Friday, April 28, 2006

AS TIME GOES BY..........

I looked out of the window, it was a cold, gray, rainy morning. A good day to curl up with my favorite book, and thoughts of a nice romantic lunch creeped up in my mind. I enticed him to stay home from work by offering him good food and my company, he fell for it, I think it was the thought of a good breakfast. The morning rolled by without much ado, J was on his computer logged on to his work. After having lunch ( which did not turn out the way I had imagined) we settled into our respective seats in the house, me on the couch and J in his Lazy-Boy, to watch a malayalam movie.
Suddenly there was a power outage, everything in the house stopped working which included the lights, TV, computer, phones , the clocks and the furnace. We found ourselves sitting in the cold staring at the blank TV. We decided that we just had to wait it out, then we started to talk, first about his childhood in Bangalore, his parents, and his sisters. What a wonderful person his dad was, all the things he had accomplished in his short life, and the kindness he had shown even to strangers.
The summers when his cousins used to visit, how they would be awakened with the smell of hot Dosas , Appams and stew.The long stays and the fun they had , it seemed endless.
How he looked forward to going to his ancestral home in Kerala every year, the many stops along the way to either have some fresh coconut water, tea or some good Parota and mutton curry made the trip more exciting. He talked about the time they had to gather around to say the Rosary every evening which carried on even into adulthood and how this ritual slowly died down as each one left the house.
He talked about his life in boarding school, his fears and his joys, the things he should have done and the things he should not have done. His many trips home for the holidays and how he used to look forward to the special Macaroni and cheese dish his mom used to prepare. I could especially see the pain in his eyes when he related an incident of how when his father came to visit him in school, he was only interested in playing cricket. He thought of what his school friends were doing, what they had done in their lives and if they had families of their own.

He talked about his college years, from his first crush and the many that followed , to the regrets he had for not doing better in school. We talked about the unusual circumstance under which we met, and what our lives would have been if we had taken different paths. About our early years in the U.S, the good times and the bad, the different milestones in our childrens lives and if we had equipped them with the necessary tools to face this world.

There were so many things that we would do differently if we could go back, but now it was time to look forward. We talked about growing old together either here or in India, the many trips we would take and especially the drive from Bangalore to Kerala.We dont know if the roadside cafes still exist but we felt it was still a drive worth taking. There was still so much to talk about but suddenly the power was back, the lights and TV came on. we had not realized that six hours had passed. In all the years that I have been married I can really say that it was the best six hours that I had spent with him. He had taken me to places I had never seen, met people I had never known. I felt like he had held my hand and walked with me, down his memory lane.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

EARTH DAY.......

The main topic these days is how to stop the global warming. Now that global warming is at our heels the whole world is trying to find solutions to stop this by better packaging, using solar power, , stronger fuel economy standards for vehicles and also trying to use ethanol instead of gas for cars.There have been extreme weather events all over the world , we are in the middle of April and still need to have the heater on. There has been extreme variations in temperatures. I am glad that people are finally recognizing that something is wrong. We have known for a long time that this is bound to happen, even when my daughter was in elementry school they were being made aware of the importance of recycling, and how important it was to protect the ozone layer. But we are caught up with our gas guzzlers, all the plastic we use and more recently all the electronic equipment that needs to be disposed off, our landfills are beginning to look like sky scrapers. I think it is in our interest to do everything we can to protect and preserve the earth that we enjoy, for future generations.
I want to share with you an essay written by my daughter in elementry school about the sun. I thought it would be appropriate for earth day.

By Maya

I am the sun, a burning hot ball of fire. Every morning I stretch out, and peek out from behind the horizon. As soon as I am settled comfortably in my little nest among the clouds, I burst with hundreds of piercing rays. My heat sharpens the earth below, and slowly people arise. This is my daily, subtle way of telling everyone it is morning. As the day lengthens into afternoon, my heat increases and I watch happily as the rays touch the earth.

By evening my rays weaken and my strength mellows out. As dusk falls, I begin my slow journey as the earth gently turns, so I can shine my light for the other side. My best friend comes to take over for the night. My best friend is the moon. She will come out at night and light up the darkness of the vast sky. The most unique thing about the moon is its varied shapes. My favorite is when she finally takes over her full moon figure.

My other favorite pals are the bright, evershining stars. In the day they still shine, but in my vibrant sun glow, they are unseen. But when the moons pale, fluorescent light spreads over the sky, the meek little stars shine their light like never before.

Sometimes there are days when I take a break. Often the sky and clouds take a nasty turn for the worse. The sky and clouds turn an ugly grey and they move over me, so my sunshine glow is covered. Then the great sheets of rain pour down and lightning and thunder strike. Lightning and thunder are my greatest enemies and I am deathly afraid of them. But when the storm subsides, I gently peek out from behind the clouds. Nevertheless the earth below is greatly pleased and relieved, when they are recovered from the storm by my blinding sunshine.

Sometimes my rays of sun are dangerous. I did not mean for my little rays to get so powerful, but more times than I can admit , my rays have been the cause of skin cancer and other diseases. Thats why we should protect our Ozone layer. The Ozone layer is like a barrier that protects you from my ultraviolet rays, but still lets sunshine through. Protect the Ozone layer before my rays destroy us all.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

THE CATS MEOW..........

Oprah once said that every women needs a sanctuary, a special place in her home where she can retreat to. I think men need one too, especially when they are upset and also when you come home with 5 shopping bags after a day at the mall. My sanctuary is my bedroom, I can see the hillside, see all the wild flowers, watch the hummingbirds and blue birds, occasionally some rabbits and last year a bob cat . At night I can see the stars and bask in the moonlight. My sisters sanctuary is her rose garden, it is a small yard but very special to her, lately there has been an intruder a" Mr Cat " who feels that he can just walk into anyones yard and use it as a litter box. My sister was very upset and asked me for advice. I googled "cat repellent" and got a number of solutions from very mild ones which were biodegradeable and environmentally safe such as citrus peels, essence of orange, ground red pepper, mulch, coffee ground , forks planted in the ground with the tines up and aluminum foil to some drastic ones such as an electronic zapper, pellet guns and traps. My sister being a sweet person that she is decided she was going with the mild solutions.

Day one.. Mr cat found the yard strewn with citrus peels and essence of orange, he just took a deep breath and thanked my sister for giving him the vitamin C that he needed, by doing his business in the middle of her garden.

Day Two.. Mr cat comes by and there is a strong smell of coffee from all the coffee grounds placed in the yard. He feels he is at Star Bucks , sits down, enjoys the aroma and does not forget the tip.

Day Three... My sister empties a whole bottle of body lotion near the fence , thinking it will deter the cat . Mr cat arrives , smells the lotion and thinks he is at heavens gate, but decides he is having too good a time on earth and runs , only to return again when the smell died down.

Day Four.. My sister who is pretty patient is loosing it, she goes for the ground red pepper , Mr cat arrives , frolics in the red mess thinking it is Holi and departs after leaving her a gift. (very thoughtful)

Day Five...Desperation has set in, my sister has nowhere to retreat to, so she gets out the ammunition , the plastic forks, she plants them with the tines up, all over her yard.. Mr cat comes by, all he can see from the fence is these white things sticking up like snow covered peaks, he is all excited thinking he has landed in Big Bear , he skeis inbetween the forks and leaves a souvenier behind.

Day Six... She is getting closer to the drastic measures like the electric zappers and traps but she still has one more solution left, the aluminum foil. She neatly spreads the tin foil all over the empty spaces between her rose garden. Mr cat arrives takes a peek from over the fence and sees the tin foil , he is positive it is WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and flees. I only hope he does not come back with an army. but for now my sister has her sanctuary.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006



Monday, April 17, 2006


If we had no winter, then spring would not be so pleasant. If we did not sometimes taste of
adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Anne Bradstreet (1612?-1672) US poet


Sunday, April 16, 2006

I Missed the Dish......

Our evenings usually comprise of watching movies because there is not much to watch on tv and you just end up channel surfing. J decided that it was time to retire the Dish sattelite service because we seem to be getting a lot of reruns on the movie channel. I agreed to this even though I am addicted to a serial that I watch everyday, I felt it was better to spend some quality time together instead of watching movies. The service was cancelled and we signed up for basic cable service. The first day was fine as J was late from work and did not have too much time to watch tv. The second day we had nothing interesting to watch except for the game shows and J was frustrated because he did not have the DVR and also there were not too many channels to surf (which he likes to do) .He also was not able to see his favourite shows. I did not say anything because it was his idea to cancel the sattelite service. The next day was not much better, he came home and after dinner turned the TV on , he complained about the color and I did agree that it was not as clear, then he commented on how sad I was because I could not watch my serial. I knew all along that he missed the sattelite service and wanted it back, I pretended that I did not care about the shows that I watch. The weekend was coming and I knew he would really miss the movies.He says to me " I know you are really sad about not having the sattelite service so maybe we should get the service back."(I was overjoyed because this was what I wanted all along) I agreed with him that I was sad, I knew he missed it as much as I did .we cancelled the cable service and reinstated the dish service. Now all is well with the world, J can channel surf and pause or skip the commercials , I can watch my indian serial and I just realized that for us quality time meant watching a good malayalam movie together. (even a rerun ).


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tax Time...... $$$$$$

Its the dreaded tax time again, the annual chore that descends upon us whether we like it or not. There are some of us who are very organized and have all the necessary papers to file our returns, there are others who will start to put things together a week before the deadline and then there are a few who will file for an extension because a whole year was not enough , and need a few extra months and hope to have it done. I know some who have decided that they can just wait and file their taxes for 2003,2004 and 2005 together, its better to pay the penalty than get stressed out year after year.My friend C could not decide if she should use a CPA or Turbo Tax, the CPA got her a big refund last year with added deductions, but she decided it was better to be honest than risk an audit, so she would do it herself, in the end she used none. Then there are the early filers (whom I hate) ,who are already enjoying their refund. This is the time of year we wished we had more children, dependent parents, paid more in tuition and made generous charitable contributions. This year we have two extra days, thats what we think, but its Good Friday you dont want to be doing your returns as it may not be right with god and you may be audited. Then comes Holy saturday, no tax work today either because you have to prepare for Easter, there are eggs to hide, food to be bought and also to decide what outfit you are going to wear. ( this is important because you have not been to church since christmas and the pastor and your church friends will want to say hello.) Any way there is always time on Easter sunday after your guests have left, if you are not too full after eating all that ham, and everyone knows you cannot think with a full stomach, you may claim your mother-in-law who died a few years ago , or your dogs and cats as dependents, but there is still another day, all day (if you dont go to work) and if you do work there is still time untill midnight, unless you are too tired, then it can wait for a few more months or years.( who needs the refund I just like to pay the penalty because I hate to file my taxes.)


Saturday, April 08, 2006


Easter celebrates the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ .Its a time for new suits and dresses, chocolate dipped bunnies, marshmallow chicks and colored eggs. It is also a time to welcome spring.when I was growing up Easter preparations started with Palm sunday , making palm crosses and eating rice dumplings with coconut filling. Most of Good Friday was spent in church.The hot summer breeze carried the smell of freshly baked hot cross buns from the corner bakery , after having fasted all day your thoughts were about food and nothing else. it would make me hungry and I wished I did not have to be in church for so long.

Easter morning was spent dressing up and going to church, and finding almond shelled easter eggs with surprises inside. Mom served a delicious lunch of coconut rice and ball curry. As the day dwindled down we were exhausted from all the excitement and activities ,friends and relatives said their goodbyes .As nightfall came mom read us the story of easter, before she was done we were fast asleep dreaming of easter eggs and chocolate filled bunnies.


Friday, April 07, 2006


Vijay was home for the weekend, Mom he said "two indian students were killed in a car accident."Who, what, when, where ? my mind was reeling .He showed me the pictures of the two boys actually young men between the ages of 22 and 23. I was stunned , here was a picture of them smiling and they looked like they did not have a care in the world. Below the pictures were funeral arrangements. I just kept looking at the pictures , I could not believe they were no more. Two young lives were cut short. I do not know these students I have only seen the pictures and learned how they died, yet I feel very sad. I cant even imagine what their families are feeling. there will always be good memories to think about but they will always be reminded of their loss. Time will ease the pain but it will never be erased. Every young man whom they see will remind them of the son they lost. I know death is inevitable but I wish it had not come so soon.

I am reminded of a poem I once read....

Remembrance is a golden chain
Death tries to break, but all in vain
To have, to love and then to part
Is the greatest sorrow of ones heart.
The years may wipe out many things,
But some they wipe out never
Like memories of those happy times
When we were all together.

author unknown.


Sunday, April 02, 2006


We have had a lot of rain, my daughter best described rain in a poem she wrote at age 11

Beads of silver thundering on the sidewalk

Piercing rain

Spraying plants

Thick gray sky looms over the earth

Looking like doom awaits

Flashes of gold slice the sky

Breaking it in two with thunderous claps

And then......

Blue reigns

Teardrops of silver slowly diminish

Soft drops drip peacefully off leaves

The sky opens up to an expanse of blue

Clouds sink slowly into the horizon

With a watercolor rainbow of pastels

Stretching from end to end
Written by Maya

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