Touche 6

It’s been over a year since little A said something touché-worthy (check out my Touche posts 1 through 5, you will know what I mean).

But today she did.

On most days, little A is the first one to wake up after me. So we have a chunk of time in the mornings, just her and me bantering (sometimes, N is up and joins in as well). This morning, our discussion somehow landed on kids. Little A was going on about some particularly difficult kids in her class. “Mommy, kids can be so annoying and awful. I don’t like kids. I like dogs, I will only have a dog when I grow up.” little A said (with a very hoity-toity I-am-oh-so-grown-up-and-weary-of-these-kids kind of air).

I was not going to take this attitude (also, why dismiss any potential grandchildren so prematurely, I say!). Plus, I was super organized last night and had lunch ready. So I had more time than usual this morning to banter as well.

“You know, I don’t agree. Having you and Akky is one of the most wonderful things in my life”, I said. Little A did not look up from the homework she was finishing up. Nor did she miss a beat.

“Well. That’s because you are lucky, Mommy”, she said.

I laughed out loud listening to my cocky little one. And agreed with her that I am lucky indeed. 🙂



Andhi mazhai pozhigiradhu…

We had a tornado warning for our area this evening. N and I, hailing from the water-starved Chennai, have a hard enough time understanding rain. Tornadoes are just out of the question. Tornadoes feel like something that happen way-over-there in Oklahoma or Kansas, or some other boonies, not in the middle of our scenic NJ. Plus, N and I loved watching Twister and all the adventures of the Tornado chasers during our grad school days. So really thought nothing about tornado watches, thunderstorms, or flashflood warnings.

The girls, especially little N, were quite freaked out, though. Little N and I were driving back from school around 4:00 pm when the heavy rains started. She had already heard about the Tornado warning from her health teacher (thank you very much!), and was keeping an apprehensive eye out at the darkened skies. As we were driving, she decided to call little A and ask her to take W and go immediately to the basement (supposed to be one of the safest places during a tornado, apparently). How very endearing, I thought, chuckling out loud. Little N was not impressed. She felt that I was being needlessly casual and frivolous.

Reached home in the midst of pouring rain. The girls and W camped out in the basement but I decided to hang out in the kitchen and first make some hot semiya upma for N and myself (where will dinner come from if everyone lounges in the basement, huh?). Again, the girls were very unimpressed. I overheard them talking. Little N was telling little A that she was going to have to take care of little A and W with parents that behaved so recklessly (priceless, I say!).

N and I finally made it to the basement with our (super yum) upma bowls. It really was quite cozy to hang out there all together (which we rarely do) with the fireplace going and W running around crazily in the (relatively) open floor space. The tornado warning was eventually lifted and downgraded to mere flashfloods and thunderstorms. So we made our way back upstairs and moved on with our lives.

Our cook, R, is scheduled to come over tomorrow (thank God!). I peeked into the pantry and saw that we were out of onions (dang!). N and I decided to do a quick trip out to fill gas in the car and to buy onions. By this time, though, little N was so done with our BS. She put her foot down. She was not going to let us drive out in pouring rain for gas and onions (sounds pretty bad, actually, as I am writing this). N and I meekly decided to cooperate and dropped our shopping plans. After all, I can come up with an onion-free menu for R. And the car is not going to know if we fill gas now or in the morning.

Most importantly, think we have aggravated the chickis quite enough for one evening! 🙂

Spring Haikus – Part 2

Woke up this morning with sniffles and puffy, watery, itchy eyes. Came up with a few more haikus for you as I was drinking my masala chai. Some definite connection between pollen and haikus, I say.

Ok. You ready?

It’s so very true

Sucky that spring break is done

Summer, where are you?

Do you think I whine

Too much about allergies?

Trade your shoes with mine?


Unleashed by bloody pollen

Or insanity? 🙂


Can you believe – the last “Happenings” post I wrote was all the way back in January 2017! Looks like I have become this fabulous lady who only opens mouth when there is something profound to say. 🙂

Anyway. All that is about to change.

It is spring break for the girls this week. I took the week off (in theory) but have been working at least a half day on most days. What to do? Have big meetings Monday through Thursday next week (yikes!). Better to prepare than to show up and sheepishly declare that I was on vacation last week, no?

Visited DC at the start of spring break for four days. Attended an Arijit Singh concert (Man, what a voice, and what super high energy – jumping constantly and singing perfectly at the same time! Cannot believe that he and I are of the same species). The concert was phenomenal. Little N knew most of the songs and was singing along the whole time (super cute, but I was sitting right next to her so couldn’t take a video of her singing along without her knowing). N knew some of the songs and sang along with gusto when he could. Little A and I knew very few, sang along here and there, but mostly kept focusing on our sniffles and how loud it all was (sound mufflers next time, for sure!).

Met with our college classmate G and her family at their home in Virginia after over 15 years. Was so fun to catch up, even though our visit (pop in at her place pre-Arijit) was super short. She’s promised to visit us in May on her way to pick up her son from college in NY. Looking forward to catching up some more.

It’s certainly been a time of catching up with long lost friends. Met up with my high school classmates (last saw two of them 29 years ago!) just before spring break started. Was so lovely. One of them, A, has been in the UK for several years now. Was super fun listening to her British accent. 🙂

DC just blew me away (again). We visited the Newseum, the US Capitol, and the Library of Congress. I learnt so much about so much that my brain hurt (blasted pollen allergies didn’t help, I am sure). Visited two lovely bookstores (Kramerbooks and Amazon books), and dined at the super duper Rasika and Bindaas (the girls got the total desi experience this trip, and interestingly, neither one complained once).

Had breakfast multiple times at a lovely little diner in Arlington. Left my favorite fall coat at the diner (and only realized it was missing when we were half way back to NJ). I’ve always loved that coat – N got it for me as a present years ago, and people have always complimented me on how chic it looks. Was a bit upset at having been so careless to leave it behind and walk away, but it is quite old so perhaps it was time to say goodbye.

I went grocery shopping (alone) after we returned to NJ. After all, the others in my family don’t think that Patel Brothers is where the action is at (but I certainly do). So. I returned from shopping and saw that N had gone out somewhere. Turns out, he had gone shopping to surprise me with a new coat to replace the lost one. How very sweet that that was the first thing he did after driving continuously for over four hours, no? Still, I made sure to yell that I would like to go along for coat shopping next time. That, I had to do. 🙂

Have scheduled eye doctor and dentist appointment for the girls left, right and center. Nothing wrong with a little productivity while on break. Little N was ready to choose between My Little Pony and Cinderella stickers at the eye doctor’s office, but they finally didn’t offer her any this year (I think the cut off age for stickers might be 16). 😉

Little N is deep in the throes of studying for APs and participating in extracurricular competitions, with some outings with friends thrown in between. Makes for one busy cookie!  Little A is churning out some masterpiece drawings (if I say so myself), baking yummy goodies, hanging out with friends, visiting N’s work (for take your child to work day) and training W (good luck with that!). I love seeing her creative mind at work (especially since I struggled so much with art during my school days).

Allergies (did I mention them before?) are going on full blast. Tried Claritin and Acupuncture (ha, useless crap!). Onto Zyrtec now. It’s worked well for me in the past, but knocks me out quite a bit as well. Anyway, have time for naps this week (remember, only working half the day this week, if that?)

Have three more days of spring break left.

Savoring. every. second.


Amma moved to the US in April 2011, after Appa passed away. Since then, our apartment (“flat”, as it is called in India) has either been vacant or has been occupied by a tenant. We have not lived there since 2011. Indeed, I have not been a permanent resident of our flat since September 1994. But that’s where I lived from 12 to 21 years of age.

Amma has been looking to sell the flat, off and on, for at least three years now. People have asked me if I would miss the house when it’s sold. I have replied immediately and (I now realize) quite flippantly, “No, not really. The memories are all in my head. I don’t think I will miss the physical space.”

We now have a potentially serious buyer. Amma has been talking to them for a couple of weeks. Since it looks like the talks are progressing well, I started a WhatsApp group this evening for the buyers, me and V so that we can all join in the conversation.

Suddenly have the distinct feeling of “s&*t just got real”.

They seem to be good people. But it hits me that, at the end of the day, we will be saying goodbye to the home that my parents bought with so much effort and so much anticipation. The home where I (ahem!) became a “big girl”, shed tears of joy upon hearing that I got a state rank in the 10th grade, helped carry many kodams of water in from the tank outside, and eagerly welcomed Thatha and Paati whenever they visited. The home with the lovely mottai madi from where we could see other rooftops for (what seemed like) miles. Where V and I spent hours watching movies on weekend nights with the neighbors, chased away crows and watched over vadams, studied all hours, and sometimes complained to each other about our parents. 🙂

Too many memories to even start telling you.

It is true that my memories are all fabulously safe in my head. But boy, did they come flooding out tonight, at the first appearance of a potential buyer. I don’t know if this sale will indeed go through. It is still too early to tell. And I am happy that we are on this path. Amma has taken a lot of effort to find a suitable buyer. We don’t any of us live in India anymore. This is the most desirable (and sensible) outcome – for us to sell the house now and move on.

I know. I know.

Nowhere near the same context, but I am suddenly reminded of these words from Kabhi Kabhi:

Main janta hoon meri hum-nafas, magar yoon hi, kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayaal aata hai



First of all, hello. I have been gone from here, man, for almost seven weeks! The longest ever hiatus for me, I think. Not busier than usual or anything like that. Just that nothing happened that I absolutely needed to share with you. Is it because the cuddlebugs are now 16 and 13, and awwww moments are getting fewer and far between? Maybe, maybe. But something came up yesterday and I immediately thought of you.

Little N and I usually listen to the radio on our way to school. She chooses the station while I drive, so most everything we hear is new to me. I always ask if it’s Beyoncé or Drake that’s crooning away (gotta show my knowledge, no?). But of course, mostly it is not. And I get that special roll of the eyes from my little N. So. Yesterday, we were listening to “Beautiful” by (the internet tells me) Bazzi. While I couldn’t understand most of the words, I latched onto this catchy line “Beautiful, beautiful life right now”.

Totally appealed to the psychoanalyst in me.

Do you know, in real time, that life is beautiful right now? I mean, it is very easy to know when life is sucking. That I have no trouble with. I have looked back on beautiful moments in my life – getting married, the birth of my kids, getting promoted at work, etc. But realizing that I am having a beautiful life right now, hmmmm… is that a thing? Do I need to be more aware and in the present to appreciate the beautiful life as it’s happening?

I wondered all this aloud to little N (I know, my kids put up with a LOT). She (who is having a particularly busy week and had been wondering if her class should approach a scary teacher about postponing a submittal) was nowhere close to a beautiful moment or anything like that. She gave me the look. Plus, we had reached her school by then. So I let her be.

But you, you are right here. What do you think? Don’t tell me that I should just go back to not writing. I am having none of that. 🙂