Friday, December 31, 2021

The reflection or not - Is it a special day or just another day for you?

 I am so grateful for a warm day in December. The last day of December and miraculously it is 43F at noon, it could be snowing and raining and everything else in between but it is just a foggy day without the wind.

Today I woke with a thought, what is important for life, but again I think of it often. It’s not the last day of the year syndrome. But an email in my inbox reminded me how important this customary reflection is. At least for once you pause and think what did you do last year and how it impacted you. Mr. Husband always says every day is the same. But in that case you won’t pause to think about it.

So I am somewhere in the middle, a simple reflection of what happened in last 365 days and if something specific came out of it.

This morning I was grateful for a warmer weather so I could go for a walk alone and  make a phone call I was dreading for days. To a friend who lost her daughter. Our conversation was something I will remember for a long time. That made me realized how many time we just live a mundane life, run after things and bothered by unnecessary things.

2021 tested all of us to the core and we all learnt, lost some gained some. Hopefully the change in calendar helps us bring some changes in us too. We brighten our vision, broaden our world, find some resilience and patients and live a little more.

Today my first born said he is trying declutter life and mind, his home is reflection of this promise. On the other hand my home is full of stuff and now its my time to follow the path, he is talking about. Now let me start with a closet first, mind and life will tag along I guess

From our home to yours - wish for a fresh start 

This house is on my regular walk route, the two young kids may be 5 and 2 said hello and told me all about the picnic they were going to while their parents loaded the car. I made them promise to be nice to mom and not trouble the dad and sleep in the car. The smiles and excitement was really contagious. I needed that cheer after my phone call. I so wanted to take some pic of our interaction.
Our mailman
 and this was our Dec 31st evening, Pandey's eating junk, Bhel and soup in their PJ's 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

What would you change? If given a chance to do all over again.

When 8 women meet on a snowy afternoon on the Christmas Day, what do they do?

They eat panupuri and chat ( snack) and sip a cup of chai and talk :)

These women didn’t know each other as friends, few of them never met before. It was a mix of my music, Desi moms Network and saree group mix - the village of its own.

My whole idea was to let these women come together and create something fun.  

I get some questions as an ice breaker, ( hint - Some came from - 36 questions to fall in love ;) They are intimate and force you to think and open up.

So one of the questions was (1) things you want to change in your life - if you do it all over again and (2) what is  your story as a person. And all of sudden everyone was opening up like they have known each other for years.

I can keep writing about today but for now I am just enjoying the warmth of new found friendships for them. I have known them all for long time, it’s very comforting to see them finding that with each other. They left with already a date in hand to meet again and continue the conversation.

What is your one thing you want to change? What is your “what if” for today? 

This place has seen laughter, tears, giggles, regrets, hope and joy today. 
Suneela and I never knew each other couple of weeks ago and now we feel we have known each other forever. Her daughter joked that she cannot believe that her mother who lives in India has her own friend circle in Boston now. and we both rocked the Telia Rumal, didn't we? :)

Why do you do what you do…redefined happiness

 Its been few days I am pondering over and finally today seemed a perfect day to pen it down.

When you are presented with a thought, opportunity, chance how do you react to that? You think what’s in it for me? cost benefit analysis ? Or just trust your guts and go with the flow? Or do you envision the process and find a path? Or may be all of above and some more?

Social media brought world closer that means we get to know people far and beyond. But the question is how do you maintain these friendships. We all “add some delete some” but those decisions are based on how you feel interacting with people.

I connected two different people with different reasons. But when an opportunity occurred that they both will be in my town I had to meet them and not only that I made sure they meet each other too. 

Few days ago on a crazy working day things just fell into right place. One got delayed leaving New York and it worked in my favor, another was under the weather for few days, she was much better that evening, another friend decided to visit to meet with some food and all of us could meet. I can list of the things worked in my favor that day.

Shobhaji lives in Hyderabad, visiting her son in NY, Suneela lives in Lucknow, visiting her daughter in Boston.

And they met here in Boston because everything fell into place. Shobhaji had never met anyone in Saree speak other than her usual Hyderabad group and here she was meeting 3 of us in my home then Suneela at her daughter’s home. A very long day, lot of driving over 100 plus miles and around 3 hours on the road but it came with love, laughter, hugs , pics and food and on yes some gifts and sweets too :) and above all memories of life time. 

A beautiful Orissa ikat from a very dear friend got for  her daughter's Odisi arangetram in CA.

The smiles on these two faces - the biggest reward of the day. I will cherish this for a long time and they will too.

Friday, December 24, 2021

God Send - Do you believe in that? Does it happen to you?

I must be crazy to go to Costco yesterday, I thought of going very early and guess what everyone thought the same.

After a very very long line I decided to visit a friend in the same town. After years a quick tea catchup with her I was on my way home, pondering what she said about her experience with people , friendship and relationships during COVID time.

All of sudden I felt like calling a dear friend who is lot more experienced than me, I adore her, love her and respect her. An absolute pleasure and amazing personality and mom to four grownup kids. I so want to be her in my 70s. We talked about various stuff and she mentioned she has her booster appointment soon. Me being me lovingly scolded her to be so late for her booster. She mentioned casually that her notification doesn’t tell her the location and she has been calling CVS in vain. And she will go to both the CVS in Burlington to check where her appointment is.

After we ended our call I just couldn’t tolerate the thought of her going to multiple CVS’s. While driving I ordered Siri to check the CVS in that town and call. Guess what- I found the best pharmacist on line ( yes I DIDNOT press the COVID option) He was very kind and even he wasn’t supposed to help me he did listen to me patiently and checked the list. Voila, she had an appointment in that store. I called her right away so she could be at ease. She was so grateful and happy. And said so many things- she is one of my biggest cheerleader to say the least. Soon enough I got a text from her- the text said - “Hi Jaya Rani, God Send, I got my booster, I didn’t have to wait, life saver, 1 minute me mushkil aasan kar di, Love you"

She called soon and said the same thing that I am  “god send”. I laughed but she was serious. She asked why would you call today, all of sudden, and she took the call even though she was busy with something else and why our conversation turned into vaccine and why she felt like telling me, Because Got wanted her to have hassle free experience as he works in mysterious way and she is grateful that I called. 

I cannot shake off the thought, Do you feel the same? Do you have those “god send people” in life? Do you feel they are there for a reason? 

A beautiful Pochampalli for a night out in the city. This saree does have some memories. Will remain my favorite for many reasons. I loved wearing it and felt pretty and royal. 

हर गोशा गुलिस्ताँ था कल रात जहाँ मैं था
इक जश्न-ए-बहाराँ था कल रात जहाँ मैं था

Our bartender was magician to say the least

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Everything - Takes a village - not only parenting.

It is often said - It takes a village - specially for raising children. But to think of it why only for parenting? We need village for everything in life.  

My villages in multifaceted with many interesting people. If I like someone I don’t let them go. But it doesn’t come easy, one has to work to keep and maintain friendship. But more than anything we need an opportunity to meet people. Social media provides the opportunity but again how do you filter the real people from their social media persona?

Its has been going on in my mind for quite some times and finally I decided to implement the “friends - matching”  

On thanksgiving I began this conversation with some of my friends from different walks of life and brought them together. Their introduction itself was very interesting, It was all about them - a real person, they talked about their fears, strength, issues not only achievement but failures too. I have always favored personal connection so brining them together in person was very important to see if this idea even stands a chance.

This Saturday one of them hosted 6 other women in her home. 7 of us struck the conversations like everyone has known each other forever which was not the case.

I left early but they stayed and chatted for hours and went back home with something new and fresh in their heart. A new kind of friendship, a hope, a feeling of support. I hope we continue to build our village. They made some new connections and revived some previous ones. I am happy for all of them.

What does your village looks like? 

A silk from Sister in law' closet. I helped clean her closet and got some sarees she didn't want :)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Expectation of family legacy - what is your story?

 Last night some of us met in a beautiful home. I met the host 21 yrs ago just out of no where. Curtsy internet groups. We remained in touch casually but didn’t meet often. Last night I met their few friends for the first time celebrating their new home. Meeting new people is exciting , a chance to create fresh memories and new starts. Sometime you come home with thoughts of people and food nothing else. Sometime these meets stir some more. 

It was an interesting crowd, they all belonged to one particular state of India, I was a woman out of their circle except my maiden name. They all knew each other, similar ages and background.  I throughly enjoy the conversations and got a chance to eavesdrops the conversation from other side of the room. Yes, the men were busy taking about politics and current affairs. Few things never change in Indian get together :) Us ladies were happy leaving world problems to the men and enjoyed simple conversation about Sarees, our childhood, memories of schools and colleges, festivals and familes back home. 

One of them had a very interesting upbringing. A very educated and activist family with a history of strong women. Her grandma was a lawyer and very much involve in Politics when Indira Gandhi was the prime minister of India. But for me the most fascinating story was the way her great-grand ma suggested her daughter to marry someone of her choice when her father passed away. The family would have married the girl off to any random person to have control over property and to get over the “wedding of a girl” responsibility. The father was a visionary and made his daughter independent and strong but his untimely death made family situation difficult. The grandma wrote the man her father once admired and asked him to take her away.They got married (eloped) in 1946. Imagine this happening in that time in India in 40s and 50s. 

I came back home feeling how amazing it was to hear something like that. I so wish I had an opportunity to meet the grandma, a woman beyond her time. How often a simple dinner stirs the desire to meet people you would have never known about. 

What is your fav get together story? 

A blue no Zari resham banarsi for the dinner  

The conversations there reminded me of my fav breakfast, sweet yogurt with Paratha, The host had perfect home made yogurt. They didn't only feed me dinner but took care of next morning breakfast too 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

What is "self care" for you today

 A day off can be used in so many ways and the first thing comes to mind is “self care” but again that could be different for everyone. For me self care for that particular day was to drive 125 miles to meet a few people. 5 mothers from Desi Moms Network invited me to have breakfast with them. They live in Rhode Island and its always hard for them to drive up north to meet other moms in our group. We met for brunch and had a really good time. We all are very different yet same. I think we all were there for different definitions of Self care. One of them said she was agitated, anxious and nervous for a variety of reasons but meeting us calmed her down. Then it was time for another drive up north to wish a friend on her Anniversary with a quick cup of tea. It is surprising how relationships and friendships evolve over the year. Anniversary wish should be with a gift or flowers or a card but I was there with nothing of this sort and made her make a cup of tea for me. And later her text assured me that my visit was enough to wish them happiness.

After I dropped in to see another mom in the same town who was having some health issues . I went to see her but while talking that wonderful woman helped me plan my next vacation. We got  exactly what we needed from each other. Another kind of self care. In that one short visit I discovered my travel advisor. 

I could have gone to a spa ( I would have been restless the entire time I was getting a massage I know) or shopping or sat and watched TV or cooked or cleaned but I chose to do what my heart and soul needed that day.

Last night I went for a music meet and recited two of Jagjit Singh’s ghazals in front of an audience that appreciates poetry and music and that was my self care last night.

Hope you find what is your self care for today, it might be something different for tomorrow.

This could be self-care for someone a view of Boston  
 6 women came together in IHOP to redefine Self care They talked about life, dreams, 
hopes, limitation, films, music, sarees, stories and family too. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Monday boredom brings happy week and weekend - Empty-nester Saga

Last Monday night over dinner I was just bored, may be it was weather, winter or food or just mood swing. I was telling Mr. husband how we are not using our “empty nest-er” time in right manner, we are not planning an improv trip or eating out all the time. He on the other hand is very pleased with his “take it easy and chill at home” lifestyle. We found a happy medium - a quick trip to NJ to visit his college friends, he could work from home a day and I would do whatever I want that day. Tuesday morning calls were made and Thursday after work Pandey’s were on the route to NJ, a 4 hour drive for us. First time ever no major planning, just two sets of clothes and basic stuff  in a bag and work laptop and we were out. A hassle free drive and we were in NJ before dinner time. and how wonderful it was to go to a local street food shop for dinner. I ate like there was no tomorrow. Friday brought another fun time, the host couple and Mr Husband were working I drove to another side of NJ  to see friends. An amazing last minute saree meet. A last minute call and these wonderful ladies made it happen. I wish I had more time to chit chat but we made it memorable with whatever we could manage. Beautiful sarees came out of closet and memories were made. 

We ate, laughed, chatted and yes lot of Pictures were taken. Drove back with a promise to do it again. 

The “working” people were waiting for me for another round of amazing dinner. This time it was all finger food. My heart and soul are in heaven and my stomach is on fire (literally).

Saturday morning a trip to Desi Parlor for my hair, a trip to Indian store actually two ;) and a snack shop and then South Indian meal in a Dosa Bhavan. By the time we left NJ our heart, stomach and car all were full. A quick Tea stop to meet a mom from Desi Moms Network in NY was just perfect end to our trip. As I unpack the groceries and snacks I am wondering if we really need a tenth of all those stuff but I tell myself how can you NOT shop when you go to New Jersey:) 

 I think the Monday boredom really worked out in my favor :)

A Balucheri for THE saree meet - bought in Calcutta when two of my friends went shopping together for me. Over the years I have learnt to trust their choice and judgement.

 I was in food heaven in New Jersey. Below are the pics are our crazy food hopping. 
This one is from the saree meet, these wonderful ladies treated my heart, soul and stomach royally. )
and Now oon to the bigger job - putting things away. I went crazy in grocery store ( I know we get everything here in Boston but couldn't resist shopping in NJ) and those Sweets from Sukhadia are to die for. My party continues even in Boston - Thanks to Sukhadia :)