My guiding ‘Tara’

I know you are growing big and tall these days. You can reach the counter top in the kitchen on your toes. And can even turn the gas knobs off and on. You can also pick up my scarf from the top of the bookshelf. But here’s what you still cannot do; wriggle out of Mommy’s arms when she holds you tight and demands a big and long hug. I know soon you will get there too. But I won’t stop asking for my big and long hugs up until I die. So you better get used to them.
Last Tuesday, as my plane took off from Irvine, I looked at the ocean below me and got scared. My first flight was only little over ten years ago, but ever since then I have traveled enough. I have never felt the fear that struck me unexpected on Tuesday afternoon. What if this plane does not reach San Jose? What if Mommy doesn’t come back? What will Tara feel? How will she sleep that night? Will she miss me? Such grey thoughts clouded my mind. I dealt with those thoughts by watching your videos and photos on my phone for the rest of the flight. But I realized how my life is worth more than the credit I usually give it. And the reason for that is you.
You are the youngest, yet the most naughty kid in your classroom. You run with the two-year-olds as if you are as big and strong as them. You love french toast, dosa, pancakes, dal and rice, soups, hummus and muffins. You also love smoothies. You climb anything and everything. You even climb me. You are strong. You are fierce. You are loud and you talk a lot. It doesn’t make sense yet. But soon it will. You like recognizing things. You picked a bird, mouse, giraffe and minion from a pile of toys. You also love to pick a book (call it boo) and come sit in our lap and ask us to read to you.
You love my water bottle. I got you one for yourself. You still love mine. We both drink a lot of water together. It’s our thing. Sometimes Daddy joins us too. 
You love my hair. You want to play with them when you are drinking milk, when we are eating, reading, and even when we are going to sleep. You put yourself to sleep holding my hair and then I take your hand and put it in your hair. 
You love it when I act as if I am eating your fingers. Your giggle is the best I have heard and your smile is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Your eyes express, they ask me questions, they tell me when you are manipulating me and when you need me. 
You run, not walk. You play with dogs and sometimes get scared of them. You enjoy Krishna Auntie’s home made cookies on weekend mornings. You even sit on your chair and table to munch on them (coz Mama made a rule – no cookie if no sitting). 
You sleep through most long drives. You are mostly good when it comes to eating outside. You love people watching and attracting them to you. You initiate games with older kids. 
You are loved by your teachers. You are moody, like me. You are sensitive to other’s feelings and their moods. 
You love to climb on the daybed and watch outside your room’s window. The sycamore does not have any leaves yet. But we check it out every day and share notes. You spot airplanes from the window and yell (aipane). You also spot crows and point at them and say (co). You laugh easily. You fake cry and then check if we are watching. 
You can name all your classmates and the official turtle – Bubbles. You can climb the stool to wash your hands and throw trash in the bin when asked to. You love playing with the colanders in the kitchen and exploring the pantry. You love it outside in our patio. You also give cute owie reports to the official Owlie in the patio. Owlie protects us all from evil, is my storyline.
I cannot stop talking about you to whoever I meet. My colleagues think I am obsessed with you. I laugh a lot ever since you have arrived in my life. And I feel you are filling an abyss that had developed a few years ago. 
When I was walking from my parking spot to my desk, a beautiful breeze swept by me. I had experienced that breeze before. Long ago in another life. And for some reason, the breeze filled me with a lot of hope and happiness. I stopped and experienced the breeze for some more time. At that moment, I felt wonderful about where I am in my life. The last time I felt like that was when I walking to my office in Denver, the first day of my first job.
Tara, you are the breeze.
You are my guiding star. And I cannot thank you enough for showing me the way.
love, Mum

Fun with numbers

Talking about some numbers, here are a few to think about

I was born on July 4 and my Dad on July 26
I was married on June 4, and my Dad on June 26
I, born on the 4, have a daughter born on the 26th
My Dad, born on 26th, had a daughter born on 4th.
Stuti Masi and I were both married on a 4th
Sum of Mommy’s (4) and Daddy’s (1+3) bday dates is 4.

Tara, I am very happy to report that I accomplished 30% of my writing quote achieved in 2015, in just the month January.  More recipes, more anecdotes and more writing in general. I feel good.

Nostalgia

She was a bright and energetic woman in her late twenties . He was a tall and lean man with a stoop. He was very interested in what she was saying. His body was leaning over to hear her words. Her eyes were fixated at something far ahead. And he was content just watching her gaze from the side. She had the demenaor of someone about to save the world. And his was that of a proud father.

I ran into them for mere two minutes when I was waiting for the traffic signal to turn green. They were far away. Yet, I know their story. I know their relationship. I know that interest that only a father shows in his daughter’s ramblings.

The signal turned green and I had to drive on. And so I did. But they came soon. My fluid friends that love to roll and pour and trickle, just in time before the next traffic signal. And I sighed. At the opportunity lost. At the life we could have had. The joys we could have shared. The sorrows we could have divided. And the words that we could have exchanged. I will never be heard in the same way. I miss that stooping lean man who was interested in everthing I had to say. I miss my father.

Rewind…

Tara Rum Pum….

Oh my what a whirlwind these last two weeks have been.. And of course you know that as well as I do. Since you too, can now perceive and to some extent comprehend all the changes around you.  Technically at 20 weeks you are five months old. And that is quite a milestone. So lets see where things are at with you –

You love smiling at people.. be it your Nani during Facetime or your soon going to be class teacher at the day care.

You have turned from back to tummy. For me that is a HUGE milestone since I was expecting the reverse to come first. But at three months you did turn a few times from tummy to back and so I know you are aware of that possibility. And it is a matter of time that you will be rolling in all directions.

You are very anxious about food. A few more weeks to solids … yay!!

You are so eager to sit and get off your back. I am not surprised and would LOVE to take some credit for that. Get on your feet, get moving, break things, see the world. keep moving.. keep exploring 😀

Now that the report card section of this post is complete… lets us move on to other things.

So I wrapped up my second week at work and it has been FABULOUS! I feel I have arrived. At a company that always had a place for me – it’s just that it took me almost ten years to get there. And oh boy was the ride amazing or what! I would not have it any other way. And here I am enjoying sheer happiness to work somewhere you can truly contribute without being questioned about your “real” intentions.

Now that brings me to a mommy virtue. Enjoy the journey… it is more rewarding than the final destination. But you will only know that once you have arrived. So enjoy each step along the way. That is also how I want to enjoy you.

Parenthood is not to be feared. It is to be enjoyed. And if I fear what will happen when you start crawling or what will happen when you start solids.. then I am missing out on what you are doing today. I am happy to be prepared but not fearful of what is to come. We will dabble along this together and find our way.. As of now we don’t looks so lost 😀

You are going to start day care next week and I am confident you will do just fine. And if you don’t we will always have plan B. So not to worry on that front. 
You also attended your first hawan. I hope I did not exhaust you that day. You seemed fine. But I always worry a little on such days. I need to share with you why we do hawans and how much I love the fragrance of a hawan .. But we will leave that for another day.
It was great to have friends and family bless you on your first hawan 🙂 C&C flew down from San Diego and of course D&D were also here 🙂 
Your mommy missed her mommy and daddy a lot on that day. Like she always does on such events. The fact that just like me you will never meet your Nanu is disheartening. But hopefully every one else will fill in for him. I cannot tell you what you are missing on since he is not around. Coz I did not have a Nanu to enjoy either. 
On to happier things .. I am loving how much time daddy spends with you. You wil share a lovely bond with him . Just like I did with my dad.  
In two weeks Daddy and Mommy will both be back at work and our lil Tara will be on her own. That’s a tough thing to say. But then begins your journey. Of finding yourself. Standing up for what you want and how you want it. And most important developing relations outside your immediate family.
Tara, there is a lot of love to be enjoyed in this world. You just need to know which door to knock on. And remember to forgive. No one is under any obligations to make it all perfect for you. So thank those who try and forgive those who fail. 
Loads of love and hugs
Mum 

Shifting bases..

I wrap up yet another fulfilling tenure with a very very exciting company this week. For the past many weeks I am trying to swim upstream from a sea of reflective moments, learnings, nostalgic happenstances and warmth of the people who summed up my close to three years at this company.

 After almost seven years in technology consulting, when I moved to Salesforce to pursue what I thought was going to be a normal desk job, I had several fears. I was afraid of the monotony associated with such jobs. I wondered if I was cut out for sitting in one place for years at a stretch. I wondered if having one boss for longer than six months was something I will get used to. Or if working with the same set of people over and over again will bore me out. And I wondered if the job will be challenging enough to tingle my curiosities.

My role at Salesforce addressed all my fears without doubt. The thrill I experienced in my role surpassed that I derived from my consulting gigs. The joy of working with some very competent and the complexities of dealing with some not so competent people (very few) pushed me out of my comfort zone every single day. May be people find such comfort in their first job. But I only found it in my third. I felt in my skin. I was not being someone my manager wanted me to be. I was myself. Giving myself, my energy and applying my skills every single day and sharpening them with each strike. I did not have to dress right to make an impact or hide the truth from any one and put a mask on each day I went to work. I was not someone who was tagged in some resource management tool with a list of skills that she might/might not/could have. I was not to be presented to some client as an expert. I was given the time to become an expert and my expertise did not have to be a technology.

Salesforce gave me wings to fly and I used the opportunity to my best. I carved out my role over time to suit what I wanted to become. And my leadership supported me in every step. My thoughts were heard, my questions answered and my hopes ignited. I was loved and rewarded every single day. I was inspired and looked after even though I was a newbie to a team of veterans. I was encouraged and trusted with tasks of different complexities. I never felt like I was being tried. I was being nurtured.

Salesforce is a fabulous company. I regret not having the opportunity to spend more time building my career amongst such inspiring and respectable leaders. But I have a higher calling to respond to at this point in my life. My lovely daughter, one who needs me more than I need my career aspirations. I want to steal as much time as I can from my life to share with her. And the 52 miles of commute to the beautiful, vibrant and charming city of San Francisco will keep me away from her for far too long. And so as luck might have it, I found something close by. Something I am equally excited about.

To help Google build up its customer service support tools and enable the part of the company that is the face to the end user, is a great opportunity that I hope to enjoy in the coming years. Salesforce was a big company but I never felt lost in the crowd. I fear that might happen to me at Google. It is a much larger company. But at this point I am ok with getting lost in the crowd and being less significant, as long as I can be a good mom to my daughter. The gravity of her love is resulting in some realignments and I am happy with where things are finally taking base.

In the end we are all just nomads shifting bases from time to time to incorporate the new and ever changing world.

Your first Ashtami

Dear Tara,

You are four months old already. And yet you are just a tiny little munchkin. You are becoming more and more active and alert by the day. And I am loving this new phase where I understand you much better and can serve your needs and desires better.

We celebrated your first Ashtami yesterday. And the day was made even special with your Dadu and Dadi’s arrival.

 Now you will ask me what is Ashtami. So let us go ahead and simplify that for you. Twice a year, Hindus who are devotees of a certain goddess fast for a week or so and the fast ends in Ashtami (meaning 8th). Somehow Ashtami became this special day to treat all girls who have yet to reach their puberty, with royal goodies (aka food and gifts) 🙂

 I did not fast, or do any special prayers. But I love the significance of this special day. And it is a day that I always looked forward to as a child. And I hope I can make it special for you too 🙂 Let’s not talk about the religious aspect of it. Think of it as your own quinceanera that happens twice a year.

 Dadu Dadi brought soooooooooooo many goodies for you from India and your Mom did a little bit to make some yummy goodies (I hope you enjoyed them).

I won’t promise you the yummy food and goodies for all your life. But I will promise you my intent to make this day (or the weekend following it) special for you.

 It was fun making the poori, halwa and chole while I reminisced the many Ashtami mornings when my Dad would wash our feet and feed us halwa poori and bless us 🙂

God bless you my lil kanjak (lil girl)

love
Mum

Nani is leaving for India

Dear Tara,

Mom is really sad because Nani is leaving.
 😦 All I want to say is that I hope you are as sad when I leave you some day. What a meaningless wish. But you get the point. 

May I be half as good a Mom to you as my Mom is to me. 
We love Nani and we will miss her, her love for you, her cooking, her stubbornness wrt not eating non veg, her anal cleaning habits, her initiative, her self reliance and her selflessness. I have been a decent Mum these three and a half months since she did everything else. I just hope I can keep the trend. Or else she will be so mad at me. 
Lov Mum