The 47th Lesson

I have sprouted lessons here before when the numbers were a tad smaller (check out “39” and “The 41st Lesson” from the Archives). 47 sounds like a big number, especially considering that my MIL was only a year older when N and I got married. Serious yikes, but we have to plod on.

So. You ready for the lesson?

“Re-frame it”.

What does that mean, you ask?

Well. Our fridge suddenly stopped working last night. There was a brief power surge but is that enough for an entire giant appliance to just die on you? Was mildly alarming to come face-to-face with melted ice cream in the tubs, suspicious smelling milk, and frozen veggies hanging limp and wet in their bags (ugh!).

We are not sure yet if it is salvageable. We have been in this house for almost 16 years now. This is our second fridge. Are refrigerators this fragile? Or are we some kind of demon people who prematurely kill their appliances? Either way. The guy is coming tomorrow afternoon to take a look and to pronounce our fate.

We cleaned out most of the fridge (good bye soggy frozen kale, nobody wanted you in the first place!), huddled the rest close to keep cool together as best as they can (who are we kidding, they are likely getting tossed tomorrow morning), and ate a light dinner with what remained (hello thayir sadam and pickle for some, and maggi noodles for others).

While going through this sorry mess, it occurred to me that we can maybe have coffee or tea and some fruit and toast for breakfast, but beyond that, we would really be reaching to find anything still edible.

Wait a minute.

We’ve been in this situation before. No fridge, only basic coffee or tea was available, and you had to go out to get food. Hmmmm… when have we done this before? On numerous fabulous vacations, buddy! That’s when!

So. Let that guy come tomorrow. And fix my fridge. Or not. N has started looking into new refrigerator options. Maybe we’ll have to go buy one tomorrow. If we do, maybe it will take a week or two to get installed. Well, if that happens, we will have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out. From all our favorite restaurants. Just like we would have done on vacation, but never in a million years would have dreamt of doing for weeks sitting in our own home in scenic NJ.

That’s the 47th lesson, baby! There is always a silver lining. You just have to keep your eyes open for it. 😊

Six Word Spins During Covid-19

Cooking and eating all the time

WFH uniforms: old kurtis and leggings

Thank God – no work video calls

Conference calls trigger W’s wild barks

Lots of work but slow progress

Grocery delivery equals winning the lottery

Bloody pollen allergies won’t let up

No break even during effing pandemic

Don’t want to write any checks

(Just being lazy, don’t you worry)

Celebrated two quarantine birthdays so far

One turned 47, the other 2

Takeout for dinner feels super naughty

Social distancing means no eye contact?

Some walkers seem to think so!

Rediscovering long-forgotten fun board games

And special times with our teens

Debating every issue under the sun

Games more fun when you win

Dad and daughters baked opera cake

Which took hours (and more hours)

(Moi took a well-earned nap)

Online schools are quite the hoot

One chattering away, another half-awake

Girls roughhousing alarmed our gentle dog

(Who’s actually not gentle at all)

Taking candid photos by the dozen

Quarantine as special as beach vacation 🙂

I’m Back, Baby!

Hello stranger! Cannot believe that this is my first post for 2020. On some level, I really thought that I was done writing here. Well. Here I am again. Don’t go thinking that I am here to rant about life during Covid-19 (although it is some crazy, seriously unbelievable sh*t that is going on right now).

We’ll talk about all that another time, ok?

I am here to share a teeny, tiny slice of my life. We were watching Gully Boy this evening with the girls (and W). Felt quite energized by all the creative rapping in the movie. And (you knew there was an “and”, didn’t you?) remembered my own days of writing funny little ditties about my friends in college.

So. Right after the movie, tore a couple of sheets of paper from little N’s (former) math notebook and started to write. About my favorite little guy. Rhyming and everything.

You ready?


Our pup is little Winston

He likes to walk around Princeton

He is accident prone

Oh his tummy got so torn

He is a leash biter

He is a mean fighter

Yes, his bark could be quieter

But his paws couldn’t be whiter

He showers us with love

And thinks Jimmy is a cow

He adores Snowy and Sunny

And eats like such a panni

He loves to snuggle and cuddle

And drinks from many a puddle

Next week he turns two

But he doesn’t have a clue

He can trot for many a mile

May he live a long, long while 🙂



Happiness is…

  • curling up under a blanket on our recliner with little A and watching the Harry Potter movies (for the umpteenth time)
  • early Sunday morning grocery run with N (so early sometimes that they don’t have the veggies back on the shelves yet, grrr…)
  • the sound of little N (and her lovely car) arriving home (her driving solo is doing quite a number on me, I say)
  • making a huge bucket of idli mavu
  • half a dozen books borrowed from our lovely library and a luxuriously free Sunday afternoonBooks


Aye jaate hue lamhon, zara tehro zara tehro…

I just can’t seem to find the words these days. Plenty of things have been happening (mostly good) but, overall, it’s been pretty intense for me. I have not been in much of a sharing place (even with you).

We celebrated little N’s and my birthdays in August. Most importantly, little N showed up at the Motor Vehicle Commission at 9 am the morning after her birthday, parallel parked in style, and got her license on her first try. I will tell you this, there is nothing quite like standing in your driveway, and watching your excited teen with her newly minted driver’s license driving away from you and turning that street corner alone in your car. No, I didn’t run behind the car (although I did consider it). Reminded me of little N’s first day in Kindergarten when I followed the yellow school bus all the way to school just to watch little N get off the bus safely. Well. This time I just sent a silent prayer up to the Gods, and busied myself with loading and unloading the dishwasher until I heard little N’s steps in the garage.

Little N is a senior in high school this year. And college application season is upon us. Makes for some very busy times (for little N) and lots of rumination on my part. I mean, I was reading in bed the other night when little N came in to brush her teeth in our master bathroom. Watching her, I found myself thinking “Man, it seems like just the other day that I was teaching this child how to hold her toothbrush. How did time go by so fast?”. It’s tough, when this is the kind of thinking that goes on in your head.

Little A is in 8th grade this year. While that blows my mind as well – that little A will be in high school next year – I think, right now, having a high school senior takes up so much of my (tiny) mental bandwidth. Little A is up at 5:30 am with me on most days. Finishing up homework and starting on her breakfast as I bustle around our kitchen making tea and packing lunches. I find little A’s middle school tales both comforting and delightful – stories of simpler times that I now know to pay attention to and enjoy.

In the interest of making things easier (for myself, who else?), decided to ask if cook, R, can possibly come over to help me out twice a week (instead of once, as she’s been doing). Somehow the planets were aligned when I asked her, and she responded with a resounding “yes”. Absolutely love this delegating! With our (well, N’s) work life getting super busier by the day, it is a blessing to be able to access such good quality help on a regular basis.

I am totally in love with my W. He is such a gentle presence by my side on days (well, let’s be honest – on some days) that I work from home. I love my morning walks with him after N and the girls head out to start their days. He meanders around our neighborhood looking gorgeous (if I say so myself), sniffing at fire hydrants (“community bulletin boards for dogs”, I read somewhere), chasing joggers and bikers, doing a merry dance with other neighborhood pooches out on walks, and looking back every few steps in a most endearing way to check if I am still there on the other end of the leash.

Navarathri Golu season is almost upon us. It is on my to do list for this week to watch a few youtube videos and really ace that saree-tying thing. Have become far too old at this point for it to be cute that I am still not comfortable tying a saree.

Che, as I write this post, I notice myself looking at the word count at the bottom of the page. And thinking random things like “Ooh, 669 words. More than enough for a college essay.”


In the name of sanity, Got. To. Detach. 🙂


Ok. Writing has officially been reduced to “happiness” posts. But why keep those from you? Here we go (again).

Happiness is…

walking with W and N on our neighborhood bike path late in the evening

wandering around Princeton eating (N’s) pistachio ice cream while waiting for little N to finish work

piles of juicy, yummy mangoes at our local grocery store in the summer

hot masala chai anytime of the day

seeing serene Buddha statues

the smell of new books in a bookstore (and of course, reading them too)

a full night’s sleep (definitely getting older here!)

a bouquet of fresh flowers from our local farmer’s market


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. 🙂


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.


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. 🙂