31

29 it is!

Another year older, another year gone by so quickly!

Yep, it was my birthday yesterday and I had a wonderful time with some of my favorite people.

Like all princesses, my birthday isn’t limited to a single day, but spans across the weekend. The celebrations started from Friday afternoon when my buddies at work took me out for a huge birthday lunch. They ordered a shot of Fireball and beer for me and the result was 10% of efficiency for the rest of the day. I kept myself awake at work by thinking of elaborate ideas to take a nap, but without real success. I should have taken a leaf out of George Costanza’s book of ideas like the hammock under his desk.

The celebrations extended in the evening when I went out for a Japanese dinner with Shawn, Alicia and a few others form the Softball team. I love Ramen and their Ramen was no exception and I really enjoyed the vegetable sushi as well after a very long time. I am not big on sushi because of a few wasabi related incidents in the past(fire in the brain and tears from eyes, nose and ears), but this sushi was quite good! Abhi, Nish, we have another new spot to go to! After the dinner, we headed to a real divey-dive bar, in Tustin where our group became bigger as more of our friends joined in. Now, it was a Karaoke bar with an open mic. We belted out quite a few songs like Bohemian Rhapsody, Sweet Caroline, etc. But the real highlight of the evening was the thorough butchering of Summer of 69 by Alicia and yours truly! I think we were hopping like bunnies more than singing! The DJ announced out that it was my birthday party and the entire bar was upon me to wish me.  We sang almost all the songs as a chorus to whoever was singing and by the end of the night, we had lost our voices. It was all worth it!

Saturday passed by in a whirl, where I did grown up things like laundry, vacuuming, renewing my apartment lease, crying at the depleting bank balance. I was expecting Abhi and Nish in the evening, but flight related incidents with their mom and sis postponed their visit to the next day. Shib called from Kerala after fighting with terrible phone network. I spoke to Hazra over video chat for quite a bit and the poor guy tried to order a cake for me which turned out to be a fail. I was so touched by his gesture and assured him that it truly was the thought that mattered to me! I headed out to the mall in the evening to use my discount coupons and birthday vouchers from stores that I may not shop full-price from. 😛 I ended my Saturday at the grocery store where I had an unexpected ego boost when the cashier gave me student discount without even asking me if I was one! To celebrate, I treated myself with some Chinese takeout. Yep, I love Asian food!

I spent most of my Sunday being lazy and talking to friends on the phone. Thank you Moo and Ani for the infinite wishes, and so much love to Ani’s Jonah for the cutest message ever for his PB Maasi! The xBF also called and we spoke for a long time. It truly made me happy and very satisfied that we now trying to get to a stage that we can joke and laugh and look back and look ahead without ruining our moods and dissolving into tears. It was good. Abhi, Nish showed up late afternoon with some absolutely yummy desserts and I finally cut my birthday cake/dessert and got to make a wish by blowing out the candle. Well, I think I forgot to actually make a wish! The day ended with another FaceTime chat with the folks.

Monday came bright and early and really hot with 100 F or 40 deg C and 9% humidity. More friends from work took me out for lunch and we had Thai food. Did I already mention that I am a sucker for Asian cuisine? I skipped gym yesterday and chilled at home with my friend Adriane to watch the presidential debate. We had my birthday dinner at Maggiano’s Little Italy and celebrated with the group of friends that I call the OC squad! Of course, the prime members are Shawn and Alicia. 😀

It was the culmination to a fabulous, celebratory weekend and I couldn’t be happier. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by people who love me, care about me and keep me in their thoughts and prayers. No one can take the place of my parents, my family, but my friends come very close. I feel grateful.

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I have entered the last year of my 20s. I am determined to make it worthwhile. I want to do everything so that I can look back and say that I ended up my 20s with a bang. God willing!

22

Pseudo-memories

Let me start by saying that I have a great memory where I can embarrass an elephant into invisibleness. I can remember small things and details and bring up age-old incidents during fights and arguments. I remember important incidents of my life vividly, and my many firsts!

I was reading some stories on Reddit, and lately I have been obsessed with those. Some comments made me very nostalgic. I could feel the rush of my childhood in my mind and heart. But some part of it was what I call pseudo-nostalgia. I could feel that warmth and the feeling that ‘that’ has happened, but I, for the life of it, could not remember that incident or the moment when that haze of a memory was created.

I have an amazing father. I have written so many times about him and that I am very close to him. We have an odd thing going on with us right now and some distances from my side, which will hopefully go away soon. He has done a lot for me since childhood and has been a wonderful daddy. One thing that comes to my mind is how he has picked me up while walking when I was tired. But I can’t remember when he carried the asleep me to bed from the living room. I am sure he has done that. I wish I remembered that.

But what I remember is the absolutely goofy look and glinting eyes and the lopsided tongue that a very young puppy, our Moony, used to have when any of the three of us would carry him like a baby around the house and talking/singing ‘Majhi rani beti, majha raja bachcha’(My little prince/princess). Then he grew super heavy. 🙂

My mom told me this super cute story the other day when we were driving to San Diego. I used to love going to the zoo. Mind you, the zoo in Indore was rather crappy, and after a few years I lost total interest in them and in circuses and I grew more aware and repulsed by them. Eventually, now I am one of the many signatures demanding releasing animals from circuses and better habitat in zoos. So, we used to go to the zoo on my dad’s Bajaj scooter standing in the front. I would be dressed in my best summer frock and I would insist on a small picnic. Many times it would just be me and my dad. I would insist on carrying this small rectangular picnic basket and I always had a water bottle and hat in it as well. Because I would want to eat something rather than actually getting hungry, my mum would pack exactly 4 homemade chaklis, which are these fried spirally snacks. Yet, I would ask for something or the other at the zoo cafeteria. Every single time. And my dad had to buy some sort of soda or snack to shut me up. In fact, this habit is legendary where however well fed and watered I was, if we went out, I had to buy something and so it was nightmarish for my dad to take me out. Now I remember the zoo time, but I don’t remember these details that I really want to!

The other memory I want to have is how I felt after I wore my first pair of glasses. I had really, really screwed up vision. I used to do quite bad academically because I could not read the writing on the black board and had nothing to copy down. I would have incomplete writings or nothing to write down for tests. When we moved to Delhi, my class teacher in Grade 1 noticed my constant walking to the blackboard and notified my parents. They took me to the doctor and I can remember having an ice-cream after and my parents being very upset. They did not have glasses until the regular age related reading issues. And when my bad vision was detected, I was already at -3 or -3.5, which is quite a bit for most myopics. I shouldn’t even mention my prescription now, when I am almost blind without glasses or contacts. I have heard of stories about people saying “Oh, the trees have individual leaves!” or “Wow, the clouds have shapes!” and even “The stores have names on them!” after wearing their first glasses. These are not exaggerations. If you don’t wear glasses, you have no idea how fukin’ minblowing things can be when you can see sharply again. I just wish I could remember my moment of clarity!

Guys reading this, you may feel a li’l awkward although you shouldn’t and if you really don’t, I am happy to see some normalcy. I can’t remember the time I actually, for reals, got my first period! I remember the second day because we had a school picnic to a water park and I resisted for a long time and then just said fuk it, I am getting into the water. I am sure I wasn’t too shocked because I was in 8th grade and I had had plenty of sex-ed and menstruation lectures by then. It was just like Uh-oh, so finally it has happened to me. But it became way worse after the first cycle because then I started getting horrible cramps that feel like death. Something more embarrassing about getting my menses was my mom telling my dad ‘PB badi ho gayi’(PB has grown up) and him laughing. I wish I could have disappeared.

I don’t care about the rest of the boyfriends to worry about their memories. But I can’t pinpoint the exact time when the xBF and I actually mutually knew we had fallen for each other! It is such a big timeline between September 2010 and January 2011 when things took flight between us. I remember sharing moments, that turned into ‘Shit, I am falling for this guy!’ to spending time with him and stolen hugs and kisses. While leaving for India in Dec 2010, he gave me a quick and secretive peck on the cheek and I don’t know if our friends saw that. That was also the time I was mentally and emotionally very unbalanced and immature because of losing a friend, which in retrospect was a really good thing that happened to me, and I should have handled it better, but I gained the xBF after that upheaval. So good riddance to bad rubbish! But oh dear Lord, I wish I could remember the precise moment when both of us thought that yep, screw friendship, we are more than that!

So many such incidents, that I know have happened and I have a foggy idea. But how I wish I could see them clearly.

Memories are like clouds,
Shape shifting treasures.
Some very clear and some blurred,
With bitter-sweet pleasures.

19

Birthday No. 28

So, I am a 28 year OLD lady as of Saturday, Sept the 26th.

A giant big thanks to everyone who wished me. It made me feel very special and Princess Butter appreciates every bit of that.

My parents sent me the cutest homemade card on Powerpoint which had a picture of me and Moony. We skyped a couple of times on Friday and Saturday.
My day of celebration had already begun on Friday afternoon with my birthday starting in India at that time. My R&D group took me out for a team lunch to Lucille’s which our usual watering hole. The team is so awesome that hanging out with them is always fun. After the lunch, I came back to my cell phone to a barrage of missed calls and texts from the best friends. I managed to sneak out of office for some minutes to have a nice chat with Hazra.

I had to go to the mall after work to return something and I ended up breaking my shopping ban. Once more. But I found the perfect skirt at H&M for Ani and Moo’s bday gift top and it just had to be bought!

Friday night saw more Skype sessions with parents, this old friend Sayali, calls with Shib, Ani, Moo. My last bday wish was from Ted who decided it would be perfect to tell 60 ‘lies’ on my bday to make me happy, ranging from how nice I am to how I am not weird at all. 😀

Saturday dawned bright and early, with me waking up with princess-ey stretches a la Bollywood actresses. No. It dawned sharply at 7 am with a call to Shawn that “I donttt wannnaaa get upppp!” But I did get up and I headed to the beach at 8 am with Shawn and Melissa. It was cloudy till about 10 am and got super sunny after. We were there till around 10.30 am. 11 days of sun in Turkey have not done what those 30 min did to my skin with respect to tanning. I have clear demarcation where the clothes were and a tan line and it’s so ridiculous! California sun, y u so harsh?!

Corona Del Mar and the glorious California September

I got back from the beach to an awesome surprise! I had a package from Sheri’s berries with chocolate dipped strawberries!! Shib and Hazra sent it to me and that was such a ‘awwww’ moment. 

I showered and ate a bit and I took a nap for, err, 3 hours after. I had a bday dinner with friends at 7.30 pm at an Indian restaurant. The ‘Merican friends love Indian food so that was a great choice of place. Aaand I got 2 bday cakes! Yay for that! A funny thing happened though. The waiter decided to sing Happy Birthday song in Hindi to me, ‘Baar Baar ye din aye’ and proceeded to totally mis-pronounce my name 😀 Friends who don’t know Hindi were obviously clueless but quite amused. I really, really enjoyed my dinner with people who rate quite high in my life as friends. A few drove over all the way from San Diego or LA and that made me feel so special, I can’t even explain.

After the dinner, Abhi-Nish, Madhuri, her roommate Akansha, and I drove over to LA because we were going to spend the night over there. Why were we in LA? We had tickets to Arijit Singh’s concert!! The concert was on Sunday evening and it was a total blast! To be honest I wasn’t such a huge fan and I was not expecting much. But he sang his songs, and KK-Emran Hashmi’s songs that were a rage when I was in college, and a few other hits. The orchestra mixed it up a bit to make the hit numbers peppier. We ended up standing and dancing for the last one hour to Kabira(Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani), Samjhawan(Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya), and a few more. It was the most fun dancing to his renditions of Gangster, Jannat, Murder 2 songs. All in all, it turned out great fun. We got home by 12-12.30 am and here I am in the morning guzzling down coffee at work. Thank God Dennis is not in today.

Arijit Singh live!!

  
I had a great birthday full of happiness, a lot of laughter, happy tears, and all in all, a lot of joy. I spent the weekend with my people, and with gifts from my people back in Pune that made me feel closer. I feel that I have finally stepped out of the fog and in general, I am in a better mood now. I find myself smiling more often, laughing more freely, and feeling sad a lot less. Now if only someone tells the skin and hair to stop ageing, it will all be perfect. I am NOT ready to start anti-ageing regime mentally. I anyways got told that my mental and physical age doesn’t seem to match, and I am perfectly happy with that, thank you very much.

18

As my heart speaks (Guest post by the Father)

My dad wrote this and sent it to me over the weekend. I have no words to explain how I feel when I read it. It is the most beautiful, heartfelt tribute I have ever seen.
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As my heart speaks.

20th July 2015. The fateful day on which our dearest Moony left us. He left behind an empty life for us. Didn’t you realize that dear Moony? On that day I lost part of my life, an important part of my body. He was integral part of my life. How could he leave me?

15 years. That was the time he was with me all the time showering selfless love. That sometimes made me feel ashamed as we all do the things with some return in mind. But not he. For him it was only giving. Giving affection, love and pleasure. He drove away my stress, my worries. He gave me pleasure as a yogi gets in trance. He was pure love and joy personified.

15 years. That was the time I watched him grow. That was the time I also watched my daughter grow. I could never separate them. I watched his early playful days. I watched him getting matured and I watched him getting quieter. As I watched him, he also watched me and took my care. How could you leave me now?

15 years. During this time we took care of each other. Who took more care? Me or he? I can’t tell. Our friends and relatives say we took good care of his for all his life. Is it? In fact he took care of me. Yes, I used to rush to the doctor at the slightest discomfort he seemed to face. I tended him when he was not well. Administered medicines religiously. That was all. But whenever I was not well he was around all the time speaking through his eyes and asking me to get well and play with him. He never left me alone when he realized I was having some trouble. The way he received me when I was brought back from hospital after my operation last year cannot be described. He did not move from my bed. Why did he move away now?

15 years. He was always around. I always felt his warmth and his touch. Touching his coat was heavenly pleasure. I could never get sleep unless he pushed me with his paws. The touch of his body and softness of his luxurious fur was the gift from God. How will I run my fingers through his coat now?

15 years. That was the time. Long or short. These are relative terms. This is a short time for us. I did not like his leaving us so soon. I am getting angry with him for leaving us so soon and when we needed him more. How could he do that?

15 years. We celebrated his each birthday with joy. It also used to make him happy. He was in a critical state of health and great pain on his 15th birthday. He knew we had decided to celebrate. We called relatives. In spite of his problems he did not disappoint us. He celebrated with us enduring extreme weakness obliging with photographs. Then he decided to say goodbye. Next day! He cared for our feelings till last.

I am a great believer in rebirth. There is no doubt, dear Moony, we will again live together in the next birth with more love and affection. More than this birth. The God will have to grant this wish.

Can’t see anything, can’t write now. My eyes are moist. I know he never liked that. I will hold back my tears. 

Daddy and his boy… Such handsome men!

  

14

Our world of four people…

It has been a week since Moony has passed on. There have been so many sweet memories that he has given us. Mom and Dad and I have been spending time video chatting since his birthday, recalling everything. When I had called at the night of his birthday, we sat down and spoke about his 15 years. That was the last time I saw Dad still hopeful, but yet, we were starting to prepare ourselves for the inevitable. The next morning on 20th when they woke up, the hope was going dim. He finally passed on at around 10.30 am.

Out of the gazillion sweet and sour and a few exasperating memories that he has given us, I would like to share one and why Dad thinks he is like Ganesh(the Indian god of happiness and prosperity).

My parents and I had gone for a little trip to Sinhgad fort and Kamshet lake near Pune. If I am not wrong, I think I was in high school at that time and Moony must have been 3-4 years old. We did the whole trek to the top of the fort with our doggie in tow, who had a really weird habit of going ahead everywhere as if he is a sniffer dog or something and like it is his duty to protect us from any harm that could come our way. Due to his this habit, he may have been getting really tired. It was also summer time and it was quite hot. We roamed around on the top and then got back down after eating lunch over there.

After that, we stopped at Kamshet lake, and did another very long walk to get to the boating area. While climbing on the rocks to get to the lake side, we noticed that Moony had started slipping a bit and looked like he was holding his one rear foot up. He has had leg troubles since he was about a year old. It is partly due to his heavy labrador weight genes and partly due to a possible vaccine side effect.

So, noticing that, my dad decided to stop on the rocks and he asked my mom and I to go ahead for the boat ride. Moony was a completely Momma’s boy. Even if it was Dad and me and him in the car and Mom got out to go to a store, he would keep crying. And it wasn’t a cry-cry, but like this low, annoying whistle and after every few whistles, he would give out a shrill yelp. Constantly! It would look like we were torturing him or something. You know when someone really wants to cry but all the crying is done yet they are still trying to cry, it used to sound exactly like that.

As Moony saw that me and mom were walking away, he started yelling. A proper full fledged shrieky cry. Mom and me ignored that and got into the boat. He saw that and God knows what happened to him, he started dragging my dad who was holding his leash. Moony was almost choking with his collar against his throat, and my dad was getting dragged on the slippery rocks and freaking out that he was going to fall, but nothing could stop Moony. Finally around a 100 footsteps away from the boating area, my dad left his leash and Moony just bolted, ran onto the docking area, and promptly jumped into the boat. It was a 12 seater and there were around 8 people in it including us who were so shocked to see a dog jump into the boat! My dad reached us and clambered into the boat and that’s it. Moony plopped down happily by his mommy’s feet and everything was right with his world again! Who has seen a dog enjoy boating before? And not just this, he has been in a diesel fueled, really basic fish crawler boat to see dolphins with us in the Konkans, Maharashtra coastline.

Dad remembers this story from Indian mythology about Ganesh and Karthikeya with their parents Shiv and Parvati. When asked to take a round of the world for some competition, Karthikeya sat on his peacock and started his long journey. Whereas, Ganesh made Shiv and Parvati sit on their seats, and just took a round around them. His parents were his world.

We were Moony’s world. And he was our’s.

Our little boy, forever and always...

18

The month that was

Hola! I am back to the big, bad USA and I am still incredibly jetlagged. My trip was not that short, but it feels like it was. My H1B got stamped till 2017, so yay for that. I went to Vadodara for a work visit and I took my mom along leaving dad and Moony at home. It was a huge break for her and she thoroughly enjoyed her stay in the 5-star hotel. She has been telling all and sundry about the awesome Taj hotel. Plus I took her out for a dinner date to Mainland China and she was sooooo happy! Dad is feeling better and needs only one cane to walk now. He drove for the first time while I was there. It was a huge improvement. During my first week in India, we went to Mumbai for my visa interview and he got to leave home for the first time since his surgery in August, barring the hospital visits. He was very drained but he felt so good! Moony is happy, but age has definitely caught up with him. We have to give him a quarter NSAID every day. The doctor said that giving him a painkiller daily will make his remaining time comfortable atleast. It is very very sad to see him shiver with his arthritic pain. But he is a happy bunny otherwise.

Last few days, my mom kept wondering aloud about how short the trip seemed. I am not going to post a giant travelogue but I want to list a few highlights from the trip.

The Good :

· Mommy, Daddy, Moony! New home! It is lovely! It is small, cozy, all white with nice balconies. Most importantly, it is ours!

· I ate tons of food! I had a lot of chaat, and visited new and old restaurants. My mom made everything I loved. I made a few things for lunches that I had learned.

· My Vadodara visit was very fruitful work-wise. My mom was insanely happy and thoroughly enjoyed her stay and the flight and the train trip. I loved the train ride back. I usually get the most amazing sleep on a train berth wrapped up in their blankets and sheets.

· We spent half a day in Ahmedabad and we shopped a bit at Law Garden. It brought back so many childhood memories. I was in luck and since it was Uttarayan season, our Gujarati Thali had Undhiyo and Jalebi. Gosh I miss that stuff! Highly recommend Toran for a good thali.

· We went to Siddhivinayak in Mumbai. I make sure to go there every time I am in Mumbai. We took a little leverage thanks to Dad’s walker and managed to get VIP darshan. Bwahahaha!

· Mumbai has the best cops and the best taxi and rickshaw drivers. The best. And Pune? The worst!

· I was very happy that my friends made some time to do a day trip to Adlabs Imagica. It has a lot of rides that are similar to Disneyland and Universal Studio rides. But the way it is built and run, is very impressive. It is following International standards easily. Some of the rides were truly thrilling and only Saipan was brave enough to do it with me. And Moo walked into a pole there and was retired hurt. I was worried about what if she starts saying “Main kaun hoon? Main kahan hoon?”

· Hazra and my breakfast at Wadeshwar on FC road after our Dagdusheth Ganpati early morning darshan. Plus I saw Ganpati fresh-fresh after his bath without his usual silk drapes and ornaments. He looked so adorable.

· I have recently re-connected with a school mate with who I used to do elocution and recital competitions. He picked me up from home and we went to have dinner on new year’s eve to Vaishali. He figured that was the classic-est place to take me and I approve. Vaishali’s Indian food is extremely famous and so good. It was a regular b’fast spot for me when I was in Junior College.

· I managed to not contact the xBF. Except a ‘happy new year’. To which he replied ‘happy new year’. How interesting.

· I met an ex bf and finally accepted his fb request and managed to keep it all clean. (We were famous for our on and off relationship thanks to our chemistry. Ahem.) I got told off by Ani and Shib for meeting him.

· I took Mausi-Mausaji and cousins to BBQ Nation as my treat. What Paneer man! Yum!

· Moo and Ani came home! Moo and I got thrown out of a children’s park. We were escorted out by 4-5 men making sure we don’t go back in. I went to Moo’s place and had the yummiest Nagercoil style egg curry ever.

· My best friends Hazra, Shibin and Saipan have once again re-iterated the fact that they are family and will always be there for my parents and I can stay in peace here. I love them to no end.

· My new year resolution is to make constant efforts to stay in touch with the besties. Hazra, Saipan, Shib, Ani and Moo. But it needs to be a two-way effort. But I will try my best.

· I went to India and came back unmarried. Booyah! 😀

The Bad :

· The saddest thing to happen was the loss of a parent by my best friend. I cannot fathom how deep his sorrow must be. Shibin lost his father to a heart attack. It happened in a few minutes but it changed lives. I was glad I could be with my friend at a time like that. He called me later to thank him. But there were no thanks needed. He is family. I gave my parents a big hug after I went home.

· Seeing Moony age, and new lines on my parents’ faces.

· That nagging feeling of leaving home and going so far away that all expats face. All the time.

· My parents questioning about why I am not yet ready to start looking for boys. They asked if I was still hopeful about Scube and if they want me to contact him. I lied through my teeth that it’s all over, and I have no hope.

· The xBF made no contact with me. Inspite of me checking in on FB and making it very obvious that I was in Mumbai, Pune and Lonavala.

· I fell horribly sick for a week with a terrible cold and sore throat.

· I was unable to meet so many people thanks to the above mentioned illness and the trips to Mumbai and Vadodara. So sorry Bhakti. Other than that, I got contacted by so many people to meet and it was quite impossible. Random people from BE who I have never spoken to wanted to meet me. So weird. Except this girl Esha with who I got along fine in college. A year and half back also she wanted to meet and this time also she commented on my Instagram to meet her. I feel weirdly sorry that I could not meet her.

The Ugly :

· I have gotten off a very high horse regarding friendship. I feel humiliated by the total lack of concern shown by a couple of friends over even texting or acknowledging that I was in India. I do not expect a call from them because even I am on a texting term with them in the group. But the complete lack of response to anything I say or to my being in India made me feel very insulted. I had taken some gifts for them to give when I met them. One was supposed to come to Imagica with the group. But she cancelled at the very last moment and for something she knew about long back. Why even make a plan then? Or have the guts to say it in the group and not call a friend and tell him in private. I am so done with that group. It makes me very glad that I did not go for their weddings. (On a more evil note, I regret even getting them wedding gifts. Hmmpphh). It’s like, kehne ke liye friends. Baaki they don’t give a hoot about me. What is the point of such friends when you don’t feel the warmth. Esha seems to be more concerned about me than these so-called friends. Maybe that’s why I feel that guilt over not meeting people who actually wanted to meet me.

Anyways, now I am back to office and oscillating between pure dread about the work that lies ahead and sheer laziness. I miss home. I want to be back with my parents. But there is no point saying that. But I am also glad to be back. Friends at work rushed in to my space to tell how they missed me. It was nice to hug my car. She definitely missed me and I missed her. Also, I am glad to back on the blog. I have read most of the posts when I was home, but could not comment. I wish I could do the 30 day challenge! But next time.

So, bye for now. See you guys later!

11

Being a Cosmozen

I have three email ids that I use apart from my office email id. A yahoomail, which was my first and now used for facebook and offers and such spammy stuff, my gmail, which is for all contact purposes and another gmail, for my blog. My id on yahoo has the word ‘cosmozen’ in it. I had read the late Kalpana Chawla, a great astronaut that I respect and admire, use this word to describe herself and for being ‘a citizen of the universe’. I found it very apt to use it for myself, because I believed I did not really belong to any particular place in India. I have always had trouble answering when people asked me where I was from. I moved to Pune in 9th grade, so now I can comfortable say that I am from Pune(and I love the sound of it!).

A lot of people ask me about my family’s origin. My family has been pretty nomadic since the beginning. All of my family members are far flung across half of India. I would like to document what I know so that someday I can show this to my next generation when they get confused where they are from originally, just like me!

Beginning from my mother’s side, which is a little more complex than my father’s, she has lived most of her life as a single woman, with her 3 sisters in Ajmer, Rajasthan, where I was born too. My mom’s great grandfather belonged to Ajgaon(Ratnagiri district in Konkans), Maharashtra. He moved out of it in search for jobs. My Ajoba(grandfather) was born in Mahitpur, Madhya Pradesh, and grew up in Indore(Madhya Pradesh). Then, he got a job in the Indian Railways and moved to Fasilka, then Punjab, now Haryana. My Aaji(grandmother, was born and brought up in Akola(Jalgaon district), Maharashtra. After their marriage, he moved to Rajasthan. My aunts (and the other babies who did not make it), were born and brought up initially in several Rajasthani villages/towns like Surajgarh Shekhawati, Naraina, Sanganer, Sikar, with mom being born in Akola, and finally settled in Ajmer where my Ajoba built a wonderful house where I spent my happy first 6 months and then several summer vacations. Two of my aunts are based in Jaipur and one in Ratlam(Madhya Pradesh).

My father’s family hails from a village called Raver(Jalgaon district), Maharashtra. A century ago, my great grandfather moved to Indore for his job in the collectorate office. My Appa(grandfather) was born and brought up in Indore, while my Aaji was born and brought up in Akola, just like my other Aaji. My grandfather worked and retired as a principal and English Master of the biggest Marathi high school in Indore. Indore has a very prominent Mahrashtrian population, with their own Marathi Samaj and their events. There are Samajs(if that is a word) in Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad also. My father and his three siblings were born and brought up in Indore itself and went to the said school. My dad says it was very embarrassing to be in the same school where my grandfather worked. All his mischiefs were reported straight to his father! Haha!

My cousins are widely spread in Jodhpur, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, and in Southern California.

My parents had an arranged marriage in Indore. I started living in Indore in my 8th month. We moved to New Delhi(1st to 2nd grade), Ahmedabad(3rd to 5th grade), back to Indore(6th to 8th grade), and finally in Pune(9th grade to BE). Now I live in California, but I can confidently say that I am from Pune. In my 11th and 12th, my dad lived in Mumbai alone for a job he had there. For the record, my father and his extended family are the only people with the surname in the world. It could have been Raverkar, but instead is a really weird name, that sounds like a food item. My dog was born in Indore and brought up in Pune. Well, he is a part of the fam, so needs to be documented too.

With my family living in so many different places, there have been various advantages and disadvantages. I am not going to count the disadvantages now, because I have already posted about it earlier, and I am trying to move away from them and see only the positive picture now. We have experienced so many parts of India. My mom cooks wonderful food incorporating Mahrashtrian, Rajasthani and north Indian flavors in her recipes. Only my dad’s Marathi is perfect, like all his other language skills, including Gujarati. My mom’s Marathi and mine, well, is like a newbie talking. Our hindi is perfect and is the primary language we converse in at home. My dad speaks to me often in Marathi. But when my mom does, it sounds very unnatural, and I feel like she is going to scold me for something. Living in so many different places, we have experienced amazing cultures like, Dilli ka soft and succulent Paneer and chaat, A’bad ka kite flying, fafda-jalebi and the wonderful dandiya, Indore’s unmatched street food and sweets, and my most favorite school, and finally Pune’s lively Mahrashtrian cultural mix and the youthful energy. I feel lucky that I have experienced so many flavors in my lifetime and hopefully will continue experiencing the same. It makes a great conversation starter and has made me a bundle of anecdotes and stories. Maybe that is the reason I love travelling so much and being all touristy or nomadic. We made it a point to see everything we could around the parts of India we lived in.

So, when I read Kalpana Chawla using the term ‘Cosmozen’, I felt very drawn to it. It makes me feel belonged and grounded, but not tied to down to a spot. It makes me feel like I am flying, yet my feet are rooted to a place I call home. I may be a jetsetter in the future, and I feel ready to face it with happiness and a thirst to experience it all.

I shall welcome any travel with open arms!

Writing this post left me with such a warm and fuzzy feeling for some reason. Whenever I feel lost and uprooted, I am going to come back and read this post, to remind myself of why ‘Cosmozen’ is such a cool term.

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Happy Birthday Moony!

It was my sweetie pie’s b’day  on 19th July 2012. He is a big old guy now.

My dad celebrated in style and got him a bouquet! Haha… He sniffed at it, and just as dad was taking a solo pic of him on the sofa with the flowers, he dropped it on the floor…. Such a sweet nut he is! Mom made a basic cake for him, which unfortunately did not rise… Mum still has not gotten a feel of the temperature settings of our new microwave…. But Moony and we love her food nevertheless… 🙂

I remember his b’day in 2009, just a couple of weeks before I left for USA…. We had put streamers and stuff for him…. 🙂 Oh, how I miss him…. My <3…..

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Flowers and cake for the b’day boy!