Saturday, December 26, 2020

Talk about friendship, motherhood, Anand and Sarees - Such a fulfilling day.

Written on 12/26/2020 

I am a story teller and always love being in one. If I don’t have mine I will borrow some from your life and make it mine. So beware my friends :)

Today was one of those days - a day with so many stories. A day with multiple folds. 

So a beautiful Saturday was much better because Anand and I are learning to “tolerate” each other, being kind to each other and listening to each other after very difficult two weeks. I can see Ashish saying with a smirk - let’s see how long it lasts. Well that’s the package deal if you are a bad cop/ disciplinarian parent in your household.  Yesterday we had a beautiful Christmas day (Story here). This morning I had a queen’s breakfast and this afternoon my first born made poori’s. Anand did his chores and gave me a nice hug and said he loved me. Well, today I am happy and hopeful and enjoying my happy dance.

After an amazing lunch I got dressed. A beautiful saree from a friend’s closet, found just the perfect match in my blouse treasure ( if you are an Indian woman you know how important and difficult it is to find a perfect fit and matching blouse with all those COVID pounds.) I loved wearing that saree and to be honest loved it on me. It didn’t make any fuss and just accepted me the way I was and I tell you my son’s camera skill sure made me look pretty, at least I felt so.

Last year I was the MC for a ghazal program and I felt so alive on stage. For those few hours I lived and breathed ghazals and poetry. I was in trans. A dear friend’s parents were there in the audience and our mutual love for poetry brought us together. I met them again when l was in India. They accepted me as their another daughter.  I am very sure the one program brought us closer more than anything. 

When I met her a few months ago ( yes, during COVID - we started a new trend - Backyard- socially distant, masked meets) she handed me a saree saying I should wear it. Her dad gifted her this saree when she started her first job. I so loved the whole idea of a father’s love and  pride for his daughter. It’s amazing how people come into your life to shape in various way. 

Today, When I was getting ready to be part of a podcast talking about my life, motherhood, womanhood, sarees, music, poetry, Jagjit Singh and special needs I couldn’t think of anything else. This saree was a perfect choice. Just like them and their talented and amazing daughter, this saree made me feel loved and appreciated.

Thank you for inviting me to your podcast Aditi and Natasha, Loved our conversation. My friends and families would love to hear other amazing stories on your podcast.
Sunayana, Thank you for your friendship and love. From Jagjit Singh, Ghazals, poetry and now Saree.. I am so glad you walked in my life to add some more colors. 

Did anyone ever felt enough of pic of a beautiful saree?

Merry Christmas - Holiday cheers - what does it mean for families like us?

*Written on Christmas Night*

Many a times the holidays and celebrations doesn’t mean happiness for us. Depending on what side of the bed we woke up on, things can do downhill in matter of minutes. This morning I woke up and wondered what this day brings to our household.

Pandey men are not very enthusiastic folks anyways. Since Anand got to know the real Santa, Christmas just turned into another day off. When kids were young I did all the tree stuff and gifts. For quite a few years now the Black Friday is the Christmas. All these years we did some lunches and went for dinner who ever invited. But somehow as a household we are becoming very boring family, It feels too much work.

This year, its different for everyone, we all have so much family time we all are craving for some human interaction other than family. Also the day falls on Friday so long weekend brings more time in hand. It also was one of the warmest day for winter. Unfortunately torrential rain cancelled the scheduled outdoor Saree meet, and a scheduled zoom call got postponed too. 

Morning began with Ajey’s cooking lesson and somehow Anand brought the holiday cheers. He was happy, cooperative and excited. we all had lunch together. The day was really fun. Then everyone needed their TV/Phone/Ipad time to regroup. Anand wanted to go see the Christmas light and I would do anything for a drive. it was rainy evening but somehow there was a happy star and men agreed for a family picture. That was a holiday miracle for me. His excitement sure forced dad to drive 30 mins all the way to Attleboro to see the lights. I am so glad we did. It was lot of fun. No rain, warm enough evening and hot apple cider that was our Chritsmas. As I call it a day I am grateful for this holiday cheer for us. I wish you all the better week ahead and hope everyone in your home gets up the ride side of the bed. 

The family pic - Highlight of the month may be - Anand smiled and that was a big deal. all of us happy and smiling. So rare for pandeys, who cares if one of them wasn't looking at the camera. Thank goodness for self timer.

He loves to pose for his insta, NOT for mom's

Somehow the men agreed to be in pic. I couldnt make them change or wear something Christmassy.But it was okay as is- I am learning to accept that. 

          Another family pic - well what can I say, I cannot get enough of them
My boy came to hug me good night. The perfect end of the day ,

 well my day began like this - Saboodana Khichadi by Ajey and carrot Halwa by Ashish. 
A beautiful saree gift from a friends - someone who helped us get through very difficult time, loss of a very dear friend. he was right there when Ashish and I were grieving. We lost him when Ajey was 4 days old. I came to Singapore with 2 months old Ajey and met a new friend who shared the name and the care and love for us like his namesake . His presence was very timely. We are very fortunate that his wife made place for us in her heart too. Every time he travelled to Boston her love and appreciation came in form of bhakharwadi, chitale sweets, Puran poli and saree. 

Monday, December 21, 2020

Special needs awareness and Saree Day

5 yrs ago on Dec 21st,  I was in Bangalore India, celebrating saree in a way no one could have imagined. For a whole year women all over the world wore sarees ( nothing new) and wrote stories about them ( that was something new) and then connected over those saree stories. That was just amazing and beyond awesome. The Saree Pact brought many aspects of my life together. My life as a woman, stories about life, sarees and also as a parent of a special needs child. Somehow through the pact the saree stories made much more sense to so many more people all over the world.

The Saree pact gave me a reason to keep writing, to connect with people . And as they say - rest is history. Later I wore Sarees to draw attention to the cause close to my heart- The Moms of kids with special needs. Over the years I could bring over 200 Moms together.

One of the mothers joined the network and soon enough she became a dear friend. She is a fighter in her own way but credits me for giving her a village, adores me for brining people together and more than anything calls me charismatic to boost my ego. But she herself does so many things for the civil rights of normal citizens among the many hats she wears. Her mother is another amazing story, I adore her and love listening to her stories. She moved to USA 50+ yrs ago from Calcutta. She gave me this beautiful Gray-Blue pochampalli from her treasure. This saree is a reminder of the strength of womanhood, grace, friendship, appreciation, hope and much more. A perfect celebration of Saree on Saree day.

4 of us sister walked into the room, dressed exactly alike in blue. A day to remember for all of us and everyone else present.

2015 you were a year in my life like none before.

#Sareecelebration #sareeDay #pactandbeyond #100sareepact. 

Read the Hindu's article about 100Sareepact

                                      Thank you Mona for your love and friendship 

Imagine the scene - 4 sisters walking with same saree, jewelry, shoes and all smiles. Celebrating the sisterhood with sisters and saree sisters.

Memories from WorldSareeDay 2015 With my rocking sisters
With Another Champion Viji Venkatesh, Read about Chai for Cancer. 

and finally with Anju - Co-founder of 100Sareepact
Thank you for last 3 pictures.