Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SAHM Experience so far

Month 5 is on the run. The first month was spent in India. The next months flew by with gearing up with school and kids activities.

Phase I:
Initially, I was worried about what people's reaction would be on my decision. Every time I have to tell someone I would worry about what they are going to say. I would pray they say something of the sorts that would not call me dumb. To my own surprise, I got more positive reactions about making the decision than otherwise.

Taking a break from career was not looked down upon. Especially friends who knew me well, thought it was right to spend some time with kids - especially where they are young. Most did not have a doubt about me getting back into the career because of my work experience. Most would love to do that and could not afford to do that due to financial commitments.

Everyone trusted that being here in America, we had the freedom to take a break and not having to worry about coming back to the career world. We see so many who change their careers drastically. So nothing is impossible.

OK..the initial reactions were positive. Some cautioned me not to take too long a break. It could mean that you could risk your position in the job market. I agree with that.

Phase II: First few months at home
The questions were like this: "OK, how do you pass time each day?"
"What do you all day?"
"When are going back to work?"

Hmm..I was irked by some and smiled at some. With two kids, I am still planning each hour of my day. My day revolves around their calendar. Their drop off, pick up, activities and school projects. Especially with the younger one going to school for just 4 hours, pick up time arrives before I finish up my groceries or cooking and there I am rushing to pick him up. I took up more social responsibilities with planning and executing of events or participating more actively. So that keeps me busy too.

One things is true - I am EARLY for most appointments. I was early at the gym before the class trying to kill time on treadmill before the instructor arrived. I was an hour early for a doctor's appointment and went to their cafeteria and grabbed a coffee to kill time. I consciously try to be not late for anything and I am so obsessed with looking at the clock and reverse-planning everything based on a deadline.

Another FACT is that - you think that you will have the best vacation of your life when you take a career break. It is true that you get more time to do everything and you can pay more attention to details on most tasks. But down the lane, it is not a vacation - but you are caught in a routine-bubble now.

Remember, when you took a day off from work and how every minute was precious that day. Well, now everyday is at your hands - but still you cannot think OUT OF THE BOX that easily anymore. You have to consciously PUT EFFORT to REMIND yourself to DO THOSE THINGS you DREAMT OF DOING WHEN YOU WONT BE WORKING. Because otherwise you might just flow with the mechanical routine - it is not work related, but home related now.

Phase III: With my in laws leaving back to India, this is my next phase. I am all by myself with the kids and B. The first two days were awfully quiet and cadaverous at home. (Confession: Cadaverous is a new word I learnt helping out with my son's school project. It means: deathly, pale). I am slowly getting used to it.

Kids like me this way - less stressed and relaxed. Once in a while, a worry creeps up in the back of the mind. When should I start looking for a job? Is it too late already? I tell myself I still have something more to achieve from this conscious break. And I go on!

Too long a post, eh? When you guys said "I do", you did not know what you were getting into!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Anyone listening?

I can hear you muttering : -"If only you spoke?"

Can you do me a favor? Can you put a comment in this post, so I know who all might be reading me - it helps to think of different people I know and may be some I don't know to think of what and how I may write..

Will you please autograph here?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Endhiran experience

Thanks to a close friend who let me know that 'Endhiran' was in town. We booked the tickets online after a lot of thinking. The weekend schedule was already tight - but I had to fit in the Tamil movie in theater anyway.

Reasons are the following.

I am still as young at heart as to feel the desire to watch a movie in theater. During my India trip, I interviewed a lot of people (friends and family) - most of the people in my age have given up watching movies in theater due to various reasons. I was telling myself - I still love watching them in theaters and would do it anytime provided I hear good reviews.

Watching an Indian movie in theater is a rare happening in the area that I live. Especially Tamil or Malayalam movies get screened very rarely.

I had not watched 'Endhiran' clips at all since we don't have SUN TV at home now. So everything I see would be new to me.

But the very fact that the story line and dialogues for the movie come from the author I adore - SUJATHA alias S.Rangarajan - was enough for me to go see it.

Other super compelling factors were, of course, Rajini and Shankar.

I did not know whether my family would blame for taking them to the movie - but I was willing to take the risk.

It was a risk worth taking.

As we drove near the theater following the directions in GPS, we felt reassured to see Desi faces and cars. I felt like I am home. Watching the people at the popcorn stall, corridor and the row of seats just before us, I could feel the connection with them. What binds us together was the hope to see a good movie based on our experiences with Shankar, Rajini, ARR and Sujatha.

Not only did I enjoy the movie, but my boys loved it too. Thanks to subtitles and wonderful special effects, B was entertained very well.I was laughing at Chitti's innocent questions - could see Sujatha's naughtiness in them very well. Special effects were exemplary and I have never seen anything to compare in any other Indian movie. Of course, the theme is very well known to me as I grew up reading multiple short stories and novels by Sujatha - so I could agree with it more so ever. The narration of the story is captivating. The events unfold one after other, in an unpredictable sequence. I could not guess what would happen next. Strong screen play and dialogues. Rajini's acting as the bad guy, Chitti and Vasee was awesome.

As I grew up, I was a Kamal fan.It was almost like a religion to us - are you a Kamal fan or Rajini fan was the question among cousins. Now after these years, watching this Rajini movie in US theater, I felt so thrilled and excited because I am proud that this wonderful attempt was made in Tamil. I admire Rajini for what he is - a great entertainer. Hats off to Shankar for realizing this!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Initial SAHM Days

The first week I came back from India I slept - napped with Nithin in the afternoon while the older one went to school. Yet again, sleeping in the night was not a problem for me :-). After 3 or 4 days of marathon sleeping, I finally felt healed physically from all the running around I did in India. I would always cherish the vacation in India - for it was my own time, my own decisions pretty much about what to do where I did not have to worry about kids' health or anything. Seeing my Appa happy to have me around for hsi 60th birthday, meeting my relatives who have known me since my birth, catching up with my old friends with whom I share a unique relation - was all so precious. Knowing that my kids are in the best hands here in IS, I could relax and enjoy the most in India.

Back is US, I checked out a simple Montessori school for Nithin. It is a half day program with lesser number of kids and more emphasis on academics for the time he is in school. He cried the first day since he has been home all summer and he was not going back to the old school. I too wondered if I am doing the right thing. But he warmed up quite sooner than he did for the first school.

Now my whole day revolves around the boys' school schedule and after school activities. With parents in law here, I have not seen the loneliness which probably is awaiting me soon. I am mentally relaxed and free and am able to focus on Nithin without my thoughts wandering off elsewhere (work pressure, commute etc). The initial days of SAH- Motherhood seem to be going well. There are moments of laughter, cuddling and tickling with Nithin. Sitting with Nikhil doing his school work and Kumon, we did accomplish our mini-goals.

Two days ago, was Nithin's 5th birthday. I knew how much he would love to have his close friends whom he has not met in a while. I wanted him to have the celebration right on the day he was born. Thankfully, even with my last minute notice, the boys' parents were able to bring them. We had a simple party with a craft activity and Pinata. Ben 10 cake was what he asked for.
The arrangements for the party kept me quite busy for some days.

Will keep you updated.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Final Days of Vacation

The first week flew in Chennai. The second week went by meeting old friends and family in Bangalore. I cannot emphasize how much I love to catch up with old folks. Talking about the old times, meeting their family and kids, chatting about how busy life is now - it was a unique experience with each one of them. A meeting like that does not happen without both the parties taking interest and putting the extra effort to break from the daily routine to make it happen. I was happy that most of the 2 weeks went the way I hoped for, planned for.
Mini bullets of my observations:
  • Of course, a trip without responsbilities is an experience to have. Not having to think about what to feed the kids and not having to worry whether they will fall sick was a relief.
  • Catching up with relatives and friends was a bliss.
  • Enjoyed eating out for 2 weeks until the bug caught me the third week in Trivandrum.
  • Having to bid good-bye without eating Kerala Parotta in Trivandrum is a tragedy.
  • Life is hectic everywhere - families with kids are running around restlessly - no time to breathe - be it US or India.
  • One should be blessed to get a good servant maid - not that easy to get one and retain her!
  • When you stress too much for something to happen, it just falls into place so easily and happens
  • When you are so sure about something, you see it JUST does not happen.
  • It is a thrilling feeling when you walk down a road you have not walked in ages and you are able to locate an old friend's home from your memories
  • Different people retain different memories of the same time/age from the past and it is a delight to share them.

I will cherish the memories of this vacation for ever. To end the post, let me quote what Nikhil said over chat. When I land in Philly and he meets me - he said that is the happiest moment of my Ammahood! I was amused by the term he coined - Ammahood!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Second Day in Chennai

I woke up at 4.30 but continued to lie down for some and finally woke up. I was tempted to dial B's number in my Appa's mobile. After chatting with my talkative son 2 over phone, I switched on TV and browsed. I landed a program with randon Tamil songs being played. Sipping morning coffee and watching good old Tamil movie songs in India, I could not remember how long ago I would have enjoyed this combination. May be it was way back when I was single and living with my parents that I felt this exact feeling.
I went for a morning walk with my dad and 2 of his elder brothers to a surprisingly beautiful and decent walking trail around a lake in this Chennai suburb. When confronted by a cow on the way, I wished my boys were here with me then - they would be amused to see the cow blocking our way. Talking to my old uncles and walking with them was a nice moment.
Rest of the day flew by with usual chores of shopping and visits to stiching center and dry cleaning shops. At RMKV, we shopped for a festive occasion and I enjoyed looking at the colorful sarees and Indian dresses.
We ended the day by visiting the eldest uncle in the family and sought the blessings of his and his wife. Watching my dad talk and laugh aloud, sharing stories of weddings in the family, most of which I was part of when I was a school girl was all enjoyable. The pace is picking up. Jet lag is wearing off.
I was surprised to see a descriptive email from Nikhil 'dedicated to me'. Nice things do happen when there is a change in life.

Friday, August 13, 2010


When I parked the car and got out this Tuesday, I could see Nikhil waving at me from the window in 2nd floor -"How was your last day,Amma?", he screamed. As I entered the home, both the boys came right to the door step and hugged me tight. It was my last day of work before I become a SAHM by choice for sometime.

I have been contemplating this move since some months. Kind of tried to push me away from the decision, tried to chug along with the long commute, guilty feeling of not devoting time for kids with a tireless smiling face and the ad-hoc conditions of operations of work with the budding new product. Finally, I saw signs around me that said - JUST DO IT for your peace of mind. B supported it. Kids welcomed it. I took the step.

When I resigned, I worried about what will be the reactions of different people around me. I realized that even when I make decisions after a lot of thought, I am the kind who seeks approval from everyone for my actions. It is the way I was brought up - I cannot be totally careless about the 'opinions' of people. Close friends and family had seen me go through a tough time in coping with work and commute. They could understand me. My colleagues really opened up and they could see my point in my current stage of life. So I bid good-bye to some good friends and colleagues. I was lucky to have a manager who provided lot of options for me to stay back. I am grateful to have had him as my manager - or else I would have left a while ago. In spite of all that, my heart kept telling me to see a change in life.What I will miss most about this work place would be the PEOPLE again.

It is not a period - I would like to think of break as a semi - colon. The sentence will continue some time later.

As I look ahead, I realize I will get bored eventually, will get tired of screaming to the boys when they fight with each other. At that point, I will look into getting back on the groove, but for the moment, it feels like the right thing to do. I did enjoy working for the past 13 years. But now, I want to take a break - not having to worry about waking up early, beating the traffic, driving 45 min sounds like a welcome change. Being there for son 1 when he comes back from school. Being there for Son 2 before he goes to kindergarten next year and reading books to him. Not having to bother B about my work-woes. Cooking some nice meals without thinking of it as just a chore. Driving Son1 to activities. Helping MIL with cooking as long as she is here. All these sound appealing now.

I am leaving to India tomorrow to meet my dad on his 60th birthday. I am glad I am able to go.
It will be just myself in India for 3 weeks. The kids are here with B and his parents. As much as I am excited to have a fun trip and some nice times with my parents, friends and family, it pains to see Nikhil emotional. He surprised me by making a 'MISS YOU' art work with his 'haiku' on me. Seeing this, the younger one got the help of grandma and made a similar card for me. I am treated so special because they will see me only after 3 weeks. I am touched.

Will keep you all updated from India.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

SIL, BIL, Pyar Vyar

What a month this has been! Starting from the day, B's older brother and family arrived from Kuwait, it was times of fun, music, travel and chats/debates after dinner. Each day went by visiting Niagara, D.C, Philly, New York and North Carolina.

I have spent only a day or so with them during our India trip - both our families were visiting India and we had our own hectic schedules. This is the first time we are spending quality time together. It was great to find out that I could be myself with SIL and BIL (sis in law and bro in law). They were good enough to laugh at my silly jokes tirelessly. It was nice to share girly talks with SIL - I did not grow up with a sister, so now I could see what I have missed.

Our kids enjoyed the times with 'cousin brother' and never asked for us. As we get ready to drop them to JFK and bid adieu, it surely feels like life has come to a standstill. What will we do next week? Going back to our normal routine life seems so boring and action-less now.

I know all good things have to come to an end. I am reminded of the lull in my parents' home after my relatives went back after a visit.The railway station platform, waving at cousins (or Appa when he was working in a different city), till the train takes them so far away that you don't know whether the hands you are looking at are theirs or not. Times when we said bye to folks, not knowing when we will meet again and which stage in our life we will be at that time. It is not railway platform, it is usually airports these days - but the feelings are the same.

Goodbye times are always hard - but I guess life must go on!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nice weekend

It was quite an eventful weekend. Mini highlights are driving to places I have not been before - this is a big milestone for me. I hate driving - but this felt good when I reached the destination.

It was a milestone for B also. The cookbook project he has been part of as a photographer from the church came to a completion. The first copy of the book was released in a very nice simple function where people spoke their hearts our in complete sincerity. We all felt glad to be part of it.

Also, I took the courage to wear saree by myself to take part in the function. That is a milestone for me, since I dread 'wearing the saree' a lot.
Sunday evening, we set on 'drive to a random location' exercise. B looked up Hoopes Reservoir in google maps and we drove there. When we reached the place, the bridge was closed so we could not go further. But we stopped by a lake and took some pictures of the lake.
While driving back we realised that the date was June 13. That means, it was exactly 10 years since we landed the US of A. This called for a celebration and we went to TGI Fridays for dinner. Thoughts of coming work week peek in my mind and threaten me - it is Sunday blues for me. But I tell myself - enjoy this evening! Thus endeth the weekend!

Monday, June 7, 2010

May update

The month of May flew by fast. We engaged a painter to make the most of our home colorful. Picking colors was a tough task, but we managed to come out with flying colors (all pun intended). The idea was to get the home all painted before B's parents arrived the end of May. All the work did not get over before they arrived, but we managed to get our dining and breakfast room furniture replaced with new ones.
B's parents are here. Kids were excited to welcome them. They were excited to meet the kids after 8 months. Nithin's last day at school (day care) was last Friday. He will spend the summer with them at home. Nikhil's school year will be over within 2 weeks. The boys will keep the grandparents on their toes.
It has been a while since I committed to having guests for a dinner/lunch at home. Life has been busy with the long drive and work that I am scared to commit to anything. But yesterday's gathering was one thing we arranged a month in advance. Our close family friends (4 families) were invited to our home for lunch before some of the visiting moms from India go back. One family could not make it, but we did have some fun time. Saturday went by in cooking and the end of the day, I made sure we all get out for a drive to 'somewhere'.
Somewhere was picked by B. We went to Nolde State Park, an hour's drive from our home. It was nice and green - it was late evening - did not do much there - but it was good to explore some of those trails. Kids biked a little. We had some pizza in a near by restaurant and headed back home.
The next morning, was Nikhil's turn to give a small speech in the church about his experience with God/Prayer. This reminded me of all the elocutions I have taken part when I was small. I realised that it is not possible to make him do all that I would have done. He has to say what he feels like saying and pushing him to say what I want him to say won't really work. He did his job and he did good in being extempore.
Next month, we are awaiting B's elder brother and family over from Kuwait for a vacation here. The summer will fly quickly - it looks like!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

First Piano Recital

Not me. My son 1. He started learning recently. Just thought of trying it out - this place was close to him and we heard a lot of kids we know are going there to learn music. The teacher was a 'sir' and Nikhil was excited. We bought small piano and he practices at home. His teacher said that he can perform in a concert. All his students are going to go up on the stage and play couple of songs. Nikhil wanted to be a part of it right away. These are two very simple songs and I am sure there are tons of kids who are playing piano in the concert today. It may not be a big deal - but since it is the first time my son is playing in a recital, we are excited. I am getting his clothes and the new black shoes ready. As soon as he comes from school, we have to dress him up and feed him and drive to this place where the concert is. He seems to be confident. of course I have no clue on how play any instrument. Let us see how it goes!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last name and signature

Back in school, probably 7th grade or so, I practiced putting my signature. It was like I was preparing myself for a day when I will be asked to sign and oh my God, I have to work on it to be able to sign. Wherever there was free space in a piece of paper, I kept on signing and signing and practicing.
Back in India, there was no concept of last name in my family. We had an initial and that's it. So my signature also had my first name and initial.
After coming to US, I had to use last name everywhere starting from passport. But signature remained the same. Never had any issues there so far.
Recently a form I sent somewhere got rejected because they said my signature did not match my full name. My signature is what it is - why should it match my name! Grrr!
Whatever..I need the approval of the I had to sign with my full name for the first time in my life. It felt weird.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How hard to control the mind - blabbering post

I push and drag and force it so hard. It goes back to the same thoughts. I am surprised and shocked by what it happening to me. When did I change and why did I change? Is the age that is doing this to me? I am not forty yet, but I feel really weak and tired. I am exhausted from all the running around and I feel so burnt down. I need a break - is all I am asking every second. Whatever I do, I am coaxing my mind to drag for another day. I really don't know how long I can do this.

P.S. All is fine at family front.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello Again

The reason I am not posting regularly is that I was very busy at work. Also, I cannot sign into my blog as blogspot is blocked now from office. That would mean that if I get a small break time at work, I still cannot blog. I have to either shift my blog to another domain or do it from home. Working moms out there can understand how difficult it is to do it back home after work. Anyway, I will try - I have been missing writing out to you all so much that I wanted to write something at least today.
Will be back soon! Have a great day!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

On what is going on at my end

Life is chugging along.

March 16 marked the completion of a decade of B and my wedding life. We took off that day, completed the first annual checkup of my eyes after the Lasik surgery, did some shopping and spent some time roaming around while the kids are at their schools. I would recommend that to any other couple in the world. We try to do it occasionally. As much as we love our kids, the time without them is required to talk about our lives and make future plans. A day off from our works when they are at schools does it for us without having to feel too much guilty.

Happy Easter, btw! I feel like writing a lot, but not sure what all to write. I wonder what is really LIFE - is it the hectic work weeks or the relaxing or partying weekends? Some weekends are equally busy, you don't even know how quickly they came and went. Bulleted updates/thoughts seem to be the best way to put my thoughts into words.

  • Spring has finally arrived. Beautiful weather! Sunny skies and not having to wear jackets anymore makes me happy.
  • In the middle of a crazy work week, the one afternoon when I could step out with my colleagues to get a SubWay sandwich when the weather was nice, felt like breeze.
  • Still hooked to Idea Star Singer - but it is hard to catch up on the 1 hour show - I have to fast forward some songs and watch just the score part.
  • Nikhil is riding the big bicycle we got him last year now!
  • Nithin loves to ride the tiny cycle - hope to get him on to a bigger one
  • We had fun at the HOLI party. Played colors just like last year.
  • It feels like we have lived in the Philly area for a long time now..coz we have done everything around here more than once! We are so used to where we are and as bold I was to think about in the past about making a move, now I am not that bold anymore?? I feel like let us be here, why take the risk of losing the friends we have and start from scratch.
Catch you later, guys!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

First day of Swimming

This Monday was Nithin's first class for swimming. Last year, when we tried to make him join Nikhil's class, he cried aloud and refused to go into water. This time, he agreed to come to the class as a student because his friend was also in the class with him. While we got him changed to swim shorts, I could not help being nervous.
All the memories of taking Nikhil to swimming to different places came to my mind. He would cry all the way through in the car, refusing to go. It took many years of struggle from his part and our part to finally make it happen. When Nikhil swam finally, it was a relief and a pleasure. So I was keeping my fingers crossed getting ready to see Nithin cry and revolt.
Here he goes, his teacher took him in her hands. And he just went with her, smiling away shyly.
Not a bad start! It was hard to believe. Soon he and his friend were comfortable with the idea of taking turns and going with the teacher. He even asked - when will my turn come? I could not believe that it happened. Ithink all the pool time we spent at couple of hotels and beaches over the past year made him comfortable with water. And having his brother and friend with him too. It looks like a great start. I am prepared for crying sessions in future sessions when the teacher will put his head under water. But I hope he learns swimming too like his bro! It is exciting to watch your second son go through learning phases!

Friday, March 12, 2010


Every time, I get behind the wheel and enter the Turn Pike in the evening, I draft so many versions of things to write as a post. I edit them, rephrase them - but all in my mind. It never saw the light, so here I am typing up finally. I will update the latest in bullets.
  • Finally the weather is good. What a relief! I hope 'THIS IS IT' for the snow storms.
  • I was in training for 3 days. Reminded me of the training days in my old work. The past 3 days were full of classes and the coffee breaks. Head Ache. Trying to concentrate. Times when I asked questions to the instructor. Times when I shouted out the correct answer. Times when my mind wandered off to the 'To Do List' in life. The sense of humor of the instructor was too good - we all laughed a lot and so were awake for the most part.
  • Heritage Night - this Tuesday, was the night dedicated to different cultures in Nikhil's school. It happens every year. Nikhil participated in a group dance with other kids from our development. This time, it felt like we have seen it happen a lot before. It almost ends up being a Desi night due to the population of Desis in our area. It is great for our kids to have so many of them around, so they won't feel they are singled out. Since we are seeing it for past 3 years, we got used to it and this time, I let B stay home with Nithin and take a relaxing break.
  • I am totally HOOKED - to the Asianet reality show called 'Idea Star Singer'. Watching it over and over, I am now familiar with most of the singers. So much so that, Nithin asks -'Amma, is Danny your friend?'. Danny is one of the singers.He watches carefully the marks being awarded to them. I learnt that there is one episode every week day. I am always trying to catch an episode I have not seen. I enjoy the songs and also the judges' comments. Nikhil says 'Amma, you are watching too much of Idea Star Singer. It is not good for you!'

Have a great weekend, friends!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It is concert time again!

No, I am not talking about musical adventures by me or B. This is the Grade concert in my son's school. Tonight is the third graders concert. It is that time of the year again. We all have to be there early enough to guarantee a parking spot. We have to stand in the line outside the doors shivering in the cold, if you want a fairly good spot for seeing the kids and recording them in camcorder.

It brings back memories of the past 3 years. I still remember how astonished and impressed I was when I heard the Kindergarten students perform. I was surprised because Nikhil did not mention anything to me about the songs or what the deal was with the concert. I never once heard him singing at home, so the whole concert was a total surprise to me. The kids sang so well, it was damn cute to see their actions. This experience built so much of an expectation that I felt unimpressed on the first grade concert. And then there was second grade concert. I don't recall much of these - but it has become a historical event to us.
It is a tradition now that we save the print outs the school distributes with all the song names and the names of the kids. This goes into the scrapbook I edit once in a year with Nikhil's works. And after the concert, it is another tradition to take him to the Icecream shop. The Brusters close to home was the first stop in first two years, I think. Then they closed the shop down forever, so we had to hit the Dairy Queen near by. Nikhil still recalls how tasty the icecream was in the Brusters.
Time flies, I could say. It is already 3rd grade concert. I am looking forward to the evening and the traditions associated with it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Great party

The efforts put it by our party committee definitely paid off well. It was a well organized party with games and performance. Dress code was black and/or red. It was a treat to the eyes to see all dressed up. I myself wore a red saree which is 10 years old now. It is the saree I wore for the register wedding part of my wedding. Well, there was no time to relive memories as it was a busy day and a busy night.
Afternoon, we practiced our songs with the instruments and the mics/music system installed in our basement. And we awaited the evening!
Ours was the last but one item. I must say it has been ages since I stepped on any stage. We all sat comfortably with our instruments and even though I had never had trouble with stage fright before, why was my throat getting dry all of a sudden? We smiled at the audience, I spoke some introductory words impromptu and here we began. Singing in a microphone does boost one's confidence.
First song was 'Ajeeb Dastan Hai Ye' - an old Hindi melody. It is an easy, smooth sailing song - we sailed through it comfortably. Next was our key number - it is the song 'Give Me Some Sunshine' from 3 Idiots. We even called ourselves 5 idiots! It involved more coordination than the other song. But looks like the 'na na na' caught the audience - they asked for once more. After all, they have to support us - we live in the same neighbourhood..hehe! We sang it again and we felt on top of the world. B sang a solo from Guns And Roses. Frankly I was running around hunting for our camcorder to record his song and missed most of his song. Nikhil participated in a group dance by kids.
The rest of the night, I saw many talented singers among the folks there. We enjoyed a karoke session (again impromptu!) with old Hindi songs. Dance floor was open as usual. B and I enjoyed a lot more after the kids were asleep. It was fun! It is ironical that even though B and I both can sing and he can play guitar, we never play music together at home - this event brought a new beginning, I hope! I also hope to enjoy some music sessions with our co-players at the valentine concert in future.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Guitar, Mouth Organ, Tabla, Vocal = Our Band

In the development that we live, there is a lot of Indian population. We do parties by renting a hall couple of times a year where the folks showcase their talents. This means dance practices for kids of different ages weeks before the event. Kids do individual performances as well as group. It is fun to party with this group. Nikhil has been taking part for couple of times.
This time couple of folks who could play instruments just tried getting together one night and we tried out singing songs as a band. It was not a planned thing, it just happened impulsively. And it turned out good. It is 4 or 5 of us meeting every night this week at our home. We play music and sing preparing for the performance tomorrow. We enjoy it - it has been a while each of us has done this - B fingers ache strumming the guitar. I wish had practiced singing more.
We have mouth organ expert and tabla/drums expert doing their part. We are having fun. Hope we give a decent performance tomorrow.
This reminds me of the songs I have sung in farewell events (chalte classmates tease me for always singing this song..!), the duet I sang with a senior in college day celebration, the group songs in school and what not. I am excited to have been singing after a long time. Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quite a different week

Snow..snow..more snow..that is what it was. Schools were closed for two days. Office was closed for 2 days. Finally it ended yesterday night some time.
The difference this time is I dared going outside. For the weekend snow, I was too cold and lazy. Poor B did all the shoveling, nothing new there. This time, I was feeling guilty and wanted to help out at least a little bit. And wow..I really enjoyed it. Do you remember the math problem from school..when 3 men did x amount of work in y days, how many days will 9 men take to complete it..blah blah..What I mean is when both of us did it together, it got over quickly. There was so much snow on the road..that I could sit on it and make a chair for myself. B took pictures of me shoveling. It was fun. We dare not get Nithin outside - he is just recovering from the fever and cold.
In a way, I felt great to be part of history. Mayor Nutter's messages kind of made me feel proud. He said he is proud of citizens of Philadelphia the way they are dealing with these back to back snow storms. We just stayed home and worked remotely..still when you get any compliment, don't you feel great?
It was funny to watch in TV the folks who were driving to grocery stores in the middle of snow storm - they were having different cravings and they set out to make cake/chili etc. It is true that you crave for something that is not there - like, I was missing Instant Coffee since we were out of it. Also, in the cold weather, people do tend to miss their comfort foods and they give in to the cravings. As soon as I saw it, I started craving 'puris' and thanks to B who catered to the wishes of me and kids. We had puris for dinner yesterday.
Isn't that enough update on the snowy week days?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Waiting for Snow

Weather forecast said it will start from 12pm. Schools dismissed at 2 o'clock. I am working from home to avoid the yucky drive in the afternoon. Groceries are done since yesterday. It is supposed to snow all night and tomorrow. I am ready! Where are you, snow?
It feels like you got a nice seat in a cinema theatre and you are waiting for the movie to start. 'Padam eppo aarambippaanga?'
When will the movie start?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Birthday Fun

The annual physical exams for both B and I were scheduled exactly on my birthday. So we both took off from work, dropped the kids off and reached the doctor's office at 9AM. Good news - my weight had not increased even though we all think it looks like it! We were out of docs, getting ready to watch Avatar in IMAX 3D. We grabbed a coffee and bagel before the movie.

Avatar was great. I am not so much of a 'sci-fi' person, so I was skeptical about it. I loved the concept behind it as much as the IMAX and 3D. 3D was not like thinngs jumping at you - but the realistic portrayal of Pandora. It felt like we are in Pandora doing all the things in nature and greenery ourselves. Absolutely beautiful!

After the movie, we stopped for lunch at Bahama Breeze. Nice lunch and then back home in time to receive Niks when he comes from school. After both the kids were home, Nikhil wanted to go out for birthday dinner. The fact that B and I roamed enough and got tired did not matter.
We took them to the Food Court in the mall, where we finished a long pending work.Oh, Nikhil gave me a cute gift of a hair clip, a lipstick and a car freshener - all bought with his pocket money when B and he went to grocery shopping. I love eating out. I love movies. I love to talk endlessly to B when kids are not distracting the conversation. That is when we get a lot of things planned and sorted out. I did all of this yesterday.All in all, a great relaxing day with the men in my life.
The day was made beautiful by the pouring emails and FB and orkut scraps from friends. It was a truly special birthday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

He amazed me

Of late, I have been carrying tension and worries from work place to home. In the evenings, it is about getting up early and driving 45 minutes to work. For a change, last Friday, when I got a verbal acknowledgement from my manager that my work is on track, I felt I should hold on to that for that whole weekend.
I left home to take Nikhil to his close friend's birthday party. My mind was light and I was joking to him and teasing him. We got on the car..and I decided to test him.
Wanting to see if he has noticed anything about my mood, I asked him.
"Hey Niks, what do you think about Amma today?"
I worded it such that it does not give him any clues that I am asking about my mood today. I wanted to see if he interprets it that way and if so, what does he think about my mood.
He said: "Amma, you are joyful and happy today"!
I was astonished - not only did he figure the meaning I intended, he also responded with the correct answer. It is true that the kids can see what all emotions we are going through. It affects them more than what we imagine. And they can understand everything!
I told him 'Kutta, I am impressed how well you read my mind'!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hakuna Matata

We rented the Lion King CD from the library the other day. Nithin has been playing it over and over in the car since then. He demands a song by number and it has to be replayed till eternity. After couple of reruns, you start hating that song.
But this song left me pondering and wishing for a state of "Hakuna Matata" - a state of no worries - it is a 'problem-free' philosophy.
A big change in me in the recent years is something I never used to do before. Worrying has become my hobby now. I find it so hard to control my mind when the thoughts spin and spin.
Looking from the outside world, I am in a comfortable state and there should be many blessings I have to count. I do recognize that and I am grateful for my life. But all said and done, I have become much more emotionally weak than even before. Different people have different worries. Mine has been related to job/work/career for sometime now. The layoff experience has left me petrified. Adjusting to new work life has been an uphill. It is getting better - I would compare it to the first few months with a new born baby. People say it gets better over months - but each day has to pass, it is a struggle every day - feeding and diapering and wondering why he/she cries. Some days are easy, some are crazy, but no matter what you have to live through this phase to get to a point where you can enjoy the baby. I think that is what I am going through now. Taking life one day at a time!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Disney and beyond

From my unprepared state, I very quickly drifted to the 'too-much prepared' state once I started this book B had taken from library. It is called Unofficial Guide to the Walt Disney World. Here is a link in Amazon to the latest edition of this book. It acted as a bible to me on all days of the trip.
We had a connection flight from Charlotte. This was the first time we ever booked a connection flight. Just as I was thinking 'hey, it is not too bad' - when the flight from Philly landed Charlotte smoothly and earlier than scheduled time, little did I know that trouble was on its way. We were ready to board the connection flight and they announced technical issues with the aircraft and said it won't fly! We waited for couple of hours in the aiport - there were no seats on any other flight to Orlando because of the holiday rush. Everyone was going to the counter and saying the same 'dukh bhari kahani' of theirs or yelling at the poor man who was in charge of dealing with angry customers. We were stranded , felt helpless. If we don't reach that night, we would have issues with rental car, hotel and losing a valuable day of Disney fun. Thank God - finally, they found a substitute aircraft which was ready to fly in an hour or so. It was relief - at that point, I did not mind even if it reached Orlando in the middle of the night, we just wanted to be there before the next day.
I should say I was proud of us four - having gone through all the airport waiting etc and reaching at midnight at the hotel in Florida - the kids were up at 7 and we were ready to roll.

Every day, I would read the chapter related to the park we will visit the next day. Since I am super scared of 'rides', I wanted to know about every ride in detail. I also was referring to Suman's spreadsheet as a quick reference on what to see. A print out of the spreadsheet was in my purse always. Nikhil and B focussed on the roller coaster kind of rides. Nithin did not qualify for those height wise, so i had a nice excuse of going on baby rides with him. We loved those cute rides in Fantasyland. I personally enjoyed all 3D movies. Nithin got scared in a 3D movie when spiders jumped down from roof. He refused to enter any movie hall and absolutely refused to wear 3 D glasses from then on. This meant that I go for them by myself while B watches him.

In short, we had a blast. It was over so quickly. Here are my tips on Disney:
  • Inside the parks, the cell phones do not work very well. So if you and your wife split up and do different things at the park, be prepared that when you try to reach him/her, it won't be until you have tried a few times. I was alone with Nithin, trying to reach B and Nikhil over phone and once it gets dark, it is a nightmare. Even if they are somewhere near, you could be looking for them all night if the phones do not cooperate.
  • Do not try to coordinate with a bunch of friends. Everybody has different interests and once inside the park, it is so hard to find someone/some place even with the maps. You will be wasting time doing coordination.
  • FASTPASS is a life saver. Many people still do not know about it. In fact, I advised a family who were standing in a 1 hour wait line to go get a fast pass. They thanked me and went. Some parks have a restriction of not issuing fast pass for 2 hours if you already have one. Some parks do not. So don't assume anything and just hit a fast pass counter - it prints out the ticket if you cannot take one because you are holding one already.
  • Start early. You cannot sleep late if you want to get a head start on the park events/rides. The goal is to reach the park as early as you can.
  • Be prepared to stay longer through the night in Ecpot and Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks. Both were truly impressive. Magic Kingdom on Christmas and home theme almost made me cry.
  • Going in November during Thanksgiving is a better bet - but Christmas decorations won't be there. It was really cold during Xmas and it is too crowded.

Chalo, bye for now!