Friday, July 28, 2023

Friendship - Now and Then

This morning, I got to spend some time with my mom's high school friend. How many of us totally discount the relationships our parents had before us? My mom had longed for her high school friends for some time, and one fine day, I decided I would find them for her. With some clues, old memories, a few connections, and a few phone calls, I found two of her best friends and even more after that. Over the last decade or more, these women have met a couple of times and talk often on the phone. Thank you google and Reliance India call. ( there was no whats app and Facebook)

One of them is visiting her son in Sacramento this summer. They all came to Boston for a very short trip. Despite unpredictable New England weather, a long drive, and a crazy weekend schedule, in the end, we finally could make it this morning.

I stole her from her family for 45 minutes and took her to a nearby Casino. The choice of the place was not intentional, but it was the best option nearby, and this Casino is really beautiful. The time I spent with her was amazing. I got to know a piece of my mom I never knew— who she was before us. While driving back, I was thinking about how our parents didn't have the means to remain connected, but that doesn’t change the meaning of friendship for them. The happiness on her face, the smile, the hugs, the way she was holding onto my hand—everything showed the admiration she has for my mom.

Do you think you will have the same feelings for your friends in your 70s? Are you still connected with your school friends?

A Cotton saree for a dinner out with friends

Thursday, July 27, 2023

A cookout - What it means for Pandey’s

My household is not very invitation-friendly. Socializing is very hard for neurodiverse families. I could go to a party anytime, and it is overwhelming for some.

However, a special cookout invite brings joy to the least interested person -Anand. Mr. Husband's colleague lives on a lake and is a wonderful host. Those cookouts are always big, but somehow we all find something there for each of us, especially Anand. The boat ride is one of my favorite thing; Mr. Husband finds his colleagues, some drinks, and food. The hosts have five children, and their friends are always there, so both the boys have plenty of company. There are a lot of young kids, and Anand is very happy having them around.

This year, the first invite for summer couldn’t come any faster. Unfortunately, it was pouring that day, but we still made it. The boys swam in the lake while it was raining and enjoyed the hot tub. We ate a lot of food. There were very few of us who made it that day, but for us, it was worth it. Anand played with some kids who may be 8-10 years younger than him. At one point, it did make me sad, thinking he could have been doing different things with people his age. But soon, his happy face made me forget "my expectation." He was "happy," and that's all that mattered at that time. He even posed for the pictures.

I do go through all these emotions from time to time, and I know they are not going away any time soon, but I am getting better at focusing on what is "today" instead of what could it be.

What is your story?

A kosa saree for a lunch at a friend.

Friday, July 21, 2023

What is authenticity and identity for you?

When we moved to the USA, we encountered misconceptions and stereotypes about our cultural background. There were numerous information sessions and lectures on how to behave, dress, speak, and live in a foreign land. We heard many stories about Indian households smelling of curry, having thick Indian accents, and dressing differently. Like many others, we experienced these adjustments during our initial days.

The internet accessibility has certainly helped people understand different cultures and practices. Additionally, outsourcing has added another layer to cultural interactions. I will write about those misconceptions and my learnings another day.

Today, I want to talk about my idea of authenticity and celebrating my identity. Embracing authenticity means acknowledging and respecting our roots while also adapting to new surroundings. It involves celebrating my unique identity as an Indian, and in my case, as a desi woman, even if it means standing out in a crowd by wearing a saree at a 5K event.

The company I work for hosted a 5K last week, and I decided to "walk" (Not run ;). It was a humid and warm day, but that didn't stop me from flaunting my saree as I thought it was a perfect occasion for me to embrace my Indian identity.

In the crowd, there were plenty of Indians, but I was the only one wearing a saree - yours truly. The compliments, smiles, questions, and conversations were all fun. Many people shared their experiences of their trips to India and expressed fascination with the country. People have come a long way from simply referring to "the dress you are wearing" to complimenting my saree as beautiful :)

What does being authentic mean to you? What makes someone a native or a foreigner? For me, being authentic is not about conforming to stereotypes or societal expectations but rather staying true to who you are. It's about being comfortable in your own skin, expressing yourself genuinely, and embracing the richness of your cultural heritage.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

A blogger's block? Or just dark days? Hope is a state of mind??

 don't know what it was, but for sure, it left me drained and dull. I didn't feel like writing at all.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a wonderful time with my firstborn and gladly wrote about it. It was kind of a high, but at the same time, I was not being honest with myself. I conveniently skipped writing about the difficult time I was having with my younger one. It was a very tough weekend, and I didn't know what else I could do. I did leave home and went to the city for a few hours, and when I got back, things settled down.

I think we all needed that space.

Finally, Anand is taking public transport for work. He books his own ride both ways every day for work, and there are times he goes to the local YMCA from work to enjoy the outdoor pool taking the same bus.

This is HUGE. If you have a child with needs, you will understand what an amazing accomplishment it is for us.

One more step forward, but no, it was not easy. It did come with its own share of pain, arguments, and anguish. But in the end, only one thing matters, and that is how proud I am. One day at a time.

So please know things do work out, in their own time. I did reach out to my village for suggestions, advice, support, and a shoulder to cry on.

Keep dreaming, rocking, demanding, pushing, cajoling, expecting, letting go, but don't give up.

A silk for a get-together. 

I needed to regroup and be away from "happening" to think straight or differently .
 Boys went with me for a cook out the next weekend, That was another big deal. Anand went without his dad and with me :)  

These two pics are a milestone pics in our life. Brothers waiting for GATRA the public transport ( from too far - I was not allowed to be there at all)  and finally when it was there. The driver was sure the most loved person in our household that day