Monday, April 18, 2016

An Indian American Mom

Dear kids,
I am writing this here because I want you to read this when you grow up. I am not happy writing this blog today. I am deeply disturbed, saddened and feel extremely responsible. Recently you were part of a very disturbing incident and I want to write about it. First, I will write the way it happened and then I will explain my thoughts about it.

On a typical Friday evening, I took two of you and some of your friends to a common play area so you can run around and have a good time playing. You guys immediately started running around and playing. There was a guy sitting with another guy near a table in the corner. He noticed you playing. He asked you to stop making noise - twice. He was not polite. I saw some of you getting uncomfortable. After a minute of two, he shouted at you and said “Shhh….keep it down..will you??”. His voice was loud and the tone was very rude. All of you immediately felt something is wrong. I walked to the person and told him politely “The kids are playing here. I don’t think they can keep it down.” The person banged his fist on the table and pointed his finger at me and said very loudly “You listen to me. If they want to play here, they better to keep it quiet or else I will call security on you. This is a meeting place..” I told him firmly he can go ahead and call security. At this point, I saw fear in 14 little innocent eyes looking at us. The room got very quiet as the person walked outside to call the security guy. I told you guys to not be scared as we have not done anything wrong and it is not okay to be rude like this and I will talk to the security guy. You guys moved to the ping pong table anxiously waiting to see what will happen next. The security guys walked in and told us to be respectful of others. I told him you guys are playing since this is a game room. He asked me if we can move the kids to some corner and I said that would be possible but the person in question is being very rude and that is not acceptable. At this time, the person who had complained about us walked fast towards me and put his face right in front of my face and pointed his finger at my face and shouted “You are a bad mom. You are letting you kids run around and be all noisy.” I told him “You cannot talk to me like that.” and turned towards security guy and told him “He is being very rude to me. This is not the way to talk”. The person put his face against my face again and told all of us “If you want to play like this, go back to India.” I turned to the security guy and told him “He is being racist. There was no need to bring up this in the conversation. I want to talk to manager and complain about this right now.” At this point all of you kids were scared. I could see fear settling in your eyes and some of you wanted to go and play in some other area. I tried to comfort you and messaged all the moms I knew about what was happening and told them I am going to complain.


India. My county. My Love.
The United States of America. My Country. My Love.

I am part of the generation of immigrants who came here to exhibit our skills and expertise and have settled here…some by their own choice and some for many different reasons. When I came here, I faced lot of challenges. I had no family. All my close friends were scattered. I was making my own living. And I felt no sense of belonging. But the sense of belonging is built by you slowly and gradually. I have gone all “When in Rome” on myself and the people I interacted with have helped me build trust and respect for what I do in this country and what this beautiful country has offered me.

But I am still an Indian. I am an Indian American. I am an Asian American. I work very hard to make a living. I pay my taxes and I abide by the laws. And let me tell you, this is how I have always been. My parents taught me not to litter. They taught me to be respectful. They gave me great education. This is not something I learned new when I landed in this country. Sure, these things were polished and put to use more often but they were there. No matter how much I change myself, I can’t change how I look. No matter how grammatically correct I speak, I will never speak in American accent. I am an Indian and I am proud of that. I am also aware of all the unlawful things going on in India and I feel huge sense of responsibility that I am not contributing to make anything better there. I am not one of those people who hang around in a corner in a party with beer in their hands and talk relentlessly about corruption and dowry.  I know if I can’t contribute, I can’t complain. I am proud of my country. I am proud of my values. And I will never change anything that makes me an Indian just to be part of something big, exciting or different.

But I am also an American. I lived all my adulthood here. I love the infrastructure and the laws. I enjoy the freedom of speech. I love that people here are very social and accepting and respectful. I love that what makes America great is this mix of cultures and diversity. I am humble that I am part of this country and I teach you kids the same every single day. 

But the truth is whether I am an Indian or American, I am just a human being and I feel that I am being bullied on several levels in this incident.

I think nobody can ever say to anyone that you are a bad mom or bad dad. Period. We human beings have taken it upon ourselves to be judgmental. That is so uncalled for. I feel like often moms are the worst target. I am a great mom. Sure, I need to improve but I am doing my job right. I want my kids to play. I NEED my kids to play. I want my kids to not put their face against some electronic device and get lost in virtual world that leads them to depression and leaves them with no real social skills to survive. I know when I take my kids out to play, I am supervising them from a distance. I want them to resolve some things on their own but then I also get involved when there is a need for it. I believe I am bringing up smart human beings. And if some guy is shouting at me because my kids are being noisy, I take it seriously. I will not let this go. My kids are going to play. Of course I will reach an agreement if someone is politely talking to me about taking them to a corner, but I will not tolerate rude behavior.  And lastly, I am being bullied for being an Indian. I can be from any part of this world; but no one can bully me about it. Period. No one can ever label me. We should not tolerate this and turn deaf ear towards it.

Lastly, what I am going to write in this paragraph is very important for you and me. Whenever someone is exhibiting aggressive and racist behavior when you did nothing wrong, it makes me think. Why would someone do it? It is a chance for me to reflect on my own behavior. When I look at someone, what do I notice? Do I notice skin color, accent, how costly his or her attire could be or am I really looking at his or her eyes and listening to what they are saying? Why would someone hate me so much and call me names because I was born in some other country? There is always a big picture and a big story behind it and as a part of this big society I feel responsible for it. I feel sad that human beings are labeled. I feel sad that many of us are unknowingly hurting others. I feel sad that many of us do not get outlet for some frustrations or setbacks in our lives and then we are destined to host hateful feelings about other religion, other country, other cast.


We are all just human beings in the end. I just want to be myself. I want you to be yourself. Whenever you feel the urge to call someone names, I want you to stop and say to yourself “I do not have a right to say that because it is just plain wrong” When someone is bullying you, do not tolerate it but at the same time, try to think about the big picture and find out how we can make this better. Be humble that we are alive.  We may be born in India, we may be born in America, but aren’t we all part of the same big world - the same world where we bring up our beautiful next generation and treasure the old generation?

Friday, March 11, 2016

यूँ ही

यूँ ही एक मुस्कुराहट कल
चेहरे पे आ रुकी थी

रास्ते थे जब धुंदले धुंदले
सांस थी जब धीमी धीमी
सपनो से खेलते खेलते
पलकों में वो बसी थी

थामा जो तूने हात था
गाया जो तूने गीत था
चाहतों की गलियों से
मेरे दिल से वो जुडी थी

तेरी यादों से घिरी
तेरी दमन से लिपटी
ईक फूल बनके जैसे
मेरा साज बन गयी थी

तेरे शहर को छोड़े
ज़माना हो गया था
फिर सीने के दरिया से
क्यू दीवानगी हो रही थी

यूँ ही एक मुस्कुराहट कल
चेहरे पे आ रुकी थी
एक अफ़साना बनके
फिर आंसू से जा मिली थी

Monday, March 7, 2016

Word Mole

Behind all the pretenses and smiles, we all have our story. Real Story. That’s such an Oxymoron. Real. Story. We adults have THE STORY OF OUR LIVES. It could be “I know a lot of things but I am good at nothing” or “I am good at this but will never be good at that. EVER”
When we are kids we have many stories of life. They are rather innocent and short lived. It could be “they don’t include me in their group” or “mom always favors her” or “gee my math used to be awesome but whatever the heck happened?”.
I have come to realize that may be around we reach double digit birthdays, our stories might start to feel real. They slowly start to become who we are and how we think people will see us eventually. Even if there is any small positive story that comes in our mind, we always have the big sad story pity party going on along the side which always wins.
Stories need to be talked. They need to be dissolved like the ones in the Word Mole game. The moment they form, I want them to vanish and we get rewarded for creating it and saying bye to them.
Today is a beginning of a new tomorrow..Let’s play Word Mole with our kids and make up Real Stories and say goodbye to them….

Monday, December 21, 2015

जादुगार

प्रिय आई ,

मला अस वाटत आई आणि मुलीने नेहमीच जवळ रहाव
मला अस वाटत आई आणि मुलीने नेहमीच जवळ रहाव
दिवसभर असते मी मुलांची आई
काही क्षण का होईना मी रोज फक्त माझ्या आईच मुल व्हाव ...

आई, मग तुला तहान लागली कि मी पाणी आणून द्याव
ते हि तू न सांगता
मग एक फक्कड चहा करावा फक्त तुझ्या आणि तुझ्या साठीच
दुध जराही न सांडता

आणि मग मात्र मी आळशी माणसा सारख
सोफ्यावर बसून रहाव मस्त
कारण मी कस वागायचं तुझ्याशी ह्याचे नियम
मीच बनवते ना फक्त

आई, मग मी TV बघत असताना
"आ …… ई भू …क " म्हणायच्या आधीच तू प्रकट व्हावस
हातातली तांदुळाची भाकरी भरवून
तू प्रेमाने बघावास

तहान लागलीये म्हणायच्या आधीच
पाणी समोर याव
अशी किमया फक्त तुलाच येते आई
कुणी जादूच्या प्रयोगांना कशाला जाव


मी तुझ्याकडे कोकम च सरबत मागताना
तू माझ्या वर्षातून एकदा बनवलेल्या चहाच कौतुक करावस
रात्री जेवणात हे करू का ते करू विचारताना
मी हे पण कर आणि ते पण कर म्हंटल्यावर तू हळूच हसावस

मुलगी बनता बनता मी मग
आई बनायला शिकते
आणि आई बनता बनता
माझ्यातल्या मुलीला बिलगून राहते

माझ्या डोळ्यातलं confusion मग
तुलाच अचूक कळत
एका छान मिठीमध्ये मग
एक गुपित उलगडत …

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Fourth Grade has happened...

Universe,

The fourth grade has happened and the boy is in total shock of disbelief!!

Discipline and responsibility are not just words in dictionary or spelling test, they are actually something you do in you real life???

you see, when someone breaks your heart, we have this fear and sadness and anxiety in our eyes and the boy has all that when he goes through what homework he has to finish every day! His soft munchkin heart is all broken so to speak...

Needless to say I have been promoted from "mean mommy" to "the most mean-est mommy on the face of this galaxy" It's high time I get promoted..Better late than never.

I often think about what I can do for him right now so he becomes a pretty sensible person as a teenager. Fortunately "N" has been training me on how to deal with teenagers. My fourth grade started when she started her second year ...They both train themselves well on how to become a fully functional teenager.

1> They can slam the doors.
2> They can slam the doors. Very frequenty. Like all the time. ALL THE TIME.
3> They can sit at the dinner table looking extremely sad and pathetic.
4> They sigh when I come home from office.
5> They skip eating lunch in order to do something called "chatting" with their friends.
6> In any situation, and I mean "ANY", they can find a way to blame it on parents.
7> They also use pharases like "all seven years of my life" or "having a hard day" or "hurting feelings" or "you do not understand". (I especially like "all years of my life". Here is how you use it - I have been eating food all nine years of my life. If you want me to grow you better feed me.)
8> They can very effectively roll their eyes.
9> They can also use hand gestures to show us "quotation marks" around important words.
10> They stop recognizing us when we enter elevators.

Pretty impressive, huh?

P.S: I used to find the purpose of my life. But not anymore. I know now that I was sent upon this earth to be brought up by "J" and "N". It was just yesterday "N" taught me how to count....tenteen, eleventeen, twelveteen......The fourth grade has happened and the mom is in total shock of disbelief!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Magic

Magic...My honest attempt to write a story based on something real and something fictional..

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Little Miss. N tossed and turned several times in bed before her tiny hand reached for her mom.

"Mom" she whispered..
"hmmm?"
"My throat hurts"
"oh"
"I don't feel good"
"oh"

Her mom gave her some water and sat by her. N's eyes were looking for something different. She stared in the dark as her mom went into other room. She wondered what will happen next. When mom came back, her sweet little eyes sparkled. She saw the tiny bottle in her mom's hand. It was given to her by her grandma. N believed it was magical. It had the most tiny-est cute white little pills of medicine in it. When mom opened it, N felt like a princess standing in front of her fairy god mother waiting for her glass slippers. She felt GRAND!!! Music played in her ears through the thick of the night when she saw mom giving her two of those pills. Ummmm....is that the smell of joy?? It sure is..As she put the pills in her mouth, N felt better. Her throat still hurt but she felt something was better. She could not really pinpoint what..She remembered her grandma's hands, her hair, her warm hugs and her sweet voice..

"You know when you get medicine, there is something you need to do" mom said
"What?" N asked
"in the next 24 hours, you need to do a good deed for someone else"
"but why ?"
"well, someone is helping you through this medicine and you need to return this goodness to someone else so this continues forever" mom whispered in dark and smiled softly.
"hmmmm..what will I do then?"
"Don't worry, you will figure it out soon.." mom said as N gently folded her arms around her mom's neck and hugged her..

She stood quietly in the line to go to the gym when other kids were making noise and pulling each other. Her curious eyes were looking for something today. Will I find it? What if I do not? Will the magic vanish? Will I know when I find it? What will mom say?

Soon enough, it was lunch time and there she was quietly chewing her sandwich all engrossed in her
thoughts.

"What is God grandma ?"
"What do u think N?"

She was startled by a noise of someone laughing and she turned sideways. She saw a bunch of them laughing and staring at a fallen water bottle. It had fallen from table on someone's lap and then on the ground. What a mess!! She thought. And suddenly she saw a face all red and eyes filled with tears and anger and sadness all at the same time.

"Have you seen God? Does he hear you when you talk to him? Is God a she or a he Grandma?"
"God lives in everyone. When you listen to someone with all your heart, you can make magic happen."
"Really? You are so so magical grandma.."

N suddenly got up and walked to her and said "It's okay. Let's go to the teacher." N firmly held her hand and ushered her out of the lunch room.

As they walked together out of the lunch room, she felt GRAND!! Music played in her ears in the middle of all the noise!! N smiled softly and whispered in her friend's ears

"Listen, I have to tell you a secret!!"
"Really? What??"
"Yeah, I know how to find God."
"What?? Can you tell me how?"
"Yes of course, it's easy. You just need to listen and help"

She smiled. Her throat still hurt but she felt something was better. She could not really pinpoint what..She remembered her grandma's hands, her hair, her warm hugs and her sweet voice..

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Friday, July 24, 2015

एक

एक सायंकाळ हवीये
झुरायला
एक पाऊस हवाय
भिजायला

एक घर हवाय
सजवायला
एक पायवाट हवीये
हरवायला

एक चुटका हवाय
हसायला
एक कारण हवय
रुसायला

एक साज हवाय
छेडायला
एक गाणं हवय
गुणगुणायला

एक गुपित हवय
कुजबुजायला
एक विश्वास हवाय
ठेवायला

एक हसू हवय
स्मरायला
एक आसू हवाय
पुसायला