Monday, November 29, 2010

India Calling - Part 2

About 200 cups of chai heavily laced with sugar and full-fat milk, 3 pedicures, 2 courses of Antibiotics, about a dozen Hindi Movies and one thoroughly pampered child getting the attention of 2 sets of grand parents later...I realize that it is almost time to leave for the rainy winters in California . Wait a minute...time just passed me by so fast that I just want to hold on to the next 3 days and savor them...however shuttling between Kothrud and Kondwa just about has me worn down...whoever said it's easy to have parents and in-laws in the same city needs their heads checked :-)

I mostly ate at home...yes this foodie with dreams of checking out the Dorabjees and Oh!Calcutta mostly ended up eating Varan Bhaat and Dalma and Chorchori most days and LOVED IT. I had Desi Chinese about 4 times this trip and it filled a void that no food anywhere else can fill - my American Chopsuey I will miss you when I am back in the US. The highlight of my foodie adventure - eating the pumpkin flower bhaji made from the pumpkin flowers picked from my parent's garden (mind you - they moved into their new house a month back and planted the pumpkin plants with the sole idea of having me eat the pumpkin flower bhaji)

I climbed up Tirupati with a severe case of cough and cold and the weather was cold and rainy and I got drenched about half way through the journey...with my chest feeling like it would burst I completed the scenic albeit very hard climb...only to find out that the couple climbing after us had sighted 2 leopards...I did feel a tinge of regret at not being the one seeing the leopards...however the wonderful darshan and the hot prasad (the  pepper ghee rice) made all of that quickly forgotten. Next stop was Bangalore and one thing that I did get from my stopover there was that this was definitely not the City of my Dreams...2 hours to get from the airport to the office...another 1 hour to commute to another site about a kilometer away due to construction and traffic...the weather was beautiful yet the traffic and the lack of infrastructure aggravating. I am unused to the hustle and bustle of India after the quiet of the area I live in and just as I am getting used to the hustle & bustle its time to leave.

The highlights of my shopping - a handi pressure cooker, a dosa tawa and a cute little tadka pan. I  have almost a suitcase filled with Natural Remedies for cough, cold, indigestion, building up immunity...(Bhimsen Kapur, Amla Murabba, Herbal Soaps, Chyavan get the drift). I also have stocked up on the latest Hindi movies and songs...not much else and yet it feels like so much. I spent a lot of time wondering on where the time passed by and when we will get to see the parents again. K2 was a rock star, adjusting to all the love and adoration like it was his birthright...entertaining people with his conversations, eating his puran poli and varan bhaat and in general adjusting to the changed pace a lot better than his parents -- shows how inflexible age makes you ;-)

Reality is India is still calling yet I am ready to pack my bags and go back to the routine that I call life...and I will take back memories of  deep love, aggravating traffic, incessant noise, vibrant colors, unavoidable pollution and the warmth of family....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss...

It was 5.00 AM in Pune, still too early for even the birds to be awake. Suddenly K2 starts patting my face - Mommy, wake up it's day time. I try to put him back to sleep and don't do a great job of dragging myself out of bed, I walk downstairs and make him his milk...while gazing around the room , watching the Obamas dancing the Indian dance on TV -- getting bored all too quickly, I see a calendar from Ramakrishna Math and the saying for November 9th sets me thinking -

Who makes us ignorant? We ourselves. We put our hands over our eyes and weep that it is dark
Life has been so hectic the past decade that we have very comfortably put our hands over our eyes...not noticing the rapidity of time passing by, people changing, affections lost and emotional baggage gained...not noticing our parents aging in front of our eyes...moving from invincible forces to be reckoned with to mere mortals who really need our support more than before...with that knowledge comes the awareness that this month will pass by in a flash...then what? We will leave for that same hectic routine and leave our parents grasping for memories of a loving daughter or son, smiling grand children and stolen moments shared. Why do we put our hands over our eyes and claim darkness...

 I love this painting by David Zolan, the little boy is fishing but his awareness of his environment is we grow older we lose this sensitivity to people and situations and we claim "Ignorance is Bliss" will you be putting your hands over your eyes?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Clearing Cobwebs

A couple of days back I was cleaning up my clothes closet. I realized that I was a pack rat…I still had clothes lying around from my XIM (B) days…the good news is I still fit but the bad news was I did realize that I held on to things from the past with an unhealthy gusto be it people, memories or even grudges…there were too many cobwebs in my mind. I threw out 4 trash bags of clothes ( I didn’t leave them at the Salvation Army because I couldn’t imagine someone wanting to wear a bright red sambalpuri salwar kameez…yes the very  same one I had gone to the market and got with Ruchi with my first credit card in 1996…a standard chartered…wait there begins the memory journey).  Throwing out the trash bags was a huge mental relief…it felt like the mind was cleaner, clearer and refreshed.

Yet there  are some memories that you hang on to tight. For the first time yesterday I left K2 with K1 and his grandparents ( K1’s parents) and spent a quiet evening with my parents…my mind was very disturbed as I have been away (feeling guilty) from K2 on work but never just because…but after a visit to the local temple, lighting Diyas ( it is done for the ancestors) and a wonderful Oriya meal, Ma, Bapa and me sat down with some of our old B&W pictures and the memories that we shared was priceless…

Bapa from his college days...his friends lovingly called him the laughing goblin

Ma and Abinash

Bapa and Me

Bapa, Abinash and Me

 Abinash & Me

Blossoming Butterflies ;-)...Mama and Me

How are you dealing with the cobwebs in your mind?