I Love You Bro!

It was you, who threw only ten balls and counted twelve when we played twelve ball cricket game.
But the “Not Out” sign that allowed me to play all ten was shown by you.

It was you, who didn’t let me climb the trees when we wandered around our neighborhood.
But the sweetest fruits that I ate were tossed to me by you.

It was you, who fought with me over little things when we lived in that little house.
But the kind words that saved me from rebuke were spoken by you.

It was you, who laughed and made fun of me when I ate hot chili-peppers by mistake.
But the cold glass of water that killed the heat was offered to me by you.

It was you, who never let me go out anywhere even when we were in college.
But the memorable scooter ride that night was sponsored by you.

It was you, who yelled at me when we had arguments.
But the hug that strengthens me through life was a gift to me by you.

It is you, who doesn’t say much even when we are thousands of miles apart.
But the blessing-“Always be happy” that was showered on me was by you.

Never have I said this; may be to others’ but never to you. I Love You Bro!

🙂 May God Bless all brothers with happiness and smiles 🙂

My Friend, Martha

My Friend, Martha

Her eyes so grey that showed just love;

Her face so lustrous that reflected life;

Her smile so pure that would make you happy for sure.

Her voice so soft that cleared the gloom;

Her heart so big that loved to share;

But her story so short that tears me apart.

That was Martha; once together; now only in thoughts.

Tears… That Never Dropped

A tear

When I am hurt, it rubs my back;
On seeing that broken heart, some teardrops remind me of my pain.
And I cry.

When I am defeated, it touches me.
On seeing that closed door, some teardrops remind me of my failure
And I cry.

When I miss someone, it’s with me;
On seeing that someone, some teardrops remind me of my longing.
And I cry.

Lots of tears have gushed off my eyes to lighten me up. They always do.
But there’re some that never dropped .

On one of the days in the month July that year was our fifth marriage anniversary. Yet another occasion to celebrate, drink and feel special about. My husband had already made flight reservations, not that it was my life’s first flight but it appeared as if it was one. We were travelling to Big Island in Hawaii and were planning to stay at Hilton Waikaloa Resort. From what we had read on Internet- this resort had good ratings and some great reviews. It is considered to be the best Resort in the “whole wide world,”( Kush’s language.) By the way Kush is our 4 years old son.

Apart from our anniversary, the trip, the fabulous island, the resort, there was yet another reason I was so excited about. After having some long discussions with my husband, I succeeded in persuading him for a second child. Mentally, I had been ready for quiet sometime but he was not. He had his practical reasons. I was not willing to think about them. I had never been a planner. I have always been a doer.  “Let’s just do it” types- but fortunately or unfortunately, in the process of making babies one always needs two people. And, since I wanted a legitimate one too, I needed his cooperation.

Once he agreed, I wanted to make this baby in style. I had it all laid out. I had recently seen the “Disney Cruise Line- Little Souvenir” advertisement on TV and loved that idea.

I too wanted my little souvenir from this trip.  I happily switched the location from a cruise ship to a serene and beautiful Hawaiian resort. I didn’t share my plan with my husband but I was all set. The good part was that I didn’t have to make many preparations for that; my only job was to look nice and elegant. And that was not too difficult for me. Before we set off for on our trip, I had even been to my doctor for physical check-up just to be sure that everything was fine. And it was.

On the day of our departure, all of us were extremely happy. I was at the peak of excitement when I saw the small, beautiful Hawaii airport with lot of palm trees all around. The Island was nothing but happiness, enjoyment and beauty. In between all the trips to various beaches, volcano and water falls we had our special moments with each other. Two of us were intoxicated by the nature’s artistry that surrounded us where ever we went. Kush was also very happy and blended well. He was cooperative and allowed his mom and dad to celebrate their special occasion.

After returning from the trip, I knew that it had happened. I could not wait to do the home pregnancy test, but there was no test that can detect pregnancy right away. So, I had no choice but to wait a couple of weeks before we could be sure. My husband even laughed and made fun of me when I refused to have wine. Whatever it might be but I was not ready to take the risk. I went with my intuition.

And yes, I was right, my dream had started shaping up. We  found out that we were going to have a new baby in our lives. Yayyyyy!!! I was exhilarated. My next intuition was that it was a girl and that’s what I wanted … A complete family of four with a son and daughter in it. And that happy family was not too far in the picture. I called my doctor’s office to get an appointment for the first checkup. It was scheduled for September 11th.

I was not a first time mom. I remembered everything from my last experience. I took good care of myself . I looked forward to  the appointment with my gyne, after which I could share the happiness with my loved ones. I also waited to get the morning sickness, the weakness or the tiredness, the sluggishness that one feels at the beginning of the pregnancy. I was anxious to feel the movement of the baby. I couldn’t wait to be ‘real’ pregnant. I kept bugging my husband for all the above symptoms. He tried to tell me that it was too early, but after five years of marriage who listens, neither did I.

Meanwhile, my spouse had a new assignment at a company in Seattle. It was about two hours flight from Bay Area. As a consultant he always wanted to experience a travelling job and act like a true consultant. Although it was a short project, I didn’t like the idea; especially because I was pregnant. This new venture was giving him an opportunity to move up his career ladder. After some discussions, I allowed him to do so because I realized the importance and the role that it would play in his future. I solaced myself with the thought that it was just the first trimester.

Soon the whole family got used to new setting. My husband used to fly on Monday’s and return on Friday.The transition was not that difficult. Kush missed his dad, but more than that he loved the drives to airport, twice a week. Both of us missed each other but it was okay. We enjoyed every single moment that we were together.

We had also planned that  after the first check-up we will all go to Seattle together and see the Space Needle. I had never been there, I had only heard of it from friends or seen it on television. “Sleepless in Seattle” is one of my favorite movie and I had always pictured myself at the top of the Needle and it was about to happen.

It was Thursday; the eighth week of my pregnancy. The day had come when I was going to see the doctor and may be my baby too. We dropped  Kush at the day care. My friend Neelu accompanied me to the appointment. I was too excited and in that excitement I reached hospital twenty minutes before the scheduled time. It was a big achievement for me. I had never reached anywhere on time, but that day it was different. I was ready to see and hear my baby.

I had not anticipated what happened in the examination room that day. My doctor failed to hear baby’s heartbeat through her hand held ultrasound machine. Then she used another portable one but that didn’t help either. She assured me that this happens sometimes during initial stages. I was not worried, I didn’t think that anything wrong could happen to me or to my baby. Neelu was standing by my side with a confused smile. She didn’t know what was going on as she had never been a mom. She had recently married was just a new wife. She softly pressed my hand when doctor informed that she would do another ultrasound the following week to check the progress.

After the appointment I was a little dissatisfied with the way things turned out. I had no news to share with my friends and family.  I didn’t have any picture to show to Kush. No, I was not scared or worried but my heart kept praying to God, for the health and safety of my little girl. On Friday, when my husband came home, he assured me as well that everything would be fine.

Saturday night, we went out for dinner at a friends place and had a good time. All the friends got excited when I refused to have my favorite wine. They even nudged me to accept the truth that I was pregnant. I didn’t give in. Both of us enjoyed the fun and jokes that were made on us. Next morning, I was nauseous and tired. After two rounds to the restroom, I felt better. I was relieved, and it was a good sign for me. Finally, I was having the “morning sickness.”

On Tuesday evening, the day after he left, I noticed some spotting. Although it was not very heavy, it was enough to scare any pregnant woman. I called the doctor and the nurse. They explained that it was not uncommon and happens sometimes and that there was nothing to get worried. I was advised to take as much rest as possible. After that episode, everything appeared to go downhill. I tried to watch a movie, chatted with my family on phone, ordered pizza, spent some good quality time with Kush but nothing seemed to work. I failed to keep my mind off of my unborn baby. I suspected the worse. My mind kept echoing, “Am I going to lose the one who is so close to me?”

The second appointment was scheduled on Thursday. Like the last time, I could not wait to hear my baby’s heartbeat. Although, by that time a little fear had seeped in, I still hoped that this dark patch of cloud will soon pass by and  everything will turn out fine. I envisioned that in about seven months, I will have a healthy, happy, baby girl in my arms. My husband and I were in constant touch, I wanted him to be by my side but he just couldn’t make it because of an important deadline that week. I was angry but had other things to worry about. He tried to cheer me up in his own ways and even ordered a bunch of my favorite lilies to be delivered to our home. It did help a bit but not much. His absence was making me miserable.

By Wednesday night, I knew I was miscarrying. My dreams were shattered. My hopes flew away into the wilderness. I was empty-handed, left with nothing. I wanted to shout and cry.  Tears came but didn’t flow out of my eyes. While my husband tried to get the air tickets, he requested his good friend Shantanu to take care of me. Shantanu took me to the hospital and also took care of Kush while I was in the emergency room, suffering alone. It was terribly painful to go through that physical and mental torture.

When I held the cold bed rails to control the pain from the cramping, I missed my soulmate. I wanted him dearly. I wanted him to be close to me, to hold my hands. I know, things would have been so much easier if we had been together that night. But God had other plans for me. He was testing me and wanted me to come out of this stronger than ever. I survived the night. The morning came with the discharge form from the hospital. My husband was back too. He hugged me. Not a word was exchanged, we just held each other in silence.

By then it was confirmed that we had lost our child but one last ultrasound was needed to decide the next steps. That evening we went to see my regular doctor. She confirmed what we already knew. I sat there blankly, with wet eyes but dry cheeks. The doctor discussed the procedure of flushing out stuff off my system. I wanted to yell at her that ‘it’ was not ‘stuff’ but a part of me. I didn’t have the energy to do so. I remained still. She suggested to go for a non-surgical way (tablets) first before going for any invasive procedures.

Two days after taking the medications, I knew when my body expelled the last remains of my baby. Quietly, I came out of the restroom, sat at the edge of the bed and stared my toes. My eyes were blurry, I didn’t blink and didn’t let that last bit drop. My little girl was gone. Only tears remained.

My Camping Trip

I love travelling. The thought of going to some place uplifts my spirits. The destination or the mode of transportation doesn’t make a difference. Every time I come back from a trip, I start looking forward to my next. The newer the place greater is the excitement. Today it was not the same; it was unusual; my emotions were contradicting my normal behavior. I never imagined a trip like this; I was not ready. I was restless, anxious and scared. My “Yes” and “No” were having an argument. I took my time before I could make any decision about this camping trip.

I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of camping in my seven years old son’s brain. All kinds of questions came to my mind.

Does that even make sense? “NO”
Do I wish to see myself judged every minute of the day; especially by someone who is a part of me? “NO”
Do I really want to do it? “NO”
Does it even sound practical? “NO”
Do you know anyone who has done such a thing before? “NO”
What kind of an experience will it be? “I DON’T KNOW.”
What would be the result of this trip? “I DON’T KNOW.”
How will you prepare for this trip? “I DON’T KNOW.”

For all the questions the answers ended with a sound of “No” but my “Yes” won. I still agreed to go on the trip. A part of me wanted to experiment it. What preparations do I need to make? Do I tell my son about this little trip of mine or go with the flow? Instantly I got an answer, “Sleep over it.”

Next morning, when I woke up, I decided to keep a close watch on my son. I observed him to the point that he was uncomfortable and felt I am staring at him. Even before he could say, “What??? Momm…” I was at the site. It was the shortest journey of my life; few seconds and I was at the destination.

I find myself standing on a hilltop, by the banks of something that looked like a river. The river was not very wide, it ran laterally through this place. From where I was standing, my eyes could not see the end. I could see an arched bridge, which connected the right and left sides. I was on the right side and the bridge that led to the other side. I looked for someone who could help me to guide me through this place but I could see no one. A short walk by the ‘river’ to the bridge revealed the name of the river and the Bridge as well. The river is usually referred as   “Longitudinal Fissure” and there was another small board that said “Corpus Callosum.” By the side of the board there was a brochure box. I picked up one of the brochures and said to myself  “Attraversiamo” (Italian for “Let’s cross over.”) [It was the effect of the last book I read- Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.]

Source: UCMAS Malaysia Web site

I was amazed to witness the beauty of this whole place from the top of the bridge. Lots of small creeks ran throughout the place on both sides. The two sides of the river appeared to be identical on a cursory view. A thorough examination brought out the difference. Left side was more practical and analytical where as the Right side was imaginative and artistic. The left and right side differed on their working philosophy. The left side was dependent on instructions based on earlier data. It was the talkative part, which dealt with flow charts and numbers. The right side of the brain was based on pictures and intuition. Although the two are different but they coordinated well. The existing beauty will cease to exist if any side stops functioning.

I was so busy going through the brochure and knowing this place that I didn’t notice that I could see some big figures outside the campground. It was the outside world and then I panicked. I saw my  ‘Outside Me’ coming closer and closer to me. I shouted, “Are you out of your mind? What are you doing? Why are you coming so close? You are going to hurt me.” And then as my ‘outside me’ hugged and kissed my little Sid on forehead- Flowers of all colors bloomed in here where my ‘little me’ was. I could see the whole area was happy. The right side was smiling, adding colors to the picture and left side was cheering because they had a new data on happiness.

Looking around and going through the brochure (that I picked a little while ago) I admired the plan and the layout.  The designer of this whole thing must have some divine power. He did a good job with the design and took care of even the minor details. The whole area is organized into three interconnected layers. Central core, Limbic system and Cerebral cortex; these parts contain the departments that control the daily business of the city they are responsible of.  The Central core and the Limbic system cover only 10% of the whole thing. It was not accessible to me at this point of time due to some growth and developmental issues. 90% of the area is occupied by Cerebral Cortex and that’s where I was during my visit.

Cerebral cortex is divided into four different regions. Each section in here had a small board on it indicating its name and a brief description of its responsibility. The whole place was based on the fundamentals of division of labor and therefore wherever my eyes went there was calmness and serenity in the environment. I enjoyed that stillness in air. At times a flash of lightening passed through the little creeks many times followed by outside sound, “Mom, mom, I have an idea.” Those flashes were the thoughts that Sid was having from time to time.

As I was trying to cross a creek on the left side, lightening passed and it struck me. Sid was analyzing. It was about 9:25 in the morning. Zula Patrol on PBS was about to start at 9:30 and it’s the time to ask mom, if he can watch TV. Therefore, now is the time that he should go and seek his Mom’s permission. “Mom, can I watch TV in 3mins. My favorite Zula Patrol will be on there. Please, Please, pleassssssse.” When my  ‘Outside me’ said “Yes” the flowers bloomed again for few seconds and then again it was calm although there was lot of outside noise as Zula’s cast was trying to explain the structure of water.

Zula Patrol: Kid's Program that teaches science

Then, I noticed some fireworks on the left side of the brain. “Oh!” I was surprised, it was not the firework. They were the words and numbers that were flying in from the program that Sid was watching. The analytical side got busy absorbing and processing the information it was getting. Right side remained quiet and enjoyed the music and colors of the whole show.

As I continued my journey, I observed how efficiently everything was working. The four parts of the cerebral cortex- the Frontal lobe, Parietal lobe, Occipital lobe and Temporal lobe regulate mostly the conscious experiences and some cognitive and emotional processes too. Here, in Sid’s brain- the frontal lobe was not as lush and green as other three parts. Frontal lobe is responsible for cognitive activities like planning, making decisions and setting goals. It is in its developmental stages. Here seeds have begin to sprout but there is still time before it is fully functional. The temporal and parietal lobes are in their adolescence. They are growing and developing normally like in any six or seven years old boy.

Of all the four parts Sid’s occipital lobe is most developed. This is the hind side of the brain- it processes visual information and passes its conclusion to parietal and temporal lobe. My ‘Outside me’ and my husband have had come across some instances when we noticed the overactivity of this part of Sid’s brain. One of our experience was last year, when he was five and we went to Las Vegas ‘The Sin City’.

As we were driving through the city, he was keenly looking around. Being a newbie reader he was trying to read everything he could. We were happy and didn’t see what was coming. After a day or two in Vegas, he asked, “What are HOT BABES?” Oh my god, what was that? It seemed as if we were hit by a speeding truck. Both of us had no answer. We looked at each other and tried to find some clue to answer our dear son’s question. But before we could say anything he himself gave us the answer. “When slim girls wear less clothes and dance, before they go for a swim, they are called Hot Babes.”

My thoughts were disrupted by the unusual shriek. Somebody was yelling. Sorry, that was my ‘Outside me’. I didn’t look pretty shouting like that. The temporal and parietal lobe of Sid’s brain were trying to find words and construct some arguments in his defense. It began to get dark in here. Sid was being scolded for not switching off the TV after his half hour of TV time was over. He was saying that it his summer vacation and he should get more allowance. His words got lost in the noise that my ‘Outside me’ made. He was sad. My ‘Outside me’ glared in my direction and then busied herself with cooking.

The view was no more picturesque. Every thing seemed to be getting even darker in here. I was depressed to see Sid so defeated and helpless. I felt like coming out and talking some sense into my ‘Outside me’. I understand that it is important to lay down some rules and be consistent with them, but it can be conveyed in a better way. After witnessing the way Sid’s brain functions, I realize how important it is to be polite to him. I always have to remind myself that although, he is intelligent and smart with above average comprehension abilities, he is sentimental too. It’s against my nature to abandon my vacation but I didn’t want to stay there any longer. I could not bear that sadness.

As I was getting ready to leave, things lit up again. Once again it was beautiful, my “Outside me” was asking Sid to get ready and then they were going for a swim; his favorite activity. I had seen a lot for one day and I decided to return to come back again another time. Yes, I surely want to comeback again to learn more about my son and see how he feels and thinks. I was not scared anymore. I was pleased to acquire this new perspective. With a happy heart, I blinked back.


If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.

~Diane Loomans, from “If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again”

The Fiesta

“I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.”

Madam Benoit

The cook that resides in him is really admirable. For him it doesn’t matter if he is cooking for friends or my six years old. Even before Ashu puts on his chefs hat, he can see the color, feel the texture, smell the aroma, hear the sizzles and taste the spices in all his creations.He lives the dish, before he physically brings it to life. It stays in there for sometime, and then takes the shape. Like a mother nourishes and protects her baby before bringing into this world; Ashu caters to the needs of ‘his unborn baby’. The dishes he prepares, comes from his heart. And once they are out, he puts in all the effort to give them a personality that it stands on its own.

Today is Monday; like always Ashu is the Emcee of today’s fiesta. Everything is planned. Three groups of guests will be the part of this celebration today.  One is the Vegetable and Fruits batch. They are the most punctual ones. They come in first. Other two groups that show-up later are equally important in making this party successful. They are class apart. One is ‘Dressing’ and other is ‘Garnish’. They join at different time but when in the group they act and play together.

Music has started; Lettuce, Cucumber, Tomato, Avocado, Cabbage, and Mango have been cleaned and laid on the kitchen counter. Mango and Grapes are the only fruit that takes part in the fiesta and when they are busy ripening and stuff, then they can be replaced by Banana. All these fruits and vegetable are happy and cannot wait to be the part of this colorful, juicy night. They don’t even mind being chopped and diced into small pieces. They understand that finally they will end up together on one stage, tossing and turning with each other and also their other friends.

Garnish generally comes before its liquidy counterpart. It mostly comprises of roasted dry fruits like Almonds, Pecans, Peanuts, Cranberry, Raisin. Dry cheese like Cheddar and Mozzarella might also become a part of this group. Nothing is fixed it totally depends on what is available at that time and what the chef likes.  If you are the MC then do what suits you better.

Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Clove, Basil (depending on the season,) Lemon juice, (sweetener like) Honey or Agave Nectar, Dijon Mustard, (cream cheese like) Goat Cheese, and salt and pepper in little quantities make the Dressing complete and tasteful.  Sometimes the MC invites this potent mix beforehand but doesn’t let them on the stage until everybody is in. It helps them to ‘meld’ into each other. It doesn’t matter when the dressing is ready; it always goes in last.

The MC comes in and invites ‘everybody’ on stage. Now the party gets its full swing. For once they are together. They have never felt so complete and their life was never so interesting when they were living it alone. This is their first and last time. They are having the best time of their life. They enjoy to the fullest and, so would you if you can have a bite of this a heavenly delight from Mr. Ashutosh Gaur.