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!






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” –

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.

Top 10 reasons I’m glad I married my husband

As several of you know, I recently had a nightmare of a time with the evil kidney stone and the even more evil kidney stent.  This was the first time one of us had been really sick after the kids left home.  This was going to kind of set the baseline of how we would handle these in the future.  And I’m so glad I was the sick one.  Because Raj showed me how it’s done.  The whole episode confirmed my faith in our marriage and love and reminded me of why I am so lucky to have ended up with him!

Since I am always picking on Raj in my blog entries, for a change I decided to publicly embarrass him with this.  Here’s to my loving husband!

(The numbering really is pointless – I just listed all the things that came to my mind.  To his credit, this post only took about 30 minutes!)

Top 10 Reasons Why I’m Glad I’m Married To My Husband

10.  The way he felt bad about having to spray the lizard that got inside the house.

9.  During my recent kidney stone/stent-gone-bad episode when I seriously considered sleeping in the bathroom, gave up his side of the bed willingly so I could be near the bathroom.  We all know what a major disruption that is – you’re all set on your side of the bed with the light, reading material, your night ritual gear, alarm clock, etc. !

8.   Worked full days (albeit from home), and took care of me, and the chores at home, for a full 10 days when I was sick – he took care of me like my mother would have.

7.  He is always the + to my –  and keeps the juice flowing.

6.  When I was too worn out from taking a shower (yes, I kid you not) made me sit down and blow-dried my hair.

5. After 21 years of marriage, still says thank you every time he eats a good home-cooked meal.  That’s several nights a week.

4. Willingly gives up watching football to watch a chick flick with me if I’m feeling down.

3. Believes in me more than I do myself.

2. Never talks about his title, position, achievements or the charity he does.

1. Shares my love of music.

I hope and pray both my kids find someone as good as their father!

Kaadhal enbathu edhu varai… (or What is love)

Chandra Babu’s immortal words in “kadhal enbathu edhu varai’ had me thinking… (yes I can sense all of you smirking – me, thinking?)

R and I have been married for 20 years.  When I got married at the tender J age of 26, I had all these fantastic dreams – now I finally have someone who will shower me with love and gifts and romance, who will adore me and will want to paint my portrait while I sleep….don’t laugh – I was serious about the painting stuff….

But the reality was he forgot my birthday the very first year of our married life – which was in fact 4 months after we got married. I went to sleep thinking I was going to have this romantic wake up with a pretty gift, but alas..……we woke up, we got ready to go to work (we both worked at Digital Equipment those days) and he never remembered to even wish me, never mind a gift.

I have fought over this so many times.  My birthdays were cause for high tension.  He, having messed up big time the first year, became nervous around my birthday every year and tried to overcompensate.  I on the other hand, played the victim so well that it was almost impossible to please me!  So the first few years were a wash!

Some of the memorable fiascos:

Right after S was born, someone had told him that a nice gift should be given to the new mom.  My mom who was here at that time, let the cat out of the bag.  She told me, a big smile on her face, that he’d gotten me something and was bringing it to the hospital.  I wasn’t sure what to expect.  He came with a big bag.  I opened it and found this BIG, FLUFFY, pink bathrobe!  ’nuff said.

When I turned 30, he thought and thought, and acted like I was going to get something special.  I pestered and pestered until he gave me a clue – a custom-ordered  designer thing.  My expectations sky rocketed – designer handbag? Designer jewelry? Clothes?  Shoes? (this was the guy who, when we were engaged, made me stand on a sheet of paper so he could get my foot size to buy me shoes on his trip to Delhi!)

My birthday finally came, and I got –  are you ready for this? ……….a RICE BAG that I could stick in the microwave and use for massaging my tired neckI It had a very nice design on it.  It was specially made for me – it had some wheat as well as rice grains!

Wow! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. (I ended up getting mad). He was always thoughtful in his gifts but I wanted ROMANCE – I wanted chocolates, flowers, a nice dinner without the kids (for which he would have SECRETLY arranged a babysitter). – but over the years I got big fluffy bathrobes, heating pads, kitchen gadgets and the like when he did get me something. There were a few where I got nothing.

The next big fiasco was when he watched the QVC channel and ordered a hair straightener that promised to make the kinkiest south Indian hair silky smooth in seconds.  It was designed as a heatable brush that you put in your hair and roll.  All I’m going to say about that is there was some screaming, there was a hot brush stuck in my curly hair, and he had to come and unfurl and yank it out!  He packed it away.  I’ve never seen it since.

But over the years, as we grew and our marriage matured, it happened. I can’t pinpoint the date or the year. Somewhere in between his demanding career and my job and the exhausting job of raising 2 young kids, I no longer cared for the so-called romantic gifts/gestures. I honestly don’t care if he doesn’t give me a single gift anymore. I actually love my heatable rice bag when I am achy at the end of a long day, and the big fluffy robe on cold days. I quit expecting gifts – not with the least bit of bitterness.

And he started buying me jewelry and taking me out more. It is nice, but it is like the icing. I didn’t really need them anymore. I really love it when he offers to bring home dinner some nights when he knows I am tired.

And started doing the weekly grocery shopping because he knows I don’t enjoy going to 3 different grocery stores, and he actually enjoys it.

And has coffee brewing in the morning when I wake up (he wakes up half an hour before me).

And best of all, one day I’d been cooking for a whole half day when he said “let me give you a foot massage.”

Just to name a few!