Tuesday, May 31, 2022

How do you deal with nostalgia ? Friendship - timely or beyond time

 A dear friend from my high school days visited with her family. It was a week full of memories  and conversations . It wasn’t her first visit here but it sure was a longer one.

Her daughter came to the US for studies and that refreshed our friendship. In no time the girl had made a place in our heart and life . Soon her son followed and our friendship turned into the closeness of a family and as the kids connected so did the husbands. 

We took a short vacation with them when we were in India last time. They made my parent’s visit a memorable one.

Their wonderful daughter graduated ( University of Mineapollis) and the occasion brought all of them to Boston again for a longer duration. 

Her family left after a few days and we could enjoy a slower pace after the whirlwind days of doing touristy stuff.

These few days we both turned into different people. We talked about our past, present, future, hopes and disappointments, about how we see ourselves as a person or as wives, mothers and friends. 

Those long walks, late night conversations and memories made us laugh and cry too. 

Our lives are so different yet so similar in so many ways. I so wish we all could have these opportunities with people whom we value. 

On her last night with us, I took her to my musical gathering. The Saree is a gift from her during her first visit. 

Today I went to visit another Saree friend, who lives 1000s of miles away in Hongkong, whom I haven’t known for long. We had chatted a few times months ago when she had mentioned her kids live in Boston. I happened to notice her post a couple of days ago about her daughter’s graduation and realized she was in town. With a 100 things going on in our lives, meeting her for 30 mins was a big win. I am so glad we could do that. 

The pleasure of friendship - decades old or brand new - it’s timeless. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Keep your friends closer - Tribute to an amazing woman

Tribute to a doctor, coffee lover and Saree enthusiast above all a fabulous human being - Kavita K Pattipati

Being part of something bigger and fun is exhilarating in itself and it comes with a few other added benefits. Meeting amazing people is one of those.  100SareePact was refreshing and something none of us had done or imagined before. 

Kavita was one of those people whom I met through this promise of wearing 100 sarees in one year. She was ( I still cannot believe I am using past tense for her) an emergency room Doctor, a pulmonologist ( irony - She died of lung cancer), an avid reader, fitness enthusiast, beyond the box thinker, coffee lover and more than anything an amazing human being, a mom to twins, a fantastic partner to her husband. Her love for morning coffee and posts about it, jokes about it made her one of the popular coffee lovers on Facebook. Funny that she only loved her morning coffee, you would think she would drink often but no it wasn’t the case. When my Autism awareness posts became big in the pact, she was one of my earliest cheerleaders. 

She made me feel loved and respected way before my work in Autism Awareness was recognized by many in the pact or beyond. I met her in December 2015 for the first time for a pact celebration event, two days in a row after being friends on FB for almost 9 months. I still remember her welcoming me with the words - “Oh my - yes -you are real” and if she could be my shadow for that evening and that she just wanted to make the most of our time togther . 

We met again another day and made our virtual connection real. We sure were mutual admirers. I loved the person she was but she made me feel royal with every interaction we had. 

In August 2017, another Pacter friend’s daughter got married in Vizag. As soon as she got the news that I am thinking about attending it, she made sure I made confirmed plans. She insisted I stay with her ( her exact word -“ we have a small house with basics but a very big heart and you already live there”). My first born and I went to Vizag and she was there to pick us up at the airport, took us home and made sure our stay was not only comfortable but warm and wonderful. Her husband and twins made me realize how lucky I was. She must have talked so highly about me that the 3 of them took care of everything so lovingly. She was an extremely busy woman, doctor ( Kavi and her husband run their own hospital) and an entrepreneur, she started a premium laundry services in Vizag. She was doing so many things, from teaching to taking care of many initiatives in her city and hospital and her work as a doctor but she made sure I got enough time with her. We talked about everything under the sun over morning coffee and idlis . She had read each and every post from my blog so she really knew things about me. I am grateful to the bride since I got the chance to be with Kavita and now I can cherish those memories. I am sure so many of us will have wonderful stories, because she made us feel very special, that’s the kind of person she was. She packed a bottle of spice mix for me from her kitchen because I loved it. Our clothes were wash and ironed, for the first time in my life I was not carrying dirty laundry after a vacation.

Rest well my friend, I know you will make the other world a better place. 

This post is a tribute to one of the most amazing people I have known, to the pact and the pacters I met, please know you all are in my thoughts. 

              Glimpse from the 100SareePact celebrations

 Kavita and her equally amazing husband Ramesh 
Below are some of the post just to show how amazing she was as a human being, never left a chance to make you feel important and appreciated. These are from her public wall, Our private conversations are mine to cherish and to remember how wonderful it is when you to talk to some so passionate and genuinely wonderful. friendship is beyond age she was 10 yrs younger to me 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Celebration and disappointment can be two side of the same emotion?

 Do you go through that? When you don’t know what you are feeling?

I went through that conflicting state this morning.

Today CIP, the program Anand is in, had  it’s convocation. It was supposed to be a day of celebration of their achievements. This was the feeling last night and this morning when we got ready and drove. 

It was all good till then, but just when they started the program something hit me hard. It felt like the school league when they handed over a trophy to every child. It sounded wonderful but have these kids really come this far? What is their place in this crazy world, more so I felt Anand is so alone here. Ajey is the only family he has. What is in the future for him?

This was the time I didn’t want to say anything positive to myself. Told myself it’s okay to feel this way sometimes. 

Right after the ceremony I got the news of the demise of a brilliant friend who was a young doctor, an avid reader and an amazing human being. I got to know her through the 100SareePact and spent 3 days with her in her home few years ago (In Vizag) I am still in shock. She worked tirelessly during covid and survived but not the cancer she was battling for the last 10 months.

Anand wanted to go to a Mall to shop for a highschool  friend, so after the ceremony the 3 of us drove to Albany. A very quiet drive as we 3 were in our own worlds. Anand didn’t get a haircut and saved money for his friend’s gift. I am so proud of him for thinking of it. His gift choices broke my heart, my son has no idea what a 22 year old girl would like. He bought makeup and a necklace from some store in the mall. It would have been a cute gift for a 13-14 year old girl but not for someone who is graduating from college. But one thing good came out of it. When I said this is not a perfect gift for a grown woman and some day I will take him and show him what to shop for he agreed. That is a big step.

In the mall a mom from my Desi Moms Network came to meet me. In the middle of her crazy work day, she drove over 20 minutes just to hug me. She brought some home made pickle for me, hugged Ashish thanking him for the drive. She was just happy to be with me for 20 minutes and then drove back home. But that meeting healed me to some extent. Two of us would have never met if not for Autism. 

As I type this tonight I am not sure if my heart is heavy or my mind is wandering or the body is tired but one thing is for sure - I am not alone. I just need to remember that even if I am exhausted and feel like I cannot go any further, someone will remind me to look back and see how far we have come.

I wish you the same - even if your world is crumbling down, you have  lost someone close, you will find something to hold on too just because someone believes in you.

The place my son called "home"  
That happens in our family - not a single family pic but its okay as long as we have memories in some form

Monday, May 9, 2022

Mothers day - What it is for you? What kind of celebration matters

I usually struggle with traditional celebration for many of these “days”. I personally don’t like the forwarded messages. At the same time I understand everyone cannot “word’ the love, respect and gratitude they feel. 

I also believe in not having just one day. We as mothers parent our children 365 days so why celebrate just one day. Anyways, if only I was ever one of those who follows the norms :)

My morning started with tons of messages , some of them were really meaningful. I could feel people have put thought and time in wording those. One said-“on the days you feel like you don't know what you are doing, know that you are usually brilliant”, one of the most comforting messages I have ever received. 

 And one more from someone who is an amazing dad, fabulous husband, adorable son and a caring brother  -“Happy mother’s day to the most strong mother I have known didi”. And many more in the same line. Every message meant love and respect. I appreciate people taking time and writing something personal.

 This morning my boys had a different reactions. Anand shot down my virtual hugs saying they don’t do any good to him and Mr Husband said he thinks Anand is right, all these emotional messages are just words :) but my first born thought differently and  insisted I should come for lunch to the city. For a change I didn’t get involved with any planning. I let father and son talk, pick a place and even pick my meal. It was a beautiful, simple, no frill new cafe in East Boston, (had one of the best sandwiches) and a coffee and a walk along the water. I think those amazing messages made me feel good but it was a hug from my first born who said, I  was missed and he loves me - today and always. That was the best celebration for me. 

After a fun afternoon we met for a simple dinner at a friend’s. All our kids are away but as she said jokingly we all are each other’s moms too, so lets celebrate us. With so many things on my mind I couldn’t think of anything but a blouse and saree from my Mother in law’s closet. A pair of red shoes made it more fun.

The Saree is a tribute to the woman who made me a daughter in law. Last trip I was helping my mother in law sort her belongings. She is one of the most content woman and lives very simply. She asked me to take a couple of her sarees and this was one of them. 

Hope you had a good day, did something special for yourself.  My tribute to all the moms out there who not only gave birth, they helped, taught, coached, cajoled, comforted, fed, guided someone. 

This is a gift for me - made on the story of someone I love, mothered and tortured and hugged and fed
The happy mother India