Sunday, September 26, 2021

Have you ever taken a Board meeting in your PJ’s :)

Note - I am writing about my India trip on my other blog, but this post really fit here.

This was a busy summer for me and every one in Desi Moms Network community. We all are getting ready to send our kids to school and ready to embrace the change. I was busy growing the moms network and raising awareness in our community and beyond. The Pandemic brought the need up front and center. This year I accepted another board position (After Federation for Children with Special needs and Mass familes) for HMEA.

They are one of the very prominent service providers and I am honored to support them with my experience, background and expertise. My term was to start in Sept. I did participate in last board meeting as a guest but this Thursday was the first official meeting.

Date was already in my calendar and I was looking forward to it with an idea to don on a beautiful saree. I made a promise to myself to wear sarees for board meetings to draw attention to desi community. Only problem was - I flew to India the week before. Can you believe all 3 organizations have their board meeting during the two weeks I am in India. My jet lag is getting worse every trip and this time it wasn’t any different.  I missed the Federation’s meeting and Virtual Gala because of messy calendar and time difference and my jet lag. So was determined to make this one work. Only problem was I was flying that very morning back to Bangalore after visiting my mother in law in Durg.

Thursday night was packing night, many phone calls to make, catching up on messages and emails. I finally went to bed at midnight. Earlier I thought I would get up early, get ready and join the call. But the night before everything got delayed. The Meeting was at 3.30 AM so there wasn’t I could do much. I woke up and joined the call in my PJ’s . So much to the planning for first meeting :) The meeting was very informative and engaging. I totally forgot I was jet lagged or tired or was in the middle of the night. Was just proud and happy to be part of an amazing team of passionate people.  After meeting I was rejuvenated so much so that I decided to repack everything with clarity in my mind about what is important.

 Introducing myself in my PJ’s and sleepy voice was not something I would like to start my term with but this meeting sure has a place in my memory. I just hope the other board members will change their opinion about me by the next meeting. I hope my first impression in not the last impression :)

What is your meeting in PJ or time difference story?

This was me the night before, a long tiring but happy day. and the other pic was me next morning for the flight, I couldn't dare to take pic of my in between avatar 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The reception story - Unsung heroes

I was invited as a friend first then a board member to a reception to honor 3 awardees - a philanthropist, a change agent and an organization working in mental health field. Of these 3, 2 of them have inspired me in many ways.

One is a friend and a person I adore. She in a way change the way immigrant familes are treated in the special needs world. She is a cultural agent. I dressed her and her daughter in sarees a couple of months ago if you follow my stories.

The Associate Director of that organization is a dear friend too. I walked a 5K wearing a green saree to honor her a few years ago for her efforts in raising mental health awareness. She never forgets to tell everyone.

I didn’t have to think twice about what to wear, a saree of course but a hot day called for a cotton. The venue was amazing as was the weather, the people, the drinks and the food. I met some fabulous people, some I knew from before some I didn’t. Very interestingly many asked about my Saree. 

An amazing group of people from the non profit world, some families, some parents with special needs children, they all made the evening perfect. But my favorite was a mom walking in with her son as her plus one. 

Years ago I went to another gala with one Radio personality as the host, I walked in with my then 18 year old son. I still remember that feeling. 

When I sent a picture of me at the gala to a friend she couldn’t believe that I wore a cotton saree to a reception hosted at a country club here in Boston. We joked that one flower decoration on that table would have been more expensive than my saree. 

Well, if you want to know more about the work Federation for Children with Special needs does, please google them to learn more about the organisation. Wait for the Gala pictures. I will be in one of my favorite sarees for sure.

A simple cotton Batik saree more pics and captions on my blog if you want to see my flower :)

The wonderful photographer Ivone Rego
The fancy country club had IKAT cushion in their waiting area :) There were two indian in that club that day Jaya and that imported Ikat fabric :)
Ivone Rego's magic :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Village comes in all shapes and sizes

My parents have been living with my sister for more than 15 years . They left their home, friends, family and social circle and helped my sister raise her kids. They kept their connections alive and home intact and visited twice a year.

It was the first time they couldn’t due to COVID. The last 18 months took a toll on everyone and our family wasn’t an exception. At a certain point they decided it was enough, fear lost and the longing to be in their “home and hometown ” won over. They took a trip to Balaghat for two weeks. But this time it was different as they were almost two years older than their last visit. They knew it would be difficult but didn’t know to what extent. My mom needed to be on her own to live life fully, do the things she wanted to do and meet the people she had missed in the last two years. Another sister and her husband took care of most of the things they could ( they live 150 miles away in Raipur). They came and got them settled and then went back home. It was my mom’s entourage of helpers who really took care of them.

Khelan Bai is one of them. 

Ajey was born in Balaghat and Khelan Bai came to help us with the new born. Her husband is a barber in our town and traditionally the barber’s wife is a masseuse for the new born and the new mom. She was and still is a skinny woman who was always calm and smiling. It was 24 plus years ago. I left for Singapore with then 2 months old Ajey but she remained a part of our household. She took care of my mom and later when they moved to Bangalore she still remained in our caretaker circle. Whenever we went home she was always there doing whatever she could. I always told her she is the best Masseuse in the world. She is tiny and skinny but there is something in her hands that relaxes every bone. Come to think of it, she has been there for our 3 generations. 

This time my mom was there for 10 days and Khelan bai was there by default everyday for a couple of hours doing more than just giving a massage to my mom. She did what we, the daughters were supposed to do. Helped my mom clean and empty out the stuff from home. My mom had a different agenda this time, she let go of a lot of old stuff and belongings. I know it was hard for her, she wasn’t feeling well healthwise and emotionally too realizing she may not be able to “visit” her own home as much she would want to. Khelan bai was there to hold her hand and support her in every possible way. I am just grateful that she was there where none of us sister could.

My parents are back from Balaghat and am I am so grateful that they could spend some time there but it wasn’t possible without these helps. Will write about Gangaram, the caretaker for their home some time soon.