This year reminds me of greeting write up I did in year 2004. I did not do it last year, and Promila sent beautiful handmade cards to more than 80 families. The card had sand and seashells pasted from our Florida trip, with a line at bottom saying ‘See you in 2006’. As my normal lazy self, when Promila showed me the design on the first card, I gave a quick OK to speed up the all consuming process, which usually takes around 3-5 days every year. Later, after 15 days in January 2006, Promila got couple of calls and emails from India, asking if we were really coming this year to India. At that time, I really looked at the card, and realized how it was interpreted. We sent the same design to all our friends in US as well. Promila kept looking at me quizzically to find out how she should respond to these queries from India. After all, last we visited India was in February 2000.
I laughingly evaded her queries, and told her to clarify on misunderstanding. Being my hyper anxious fearful self and looking back Prem’s frequent ear infections and breathing issues in 2005, I was not looking forward for any travel, much less international. Promila left her job in the end of 2005 to be with Prem. It made the huge difference, Prem was less sick, still hyperactive and I felt much relaxed in a long time. Though house is still a mess most of the time, and I am half the nag I used to be (Promila may beg to differ), I can’t think of a better care for Prem. Side benefit, of Promila being home and be her usual energetic and enthusiastic self, is a great tasting warm fresh food everyday, almost. She enjoys cooking and takes her time. I generally have to watch myself so I do not overeat. Soon I have to replace my morning breakfast from Paranthas (stuffed fresh pan breads) to delicious whey protein fresh fruit smoothies. Promila was able to join Bollywood dance class and gave couple of stage performances with group ‘Naach’, and I was able to play tennis. We were able to go to gym more frequently, and able to bring more balance in our life.
With Promila at home, she had been finding very creative and cost effective ways to enjoy through out the week. Whether it is $1 Tuesday at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo, free 3rd Saturday of the month at tech museum, winning passes for Bonfonte Gardens, Rossecrucian Egyptian museum and other gardens, tour at local bakery, chicken & horse farms, cold stone creamery, there is never a dull moment in the city. She has been editing Milpitas Moms and Tots newsletter for over a year now. Courtesy her, we did find time to attend a few of free fun parenting workshops where even childcare is provided for. Apart from good food, and some relaxing time at these workshops, I remember very little.
In one of these workshops, the instructor asked the audience to use descriptive words to describe a perfect parent. Parents came up with words like - loving, patient, caring, enthusiastic, creative, energetic, fun, forgiving, calm, consistent, disciplined, planned etc. Now, if you look at these descriptive words, you will find almost opposite adjectives, with creative/enthusiastic/energetic/fun at one end of spectrum and patient/calm/planned/disciplined at other. This made me realize about ludicrous expectations I have.
We went to camping twice this year and both were memorable. This was the first time we camped at New Brighton Capitola beach, along with other families in Las Madres 2003 mothers group. Some body once told me that more you spend on vacation less you enjoy. Though I do not believe in cliché but it seems true for both of our camping trips.
In October, after celebrating Prem’s 3rd birthday, Promila asked me to at least apply for Prem’s visa to India, just in case we want to go to India in future. November and December, being the busiest time of for travel, we never thought that we would get tickets to India. I started planning for vacations in US. However, few of her casual inquiries, resulted in getting tickets to India. It is still considered a minor miracle to get those tickets at last minute. Looking back at last year greetings now, I realized that it was not a coincidence. The strong desire to go visit families in India surfaced from underneath, and as Paulo Coelho would say, that the whole Universe conspired to fulfill that wish. Fortunately for us, India trip was very gratifying. Prem was able to get blessings from mine and Promila’s grandmothers. Besides, visiting my birthplace where a lot of my fond childhood memories were associated, I was able to meet 11 of mine and 3 of Promila’s uncle/aunts and their kids. Through out the trip we all kept good health. It was heartening to see Prem’s close companionship with his first cousin Parth, and love he received from Smiti, Urvi and grandparents.
It was great to meet my old school and college friends, and playing badminton after so many years. It was great to talk to Papa, mummy and Tarun exclusively. At the end of the vacation, it reminded me of a Hindi poem, which means something like this –
I have 1000 of such desires, that even to fulfill one, I am prepared to give my life away. In the end, though a lot of my wishes got fulfilled, but it still feels less.
Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2007, filled with laughter and joy.
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