Sunday, September 13, 2020

What are we now? parents, couples, companion, partners or caretaker?

The special need family photoshoot started with the idea of family pictures . I thought that was much needed. With smart phones we technically don’t need a camera or photographers and selfies and selfie sticks have made it every easy to take our own pictures too. So I started with the idea of capturing emotions not the staged or perfect photographs. 

I have been very happy with the pictures and the sessions so far. Meeting them one on one helps us connect too. I get to know the families and their life up close. The pictures portray so many things. 

Lately I am noticing  something else too. It is the couples pictures which are conveying a lot more. I have learnt it’s all in the conversations and soon everyone is easy and relaxed. 

After initial family portraits I move on to the couples pictures and ask them not to pose and just look at each other (not the camera) or just have a simple conversation about themselves and not the kids. I often hear they don’t know what to talk about anymore. A mom said we talk more about the need for landscapers for grass cutting, or plumber or shopping for wipes and sanitizers than about what we feel for each other. The other one said she doesn’t even remember being asked to look at each other in such a long time. A husband noticed his wife’s necklace and she was so surprised. He explained that he doesn’t remember her putting on makeup or jewelry in a long time either. 

It’s been few months since I started this project and I am remembering so many incidents. Some kids need constant attention and one parent has to be on the go all the time.  I guess they forget to stop and hold each other’s hand or just whisper something nice. Medicines , therapies, IEPs, driving, doctors appointments, emails take over the simple pleasures without any warning. We stop being us and become just caretakers. 

I spent one of my those evening watching sunset with some of those parents. Life is about simple pleasure and sometime we tend to ignore just them. 

A dear friend's gift - were going for a simple no fuss potluck at a dear friends house and I took time to get dressed, made me feel like a woman not just a mom.
It wasn't just 6 yards of material, It was happiness, friendship and care. during the dinner I was teased about my love for sunset, sunrise, poetry, saree and what not. 
And my very reluctant husband who doesnt like to be either side of the camera. I being me, did catch him smiling.
 A relaxing dinner with a group of friends, who help us being more than just parents in many ways. They feed my body and soul and remind me that life is beautiful. If you have those in your life who call you crazy but at the same time appreciate and support your craziness, hold them tight.They all agreed to go with me to see the Sunset on a weeknight yesterday. #Gratitude #Lovemyvillage #grateful

and this was yesterday, after two photoshoots I needed to calm my mind

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Then and Now - A circle of care and share - build your village

Year 2003, we were first time home owners and had no idea about house care and repairs. Something happened and I called the first electrician from the yellow book.  No Facebook help , no DIY youtube video of how to, not much information was available online at the time. The electrician came to have a look and gave me a $70 bill just to come. Imagine my shock, $70 just to park the truck and come in.

We were a rarity in a very white town, didn’t know anyone and were on our own for sometime. I could convince some of our friends to  buy a home in Franklin and life was much better. I took upon myself to show every one around town. Grocery stores, Yelp and google were not what they are today and there was no google map. We relied on paper maps from AAA. I made sure new comers didn’t have to go through what I had. 

That’s where the idea of a “desi ladies group” was born. To support each other with household stuff- finding plumbers, electricians ,handymen, landscapers and snow cleaning services. I started calling everyone I knew and pitched the idea. At the first meeting in my home I didn’t know who would show up but many did and that’s how my first group was born. A Yahoo Desi Ladies in Franklin group. It was our place to share resources as most of the Indian household ladies were responsible for finding the help.

Over the years we upgraded to a WhatsApp group. We still share the resources but it’s a little more than that now.  The group is more about social connections than just sharing resources. 

We meet often for movies and evening tea. This simple georgette saree for a socially distant evening tea with the gang. 

The socially distant meet was one of my initial idea to cope with social isolation. I very well knew how much I need people around also at the same time I was very apprehensive and careful, Understood the severity of situation. I know finding an out of the box solution and thinking through beyond just tomorrow, long term is my strength. I so wish all my ideas could work for my sons too. Well, I should be happy what I get.

 A lawn is ready for one of the meet. Do you not feel like joining? ;)

Sunday, September 6, 2020

In one day there is so much to think of

The day started with a conversation with a friend, her father in law just got sick (non Covid). They cannot just hop on the plane and go. So many things to consider with the restrictions  and with covid the travel is nerve wracking in itself. I felt so helpless listening her going through this. Grieving for FIL, worrying about MIL and supporting her husband and feeling for her children and knowing very well that she cannot do anything. I learnt how fear and worry can cripple your logic. I witnessed a woman, who would analyze things for me so easily, falling prey to anxiety, knowing very well it would not do her any good. 

Another friend lost her FIL to COVID, he was in the hospital getting his Chemo, wanted to fight cancer but lost to this disease, again the same story.They are stuck here and feeling so helpless. Sadness and frustration not only about the loss but how they couldn’t eve say their goodbyes. More and more it’s apparent how important closure is.

Such was my day but I always look for a silver lining. A dear friend invited us for dinner. 8 of us sat out in her backyard, fighting mosquitos and enjoying the good weather, company and friendship. I have grown old with them and this evening was sure to make me feel supported and loved. They made me forget the sadness and difficulties and reminded me of what’s good is in this world. 

This story is about something else too. I noticed an Indian couple walking on the road near my house. It wasn’t her long hair, it was the flowers in her hair that caught my attention .  I had to stop and check where she got them from. I had never seen them here in the USA. She was very kind to me and generously invited me to her home to get these flowers. My Friday evening was so exciting because I had those “aboli” flowers (Crossandra or firecracker flowers ). I couldn’t wait for Saturday to get dressed.

I took the flowers with me and those darling friends made the string for me to put in my hair. Their friendship brings joy to me in a way no one can imagine.

If you have such friends in your life, hold on to them. Cherish the friendship, keep them close to your heart and never forget to remind them how important they are to you. Sometimes we take people for granted. Today take a minute to call/text one friend to let them know they matter.

Hope your week was kind to you. 

Kovai Kora cotton from Coimbatore a git from a saree pact-er friend. 

Anand decided to stay home but the friend was very kind to send plenty to feed him. 

my foodie son wouldn't have missed a chance :)

the Aboli flower. These will remind me how wonderful the world is. Now go back and see my second pic. How beautiful they are on my hair or no hair :)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Sons and sunset - what a mother wants

When you live on east coast, sunset on water is rarity. I am somehow stuck to sunset. they are my high. So I chase sun whenever I can :)

I have heard great review about Boston Harbor Restaraunt and thought it was a perfect opportunity to have a dinner while we still can sit outside. New England weather is just perfect now.They just opened the outdoor seating and thats what I wanted. A view of harbor and a good meal.

Anand agreed to join that itself was a big deal, He wanted his own photo with Boston Harbor. I was more than happy to take some.

A Vimor Saree came out of closet, we drove an hour one way. There were just 4 families dining that night. The staff treated us royally.

A dinner and a walk and a sight, it was just a perfect evening. I met a woman who's grandfather had moved from India to Jamaica. She took my pictures and we talked about finding the lost lost family. 

 The Saree has a story of a mother who never gives up. She argues, fights, bribes and shouts but finds her way out sometimes.

Anand did get some of his pictures and because I took them on my phone they are my property :) I can use them wherever I want.

See the colors on the Sky 

Harborside Grill and Patio - Can you see Two Pandey men on their phones? 

Men Talk?  done with dinner we should go to North End for dessert and why does she want to stay? what's with the sunset? ;)

We went to North End for dessert, unplanned but fun. BUT North End was so busy. no mask, people everywhere. I had never seen this bright and well lit North End. At least I got one good picture of my saree. note to self- take pic before leaving home.

When passion joins the cause

Music, Saree and Special need awareness and Audience - That is Jaya’s happy place.

Hosting a musical program and talk about Moms Network I was all ready for it.

The program had 4 singers, I have known two of them for few years and knew how wonderful they are. I met other two during Sound testing rehearsal. I knew it will be a good program.

So finally the Saturday came.  Singers were doing the sound check and I was busy ironing my Saree.

I decided not to script the program and bring the human side of singers. so some talks, poetry, information about singers and music made the experience wonderful. 

The program was amazing and I loved being the MC. More than that I loved having a platform talking about my other passion.

We got many msgs and everyone loved the whole concept. Singers were amazing so their song selection. It was fun weaving words around those song.

I was myself and I cannot thank the host enough for giving me the freedom. Please watch the recording and give us your feed back.

When I started I wasn’t sure what will I talk about Anand and our life but the way the host introduced me It was a cake walk. Hope those words made some impact on someone.

The saree of the day is a simple Tussar. I have few of those “feel good saree” plain and simple with minimal jewelry and I felt so royal.

Please be kind, be generous and pay it forward.

Link for the program - Skip first 8 mins.

Got these screen shots, so many texts and msgs . I was happy and enjoying

This Saree I wore this Jan for a friends 25th anniversary. All the women were in beautiful colors. The men friends were so happy to see a woman in grey