Another Post On Raj

Everyone who knows me well knows I like lists. So here goes a list of my favorite things about the most important person in my life, on his birthday. The list kept growing, and I had to cut it short to make sure someone’s head doesn’t 😉 just kidding, darling!

Top Reasons Why I Love Raj

  • I love that you have a sense of humor and can take the constant ragging by me and the kids.
  • Also love that you don’t give up on making corny jokes despite all the groaning. And the bad singing. Although have to say, the jokes are starting to grow on us!
  • Love that you are there for me through all my drama ventures like a rock and I can always count on your unwavering, loving, kind support, guidance, and your willingness to roll up your sleeves and help me with whatever I need, no questions asked, no judgment passed, just pure unconditional love
  • Love that you get me flowers when you know I’m upset – no words needed
  • For being the best father for our children, for providing them with the best opportunities
  • For being a nerd, and for making a lot of our vacations partly museum forays which the kids appreciate now, for nurturing open discussions on any topic at the dinner table
  • For taking a genuine personal interest in pretty much everyone you meet and not in a calculating, “what can I get from this relationship” way; especially people who worked for/with you, and caring deeply about their families, and their troubles
  • For being such a kid magnet, and the way you just adore and play with little kids and babies; at your age, it must be exhausting 🙂
  • For being an inspiration and a role model to me and the kids to be better human beings
  • I feel incredibly fortunate that in all our disagreements over 27 years, you have never once made me feel small or humiliated, and have always made it safe for us to have open discussions on anything and everything
  • I love that after 26 years, you still say thank you when I make a really good meal! Or just a good cup of ginger tea.
    • Corollary: In the early days of our marriage, when I was a newly-let-loose-in-the-kitchen-bride, and didn’t know how to make that most basic food of south Indians namely rice, or couldn’t tell the difference between toor dhal and channa dhal, you never complained and ate anything I made (not that you had a choice) – be it the rasam which was basically tamarind water with chili powder, or the burnt offerings I put on the table fairly regularly. In fact, you started to prefer the burnt toast, curries, dosai, and anything else I could burn.

Your tolerance allowed me to grow into the decent cook I am now!

  • Also: Did I mention you are mature, drama-free, have absolutely no ego issues, non-reactionary, read manuals and follow instructions, make coffee in the mornings, take my car for oil changes and maintenance when that orange light comes on (I still don’t know what that means), didn’t yell at me when I flooded the car’s engine driving in the rain with the window down (it was raining heavily, and come on, I couldn’t see), or dropped the brand new ipod you got me for my birthday in the tub the very first day, secure enough to sometimes watch the Real housewives with me and actually get involved in the stories, planted a whole row of lavenders because you know I love lavender (and I may have demanded it), and…you do so much more that I cannot list everything!
  • In general, you treat me like a queen, even when I don’t feel like one or deserve to be treated as one

Finally, I love that you are you –  kind, funny, and intelligent. Core values that we share.

I pray that our children are as fortunate as me; and they find/have someone just like you in their lives.

May all your dreams come true – every book read, every project finished, and every place you want to travel to, traveled.

Happy birthday, my Rasa!

 

 

 

 

Bows And Arrows

Blessings to my baby, my sunshine as you embark on the next phase of your life. May you go swift and far and shine wherever you go.

Love, 

Amma & Appa

“Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

 

The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

 

 

 

I want my house back!

It’s me again. The teary-eyed, emotional mom who had sent off her youngest to college and wrote about being an empty-nester here.

A strange thing happened as I adjusted to this state. To provide some context, I have never been someone who had enjoyed or even had a chance to experience solitude. Having been born into a big family (four sisters), and lived with grandparents, aunts, cousins through adulthood, the first time I was truly alone was when I was pregnant with my daughter within 2 years of my marriage. I had quit my job, moved to Indiana and generally did nothing but be pregnant while Raj went happily off to work every day. Did not know a soul in the new town. Did not have much mobility as Raj took our only car, the old Ford LTD to work, which I couldn’t have driven anyway. It was a bench-seated monstrosity that my 5-foot tall pregnant self found best suited for sleeping in the back. 

Of course that didn’t last long. My daughter came along, and so did my son after 21 months. And then it was a race. Race to feed them, bring down the fever, get them to sleep, to school, piano and violin lessons, baseball and tennis, get myself to work when I stepped back into workforce as programmer and then software Project Manager,…and then college!

When my son, my baby, went to college, I felt justifiably empty, and lost. This time in sunny Florida. Not unlike a mom feels the first time she steps out without a diaper bag.  Doesn’t quite know what to do with her hands.

So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I made a list. I didn’t quite write the next great American novel, but I accomplished several things on my list. Made new friends, started (and stopped) music lessons, exercised fairly regularly, got very involved in the local Tamil community and did a few skits, started volunteering, traveled with Raj, cooked—a lot and, yes, missed my kids.

In addition, Raj traveled a lot these past two years and I was alone a few nights every week. Initially I freaked out—solitude has always scared me, but slowly it grew on me. I went back to my two loves: reading and music. I cooked only if I wanted to. Lunching with my girl friends, exercising regularly, watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey without any child rolling his/her eyes—this became the new norm.

Moreover, my relationship with my children took on a different dimension. For one, my daughter regularly called for advice! I thought that would never happen considering this was the child who, if she had to make a choice between a blue and a red dress, would ask me which one I liked, and then pick the opposite. (This plan went haywire when I caught on to her little scheme, and would say the opposite of what I liked so she would pick what I liked, then she caught on to what I was doing…you get the point. It all got very confusing as we stood in the stores trying to figure out what we should say…no wonder she decided to study psychology!) And then, she called to get recipes! She who was as lost in the kitchen as I am on any parking lot. And actually ended up making some of them!

 I started to have very mature conversations with my son, who works for the diversity office in his college, and pounces if he detects even a whiff of stereotyping in his desi-parents.

Overall, I was starting to enjoy this empty nest thing.

So when my son moved back home this summer (he’s only a sophomore in college), and Raj quit his job with the local company and joined a UK-based company (there goes the daily commute—thank you, Russell!), my feelings were not quite, how to put it, ecstatic! All of a sudden, my house is not my haven.

My son is parked on the family room couch when he is awake, watching reruns of The Office, Community and The Mindy Project for hours on end. Raj is in the den or in the lanai working—to be fair, he doesn’t make many demands of me, and has been tolerating my jokes about having to make breakfast, lunch and dinner, and supplying endless cups of coffee and tea. Meanwhile, my inner diva screams —I want my house back, bitches!

The real point of this story is not to complain about the milling crowd at home (although it would appear so), but to shine a light on the foreseeable future for all those moms who are getting ready to send their children off to college and dreading the empty nest phase. Stay with it, moms. This is your time. Of course you are going to miss them like crazy. Let yourself grieve for the lost sweetness of children under your roof.  Not for long though—for you need to get out those dancing shoes, or the books, or those craft ideas, or polish your resume for your second act! For it truly is your show this time!

April 17, 2015

My parents in 1963

My parents in 1963

photo (10)

A couple I’ve known all my life celebrated 52 years of being married on this day. Fifty two eventful years with never a dull moment. Their marriage, like most, hasn’t been a storybook one. It has had its moments of glory and moments of utter despair. It resulted in five daughters—in a land where even a king who has five daughters is prophesied to end up on the streets with a bowl in his hand, they have survived. Gloriously. All five daughters married, with 2 children a piece, totaling ten grandchildren. I am talking about my parents, Jayaraman and Nithyakalyani.

This is my little tribute to their life together. I will follow the order in the phrase “mata, pita” and start with my mother.

She was born to Alamelu (Perambur patti to us) and Venkateswaran (Perambur thatha), with 5 siblings. Due to family circumstances, she had to drop out of school without completing high school to take care of her brothers and sister. She met my dad through her brother, my uncle, Mani mama.

I use the word meeting  loosely here, as it was 1963 in traditional Chennai, where a boy and girl talking in public was cause for a minor scandal. Mani mama and my dad used to work at Binny Mills (or was it B&C back then?) in Chennai. My parents got married at the young age of 23. Theirs was quite the unconventional marriage for those days as mom is the same age as my dad. But, the story I have heard goes like this: my dad said he would marry only my mom, or not marry at all. She married into a huge family of 8 sisters-in-law and became “manni” for not just her “naathanars” (sisters-in-law), but to everyone in the family who came later—including the “maappillais” and the grandchildren.

My mom is an amazing cook, very artistic (she makes beautiful kolams) and has a thing for numbers. She used to tell us stories most days while she fed us.

I love to hear stories about my thatha and how he pampered his daughter. He gave her very unusual wedding saris—a Kanjivaram silk in pistachio green with a dark green border for the wedding, and a gold tissue Banarasi for the reception. I remember the gold tissue sari from my younger days. It was the most gorgeous sari I had ever seen. Unfortunately, it simply became threadbare over time and we lost it. My thatha used to be an accountant for a cardamom estate owner and was able to afford nice things for my mom. From these and other little things she has told me about him, I know she was very much loved and cherished by her father. And that makes me very happy, because my mom’s married life has been no walk in the park.

She used to play the violin and put it away after getting married.

The 3 things that my mom taught me and my sisters, that still guide me are:

  1. Charity, even, or especially, in poverty—I remember one Vijayadasami/Saraswati puja when I must have been 12 or 13. I came home after some school activity. Mom had new clothes set out, and told me we were giving it to some poor kids (we were, by no means well off then—we got 2 new sets of clothes every year, usually from the textile factory where my dad worked, Anglo French Textiles. They were usually rolls of some fabric, in two colors/designs if we were lucky so that all four of us wouldn’t be wearing the same outfit. We also got used clothes from friends and relatives!) I accepted what she said without a question. That’s when she told me that she was just testing me, and the clothes were actually for us. I often think about this and wonder if I have passed this on to my kids.
  2. Run far away from people who do bad things (“dushtarai kandal dhoora vilagu” in Thamizh)—though I don’t always remember and practice this at the right moment, this has been an invaluable lesson and has saved me from plenty of heartbreak and pain, not to mention wasted energy and time fighting people and things when it’s not worth it.
  3. A corollary to #2: Don’t hit back at people who have wronged you, be it your sisters, your enemies, your friends, whoever—people usually get what they deserve. This one is hard, but the older and wiser(!) I get, I understand that the universe works in very just and fair ways, usually. For the rest, there is my old friend, Karma!

Of late, my amma has become frail and weak.  I wish I could bring her here to Florida with me and give her some peace and tranquility, but she is too tired to travel anymore. She talks about living in an ashram. I am not old enough to bless her, but I wish her peace for the rest of her life, with all my heart. Peace that has been a rarity in her difficult life.

Now about my dad. He is quite a character. Known as “meesai” mama by his nieces and nephews thanks to the military-style mustache he sported.

Like my mother, he too, didn’t finish college, and I suspect regrets it to this day. But, my dad never stopped learning. He has not let a lack of college education stop him from leading a successful life, giving all five of his daughters a decent education, and marrying them off.

He is a constant learner, full of curiosity, and doesn’t mince his words. This last trait has not won him any popularity contests, but I know people respect him for it.

He has great work ethics, is a self-starter and knows how to get work done from people. When I read about people like Jack Welch and Steve Jobs, I honestly think under the right circumstances, provided the opportunities, my dad could have been a fantastic entrepreneur. At 75, he keeps himself as much updated on the technology of today’s fast-paced world as he can, drives himself and mom around in the horrible Bengaluru traffic, and pretty much keeps himself busy with a job he doesn’t need, if only for my mom’s sanity. He left India between 1977 and 1985 to work in Kenya and Nigeria to be able to provide a better financial life for his family. (That’s where he learned to speak Swahili, and still retains some of the vocabulary, especially the swear words!)

The things that my dad taught us girls directly or implicitly, in no particular order:

Obsessive punctuality—I sometimes wish I hadn’t acquired this. While it is painful to be fashionably late to social functions, the pain is magnified by the fact that I am married to someone who is perpetually running late.

Curiosity—I like to think I inherited my curiosity about the world around me from my dad, and thank him for it.

Play—my dad definitely is one who qualifies for a “young at heart” award. He has always been boisterous, fun-loving and loud. His “kaaka” (crow) in the kaka-nari-vadai (crow and the fox) story is probably the only one to sing “chaudwi kaa chand” when the cunning fox tricks him into singing. He cheated on all games with us kids. I suspect he still does, when he plays with his grandchildren. He is also the source of the latest kollywood gossip for me—our telephone conversations include an update on the latest movies, politics and news such as “nalaikku Sridevikku valaikaappudi”.

He is also the proud author of a family lullaby, a classic that’s been passed on to his daughters, all of whom have sung it to our kids:

The song goes like this:

“Thoongu paapa thoongu

Thoongina odane ezhundru

Ezhundha odane saapdu

Saapta odane thoongu”

Translation:

Sleep baby sleep

Wake up after you sleep

Eat after you wake up

Sleep after you eat

Genius, no?

I do wish he would be more patient with himself, mom and everyone around him and generally sit back, relax and enjoy his retirement years. He has earned it.

My parents are polar opposites in everything—personality, temparement and outlook. They bicker, they drive each other mad, and I don’t know how they have survived fifty years together, but I am positive they wouldn’t know what to do without each other.

Happy 52nd anniversary, Amma and Appa!

Raj Travels: The day I got locked out in the hotel balcony

Okay I am back, but with a post written by my husband, Raj. Boy Oh boy do I have to thank him for providing the best material!

His job takes him out of Jacksonville a lot (at least once a week) and Raj being Raj, always has interesting trips. Remind me to post the Jamba juice story sometime. Now on to the story!

Raj’s night on the balcony – in his own words:

10:30pm – Got done talking to H from H about H

10:45pm – Got back to the room on the fifth floor at the hotel on the beach. Started shedding stuff such as watch, cell phone, wallet etc.

10:50pm –Felt the need to clear my head after the conversation, sound of the waves very inviting and relaxing

10:51pm –Open the door and step out into the balcony. Insects on the balcony, so, close the screen door behind me. It was stuck to the glass door and closed that as well

10:52pm –Hear a click as I turn towards the sea

10:53pm – The click registers and I realize I should check the door. Sure enough, door has locked behind me when I closed it! How did this happen?

10:54pm –Panic hits! I am here in the hotel for the ASAP presentation the following day! On a scale of 1-10, I am at 8

10:55pm – I sit down, take some deep breaths, and bring down panic to 2

11:00pm –After trying for five desperate minutes to open the door, give it up. Ripped the insect screen in the process

11:01pm –Knock on the door to see how thick the glass is. Sounds pretty thick. Lift the chair and realize probably not sturdy enough to break glass

11:02pm –Look over the balcony – drop of 50 feet or more – no chance of survival there!

11:03pm –Scan the ground floor and beach – no entities in sight. Absolutely no one around!

11:05pm –Mentally, chalking up lessons learned from this event – (a) when you go into the balcony, don’t close glass door, just the screen door, (b) always carry cell phone with you

11:06pm – “What are you doing? Need to figure out a way to get out of this balcony!”

11:07pm –Panic goes up to 7. I am going to miss the ASAP meeting!

11:08pm –When is someone going to notice I am missing? Before the meeting starts? When it’s time for my presentation? Will they come to the room or just try to call me on my cell? No one will want to leave the meeting! Will the housekeeping service come before they do? Probably only upon departure?

11:09pm –Panic goes up to 8. How am I going to get out of here??

11:10pm – Sit down again and take some deep breaths. Panic down to 2.

11:11pm -What is the worst that could happen? Sleep on the balcony? Weather seems nice, bugs might be an issue.

11:12pm –Panic goes back up to 8. Reason? Just realized that I had a lot of water to drink during dinner. I could feel the pressure starting to build up in my pea-sized bladder! Look over the balcony – seems like my room is right above an arch – no rooms below. Worst case, a midnight shower should be ok!

11:13pm – Decide it’s time to figure out how to get out. Look over the balcony to the left –can’t see the room. Look over the balcony to the right – lights on, but door closed. Look down at my feet – forgot to wear my spider-man shoes.

11:14pm –Lean over and start waving my hands to attract attention. Start yelling “Hello, hello”. No movement on the balcony.

11:15pm –Look towards the beach and randomly start yelling hello to see if someone can hear me.

11:20pm – No luck so far. Panic is starting to inch up again. Decide to try telepathy with my wife. Concentrate! Deeply! Push the waves! Worked! Phone starts ringing inside the room!

11:21pm –Panic at 10! Just realized that my wife’s going to keep calling until I pick up and she’s now going to go into panic! Look over the balcony to see if jumping’s better than living with the guilt of causing her to panic, again! (Another story, another day, on what happens when she goes into panic!)

11:22pm –Phone stops ringing. Really motivated to figure out how to get out of here

11:23pm –Start waving and yelling at my neighbor again. No luck!

11:24pm –Back to yelling “Hello” at the world again. Reminds me of my first “Hello world” C program I wrote. “Why did Brian Kernighan choose hello world for his example? What a legacy it has created!” Not the time for philosophical thoughts. Need to get out of here. (Refer to this article for more info on“hello world” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hello_world_program)

11:30pm –Alternated between waving at my neighbor and yelling at the world

11:31pm –Heard a “hello” directed at me – I felt excited the way probably Alexander Graham Bell did when he tried his phone for the first time!

11:32pm –Leaned over the balcony and looked to the right – my neighbor got taken aback and stepped back a couple of steps. I told him “It’s ok” and told him I got stuck in the balcony and asked him to call the front desk and tell them that the guy in 521 is stuck in the balcony. He said he would do it right away.  I said thanks and we parted

11:33pm – Help should be here in 5 minutes. Life was coming back to me. I will make it to the ASAP meeting after all. No one will know the difference. I’ll call and let my wife know I am ok and that she shouldn’t panic

11:40pm –Help should have been here already. What’s taking them so long? I should have told my neighbor to check on me in twenty minutes or so, just in case. Did he sleep already? What if no one comes? Panic up to 4

11:41pm – I take some deep breaths. Panic down to 1. I start mentally walking through the steps. Security comes with the room key and opens the door. Wait, wait, I put the chain on the door! S*&t! Are they going to have to break down the door?

11:50pm – I definitely don’t want to sleep on the balcony. I wonder why my wife hasn’t called again. Has she quit worrying about me? Is this what happens when you become empty-nesters?

Midnight –Anger is replacing panic. This hotel has no regard for its customers! Half hour has passed and no help yet!

12:01am – My anger waves probably reached them – Yoohoo! I hear the door opening and then it’s stuck because of the chain

12:10am –Security comes back and they have a special tool with which they lift the chain and open the door. They open the balcony door and let me in to MY room! Come to find out that there’s an issue with the lock – it seems backwards to me and looks like I would not have been the first one with this issue. They fix the door and leave

12:15am – I decide to venture into the outside world and step out of my room (after making sure I have the room key with me first). A young couple walks past me and they giggle as they go past. The guy looks familiar and then I realize he was the neighbor!

12:16am –Decide to call my wife. She picks up and in a sleepy voice says “What?” Is this the welcome for a guy who’s survived a balcony lockout? I describe what happened to her. She says “Are you ok now?” I say yes and she yawns and says“Ok, I am tired. I am going back to sleep”

12:17am – I am wide-awake now from all the excitement. I try to lay down wondering if I am going to be able to sleep and if I am going to be fresh for the ASAP meeting…

Closing thoughts from “the wife”:

Flash back about 21 years. I am pregnant with my first child, and we have just come back from some event to our apartment.

Decide to step onto the balcony.

Enjoying the nice weather, when Raj decides he’s had enough and needs to go the restroom. I tell him to go ahead, I’m going to stay and enjoy the fresh air. He goes in.

A few more minutes, I decide to go in and try to open the balcony door. “Try” being the operative word. HE HAD LOCKED IT ON HIS WAY IN! This is a pattern of behavior that has taken me about 20 years to modify! Locking me out, turning off lights when  leaving a room (with me still in the room).!! Anyway, I shout, bang (no cell phones back in 1991) to no avail. He takes his time (about 45 minutes) before realizing what he’s done.

And then I hear this story. Ah, Karma, my sweet angel! My faith in you grows every day.

Of the 3 pm Coffee And Other Family Bonding Rituals

I recently had the pleasure of reading a piece written by a friend on drinking coffee and why one should never drink it alone.  This must have been in my subconscious when today, after a long time, I wanted a cup of coffee with my afternoon snack.  My husband didn’t want as he had trouble sleeping if he so much as looked at coffee after 3 pm.  My son doesn’t drink coffee/tea.  So it was just me.  So I made myself some, ate my snack with sips of coffee and felt…how do I put it, …blah!

This led to some serious soul searching on the joys of the ritual that is the afternoon coffee.  My coffee was good.  Full-bodied, bold  and robust, its essence captured by Starbucks, refrigerated for flavor, with a dash of half and half and some agave nectar sweetening it.  But it left me unsatisfied.  Why? As I pondered this most important question, I flashed back to afternoons of “coffee time” back home in good old Chennai.  While the British influenced the northern parts of India with their tea-drinking habit, the southern states, especially TamilNadu stuck with coffee as their poison of choice.

Every day at home,  after lunch, there’s that wonderful lull when folks rest a while.  The shades were drawn, fans run at full speed.  Some read, some napped, some listened to “vividha bharathi” and such.  Mind you, this was when I was growing up.  I have no idea what the current scene is.

Around 2:30 pm, there would be small stirrings, of the house slowly coming to life.  Someone would go get the “Aavin” milk packets or have it delivered.  Amma would get up and start the ritual of boiling the milk, boiling water for the fresh decoction (decahtion), you would hear the gentle tap-tapping on the filter, a stainless steel manual coffee-brewing contraption.  And the aroma of the Plantation A + Peaberry with a dash of chicory would fill the house.  There would be muted conversations in the kitchen between amma and patti of what to make for “tiffin” – another lovely ritual of the 3 o’ clock kind.  Members of the family would start to gather near the kitchen – dining hall or whatever common area.  One might even have visitors – relatives and friends who drop in unannounced, but welcome.  I remember when we were little kids, a certain friend of my mother would show up promptly at coffee time – every single day.  My mom never minded it, happily sharing what little we had with her everyday.  (I say that because we were quite poor growing up).

And then, when the tiffin and the coffee was ready, my mother would serve.  It was usually a simple affair – a light snack like upma and a small stainless steel tumbler of coffee.  It was barely 4 oz. if that.  But it was so satisfying.  And I suspect what made it so comforting was the ritual around it – no matter what, all the family members at home would assemble for it.  We would make plans for the evening.  The sounds, the smells, the air of expectation that everyone would be up soon, and there would be something good to eat and drink.  And go on with the rest of the day.  When I recently visited my family in India, I rediscovered the joys of the afternoon coffee.  Some days my sister would visit with her kids, and we would all sit around the kitchen table or on the floor in the drawing room.  Some days it wasn’t even coffee as my parents prefer tea these days in the afternoons.  And some days it was a store bought samosa or some such delicacy as my mother is older now and tires easily.  But the magic of the ritual was still there.

I long for that comfort here, drinking my Starbucks in a supersized cup, alone.  I make a traditional “tiffin” some days, trying to recreate the magic of those afternoons.  Sadly, all that has done is help me pack on some excess pounds around my waist.

I have decided that it was my favorite time of the day back then – there was an air of expectation, of gathering with your family after a brief break,  of starting over in the middle of the day.  Making plans with my cousins for the evening.  Getting ready to maybe go to a movie.  Or the beach.  Somehow, in my perspective, it brought a family together everyday like no other ritual did.

My beautfiful orchid

We  (my husband and I) recently built a house.  As happens when you have a new house and guests, we got a gift – a beautiful purple orchid.  Now, my history with orchids has been a tale fit to be on a show about unsolved murders.  And I have steadfastly stayed away from them for over 15 years, resisting all temptation to try “just one more time” not to kill one.  But this was a gift.  Maybe it’s a sign that someone up there thinks I am now mature enough to handle one.

So I took care of it.  Short of singing to it, I did everything else.  Interacted is the word I recently picked up from a local plant nerd.  Watered it when the soil looked dry, went very close to it and looked at it with tender love at least once a day.   This has been going on for about a month now and happily the orchid hasn’t died.   But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.  And my bubble, alas, burst yesterday.  For the first time yesterday,  I felt brave enough to touch the soil as I watered it one more time.  And thought, “hmm…that feels strange.  The soil doesn’t feel wet. It absorbs the water, but where does it go?”

And then the horrible thought flashed in my mind.  Could it be?  NOOOOO!!! I touched the flowers.  And the bud that looked like it’s never going to bloom. I just attributed it to the fact that orchids take a long time to bloom. Like months…right? And the blooms last forever.  And realized what my son had known at first sight.  Yep…I had finally done it.  I had been watering, caring for and talking to an orchid that is a member of the …artificial, silk plant family!!!

This was the second time as an adult I felt utterly foolish!  (I have had several such moments in my childhood, but I gave myself a break when I became an adult and reset the count to zero).  The first being when I  accidentally dropped the brand new ipod (one of the actually useful gifts from my hubby) attached to the headphones attached to my ears, while having a bath – enjoying some music – on the very first day I got it.  I never lived that one down with my coworkers, my husband and the kids.

But wait… if you thought this was the end of the story, you don’t know my marriage at all.   My son was harassing me about it last evening when my husband was eating his dinner.  And I said, “wait let’s ask Appa what he thought” and asked him cleverly, without clueing him in,  if he had ever watered the orchid.  And that sweet, equally foolish husband of mine didn’t disappoint me.  He sheepishly said “yes, I did this evening when I came in.  Why? Did you already do it?”

Ah…can you show me another couple who are totally made for each other?

Aside from all the joking, I also tried very hard to find a moral, a message in this story – because that’s what all Indians worth their salt do.  And I did.   Nurturing relationships that are fake and have no future with a lot of care and time is futile.  As I realized recently.   So there.  My PSA for the day.

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