Category Archives: Hobo Wine

12.12.12 and the week it was

12.12.12. The legendary date came and went without ending life on earth according to the prediction. Last year, when we hit 11.11.11, I wrote a blog about eleven random things in my closet. This year, I had no such plans. Between work, family and holidays, I tried to keep my goals realistic. But, such has been the stress of the string of events that happened all last week, I have to share, and get rid of all the negative thoughts, and negativity that surrounded me. In the next two weeks, I hope that life will be mundanely sane, sans any excitement of any sort, keeping me away from blogging till the year ends, and this becomes my last blog for 2012.

Dad. Dad was hospitalized on Tuesday. Before I said “Hello”, the call dropped in the parking structure that I had just entered. I didn’t worry much. My mother, like a parole officer, checks on me if I don’t check-in in twenty-four hour time frame. Swamped in work, I forgot to check-in on Monday night. But I never ignore her call, no matter where I am, and what I am doing, and I called her back as soon as I got into the elevator. I couldn’t reach her. I texted R to call her and tell her that I was doing fine, but within two minutes R called and began his sentence with “Everything is alright, but..” which meant something wasn’t right, and I would be greatly affected by what wasn’t right.

My dad was hospitalized for severe food borne illness after they attended a series of weddings, house-warming functions, and Diwali parties in the past few weeks. It always happens, you can only pretend to be in control of how the food is served, but you have no control on how the food is cooked at such places. When I was young, I once found a cigarette butt in my rice at a very religious place where smoking is strictly banned. R conferenced me and mom, and we talked. It was a long conversation. Her feeble voice gave me a report of conditions there, and her “Hello” was the indicator of her emotional strength. I mustered up courage, told her to man-up and take care of him, it’s nothing, and that he would be fine in a day.

But I didn’t have anyone to tell me that it was OK. I didn’t go to work, came home and called mom every few minutes all night to keep a virtual eye on dad’s condition. The “Hello” improved by morning, and she had regained her normal happy-peppy tone. Backseat babies came to know about their beloved grandfather during one such conversation that occurred during their pickup, and they started crying, one even wailing to get on a plane and go home, right now to be with their grandmother. I had more people to take care of, more people to talk courage to, and as usual, I put aside my own fears and worries till R came home and gave me a hug, a cue to let go of the guard and share the emotions, as they flow out of the heart. Within hours, my dad recovered, and was clearly out of danger. It will be a long road to complete recovery considering his age, but it’s not a big deal.

Daughter. Daughter turned six two weeks ago, and by some weird coincidence, she was born on the same day that I had a D&C to abort a pregnancy exactly a year ago. We had planned our second one to be a June baby, so that her sister could stay home the entire summer with her and go back to school when she turned three months old. My due date was 06.06.06. That day when the doctor looked at my chart, ultra sound and projected the due date, she said some people had selective C-sections to avoid the date. But later into the pregnancy, the heart beat stopped and the baby stopped growing suddenly. I didn’t drink any alcohol, and wasn’t stressed, still it happened.

We waited an entire weekend with a dead fetus inside me while my doctor obtained “necessary legal papers” to carry out the D&C. It only occurred to me few months ago that during that waiting time, the body can act up, and the mother can lose her life. But then, the grief of losing a baby was more than the anger against the legalities involved in an abortion. I got pregnant again, and after very stressful pregnancy where everyone felt entitled to express their opinions about my pregnancy, I delivered R2 three days before her due date, on the same day that I had my D&C a year ago. Maybe that was life telling me to move on, but still, on her birthday, I spend a few minutes alone in the bathroom early in the morning, thinking about the unborn. The rest of the family might have forgotten, but a mother never forgets. A mother does move on, wears pearls and tiaras with her daughter to celebrate her special day without a single line of worry on her face about things that happened in the past.

Connecticut. I don’t want to repeat what happened. I don’t want to read one more word about what happened. I don’t want to see the beautiful smiling faces of six year old children who were massacred. I really don’t want to read any blogs about his mental health. No one, I repeat no one has a right to take another person’s life no matter how deranged they are. That day when I read about the incident via Facebook stream, the only thing I wanted to do was,  bring my children home, hug them tight, and tell them their grades, their habits, their manners, their attitude, nothing mattered at all- all that mattered that day was, they waved me bye with a smile when they opened the car door and ran into the school, and they smiled at me as they waved at me from curb side, waiting to be picked up, alive.

I cannot imagine a child going to school one fine day, and not coming back. I wish no parent ever goes through that trauma. Suddenly I want to believe in Santa and ask him to bring a gift of long life to all children on the earth, no matter what their political inclinations. My Facebook stream is filled with articles and statuses about gun control. Obama shed a tear the other day touching the hearts of parents. This is turning political now. From the children, the attention is being shifted to another movement, which I am all for, to save the lives of our children and to stop such events in the future.

But, meanwhile, what is a parent to do? I will admit- I want to lock up my children in the house, home school them, never send them to movie theaters or malls, because it’s dangerous to go to schools, movies and malls. I am over reacting, the New Year is not going to change the way people think, but at this moment, it gives my heart peace to think that they are home, and safe. While I wrote this blog, my younger one sat next to me singing along “it’s the most wonderful time..”. How I wish it was the same for every child in the world. It feels so insensitive to hold my own children and be grateful, but that’s how we are wired.

That day, I wondered how I will break the news to the kids. When I picked up the older one, I turned on the radio, and Rush Limbaugh did the rest. He talked about it while we drove in silence. The older one was worried so much, the moment I pulled into the pickup queue, she opened the door and ran to pickup her younger sister, and for some reason, brought her away from the group of parents that were waiting. Later she explained, who knows, who was standing there, who had what weapon concealed in that jacket. I never had a sibling, so I can never understand that love, and that affection, or that worry. I was preparing myself to answer her questions about how she would go to school come Monday without fearing a gunman, and here she was, worried about her younger sister.

2012 brought in a lot of changes in life, and in lifestyle. I will leave the list of successes and failures and of retrospect for another time, but as I age, life experiences that I go through are slowly teaching me not to take anything at all for granted. If the child comes home after school, that’s happiness. If we go back home from work, that’s happiness. If we all spend a Saturday afternoon cleaning the house, that’s happiness. There is future, and dreams of a greater future where happiness is defined by some other things, but the next five minutes that nothing of greater proportion happened are happiness enough! I want to run away with my family into wilderness, sit somewhere atop a mountain and not worry about schools and malls, but who am I decide that mountain lions are less dangerous than a man with an automatic gun.

What do I remember?

As usual, it’s been a stressful month. Women all over the world have a mile long checklist at this time of the year. Holiday décor, gifts for friends, family, teachers and coworkers, hosting parties, and attending them, and keeping an eye on the pounds and dollars- the list is endless, and not merciful. I have my own items on the generic list. There is a birthday, there are a couple of anniversaries, and then there is a holiday tradition to be created. Then there is work. Then there is Santa Claus rally. Then there is the ongoing quest to find a logical end to the novel I am writing, and edit it, or find an editor. There is no time to document, and there is absolutely no time to dramatize. But then, it’s an injustice to my life if I die without sharing the magnificent moments of our holidays where none of us have ever answered the mundane questions about finding someone to share the life with, or sharing the love with a new life.

The only question people ever ask me during holidays is “What’s your holiday tradition?”. Sorry, writing cards in beautiful calligraphic handwriting, or shopping for gifts, or hanging the lights and wreaths, or taking advantage of the discounts in the shoe store, or trying every little holiday dessert at Costco are not considered a part of a “tradition”. Holiday picture isn’t considered a tradition either. I blank out, trying to come up with a story of my own. There are no traditions when it comes to this family. Or better yet, the tradition is, to do whatever makes you happy and enjoy the season without stressing yourself to repeat something you don’t even remember. I don’t think I can come up with a tradition to follow every year, but I can always make up a tradition to do something new every year.

Today we got ceiling lamps installed. I took the morning off from work. I don’t get that luxury often. I take mornings or afternoons off because there is something else I have to accommodate while I work on the go. There is always something to clean, something to organize, something to take care of. But this morning, the house was clean, the kids were at school, and the husband was tied up with meetings. The installers worked in every room of the house except dining room and kitchen. I had access to coffee, phone and laptop, nothing else. I called my mom, talked to her for over an hour, gathered all details about my baby brother’s new bride, and baby sister’s new groom, and a thousand other things.

Suddenly realized that this year will be the first year in my life that I won’t visit my parents. Otherwise every year either they visited us, or we visited them keeping the tradition of spending time with them at least once a year. There was a tradition, of meeting parents every year, and of calling mom every day, and this year I have broken both. I talked to her after three long days, and I have canceled my trip home thanks to the greenback harvesting program. Catching up on things here and there, I read an email I sent to a group of my virtual sisters a while ago, sharing an article on Huffington Post by Wendy Bradford “What will children remember?”.  What my children will remember is left up to my children.  But I can certainly share what I remember of my mother, snippets, nothing serious, nothing poetic, just ordinary life that we shared, mundane moments of our lives.

I remember..
My mother trying to find her glasses. Every morning. Sometimes they would be tucked in hair because they fogged up while she sipped coffee reading her newspaper. Sometimes they would below her bed because she did late night fiction reading and pushed them below her bed when she was done so that no one tripped on them. They were of gold frame, and were meant for reading only. For a woman who detested gold and jewelry, that was a surprising choice. Some days she would run to class without glasses proudly declaring that its been such a long career, she has memorized the text book. Thankfully she only needed reading glasses. Imagine the horror when your mother says I know my street, it’s been a long life and walks off into a busy intersection without glasses!

I remember..
My mother telling me it’s OK, I am still young, I will get over it no matter what it was. She said that when I lost my precious Hero pen, she told me that when I lost my ring which was grandmother’s gift, and when R moved back to US after our wedding. It seems big today, but one day, it won’t matter according to her. At that matter it did. I never thought I would agree with her, but been such a long life now, I don’t see the misery in all those things that happened. There are so many pens in the pen stand, yet I don’t use them for anything other than signing, and there are so many beautiful memories with R, I barely remember the woes of our long distance relationship. End of the day it was all OK. I like to glorify each little thing and whine, and she managed her job, her family and her reading/ writing without ever saying a word about how hard it was for a woman to have it all, or to want it all.

I remember..
My mother wore cotton saris, always. It hit me one day that I could earn awesome allowance starching and ironing her saris. So I brought the supplies, and became her personal laundry girl. It didn’t go well with her when I tore her sari trying to separate the folds when it was dry and ready to iron. That was the end of my short dry cleaning/ starch and ironing career. She treasures her saris a lot! Her wedding sari looks like it was bought last evening. Not a single crease, not a single stain, and it’s not even the stain proof, waterproof variety like mine. Her cupboards overflow with saris at any given moment, and so does her suitcase. Packing light doesn’t apply to her.

I remember..
She was not the cooking and cleaning type, but she made holiday delicacies and special items that dad and I loved. When she cooked, I assisted. There was not a moment in my house where everyone else sat down watching TV while the woman of the household made dinner for the family. My dad would sit and talk to her while she cooked, even if it was at 5 am. The pressure cooker went off at 7 am, and the curry leaves would splutter in the oil at 7.15am, and the faint smell of Jasmine soap would drown all that by 7.30am. That’s the smell I associate with her. Jasmine. No wonder my backyard is filled with jasmines of all kinds, and most importantly her favorite Mysore Mallige- Arabian Jasmine.

I remember..
She loved to read. She read every book that was released. Even though I learned in English medium, she made sure I learned enough Kannada to read and write. One proud moment she could never get over was, when I was eighteen, both of our poems made it to a leading magazine called Tushar. It took time for me to get over it because my poem got a special mention, and hers was selected as the best poem. Even now, she buys me every book that she likes, and tries to get the author’s autograph for me. When I was little, there was a corner of the bed that she liked to read on. Her, her specs, and her book, and peace around. Now when she visits us, it’s her, her specs, and her book, and peace around till we wake up. She finds time, in every chaos to spend time with her books. She finds time for herself unlike me who gets lost in the chaos. There is always a stack of magazines and books in every room she occupies.

So many other memories surround me on a cold California evening, and I bring out a sweater that she forgot in my house and wear it. I know, I will stretch it out, but one thing my daughter has taught me is, that’s OK. There will be other sweaters. There will be other shoes too, though I don’t believe in that theory. A shoe gone is a shoe gone and no other shoe will fill that void, ever. Anyway, shoes are not her issues, they are mine, and my daughters will write about it one day in 140 characters or less. May be something like “OMG MOM #SHOEADDICT #FREAKING OUT #MOM MEMORIES”. I don’t know. I can’t do that kind of texting. I will pay a dollar more, but I will use my words.

All these memories of her saris, her starch and ironing routine, and her obsession came up only because she has agreed to be generous enough to donate her sari (a box full that she left behind in my house a couple of a years ago) to the non profit Wishwas – the ladies there will make beautiful items out of them, and repurpose them. Talking about repurposing, there used to be a sari in the family with real gold woven in silk. It was the color of the pomegranate seeds. I wore it whenever my grandmother opened her box and let us touch her treasures. But one day my grandmother was gone.. so was her sari.. taking the memory of her mother with her.. I wish I had, so that I could get something done out of it, and keep it in my house forever, as her memory, as a part of family history.

What’s your tradition?
What do you remember of your childhood?
What was your mundane when you were not leading your life?

Chasing Happiness #24

The list of unfinished tasks grows like a blaze up the hills. An orange dot here, a yellow patch there, strewn among the gorgeous green hardly registers the mind as something deadly. But within hours, the dots and patches joining forces to create a ring of fire you cannot escape. You will run from one corner to another, pouring fire retardants from the aircraft, creating fire breaks to slow the fire from spreading. I haven’t been lazy at all, not even for a moment, but such is the power of multiple dramas in life that I am in firefighting mode continuously.  Stuck in deadlines and to-do lists of all sorts, none conquered, all in progress.
This January, I started reading seriously. My reading had slowed down for the past couple of years. Not that I stopped reading though, magazines, and anthologies kept me busy. Unless there was significant press and buzz around it, I didn’t spend my time reading a novel. I know, if I worked full time and took care of a child and read, I could still do it with two kids. May be I lost interest. May be I didn’t enjoy reading hundreds of pages written about the flowing dark tresses, feeling pouring out of the eyes, and the magic of long fingers and luscious lips. Another problem of course was losing books. If I read in the car, I would leave it in the car. If I read in the bed, it was tucked in the bedside drawer. If I read while cooking, I would leave it in a kitchen drawer. By the time I picked it up again, the interest would have faded significantly.
So this afternoon, when we went to Costco to pick up groceries after a dentist appointment, I went to the book aisle in hopes of rekindling the love with books. When we were newly married, we would go to Barnes and Nobles, and Borders before heading out for dinner.  But post-Amazon, I have denied myself that luxury. We no longer linger in the aisles of a book store unless someone thrust a gift card to one of these places. It’s become so easy to look up a book, an author, along with the thousand reviews for anything these days. Gone is the innocence of looking at a book, reading the blurb, and reading the book to see what it has to offer. I told the children to pick up a few books, read the blurbs, scan through the pages and short list their buys. I don’t usually do this on a crowded day, but on the middle of the day, middle of the week trip, I had to luxury of suggesting that they sit by themselves on the Costco sofa while I just walk around browsing my own books.
You may have noticed already, but Costco has joined the fifty shades bandwagon! I have nothing against the books. I didn’t read the Twilight series, but read the Shades trilogy last January. The objective was to explore fan fiction genre. The first book wasn’t that bad, but the next two were nothing but fillers. The “Oh My”s get overused and you wonder if you should drink up to each one like Ted’s students drink up to Robin’s But-ums. Basically it’s Darcy kinked up.
Anyway, back to Costco. They have lined up half of the adult books shelves with the shades trilogy. No clue how can anyone buy a physical book like this, leave it on the coffee table half read, or toss it in the car after scanning a few more pages. Oh, the horror of having a child phonetically spell the title.. since the intended audience is young mothers.  I don’t know if everyone else has mastered the art of reading in private, but my children, the people sitting next to me in waiting lounges, they all want to know what I am reading on my Kindle. I was reading Sherry Jones’s Jewel of Medina, and not a single person resisted asking the question “Does it talk about Aisha and Prophet’s relation?”. I can only imagine the questions if you read Shades in public.
 Whatever space remained after graying the shelves was shared between Hunger Games trilogy, and a thousand other things that were mentioned in the press or received prestigious awards. Out of the obvious midlife crisis, memoirs and love stories, I pulled out Cleopatra’s daughter. Read the blurb and fell in love. “Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times.” As someone who enjoyed watching HBO’s Rome series, nothing could be more interesting.
Hard as it was, I resisted the urge to scan the price code via my Amazon app, and buy it on Kindle. As much as I love my Kindle, I have lost control over the list of books that I have populated on that device. Impulse shopping and impulsive reading habits didn’t translate into a lot of read and archived books. I have a long list of unread books there which will force into reading the things I bought before. Like women have clothes and shoes that they hide, I have books that hide. No, not from the spouse, I hide them from myself! The guilt just ruins my day otherwise. But this should please Jeff Bezos, bought Nefertiti on a whim sitting on the Costco couch, browsing for more titles from the same author. Historical fiction and me, together at all possible coffee-tea-dessert breaks should be a good end the long summer.
That reminds me, the beginning of the year while hit restart on my reading button, I hit restart on my writing button too. I take pride in my work in progress, but it hasn’t hit the editing highs that I wanted it to reach. Twenty-seven thousand words and it still fells incomplete. The plot is done, there is a distinct beginning and end, but the middle stayed undeveloped, unedited. Since January I have been promising myself that I will get to it. Sometimes work, sometimes children, sometimes watching Ted (How I met your mother) find his wife comes in the way. Am I done with the other things at least? No. Work is an eternal work in progress, children are my master pieces that need to be groomed every day and Ted hasn’t found his wife yet. May be reading will inspire me to take that hike to the elusive finish line, or realize that I haven’t trained myself enough to complete the whole course.
Last week, someone sat down with me for an hour, told me to take control of my ideas, focus, and finish one task at a time, control the distraction, and if possible eliminate anything that is not concerned to one big idea that I am working on. Focus. Focus in bold, circled. I know I can’t go on forever like this. I am like a bed of starter plants that the garden center sells. If I don’t re pot a few strong ones carefully, they all fight for a handful of sun, and a drop of fertilizer and burn in the end.. without flowering and fruiting. But again, what to eliminate, and what to focus on is an eternal quest. Only time will tell what distracts, what blossoms.
Till then, life will be documented as a confusion of sorts, with pride…
Till then, life will be a work in progress, shooting off in a thousand directions…
Till then, life will be spent in fire fighting mode, one corner in control, the other blazing orange..

Chasing Happiness #16

Last evening was one of those rare calm and quiet evenings. The kids went to bed after dinner, I was done with my work, and dear husband wouldn’t come home until midnight. I have very low attention span to watch a movie alone and drift into sleep, and if no one is bothering me, even reading doesn’t give the usual pleasure. I started opening all emails with links to blogs others wrote, or videos they took. One of them was very interesting. Around thirty seconds long, but I didn’t understand the motive for the first fifteen seconds, and I didn’t understand the motivation for the last fifteen seconds.


A very pretty woman and a handsome man are sitting in the living room of a well furnished house. She looks bored, and he looks distracted. She pushes brown coffee to him, and he doesn’t look too pleased. At this point, I thought the advertisement would be about coffee. Wake up sleepy heads, and go for a drive, have fun romancing under a tree. Go caffeine high with the new Nescafe. But she went to shower. I thought it would be about a vacation getaway in the tropics. Sun and sand, you and me. No, they started talking about fairness and freshness. Not on the face, not under arms, not on the body, but vaginal fairness. Yes, a fair vagina to please her man who doesn’t like brown obviously.

Honey, you just leave that man if he is not into you, and love you for who you are. We are not even talking about pleasing a white man here. He is as brown as you are, and I am sure he didn’t use a wash, moisturizer and deodorant to shine his light saber. I can already imagine that advertisement.

A very pretty woman walks into her office, and her coworker offers her a banana with brown spots. She makes a face that doesn’t look too pleased. Her coworker, who I am guessing will be SRK considering he endorses other lightening and whitening products for me, will tell her that he knows the problem. She will smile a very dry smile. The husband is given a new wash/moisturize/deodorize kit and he takes it to the shower. When he returns.. Oh, imagine already! Let’s just say they lived happily ever after, and she enjoyed yellow spotless firm bananas. Just for the kicks, what if Rajnikanth endorses the product? The screen will be filled with a bright and white light, blurring the whole world! Watch out for the fine print that says results not typical..

Suddenly feeling out of place, and out of touch from the India I grew up in, I wonder where was I all this while? Stuck in a different time and era probably. I grew up in a time when the Indian women of the eighties were independent, they had careers, some better than their husbands, but still all of them lacked in confidence collectively and used a sunscreen to save their skin from tanning, and a fairness cream to achieve a better shade of brown. Fair, fairer, fairest- all within the fifty shades of brown. At the ripe age of twenty three it dawned to me that sunscreens are used as a defense against UV rays from the sun that can cause skin cancer. Saving the skin from tanning was not their primary purpose.

Age must be catching up too. Because my concept of making love is getting wet and dirty, not dry and clean. When we were young, we were told to remove hair from our bodies, whiten and lighten our face, and get long-luxurious hair. Our men were pleased by that. Even that sounded like too much work then. Feminists were leaving the hair untouched. I felt bad for my cousins who were swept away with the size zero wave. But this, this is the limit. To be a perfect Indian woman whose man loves her and adores her, you have to be a size zero with at least C-cup size and butt bulging enough to balance Tequila shots (yeah, got it from Tim Ferris), fair skinned, have long and shiny hair AND have a vagina like Edelweiss- clean and bright.

I don’t know what kind of demographic studies they conduct before releasing such products to the public. Probably one hundred men were asked what kind of vagina they liked. They all replied whiter than white, brighter than bright, fresh as flowers. A genius came up with the idea of making vaginal bleach. Another genius added powders and creams too, just in case people didn’t like the wash only concept. A lubricant company probably funded this dry product, because now they can start selling their products to keep things wet.

I hear the ads were withdrawn after Indian women protested. I wonder if the product was advertised during prime time. I wonder what parents told their children. Dear daughter, when you are of age to be active,  I will give you a tube of fairness cream so that you can attract a suitable boy, and I will also give you a tube to keep your feminine self clean and dry, and very fair so that he doesn’t run away looking at the darker shade of brown. Dear son, you are lucky. Your mother only had a bleached face, but your woman will be white everywhere.

ARGH! Am I glad to be a mother of girls in America where I have to worry about Tanorexia only, and only Anorexia for us browns who already look tanned enough without stepping into a tanning salon?

I have a brilliant idea. Let’s attack this problem at the roots rather than trying to fix it on the surface. All Indian women who are self conscious about their shade of brown should be matched with a tall, handsome white donor who is also good academically so that she can only have white children. It will be a onetime investment, and it will also save the headache of buying tube after tube, tub after tub, and still having to deal with the brown coffee sometimes..

Here is to all aspiring light-wheatish-brown ladies: (I am assuming it’s a spoof)



Chasing Happiness #13

Today while locating a lost document on my computer, I found a folder titled “Chasing Happiness” and realized that I had committed to write about the 3-6-6 ways I chased happiness in my mundane life, but got distracted somewhere in February. It happens. They say if you really want to write, you will find time. Women have written best sellers sitting in the mommy van shuttling kids from one activity to another. Women have built empires with paltry seed money of five thousand dollars.  A friend and his wife sold their wedding rings to start a business.

But no, not me.

May be my desire to write wasn’t as strong as my desire to shuttle my kids around the city. May be my interest in certain business ideas is limited to attending score workshops and checking if I can write myself a check to do what I believe in. May be the swings of the stock market are so soothing, I have found a rhythm, a soothing pattern to seek happiness. May be the Caramel Machiato with suburban wives tastes better than the chai tea latte date with my computer. May be I was just not motivated enough to step out of my comfort zone and take a risk even though I can afford to take a risk.

I made my choices, and I am not regretting my distractions. I have enjoyed each moment of my distractions. I call them mundane. Sitting in the waiting area, watching the kids kick-punch, repeat-rinse the same actions in the class. Feeling claustrophobic in the piano room listening to my children play one note after another, off key until they master the tune. Being bossed around by Mr.Darcy telling me that I am setting myself up for another failure, but still stubbornly charging ahead to learn from my own sweet mistake. I wouldn’t trade the world for any of it. It must get boring, someone said, as I see through your writings. I did not have the have the heart to tell her to read between the lines. I whine, only because I am entitled to.
Coming to my risk-averse life, last summer I decided to take a risk. After staying the same size for almost twenty years of my life, I decided to let myself go, and have my own ‘eat-pray-love’ moment. Without guilt, I polished off every little piece of Tiramisu and Flan I got from the Wholesale market. Without guilt, I ate food notorious to spend a moment on lips and forever on hips. Without guilt, I read books that had nothing to offer intellectually. Life after forty, most of them, even though forty is far for me. I loved them women, who pulled themselves together as they reached a phase in their lives where their children no longer needed them, and husband had learn to live without them. I binged. But I enjoyed. Until I was ready to shop for the next size.

Mother Superior basked in the moment of glory, repeating “I told you so”. Every instance she got, she told me I was ballooning, and I should watch it because I no longer have the metabolism of a sixteen year old. The more she teased me, the more I got defensive, telling her that my husband wouldn’t leave me if I was a little heavy, and since I was done having babies, I had nothing to worry about. I tried hiding in sweater dresses. I wore Kaftan tops and high heels. But California is unkind to a woman bursting out of her skin(?). The sun shines, the beach calls and you realize it’s not a pretty sight. One such day came a very harsh realization that my entire confidence depended on the size of clothes I wore. It sounds vain, but we all have our own dependency. I am not ashamed to admit mine. I might be a thousand things that I can be proud of, but if I am not that particular size, I am not good enough for myself.

Mr.Darcy surprisingly didn’t smile and say I told you so like Mother Superior, but he did get me a two year membership to the gym. I told him, I will buy kettle bells, and I will lose weight miraculously, just like they show on TV. I told him, I will buy shape ups and they will shape me up. This time it was his turn to be stubborn and before I went out to shop for clothes, he pushed me on the treadmill and told me to huff and puff, at least three times a week. You will be fine, he said, just have some discipline, and may be some faith.

Reluctantly I started. It felt good, to sweat. It felt good, to see that I didn’t have to struggle to get into the pants. One thing led to another, and I stopped eating things that I didn’t have to. Tiramisu and Flan included. If the kids ate something, I didn’t feel the need to nibble with them. I accepted the fact that I can’t drink a can of coke, and eat a pack of Oreos and still look my best like a decade ago. This week I will kick it up a notch, and join the yoga classes also to keep them desi woman curves intact. I may be only one pound lighter from the start line, and the finish line might be far away, but I feel good about myself.

Where did I find happiness today?

Today was another ‘mundane’ day of my life, the market opened on time, kids went to school, husband to office, I went to Starbucks with mommy friends to sip a Caramel Machiato and came home to more work. I started a load of jeans in the laundry and sat at my desk to accomplish other tasks on my check list. As the clothes dried, I realized that I had to see someone right after the pickups and I might have to look a little presentable. I changed my shirt, and pulled a clean and fresh pant from the dryer and wore it. Snug! Sung like a sixteen year old’s. Suddenly I got worried that I was drinking the wrong protein shake after working out, and I might have bulked up. Then I realized I was wearing the daughter’s jeans.

Happiness today is knowing you can fit into your daughter’s jeans just as she can fit into your tops.
Happiness today is knowing there is wiggle room in my life, to eat-pray and love.
Oh, happiness today is I wrote a thousand words after a gap of two months!

Chasing Happiness #6

“What’s the news?”
“All good, fit and fine”
“Congratulations, I am so happy for you”
“He said I can resume all exercises”
“Walking, jogging and err.. Bicycling too?”
“Yes, bicycling too!”
“Will you?”
“What will I?
“Of course I will! The clear blue sky and the California sun are calling me to come out, roll the wheels, and explore the contours of the road, breathe in the freshness of the air and forget the misery of being cooped up in a car.”
Ugh, sounds very romantic, but this conversation between my husband and I was nothing but romantic. I am not a nag who wouldn’t let my man have his own sweet heaven, but after his accident and subsequent surgery last year, I don’t think I still have the mental courage to deal with the bicycle. It’s not that I am a chicken, if the risk is limited to only me, I can even attempt to climb Mt. Everest without having second thoughts about my lung capacity.

When it comes to people I love, I can’t. Last week, I was worried when the five year old daughter sat on a horse meant for seven year olds. She enjoyed the ride so much, went for a second round, but till she came back, I wasn’t myself. I have issues letting go. Control issues. In a conversation with a friend, I told her that the key to my happiness is thinking everyone belongs to me, and I belong to no one. That is happiness when everyone and everything is in control, under control. Usually it’s not. That’s when the same key to happiness unlocks pain and misery, and stress.

“Have your Doctor’s number on speed dial and call him if you injure yourself again”
“Will you pick me up after I am done with the appointment”. He surely was in a mood to tease.
“No. If you need to be in the bed again, arrange for a nurse”
“The Nurse, and I”
“You make it sound like an exotic and forbidden affair”
“Imagine her.. giving me a sponge bath..”
“Somehow that didn’t imagery didn’t translate to a very romantic occasion when I was giving one”
“That’s different”

I didn’t have time to argue about the lack of romanticism in my sponge bathing skills, more pressing matters needed my attention.  We declared an end to that conversation, so abruptly that we knew it would be revisited very soon, as soon as I gather all my ammo. International support/help line was dialed, and mother superior was consulted. As usual, she played both sides and gave an almost excellent suggestion, in theory.

Stationary bike. Bike in front of the TV she added, to keep boredom at bay. Put it in the backyard, and bike under the clear blue sky, and lush green surroundings. She tried hard to sell the idea. But husband dearest this time was smitten by the wind against his body. I could put a commercial grade fan in the backyard, but it won’t be natural. In the end I had to make a decision. A favorable decision that would please everyone, wouldn’t be too much work, wouldn’t have any risk.

Full-size long bed.
Yes, answer to all my concerns would be in a full size long bed. Sure we are conservative people, wouldn’t want to be caught in a long bed, but we have to roll with times and do what suits the occasion. I don’t know how I will convince him, but if all he wants is to enjoy the sun, rain, and wind against his body, I will give him that, and have the peace of my mind too. Load the stationary bike on the long bed, and drive at the speed he desires. End of all problems.

Happiness today is finding unreal solutions to real problems and trivialize them.