Thursday, June 18, 2015

I love my Village

Original post from Saree Pact

“It takes a village is a proverb that leverages the cultural context and belief that it takes an entire community to raise a child. A child has the best ability to become healthy adults if the entire community takes an active role in contributing to the rearing of the child.”

I have considered myself a lucky woman when it comes to great friends and relationships. This blue saree is a tribute to my village. Today I want to write about some very special mothers who are part of my village.

Anand was 8 when we finally got a name for that puzzle. I tried to deny, refuse, wish and pray that one fine day I will get up and it will all be gone. I was just numb and in a very dark place. Being mother is hard in itself, seeing your child struggle, feeling helpless is even worse. You don’t know whom you should turn to.

This is the time Autism Resource Center extends a helping hand. The special moms hold your hand and help you navigate the unknown territory. Sue, Cid and many more do the wonderful job paving the path for new moms.

So it was 2013, I signed up Anand for a camp and while navigating the site I got to know about “mother’s retreat”. All I knew it’s a 21 hours stay and fun for moms. I remember driving over an hour and when I reached the hotel I sat in the parking lot thinking if I should go in or just go back home. I had never met those mom’s, didn’t know anything about any of them, and knew nothing about mother’s retreat. Finally went in and after an hour or so I forgot that I didn’t know anyone. That is one funny thing about “this village” no one knows you but they are the one who get you without saying anything.

The evening and night progressed and I got to know some incredible mothers. They had lot more than my plate but they are the first ones to offer you help, suggestions. They inspire me with their strength, they amaze me with their kindness, and they motivate me to fight more for my son, they encourage me to learn more, they persuade me to keep going and never give up. They hold your hand when you get tired, they cheer you up, and they cry with you and offer you their shoulder. And one day if I decide to run away from everything, they promised they would drive the car for me.

They have lived Autism when there was no Internet, no support, no help. But they made sure others get it. They teach, support, breath, live, learn, coach, talk Autism and I cannot find any adjectives to explain what they do and again I wonder – “how do they do it”.

This was my third mother’s retreat. Every year I reconnect old friends and make some new and comeback rejuvenated. We eat, talk, drink, laugh, cry and dance (except this year) together. Cid DeLeo, please make sure they get better DJ next year.

My Saree is tribute to Sue's energy, passion and knowledge, Cid’s willingness to do more for us,Cheryl's knowledge and spirit and Hope-Marie's enthusiasm to do more for her kids. And each and every mother in that village who keeps working for a better life for her kids.
My village - please know i cannot express my gratitude in words.. Love and hugs to all of you..

And a special thanks to Becky for this sign.

PS. Sue was very kind to put my blog on the Center's blog page -

Franklin Sepac

Another post from Saree Pact

We all do we need to do, ought to, should and have to and sometimes we wish to do.

But sometimes we just get tired, feel like giving up. This is the time you hold on to goodness around you. That simple joy “you are not alone” keeps you going and help you get through the day.

My this saree is a tribute to one of those set of people. Franklin SEPAC, Special Education parents advisory council. These are the ladies who volunteer to put many things together. They have everything to keep them busy what each of us do plus some more but still they spend their time organizing activities to educate special parents. They are the one to whisper in your ears - " you are not alone".

I went to a workshop last Wednesday night. I do wear saree often but wouldn’t have draped one for SEPAC meeting if not for Saree Pact. That evening I was thinking what would be a better “thank you” than writing about these ladies. I have met them just couple of times but know that they understand me more than many of people who meet me often. They understand and listen and listen without any judgment.

Hats off to you – Sara, Sarah, Holly, Caryn, Jennifer, Jen, Nancy and anyone I missed.

About the Saree - a simple saree Bought by my sister Varsha from Surat. very easy to drap. after getting the dinner ready for the boys I had to leave in 15 minutes. So this saree was a perfect pick with touch of blue for Autism Awareness. Thanks to Saree Pact Pandey boys know that Saree means a picture. So when I got out of the room Anand offered he would take a pic. The first picture outside of our house is from Anand, The second is selfie in SEPAC office and third one is taken by my man when I got back home that night (who was still awake wink emoticon. 3 shades of Jaya in one frame - Mother, Jaya and a Wife..

The group agreed to be in the picture with me. some of them are my FB friends and have seen those colorful Saree pictures. so were not very surprised when I told them about why I was wearing a saree, Thank you ladies.. You all rock. #Gratitude

The Last day of school and inclusion in MY class room.

The orginal post on facebook -
Today's saree is nothing more than a simple Georgette saree bought in Bangalore.
It is blue saree I couldn't remember last week and I had to cheat and you all helped - oh yes, a big thank you for that.
Today I had my presentation - a last class of this course and my subject was - "Let's see the world".
my favorite thing on earth - Talk about various cultures and customs and rituals. it makes me happy.
So I decided to wear a saree, a simpe blue saree, and you all know now - Blue for Anand ,Blue for Autism in April.
So I wore the saree and first thing I hear from my son how pretty I looked.
Autism limits our life in many ways but it doesn't stop my son in showing his love and appreciation. I got a big nice hug, a warm smile and a promise to be in the picture.
Here I am in frame with both my boys, OK Ajey just joined to have fun with selfie stick. So did my classmates. who can say NO to a farewell picture smile emoticon

And a big thank you to all of you - I could wear all that red with blue just because #100SareePact showed me to mix and match.. a mix and match blouse some day very soon…

Any blue is a blue :) bcoz you said so.

The Original post is here on Facebook.

I cheated today and you have to help me out here because you are my friend.
So this morning after a gym trip I had only 25 minutes to get ready with shower, breakfast and leave home. We were to see Dr. A. I decided to wear a Saree, a BLUE Chiffon with some work on it. After I draped the saree I felt it was "Too Much" with that work. Somehow it just didnt make me feel happy. Now imagine the chaos, I have 3 more blue sarees right there in closet but they all are not "wore because just felt like" sarees. and I found this simple cotton Ma Papa bought from a weaver in Mehandiwada couple of years ago. I know it is NOT blue but somewhat close to it right? Please please say yes because I really wanted to wear a blue. Wore it with a very blue necklace, a great friend Jayanthi got me. and the day was made because boys agreed to be in the frame with me.
Read more about Anand and us

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

100 Saree Pact - Blue and Autism Acceptance and opening your world and heart..

Some time you just wonder how mysteriously things workout or don’t work out in our life. We meet people to love them or just regret meeting them. Some things even make sense after years and may be decades.
I am putting together an invitee list for an upcoming event and the thought came to my mind. I have never done anything like on my own before but here I am doing it not for a cause, doing it for a friend whom I hardly know. Yes that’s what Saree Pact did that to many of us. Thrown together in a strange relationships – friendship, mentor, support, strength and sometime nothing more than some smiles.  Some jokes made us laugh, some comments made us think and some of them send us soul-searching.
We question our beliefs, we support the causes close to our heart, we hold each other’s hand and we laugh together.
On top of everything what stood out to me what how we opened our heart and world to others. I have been writing about Autism and our life and Anand. Never thought that I will make any impact someone else’s life other than ours. I wanted to make awareness and acceptance part of our and everyone’s life. But at some point I just stopped, was thinking is it really making sense to anyone or is it really making any difference. I wondered if I am putting my family out there too much. But then Saree Pact happened and it was April and all of sudden the April, Autism and Bluesarees were out there. I got some new audience and new people who started walking with me without knowing me, they were there to hold my hand, cheer me up when I was down, supported me without knowing I needed one, encouraged my sons and even better -learnt more about Autism and opened their heart and mind to some more differences. When someone posted picture of her kids volunteering in school for special need children, that where I thought- some time it is needed to put your thought in words for someone to read it, listen to it. It is OK to "expose" my family our struggles so someone somewhere might benefit from that.
Many of them just didnt wear blue they opened their world to some people who really need the goodness. some more acceptance and some more acknowledgement and some more thoughtfulness.
So even if it is not your cause, open your heart to something new, someone new.. thats what the Saree Pact taught me.
Amen to a better world..Thank you my friend, your thoughtfulness is whats that count..