Friday, April 21, 2023

Women empowering women - How do you follow this in your life?

Boston is in an interesting place, being a hub of diverse cultures. The city boasts of many firsts in the United States and has attracted educated and professional immigrants, making it a center for a very diverse population.

I have been meeting women from all walks of life, and the conversations are always fascinating. It is always thought-provoking and amazing to see how everyone finds what works in their life, passion, friends, work, relationships, career, a routine, a pattern, a hobby, or a system in place and yes sometimes a coping mechanism.

The Women of the Year Gala is an occasion where you get to hear about a lot of new people with new work and philosophies. This event includes young and seasoned philanthropists, inventors, activists, and more. The entire Boston Desi Crowd gets to nominate women they admire and appreciate.

After three years, I attended the in-person event when a couple of the ladies I admire were nominated. It was one of the biggest crowds I have seen in recent times, and everyone was ready for some cheers.

A Banarasi silk came out for the occasion, on one of the last cooler days in Boston.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Crazy Ideas with the best memories.

My sister got married in Chennai in 2002. We were in the final stages of obtaining our green card when the 9/11 incident occurred, which changed the way immigration worked and resulted in a longer process than usual. As a result, we were not allowed to leave the country, and I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to attend my sister's wedding. However, we had visited India six months prior and had met my future brother-in-law, and I was frequently in touch with my sisters and mother about the wedding preparations.

During one of our calls less than two weeks before the wedding, I decided I did not want to miss out on the fun. I vividly remember Mr. husband telling me that I was miserable and spending too much money on phone calls, and that I should go in person. I made the impulsive decision to go to the federal building the very next day with My older son, applied for parole Visa, booked a last-minute ticket, and set off to India with my two young children, who were less than 2 and 5 years old.

My flight had a very long stopover in Amsterdam (I think it was 8 hours), and I flew to Mumbai via Amsterdam before taking another flight to Chennai. After more than 36 hours of traveling and three flights, I finally arrived in Chennai on a scorching hot summer day. Mr. Husband's colleagues thought I was crazy, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Despite the long flights and heat, it was well worth it.

During the wedding, I received two sarees from my sister, brother-in-law, and parents. One was a rose-pink Kanjivaram saree, and the other was a silk saree with a gold hue. Both of them remain my top picks to this day.

There was also a three-day musical event celebrating culture and music that I was a part of. I loved being part of the team, and the backstage hangouts were really fun. This saree was a perfect pick for the event – simple, light, and classy. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Lexington Resource Fair - One family at a time

 Every public school district in Massachusetts is required to establish a SEPAC parents advisory council for families with special need children. It is mostly run by parents.  

 Every SEPAC is different based on parents involvement.

I didn’t get much out of my town’s SEPAC. The town wasn’t very welcoming and I was not in a position to influence or offer any advice, slowly I just stoped going to the meetings.

Soon I found my village and became part of other organizations. But followed some other active SEPACs in our state. 

The town of Lexington has a very strong SEPAC and they had invited me to attend their resource fair. 

Usually businesses and organizations  exhibit their services. This was the first time “Desi Moms Network” participated as an exhibitor without any cost ( I am thankful to Lex SEPAC) . Our group was there to just “spread the word via word of mouth“ kind of a group.

The morning was so much fun hanging out with moms from that town. Many of the moms from Desi moms Network came to visit me that morning, many dads showed up too. It was great to see plenty of familiar faces at the event. They made new connections, hung out with old friends and introduced spouses to one another.

This was a new beginning, we are getting better and stronger and I cannot wait to see more families building their village.

A simple blue saree, a gift from a friend. I met her through 100 saree pact, one of my earliest cheerleaders, a brilliant doctor, who succumbed to cancer last year.

I miss her very much and that morning was just perfect to be wrapped in her love. 

A simple blue saree, a gift by a friend. I met her through 100 saree pact, one of my earliest cheerleader, a brilliant doctor, who succumbed to cancer last year.

I miss her very much and that morning was just perfect to be wrapped in her love. 

Saturday, April 8, 2023

A color and a saree and a memory

I think I was 22-23 and my parents took my grandmother (Nani) to Varanasi ( Banaras).

They did all their religious visits and then did some shopping, two beautiful sarees for my (future) Bridal trousseau.

One of them was a beautiful no zari thread work silk.  Someone commented the color wont look good on me. I was hurt with that comment and tone and that saree never came with me.

It was a distant memory unless I saw this saree and now Jaya in her 50s didn’t care for anyone’s comment and loved this color. What a difference 30 yrs make.

I wore this Saree for Learn Quest music Conference’s opening ceremony. The saree was much loved and appreciated. 

I had a fabulous Good Friday holiday, spent the morning shopping, meeting friends and getting pampered and evening was all about music.

I guess the beautiful morning set the tone for the day, the saree was just the outcome. 

Do you hold on to bitter memories? What do you to get over? 

This contemporary revival silk saree is a treasured love. For a change the usual reluctant photographer Mr. husband did an awesome job, may be it was me? the magic of this saree and love. 

 Below pics are from Learn Quest face book page. Kal raat jahan main tha ( Where I was last night )

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Is awareness and acceptance enough? April 2nd 2023 - Wearing blue is just not enough.

It’s World Autism Awareness and Acceptance Day today. For years I have made a big deal about it - Wear blue and write a story and what not. Over the years 100s of people have tagged me in their saree stories on this day. But this year none of it is making sense to me.  I think the whole idea of Awareness and acceptance has morphed into something else. I don’t want this to be about a single day, I guess I am dreaming about a more inclusive society in general. 

Are we inclusive enough ? Even in the special need community do we do enough for each other? Or are we so caught up in our own life that we forget to check on each other? So today please do everything you would do on April 2nd plus add one more task- Check on at least two moms, invite someone for a cup of coffee in the coming week, take a walk with someone who needs you, drop a meal to a family who could use a break and above all be kind to yourself. Take a breath and know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

This day hit another reality. We keep talking about “when our children grow up” or when we are old. I have many people in my life whose children are in their 20s, we all are growing old together learning together. That’s all we know. The oldest in the group is 36 and he is the only one in 30s. And his mother is not very active in our group so its not “right in our face”

But today I was introduced to someone whose brother in law is in his late 40s. For the first time I was approached by “sister in law” for someone. I didn’t even know how to react, what to tell. I just hugged her, gave her my number and asked her to call me some time. But I am really struggling with what to tell her. I know I will find some solution, connection, BUT today I am clueless.

On this day today a statistic scares me . In 2023, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 36 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to the 2020 data.

On this today I am asking you all to be compassionate, empathetic and inclusive. 

An Ikat from a girl I love, I am in awe of her hard-work and resilience. This saree is a gift of love, admiration and respect. The windy morning and least interested photographer Mr. Husband - I got what I got. My saree and hair decided to take his side but these pics are not about me its all about the saree and what it means to me.

This late morning I went to Gurudwara (is a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs, a religion in India) A friend hosted the Langar (lunch) there. I walked in and was very happy to see a very inclusive place in a way.

Lot of people of all walks of life praying and eating together, cooking and saving together. Men women alike.