Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A day - To hope - unity and healing of a Nation

Inauguration Day, Jan 20th, 2020

Today I woke up with an immense sense of gratitude and pleasure.

My saree is a tribute today to every mother who works hard to show her daughter that everything is possible in this world. To remind her daughter that it’s all worth the struggles a mother has to go through so that her daughter can lead , to show that women are capable of leading a nation too. 

The saree is a reminder that a mother has to believe in her daughter and give her the tools to take on the world. 

I am wearing a saree not to celebrate the ethnicity of our new VP but to pay tribute to her mother who gave her the wings.

This morning I cannot stop thinking of the mom who at the age of 19, in 1958 left her homeland to come to America to pursue a dream. I cannot even imagine how she survived. I can see how “the move forward thinking” shaped her daughters and today we are in a way acknowledging that finally we are ready to heal and move forward as a Nation.

Today is the day - “ dream and work hard - that how they became reality” kind of day. For me, for every women here in USA, for every person  who dared to dream big for their kid and teach them to achieve what they hope for.

Today our Ms Vice President is a leader of a divided nation. Let’s not worry about her color, race and ethnicity, instead help her focus on the bigger picture. We have plenty of time to talk about that. 

So today Ms Vice President, I stand behind you - not because you are  of Indian origin or a woman of color or from a specific party, today I am here to celebrate you for being the woman in the highest office of this nation and showing the world that we are ready to believe in “equal”.

I am wearing my saree because it makes me feel proud, strong, passionate, hopeful and a believer. I am sure your mother must be feeling the same wherever she is.

A saree from my mother’s treasure.. I wore this in 2015 for my graduation.(Ajey graduated the same day) Amma, in a way, showed us sisters that a woman is capable of dreaming and achieving what she works for, Putting the best foot forward and standing for what you believe in with a pride.

Anand made pasta for everyone. The menu was Meatball pasta, chips and Salsa, salad, cake, Carrot halwa and variety of drinks

 A day in 2015 when Mom and Son graduated.#priceless #ammasaree  . 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

A snapshot for coming year - What did you do today?

Written on Jan 1st

Today i did something beyond my ordinary belief but thats what last 10 month have taught us. I am not at all religious, superstitious and dont want to do things if I dont believe in. But today I decided to do what I want to do whole year.

While recording the podcast I was reminded again how I cannot define me in one word. Music and Ghazal, Saree and Special needs awareness are 3 major part of me as a person. So today I thought of nurturing all part of me. I needed to be happy as a person.

I started my day phone calls with ma-papa and sisters and brothers in laws. with some exercise ( just for the sake of doing ;) and a queens breakfast with Pandey boys, read something and watched some TV. 

Wore a simple cotton saree and dragged boys for a family picture. Oh how excited they were I cannot even tell you. You will know once you see the pictures.

Afternoon met a saree friends for a quick lunch and then met a family from my Network for photoshoot. I drove listening to ghazals and made some phone calls to people who matter in my life. When I came back did a group call with my besties and that was so much needed. jokes, laughter, promises and some leg pulling all in that 30 mins call. That was promising enough to know that someone has my back.

I went to get some Italian beans from a friend. She is my first non Indian and togo friend in Franklin and every year she hosts the New Year open house. It would have been weird not seeing Pat on New years so even for couple of mins I had to see her. I connected two moms to Moms Network, letting them know they were not alone in this journey, that they have a whole village around them. That in itself was fulfilling and promising for an amazing start to the year.

After I came back and met a new friend who took pictures last week in the park when our saree group met. it was just a random coincidence and today it symbolized the hope, humanity and happiness. She was so happy and curious to know more about our culture and sarees.

The phone calls and txt msgs today are both promises and reminders. To keep people close who matter in my life and let go who are not meant to be with me.

The day ended with some good drink, laughter, dinner and boys around me. Off course the dishes are in dishwasher and laundry is going on. How can I leave that out of my todo list . “Looks like my heart is happy and full” - Quoting the mom who got the family pictures as new year’s gift. The calls/texts msgs and note, card each one of them today are reminding me how fortunate I am. I was with my parents and sisters and brothers in law last year, it was fun and celebration. This year I feel I am surrounded by love from people who matter to me and I matter to them as well.  Calm and content is the feeling I am ending my day with and I wish you the same. 

A beautiful Irkal (Ilkal) for the new year. I wore the same wave in different color as the last saree of the year. A simple, easy to wear cotton.

One thing I learnt from this year fiasco - 45F and above and a dry day can sure be outdoorsy, We are eating out and using our fire pit like never before :) 

The New Years dinner - sum of everything Vada from the family I went to take picture, Steaks, Poori made by Ajey, Chicken curry by master chef

Friday, January 1, 2021

The last day of 2020 - What will you remember?

Somehow Dec 31st becomes the most important day for everyone. Every year it’s the same regrets from the past year and promises and hopes for the coming year. Reflections and what worked and what didn’t take over. This year it wasn’t the same, everyone just couldn’t wait to get rid of 2020. The year did some pretty good things to many people. I am not denying it’s horror but 2020 showed us a part of living we were ignoring all along. It made us realize how important it is to slow down.  

With all that buzz going on in the whole world about the celebration, my household was taking it easy. Pandey men take one day at a time and follow the rule of “Sab din ek saman” (all the days are the same) so it was a normal Thursday here. A slow work day for Ajey and Mom, the other two had the day off. Anand for sure was excited about the year 2020’s last day. He had planned a dinner menu. I have written about the difficult days in our household and the calm that came out of the storm. Him participating in the meals planning and preparation more is one of the promises from that storm. My son decided he wanted to bake Pasta with meatballs for dinner. I on the other had decided to stay out of the kitchen . The day started as usual and I was done with work by mid afternoon. Decided to take a nap after lunch, made by the master chef of the house these days. When I woke up the house was warm and smelled of cheese . I decided to join the group call with dear friends instead of getting ready and before I knew it the table was set and everyone was waiting for me to get off the call. For once instead of dressing up I decided to join the eager men for dinner. So the last day of 2020 was spent in my Pj’s.

But it didn’t matter, we don’t have a single family picture of “unkempt” Pandey’s around the dining table but we have memories of fun, laughter, jokes and food. We will remember 2020 for various reasons, personal losses and victories and lessons learnt . With everything else I will remember that the year ended with something good and a first for the whole family, a meal cooked by the youngest and tallest man of the household. That itself gives us hope and promises of better days my friends and Yes I wish you the same.

 A table set for dinner while I was busy chatting with Divya, Farida and Viba. Anand set the table, Ajey poured the drink. I am perfectly okay even if it doesnt look like the “celebration” table. But his face sure was celebratory, he was chatty, goofy and happy. 2020 I want to remember this as your departing face.

I was part of a podcast, The team and other participant got together on Wednesday to bring in the new year. It was fun and uplifting. An Irkal (or Ilkal)Saree from Karnataka.
The link to podcast -some amazing stories from women who made United States their home