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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Here's to the Fourth!

Today was my first ‘happy fourth’ as an American citizen! Was it happy? For most parts yes.
It also happens to be the day when I received my ‘overseas citizen of India’ card. Was I happy? Yes for sure!

When I moved to America 11 years ago, I didn’t see anything special about the so-called ‘American Dream’. Yet it surprised me in many ways particularly for all that it means to the Americans and to those who have made this country their home (that I have encountered). Infact, of all the countries I have traveled to, the level of patriotism is the strongest here and it certainly inspires me to be a good citizen. The country has embraced me with the values of family, diversity, friendship and opportunities; all of which have been near and dear to me in India too!

Today, as I become a part of this celebration with my family and friends, I feel thankful for being connected to my birthplace and at the same time, grateful for what the US has represented for me. As I make this country my home of choice, I would like for my sons to stand by these values too. Yes, it makes me nervous about all the things happening in the country right now; about the direction it is headed in. I hope this is only a glitch in the system and that tomorrow will bring in continued resistance and optimism.

So as I enjoy the day with family and friends, here’s to the nation that celebrates its ‘freedom’; let there be a constant reminder of what the nation stands for and truly represents. Happy fourth indeed!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Turning One!

Our dearest Armaan,

A year ago, at your birth, your Nana wrote us a lovely note: 
"By having Armaan’ in your life, you have fulfilled one of your ‘armaans’. It was Kivaan’s ‘armaan’ to have a sibling brother. So he got his ‘Armaan’ brother. Now, it is Kivaan and Armaan who will fulfill your next armaan to bring peace and happiness to all of you”

And now a year has passed since that amazing day. A year that was a joyful ride filled with giggles, the first smile, range of emotions including feeling helpless during those weeks of stomach bug, those energetic high-fis, the muahs and by far the best bond of brotherhood! 

You are the apple of your brother’s eyes and for that we feel humbled to have both of you in our lives. These all together have enriched our lives in so many ways – no wonder that the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts! 

A life I had dared not imagine and as I look back at my old life I see how much I have made room for all of the new! Love you our Armaan – here’s  wising you a very happy first birthday my boy! Wishing that you discover all your ‘armaans’ in life and that we can help you achieve them. Look forward to exploring them together!

Love always and forever,
July 5, 2017

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Gotta Catch them All

Like any end-of-year reflections, this year has had several eventful moments to fill my memory bank - adding baby A to our family tree, Sr. A becoming US citizen, team Acumen wearing new hats and strangely, the rage that one has seen with Pokémon Go. 

If you have even remotely come across a Pokémon fan, you would know the rage it created especially over the summer with its app apart from its very existence to gamers alike. For me, this was introduced by my six-year old K who is a huge fan of the Japanese cartoon. 

The premise of this series is these Pokémon creatures (over 200 of them and perhaps still growing) habe a range of special powers. Main role for them is to battle against other creatures based on the command from their respective trainers. What makes them unique in their existence is the evolution into new forms and with new names. For e.g., there is a Pichu who evolves into Pikachu and then into another form Raichu. Each evolution gives them an inner strength and more powers.

This very nature of evolution to me is most striking! So many parallels to be drawn from it especially when we reminisce the year -  the way we continue to play different (new?) roles (aka forms), the way many of us aspire for new skills, and several of who are drawn to higher form of being. I wish I knew details about the process these Pokémons go through - for instance, the relationship they share with their trainer, the challenges they face in taking new forms and what happens if they fail their battles. 

For now, I will spare myself (and you) of getting more spiritual than this and stick to the fact that I am inspired by the overall nature of evolution that these Pokémons go through. With the new year comes an opportunity to explore new forms; a chance to engage in habits that could lead to new forms; to engage in trainer connections. Overall, really just remind myself constantly of creating opportunities for myself. If I don't then the flip side is I won't evolve. So as 2017 unfolds, here's to an intersection of Pokémon meeting the new year and a chance to "gotta catch them all!"

Happy new year!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Stronger Together America

Eight years ago, this time, one of my blogs captured the essence of 'yes we can' in its glory form! That day still echoes in my memory amidst all that has changed over the years (for one, I haven't written in a while and two, I am now a mom of two boys but that is for another day). 

With a polling center across from our home, it feels unsettling to think about the possible outcome of election.

And then I have my 6-year old who recently came home from school and commented on how one of the candidates calls all women 'pigs'. So as a mom of two boys, it naturally makes me wonder how much this election would impact their growing-up years. If anything, what this election has taught me as a parent is to ensure the kind of upbringing I should offer them:

- that first and foremost, they will both learn to respect women;
- that there will be 'consequences' otherwise;
- that they associate responsibility that comes with the power to lead; and
- that they eventually would understand the importance of good governance.

In many ways, I have faith that the realism we see today in social media, news channels, movies and more make us come to terms with where we are and that itself would force us towards a brighter future.

So as this nation comes together once again for a moment of change, I hope that the fundamental truth behind the "American Dream" remains intact for all irrespective of our race, religion and origin.

Here's to yet another "Yes We Can" moment America!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

And the journey continues..

Moving out brings feelings of mixed emotions - 

Special memories of the place that served us well, of wellness and of gratitude.

While not having family around to share this joy is certainly a major downside, such occasions allow us to dream new dreams and to work to make those dreams come true.

As we look forward to making our own place our 'new' home, it feels special to celebrate this magic! Magic because it is not something that can easily come by on a Sunday afternoon; that it is a privilege to live in a place where no one else has lived; that it took a year to get to this day and hence it makes me feel humble not because of where we are but what it took to get us here. Yes there were arguments and differences and lots of anxiety till the very end. 

And thus, together these are the thoughts worth cherishing and making them worthwhile.

And as the journey continues,

to pause and reflect.

And feel blessed indeed!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Off You Go Dear K...

...into a new beginning and a new milestone!

A little smile and a butterfly kiss
That's all it took to say good bye;
But we both knew that it meant more than just that
as you venture into a new horizon!

As you began full-time from Montessori today, it fills me with mixed emotions of apprehension and excitement. 
Apprehension because of how you (and I) will respond to the change in our routines as you move out of your existing comfort zone. 
Excitement because of a new beginning to a never-ending journey of learning!

This next step means a whole new world for you to navigate and enjoy; 
That you allow yourself to shine; 
that you live each day with gratitude; and 
that it teaches you to follow your heart.

Through this, do know that you are blessed in this journey and that 
I will be beside you each day; 
Cheering you and watching you as you discover all that it means to be you.
That with this beginning I can understand what it truly means 
to have my heart beating outside of me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Embracing Differences....Celebrating the Freedom!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend, as a visitor, a Naturalization Ceremony here in the DC area - an oath taking ceremony for approved individuals to become US citizens. I thought it would be a routine procedure, formal yet quite to the point. Candidates take the oath, there is the anthem, the pledge of allegiance, some paper work and thus, citizenship. 

Yes there was all of that but much more. 

I was pleasantly surprised at the approach of the event and the overall enthusiasm expressed NOT by those to-be Americans as much as by the organizers. The feelings were that of excitement, celebration, honor, and most importantly, the warmth in welcoming the 'opportunity'. The lead speaker presiding over the 'ceremony' expressed how excited she was to be present today, almost as a promise to her nation to build a better country - a country of immigrants coming together as a melting pot of diversity, cultures, circumstances and now joined together to be part of one nation. She called out the list of all the countries that were being represented in this location - 62 nations, 250 participants. 

Many of them must come from countries that have disowned them, the land to which they can no longer go to, the land that does not acknowledge them, the land that would take away their freedom and their liberty. Thus, for many of those 250 individuals who from today on, have a new identity, this to me represents a defining moment in their lives and that of their loved ones and how fate must have had a larger role to play.

Today, as I do my little bit to celebrate the Independent India, I look back at yesterday and feel thankful and privileged that I can still feel ‘belonged’ to my birthplace, that the thought of settling down there still exists, that a stronger part of me wants to see a better India and that the word ‘opportunity’ has significant meaning there too! Here’s to the country I was born to as it celebrates its 'freedom' and to the country that continues to embrace diversity.