Monday, February 27, 2023

Looking for support - journey of 10 years how far we have come

Last night I was trying to post in a group - about Federation’s Vision of community conference.

The FB group - “Indians in Boston - Boston Desi’s” and thought of checking my last post. Looks like I hadn’t posted anything but once. Oct 2012- asking for support.

Here I was reminded me of my past. 10+ years ago,  You can imagine what social media was at that time, not much for disability support groups or information. But I was so desperate that I posted on a site looking for it. No-one responded or reached out , just two likes (thumbs up).

And fast forward here I was posting information to support families who are like mine. 

I remember frantically looking for families and any kind of cultural support not knowing where to look for, whom to reach out. I had already wasted few years living in my shell. I couldn’t find anything that time but then 2013 changed many things. I went for 3 support group meetings and a moms retreat and then rest is history. Those “failed” attempt to find support led me to build “Desi Moms Network”

Today I urge you to open your heart and world to families who needs it. Someday it will come back to you in multiple folds.

This was the reminder of my journey and now after 10 years this coming weekend I will be addressing “Build your Village” at “Vision of Community” conference hosted by Federation for Children with Special Needs.  

Dressed up for a celebration - 50th Bday party - My village is something I am grateful for, Met many new people, but some of them were aware of my work and wanted to express their appreciation and asked if and how they can help families. The host must have talked about me with her friends. How interesting the way we expand our village. 

Will you talk openly about your trauma?

 A friend, who is an integral part of my village, connected me to a Desi Mom few months ago. After few text messages were exchanged, I met her recently.

As soon as I walked in I noticed how calm the house was and one of the cleanest houses I have seen. Not in a filmy or decorative way but in a classy way. It had a totally different vibe. 

I sat across the table listening to her talking about how she kept herself away from the Indian community to remain sane. She built a wall and raised her children without an Indian community around. She is grateful for her circle of support - wonderful teachers, therapists and support staff but not any Indian families. She is one of those few moms who doesn’t want to be part of any Desi group.  She will reach out to me, will remain connected  “ at least for now”.

She feels our folks lack emotional maturity and are not good listeners and have no respect for boundaries, personal space or time. 

Our conversation just flew and then the ball of yarn started unraveling. It was not her kid’s disability it was her childhood that made her who she is today.

Mental health was not talked about in my generation, neither an abusive relationship. We have glorified “Motherhood” to the extreme and are supposed to feel that “motherhood” is the best thing on earth. But is it really true? We have seen plenty of mothers who shouldn’t have had children to begin with. A Narcissist mother can be over powering and can push someone to another extreme. She said her children’s autism is nothing compare to the trauma she experienced due to her mother’s borderline personality disorder, Histrionic and Dependent personality disorder and the stigma associated with it made her childhood very difficult. I am still trying to process her experiences. 

Have you come across these things in your life. Would you ever talk publicly about the what you went through with your close family members?

How can we address stigma around mental health in our generation?   

Addressing Stigma Wednesday March 1st 6 PM ( EST)

India 4.30 AM 

 ***Free Event Open to all***

2023 Vision of Community  Conference Hosted by

**Federation for Children with Special Needs **

**Access information, resources and support for all caregivers including, parent, grandparents, foster parent and guardians and other designated representatives.**

Please register The event recording will be available

Learn more about the conference

On Saturday March 4th - I am speaking on "Building your Village" with these 3 amazing women, We met for brain storming session. So much fun. Hope to see you all there. Register for the conference today.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

How would you build your village? Over a great meal, an insta reel and some magical drinks?

I have been asked multiple times what is so different about “Desi Moms Network” and my answer is the same - It is not a group it is a village where women connect differently not as a wife or a mom but as a human being. It is not your regular ladies group it is the place to uplift and support each other. 

A group of women from my music  group met to spend an evening , we have been meeting for quite some time once a month as a musical group. But did we know each other ? Or were we friends? 

One dinner invite brought some of us together and amidst amazing food and drinks I asked a question- How did you meet your spouse. What did make you say -“yes”

That’s how we build a village, a thought provoking question initiates many things. The question was simple but the answers were the explanation of what love, respect and marriage meant to all of us - “Then and now” the stories were intriguing enough to keep us chatting till midnight.

Some middle school friends followed each other across continents, someone thought marriage was the way to freedom and fun from a very conservative household, someone agreed to be a mom, raising someone else’s daughter because it just felt right and talked about her struggles in the process, someone was asked a question about spontaneity in the first meet and that was enough to seal the deal. Someone was so young that love at first sight was just enough, the idea of “love” was more important than anything. For one it was the right thing to do to ease the parental responsibility, for someone accepting her the way she was enough to leave everything behind and move to USA and for another the willingness to start afresh after a heartache was enough to take that plunge.

I will come back to these stories in more details some other time. Today it is about the feeling we carried with us, a new found connection and friendship, the craving to do this often, meet again. Surprisingly none of us talked about our jobs or kids and not even the husbands for that matter. It was all about what it meant for us as women. 

What is your story? What does marriage and companionship means to you - Now and then?

A Kosa silk from my home state 

Gorgeous host 
The Gang 
This is just the beginning, we were having too much fun to take pics of dinner and dessert

Live your life - Jee le apni Zindagi - 4 days of my life in San Diego.

If someone tells you - you have 4 days to do whatever you want, what will you do? 

An invite to spend a few days with a poet and his brilliant wife and I packed my bag, flew to San Diego and lived my life with food, poetry, ghazals, sand and water, ice creams, sunsets, sunrises and conversations. 

In Amrit Begam’s hospitality and Farhat sahab’s company I learnt a lot about religion, culture, history and life in India and Pakistan.

We ate a lot, drove over 200 miles to enjoy Mexican shore and food and stayed up late listening to Ghazals.

This was a totally different vacation for me. I learnt things about me, saw life with different perspectives and made some changes in my philosophy. When a poet, who is a dreamer, talks about romance and reality, lives with a person with a different attitude, how they both take turns in giving in, taking care, argue, explain, let go, support, make peace with and keep each other grounded. Marriage, life and companionship makes you find a middle ground. 

I was very fortunate to have a private concert over video call a singer from India. Listening to some of Farhat Sahab’s ghazals was just the perfect treat for my last day in San Diego.

I went for  my musical get together and decided to recite a poetry from that time. 

Listen here -

सोचने की तुमको आदत हो गयी है क्या करें 

क्या करें तुमसे मुहब्बत हो गयी है क्या करें 

क्या बताएँ किस तरह कटती हैं तुम बिन ज़िंदगी 

दिल को हर धड़कन क़यामत हो गयी है क्या करें 

ख़ुशबुए कहती हैं  तुम आग़ोश में थी बस अभी 

दिल बजिद है एक मुद्दत हो गयी है क्या करें 

एक लम्हे में इधर तो दूसरे पल में उधर 

नज़्रे पागलपन तबियत हो गयी है क्या करें 

हुक्मरानी थी हमारी जात पर अपनी कभी 

अब तुम्हारी बादशाहत हो गयी है क्या करें 

वो हया के बोझ से पलकें झुकाना आप का 

दरपये दिल वो नज़ाकत हो गयी है क्या करें 

जब से उसका नाम है शहज़ाद सीने में बसा 

दिल की हर धड़कन इबादत हो गयी है क्या करें 

- Farhat Shahzad

Things I learnt from these two #Lifelessons

a day to remember 
Begam Amrit could make me hike
The sights - A dad with a kin in the back and a dog. A lesson in parenting, wish I had seen this 25 yrs ago. It was incredible 
The Gentleman couldn't see well, he had a stick and his friend/companion was wonderful. I loved seeing them taking small step - very carefully 
and Here I was hiking in shirt and jeans 
Ocean Beach in San Diego 
somewhere in Mexico - Ocean - the sight for my soul

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Valentine day post- are you a different person too? My story

 When Ajey got his first internship money I was that demanding mom who asked for a share. In my mind I was teaching him “caring”. We all went for dinner and Dad got a scotch, Anand got a game and Ajey bought Sarees for all the women in the family.

His aunts and grandmothers still remember it fondly. 

I wish I could teach the same to Anand but he makes sure his mom stays grounded. Anand started working a few months ago and since then he has decided to use his money for his “stuff” and for fun. I did remind him to get dad and brother something and when I was in India, dad and Ajey enjoyed a lunch out, also Anand paid for a grocery store run too I heard. 

One of those happy days he offered to pay for my BJ’s shopping and I gently reminded that I want a “treat” not money and also in a restaurant of my choice not Panera :) I knew that day I was in a good place so I stretched my demand :)

I was away for a couple of days and I guess “absence does make the heart grow fonder” I was welcomed at the airport at an ungodly hour with hugs and words  “welcome home” and I could sit in the front seat. If you know Anand then you know how big a deal all these things are.

The Valentine’s day evening was the perfect to pitch in the idea of dinner out. We chose a new Indian restaurant, he looked at the menu and agreed to try a new place. No waiting, great service, fabulous food and Anand’s treat made it a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for me. I am not one to make a big deal of these hallmark commercial days but someone once said - “Take it as it is the day when people stop everyday life and acknowledge someone we care, appreciate and love.” I guess that’s a good enough reason. Chocolates are still a no no but I sure am getting better with flowers :) Happy acknowledging - “love you”, “I care for you” day to you too.