Category Archives: Culture

Happy Mother’s day!

I could have been getting hugs and kisses and love and perhaps a handmade card and a nice little jewelry box from my husband. Today I could be celebrating mother’s day with two of my children. An older boy who would have just turned 2 and a younger daughter who would be barely 5 months. There could have been picture taken that we would have held dear for all of our lives. I would perhaps be very tired from nursing my new born and have my mom cook me my favorite meal.  We would have celebrated this day together.

But that wasn’t meant to be. I have a certain ache in my heart thinking of the could be, would be and perhaps. Life has other plans I tell myself today. The mind wanders to orphaned children in this world. How their heart aches to get love and mine to give. I think of all the unwanted/unplanned pregnancies. Mothers who neglected and abused their children make me angry. I am not alone, I remind myself. There are many who want to have children and cannot or who got pregnant but lost their babies. I don’t particularly care for women who are undecided. Right now that is making me angry too.

I don’t want to be an unreasonable or angry person. So I call my mom. She always puts life into perspective and reminds me that I am more than my loss and suffering. I am not sure if I should wish her today. She doesn’t subscribe to these days. She calls them  Hallmark days (Hallmark makes money off these days). I wish her anyway. She thanks me and immediately asks me about my graduation ceremony last week. I sense her pride as I tell her about my walk and the high praise my professors bestowed upon me. She asks me about my thesis and my future plans. She wants to buy me a graduation present. She is adamant. She says “her baby” deserves it.

For a moment I forget my pain and I think of what to ask. In that moment I realize how truly blessed I am. I have a mother who loves me and supports me and thinks the world of me. I have the best role model in my mother not only as a human being but professionally. I have experienced unconditional love and undying support. I have seen her be the pillar of strength and hold my family together. I have an anchor in her, not many can boast of. I don’t think anything can surpass such a unique gift all wrapped into one.

I tell her I have her and that is all I’ll ever need. Thank you and Happy Mother’s day mom!

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International Woman’s Day

Of course I thought of it. I am sure you did too. We just didn’t say anything then. Some of us didn’t say it because of the fear of the consequences of the alternative, so we prayed instead. Some didn’t say it, because acknowledging it would be so uncool. Fact remains one of the largest democracies wasn’t ready for a woman president.

World over women are fighting for equality. Many a times, I cannot tell the actual fight from all the noise. At the outset unless men start to shed their uterus monthly and can bear children like women do, there are inherent differences between men and women. Some of the fight for equality I understand. I too want a voice, a vote, a choice. It is the women that make the waters murky that I don’t.

There is a wave of anti-women’s day by women. I have read blog posts, news articles and messages, Facebook updates that claim they don’t need the women’s day. All women need is equality. I get it. I don’t believe in marches either. I believe, if our actions don’t bring about a real change then the actions were futile. Perhaps how women perceive these women’s days. However for change to take place, someone needs to raise their voice, once the voice is raised, an action can be taken and when years of actions have been taken, a day is  chosen to celebrate that change.

And on this day, I want to take the opportunity to talk to women that confuse empowerment with lack of basic human dignity. There is power in kindness, compassion and generosity. There is something to be said about being dignified and well mannered. Women who think breaking away from tradition or culture and societal norms is empowering, I would hope you don’t think, becoming like the men we fight against is asking for equality.

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Happy Thanksgiving…

You know the biggest joke about thanksgiving?  “Only people in American will have bloody wars over materialistic things 24 hours after they have said thanks for everything they already have.”

Despite all the commercialization, blood bath and expensive travel that happens this week, Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite American holiday.

You get blessings, kindness and love from the most unexpected places. My father used to tell me that always do good, with no expectations in return. Even if you don’t receive from the same person, God will look out for you and you will receive when the time is right. Just do your thing. I am thankful for that advice now more than ever. Having had a few rough years myself, I have reaffirmed my belief that everyone has their own struggles. Just because we know nothing about them, and people always put up a brave front, doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles of their own. Be nice, it doesn’t take away anything from anyone. I am very grateful for the sound advise.

I am very thankful for my husband. Not only has he loved me despite all odds, he has embraced my family, my friends, along with our craziness. I haven’t changed as a person “just because I got married.” I have changed a great deal because I have grown up as a person, professionally and personally. I continue to be a work in progress, but every time I look into my husband’s eyes- I see his idea of perfection. I am very grateful for his love.

There are people I haven’t met in person, or met very briefly, and yet I am very thankful they are in my life. Some have sent me countless messages of encouragement, love and support while others have given it to me straight. Even though life has tried it’s best to pull me down, it has also showed me just how you bounce back, thanks to these very people. I am very grateful to know, that people who have full lives of their own will take time out for you. Whether it is making you feel special on your birthday, or remind you that there is no place for stress-induced-ruining-of-health. I am very grateful to see them make a place for me, even in their very full hearts.

I am thankful to this blogging space. No matter how much you have been ignored, you are right where I need you to be. I am really glad I have this space to vent /rant /complain /reminisce /pontificate /laugh /ridicule and just be myself. Eleven years and going strong!

Happy Thanksgiving y’all.

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Friday fives

Five things that don’t help when you have just lost a 6 month fetus!

1. Well wishers tip toeing around you. They want to say something “right”. But they have absolutely no clue what to say. There is no right or wrong. We lost a child. Or the potential of being a real person. We lost our dreams and hopes and aspirations. We lost our own potential. It’s like doing everything you could to get a job, you go through 6 rounds of interviews. In your gut you think you got it this time. Why would you get to the 6th round of it wasn’t meant to be. And yet the job goes to another candidate. Nothing against the other candidate. But why not me? So yeah. There is no “right” thing to say. But say something. It’s a freaking huge loss. Don’t hide behind political correctness. 
2. People telling you, it wasn’t meant to be. Something better is in store for you. This I feel is the worst. This is probably the most true, but it’s also the worst thing to tell a would be mother. It seems like getting pregnant isn’t what it used to be. You know two people have awkward sex at the back of the car and wham! Positive test. It takes months and years of trying, doctors visits, medical treatments, artificial insemination/fertilizations yada-yaad-ya. And even then there are no guarantees. Then the ensuing pregnancy related issues of nausea, taste changes, gi upsets, mood swings, etc etc. Accompanied by doctors visits, injections, tests and more tests. When finally things settle and you start to feel the slightest hint of life inside -those sweet kicks. Then to lose a child. You got to be freaking kidding me. Something better??? Why wasn’t this it? I was so ready to put it all behind me. 
3. Everyone around you seems to be getting pregnant and having healthy babies. How does that happen??? Why didn’t I get my success story? Some of my friends are having their second child. When they want that child- like on demand. And here it took me 16 months to get pregnant that too with help. I want to know what they are doing differently. 
4. Your mom comes to your rescue. I’m sure women like their mums to be around. The whole mother-daughter relationship, understanding, bonds of love, etc. I don’t particularly relate to that. I have a pretty kickass mom. She was on a 15 hour flight to the US within 4 hours of being told, that I was taken to the hospital. She felt rightly so that we would need her. And we do. Just to have another human being, the most well meaning, caring, fabulous cook of an awesome person that she is. However, she insists on daily massages, an agarbatti to the gods, three meals, cheerful conversations and ice cream after every meal. I feel like I need to indulge in her before she loses her shit. She is barely holding it together being brave and strong for her daughter. But I see the pain she feels for her little girl in her eyes. 
5. Having the best husband/ partner in life. If the man you lost a baby with was a bit of a scumbag, then you could throw a tantrum, stay in a bad mood, eat what you wanted to and shut him out of your life. Just to make sense of what life threw at you. But when you see relief intermixed with fear in the eyes of your man as you get wheeled out of the OR, feeling empty and defeated rather than pain and disappointment, you can’t push your rock away. You want to hold them and grieve your loss together. Sometimes you just don’t know how. We make promises of staying strong together. We tell each other we love each other. We promise we won’t give up. We hope to learn and grow from this experience. We will. Yet I know we both are struggling with the pain we each feel our ourselves and for each other. 

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How you doin?*

First day of the 8th month of 2016! Below is where I am with my plans.  Everything in bold is already done and dusted. Those in italics are a work in progress. Life has changed, plans have changed accordingly.

More important than the list that is only pertinent to my life is that life happens and just keeps happening. Plans are just plans. Something work out and other things stop being a priority. I like plans. They keep me on point. They remind me of all the things I have always wanted to do or considered important enough for me at some point to be done.

But that’s not how life turns out. I think it has been the most humbling experience of my life. Nothing has really worked out the way I have planned it. There came a time when I even stopped planning and there in lays the problem. I’ve learned that no plan is a sure path to failure. So that changed thanks to this list.

  • Drink more water, 10K steps daily at a minimum
  • Read the newspaper daily, not monthly
  • Complete Master’s thesis – converted to PhD in Clinical Service
  • Complete all pending research papers
  • Write at least one paper every 3 months- working on several projects
  • Network on a daily basis
  • Get a better job- daily work in progress
  • Log in a daily thought- daily work in progress
  • Learn to bake bread, try new recipes, try new cuisines
  • Meal prep weekly, weigh my food, log food, water and exercise diligently
  • Weight training, swimming, yoga to be incorporated in weekly routines
  • Read articles, books that don’t include school work, research articles, and news.
  • Blog/Instagram/ Write reviews regularly. Make a schedule and stick with it.
  • Sort out pending paper work from last year
  • Continue and increase recycling- remember almost everything can be recycled
  • Continue and do better with minimalistic living
  • Let go of people, places, ideas and thoughts that don’t want to stay
  • Remember that money saved is money earned
  • Invest in property
  • Travel to a destination outside of the US- Europe 🙂
  • Learn Spanish-this is the year

*Joey from F.R.I.E.N.D.S way of saying hello..:)

 

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Thought-pourri

A Monday is a good time to put some thoughts I think. I have noticed that the busier I am the more regular I am with writing on my blog. To be fair to me, I have had exams, change in course, probably working on a change in career, looking for mentors, traveling, looking for a place to buy, and staying healthy for what lies ahead of us. To say I didn’t have my plate full would be lying.

My husband and I finally went to Europe. After being together for 8 years, we finally went on the much promised/discussed visit to Paris. Will  probably write more about that in another post. Friends and family were quick to label our trip many things because now every thing has a name to it. For us, it was just a trip that took long to get on to. My husband and I relived our times in Europe, felt very young and carefree again and loved every minute of being there without having to explain any of our guilty pleasures.

I feel very tired of people around me. I feel scrutinized, judged, commented upon, advised to constantly. I miss the relationships that would just take me for who I am. I miss easy breezy relationships. I no longer feel that people would be happy for my success, or share my happiness just for it. I always seem to get questions, doubts, dark clouds. I am reaching a point where I don’t feel like sharing anything with anyone.

When there are dark clouds all over you, it is hard to stay happy and content and stress free. It is difficult to believe this is a good place to bring in a child. It is difficult to create a small bubble that feels safe and warm and yours. And despite all of it, people will tell you to. My question to them is how?

If you read all this and care to share a kind or encouraging word, or just a hi-five you are most welcome to. And don’t worry. Now that this is out of my system, I am sure life will look up.

Happy Monday, y’all. Here is to upwards and onwards!

 

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The village

When I got married to my husband I knew I was in for a different experience.  I wasn’t expecting good, bad, better or worse just different. I strongly believe that people all over the world are the same despite race, culture, language and geographical differences. My faith led me to believe I would be fine in my adopted family in spite of different traditions, food, culture and people.

I knew we were different people due to differences in our upbringing, the cities we were raised in, experiences we had amassed along our individual journeys. Six years after we got married decided to experience the life my mother in law had adopted. A life in a village in the southern region of the state called Odisha, formerly known as Orissa.

It’s been an enriching experience. Orissa happens to be a farmer friendly well organized state with little corruption at the grass root level. That translates into flourishing farm lands, rich farmers with assets beyond our city folk imagination. Life is pure manual labor from the minute you wake up, which is generally very early to the minute you sleep. This is interspersed with village gossip and politics. Something we city folk would miserably fail at as we have no talent in those departments.

On the face of it, everyone is nice, caring, hardworking, independent and proficient in the art of family drama. No one would miss a beat to participate in village gossip, politics, land deals and pettiness. But such is life in a small place, where people don’t lock their doors and food could be served from any kitchen. There is a certain openness in this place, where love and affection is abundant. However when it comes to land and money, things can change any moment. Family feuds can start at any time, sisters can disown brothers, marriage arrangements can be broken all over a land deal gone bad.

In such a volatile environment, I find myself a stranger and yet well accepted. I know I walk a very thin line, between being likable to becoming a threat. Nothing is subtle here and it amazes me that a lot of city folk think, the villagers are simple people. The ironies are interesting and I look forward to many more experiences.

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