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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shit my kids say . . .

The other day, I was snuggling with Shaila, my three year old, in bed. We were spooning and I was trying to sleep as she tried to regale me with the politics of pre-school. It's all very complicated, and frankly, well - I would have much rather been sleeping.

Suddenly I felt a little pocket of air hit my stomach.


"Um, Shaila? Did you just toot?"


"Shaila? Was that a toot? It's ok - just wondering."

"Yes, MOMMY. It WAS. I toot a lot."

"Ok. When you are at school, do you toot?"

"OHHH. YEAH. All. the. time."

Well, good to know, I guess.

"Do you admit it?"

"Of course not, I just walk away really fast and don't say "excuse me."

She is SOOO my daughter.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Losing Your Voice

I have always loved music.

It's always been a part of my life. I never had a nanny, but I did have MTV. Every year of my life is related to the songs of that year. That's how I remember how old I was when a memory comes up.

Returning from India with my mom in 3rd grade - "Feed the World," "I Want to Know What Love is." 9 years old.

Dancing in our living room to "Separate Ways" by Journey with my cousins. 7 years old.

Unable to take music or instrument lessons as a child, I was pretty much a passionate observer until my mid twenties when I picked up a guitar and taught myself how to play.

From there I went on to moonlight for a few years as a lead singer in a DC cover band where I sang for really drunk girls and even more drunk guys who treated me like a human jukebox.

"Do Journey next!" yelled the wasted girl in the corner, making out with the frat boy in the corner.

"Freebird! Do Freebird!!" said the drunk jackass who assumed that EVERY singer in EVERY bar ANYWHERE in the world has not heard that dozens of times by others of equal intellectual capacity as that loser.

"Show me your $@S!" this could be any particular body part. It was not usually a request to see my elbows, which were often on display. Or my fibula or anything like that.

Yeah. Those were good times.

Good times.

In a way, they were some of the best times for me. I got to play with good friends, and there was something so freeing for me in being able to belt out songs that nobody expected this little petite Indian girl to ever be able to do justice to.

I never got to do our originals out at those types of gigs. It was kind of directly correlated to the level of drunk assholes in the crowd.

Drunk, drunk crowd = no originals.
slightly inebriated crowd = sneak a few in there and hope they don't notice

My husband's friends were avid supporters of my original tunes though. They would come in there, and any time some vapid twenty-something screamed, "Do O.A.R!" (which made me feel more like, "Dance, Monkey! Dance!") John's friends (you know who you are. Ok, if you don't it was always Ryan, Des and Garth - I love you guys) would counter with a request for one of my originals.

And then when I would get the chance to do those originals, these cute, athletic soccer players would huddle in front of the stage and belt out every word with me in unison. It confused the drunk girls who now saw these good looking guys singing out songs which they had never heard. And of course they would try to dance all up on the guys and pretend they knew the words, but it was all good.

I miss playing. I miss singing.

I don't miss the drunk assholes. But I do miss being able to perform and losing myself for a few hours to just my own voice. It probably isn't the best voice, but it's mine, and I was so glad to find it. To know that there was music in me.

This year, I promise to myself that I will pick up that guitar again. I will write songs that no drunk girl would ever want to listen to. I will write songs that would get me booed off a stage at a crowded irish pub as folks are looking for the right "hook-up" song.

I will write songs for me.

Never stop singing.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Defining Heroes . . .

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. - Joseph Campbell

I think the word "hero" means different things to different people. On the one hand you have Olive Oyl fainting into the arms of Popeye on one of his many rescues of her from the callused and greasy hands of Brutus.

"My hero!" she announces, as she collapses into his arms, her toothpick legs looking jointless as she gives way.

While I applaud Popeye always coming to Olive's rescue, after a while I kind of have to think, "Maybe she is not the right one for you. And maybe it's not that you're a hero - it's just that you're stupid and love the wrong woman."

In many ways, I do believe that we potentially overuse that term. Idols are often confused with heroes and next thing you know, you have got some confused teenager swooning over Justin Bieber, calling him her "hero."

(Although I must say, if anyone is confused, I would be the first to admit it is me. I still don't understand the power that young man-child has over the young teen/tween population.)

An old friend and colleague of mine, Dave George, wrote an opinion piece for aol a few weeks back titled, "Sorry, the Chilean Miners are NOT heroes." In his piece, Dave laments the use of a word that he believes should be reserved solely for those who put their own lives on the line. That the word should be reserved for individuals like recent Medal of Honor recipient, Sal Giunta, who risked his life to save his friend in Iraq.

In his piece, he says that using the term to apply to the Chilean miners, is inaccurate. In his opinion, they are not heroes for they passively got handed a catastrophe and made it out alive.

I have been thinking about this a good deal. When I see CNN honoring the Chilean miners, I do still believe they are heroes. There is something extremely heroic to me in just managing to survive such dire circumstances without giving up hope or faith.

When I think about the past half year in Chile, as the country has tried to turn itself around and recover from an incredibly devastating earthquake, I think that what those miners represented to the people of Chile surpassed a news story event - they represented so much more to a country who saw the salvation of these men as something divine.

The survival of those men was most likely not expected given the catastrophic year or situation, but when they came through, it was like someone said to the people of Chile, and even to the world,

"Someone is watching over you. And you can never stop believing."

To me, heroes are those who have the power to inspire, to challenge your beliefs and to pull the best from you - whether it is to save your life, your voice, your rights. They allow you to see that sometimes, when your own hopes wane even in the most dire of circumstances, the power and strength of human will can get us through some amazing situations.

I don't believe that the action of being a hero requires you to give up your life, or risk your life - but it does require some level of honorable sacrifice.

When I look at men like Sal Giunta - of course he represents a hero to me. His actions in battle were so selflessly motivated in battle that they catapult him to a "super hero" status in my opinion.

Perhaps that's the distinction that Dave wishes to see made - because that's what it really comes down to - there is a stratification within those we define as heroes perhaps in the level of their sacrifice.

In the absence of Superman, Wonderwoman and Spiderman, we do have individuals who put themselves out there to serve and protect us each day.

They are all superheroes.

To me though, it doesn't change the fact that I see people who do heroic things every day.

Whether it is a teacher who has had the ability to inspire three generations of a town for her love of teaching, when she probably could have made a much more lucrative career for herself elsewhere given her own talents - I find her heroic.

Whether it is a family in mourning from the loss of their child, who channeled their grief into creating an amazing organization that will help other families go through the journey they had to endure. I find them heroic.

Whether it is a co-worker who has adopted three abandoned and abused grown siblings from a third world country to give them a life. A prayer. A chance.

That's heroic.

As we approach the holidays, I would like to tell you some more about some of the people in my own life who continue to inspire me. To drive me. To give me reason to believe we can all be so much more than we are.

My heroes.

Dave posited in his post that Webster's Dictionary "had it wrong" when it came to the definition of heroes.

According to Webster's, the definition is as follows: "hero (n): an object of extreme admiration and devotion."

I agree with Dave about that. That definition is too broad and potentially misleading. Again, it confuses idolatry with the acknowledgement of heroes. And he is right, by Webster's definition, the whole cast of "Glee" could be defined as heroes.

And I don't think they are.

Though I do like the show.

Over the next few weeks, I can't wait to tell you about some of the heroes in my life. If you have any stories you would like to share about people who amaze, inspire and take your breath away with their strength, please share.

Because no matter how old we get, we can all use some more heroes.

~ A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. ~Christoper Reeve



Thursday, December 16, 2010


Sanctity - noun - 1. The state or quality of being holy, sacred, or saintly
2. Ultimate importance and inviolability

I wrote a post the other day, called "Mommies Talk Gay" which only slightly touched on my beliefs of the breadth of rights which are denied to the homosexual community.

Gay Marriage is not a neutral topic. I get that. I get that on the spectrum of discussion, you can hit a huge breadth of believers in the very same room. I would imagine that on the spectrum, you would find people who can associate themselves to one of the bullets below, or some variation therein.

1) You can beat the gay out of anybody.

2) It's not natural. There is nothing natural about this. God did not want this. Gays bring this on themselves and if they were just "normal" and reprogrammed themselves to do as God intended, there would be not issue.

3) I have gay friends. My gay friends are nice people. We'll even have lunch together sometimes. I make sure not to eat from the same plate as them. I just prefer a "Don't ask, Don't Tell" mentality with them.

4) I love gay people. They dress well and I love to shop with them! But while I "love" them, I just don't think they should have the same rights as me. Gay marriage is a no-no.

5) Everyone should have the same rights. Period. Gay or NOT.

I think we can all identify ourselves SOMEWHERE on some spectrum of this belief system on the institution of marriage, particularly whether it should be extended to the Gay community. You probably know where I am at, but again - I am not saying your opinion is wrong - I am acknowledging that it is most likely based on a belief system that was based on your religion, family teachings, and some level of acceptance of societal norms.

But I wanted to discuss the last factor there, and perhaps one which most pervasively impacts our beliefs on this.

Societal Norms.

Growing up, I was surrounded by some degree of divorce - but it was rare - and especially in the Indian community - it was not something that was done. But I was exposed to marriages which scared the living daylights out of me. There was no concept of "sanctity" in my young mind at that time, but realizing that the union between a man and woman did not always create a sacred result was not lost on me as a child.
Sanctity. Holy.

Words of anger. Violence. Hatred. Fear. Lack of respect.

I saw what I believe were some wonderful marriages, but there were also those "other" models I saw displayed in that sacred institution of marriage. Even as a child, I knew that there were times where divorce should have been the option that those adults turned to before creating and spinning lives for their children which left them with only one goal.

Sanctity. Of self-preservation.

My friend, Suzanne, re-posted something on Facebook, and I am not sure who the originator of this thought was, but I loved reading it, because it strikes me as so true about the hypocrisy of our society and the idea that we are, in fact, trying to protect an "institution."

"So let me get this straight... Larry King has had 7 divorces, Elizabeth Taylor is possibly getting married for a 9th time, Britney Spears had a 55 hour marriage. Jesse James and Tiger Woods are screwing EVERYTHING, yet the idea of same-sex marriage is going to destroy the institution of marriage?? Really? REALLY...??"

Ultimate importance and inviolability.

We are so beyond that as a society and if we try to kid ourselves that we are not, we are hiding behind a reverse Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak - but not the kind where you are invisible, but one that makes society invisible to you.

Protecting the "institution" of marriage is not something that has anything to do with extending this right to homosexuals only. The increasing numbers of broken families, divorce, infidelity and spousal abuse - not only in Hollywood, Washington, our sports and news celebrities - but all around us in our own communities shed a picture that we can hardly ignore.

Why then, is the idea that two people who are committed and love each other cannot be offered the same privilege? The privilege which many heterosexuals have the RIGHT to STOMP on which so many of our own brothers and sisters are FIGHTING for.

What are we scared of? This is NOT a rhetorical question. If we extend the rights of gay marriage to our homosexual population, what is it that we believe will happen as a society? Here are some of the only things I can think of . . .

1) Straight people will become so disenchanted with the "institution" that they will divorce en masse.

2) Straight couples will break up and marry the gay partner they always yearned for, because now they can.

3) Our kids will no longer value marriage. If they see that Uncle Bob can marry his friend who is now their Uncle Shane, marriage will become tainted for them. (I don't know how or why, but is this something that might be a fear?)

If marriage is an institution that is created because man and woman are meant to procreate, if a marriage does not create a child, does that lessen the sanctity of that union?

If a marriage occurs where there is nothing but abuse and disrespect, because it is done within the "institution" of marriage, and because this marriage is still between a man and a woman, has it protected the ideals of sanctity?

I don't know. I am asking you what you think. I am not saying I have the answers.

The one thing I hope I don't come off here is this word:

Sanctimonious - adj.
Making a show of being morally superior to other people

"Sanctity" and "Sanctimonious" both trace back to the Latin word Sanctus - holy.

What I believe is holy when you discuss marriage is the idea of love, respect, and the creation of a union which surpasses the physical and the material. It is a spiritual union where two people become one to become something much bigger, brighter and greater than they might be.


I think many parents of gay children try to shield themselves from the truth about their kids. There are those who know and encourage them to come out and be honest from the start, and then there are those who hide behind their own rose tinted glasses to hide from what is a clear reality to strangers, colleagues and friends.

I have friends who are gay who have married women because they could not disappoint their parents. Because they could not face being chastised by society. Because they believed they could "cure" themselves with the right focus.

Because they couldn't be who they are.

There is no sanctity in that.

If I have crossed a line, I guess I could apologize. But I am tired and don't feel like it today.

But if this is something that just starts an honest conversation, that's all I can ask for.


The picture below has nothing to do with this post but I thought it was funny and needed to be seen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

When Saying Thank You is NOT Enough

I am stuck in Vegas.

To be more clear, I am stuck at the airport.

I missed a 7 AM flight because apparently I slept through my 5 AM wake up call. Being naive, I thought "i can just catch the next flight." I hadn't quite understood the enormity of the Las Vegas rodeo. The sheer volume of cowboy hats should have tipped me off.

I also was oblivious to the enormous amounts of snow that apparently was dumped on most of america while I was enjoying the lovely conference rooms at the Aria for about 12 hours a day.

So to make a long story short, i ran in desperation to every possible ticket counter and resorted to tears, begging, pleading, blackmail (don't even ask. Desperate times call for desperate measures.)

I finally got myself on a flight on a different airline. I will go through Phoenix to another airport in DC, not the one I flew from. And not the one my baggage is at either, since IT apparently made the flight that my little waitlisted butt was not so fortunate to make. So if I do the math, my tired self will get home around 8 AM.

Still crossing my fingers on that one.

I came out to Vegas for a company conference. It was great. But i miss my kids and husband, our au pair (Fe).

I miss catching up on the day with John as we curl up and watch our favorite shows after we get the kids to bed.

I miss the warmth of that first drop of of coffee, our cheap old maxwell house that we buy in bulk from costco, and joking about which child didn't let us sleep last night (they tend to alternate. It's like they plan it). I love the laughter of the children and bustling around the house with John and Fe each morning as we stumble through our morning rituals.

I miss hugging my kids. Their sweet breath on my cheeks. Nico's overzealous and sloppy wet kisses.

The simple things. The things that make home ... well . . .


I really, really miss them. This delay in reaching them is devastating to me.

But my impatience is selfish.

So freaking selfish.

As I was running from ticketing agent to ticketing agent, the idea that it would be ANOTHER day before I saw my children was a punch in the gut.

As I was walking through the airport, I saw a soldier. Several in fact. But this one seemed to be struggling with baggage.

"Can I help you with that?" I asked, indicating the bag he was struggling with.

He looked up at me, smiled and said, "Thanks, but I think I'll be alright." He smiled at me and despite my sadness about my travel woes, his smile lifted my heart a little.

He was a cute kid. Probably in his mid-twenties. I imagined he was most likely on the football team when he was in high school. An Eagle Scout, maybe. Just a wholesome kid, with a big grin and the kind of guy you know was well-liked.

A son.

A brother.

"Are you coming or going?" I asked, hoping that his response was the latter.

"Going," he said, the wide grin never waning. I am fairly certain my own smile faltered, because he jumped in to reassure me.

"No, no it's cool. It's my second deployment." I wasn't sure how that made his safety any more real, but I nodded my head in agreement.

"Thank you," I said. And before I could stop myself I reached out and gave this boy a hug. A big bear hug.

He didn't seem startled by the hug. He hugged me back and said,

"I'm gonna be alright."

I don't know why I reached out the way I did. He was not the only soldier I saw today, but he was the only one I thanked.

In all honesty, I wanted to reach out to every one of those men and women, some who seemed so young to be walking into the situations they will be confronting on each of their individual deployments. I wanted to hug every single one and say "Thank you."

For making the sacrifices they make.

For doing what so many of us cannot fathom.

I pray that each of them comes home.

I think about the parents, the children, the siblings, the friends who don't know with certainty when and if their loved ones will come home.


I think of that soldier's reassurance to me.

"I'm gonna be alight." And I pray for him, for his mother, his father, his wife, his child. For anyone who loves him that he is right.

A few weeks ago, I saw the 60 Minutes piece on Medal of Honor recipient,

Sal Giunta. If you have not yet seen it, please watch it on

It's an amazing story to hear what this young man did. Watching that video gave me chills, brought me to tears and tore at my heart.

As I sat watching it on my couch. In my home.


There is a grace and dignity to Sal Giunta which I think every American should honor.

There is grace and dignity in every single of these soldier's hearts that takes my breath away.

I will make it home. There is some level of certainty that I will. I will hug my children and John and Fe and tell them how much I missed them.

And I will pray that everyone makes it.




Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How I Met Your Father (Part 2 & 3 Combined)

Shaila and Nico,

Thanks for sticking with things over the past few days as I have taken a breather from writing out the story about how your good old dad and I met so long ago. I am guessing you already read Part 1.

You know - I was going to write this in three parts, but I am getting sick of things dragging on longer than necessary. 2010 was the year I was pissed to learn that Harry Potter and those blasted "Deathly Hallows" would have to come out in TWO different movies and that that 4th book in the godforsaken Twilight series would also be split into two installments.

that I watch that or anything.

But IF I did, I would have to say Team Jacob. Can you really blame me?

So I said, "Enough of that!" Besides, I only expect that I have your attention span for so long, so I am gonna use this time wisely.

Revisiting Part 1 of this letter

It's true that I had many conversations with your Nana and Nani about why I would not have an arranged marriage. My father pretty much gave up after a certain point, though I am sure he doubted my ability to ever find the right man for me. However, after a certain point, they did relent.

Granted, this was after a few torturous years. My first boyfriend EVER, a nice man by the name of Michael, bore the brunt of your Nana and Nani's wrath as they struggled with the idea that I would probably NEVER have an arranged marriage. He was a really great guy and he tried really, REALLY hard, but Nana and Nani played it really tough with him.

Like, they would glare at him. And give him the silent treatment. And throw samosas at him.

Ok, ok, they never did that. But I mean, it was BAD.

Over the years though, they loosened up a bit, and even warmed up to some of my asshole ex-boyfriends who probably didn't warrant any of their respect. (But that is for another day). And I am assuming that by the time you read this, you will have heard me say asshole at least at some point in your life, so please forgive the profanity.

The Truth

The "truth" of how I met your father is the following. In our late twenties, we were very self-aware individuals and chose to spend much of our own free time doing things like going to the library, attending poetry readings, watching classical musicians perform and visiting museums. Both avid athletes, many of our nights were spent at the gym or doing team activities.

D.C. was such an inspiring place to live if you could appreciate the full extent of the culture that was available.

It's actually a wonder that our paths didn't cross before. We even volunteered at the same soup kitchen! But for some reason, it was always on alternating nights!

It was like some kind of "sliding doors" thing except for the fact that, well . . . I'm not tall OR blonde OR Gwyneth Paltrow. (although we do both play guitar . . .)

So anyway, one day I decided to attend a special exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery. You see, for me, a life without exposure is a bland and empty existence. I was aware that others my age may have been at the bars lining up the streets of DC or clubbing in Adams Morgan.

Those types of activities were not for me. And not for your dad either.

It was an amazing exhibit on contemporary photography. I especially recall with amazing clarity these pieces by Annie Liebowitz that just blew me away.

And that's when I noticed your father. He must have noticed me admiring the piece too, so he came over and we discussed the finer points of the composition of the piece. After some more conversation, he invited me out for coffee. I agreed and that is how our courtship began.

The Rumors

But you know what? For whatever reason, despite the simplicity of my first meeting with your father, you have some aunties and uncles who remember it differently. If you ask your Aunt Sang, she has one thing to say about it (she wasn't EVEN AT the Corcoran that night) and your Uncle Craig also has mentioned a different memory. My assumption is that both John and I have some "twins" running around DC.

OR IT COULD BE that your Uncle Craig, Aunt Sang and even Auntie Roya (who oddly repeats this story as well) were more inebriated than they should have been that day.


The way the rumor goes, in the late fall of 2001, and I am a little hazy on all of this, is that I had been at my friend's wedding earlier that day. Nick and Natascha's. Perhaps I drank a little at that wedding. You know, chamomile tea.


So anyway, from there, Aunt Sang says I (or my twin) met her and your Aunt Tiffany for dinner in Arlington. After that we apparently went to this bar called Ozio's. Again, this is all hearsay (since I was at the Corcoran).

Well, the story goes that we get to Ozio's and it turns out that the manager and owner of the bar/restaurant had just been at Nick and Natascha's wedding. In addition, our friend Raj was bartending that night. Which also is very very odd and doesn't add up for me, because Raj was also usually very much committed to volunteer work on Saturday night, so again, this piece of fiction just seems to be fabricated out of somebody's fantasy.

Apparently people were being "festive." Drinks were consumed. In moderation of course. From what I understand, every alcoholic beverage was alternated with a refreshing beverage like guava or papaya juice or something.

Some of the members of "N Sync" showed up at the bar and your Aunt Sang says that I (my twin) yelled at the security guy as he asked everybody to move "Who the F^&k cares about them anyway? If Britney's not with them, I don't give a shit!"

But, you know that's not true, because that doesn't sound like me at all.


Aunt Tiffany says she left at that point, so cannot confirm or deny your Aunt Sang's story. According to her, we saw your father at the bar standing with your Auntie Roya and your Uncle Craig. Aunt Sang knew your dad and I knew your Auntie Roya so it ended up as a big meet and greet after the whirlwind that was "'N Sync" had been cordoned up to the VIP area.

Auntie Sang says that I brazenly (come on now? when I have I EVER been brazen? really, kids) went up to your father and said the following.

Me: "Oh my god. You are such a hot Indian guy!" (huh?)

She says that apparently your dad was really confused (of course he was confused - he was at the Corcoran exhibit - hello!?) and that he looked at me quite calmly.

John: "Uhhh . . . I'm not Indian. I'm actually half-Italian and half . . ." I (I mean, my twin) cut him off before could go any further.

Me: "Of course you're Indian! Look at you. You know, you shouldn't be ashamed of your heritage. It's really important to take pride in your roots." I told him all-knowingly, Aunt Sang reported.

I was on a roll, apparently.

Me: "So you say your name is John. Like, what's that short for? Jagdish?"

John: "Um . . . seriously. It's just John. Not Jagdish or anything . . . um . . . Indian."

Me: "Whatever." Sigh. "It doesn't really matter. Gosh my parents are going to LOVE you!" my twin exclaimed.

(Which I think would have been kind of a bunny boiler type of moment for anybody)

At this point, Aunt Sang says she was trying to just get my evil twin out of there, because she thought that kind of behavior was embarrassing. Which you know is bad if even Aunt Sang was embarrassed.

Uh - uh. Apparently not done yet.

Me: "So it was nice meeting you."

John: "It was nice meeting you too." (Yeah right, he was probably like - get me back to the Corcoran, and make it fast)

Me: "Well, you know, I have a number."

John: "Well, you know, I have a girlfriend."


And kids, this is the part that makes it a clincher that it was not ME, because apparently the next lines out of my impostor's mouth was:

"Well I don't see her anywhere." wink. wink.

Why, the nerve.

And your dad (ok, ok, your dad) said to me (ok the charade is up! yes, it was really me)

John: "Seriously, it was nice to meet you, but I DO have a girlfriend in California."

As luck would have it, I was fairly happy from all of the festivities that day so did not carry any eternal scars as your Aunt Sang and I made our way back to Arlington in our usual manner and probably snarfed down a pizza once we got home and passed out (but not before saying a bedtime prayer!).

Wait! So How Did it End?

A year to almost the day later, I was in Georgetown with your Auntie Roya, again doing volunteer . . . uh forget it. We were going to a new brand spanking waterfront bar that Raj (I don't know how he found the time! We all know he was committed to community work on Saturday nights!) was again tending bar.

I think it was related to charity or something.

John came up to Roya and I. They hugged and talked. Her sister was there and asked him if he was a Bollywood actor. I was a little hazy on who he was. My days at the Corcoran took up a lot of mental energy. And I had quite honestly, forgotten him, but I started recollecting that I knew him somehow . . .

John: "Do you remember meeting me at Ozio's last year?" Ahhh, it started to come back.

Me: "Oh yeah." Gosh so embarrassing. "You're the guy who won't admit he's Indian."

John: "Well, I don't have that girlfriend anymore."

Pause. I thought about it but there was only one thing to say . . .

Me: "Well go ahead and buy me a drink, Jagdish!"

And as they say, the rest is history . . . .

Craig and Sang - were even in our wedding after all those crazy rumors.


Monday, December 6, 2010

For You . . .

A few days ago, I posted a family video montage of a photo shoot our family did, courtesy of Julie Monticello.

The song that I had selected for the montage was one that I thought was so perfect for that day. If you haven't ever heard of the singer, Peter Bradley Adams, please acquaint yourself now. This song is so tender and everything I want to tell my children about what I hope they already know they can expect of me.

Even if things change over the years. Even as the years may change the relationship we have today as mother and children.

Even when they stop thinking I am cool (that's soooo haaging on a thread already).

EVEN when they piss me off to no end and start.

EVEN AFTER they come home with strange piercings and a respond to conversations where I am talking and they are smirking.

(Or maybe not smirking - maybe I am misjudging that arrogant little turn of the lips because of that new stud tongue ring they got put in . . . .)


So Nico is 16 months.

Shaila is 3.

I may have some time until the scenarios I am playing out comes to fruition but who the hell knows.

It all goes by so FREAKING fast. Especially my fleeting coolness. Or the very pretense of it.

But regardless of how or why things change, I think this song epitomizes what I hope they always know John and I will give them.

I watched a bootleg version of this on line. Peter said - "it's not a sad song. It's a love song. It just . . . sounds sad," as the sound of laughter met his song's introductions.

I disagree. I don't think it's sad. I think it's perfect. Just listen.

"For You" - Peter Bradley Adams

If your wandering ever leads you to a place where you don't know which road to choose leave your worries behind take the road that leads to mine and I'll be waiting there for you

If your dreaming ever wakes you and you find your dreaming wasn't true wipe the sleep from your eyes leave the nightmares behind and I'll dream a better dream for you

If your fortune ever fails you and you're down without a dime to see you through there's still luck that you can find you can have a piece of mine yeah, I'll make a wish for you

If your lover ever leaves you and you find yourself with no one left to lose you don't have to be alone take the road that leads you home and I'll be waiting there for you...

...I'll be waiting there for you

There are a number of eloquent young musicians out there - but I would add this guy to your playlist.

All rights to this song belong to Peter Bradley Adams - just wanted to give a shout out to an amazing lyricist whose songs have really touched my heart. Please take a trip to iTunes ASAP ;-)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

How I Met Your Father (A letter to my children in 3 parts)

Dear Shaila and Nico. I love you guys so much. You see me and your daddy together and we have some pretty amazing moments as a family.

Especially when it's not Sunday and your dad is not watching football.

Moving on . . .

One day I know you will ask about how your father and found each other and “collided” to then forge a life together.

So I wanted to explain a few things to you to understand what all of this really meant - and how you two beautiful (most of the time) beings have come into our lives.

Expectations . . .

Growing up as a second generation Indian-American, your Nana (My father) and your Nani (my mother) had great aspirations that I would follow the traditional path and custom of finding a nice boy through an arranged marriage. Of course, the boy would have to be smart, tall, preferably a Doctor or Engineer. Or just someone who had a job that sounded important. Looks would matter, but as long as he had all his teeth, I don't think your Nana and Nani would have cared too much.

I would then have my perfect little Indian family and I would learn great Indian recipes from my husband (The Doctor's) mother. The sound of the latest Indian movie or show would be blaring in the background as my little Indian children – my perfect little Indian children - danced and sang to Indian songs straight from Bollywood.

Of my own siblings, three out of four had arranged marriages. Your Mumma (mother's brother) in Florida is the only one who went against the grain and married outside of an arranged marriage and to a wonderful woman (your Beth Mammi) who is Irish American, full of her own rich traditions.

I am sure Indian mothers wept when my brother, a tall, handsome, Indian doctor, came off the market.

The Reality

I wasn't having it.

No sirree.

I loved my parents and loved my Indian heritage. But of my siblings, I was the only one born here. I grew up on Coke, episodes of “Three's Company” and lots and lots of MTV. I read romance novels and saw what true love could really get you.

I wanted to go to my prom. I wanted to get asked out on dates.

(This was problematic because no boys ever liked me in middle or high school).

But still! I knew that I wanted to choose my own life partner . . .

I think my parents were fairly certain they could break me of this. They tried several tactics/ Most of them involved yelling at me. Then it moved to quiet conversations about how I could “learn to love someone.” Then there were the statistics on Indian marriages and how few of them end in divorce.

Seriously?” I asked my father.

Of course, Beti (daughter). How many people do you know in our Indian community who are divorced?” Papa answered.

Can I ask you a question, Papa?” Rhetorical. You know I would anyway.


What is the average length of an Indian wedding ritual. You know. In India.”

Well, it could take a few days. Maybe 8 – 10 days. First, you have to . . . “

That's your answer.”

What answer?” my father asked.

Why Indian people don't get divorced. They would feel like jerks after making everyone spend 9 days of their lives to see it end in failure. Way more pressure than here. So what? You lose a day of your life."

"BIG Difference, Papa. BIG." I tried to sound like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" but that was lost on him.

Oh, Papa.

He didn't agree. But I am sticking to my point here.

So, see Shaila and Nico - there were a lot of things I was thinking about when I met your father, while your Nani and Nana were scheming (yes, scheming is the appropriate word) to figure out how to get someone to take their last kid off the market.

The next post is going to be about: How I Met Your Father, Part 2 - The Story I will tell you and you better believe. Like as in Santa Clause believe.

And then in Part 3, I will tell you everything. Since you can't read for a long time, I feel fairly secure in this. Plus I will not allow you on the internet till you are at least 16 anyway.

Love you with all my heart.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Great Giveaway - Funley's Stix in the Mud

I have an online shopping problem.

Like, BIG time.

My husband jokes about it relentlessly. But his jokes are not really “jokes.” They are more like “ha, ha, ha” look at my crazy wife kind of jokes.

It is no wonder that at the age of 3, my daughter Shaila shouts out “It's FedEx!” whenever the doorbell rings no matter what time of the day it is. Halloween was very confusing for her, as that was one of the few times she wasn't looking after the big white truck as it careened down our street.

The FedEx man is sneaky!” she says, even as I applaud him for his sneakiness – for perhaps it's another package I can just kind of “sneak” into the house unbeknownst to John.

A few weeks ago, a large box arrived. I had come home late from work that day, so was ambushed by both John and Shaila in unison.

What did you order!?” asked John.

Mommy, that FedEx man is so sneaky! He never lets me catch him!” she exclaimed.

I looked at the box on the table. It was big. Quite large, in fact. And I had NO CLUE what was in it.

My first thought was:

Have I drunk bought anything on Amazon lately?” This perhaps seemed like the most likely scenario.

After opening the box though, I discovered it was a shipment of some amazing products.

Ok – you guys know me. You know I don't review products or give away stuff. So this HAS to be good.

Kiran!?” John yelled in his best Ricky Ricardo voice. (Trust me, way less endearing than on Desi Arnaz).

I opened the box to find an assortment of treats from the Funley's “Stix in the Mud” product offerings.

Three flavors: Peanut Butter, Caramel and the Original Chocolate.

After John gave me some more dirty looks, he opened the Peanut Butter box.

"AUggh." gulp. "Myihbjh." gulp. "God!" Gulp. "What are these?" he looked at me in disbelief.

(Translation: Oh My God. Deliciousness.)

So here's the deal. What I received due to the amazing marketing team at Funley's was a sample of their FANTASTIC "Stix in the Mud" products. After I pried them away from my husband's hands, I gave them a better look.

Here are the details.

  • 100% all-natural
  • No preservatives
  • No trans fat
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No artificial anything
  • Whole grain flour cookie bits inside
  • Unique: homemade recipe cookie cluster
  • Salty-sweet snacking chocolate treat
  • Individually wrapped pieces for self-control
  • Kosher
  • Loved by kids ages 4 to 94
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: 100% recycled gable box

I know that of amidst all of the chicken nuggets (organic - of course!!!) I feed my children, that this goodness can somehow balance out those toxins.


So anyway, the treats were a hit. Neighbors, family, friends - of all ages fell in love with the things. I even found one friend trying to steal a box but I went kung fu on them and retreived said box (Thank god! It was Peanut Butter - my favorite! Although Caramel is a close second . . .)

So here is the deal. The gracious folks at Funley's Delicious have agreed to give away a few boxes, similar to my own, with 2 boxes each of the three flavors. If you are not good at math this = 6 (six boxes - 2 of each flavor).

To be eligible - it's all so darn easy. Like easier than watching bad shows on the CW.

1) Comment on this post (1 point)

2) Become a follower of Masala Chica (2 points)

3) You MUST "Like"Funley's on Facebook (3 points - email me if you do this and say "referred by Masala Chica" when you post on their wall)

4) Retweet this giveaway with the hashtag #Funleys. (2 points)

3 lucky winners will take away the prize. Trust me - it is so worth it. Just ask my husband, who finished the peanut butter boxes in two days. I kept finding him in the closet eating then. Yes. That IS weird. He still denies it, but we don't have a dog and other lame excuses are sounding pretty weak). But I am happy - the treats are pretty healthy and the kids are HUGE fans!

And if you DON'T end up winning (tragic, tragic - I know) you can buy Funley's Stix in the Mud at some Whole Foods or online from anywhere at




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