As a new mom with a new little man in my life, I find my thoughts turning often this year, to the very first man in my life. My dad. My hero. The strongest man I’ve ever known (and the most handsome!). Some mornings I wake up, and find it hard to believe that it has been seven years since he passed away. My memories of him are still sharp and run seamlessly through my mind, forever imprinted in my heart.
I find that these priceless memories have turned bittersweet over time. Because they bring home to me, the painful reality that my son will never know his grandfather. He will never meet the man with the easy smile and quick temper who gave me my love of books. He won’t get to know the well read, knowledgable man who always had an answer to all my questions (he was my version of the google search engine growing up), whether it was a difficult question in geometry or a random question about world affairs. He won’t learn honesty and integrity from one of the most ethical and morally upright men I have ever known. He won’t learn to be strong and courageous from a fighter like his grandfather was, the man who never gave up in spite of all the odds against him.
I want my son to know these things about his grandfather. I also want him to know the little things that linger in my mind when I think of daddy, the things that make me smile once in a while. His brown uniform from his SRF days when I would sneak on to the road on my cycle, to wait for his office bus to bring him home. His strange love for western novels by Earl Stanley Gardner. The way he teased my cousins and put them at ease. The way he would insist on reading my Mills and Boon library books much to my mortification.
Even though his time on earth was short, my dad left a mark on everyone he met. My son Rohan will never meet him or know him. But I hope that I can tell him and show him how to be a good human being just like his grandfather was.
I just realized what a spoilt child I was. Growing up, I probably entered our kitchen just to grab a bowl for my morning cereal or to sneak bites of my patti’s famous (in our family) home-made chocolate.
After I got married in 2010, I furtively attempted to cook the occasional dinner, usually with disastrous results. My mother-in-law, who is a good cook, was kind enough not to tell me that I suck! After my husband and I moved to the US of A, I felt the need to cook and had the privacy to screw up (which I did often!), so I opened up “Cook and See,” the Indian cookbook series that my grandma insists is the bible for every south Indian who wants to cook.
A few hundred burnt curries and lumpy cupcakes later, I had suddenly gotten to be, well, a fair cook, since I dare not call myself a good one. But, as I gained confidence at cooking (it comes purely from screwing up so badly, nothing can be worse!), I realized that I have never felt the urge to experiment in the kitchen.
You won’t find me buying exotic spices at the middle-eastern marketplace or whipping out exotic casseroles from the oven. I am not driven to create art in the kitchen with a spatula as my paint brush. But my conclusion: I might not be able to whip up a Rustic tomato, basil and asparugus flatbread at the drop of the hat, but I can cook.
When I first started graduate school last fall, one of the hardest things to adjust to was, well, not writing in cursive. I found that many people in this country do not write in cursive, and I’ve been trying really hard to ‘print’ my letters. For anyone who isn’t familiar with cursive writing, it’s also called ‘joined-up writing’.
Believe me, it is kinda hard to change a writing style after nearly twenty years of swirling my D’s and looping my L’s. A quick solution would have been to switch from manual note-taking to carrying my trusty MacBook Pro to class every Tuesday and Thursday evening. Evernote would solve all my problems!
But some part of me really enjoys writing down notes the old-fashioned way, though I admit that the main attraction lies in punching, filing and color coding my notes every night in my big fat white ‘Marquette University’ three-ring binder. Such satisfaction! Give me a label maker and I’m in heaven!
After one year of telling myself ‘F’s are not inverted t’s’ and ‘don’t curl your A’s’, I’ve come to realize that I’m fighting a loosing battle. I am a cursive writer! I can’t change that and honestly I love it! So folks who wanna read my notes are just going to have to get familiar with the good old curls and swirls.