What happens when your son hacks your blog, your Facebook, and your email…

 

I’m not great at keeping in touch. My friends must know this, though we rarely discuss it. I’ll catch up with close friends on occasion, and it feels perfectly normal—and wonderful—when we do. And I think it works for me because of how I form relationships. I believe in putting in great amounts of time and effort into the beginning of a relationship. Once I’ve decided to trust someone, I latch on quickly and I’m loyal for as long as that person can stand me. It’s much easier to maintain a relationship when you’ve committed to building something that can endure time, distance, and most importantly, silence.

I put this philosophy into practice very early in my life. From the moment I was born, I put all my love into my mother. In fact, I don’t know that I cared about anyone else in the world until I turned 5. I don’t really remember much, but from stories and photographs it’s perfectly clear: we were building something great. Now, I’m 1,000 miles away from her, but back then I would cling to her leg at the park, afraid to make friends with anyone else. I remember crawling on the floor behind her in department stores, pretending to be an alligator. I remember asking her, “will you marry me?”, not knowing what marriage was, but knowing that marriage meant that you get to keep someone in your life forever.

Over the years, I accepted that other people would have to enter my life. My father, my sister, my family and friends—I had to make room for them all. And so I gave up precious time with my mother to form new relationships. Eventually, I no longer feared leaving her side to meet friends. I was excited to go to school and baseball practice and the swimming pool and the movies and even Washington, D.C. for camp. But all the while, my mother and I had our foundation. I was still the only person who could make my mother laugh when she was angry or upset. We still sang along to the Beatles on long drives. Any South Indian meal that was not hers was not enough (I still feel this way).

When we moved to Florida, our relationship struggled. I had such strong friendships in Indiana that I couldn’t imagine leaving. Then, one of my best friends died, I left for college, and I had to start from scratch. Dealing with this change was difficult, and I was unhappy for a long time. During this time, my relationship with my mother functioned only because of what we had built years ago. Our conversations were strained because I associated my parents’ decisions with my unhappiness. In reality, I was unhappy for many reasons, and with time, I was able to adapt to my new life.

As I started adjusting to my new life and developing, my relationship with my mother rebounded. We started having long, meaningful conversations again, and I longed for home when I wasn’t there. We became very close again, and I told her things I couldn’t have told her only a year earlier (Amma- the night we watched Sanjay Gupta J). The best part was how quickly we were able to resume our relationship. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t been incredibly close for a period of time—what we built was still there, as strong as ever. The work we put in 18, 19, 20 years prior was paying off.

I’ve since moved again. Even as my mother, my father, my sister are a thousand miles away, we remain close. When we’re together, it’s like nothing has changed. And it works like this with all my family and friends.

But with one person, it’s different.

My mother and I do not speak every day, and sometimes the gap is much longer. But I do not worry.

Through all the time, through all the distance, through all the silence, the first bond I ever formed was with my mother. And for five years of work, we’ve earned fifty of a love that can only be shared between a mother and son.

Happy mother’s day, Amma.

PS I couldn’t remember the password to this account, so I tried to get into your Facebook…but I couldn’t remember that one either.  Long story short, I got into your email and had to reset both your Facebook and WordPress passwords.  Please contact Prilatha Pajagopal at Pontario Pistons Porporation…she should be able to assist you with this.

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This was written as a surprise by my baby who hacked into my wordpress account. I had been bugging him to write for a while and wow! did he write!

 

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Guest Post: Be The Light

I decided that the comment from a friend on my previous post deserves its own post. In her own words, here it is. We need more people like her. In my opinion, THIS is what America is all about. Pluralism, tolerance and communication.

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I’m so broken hearted by the whole thing. Yesterday, I was sitting on my deck and the dogs were outside with me. The little one, Rigby, started barking and I saw that a few of my neighbor kids were cutting between my house and my neighbors. They were two of the black children who live close by us. They didn’t see me and one of them said to my little Rigby running up and down the fence, “What’s up my little Nigga”. I chuckled and he looked up and was startled. I smiled and waved. He waved back and said, “Hey I was just cutting through to go to my friends. I am not trying to cause trouble.” I smiled and told him that he could cut through our yard anytime. He stopped for a second and asked me if I was sure that he didn’t want problems. I got up from my deck and walked over to him. I reached across the fence and shook his hand. I introduced myself and I told him that we are a gun free and a hate free house. I told him that if I ever saw anyone following him through our neighborhood I would be more apt to hit the person over the head with a 2X4 than to believe he was doing something wrong. He smiled and thanked me. This morning, when I got up, there was a thank you note on my door from his family. While it makes me sick that this experience should have made anyone feel the need to thank me, I am happy to be a light in their life even if for only a moment.

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My thoughts:

When I read this, I couldn’t help flashing back to our own experience of the worst and the best of America. Back when 9/11 happened, I experienced for the first time being a foreigner. I had taken belonging here for granted until then. But for the first time in the eleven years we had lived here,  I felt rather than saw people being a little different. It wasn’t anything blatant–but something had changed and it was subtle. It was in the way people looked at us, you could tell they were wondering. People got a bit quieter, a bit unsure around us in public places – grocery stores, department stores, gas stations.  I can confidently say every person of Asian/middle eastern heritage with brown skin felt this. Raj traveled quite a bit those days, and I started telling him to get rid of that damn beard (which I don’t like anyway). Add to that his intense dark eyes and you have the ideal candidate for profiling and being stopped for security checks at airport in those feverish days of heightened emotions.

And then, it happened. About a week after 9/11, we woke up to a bag of crap on our garage door. It was a physical shock to us. That something like this would happen in our peaceful, friendly upper middle class neighborhood had never occurred to us. That it would happen to US! Never! Our kids spent most of their time in the street playing with about 15 kids from the neighborhood, all of whom were white. We talked to a sheriff who lived down the street from us, who was flabbergasted and assured us that he would do everything to prevent it from happening again. He had patrol cars driving around to let the vandals know the neighborhood was being monitored.

My daughter shared this incident with her class the following week. The next day, after school, a station wagon pulled up in our driveway. It was a parent of one of my daughter’s friends. We had met in school functions and didn’t know each other very well. She got down from her Volvo, carrying a plate of cookies. She told me this: “Lata, I want everyone on this street to see a white person parking in your driveway and bringing you cookies.”

I understood for the first time the generosity of spirit that liberal Americans possess. I had never felt more accepted anywhere. To me, this is what being an American means – accepting the pluralism, embracing it, welcoming it and nurturing it. Having a dialog.

That mom was a point of light for us in those confusing times.

Kudos to these two women! They’re my heroes!

ps. I didn’t edit or polish this article. This is pure stream of consciousness. Raw and unfiltered.