Tag Archives: life

Truesday Tales 2.2

9 Feb

Snippets from last February:

I have killer abs too. Anybody who sees them will die of shock.

#TheMummyDiaries #PSA

~

In which I optimistically set an alarm 6 hours into the future.

Hahahahahahahahahaha!!

#YeahRight #DreamOnFool #NoSleepNoDream #NeverMind

[P.S. Nothing has changed on this front a whole year later. It’s official: I’m a bot.]

~

Finally tossed my empty prenatal vitamin bottles today, after sentimentally holding on to them for the last few weeks. I had those tablets religiously for a whole year, through so many changes of body and circumstance.

It’s the end of an era.

#TheWholeSoLongFarewellSong

Truesday Tales 2.1

2 Feb

[First shared in February 2015]

I stand over him, watching him sleep, gushing about the perfect curve of his cheek, loath to go to bed. Daddy is under the covers with his tablet already, rolling his eyes at Mummy for being this besotted. I ignore him and continue to gaze at Mr. Bean, soaking up every centimeter of his babyness.

Until, something occurs to me and I realize that the pater hasn’t been reading at all. He’s been admiring the 3000 pictures he clicks of our son each morning. While the fruit of his loins is 4 feet away.

But I’m the besotted one. Right.

Truesday Tales: Notes From the Mothership

5 Jan

HAPPY 2016! Here’s the new series I promised and hadn’t delivered on so far.

Like I mentioned in this post, I cheated on this blog last year with a very obscure social media platform that not many of you will have heard of. It rhymes with ‘Thace Puk’ and I got into the habit of sharing my exalted views on baby poo and such like with friends who couldn’t disown me if they tried. Starting with this post, I will share these snippets from the past year on ze blog every Tuesday (or Friday, which is basically the same thing in MummyLand) until I run out of posts (or steam or banana chips). Why Tuesday? Because:

a. It is the farthest day from Monday, and hence the happiest day of the week

b. I was born on a Tuesday, and hence it’s got to be the happiest day of the week

c. Tuesday = Thursday = DontKnowDontCareDay

d. All of the above

 

Feel free to bump me off your reader when the posts get poo much for you! Although you’d really get an education in color and texture if you stuck around. Wait! Come baaaaaack!

~

And then there’s the beaming 4 am smile, right after he’s refused to burp AND peed on you.

You know it’s probably an involuntary muscle at work, but who’s to tell your lurching heart that as you sit there, drenched in urine and marveling at how amazing your life is.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Parenting is the ultimate example of Stockholm Syndrome.

 

Some Dates More Than Others

10 Sep

Apologies for being AWOL! I’ve been cheating on this blog with other social media and should really enter rehab. Or maybe just post oftener. Which would you prefer? I hope you enjoy reading this straight-from-my-bleeding-heart piece. And come back after you’ve wiped off all the mushy goop! I’ve got more posts lined up as penance.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. What you’ve been up to, the most annoying thing about last week, your biggest accomplishment since I last posted, to tell me that there’s a universe beyond Baby Pooped Today!!!….or simply to say hi? 🙂

~

As teenagers, we would go shopping and she’d rein me in. “No, you cannot buy all seven tee shirts. Choose two.” And I’d grumble that she was my mother all over again.
When I was between degrees and unemployed, I packed up my life in far too many boxes and landed up to share her little room with an eccentric heater in Philadelphia. Freezing Philly winters were no match for this girl’s warmth.
When the Boy and I decided to get married and all hell broke loose, she gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing. She spent the night before my wedding holding my hand and the morning of shedding quiet tears as I was dressed and made up.
Her hand was on my shoulder as I signed on the dotted line that would legally permit me to torture the man forever.
Her baby is my first baby. Moving away from him was physically painful. Forever a cheerleader for little girls, he taught me how to be mad about baby boys, setting the stage for the full blown Raja Beta Syndrome I now live with.
I informed her I was pregnant using an inside joke we had laughed about since college.

RRV[Credit: Raja Ravi Varma, Lady Holding a Fruit]

I named my son in her honor.
Considerate even as a zygote, she arrived on the planet 10 months ahead of me to vet the place for suitability. “It’s fine,” she yelled, giving me two baby thumbs up, “head on down!”
This girl I met a month shy of 16, I don’t know how I would have lived these past 21 years without her. But thankfully, I don’t have to know. Because we’re going to grow old and crotchety and annoy the eyeroll out of each other across the continents, an Indian in America and an American in India, for that’s how we roll, her and I.
Happy birthday, my J.
I thank the powers that be for September 10th, 1977.

The Blogger Formerly Known As OJ

20 Apr

Helloooooo! Greetings from Namibia!

Just kidding.

Or not.

Because SAHMhood is sometimes like being in a desert. Maybe on a desert island. Where you just got done weaving your colorful hammock of artisan rope and are about to climb into it when wait! Laat Saab needs his doodoo-on-the-rocks. Make it a large one. Oh, and could you have that ready in 3.457298 seconds, because there are some pretty pitch-perfect wails coming your way.

So.

I’ve been doing grrrrreat you guys! Just GRRRReat. Training for a marathon and all. Don’t you just love my dedication? We begin training at 6 am (human alarm included in the package deal) and basically drop dead after Diaper #7. The obstacle course, where I get to skip over Blue Ellie and Hormuz the Horse in a bid to dash toward Moaning Myrtle’s just-born twin is where I truly shine. I even have one ankle left to prove it!

And in other news, we now have a Very Valuable Cooking Aunty. Seriously, that’s her name. Or not. I can’t share it with you because then you’d take her away from me and I’d be left to wallow in my dal-less state. Cooking Aunty is a proper Poon-jabbi, so the Boy, drawing on his Dally childhood, educated me about the ways of Them Up Nawth. Apparently, I need to address everything with a ‘jee’. But Cooking Aunty looks at me funny when I ask her not to add the Dhaniajee to the Bainganjee. Why jee? Am I blundering jee? Me, the poor heathen from Bombayjee.

Cooking Aunty firmly notified me that she is ‘vag’. And I’ve been hurling all 700 lbs of puppy fat at that imagery, but it won’t budge from my head. Or ‘had’. You pick, jee. In the meantime, we’ll continue eating…you-know-what jee.

Oops, there stirs my Pork Chop. I have 6 seconds to share the rest of my exciting life with you:

6. I subscribed to Birchbox, received my first box in March, and OMIGOD YOU GUYS! The Boy just got bumped to Love of My Life position #3. You wants this product. You needs this product. You totalutely musts this product. Review coming up soon! (10 years is ‘soon’ if there are no posts in-between. Technically speaking.)

5. I had this divinity last Thursday. And walked the streets of San Francisco LIKE A NORMAL PERSON (a.k.a. Carrier of One Small Handbag). Am I shouting? Could you plug those ears? This could get out of hand.

4. I’m attending what promises to be an interesting event at Santa Clara’s University’s de Saisset Museum this week. The universe and its grandfather(jee) knows about my fascination with the partition, so this should come as no surprise:

Voices of Partition

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

Nearly 2 million people died and over 15 million were uprooted during the 1947 Partition of South Asia. Explore the Partition through a free screening and crowd-sourced survivor footage followed by witnesses sharing their stories. This program is co-presented by the 1947 Partition Archive and the de Saisset Museum with support from API Chaya.

 

3. The Ghost of Reader Past:

The Ghost of Reader Present:

women-and-weight-loss-tamasha

The Ghost of Reader Future:

2. I need cropped white denims for the Spring that don’t look like Jack the Ripper went blade-happy on them. Gimme label/store/link suggestions, y’all!

 

1. We made it all the way to #1! Woot!

Okay, that was my downtime for the decade. See you in 2025!

Just kidding.

Or not.

As they say in OJville,

bye-shy, jee!

*poof*

Lovelocked

11 Mar

January 31, 2013. 5.30 am. Silicon Valley.

The peal of my ringtone pierced the dark, as I groped in my sleep for the ‘phone. “They’re taking him in,” said a familiar voice at the other end. “I’m on my way,” I responded before the line went dead and adrenalin kicked in. Three hours later, I was buckling my seat belt as the aircraft taxied on the runway, ready to begin its transatlantic journey.

January 30, 2013. Time unknown. The Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

He was all of 28 and engaged to be married at the end of the year. His fiance was an ICU nurse at a prominent South Bombay hospital. That is all we know of him, other than the fact that the crash killed him instantly. And in his death, he gave a new lease of life through his organs to no less than five people, my loved one among them.

Present day. Silicon Valley.

It’s been more than two years since the incidents above. I’ve moved homes, switched jobs, acquired another car, waddled through a pregnancy, and now have an infant (yes, we graduated from Senior Newborn last month!) Yet, there has not been a day since January 31, 2013 that I have not blessed and thanked this young man’s soul for his generosity, foresight, and incredible humanity. There has not been a day since January 31, 2013 that I have not pondered on how to pay it forward. Finally, last November, two days before our Liebling made his appearance, I took the plunge.

Ever since I can remember, my hair has been a topic of discussion. Friends and strangers would admire it at social events, Daddy would be upset every time I cut it, guys in college wrote shayaris and poems about it, and you folks were so generous in your compliments even when it wasn’t the point of the post. I suppose I took it for granted, because I’ve always been somewhat indifferent to it, maintaining that it is my mum’s genes and father’s regular oiling–and nothing I did–that are to be credited. I’ve worn it long, short, and every length in-between. It’s been occasionally highlighted, been its natural color and texture for most of its life cycle, and kept generally clean but otherwise not particularly obsessed over. Even now, with a few strands of white in it, I feel no dismay, for it is but the natural progression of things and vanity is not among my many faults. And yet, I can imagine what it must feel like to lose it. To have to go out in public and have people stare because you don’t conform to the norm. To have the choice of whether to grow it long or chop it off taken away from you. And because I can give no other organ while I am alive, and really wanted someone to benefit from it, I decided to give away my hair to Locks of Love.

In May 2014. I was in my first trimester.

In May 2014. I was in my first trimester.

Two days before our son was born, the Boy, somewhat sad but supportive as always, drove me to the salon and my trusted stylist Stefanie took care of things.

In November 2014. Two days before our baby was born. I loved how wavy pregnancy made my otherwise straight hair!

In November 2014. Two days before our baby was born. I loved how wavy pregnancy made my otherwise straight hair!

It was quick, painless, and joyful. Some little one somewhere (or two, since Stefanie said it was a lot of hair) would have a wig of natural hair to make their cancer journey easier. A weight, both literal and metaphorical, had been lifted off my head. And the smile on my Boy’s face as I walked out assured me he approved as well.

Chop chop!

Chop chop!

That was more than 3 months ago. Since then, I’ve enjoyed my shorter, more manageable locks that gently graze my shoulders and keep out of my busy way. I’m grateful for the shorter length, since my baby has taken to grabbing strands with gusto. I may very well be as bald as him soon if this continues. And because childbirth has given me a newfound and immense respect for the human body, I will know better than to take it for granted when it grows back.

The purpose of this post is to share what’s been in my heart and on my mind, and to humbly request you to think about it as well. It is such a miniscule act in the face of that nameless young man’s charity that I would be embarrassed if you praised it. (So don’t!) Do think about being an organ donor. Each of us has the power to bestow life. And in the meantime, if all you have to give is your hair, you can now do it in India as well. Someday, it will age, grey, and fall off anyway. But as long as it’s healthy and on your head, you’ve got a lot more than a child who could do with some.

Have you ever committed to donating an organ? Please share in the comments section and inspire the rest of us.

And pssst! You guys are the first to know: I’m planning to grow it so I can do this again. 🙂

The Business of Fish

16 Jan

This piece first appeared in the December 2014 issue of India Currents magazine. I’d love to hear your childhood food memories! Share? 🙂

~

Among my earliest childhood memories is a shot of thrill up my spine on hearing a certain raspy, faraway voice calling “Paaplet! Kolmi! Bombil-waleeeaaay!”

That was Moti, our family fisherwoman for three generations, hawking the just-caught contents of her woven basket to a lane of Parsis willing to pay top rupee for their palates. Much hubbub would follow, as someone, typically a domestic or child tall enough to reach the window, was sent to wave her down. “Yete!” she’d screech, with all the decorum of a hurricane ripping through an island, and begin her ascent to our top-floor home, green glass bangles and thumping gait announcing her presence long before she huffingly-pufflingly made it.

Moti smelled of scales and salt and the sea, odors I came to associate with happiness. In a Parsi child’s life, especially one stereotypically expected to manage her own kitchen in adulthood, an education in fish is vital. The lessons of laal pani versus safed pani, and using your finger to scoop under the gills to check for freshness are Fish Purchasing 101 tips. The nose is your savviest instrument, and one as undiscerning as mine is a serious liability. Then there is a banquet of bliss to choose from—all those varieties of fresh and saltwater fish, seasonal and available the whole year through—bangra (mackerel) and raawas (salmon), boi (mullet marine) and boomla (bombay duck), and the thrill of discovering bonus gharab (roe) in one of your chosen future meals.

It is a messy business, the selection of fish. Not for those who aren’t accustomed to ooze and blood and scales. Its parts callously lopped into diagonal chunks, its silver-grey body glistening enticingly, a pre-purchase fish is a thing of beauty. It is here that I realize the staggering power of social conditioning, for a joyous childhood ritual that entails a dead creature’s guts can only be that.  Or perhaps it is a lesson in focusing on the end result: the perfect, well-seasoned accompaniment to a meal of dhandar. H.e.a.v.e.n.

A trusting rapport with your machhiwali is expected to be one of life’s most enduring relationships. And when she moves on to a better place, where crispy-fried boomlas (I’ve mentioned them three times already in 300 words, can you tell they’re a favorite?) are dished hot and fresh by harp-strumming cherubs, you know better than to mess with the line of succession—her daughter or niece will become your supplier. Our Lady of Piscine Perfection is now Moti’s niece Tanuja, who has discarded the colorful nauvaris of her Koli roots and the ginormous beaded nath of Moti’s era, but thankfully, none of the accent or the mannerisms that we almost expect of our fisherwomen.

It is a centuries-old communication, this unique and frequently amusing haggling between housecoat-clad Gujarati speakers and the shrill and shrewd sellers of fish. Odd words fly in Marathi, exclamations peak like stiff egg whites and many an eyebrow does a Prabhu Deva, with flung arms for company. Accusations of looting and starving little children are routinely hurled, as both parties bemoan a time when the catch was fresher, prices cheaper, and their respective communities were pretty much the only inhabitants of Bombay, apart from the Sahibs.

The last time I was in Bombay, I partook of this ritual gladly. From carrying out round thaals (plates) to pile the carefully-selected purchase on, to washing each piece carefully under running water, scrubbing the scales and poking fingers into icky crevices, anointing each piece with flour and salt, rubbing the mixture in, letting it sit 10 minutes, and then washing everything one more time, I was never more closely connected to my bloodline. It came to me easily, though it was the first time I had actually done it from beginning to end. I was a natural, I felt at ease. I had learned my lessons well from years of bearing witness.

Here in America, the process is supremely sanitized. Cleaned, deboned and ready to cook, artfully-arranged slices are put on display, eliminating consumer participation in so many crucial steps of the acquisition process. It reminds me of a time when a friend confessed she hated having a C-Section. “I feel cheated of a natural birth,” she had said, “I know I should be grateful for a healthy delivery, but I can’t help feeling duped.” Oddly enough, this is exactly how I feel walking into my neighborhood Safeway or Chinese supermarket—clinical, disconnected, disappointingly sterile.

I can imagine how hard this must be for vegetarians to comprehend. They are as much products of their socialization as I am of mine, but the human relationship to food is an intimate one, and in a gourmand community like mine, it includes passion, devotion, and obsession. Having incorporated so many elements not quite our own on the long road from religious refugees to a privileged, respected, and still relatively unknown minority, our cuisine and its methods are understandably something we Parsis are immensely proud of. (So if you have considered offering a thoughtless suggestion like “Why don’t you turn vegetarian?” please know we’re already debating how much spice to marinate your brain in for those breakfast cutlets tomorrow.)

From what I’ve learned in my score and 15 years on god’s bounteous earth, it is that life has a way of presenting precisely what you fight. So a fishless future isn’t the worst fate that can befall me.  (I’m so glad you can’t see my dilated pupils and crossed fingers right now.) But I also know that I am the honored carrier of the DNA of a long line of fin fans, and this—both the process and the end result— is one of my life’s joys.