Saturday, July 21, 2018

My Dad - My Hero..

My superman papa turns 80 today. And I so would want to be him if I reach that age.
Cooking wasn’t my mother’s passion, and our meals were simple with occasional treats. But I had never seen my dad complaining of anything on the plate. He would simply say – “Malik (their nick name for each other – darling or honey) namak dedo” pass me some salt. Achar (pickle) made up for everything missing. He always said be grateful for the food on the plate and eat without complaining. Unlike him, his daughter was a “chatori” (food lover).
I was 13, going to high school and my mom, who was a teacher, got transferred to a middle school, teaching morning shift. That changed the whole kitchen dynamics, my dad took over the morning prep and I started cooking. He is the one who showed me how to use a pressure cooker. When people wonder how can I make soft and beautiful tons of roti’s in one go, I joke it’s the years of practice. But it’s my dad who made me a better cook. I started cooking and my quiet eater dad turned into very vocal admirer. He never ever criticized what I cooked and always found just the perfect words to appreciate what I did. I know I cook with love and passion but it was my dad I cooked for. The expression on his face were the biggest award for me those day. He became the reason I took interest and experimented. The food lover in me observed cooks around me and applied that in my mom’s kitchen and he became my sole “taster”. Ashish took over his role once I got married but my inspiration remains the same.. cook for respect, love and passion.

My dad is not only my hero, he is reason behind so many thing I do and believe in. As a stubborn daughter, I didn’t agree to some of his philosophy then but now I am so becoming him day by day. He would care and remain in touch with hundreds of his relatives, takes time for his believes and does his things secretly. (his daughter is so different though, thank you facebook ;). He is not only our hero, he is our champion, philosopher, friend, care taker and to go person for anything. But above all he remains our rock.. We love you papa..

Monday, July 16, 2018

A celebration in style..A different one.. A "Village" style

I am known to be a drama queen. I live life king size in many ways and celebrate joys, enjoy friendship and value relationship. I love any chance to eat and make noise and have fun.

So when my son makes it very clear that for him it’s a regular day, “don’t make a big deal” he said. I had no choice but to follow his instructions. When asked if he would like a cake he absolutely disagreed. 

This morning I did wish him and I got a thank you which was a good sign, I didn’t give up and asked if I could do something at his summer program and he flatly refused. “Don’t push it mom”. This morning all of us were going in four different direction so I didn’t have energy to drag it any further. But it was a very heavy hearted drive to work. My parents and sisters in India were trying to call and he could care less. Many whats app msgs and Facebook wishes went unnoticed. I couldn’t stop thinking about how to make it a special day and not make him angry. Then I did what I am best at.. asking for help. I know where to go..there are few people around me who have been with Anand even before he was born. A friend who hosted my surprised baby shower texted that she owes him a  chhole dinner and an ice cream cake, others wished him and that gave me an idea. My son doesn’t want his mom to make a big deal but he cannot say anything to her friends.. and that’s what I did.. my dear friends who are my support and love Anand, showed up with a cake and his favorite berries. They were OK if he said he didn’t want to ‘cut’ the cake, they didn’t mind going to his room and wishing him, they didn’t care that he didn’t come out right away to thank them. They were OK that he came to dining table to get a serving of cake. They were OK watching a you tube video with him and laughing with him. They were OK if he didn’t sit with them on the dining table and have a conversation like his big brother does. They love him the way he is..but his mother was more than OK to be able to celebrate his big day in style. The dinner outing was a no no but take out Pizza was acceptable. So finally we had Pizza, cake, fried fish made by mom, meatballs made by dad and berries for dessert.. for his teary eyed mom, this was a feast.

Now I know I have a village not just to raise my son but to celebrate his big day..

None can say "no" to chocolate cake and on top of that Farida Auntie and Viba auntie are not the one who will listen.

No candles or fancy plates or lot of stuff but it was a wonderful dinner.

 A happy dinner looks like this, Pizza and fish and some onion, then dad took out the meatballs. 

 The strawberries for dessert  ( Thank you Deepa Auntie)with serving of  book "wonder" he must be reading 50th times? 

and I got so lucky someone smiled and my phone was just ready. I had to post this before he deletes this beautiful picture.. when everything goes wrong I should hold on to this beautiful smile.

Happy 18th Bday Anand ..

One February morning in 1999, a phone conversation I can never forget.
I was 16 weeks pregnant with a second baby, 9 months in a new country I never knew I would call home.  We both wanted a baby girl so badly that we took the first opportunity to get an ultrasound done. Everything was different from my first pregnancy so I thought this was every sign that I was having a girl. That morning we got to know that I will be a minority in the Pandey household forever. Ashish dropped me home and left for work. I took solace with a phone call with my parents, I remember crying that my dream of colors and flowers and dresses and shoes are turning into another reality of jeans and sneakers. They told me it’s all good, and he was there to change our lives in a different way. That I will forget how much I want those ribbons, clips and dresses and love those Legos and cars. In the middle of that conversation I got another call from Ashish. An accident on Rt 93, someone hit him from the side, 5 cars involved and he was fine but shaken. All of sudden the “what if” took over my mind and then I thought yes, this kid is in this life for a reason. We were 26, young and knew nothing much about life and its vision. Well that day we both learnt how to deal with an accident -insurance, hospital and police  and the whole life lesson. That was Anand’s big bang entry in our life. My mom said the next day, that Ashish didn’t even get a scratch because the boy brings blessing. Five months later Ashish chose to name Anand.. (Anand means bliss in Hindi)

It was a Sunday morning, Anand arrived on the scheduled date. When I look back it all seems like a snap shot of our life. Had a very easy pregnancy, and a very short labor. Started at 5 and I decided to do laundry that morning (after good 7 months of pampering) so Ashish could sleep a little more. Rushed to the hospital at 8.30, my regular obgyn Doc was on vacation so met the substitute doc (what are the odds but that taught me to deal with change) and Anand was born just like that at 11:36 AM.. I think we were getting prepared for what’s ahead.. Friends all came together to help and we were a happy family of four. I remember those days fondly. That July month taught me the value of happiness, friendship and gratitude. Friends and neighbors cooked. No one could come from India but a friend’s wife came to spend a week with us. And in 10 days we were back to normal.

Fast forward 18 years,Anand is 18 today. And I see how he keeps changing our life, pushes us to do better, challenges us to the core, brings the best and sometimes the worst out of us. He sure helped me see the world differently. When I had him 18 years ago I knew nothing about vision or long term thinking but now he is the one who has made me think beyond what’s now. Not only for him or us,he inspired me to do the same for others too.

Today this Monday morning I write this post, my heart is full of gratitude (wonderful people around me), worries (mother’s natural state of mind), happiness (how far we have come) and a tiny bit of sadness (What could I do better) but above all I am a proud mother.

I am told, no cake, no celebration and nothing for Bday.. he is an adult today I cannot go against his wish. But he cannot stop a mother celebrating her own milestone. So here I am celebrating the joy of motherhood with you all.

and here we are...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Perks of motherhood.

Its my #100 post on blogspot ! Didn’t realize until I posted. How appropriate.. a celebration post in every way..
Mom’s first day of work, Anand’s new phase of schooling and a first ever job coaching class.
When I started this blog Awareness was its purpose but totally different audience.
After an eventful 5 weeks trip to India in 2012 I realized his own family did not Know Anand so I decide to write about our life. To educate people around us and even for us.. we were learning something new too.
After 6 years and 100 post the purpose remains the same. But for wider audience. I am happy with its journey and cannot be any prouder how far we have come !!!
Anand and us and our life and you all.. 
lets keep rocking!!

Monday was a special day in Pandey household. After a gap I went back to work. I worked from home for a few years and then was home so it is a big change. Excitement and worries came together and we all are in unknown territory. After a long drive back home I was asked how my day was. Anand remained in his room and didn’t bother to check but I very well know he listens, so I went in and teased him that he didn’t care how his mom’s day was. I asked about his day in Summer program and then told him a little bit about my day. I was talking to Ajey, mentioning how different it felt and that thinking about dinner was not exciting at the moment . Right away he said lets celebrate your day, I want to take you out. Anand agreed and off we went to Hibachi Grill. Its been one of our family places to go to as Anand loves noodles.

Soon the Pandeys were on the road and after a short drive we arrived and were seated. Monday was a perfect day, no waiting in line, no crowd. Anand knows the drill so the chef’s cooking style didn’t bother him. We had an awesome dinner and for a change it was a good dinner overall. Anand was happy and least anxious and paid attention to what the chef was doing on the table.

On the way back I was thinking how wonderful it felt to be treated by my son. We raise our kids and have been told to do so unconditionally but sometimes the pay back feels good. I cannot express my feelings in words. Ajey has been interning for a few summers now and I have been teaching him to not only save and invest but celebrate as well. He bought sarees for all the ladies in the family from his first ever pay check. I still remember the joy both the grandmothers felt. Small pleasures in life.. That’s what I held on to last night. A beautiful evening, a fabulous dinner, happy husband and kids, and a proud son who was happy for his mother.. on top of that the whole time we could keep Autism and anxiety at bay.. That was the biggest reward last night.

It was a beautiful evening, a selfie was so needed.. The forth member of the family in never interested in pictures. 
Dad and Anand was busy discussing something and I could take this pic.. These two men are too photogenic and don't like to be in picture.

But Ashish has no choice but to listen to his drama queen.
On the contrary Ajey is already ready with a smile :) Mom was actually this happy.. 
and this picture needs no caption .. but needed.. It feels so great to share a drink with son :) and yes I don't feel OLD. I feel I got a wonderful company and a friend..
Anand actually threatened me many times that I cannot take his picture without his permission and if I even asked it was never yes. so I do what a mom supposed to do.. take it anyways.. quietly or from back :)I was happy to sit in the back..