky but I think the whole universe conspired to make me a happy woman. A simple cotton for the lunch. 

 LAST PROGRAM OF THE SEASON! COMMON GROUND STORYTELLING 
 This month's story theme "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends." 
 You are invited to join our last Live program of the season This Friday, June 18th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. with host Cheryl Perreault 
Live Program on Youtube hosted by HCAM-TV Viewers are invited to join as listening audience and also welcome to share story-related comments on Chat. 
 Guest storytellers will be in attendance Live in the Zoom Gallery to listen and cheer one another on. Each guest will be introduced briefly before their pre-recorded story is shown on Livestream.
 Hoping you can join Friday night for one more round of Virtual/Live Common Ground Storytelling ! Preview YouTube video Common Grounds: June 18, 2021
My lunch was everything one can ask for in life - fun, laughter, love, respect














Find your tribe and trust them, let them contribute to make it better

The first born is trying to find his place in this world and our conversations and arguments are intense, intriguing and interesting.

He is trying to find a balance between a practical and an  impulsive approach. His mom and dad have similar values but different attitudes . Poor kid is a perfect example of the conflicting philosophy in many areas of life.

It is interesting how as parents we don’t have answers to everything our offsprings need. I don’t have any experiences from my 20s that might help in guiding him.  Whatever I suggest I have either read, observed or borrowed from someone else’s experience. But I do have people who have been through these scenarios . All I can do is connect him to those real life experiences.

He is looking for a place to live and I took him to see a friend who is in real estate business. The conversation flew seamlessly and he could explain  to Ajey so many things. More importantly my son took it in the right direction. I wonder if I had said the same thing, would it have been as effective?

One thing I am so happy about is my village. I am very fortunate to have such a diverse set of friends in my life. They continue to enrich not only my life but my offspring benefits too. If you are one of them please know your are much appreciated, more than I can express in words. I am grateful and so glad our paths crossed.

The drive was fun both ways. I hope my son learnt something from me too. Build you village and pay it forward - this never gets old.

May your day be brighter and kinder. 



On the way back home we stopped at Trader Joe's - I sure can teach him few things about grocery shopping :) 
He is so mini me in so many ways.






Friday, May 28, 2021

Third time is a charm :)

Last night was special in a way, I was excited and looking forward to chatting about a new opportunity to make a difference. A dear friend initiated this conversation, she is part of the board. They were looking for a new member, she put my name in the hat. It was somewhere in Oct 2020. and then again it started in March this year. As of now I am a first Desi on one board and two of them had one member, a dad, before me.

By this time I was already selected for two other non profit boards. I have seen the change in special-needs world. People are more aware of minorities and do want to know about other communities. Diversity is becoming a new trend.  A woman in the saree sure was a novelty few years ago but now I am expected to be in a saree. A dear friend lovingly said I normalize the saree in Boston. 


Yesterday I had to meet few board members. I had a very weird day. I was very restless and couldn’t focus on anything. It was not because of the meeting but somehow I wasn’t in my right place. After work I decided to mediate before getting ready for the call. before I knew I was asleep and woke up 30 might before the call. Rushed for the shower and took out a simple Ikat cotton. I smile writing this thinking about the panic I had. 

The conversation was awesome and I was very energized. They were kind and curious and I had a very good feeling about the whole conversation. Even with the technology glitch I encountered. The Microsoft Team decided not to support me. One of them was very kind to set the Zoom meeting right away. I was embarrassed to the core but they quickly moved on to important stuff. A very intriguing and thought provoking conversation ended with” What would I do with my position on the board”. Now you can imagine how much I must have talked :)

I went to bed being thankful for these opportunities where I can make a difference. I can still not do things for Anand, I am always behind but some other mom gets benefit from my journey that itself is motivating.

A simple cotton Orissa Ikat saree, An online implusive shopping. Grey just like my mood yesterday. 

Have a simpler and kinder weekend. Do one thing just for you. I am going to make a cup of Chai and listen to one ghazal of Jagjit Singh.

This flower was on my hair. I go to water my friends plant and got this one for my Thursday evening :) the amount of buds on that bush I am all taken care for another month I think
This email from an aunt explains beautifully what I want to do  ( or should be doing) with my board position. these msgs keep me going. Please let your friends and family know (who has a child with needs) they are NOT alone.



Saturday, May 22, 2021

A conversation about Mental Health - Stay Tuned on "Dhai Akhar Voice" on You tube

4 fierce ladies come together to talk about various topics and before you know the 30 mins conversation turns into two hours. Busy lives get in the way and we promised to meet again. Zoom and virtual meet ups – our new life.The conversation resulted in some meaning conversation and ideas. Stay tuned.

One Sunday afternoon we met to record something about mental health. Cannot wait to bring that to you soon. Stay tuned. During my research the statistics were eye opener. We knew things were not so good but the data makes it real.

I used various resources including KFF.org (Kaiser family foundation) and CDC and WHO.

The COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for affecting many people’s mental health negatively.

 

( in USA)

One in 10 adult reported anxiety or depressive disorder before covid, the number rose to 1 in 4, difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%),increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%)and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.

2020 saw 41% increase in anxiety than 11% pre-covid era.

 

In July, The Washington Post reported that one out of four women who became unemployed during the pandemic said it was because of a lack of child care, “twice the rate among men.” mothers, as many are experiencing challenges with: school closures lack of childcare and loss of income.

With vaccination in full swing we should work on –

Encouraging people to get vaccinated and seek health for mental health.

May is mental health month so I decided to wear green to raise awareness while talking about this difficult year in our life.

Please be kind, support and help, Check on each other, Pay it forward.

Text/call  two people once a week to let them know they are not alone.

Honored to be associated with this wonderful production.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHiBt2B2-j9zYbc-6xeaxDA








 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Fear is the strangest thing- do you have a grip on your own?

 Desi Moms Network - A community for Desi Moms with Special need children, if you know anyone who needs help, please connect them to me.

This morning I woke with strangest feelings. Actually everyday brings different emotions in general. But now a days our Mornings begin with whats app msgs. The grim situation is India is worsening everyday.

These msgs can decide direction of the day. I have been getting better at keeping things in right perspective but some day are just not right days. 

I have started “Meet the Mom and learn” series for the group - This Saturday it was my turn to share my life stories with the Moms in the group. For years I have been trying to but cannot change myself in one aspect - procrastination. Somehow I work better under the deadline pressure. So that was the same case - yah, It will get done, almost there and all those usual excuses. 


So this morning was one of those. When I needed to put my thoughts in line, composed and organized they were all over.

The difficult news carry the weight of not only its own but from the past too and I think thats what happened. It sure did and I burst into tears during a phone conversation with a friend. I usually am good in handling things and my sure brain works in trying times. But this time I was just sucked into its game. I was very fine right after that. Facing my own fear and what if and what will I do kind of thoughts - they did play their dirty game but soon I had the handle on things. I did what I am good at. Reached out and learn some more. 


and then It was time to work on my presentation. I think I did okay. After that went to see a friend near by, and then did some more work because while walking back from hers I found something else to add. off course thats how it works. right :)

Finally an hour before the presentation the slides were up and then it was time to get ready and have dinner and then the game was on.

A very old Saree came out because I didnt want to deal with hassle of ironing and needed an easy drape.

My sister's work trip always benefited me. This is from my No-3 sister Varsha's work trip. A Gujrati Gota Patti Saree.


I so needed this kid to show me the fun and gundagardi #cutenessoverload