Happy 14th

Dear ma,

Happy happy birthday pumpkin. We have three more years of togetherness under the same roof and then my pumpkin is going to fly out the nest. You have started high school this year and you are on your own on almost everything. We have now moved from booking as 2 adults and 2 kids to 3 adults and 1 kid.

We now have a 3rd adult in the home and I am learning to respect you and give space to you the way I do for other adults. I cannot coax you to drink that cup of milk anymore. If you say a no, I need to understand that it is a well thought “No” and I should respect that decision.

You won in two of the piano competitions and played at winner recital held at Carnegie hall NY!

You went on a 4 DAYS choir group trip to Chicago.

The middle to high school transition was a beeg leap and you are struggling a bit with academics but I am sure you have it under control.

You can cook pasta and make dosas without my presence in the kitchen. You bake occasionally and all I do is to just operate the oven. Everything else is taken care by you.

We have some misalignments with your soft skills and I am working on it to straighten things up. Slow and steady. I am sure I can make you understand and adapt to the better side sooner.

We are moving a bigger home this summer and you are super excited about furnishing your room. I have never seen you so excited. You have it all planned out from the color of the rug to what goes in the corner. I can’t wait to make more happy memories in our new adobe in coming years.

You have started volunteering recently and I hope you will continue with this even after moving away from me.

You are a dotting Akka who has special powers to convince her little brother. Only you can change his mood.

You have moved on from Gilmore girls to Designated survivors. You watch science fiction and political dramas with your father.

I am now able to discuss about my real problems with you. I don’t know if you understand but I have started to share so someday it will all make sense to you.

I am struggling to write this letter. May be this will be my last letter to you as I don’t see the emotion flowing through this. The letter sadly looks more like a laundry list to me. May be I am tired, may be I should have chosen a different time to write the letter, may be I don’t know how to write a loving letter to an adult daughter, may be we don’t have that many cute moments anymore. I don’t know dear!!

Like I always say, I wish for your happiness more than your success. Stay happy! Stay healthy kannamma! Be good to yourself and to people around you!

Your family will always be there for you, to hold and lift you when you fall, to praise you when you rise and to care for you when you need us!




An evening to remember

So many things happened/happening now in life. But, I would like to record yesterday evening here before that memory is replaced by something else in my tiny memory bank.

Its about yesterday’s evening routine at home. I am single parenting the kids for past few weeks and though it is tough and challenging to juggle all needs of every day, I took this as an opportunity to take charge of the situation.

LHB is now trained to eat on his own, focus and follow my instructions during study time and he has not watched TV for the past few evenings. This is a big achievement for me.

The kids and I eat every meal at home together in the table without watching TV, talking to each other about the day.  I love this routine. Yesterday, LHB was sharing with us how his lunch buddies didn’t help to get lunch and his dotting Akka was advising him how he should get the help of his teacher at such situations, how he should speak up and stuff. I was a silent observer of the conversation puffed up with pride.

LHB is listening to me and understands the implications of his actions. I have to move on and accept the fact that he has grown from being a baby to a big boy. He is now capable to process instructions. I should not treat him like a baby anymore!!

We watch movies together on weekends, have our own fun time before going to bed and laugh for silly reasons.

It is exhausting and this may not last for long but I am totally loving this dedicated time with kids. I do not want to trade this for anything else in life.

Of my Alto, travel

I am glad to have taken a picture of my Alto and write about it. He is gone forever. Too soon that I didn’t get a chance to say a goodbye or see him one last time to capture the picture in my memory. M’s relative was coordinating the selling task, an interested party came to see it on Monday, they instantly liked it and took it on Wednesday.

When they came on Wednesday morning, I was at home folding clothes, arranging the closet upstairs and didn’t bother to come down to witness the scene as somehow it didn’t strike me that they were here to take my Alto with them forever. Or may be lack of communication. Whatever it is, I didn’t get to see him one last time and say a final good bye.

I wish he stayed with me for couple of more days.

I wish he was given away after my travel.

I wish I had drove him knowing that would be our last ride together.

I wish I had said a personal thank you for all the places he has taken me to and be one of my best companion in India.

I have very few things left to call as my identity and have lost the best of them!

I hope the new owner takes good care of him!

Just yesterday, I have checked the number plates of few grey Alto’s on road in the hope to see him again. Maybe some day. After all it is a small world!

Kids and I are traveling back today. I  feel like that school kid returning to school after annual break. My tummy is churning and I feel restless. People are my strength and lifeline. I don’t want to travel to an alien country leaving behind my people. Yes, I have lived in that country for more than a decade yet it feels alien to me. My head spins if I think about the logistics, kids, work, financial needs and all other sundry demands of life and realize that I have no choice but to move on!!

My MIL, the husband, his cousin brother, his sisters, my parents, cook/helper lady everyone is struggling in their own way to move on without the pillar of strength. I must do my part too without being a trouble!

We are traveling in few hours, Adi is running temperature, LHB says he is hurt and limping, I got my monthly special. Still, I am trying to stay up, count all my blessings and tell life to bring it on!! Let’s face it!!

Front door and FIL

We have few secured latches to completely lock the front door at home. Last week, the middle lock was misaligned and we were not able to latch it properly. Because of that the top and bottom latches also gave trouble.

M and some of his cousin brother’s tried hard few times and no one was able to lock the door. So, they were discussing about it for a while and decided to apply oil to the joints and get external help the next day if needed.

After a while, the guests left and M was securing all locks before going to bed. He was in shock and called out for all of us as he was able to secure the main door latches with just a gentle push.

It looked like as if someone has oiled the latches and made it work. He called his brother’s right away and none of them believed him.

Now, how are we supposed to interpret this incident? M says confidently that no-one else other than his father could have made this possible as he could feel his father’s touch in that work!

He even started believing that souls do exist and they act as our guardian angel! I believe it too!

Happy 6th

Dear kutty,

We are going through a tough phase as a family now. R thatha is not with us anymore and it is tearing us apart when you go stand in front of his photo and talk to him.

You are talking/thinking more about thatha since yesterday as now we have his picture placed at living room.

Your only wish today while blowing the candle is to have R thatha alive. I hope this wish comes true.

These are words from you at random times today with no influence from anyone.

“It is not fair Amma. Thatha should know that its my birthday today. How can he just go? He should be here”

“Amma, I now have only one thatha. Can you tell K thatha to be thatha #1 and thatha #2?”

“Amma, can R thatha hear me when I talk to him? Will he come if I call him?”

“Amma, thatha died. He can’t talk to me anymore”

To keep you up, we did cake cutting at Ammachi’s home and went out for dinner with extended family. I do not have the energy to recollect and write about your last year. I will do it some other day.

You are the biggest blessing to our family da. Our life would have been dull and serious without you. You are the binding factor and you bring out all type of emotions from all of us. You make us laugh, cry, fear and shout with your traits.

Your laugh is contagious. You amaze me with the over thinking of that little brain of yours. I say “Indha kutty moolai evlo yosikudhu”..

You talk NON-STOP. I mean it. You can’t stay quite for two minutes together. You have to talk to breathe normal. Your other name can be Mr.Nagger.

May you be blessed with good health and happiness, Love you kutty!

More later!!


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Car and FIL

If you ask me to pick the top most thing that connects me with my FIL, it is our car. My Alto that I took along with me when I joined his family.

I have been driving car since my college days and quite comfortable with Indian driving style. As a matter of fact, I feel more connected with driving at India than in US. A colleague was so shocked with this statement that he says every time he sees me he can only think of driving as I am the first one to chose Indian driving over US driving.

I love changing gears and to move the car in second gear. Driving in busy streets gives me that adrenaline rush. I love bring a chauffeur to extended family when they visit us. Dropping and picking up from bus stands and train stations. I love driving Amma to T.Nagar. I love adjusting the front passenger seat for her. Knowing all this, my family gifted this car for my marriage so its easy for me to move around in Chennai after marriage.

I have been actively using the car for the first two years but then life happened and we moved to US. My FIL who doesn’t know how to drive until then, learned to drive just to keep the car under condition. He maintains it all through the year so I can use it during my India visit. He does full service to the car and keeps it ready right before I land at India.

He has a pillow on the driver seat and reminds me every time to use it as we both are short and according to him the pillow will help to have better clarity of the sides. He comes near the driver side when I start the car and gives me instructions every single time, reminds me of all the pits and holes in neighborhood, how to avoid it and how to stay focused while driving.

He would clean the exteriors and keep it ready if he knows I am going to take the car out. He has followed this routine every single day when I was taking the car to work for few months during the short stint at India in 2013. He would remind me duly about fuel refill. He will keep track of the kilometer details.

After they moved to our hometown, my parents started using the car for important occasions and yesterday Amma was saying how he always hand over the car with the fuel tank fully filled.

All this by a man, who has never used the car for his own needs, not even once. He is happy and content with his TVS XL Super for local needs and takes bus or train to travel out of town.

The car was parked opposite to our home for past one week and we decided to sell it soon as that is the most sensible thing to do in current situation.

I took it out yesterday to run some errands. It was only when I started driving. I realized that this car is an emotion to me. And my mama has only made this emotion very deep with his care and actions. I just couldn’t hold back my tears while driving yesterday recollecting all the details I have written in this post. The emotion hit me hard. My car is my pride.

Thanks to you mama, wherever you are to help me own this pride for 15 long years.

I will miss this Alto guy and my mama whom I have known for 15 years and who have only given their best to me!!

I never imagined in my distant dream to part them forever in 2019! My India trip will never be the same!

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Old post about him – https://anisnest.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/f-i-l/

Every single word in that old post holds good even now. He has only exceeded himself over the years.

A man who has lived his life to the fullest and even planned his end without troubling anyone around.

To me, he is a man of action, a man of few words, a keen observer of other’s needs and a man to refill from hand soap to surf excel to vegetables to snacks corner at home.

In the past one week, we have turned the home upside down looking for pen, tape, rubber band, rope, scissors and all other sundry items which would have magically landed in our hand when he was there!

I do believe that we are surrounded by his soul. Where else would he go leaving behind the land he purchased, the home he constructed couple of years ago and the beautiful garden he has grown surrounding the home. We could feel him around. His voice calling out for Adi and LHB is lingering in my ears all day! This home will never be complete without him.

His room has become the office room for me and M. His shirts are still in the hanger staring at us. I am using his TVS bike to run local errands. Every time I take the bike out, I hear him saying, come to a full stop and look to your left and right before crossing the main road.

I will write more about him in the coming days!!

May your soul rest in peace mama. You are in our thoughts and we feel you in every nook and corner of this home.