Tuesday, March 30, 2021

When you talk about your life and feel if you are narrating someone else’s story

Facebook Live on Saree Speak - Sunday March 28th 

Host- Deepika Gundanna  

A sunny Sunday morning spent chatting with a beautiful woman who made me feel like royalty . 

I logged in to Facebook live with a Saree group that I am a part of. It was a day to talk about motherhood, friendships , relationships and womanhood with a mix of special needs. The conversation started with sarees and then it transitioned to other topics as it always happens.

The idea behind the talk was spreading awareness and acceptance for Autism and special needs. I have been doing this for a few years now and decided to reach out to my Saree tribe for their support to the families in their lives. Even if one person remembers the message and shows kindness to one family, my time was well spent.

When I started talking about our life years ago it was difficult. I was vulnerable, apprehensive and worried but knew that I had to do it. Not only for my son but also for the many other families who were in the same situation. It has helped tremendously and I am grateful for that. At the same time I have become the voice of so many families who couldn’t come forward to talk about their lives and it’s ok. This is a journey and they will find their voice in their time, till then I am very happy to be their voice.

The conversation was fun and thought provoking in so many ways. I am still going through the comments. It definitely made an impact on a few people. As I said before, if it changed things for one family, my efforts are worth it.

I talked about Global Desi Moms Network and many reached out for their near and dear ones. 

A net and velvet saree, an impulsive online shopping came out of my closet for a chat with Deepika. 

It was a fun hour talking and answering questions. Please wear Blue on April 2nd and show you care.

Monday, March 29, 2021

What brings you to upfront and center sometime

Last year when Lockdown started I started documenting our lives. Posted every other day. I started writing about our food, cleaning and schedule adjustment. Our home is not big but we never felt it was small, It was just enough for us. But soon we realized it’s all relative. We all got to know what  - “together 24-7” really means. How you can eat and eat and then be hungry again. How everyone just come to the fridge without thinking and look for something- Without even knowing. what real “accommodation” is while shopping online. You are FORCED to try something you never cooked with. and yes I know ALL of us went through the same thing. Its over a year and things are changing and some are changing for good. 

I struggled more tham anyone in my home but soon got a handle on my downfall. will soon wrote about it 

I am asked to sit on the board of a very prestigious non profit in Special need world. The organization is one of the biggest, old and renowned yet never had any Desi on the board.

I decided - with me they will make up for all these missing opportunities. As desi it gets I will be wearing Saree to every meeting.

A simple Orissa cotton with kalakari print blouse. 

A dear friend
Annapurna Pandey
did and awesome story on Families with Special need Childrens. Our Desi Moms Network was featured very prominently. Please read when you have few minutes.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Turing 50 with a bang :) Desi Moms Network goes Global

Posted on 03/19 

A friend reminded I am getting old so I should listen to my body. I decided to listen to my heart and soul and celebrate my milestone Bday in a totally different way. 

Today I decided to take my calling to another step further. Desi Moms Network going Beyond Borders!!!! and is on Facebook and Instagram.
I am happy, proud and excited for these moms who found support and friendship through this group.
Please help me grow this community for Desi Moms with Children with special need everywhere. If you know someone who has kids with needs, please be kind to them, support them and please please connect them to each other. 
Please reach out to me if you want more information about this group. Thank you for all your love and support.
A dear friend decided to celebrate my big Bday. #Bdayeve 
#DesiMomsNetwork #Youarenotalone#MomlovesAnand

Please join - Only if you have a child with special needs.
If you are a wonderful friend to a such family please share this information with them


Milestone Bday like no other .. Thankful for love

My birthday celebration is lasting for days.

I am very fortunate and all of my friends are showing their love and appreciation in their own way.

Two of the moms from my Moms Network wrote poetry for me.

Our children are the reason we got connected but our love of poetry and words got us closer.

One is in Bangla and the other one in Hindi.

Another story in my blog about my nephew. Hope it makes you think in other direction.

जन्म दिन के  इस शुभ 

अवसर पर 

निकलता हुआ सुरज 

दुआ  दे  आपको !

 खिलता हुआ फूल 

खुसबू  दे  आपको 

बिखेरे हुऐ थे 

हम सब इधर उधर 

आपने हम सब को 

एक गांव मे बसाया हैं 

हम तो कुछ देने के काबिल 

नही  जया 

तुमने तो हमारे  लिए एक 

नया संसार बसाया  है 

खुदा हज़ार खुशिया 

दे  आपको 

जन्म दिन मुबारक हो  डिअर  जया 


                 Reena Tyagi ...

জয়া - আলোর দিশা

স্বচ্ছ তোয়ার উচ্ছল বয়ে চলা

পাথুরে খাতে কারা রুদ্ধ গতি,

বন্ধু তুমি হাত বাড়িয়ে দিও

অক্ষয় হোক উদ্ভাসিত জ্যোতি।

বন্ধুতুমি যুদ্ধ জয়ী প্রাণ

আমার লড়াই শুরুর প্রহর গোণে

ভরসা দিলে ভালোবাসায় মুড়ে

আশার প্রদীপ মনের গহীন কোণে।

বন্ধু তুমি বট বৃক্ষের ছায়া

তুমিই জানি তপ্ত দিনের ধারা

পথ হারানো বিভ্রান্ত কালে

তোমার দ্বারে নিত্য কড়া নাড়া।

বিশেষ দিনে নতুন করে বলি

অম্লান হোক মমতাময়ীর হাসি

'বিশেষশব্দ তোমার ছবিই আঁকে।

জন্মদিনের শুভেচ্ছা রাশি রাশি!


19th March,2020

***Jaya - the Lady with Hope of Ray ***0ii

Life is a roller coaster for each of us,

Tough time comes and goes like tides -

A few soles walk hand in hand,

Brings happiness and positive vibes.

She won her every battle with smile

With time she becomes the shade...

She made our steeped journey

'Special' and beautiful like cascade! 

Live long with 'Anand' every moment

Jaya - the Lady with Hope of Ray

With all our gratitude and thanks

Wish you a very happy birthday!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Gift of love - Thank you for being one of them

Happiness is when the husband toasts you at midnight.. A big deal because for him birthdays are just another day. One of the many things he does for me even though it’s not his style or believes in but still does it to make me happy. 

The day began with a text msg from a friend asking me to check the door and saw a box full of Jasmine flowers. People who know my craziness for flowers totally will get the “perfect” gift. with a beautiful jewelry set from her mother in law.

What makes it special - the thought and hard work behind those flowers in this cold weather. I can imagine how much planning went behind this “perfect gift” for Jaya .Two dear friends celebrated my Bday eve, a fun evening well spent. 

The numerous calls, messages, texts were all wonderful gifts. I couldn’t take many calls but will go through them and cherish them all for a long time.

Two women wrote beautiful poems for me in Hindi and Bangla. I am honored. More than words the sentiments, respect and love behind the gesture made me a very rich woman today. One of the most beautiful gifts I will celebrate forever. 

Mother India ( Amma) said wear something new. I took out many new sarees but ended up wearing a Maheshwari which Amma wore once for a few minutes. That picture was her WhatsApp profile pic for the longest time. This saree will always remain Amma’s “utran” hand me down saree . 

The men of the house took the day off. 

Pandeys drove to North End in Boston, just to get my favorite dessert, a bountiful supply of Tiramisu and cheesecake from Mike’s pastry. We walked in with masks on but the woman who has served us for years still recognized us. They were not too busy so a couple of them were checking out my saree. Our regular server was so happy to tell everyone that Ajey was a young kid when she met us first. Now he was the ONE  paying for mom’s desserts. A quick trip to Hay Market was added bonus. I didn't buy much but that place makes me really happy.

 The lunch was takeout from a Thai place in Norwood. When Ajey started going to Preschool and Anand was a baby, for months every Wednesday I would drop Ajey and have lunch in this tiny place. The window corner seat was reserved for me, Anand in the car seat next to me. I tried each and every item on the Menu. That was my “me” time. I wonder if without even knowing the word I was practicing self care. I returned home to see a saree hanging on my door. A beautiful surprise by a dear friend.

After lunch two wonderful friends visited me whom I met because of our children. They are not the moms from Desi Network anymore, they have become very close friends. Some Indian sweets, cakes, home made snacks and a bottle of Patron to complete my day. 

I am still trying to go through the messages, calls, voice mails, gifts and cards . Not even trying to respond to facebook and Instagram messages. I am exhausted and physically tired but mentally on a high. The flowers, plants, cards, Jewelry sets, sweets, cake, wine, champagne and liquor - each and every gift is priceless.

I have yet to respond to all the wishes but the best wishes came from my Dad’s aunt. She is over 90 and it was a blessing to hear from her. These video calls have made the world a happier place.

Please know that I am grateful beyond words. Thank you for being with me on this beautiful journey.

Evening Tea at a friend's. She needed to see how happy those flower made me

The Midnight shots 

The fear for COVID is real. I couldn't go to any of those bars and shop in one of my fav place on earth..
The place I loved - Thai Thani in Norwood. Loved the food. 
Covid has changed the place, it is  take out only place , My corner seat is given to this plant now

Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Milestone Birthday - Thank you for all your love and Grateful for your presence in my life.

I am the one to believe in little things that bring happiness, small celebrations that bring enormous joy. Today, I am keeping all my beliefs and philosophies aside and celebrating my 50th Bday in a big way. 

I am the kind of crazy woman who values relationships more than anything else. My principles guide me and my mistakes make me wiser. I love deeply and care unconditionally. I get them in return in multiple folds. There are people who have my back no matter what, some on my side whatever I take on, many hold me close when I am sad and extend their hand when I am sinking, always there to celebrate my victories and encourage me to go beyond my limits.

The list is endless.

I should start with the man who believed in me since we were very young. At 15, he told me I was one of a kind and made for bigger things. Ashish knew me way before I knew myself. Even today he may not do any of those crazy things and doesn’t believe in them but has always stood behind me with all my craziness. My boys who have seen their mom at her best as well as her worst, inspire me to be the best. 

My parents and sisters - they are my strength in many ways. I inherited many of Papa’s  and Amma’s traits and on top of everything amma’s smile and those cheeks :) My sisters keep me grounded and still fuel my dreams with their love and care. These 8 people are the wind beneath my wings. Rest of the family from both sides and my cousins have been my cheerleaders in many ways.

Today is the day to thank those who have been with me for years, I grew old with these people in my orbit. We have been through thick and thin in life together. They have been the first hand witnesses to my journey, from a young mother to this 50 something woman. I cannot define their place in my life.

Then come the people who make my world beautiful. Who share my passion for music, food, cooking, sarees. You know how important you are for my survival and sanity. I am most grateful to Anand, my younger son. He brought compassion and empathy and something more. A drive and passion to make this world a litte better.

I thought I was building a community for these moms ( Moms= Desi mom with children with special needs) but now I know they are building the world for me. I was giving a little and getting back in abundance. They believed in my dreams and gave me the feeling of fulfillment. They make my soul happy with their trust and love. Please help me bringing these moms together. Reach out to your friend and families, extend your help and share your happiness and their difficulties.

Our “Desi Moms Network” goes beyond Borders and is on Facebook and Instagram. 

Thank you for being with me all these beautiful years and I am so looking forward to rocking many more years because I am not alone… I know you are with me .

Thank you for all your love and wishes. 


It was my milestone Bday and I couldnt manage to get one single family pic. Autism doesnt understand the importance of family pic on special day. My son wasn't very happy with me and this was his way to punish his mom :( It was a very cold and windy day in Boston and outdoor dining was not possible and we are still not dining indoor. So things didn't go as planned. Anyways. He picked the bags from car and took them inside. That was the only time I could capture him :) Still as a family we have learnt to cherish with whatever we get. My dear husband donned a beard for me, It was supposed to be a salt and pepper but in one week we realized the pepper is long gone just salt.

I am posting a family pic - An amazing friend did the photoshoot for us, It was a beautiful day and Anand was a happy kid. Sometime having everyone in one frame is enough.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Words or Actions - Which one matters most ?

Hello Pragya mummy. Can we talk at my 9:00 pm today. 

Time: 9:00

Subject: Domestic help

It's a bit urgent.

Hope you are free.

 🖤🤍🖤🤍 ~ Abhinav

On a beautiful Saturday morning I woke up to this message.  I replied back that I will be ready for our zoom chat. WhatsApp has made our life so easy.

If you read my ramblings then you know Abhinav is my sister Seema’s 11 year old son. Anand, my son goes to Seema mausi when he gets angry with his mother. She has played the role of a referee many times. So when I read the subject I had an “aha” moment :).  I know my sister and BIL have let go of their cook and other help to keep ma papa in a bubble and everyone at home was pitching in with the household chores. I assumed this must be about that. Who, at the age of 11 and in their right mind would like to do dishwasher unloading and putting things away. That is the assigned task for Abhinav.

So at my 10.30 AM I sat down with my chai for that conversation and I was just blown away. That 11 year old kid was talking about the new maid my sister hired. It’s exactly the conversation I have had with my 23 year old multiple times in the last 10 years . Why do we need someone to clean our bathroom or why cannot we change our sheets on our own.

My 11 year old nephew was sad that the new girl had to do all these chores. Why is she poor and why is she not going to college or working a “good” job. The conversation then took another turn about dignity of work. It’s we who decided that cleaning the bathroom is a “bad” job and going to the office is a “good” job. I explained to him how kids here do “odd” jobs to earn their pocket money.  I appreciated that she is not begging or cheating people but working hard to make her living. How calling her  “domestic helper ” instead of “maid” will not change a thing for her. Appreciating  her work ethics, hard work and  being kind is more important.  How he needs to feel the same for his mother or any woman around. How important it is to respect rather than than pity. 

I hope our conversation made some sense to him. His mind was at ease when we called it a night. 

Most of us who grew up in India are used to having multiple domestic helpers around and very frankly we do take them for granted. We understand them better when we leave India. “The dignity of work” what is your thought? What would you teach your son and will it be different for your daughter? Is cooking or cleaning still a “female” oriented job, would you expect your son to do laundry and dishes? Are household chores to be done only by the women in the house or to be shared equally with the male member of the house. 

I hope this was one of the many discussion with this 11 year old, who has the ability to make me really think, to find the right words and direction. He amazes me with his out of the box, unconventional thinking.

This tiny kid is such a delight now. 

as of today -somewhere on the shore of Arabian Sea 
Ajey shopping for dishwasher in Home Depot. 
Anand has been our permanent dishwasher for years
Covid has made Ajey learn so many things. Making roti is one of them

Monday, March 8, 2021

This is not "you" or Me - It is "together" and "us"

 written on 03/06

It has been exciting journey with the Mom’s Network. Last week I thought I needed to make it bigger and better. There are so many moms who needs it. 

And then the work began. This week I have been talking to people close to my heart about it. For the last 4 days I have been searching on Facebook for Massachusetts based Autism Groups, scanning through thousands of members just to find some of those Desi Moms. 

Which led to so many Facebook messages, comments, VoiceMails and texts and hours of talking. I don’t even know remember now how many hours of my Friday and Saturday went into this “searching” mode. But I am very happy that our village grew a lot in these days. So many moms who said they were so alone and are so happy to be a part of this new found village. All of a sudden they have over 200 women around them who understand them much better without even meeting them. This is an exciting chapter in all our lives. Just a simple observation - somehow I ended up bringing many healthcare professionals in this lot. I have always been in awe of healthcare professionals and my respect grew multiple fold this last year. I am so happy that I could bring some hope, excitement and happiness in their life. They have held so many hands to comfort their patients and their families . Today I just want to say-Hang in there, You are not alone, we are in this together. 

Today is March 6th, the 25th death anniversary of my uncle. He was my dad’s younger brother, a dynamic personality and an amazing human being. His untimely death impacted everyone in our family. While talking to my mom and dad I was saying how different our world has been without him. I was the first born in the Jha family, a very adored granddaughter and his favorite niece. We had nick names for each other and I am so happy that I inherited his passion for music, specially ghazals. One thing came to my mind, what would he think of me? Did I make him proud?

In last 24 hours we have grown our community by 3 doctors, 1 nurse, one IT professional in Children's hospital and a trial coordinator.. During this time my respect for health care professional has grown in multiple folds. Please be kind and pay it forward. 

This evening I hosted a Zoom introduction call for a facebook group of these amazing moms- 9 of us laughed, joked and had fun. The saree brings the best out of me. 

 A cotton saree bought during to support weavers. I loved it when I got it but dropping it was a breeze. One of the best I got. 

These are the msgs fuel my passion. Please spread the words.