Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Family photoshoot - rain saga

some days are just unpredictable actually most days are like that in our life. we cannot plan, even if we do, we don’t know if it work, or half way or total disaster. Sunday Photoshoot was one of those. New England weather decided to play a prank on us. Two families for photo shoot in Lexington and a  socially distant hello get-together for families in Lexington was planned. Thought they should at least meet once.

Lexington is good 50 min drive for me. I have been wanting to meet a dear friend’s mom for long time, so decided to go little early to say hello to her.

It was so wonderful to see her for few mins and the rain decided to pay us a visit too. within 10 mins we said hi and bye and I was in my car driving to the first family for photoshoot. I thought instead of the park I will take picture in their front yard itself once the rain stops. I reached there and they lost their power. It was so heart warming to see all 3 men dressed in white shirt and mom in bright maroon Salwar Kurta, like the center of the family she was. I took some picture just to keep that image in my mind. I promised to come back next week and called the other mom to cancel. It looked like the rain was not going anywhere any time soon. Another mom made tea for me and the rain stopped, sipping that heavenly chai in her porch and misty weather was just perfect.  and I went back to M’s home to see her mom again and this time we were lucky. we got beautiful breeze and fun conversation. As a young Bengali Indian wife who moved to USA in 60s she had stories to tell. I wish i had more time. Many of us resonate our life with “ The Namesake”, she sure was from that era. When I was leaving home she was in my mind so I decided to wear a bengal Taant for her. imagine a starched saree and rain drops but I wouldn’t want it other way. 

A new Indian restaurant in town was just around the corner so decided to go home with the dinner for the boys. Anand was already done with his dinner and watching movie. The day didnt go the way I planned but I still  had fun. The disappointment could have gotten better off me but I decided to hold on to the meet with mom, the happy smiles on the kids when I took the pic, the shining eyes of one of the boy when he found his fav books in my car. I am getting rids of old books in my basement and the traveling library is spreading happiness. and then my own son happy with palak paneer and naan . The day ended on a good note.

Sunday 8/23 

A dear friend from Middle school- my shopper in Calcutta, Just have to remind her to shop keep ME in mind and she does wonder also takes care of Ashish's pocket, gets the best deal. Thank you Soma. 

Me sitting on a door step of a Bengali household in Taant Saree. Meeting M's mom was the highlight of my day.

 After a beautiful rain shower - It spoiled my plans but refreshened my soul. My saree wasn't happy though. 
The banner outside her home. I am so proud of all the work she does. Apple doesn't fall far from tree. 
3 of us enjoying the dinner. My sister asked the question right away, why 3 plates? Well 3 of us enjoyed the meal, Anand didnt care for anything and was happy watching his movie. It DID bother me for a bit but soon I told myself be happy that he is happily watching movie and you should enjoy with other two. 3 of us had good time chatting and enjoying some adult time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

An evening with my son to see the setting Sun - Scituate MA

 Sunsets over water are my weakness but living on the east coast makes it difficult to catch them. Google maps has always been my best friend so I decided to explore another coastal town. Sunset was not exactly over the water but still beautiful. 

We left home after work and reached Scituate after 5.30 pm. The day was just calming down, the light house was beautiful not grand, just a hint of history. But more than anything else the golden hue falling on the water was amazing . We hung out for a little bit and soon left for food. We decided we would get take out and come back and eat on the shore . When we reached the restaurant, the idea of having a beer with seafood made us change the plan. The air, the sky, the light and the seating made it perfect. We rushed back to the light house right after dinner.

The whole place was lit in a golden light, it was a one of a kind sight. The sun was setting and the sky reflected on the water was changing its color. It was hard to decide which way to look. I didn’t realized the effect of setting sun against the water could be so dramatic until last night.

We sat there listening to the waves and seeing the sun go down. For some time everything was just golden and the sky was a combination of so many colors.

 Scituate shores are rocky and I did go down to to the water but it was not like any other “walking to the water” it was hard work but worth it. I sat on the rocks for sometime soaking my feet but soon a big wave decided otherwise. I was drenched waist down. I was surprised how quickly the colors started getting darker and soon it was time for us to drive back home. We drove along the ocean for a bit and my tired and sleepy son decided to take a nap. I drove back home with Jagjit Singh playing and thinking about my day.

Driving with Ajey was a different  experience this time.  We talked about his new project. That one hour really gave us much needed time without any interruptions. I got to know more about his Roleplaying game book and the whole industry. He is managing his work and this hobby of his which is turning out to be full time work as well. We talked about project management, human interactions and connecting with people across the globe. 

I was thinking about another conversation I had had at home with Anand. He abruptly left a zoom call because I joined in. It was related to getting him ready for workplace training  and I joined so I could know what was going on. But he didn’t want to do anything with his mom there. The supervisor sent me a note later saying Anand wants to handle everything without involving his mom. I am happy and proud but also heartbroken and worried at the same time. A day made me realized how different a mother I am to both my sons. Hopefully someday Anand gets it but at this point I should be happy with whatever I have.

 I swear I never thought of this day when i was changing his diapers 23 yrs ago. A buddy, a friend, a confidante, advisor, a driver - a son can fit into so many roles.

 sunset and happy me, can you see the smile on my face

 A quick dinner, fabulous food, a good beer and fun company. We ate at Mill Wharf, amazing service and food. Happy me 

and he even pays for it :) a proud mamma moment

and what was I thinking.. Ajey decided to not go down.

various shades of Ocean and sunset. Go if you can. free parking at Lighthouse, pack a sandwich and just sit there and eat, take your beach chairs. No Bathrooms 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Dilemma of school opening

 August mid week is all about school shopping and planning. By this time we all are ready for the kids to go back to where they truly belong - in school.

This year it feels so strange. The question is - do we want our kids to go to school or not?

The neuro typical families will have to consider childcare, schedule, transport and after school. but safety of children prevails and parents are choosing online learning but special needs families worry about all of those plus regression. I think that concerns us most.

Moms Network WhatsApp group is buzzing with messages full of confusion and worry, lack of decision making. Moms don’t even know what to do. I remember when this havoc started all of us struggled with the “what to do with the therapy sessions and providers”. Everything  was so new and unknown it was hard to think beyond the “right now”.

But now when we have been in this for over 5 months, we all are not only scared but also tired and concerned. Our kids are regressing and that is difficult to watch and imagine what will happen if our kids are home for another 6 months. In Anand’s case I know he IS home for the next 6 months. Bridgewater State university has decided on the online module for the program he is in. I feel for the families with severely impacted kids, Medically complex kids, difficult marriages and single parents.So many moms are worried to keep kids home and scared to send them to school.

Friday, on a trip to Cambridge , I went through that difficult phase. Anand was invited for an outdoor socially distant Bday celebration for one of his classmates .He really wanted to go and I was happy for him that he was INVITED. How rare that was in his life a few years back . So I wouldn’t have stopped him anyway. We took him to Cambridge, let him enjoy the meal but I kept wondering if everything will be oK, will he be safe. 6 of them wore masks when they met but took it out while eating. Seeing him enjoying, laughing, eating and having a good time was an absolute joy but at the same time I kept wondering about how close they were to each other.

Please be kind, remember we all are going through something we have never seen, imagined before and don’t know how to react to and manage the whole confusion.

I loved going to Cambridge after months, a simple cotton saree made me forget the knots in my stomach. Hope for a better tomorrow. 

This post is a tribute to every teacher in my orbit. I know they are dealing with all these and some more. 

Uff those eyes. I was so lucky he let me take a picture

Pandey men ..I could never imagine such empty street on Friday evening in Cambridge

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The photoshoot saga - different families same smiles.

These family photoshoots have been rewarding in many ways. Different experiences with each family but bring the same outcome. I see them up-close and personal. I have known struggles and difficulties, heard of them and have seen but its not what makes me write today. It’s the whole what makes them a “family”. The love and support they have. More than anything it’s the siblings who warm my heart. They have kind of life unlike any of their friends. Is compassion something they are may be born with? or can it be an acquired virtue. I have seen younger sibling wiping the face of their older sibling or older sibling taking care of their younger sibling like parents. Or a twin watching over other twin with watchful eyes.

I have seen anxious parents keeping an eye on their kid and try to smile for me. They are in so many places at that one point. How they forget that I am a mom and I DO understand what they are going through. They keep reminding their kids to look at the camera and how I keep saying not to worry about it. I know I am good at getting what I want and finally we do get achieve what we set out for.

some beautiful family pictures But each and every picture has a story. A story of love, triumph and smile.

so far I have done 9 families. Most of the mothers I have met before but first time the kids and fathers. Yesterday I went to shoot two families. totally different age group so I received two different welcomes. The younger family, the kids were all about trains and car and simple coins and berries and a hot wheel car made that connection between the kids and me.  A beautifully dressed mother kept reminding her son to look at the camera and smile. I kept reminding her that its not the smile we are after. finally on a hot and humid day we ended up with some beautiful shots.

Couple of miles down the road in other household the kids were all teens. A 13 yrs old, with EarPods and basketball.. that would always remain my memory. A 19 yrs old  girl, who was just amazing with her 18 yrs old brother. I didn’t know how will I connect to this difficult age group. But within minutes I realized they were so ready to make some memories with me. the sun was setting soon so without making small talks we got into work. I wish I had more time in the beginning. But soon they got my style and rhythm and we had some amazing shots. more than anything it was very reassuring to see family smiling and taking my clue without bothering the kid. Having a stranger is always difficult for our kids so we cannot expect what we want. Thats the whole idea behind this idea of photoshoot. to get whatever we can and make the best out of it.

I came back home with amazing memories of nicknaming two kids Mr Car and Mr Subway, how a mom kept a nice scarf and saree pin in my car before I even walked in. How a dad who never met me before took care of cold water for me. A daughter who picked the dress and make up for her mom, how the two siblings carry the chairs for me, took my clue and made their brother comfortable having me around, and the mom kept running into kitchen between picture to check the samosas, how she remembered my taste and the dad served me wine with the samosa. How they open their backyard to other family to come and how all of us spent our time enjoying each others company. One photoshoot connected those two families in a way nothing could before. 

I drove back home with Jagjit Singh in background, with a promise to listen Ghazals with one of the dad, come for Marathi food and have another scotch and wine evening for Ashish and me. These connection and friendship enrich my soul. Stay tuned for more stories. 

Edit - a mom sent me this note - 

Thank you Jaya for the lovely captures of memories. Great Idea. I hope you are able to touch many more families like ours."

Read about this initiative -Click on "Family Photoshoot"

 One of the dad caught Jaya in action. 

the work after the photoshoot :)

I call it " the beatles" pose, It wasn't intentional but now I love it. 
A blue Orissa saree, one kind of Ikat. Just perfect blue saree to support Autism Awareness and Acceptence