Sunday, February 27, 2022

What is in a movie for you? Do you watch it keeping the "reality" out of your mind

It was supposed to be a movie night, it turned into something else. A thought provoking yet fun evening and meeting some new people. 

Years ago when a cinema hall in our area started showing Bollywood (Indian) movies, Mr. Husband gave up on movie dates after we went for a couple of them. A horrible Saif Ali Khan movie was the last nail in the coffin I still remember - “Bullet Raja” :) It was memorable for me though, only two of us in the theatre. Soon I started going to the movies with my local friends. For years our group was a lot more fun than just company for watching movies. And then everything stopped for the whole world.

Recently “GanguBai” was released and a text changed things again. Soon Jaya’s various villages came together and 15 of us came together on a cold night to watch this Biopic. Many of them had never met or known each other. And Yes it was a first for many in various ways. A mom left kids with dad and came for the movie, first time and a newbie in town met many. 

I am sure 15 of us were in the cinema hall for different reasons and enjoyed 15 different things. The movie had something for everyone. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the whole grandeur of the movie, from costumes  to music, dance, art and direction -  the whole set up was mesmerizing for me.

I am not even going into story, acting, the actors, thoughts, reasoning, the bitter taste of discrimination, injustice, the status of a woman in the society, the socio economic divide and above all how the women are treated in general. Over the years I have learnt to go to the movies for just entertainment purpose, keeping my thinking hat at home. 

I could enjoy the movie, enjoy the company of my friends, some laughs and just fun of being together after such a long time. Would you watch it? I would be curious to know what did it do to you. I will watch this movie again at home some day to just ogle  at the Sarees and jewelry the heroine wore..

The Saree is Bengal Taant (Laal Paad) in honor of Gangu Bai, the woman beyond her time.

The Saree Gang
Totally unrelated but so needed because the song is just stuck with me 

 जब सैयां आये शाम को तो लग गये चाँद मेरे नाम को

सर पे रख के नाच फिरी मैं हर जलते हुए इल्जाम को
जब सैयां आये शाम को तो लग गये चाँद मेरे नाम को

दीवारों दर चौखट वौखट  बन गए है सब सहेली 
ये कुछ पूछे वो कुछ पूछे  कितने जवाब दूँ मैं अकेली

हजारों काम मिल गए है  यूं बैठे बिठाये इस नाकाम को 
जब सैयां आये शाम को तो लग गये चाँद मेरे नाम को

खुदको देखने तक की भी फुर्सत मुझको नहीं मिलती
उनके इश्क़ के नूर के आगे शम्मा नहीं जलती

लाखों नाज़ लग गये है फिर गुरूर के इस बदनाम को

जब सैयां आये शाम को तो लग गये चाँद मेरे नाम को

Link for the song

Monday, February 21, 2022

Identity - who are you?

What is identity for you? Do you ever think about who are you as a person? How do you define or explain yourself. Is it a question my mother’s generation ever asked?

Often get togethers start with introductions first and to no-one’s surprise everyone says the same-name, town here in US , in India, kids, jobs. With some nudging, hobbies and interests come next. But usually people don’t talk about value, pet peeves, dreams or likes and dislikes. 

Women who are financially independent still struggle to talk about the woman within, worry about being judged but it is mind boggling to meet someone who really knows their boundaries and strengths. It’s not about the 30 second elevator speech, not interview or the accomplishments, it is about what makes them who they are.

First born’s visits home are such fun for these very reasons . Mr. Husband wouldn’t engage in these complicated conversations , live and let live is his mantra.  He doesn’t need too many things in life. He doesn’t clutter his mind. Ajey is my window to the young world and we talk about many things and issues. This afternoon he was explaining how he is enjoying being “missing” from the social media because he didn’t want social media presence to define his identity. Didn’t want to do the cool stuff publicly for that very reason. For him identity means something else at this point in his life.

My concept of a village is based on this - meet and open up and let people enter your world, break those walls and learn something from everyone, connect and do the same for others.

In another meet up it was very interesting to see ladies opening up to someone they had never met in person before.  8 of us came together for more than 3 hours , chit chatted, ate and opened our hearts to someone new, someone new and fresh and willing to accommodate them as they are. I know all of them personally, how they define themselves to some new people that will be another story.

What about you? What defines you, makes you tick? Who is the real “you”?

A Gorgette banrasi saree to enjoy the evening with some amazing women.

The questions were- :)

- What do you value in a friendship? Talk about some incidents.

- One fav dinner guest - dead or live - what would you talk to the person

- Define your perfect day :) 

- Are you stuck somewhere? Work, personal life, passion, are you doing something about it? 

- Do you know when you need help and can you ask for it? 

Perfect end of a long weekend, a quick trip to Cape cod to watch the sunset, I needed the calm and quiet for a change.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Valentine? Galantine? Or something else -What is February for you

Somehow February is associated with love, roses, reds, pinks and gifts. It always felt over the top to me but over the years I am at least responding with “same to you too” to Happy Valentine’s Day greetings and marvel at how far I have come from detesting all the show off about love.

What is Valentine’s Day for you? What is love for you and how do you reciprocate?

This month I have seen a friend dealing with heartache, questioning everything she did for love and even asking if it was love to begin with. Have heard another friend’s excitement and apprehensions about new found love. In both scenarios I have heard them wishing it was easier. There are apprehensions about the future, will the pain or excitement go away. Love morphs into something else over time for all of us. Someday it is butterflies in the stomach and on another it is an uneasy feeling. It can be flowers or gifts or may be a text message or phone call someday. 

Last night the first born came home and chatting with him I totally lost track of time. Had to make something for a Musical meet so it was a last minute rush. Mr Husband took care of chopping, keeping an eye on the pan and then packing the stuff and keeping it ready by the door and then heating my car while I got ready, that was love for me.

When I stood on stage reciting that poetry and everyone paid attention without blinking their eyes, that was love for me too.

When I came home close to midnight, the first born asked about the poetry and heard the recording with me and loved it, had many questions and asked for the translation - that was love for me.

I wore a pink saree and recited Ibn-e-Insha’s - “ek bar kaho tum meri ho” “say once you are mine”.

Here are the lyrics for you, listen to this ghazal in Parvez Mehdi’s voice and you will find another kind of  “love”.

हम घूम चुके बस्ती बन में  इक आस की फाँस लिए मन में 

कोई साजन हो कोई प्यारा हो कोई दीपक हो, कोई तारा हो 

जब जीवन रात अँधेरी हो इक बार कहो तुम मेरी हो 

हाँ दिल का दामन फैला है क्यूँ गोरी का दिल मैला है 

हम कब तक पीत के धोके में तुम कब तक दूर झरोके में 

कब दीद से दिल को सेरी हो इक बार कहो तुम मेरी हो 

जब सावन-बादल छाए हों जब फागुन फूल खिलाए हों
जब चंदा रूप लुटाता हो जब सूरज धूप नहाता हो
या शाम ने बस्ती घेरी हो इक बार कहो तुम मेरी हो

क्या झगड़ा सूद ख़सारे का ये काज नहीं बंजारे का 

सब सोना रूपा ले जाए  सब दुनिया, दुनिया ले जाए 

तुम एक मुझे बहुतेरी हो इक बार कहो तुम मेरी हो 

-इबने इंशा 

Link for my recital

A happy me - PC - the first born 

and the perfect audience - they make me feel loved and heard - every single time

and finally the link for the ghazal

Thursday, February 10, 2022

What is your food memory, what do you crave from your fun days?

Growing up in 70s in MP, Noodles were the only Chinese dish I knew. Though my food horizon widened in time. 

But the world really exploded when I came to Pune with Mr. Husband in 1995. He was a Pune University guy, if you have ever lived in Pune in 90s you cannot forget those best food joints for students - fountain, Tapri, OC ( old Canteen and New Canteen) and Shantiniketan. It was a memorable time of my life. A new bride hanging out with husband and his friends and food sure was one of the many other things I enjoyed in that company.

That place introduced me to Chinese food. I still remember how I tried everything on menu. The shopkeeper (Thele wala bhaiya) soon figured out that I didn’t belong to that flock and was an added outsider. He treated me with care and respect and I didn’t have to be in line or wait. 

From Pune we moved to Singapore and my excitement turned into disappointment. The real Chinese food was nothing like I knew :) Over time I developed the taste for real Chinese food. Still fondly remember my food journey of Singapore and Malaysia.

It’s been ages but I still craved for that Pune Chaupati Indo Chinese food. I did try few places and never found the taste I was looking for. I gave up thinking it was nostalgia of my youth, new beginning in life, the excitement of that age or may be just the newness.

When I came across a poster about Tashan’s ( a local restaurant)  Indo-Chinese night I had to give it a try. The problem was - it was on Wednesday nights and the restaurant is 50 miles from home. Convincing Mr Husband for dinner was easy because a dear friend wanted to try too, both the husbands had no choice. 

I had talked so much about Panjabi Night in that restaurant and convinced these 3 people to come I was a little nervous walking in. The drinks were as amazing as the last time. Mr Husband and the friends loved the meal and agreed that it was worth the drive . The desserts were perfect too. We ordered 5 things from the special Menu and I cannot wait to go back to try rest of them. 

The weather was beautiful, well 40s  sound perfect in Feb for Bostonians, so wore a saree to look and feel royal. The heels came out after a long time too. I was a happy woman going on a date with 3 wonderful people :) How the meaning of a “date” changes over time :) 

On the way back the conversation was about when to come back with our other two friends for the weekend Brunch. Well looks like you will get to hear about the weekend Brunch Saree Saga soon. 

Appetizers and drinks were to die far.
Veg Manchurian, Chili Chicken, Black Pepper Shrimp and Veg Fried Rice 
Kesari Rasmalai and Shahi Firni 
 I am very fortunate to have amazing friends around me. One of them introcuded the magic of Pop Rocks very recently and today I got that in the mail - Valentine gift from her. Now all I need a bottle of beer and camera ready when Mr Husband tries that :) I already have experienced the magic of Pop Rocks :) 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Matching of a musical gene in the horoscope - Bday celebration of my most favorite singer

 Feb 8th is a big day for some of us crazy people in the world. It is Jagjit Singh’s birthday . I had a wonderful morning chatting with some of the fans from across the world over Zoom. Heard some rare recordings, about some very close connections and memories. All of us felt the connection without meeting in person. All of us were tied and mesmerized by the person called Jagjit Singh. we all forgot everything else in the world and just enjoyed being there with each other.

Then I talked to another set of fans who were celebrating the day with a smaller group of people who left everything in the world behind and got together in Goa to celebrate.

Here I was juggling work, meetings and phone calls, day to day life, breakfast and winter weather. I so wanted to fit in everything and be everywhere.

The other call was very personal and interesting. We joked and laughed and then went back again to our favorite person on the earth - The one and only Jagjit Singh. Plans were made for the next celebration on my India trip. One very interesting topic came up - the matching of musical gene. Partnership and understanding of musical needs. The spouses and their musical interests . What do you do? How do you manage? Could you make her/him like what you do? Would you ask that question while getting to know the person, will it matter if you could go back and have that conversation? 

In other words, would you match your musical horoscope?

A fulkari Saree, Papa picked for me during our Amritsar Trip couple of years ago. When I dropped this saree and realized I wore the same saree last year too. I guess this saree ( a craft from Panjab) is in my collection for my most beloved Panjabi man/Sardar. 

दिल के दीवार--दर पे क्या देखा

बस तेरा नाम ही लिखा देखा

तेरी आँखों में हमने क्या देखा

कभी क़ातिल कभी ख़ुदा देखा

अपनी सूरत लगी पराई सी

जब कभी हमने आईना देखा

हाय अंदाज़ तेरे रुकने का

वक़्त को भी रुका रुका देखा

तेरे जाने में और आने में

हमने सदियों का फ़ासला देखा

फिर आया ख़याल जन्नत का

जब तेरे घर का रास्ता देखा

-सुदर्शन फ़ाकिर

Mr. Husband may not matched with my musical horoscope 100% but listens to Jagjit Singh, as long as they are clear and good recordings. Vintage, old and private mehfil recordings and live's are not his thing. But he was patient and made me look pretty. I think that would do for now ;) 

Selfies and Timers are not fun though :( 

A milestone call - My sister in attendance. :) My younger sisters grew up listening to JS and ghazals, they didnt have a choice. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

Deja vu ..I have been there..remember YOU are NOT alone

#139/365 Saree #10 in 2022 #BaghaPrintCotton

Yesterday I visited a family who treated me with utmost respect and love. Cooked for me and packed a lot more than necessary for Mr. husband. I sat there feeling the warmth of the relationship and gratitude. 

This post has been sitting as a draft for a few years now. Somehow It surfaced today and the story is still so relevant so I decided to post.


After days and dozens of text messages ,we had a day on our calendar. Is it with the kids or just two of us she asked? It is still stuck with me. I have never done that in my house, asking people to not bring the kids, and I joked no I want him here with you guys. Actually, he was the reason  she was invited :). Apparently this is a thing in her circle, “adult night” it is called. Couples hangout together leaving kids with sitters at home. 

She walked in on a sunny Sunday with her husband and twins, with an apologetic tone for the delay because she had to feed her son before they left. I hugged her saying I understand and it has happened in our life too. I asked for hugs from the twins. Squeezed the girl and got a smile. I knew enough not to do the same with him. He was trying to adjust in the new environment. I just gave him a gentle hug and he didn’t fuss and that was enough for me. 

For the next hour as the time progressed I found myself in her so many times. We tried to make her comfortable saying it’s OK, this house is one of those where kids can be who they are. And she shouldn’t worry about stuff. It’s ok if he is jumping or touching things but the mother in her couldn’t rest. After some time she could make her plate and sit. While eating her eyes were constantly following her son and I was thinking, so familiar, yes, I have been here before. We moms follow a pattern.

Slowly she could feel at home and be herself . Son could enjoy his time, daughter could sit with us and play on the phone . For the next 2 hours plus 6 of us adults ( I had invited another common friend) could enjoy each other’s company, laugh, talk about our childhood and later days, related our thinking and upbringing and how we deal with our worries, stress and disappointments, fears, happiness and success. While all this was going on I noticed how they both took turns taking a peak at what their son was doing in the other part of the house. I marveled at the beauty of the relationships and friendships, how we accept one another with everything. How we don’t say it out loud but understand. How we just go with the flow . We got what we ALL wanted from that afternoon- food, laughter, music, video games, videos on you tube, legos. 

Yes, Honey I have been there before, you are not alone !!


***These posts are stories from My Desi Moms Network, A village for moms with Children with Special Needs. More on my blog, link in the comment***

It was a Basant Panchami weekend. (Basant Panchami is a festival celebrated in honor of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge)

One of my Bua ( dad’s sister) and my mami ( Mom’s brothers wife) were born on this day.I dont have many memories of my bua as she lived in Bombay all her life, she got married may be 10 yrs before I was born. But my mami was one of the most influential people in my life. After her death Basant Panchmi kind of lost its place in my life. We don’t practice religion in Pandey household so religious aspect was never important anyway.I called her on this day wherever in the world I was. I do miss that the most. This Yellow saree is in her honor. and Mr Husband was very patient so pic came out lovely 

 This was my lunch, can you believe this. My heart is filled with gratitude. Mr Husband was well taken care of too.