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Have you been there?

I was late, made my entry into Kitchen to cook for Ammavasya. Took out the veggies from refrigerator, lined them up in counter and in next few minutes I find myself cleaning the refrigerator. Spent a good 20 minutes in cleaning the inside of refrigerator while veggies are waiting in the counter, time is ticking and I am running late!!!

I was just done with an afternoon meeting, there was a 30 minute break before next meeting. I come to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and in next few minutes I find myself cleaning the stove top as I noticed some spill over while waiting for the coffee to heat up in microwave!!!

In both these incidents, the mind observed the action only minutes after the action has started!!!

Loss of hair-part 1

Feb 2020 – I was driving to Indian store for grocery run and stopped at red light. My left hand fingers were gently massaging my scalp and I felt something unusual, like a bald spot behind my left ear. I couldn’t get to a mirror right away and my fingers were going back to the spot over and over again like a million times until I got back home. After returning home, putting away the groceries, I was scared to check on mirror. I called Adi and asked her to check and take a picture. There it was, a big bald spot as I anticipated.

I was shell shocked but acted normal as I didn’t want kids to get affected by my reaction. M was at India during this time. I googled about it after kids went to bed and came to know about the condition “alopecia areata”. Internet self search happened for next few days to learn more about it and its cure. After few days, I noticed another spot closer to scalp centre. I got panicked, what if its rapidly spreading? will I become completely bald soon? I didn’t have any adult nearby to talk about it. Mind was racing with all sorts of thoughts. I looked up for wigs and all other alternative choices if in case I go bald.

Anyhow, we have to move on right? So, I sent pictures to my friend to have second opinion from a skin doctor at India and took an appointment with my doc. She took a look and was very cool. She said this is very common and suggested to go with scalp steroid injections. She assured hair will grow back in few weeks. I felt very confident with the way she spoke and booked consultation appointment with dermatologist for same week. Meanwhile, I was talking to my brother and few more friends to collect more information about this condition. My brother suggested against steroid injections as he said its temporary and this should be my very last option. In parallel, I was also waiting for the opinion from Chennai doctor.

My friend responded after few days and said… to be continued

P.S: It was very tough for me to write this post but decided to share as my experience may benefit someone someday. As this is a serious topic I don’t like to leave this post as a cliff hanger. All is well now (well almost) and it will be too much to share my six month battle with this condition in one post. So, will do it in parts.

Part 2

Work Anniversary

Today marks my 5th year work anniversary with current employer.

Of all the things, I was happy about the anniversary because now I have a topic for the day πŸ™‚ blogathon baby..

The past 5 years in this company have transformed me tremendously both personally and professionally.

Learnings have not stopped yet and I am thankful for current role that I took up around same time last year. It’s a techno managerial role where I do both engineering and people leadership. The weekly 1-1 calls with team mates are my ways of staying social these days.

Just the feeling of being team’s decision maker made me grow an inch taller as I have hardly made major decisions on my own in life. Amma made all big decisions before marriage and then it was duly passes on to the partner. I am a good team player both at home and work executing other’s decision. But now, I am the decision maker for an entire team. It makes me accountable and watch my actions and words. This could have probably helped with my personal growth on react vs respond as well.

I love this company to bits for their vision and being socially responsible. They offer mindfulness and exercise session to employees on daily basis. Before pandemic, they conduct health check camps every quarter, offer 1-1 health coach, conduct yearly family holiday event and many more. The list is endless!

Today, I was rewarded an anniversary gift that I can order from an online catalog . The family took a look at the catalog on lunch table. LHB wanted a telescope and M wanted a coffee machine. Adi told me, don’t listen to them Amma. Its your gift, pick what you like πŸ™‚ Girls are blessings!

LHB was upset that the company didn’t let each family member pick a gift LOLOL. He kept asking “can you pick only one gift?”

I haven’t decided on the gift yet. Hope to order it by this week.

Today has been a happy day πŸ™‚

My recent love

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsor post.

If there is one thing that has made my life easier in this pandemic time, it is my Galaxy buds live earbuds. My work now demands to spend time on calls most part of the day. On an typical day, I spend 5 hours on work calls. Morning hours are usually spent multi tasking between kitchen needs, work calls and LHB’s school.

Before buds days, I would either have my kitchen apron on that has pockets and wear sweat pants with pockets so I can hook the wired earphone to my phone and walk around with phone and earphone while taking calls. But then, I started dropping the phone or the wire gets stuck or disconnected and all weird things started happening that added frustration to the already hectic multi tasking mornings!

I have done active/passive multi tasking in old times like be on a call as a silent listener not being attentive and respond to someone 1-1 on chat or do some household chores but now pandemic redefined multi tasking. I can focus 100% on cooking like cutting onions while actively talking on a work call about a complex issue with work laptop on the countertop chatting with colleague in between sautΓ©ing the veggies. Like literal active/active multi task!!! I digress!!

With all this, the wired headset only made it worse. I couldn’t put the phone on charge, had to carry it all the time, deal with the tangled wire et all.

Later, I tried few models of Samsung ear buds and declare that galaxy buds live tops the list. Its comfortable to wear for long time, battery life is long and comes with noise cancellation. I can leave the phone on table while being on call walking around hands free. It feels very liberating. I have fallen in love with my buds live from all aspects.

Here is my beauty with whom I spend most of my time these days.

Melt my heart

LHB melts my heart at random times. Here is how he did it today

LHB: Amma, I could smell and feel the dosa when I was at class. Can you make me some dosa!
Amma: Sure da. How many dosas do you need?
LHB: Did Akka eat?
Amma: Yes da!
LHB: Did everybody eat?
Amma: Yes da!
LHB: How much maavu (batter) do you have?
Amma: I have enough baby!
LHB: Okay then make me how much ever you like ma!

And he melts my heart…

Thank you

Thank you all for your lovely wishes. Some of you emailed and texted me and I can’t thank you all enough for taking the time to wish me.

One of my school friend randomly chatted with me after many months without knowing its my birthday πŸ™‚ My friend could have easily chatted a day before or a day after right?

My colleague cum friend donated on my behalf to “Stem from dance”. The best thoughtful gift I ever received.

LHB and I visited his friend’s home in neighborhood and wished the little boy as we share birthday.

Our friend’s family made a surprise visit in the evening with cake and gifts.

My birthday is also LHB’s half birthday so he demanded to cut one of the cake.

The family bought a cake and made me cut it at 2pm as they ate lunch before me and was badly in need of desserts. They made me cut the cake with a hungry tummy!! But I forgive them as they gave me a cool gift. Wireless headsets – much needed one in current work setup! My phone will now be freed from frequent drops struggling with wired headphones.

Amma arranged for special pooja in local temples.

My volunteering centre delivered 3000 cutlery bundles to a local soup kitchen. The first news I received in the morning. We have been working on this project for few weeks and yesterday just happened to be a delivery day which made me double happy πŸ™‚

Best of all, LHB adjusting my smile and dress before photo session πŸ™‚

Big number

4th Sep 2020 is the day I step into 40. There, I said it! The number 40 scares me though I self convince that age is just a number. I wanted to reach a goal weight and move to maintain mode before I turn 40. Did I reach that? No, but I found few ways that can work for me and keep me healthy. I am not satisfied with current weight but at the same time I don’t regret either as I am learning to accept that what is more important is the lifestyle. how do I work towards sustainable life style change? how do I stay true to myself? This has been almost 7 years of journey so it is not easy, it will take time but I am confident to stay healthy in coming years. I am learning to know my body better, I am learning to listen to my body so it is a big change. It is important to be conscious about food choices and I am trying…

Birthday has always been a big deal when I grew up. My mom celebrates her kids birthday nothing less than a prince/princess. Even during school days, she takes me to the city to buy birthday dress. That is the one day annual trip I get to do by bunking school. Amma and I leave home in the morning and take the express train to T.Nagar. The feeling of seeing your friends going to school and you going on a day trip in color dress is something greater than the birthday itself. We visit every other garment shop in T.Nagar. I remember giving a very hard time to Amma by just sticking on to white and blue. She prefers to buy colorful dress. She will pick few dresses, ask the shop keeper to keep it aside, visit next store and this continues till she visits all shop in her list. Finally, she will do a quick mental recollection of all dresses kept aside in all stores and decides on the one to buy. Honestly, I never used to like this drill but I tag along as I get to bunk school and also get to eat parotta/veg kurma in Saravana Bhavan for evening tiffin. I eat only parotta/kurma every single year though Amma try to persuade me to look at the menu card. In between the shop hopping, we eat special meals for lunch in Saravana Bhavan and Amma will also buy some goodies like ice cream/juice when I start whining about long walk. We take the 6:40pm express train and come back home around 8/9pm. All this for buying that one birthday dress for me! I remember one of the year, she just saved money for return train tickets and used rest of the money to buy a dress. It was a dark green georgette material salwar with colorful embroidered flowers around the neck. It costed around 2000 rupees back then. Such a crazy lady! I failed to understand the importance of this dress and trip until I lived under her wings. Some memories just become richer and richer as you grow older.

On almost every birthday at school, my dress would be the talk of staff room. When I go to distribute chocolates the teachers make me stand/swirl to get a closer look of my special dress and ask all sort of questions. I wear pretty skirts, intricately embroidered tops, jumpers, sequin tops, 3 layers skirts and many more modern dresses. I only get two new dress in a year but each one of them will be very unique. For my 5th grade birthday, Amma bought yellow colored actress “Nadhia” dress. Its a 3 piece set with see through overcoat. Its very popular at that time and I remember we were financially at rock bottom in that period. My cousin sisters used to reserve my dress in advance as all my dress were handed down to them.

My best birthday so far happened during 3rd year of college. I have written about it in this post (its a long post, search for keyword birthday)

After I started earning, we upgraded to pantheon road and Alsa mall centre (elite places) for birthday shopping πŸ™‚

And then, life happened and the enthusiasm to celebrate birthday slowed down. A collection of events happened on this day in last 20 years that I started dreading this day literally as much as I enjoyed this day in growing up years. I have not written about my birthday in this little, close to heart space of mine. I look for ways to get past this day quickly and pretend to hide/mock my feelings through this day. As kids grow up, they want to do something special for me in their own ways and I painfully brush it off.

2003 is the year I last celebrated birthday with new dress, new sandals and cake with my then family. This birthday is very special as my brother and SIL had come on a vacation from US and they bought the dress/sandals/cake for me as a surprise. I think this is the last birthday I celebrated with my Amma, Appa and Anna. Oh, we were together on 4th Sep 2010 at my Anna’s US home but it was not the same.

2003 birthday picture:
Amma and me at our Velachery, Chennai rented home. That’s a pistachios flavored cake from Mc.Rennette cake shop and I am wearing my birthday dress πŸ™‚

The number 40 reminds me to get more disciplined with life in all aspects. I do not regret my past and looking forward to an eventful/happening years. I see at least the next 15 years as the years to give back as much as I can, to my children, to the society, to my friends, to my parents, to my extended family and to all those who are looking for my shoulder/support. Its mutual giving as what I get in return is this immense sense of satisfaction, happiness and peacefulness which no money can buy. I feel obliged to give back for all the love I have experienced in my growing up years. Life has been kind to me in many ways and I have to appreciate it by staying humble and kind.

I feel like life has just started with me taking big steps in volunteering this year. All I pray is to stay healthy and active so I can give back my fullest to everyone. One of the friend family have started feeling comfortable to come and stay with us in recent times. I want to host many more friends & family and above all stay and spread positivity.

And I need all your blessings and wishes on this day to make it brighter. You all have been an integral part of my life journey so your wishes means a lot to me πŸ™‚

Music class and parenting

Hope all of you are safe and staying indoors. This post is not about how we are adapting to the new way of life that would have been an impossible distant dream until a month ago.

Adi learns carnatic music for few years now. She lost interest sometime last year and have been asking me to stop the class. I promised her that we can stop when we move to new neighborhood citing that as a reason and initiated the conversation with teacher after our move.

The teacher didn’t agree to stop. Her point was Adi is almost close to getting to advanced level and it is not a good idea to take a break now. She advised to continue with online class. So we continued but ever since Adi would take a break every few weeks with some lame excuse. Slowly, she started whining for every class and it was getting worse!

Yesterday, she started whining an hour in advance and went on and on. I tried explaining how her teacher is not agreeing to stop but she didn’t listen. I felt bad for Adi as this setup is not helpful for both her and the teacher. She is not going to learn anything if she attends class with this mindset. So, I called the teacher few minutes before the class and tried explaining again but she didn’t budge. The teacher said let’s go with today’s class and then she will talk to Adi.

The class got over and then teacher called. I explained to her how its getting hard week by week and then teacher spoke with Adi. She explained to her about how close she is to get to next level and how dropping at this stage is not the right decision. This girl nodded her head to teacher and agreed to all that she said. The call ended on a happy note and I felt so relieved.

Later the evening, while we were working in Kitchen Adi started a conversation with me.

Adi: Amma, I have a random question for you!
Amma: Yes dora daru (that is how I call her these days. I will write about it later)
Adi: Why did you call the teacher before class?
Amma: Because, as a parent I have to address your concerns. I cannot ignore it. I didn’t like you whining and felt it needs to be addressed.
Adi: Do you want to know a fun fact?
Amma: Yes
Adi: You did good parenting today!

That comment from her made me fly high. Nothing has changed, she is going to continue with the class but I am glad that I made a decision to call the teacher and not ignore her whining.

Lesson learned: It is very important to show your child that you are listening to them and taking appropriate action as needed. Ignoring the situation doesn’t help to build relationship with a teenager.

Weekend

Note: I wrote this yesterday (Sunday) night but dozed off before I could publish it so publishing it as is!

Recording about this weekend so I can come back and read this on a day I can’t pull myself through a demanding day to remind myself that I have done it in the past and can do it!!

This weekend became super crazy with couple of makeup/adhoc classes, mall shopping, conference call, potluck, guest visit all thrown in these two days. I got all of them done but not happy at all as its past 10pm on Sunday and none of us are in the right mindset to start a fresh week!!

Wish I learn to say NO to myself but I don’t know which one of this I could have said NO to. All of them sound equally important to me at this phase of life!!

Saturday:
8am – Wake up, prepare breakfast and part of lunch
10:00am – Drop LHB at his makeup class
10:15am – Drop Adi at her adhoc class
10:30am – Come back home and continue with lunch prep
11:00am – Pickup LHB
11:10am – Come back home and continue with lunch prep (Sambar making was literally done in parts today, like saute onion/tomato, switch off stove, step out of home, come back, add veggies, tamarind water, switch off stove, step out of home, come back, add dal and finally call it sambar!!)
12:30am – Drop LHB at his class
1:15pm – Come back home, LHB takes shower/eats part of his lunch. I gobble up my lunch and pack dabba for Adi!
1:45pm – Pickup Adi, drive to nearest mall (She wanted to get a gold shade dress to attend a sweet 16 party next week and I wanted to get some supplies for the low key birthday party for LHB at home next weekend). Kids eat lunch in the drive!
4:!5pm – Leave from mall
4:45pm – Costco grocery shopping
5:30pm – Return home, put away the items bought from mall/Costco and wrap up dinner
6:30pm – Leave home, take Adi to her class
8:45pm – Return home from Adi’s class
9pm – Login to a conference call for volunteering
10:30pm – Wrap up the call, spend some time on online shopping as Adi couldn’t find a good dress in the mall.
11:30pm – Call it a day and go to bed!!!!

Sunday:
8am – Wake up, prepare breakfast, clean home, wash dishes, make semiya payasam (big tray)
12pm – Get ready for Pongal/Sankranti potluck at LHB’s Tamil school
1:30pm – Arrive at the venue, help to setup, serve (we had banana leaf serving style), eat yummy lunch and watch cultural programs.
5:30pm – Leave the function in the middle as Adi wanted to comeback home to finish her homework. I missed watching ladies dance 😦
6:00pm – Arrive home, clean home, make Tea
6:45pm – Guests arrive. High school girl with her parents. They wanted to know more details about the volunteering opportunities
7:30pm – Guests leave. Start with vegetables chopping (prep work for kids tomorrow lunch box)
8:30pm – Sit down with LHB to do his homework
9:30pm – Draft this post while eyes are begging to go to sleep.
10:00pm – Waiting for Adi to come to bed as she is still working on her school work!

LHB is giving me such a hard time today with homework. We both are not in our best state of mind and he is just sitting on one page of Math for past one hour!!!! Doing Math/English work is such a painful process for him and I seriously don’t know how to help him. He hates it when I nudge and I hate to do it too but is there any other way out?Β  I even stopped nudging him often. All I asked for was just 1 hour each day this weekend and he made it a painful session for both of us!!

Pictures from potluck:

LHB sat with his friend in a different row and ate by himself. Proud moment πŸ™‚
Look at all the munchkins in Veshti.. LHB is 3rd from right!

Jinxie or Jinxer

I am seriously considering changing my name to Jinxie or Jinxer. I am sure you will agree with me after you read this post!

Do you remember my work anniversary post? So, the latest news is my boss’s boss, the brain behind current work culture, growth mindset, flexibility et all have decided to move on to a new opportunity within the organization. Great move for him but for us?!?!?!?

We don’t know yet about the strategies of the new VP. Will he change the culture? Will he summon everyone to be at work on all 5 days? even 4 days is tough for me given one of us have to stay home to help LHB board his morning bus. Will he change the hierarchy? Will he be open to new ideas? Will he believe in empowering the sub ordinates? A million questions running in my mind ever since I heard the news!!

Now tell me, which name suits me better? **crying loud**

Out of the past 3 years of blogathon, why did I chose this year to write about my work anniversary? Because I have to jinx it. For the records, this is not the first time I am jinxing something. I fear to laugh out loud because I am sure to end up crying in the next half hour. Balancing it seems!!!

The good side of my brain is chanting change is good, change is good. Guess, I should just believe that and move forward. Is there a choice? Nope. So, just deal with it and move on!!