Dad, mom (me), nanamma (dad’s mom), Boys – 12 year old Ky and 8 year old Moksh.
Morning, I kill a cockroach in the sauna at the gym appropriately named, “Crunch”. A Swami (Hindu learned man) is visiting our temple this week in the evenings to give us a discourse on the 11th chapter of The Gita (Holy book of the Hindus). It’s my turn to make spicy rice for dinner just for tonight. 65 people’s food, nothing less nothing more I am told by the event coordinator over emails sent “with love and Om”. For the volunteers who unlike me are cooking for Swami’s meal, this is what’s mentioned. “Please note his diet restrictions. No Cauliflower / Broccoli / Potatoes / White Radish / Spinach / Garlic / Onions / Salad / No Toor Dal / Chana Dal / Urad Dal / Chickpeas / Kidney Beans / No Milk / No Sugar / No Jaggery are to be added. He is very precious to us.”
After shipping off the kids to school packing their lunches with heated up frozen paneer parathas (cottage cheese stuffed bread), I read an article that the McKinsey corporation estimates that knowledge workers spend a little over a 1/4th of the day managing emails. Even without a job, I manage to meet the statistics. I write to Ky’s teacher, “Wanted to thank you deeply for educating the kids and helping them navigate the delicate and confusing process of puberty. Thank you for covering all the angles, some of them so difficult for us as parents to even think of discussing with our children. 😜”
After sending that, I check it in the sent box an hour later and realize I meant to send this 😃 instead of the winky faced emoji with the tongue sticking out. Too inappropriate to send such a thing to a male teacher I lament to myself, and wonder for a while if I should send another email explaining my predicament.
I receive an email from a friend, with the subject, Jim Gaffigan Tickets: “I figured I’d forward this to you – Jim Gaffigan will be in Atlanta in November! This would be a fun group activity!” And I forward it to 20 people to ask them to go with me.
I send an email to Ky demanding why I don’t see his name in the below list of winners. “Congratulations to AMMS winners of the Georgia State Technology Competition.
[Redacted] – First Place in Internet Applications
[Redacted] – First Place in Audio Production
[Redacted] – First Place in Video Production
[Redacted] – Second Place in Digital Photo Production”
This time he doesn’t reply, “WTF, mom?”
In news, The US government is ordering passengers on nonstop, US-bound flights from a handful of mostly Middle Eastern and North African countries to pack electronic devices other than cellphones in their checked baggage.
In the memoriam section, one Mr. David Rockefeller, the banker and philanthropist with the fabled family name, controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade is dead at 101. Is this by any chance the same Rockefeller after whose name there’s a park in New York? Eh, who cares.
I read some “literature” on Medium:
“Truth happened to me. Abandonment followed. Authenticity was revealed and love rose from the ashes. Truth was in the shape of a bomb and my entire world as I knew it blew up in my face. The funny thing is, I set that bomb off. I lit that fuse and watched my whole life explode.”
I am like those people who claim they can’t imagine a life without YouTube, so I watch, How to rapidly (and permanently) transform my body by Mindvalley and South Africa’s Soccer League’s Mohammed Anas’ video where he thanks both his wife and his girlfriend and a How to video of simulating high altitude training – the oxygen advantage. Now I know how to survive in high altitudes but these newly acquired “skills” will have to wait to be put to use. Why watch, I often ask myself before returning for more of John Oliver and Sean Spicer spoof videos on SNL.
As we walk back from school at 2:30pm, Moksh tells me that if I can put salt on the back of a robin, then I will have bad luck and if I put it in front of it, I will get good luck. At home he throws some papers from his school folder at me: “Our School Governance Council voting window is now open! Please access the voting system by using the unique link that was emailed to you today with your voting information. Thank you for taking part in this important process. Happy voting!” I crush them into the paper bin. Later as he watches Studio C, Dude Perfect and Super Woman videos on his iPad, I get up to do the dishwasher. After a few minutes, he is hugging me from the back as I am bent over arranging the dishes. I turn to kiss the top of his head and he pushes me apart enough to stretch his arms out and asks me, “Were you always this fat, mom?”
In the evening, Ky takes a ride in his friend’s car to go spread mulch at the Presbyterian church because that’s what the scouts do once a year as a favor to the church for letting them use their facilities for meetings. Ky sings this to me on the driveway while waiting for his getaway car, his version of Justin Bieber’s song: “My mamma don’t like me and she likes everyone.” Moksh is standing next to his brother while he shouts at the top of his voice on the driveway. “Why are you sooooo white mom?” and without giving me a chance to blush or ask him to stop screaming, he asks his brother in the same breath, “Hey Ky is brown a race?”
I finish making masala rice, full of white rice and potatoes and pack it in two half trays. As the dad arrives from his job, he asks Ky, “how was Math today?” Then we drink tea (with milk) and discuss Goddess Gayathri, the role of a Brahmin in the society and the neighbor’s broken retention wall and jump into the car for the temple.
As we sit on the ground staring at him on the podium, Swami says, “You are planting the seeds of your spiritual growth, write these words down.” and so I do. “What is higher prakriti: Life in all of us, reflected consciousness from our mind is called jeeva. That enlivening factor within us is what is holding us. Brahman is all pervasive, who is infinite, subtler than the subtlest. Cannot been seen and experienced. It can only be experienced when it has a reflecting medium, our mind. This is called the higher prakriti.”
After the discourse I wait in a line to touch Swami’s feet with my palms and then touch my eyelids in reverence. We all leave for home, but not before my time came and I silently mouthed the words, “You were right Swami, I didn’t get one bit of what you told me about my Brahman.”
Continued on Tuesday