Tuesday, October 26, 2021

An evening of chance, tea, conversation and unconscious biases

 Some time ago I got an invite for a 75th Bday tea for last Sunday and my instant answer was an apology. Reason? It was Mr. Husband’s bday too, We were getting back from Anand’s parents weekend a day before and the first born was coming home that night to celebrate dad’s bday.

Thursday turned into pre bday celebration in the city and we spent Friday and Saturday in Berkshire with Anand 

We got back home on Saturday evening and  3 of us started our party. 3 days of partying we all knew the real Bday will be a slow day. 3 days of partying, Sunday and football I knew the man wouldn’t leave home.

After a fabulous lunch the first born took the train and I went to the bday party for a dear Amma.

I walked in knowing just the host family and another friend. Met their friends and realize how important the introduction is. The guests follow the host’s words. And yes the host didn’t leave any stone unturned in making me look good.

The conversation was all about Amma, India trips, sarees, Saree groups and world of smart women. Later I started conversing with two ladies in particular. One of them was a rebel at heart and had no shame in admitting, the real bold and beautiful in very positive way. Another one had a very peculiar name and I assumed a specific community. I realized my two unconscious biases right there, I assumed everyone present was married and had kids and another one was about religion. It was all a very hearty and happy conversation but it bothered me  that I made conclusion deepening on conversation. I couldn’t have asked questions about husband, kids or religion anyways but why our conversation has to be about topics related to the social criteria?

Do you have those biases, do you assume things? what kind of questions do you ask in these kind of party? What should you know? Or what do you want to know? Would you need an ice breaker session in these kind of party?

9 weeks of emptinesters Pandeys - The Parents weekend for Anand at CIP

Anand has been in this Program for 9 weeks and all of us have learnt to live without each other. I was excited about parents weekend and worried too. He had never been away from home for this long ( he has been to a  couple of camps for 3-4 nights, that’s all) This program is all about him learning to become independent. 

Mr Husband and I took time off and spent the day in Boston on Thursday, it was a late night. But this time packing was a real breeze. We left Friday morning. Berkshire is beautiful this time of the year. A dear friend made Chhole for Anand so we carried the home made lunch for him. He wanted some software installed on his computer for the game he was playing so not sure if he was waiting for us or that :)

When we parked and texted  him, my son came running without shoes and hugged me for a long time. I told him  I had missed him and he said the same and  then he came back to his usual joke “ you better mom” :) That was a treat.

We ate lunch in his apartment , a home cooked meal together after 9 weeks. The boy picked his plate and rinsed and put it in the dishwasher and did the same with mine and his dad’s. A very welcoming sign of independent living skills.

The day was well spent showcasing CIP activities and programs. 

My son was the first one to volunteer to present his person centered plan.  He didn’t worry a bit even though the room was full of students and parents. He was very confident and clear. 

After the presentation all the parents were invited for a theatre show and I realized Anand wasn’t part of it at all and was the least interested. He was part of the drama club in high school so I was surprised.

Anyway the day ended with family dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant picked by Anand. I had put together the parents group when I went for orientation in Aug. When I heard that there could be a possibility of a parents get together I initiated the conversation. After dinner our children went to their apartments  and  the parents hungout by the fire for almost 3 hours. We all had so much to share and talk. Got to meet some really wonderful parents. 

Hopefully these ideas/ hopes and conversations last longer than that meet. Next day we had the scavenger hunt  at The Mount, Edith Wharton's Home. None of the Pandeys were interested in that. Anand decided to spend his time in the car listening to his favorite music , Dad ate with everyone and socialized a little bit then decided to take a nap in the car before driving back home and I had my lunch and chatted with the parents and staff of CIP. There was nothing new  for us to find out anyways.

Once we all were ready to retire we dropped Anand to his apartment and drove back home, just two of us. It was easier than the last time though. Another aspect of parenting “letting them go”.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A day could be fun and have so much more

 An invite to join a Global Inclusion and diversity event was so exciting. Being in office after 19 months for something fun. It was socially distant with masked mandate event.

I was invited for a panel discussion two weeks ago and same team invited me for a breakfast session today. It was an exciting opportunity and today weather decided to be its best. A sunny day in 70s in the month of Oct.

Mr Husband took a day off and offered to drive me to the city. I was in the event for an hour and half and he drove/walked around the city while waiting for me to get done.

The event was remarkable I wish I could write about it on a public forum.

After the event the empty nester us just painted the town red. We had some ideas as to what we wanted to do but no set plans. Went to a Chilean place for lunch ( memories of 99 when I ate Chilean food for the first time, I ate there often) went to Castle Island, walked around, listen to Ghazals sitting by the beach, went to a brewery for a beer tasting, walked around North End , got the local Pizza, and had some coffee and Tiramisu, went to see our first born then ate some local sandwich and went to a park in his town to hangout.

It was a 12 hour day, long and tiring but very refreshing at the same time. Our life has changed so much. We couldn’t have done it before. Something you cannot imagine unless you live through it.

Not that I don’t miss my boys but at the same time I feel liberated too. Mr. Husband is doing much better than I thought, he is actually participating in my crazy ideas. 

Today I had dinner with my first born and tomorrow is the day to have lunch with Anand.

Its the parent weekend in CIP, Lee. 

I will be seeing my boy after two months and I am so looking forward to this.

I wore a saree gifted by dear sister and Brother in law. They were in Udupi for vacation and bought a saree for me :) one from the " 50 sarees of 50th year" :) 

view from 36th floor 
Lunch by the bay 
Looks like everyone was thinking the same 
Harpoon Brewery in Seaport Boston. Pre Bday celebration 
Modern Pastry in North End.  totally forgot to take pic of amazing Tiramisu 
This man was making movie for those droplets I decided to take his pic and then idea of playing with water hit my head, later I realized I should have taken my shoes/ socks out :) 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Am I turning into a saree snob? :)

On a slightly chilly weeknight, but did I say moon lit night,when a saree Sakhi invites you for a pooja, you open your recent loot and wear a silk.

That’s exactly what I did. An invite for Khojagiri Purnima pooja called for a silk drape.

It was a beautiful day. I took family pictures for another friend after work and rushed back home to get ready.  A nice cup of wine and dinner on a full moon night with Mr Husband was sure a treat. I was telling him the whole picture taking saga, how a cute dog was feeling left out, how the kid had long hair and how Adele was playing in the background and it totally worked for me because it did something to the 18 year old girl, the grandmother of the kids, a charmer with a calm, quiet and smiling demeanor. She couldn’t talk much because of our language barrier but it didn’t stop the conversation from happening between us.

And the topic turned to “tying a saree” takes forever. I was trying to explain to Mr husband how untrue it is. He was joking I take a long time to dress up too. He is right in a way, it’s not about “Wearing saree” though,  it is about “which one to wear” that takes forever. Anyways, Pandey men have no idea how quickly I get ready, they have none to compare my timing with.

Sure enough I took 15 mins after dinner because this time I knew which saree was calling me out.

I was there when the pooja was going on and I couldn’t stop scanning the crowd. Color, weave and style became more important than their faces. I am really good at not judging the choice of sarees.

The host was doing the prayers and I was busy using my limited time to notice the sarees. Yes, the Ikat/ pochampalli was the weave of the evening.

Does it happen to you too? Do you notice? Do you judge people based on their choices? I sure missed everyone’s shoes, purses and jewelry but the sarees will occupy the prime real estate in my mind every time we will talk about Khojagiri Purnima.

The setting for a photoshoot, My fav part. The fall pics are the best

What is ishq for you and what is romance for you?

I remember the conversation with a dear friend who had very clear thought that When two people really care about each other, they will always look for a way to make it work, no matter how hard it is. Some times you don't really have to say "I Love you" all the time. There are a million different ways to express that. "Put your seat belt on", "get some rest or go put your feet up on the couch", or as simple as "go sit and I will get you the food". I guess you just gotta listen, they all mean "I love you" in some way.

But seriously its all in the mind, what works for you? what is your definition of romance?

The boys are not home anymore so life is little easier in a way, (New moms  out there - listen to me - your time will come :) A simple meal can be a fancy outdoor meal in no time.  We both could just get ready and be out for a quick bite without thinking too much. 

Someday we just sit outside enjoying the sun and the moon and fall breeze. The simple lunch can be fun.

A Sunday morning lunch with husband was divine then I drove to an event, a music and poetry event in one of my favorite Saree. I wasn’t even doing anything on stage this time.. Got to meet some friends who really make me feel loved. I was in “home” state of mind.

Now to think of it- it was the color of the saree driving my mood. The brightest saree in the crowd :) 

रोज़ तारों को नुमाइश में ख़लल पड़ता है 

चाँद पागल है अँधेरे में निकल पड़ता है 

उस की याद आई है साँसो ज़रा आहिस्ता चलो 

धड़कनों से भी इबादत में ख़लल पड़ता है 

-राहत इंदौरी

A quick date - A local Indian restaurant

 The "in home" date - My plate has Sushi from Whole food, Corn, Kababs and Salad from Mr Husband's kitchen. My fav kind of plate and even better when served with a nice wine.