Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Let love lead us, love is Christmas.

Christmas is almost here.
And my heart is bursting a little at the seams. With happiness and thankfulness and joy.

We have a little bundle of joy due in the family anytime now - Muzu and Tabby....we just cannot wait to see you become parents! You will be more perfect than you can imagine!

Amrith and Addy are here with us, right after their crazy fun wedding in Calcutta and just before flying back to the UK. A whirlwind stopover, just to be with all of us.
It feels like home.

Mum and Dad are coming. Soon.
And then all my angels will be in one place again.

I have girls who love me. My girls.
With their cameras and to-do lists, they are mine.
You know who you are.

I have my Leah.
I have her. She is mine.
She is my noisy place, I am her safety. She is my cheeky grin, I am her hug goodnight.

And then there's my boy.
Who this year, wholeheartedly supported one of my biggest decisions to leave a 10-year banking career and follow my heart. He knew I could before I did.
He takes off my glasses when I fall asleep with them on. He goes grocery shopping on his own when he knows my hands are full. He sings my praises when I am unsure of myself. He holds on to my feet when all the balloons I hold in my hands, tend to lift me slightly off the ground.

Ara, you made me the happiest girl in the world and you continue to do so, in so many little ways. You are my I love you.

So Christmas is here.
From a humble stable where a little boy was born, to the love it brings to all our hearts today. To quote a favourite family hymn, 'Love it was that made us and it was love that saved us.'
Love is Christmas.

This song, 'Love is Christmas by Sara Bareilles', is a favourite of mine - it says all the most important things about the season..the stuff that matters.

I am thankful for good health, friends, family, love and happiness.
And as always, we pray for these blessings to be echoed to all who need them, all around the world. May 2015 be the year that the world remembers how to live. And how to love.

Merry Christmas everyone. From me and mine, to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Troubled times.

I do not understand anymore.

There is much happening in this world, my world. On a world stage and within my inner circle as well. Things that I do not understand, things that hurt and have left me stunned and wide-eyed and holding back tears all at the same time.

In Sydney, innocent people were held hostage when they went to get their morning coffee. In Pakistan, a school was attacked. Children were murdered. 
There is little or no tolerance for people who are considered different. LGBT, have birth defects, are victims of war syndromes, abuse, slavery...there is no tolerance. Religious or otherwise. 

I sometimes feel my faith in humanity dwindling. I regret the world I live in, the world my little girl will grow up in. I feel my temper rise when I hear people make callous judgements on rape and abuse victims. I felt my heart ache when I saw a loved one with a disease that meant no one wanted to get too close. My soul feels heavy when I am part of a crowd of people who rally together, to walk in silence, for a cause they believe in.

But these are big things.

I feel empty and hurt when in our own, daily lives – we take each other for granted. We say and do things, we cannot take back or undo. We act without thinking. Of consequences, of feelings, of people we supposedly care about.
We do not stop to think.

No, I’m nowhere close to perfect. But that isn’t the point and completely not where I’m going with any of this.

Yesterday, on a social media forum, we spoke about how the Pakistan hockey team acted rather disgracefully after a win against rivals, India. We also spoke about how the Indian spectators treated the Pakistan team during the game. Again, disgraceful.
But what stayed with me after this online conversation, was one comment - “they deserved more hostility”.

How, on any level, can this possibly be correct?
How can that be the way we think, or the way our brains are conditioned to be?

I realized that it was more than just that conversation about a hockey game. It is the way we have come to look at life, in our own little spaces. With hostility.
 Traffic, office politics, family drama, when things generally don’t go our way.

We allow ourselves the excuse, that we are human. 

This then slowly, collectively, as the human race we are, snowballs into a much bigger problem. One that rears its ugly head on a world stage. We give it many names….religious differences, social norms, tradition. And we allow ourselves these excuses.
I guess what I’m saying is that if my faith is dwindling…I’m possibly not the only one.
But thankfully, I have been blessed with moments, people, situations…that remind me of the good, no matter how seemingly insignificant – in this unfortunately fickle-minded world.

So though I know little, here are my wishes for you.

Hold on to what keeps you sane.
To the person at work who makes you smile even when it’s the shittiest kind of day. To that 30-minute run you take, that allows you to think straight. To tidying up your house, playing with a kitten, cooking up a storm, watching a movie, saying a prayer, socializing, giving someone a hug, watching a child be joyful. Hold on.

Believe that there is good in the world.
From Pope Francis telling you that all animals go to heaven, to the people of Sydney and their #illridewithyou spirit, to Secret Santa gifts that make you smile when you open them, to your mum telling you that she loves you on whats app from miles away, to photographs of forgotten moments, to friends who care about the little things, to music.

Don’t be scared. Get closer.
We haven’t been programmed to know everything or to understand everything. Be bothered to know more. About causes and things that matter. As much as we’ve heard it a 1000 times before…be the change you want to see in the world. My mum taught me that I needed to brighten my little corner …and though I didn’t always agree with her, man do I believe her.
Do not be scared of what you do not understand. Deformities, abnormalities, sexual orientation, taking a stand against injustice, being pro-choice and so much more. 
Because you do not understand it, does not necessarily mean it is wrong.

Breathe. And think.
Before you react, before you speak, before you provoke, before you cry, before you raise your voice, before you stand up for something, before you make a choice, before you criticize, before you lose your heart, before you gossip, before you believe.
Just breathe and give yourself the opportunity to rationalize.

Give a little love.
To yourself, your family, your friends, the world.
And especially to people you wouldn’t normally want to.
Pay it forward. 

Now, think of your most favorite person.

There’s got to be some good in the world. The person you thought of, is or was, a part of it.

And I’m not preaching, I promise. Just sharing my life lessons.
Merry Christmas. May you always know that you are loved.

Till later.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sav, Viv & six degrees of separation.

A little over a week ago, we were smack dab in the middle of madness.

Ribbons, bows, songs, dances, red carpets, clappers, short, wedding preparations for the latest big wedding in the family - Sav & Viv.

Detail upon detail was discussed, finalized and then often - discussed again and changed. Whats app chat groups, lengthy emails, visits to tailors, practices, way too many phone calls - you name it, we had it all going on.
It was completely insane. And yet, it was the best thing ever.

Sav and Viv, I figure in all the madness, you may have missed out on a few things. So I thought I'd fill you in on some of the stuff that happened at our end - the boys side. Some of the wonder that was your wedding and the lead-up to it. Stuff that we may have all been too busy to realize, but are thankful for.

Sav, your home and everyone in it. Everyone wanted to help. Whether it was tying bells to chopsticks, or feeding those of us who sat in Chinese factory fashion - everyone wanted to do something to make your special day perfect. That is good fortune.

Your mother. She practiced to dance with you. She felt shy and hesitant and emotional. But she made sure she looked her best and she made sure she took off her sweater, to dance with her golden boy. That is precious.

Your nieces. Oh my, your nieces. One practiced and practiced till your 'Primavera' was perfect. She was so concerned throughout and worried she would mess up. But on the day; in her purple gown and with her unsure  eyes - she was perfect. Sims, our little lady.
The other surprised us all. She perfected dance steps. Did you see? She was so nervous about running to the front to be picked up and thrown in the air! She became the baby girl that we all remember in that instance. She was the little Yva again.

Your cousins. They did everything they could on the wedding day to make it perfect. From opening church doors to the right chords of your entrance hymn, to running around the venue searching for the videographers, to having long, patient conversations with exasperating limo drivers. That is blood.

Your boys. Seeing you guys together made me realize what you mean to each other. At the park, it was like watching grown men leap out of their bodies and remember what it was like to be boys.  At your roce, watching a certain Mr. Sher sit with you and shiver his behind off - that is friendship.

Your bhai. My boy. He was your witness with all the pride that his heart can hold. He said he would stay with you all day - just in case. Of anything. He covered you with a blanket as you slept a few nights before. He said he would say what had to be said to anyone who needed it to be said to. You know. That, is brotherhood.

Your sister. Gosh. Where to start?
If she had to climb mountains and swim through rivers - she would have. She drove all over Dubai, nearly every day for two months, just to sort out every minute wedding detail.

You know her. Can you imagine the number of lists we were working with? She managed to stay on top of everything - travel plans, costing, family, friends, emotions...and then I saw her as you got married. As you danced. As you replied to the toast. When I watched you and her other boys dance with her...that is the only time I cried at your wedding. Because she deserved to know how special she is. To you boys and to the rest of us as well. That is love.

Your Jeej. He was ready for anything. To act, to dance, to party, to pick and drop - anything for Chinna. He folded tulle fabric (and yes, there was a lot of it!) he made sure the rest of us ate, he was the perfect big brother. He even color co-ordinated outfits with his wife. *grins* That's a lot more than just a Jeeju.

Your bridesmaid spent ages figuring out how and when she would sort out your saado make-up. She packed a bag for herself and you, made mental lists of all the stuff you may need - and put it together. She stayed with you that Friday evening. Just to know you were ok. That is caring.

Our little girl, Leah. The morning of your wedding we watched her take about 15 steps with so much confidence! We knew that she would be able to walk the aisle, at least a little. She did. In her own baby girl way - she was there.

Your friends. They got together with your family and went over dance steps, drafted skits, learnt entire routines in a day. They celebrated with us, helped without hesitation, watched you with happy hearts. That is loyalty. 

Ara and I are strong believers in the theory of 6 degrees of separation. That we are all linked to like minded people, by just 6 degrees. Which would mean, that others like us, people we would instantly get along with, identify with, feel a oneness with...were only a few steps away.

Through your wedding, it's amazing how many of us found each other. Some we already knew of, some we met and recognized immediately. On your wedding night - we were not parents, children, cousins, friends, photographers.
We were all just one big family. We watched you with love, happiness and pride.

It's like Ara said. The people around you on your special day...they are what matters. They will always be there, no matter what. For anything and everything. Present physically or in spirit - they are who they are.

That is family.

Congratulations you two. You have all our love, prayers and good wishes as you go forward to do life together. My advice for you?

Shucks, I have none. Go on, make your mistakes. Overcome your own hurdles, celebrate the little victories.
Learn together. And always remember to love.

Leaving you with this one. I know I'll never be able to hear it without thinking of you guys.
And yes,  it's a favorite of mine too now.

Big hugs.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

For Leah

The world's got it wrong about babies and parents.

Here's what we like to think.
When babies are born, they are our responsibility. We love, care, nurture. They are helpless little people, completely dependent for anything and everything. We hold them in our arms and they know they are safe. 

I don't believe this to be entirely true. 

Leah celebrates her first birthday today. 
We love her more than words can describe. She is the first rays of the sun and the fading light of the moon. Think of how all the worlds most beautiful songs make you feel and you will understand how we feel about Leah.
All the time.

There were so many times in this past year when I was worried, upset, angry.
But being a new mother, I knew I still had to be normal. So I held my little girl and hugged her, played with her, talked to her ... I watched her fall asleep. And in those moments, when her tiny fingers held mine, she brought me peace. As I sang her to sleep, she silently surrounded me with sanity, gently leading me away from the grey clouds I was under. She held me in her hands and her eyes saw through me, straight to my soul. 
Holding Leah, I realize that everything is going to be all right. She reminds me that tomorrow will be better and that today is beautiful. That she loves me, irrespective of how I look, feel, react. That no matter what...she is a part of me. And I am a part of her.

I am human and I forget this often. But luckily, right when I'm in the middle of my crazy life.....this little jelly bag of cuckoo tries to bite my nose and is most delighted when I act shocked that she's managed to bite it off. 
And she reminds me again. 

I do take care of her, yes. But Leah...she takes care of me.
She carries my heart.

So Leah... This is for you. 

My precious baby girl, 

I stop to look at you as I put my thoughts together. My heart once again, feels that now familiar swelling up - I think it's all the love that a heart can hold, that suddenly gets multiplied by a gazillion when it comes to you. 

You have brought unimaginable joy to Papa and me. This year, has been nothing short of magic. The first time you turned, sat up, touched your own face, recognized us, many firsts. We wanted to capture every moment, but just as we would finally get the camera out - you'd do something new. 
We finally gave up on the camera and just watched you, spellbound. 

You're a little comedian. You know when you're being watched in amusement and you feign ignorance, sticking to your adorable baby silliness. But we see the slight grin on your face. We know! You let out the most adorable baby farts, then turn to look at us to see if we heard and proceed to burst into a giggle fit! I realize that someday, you may not appreciate these little Leah revelations, but mamas and papas have rights too, y'know. A year ago, you were just a wriggly, constantly hiccuping ball of baby, in my tummy. Excuse my shock at this maddening growth spurt...I may be in denial.

You make the world make sense. When everything's maddening...spending time with you puts things into perspective. You push the negativity so far away, we lose sight of it. Like sunshine on a cloudy day - you make everything right. That's a big huge responsibility on your tiny shoulders, but you've got it. Piece of cake. 

We look at you and wonder. What will you do next? What will you want to be? Will you love basketball? And reading? Will you want a puppy? Will you be left handed or right?
But at the end of it happy, our Leedoo. Just be happy.

God loves you so much...he gave you to us and so many other people who love you to the moon and back. You are our song of joy and praise.
We were meant to be yours, angel. And by the grace of the Big Guy upstairs, you were meant to be ours. 

And me? I loved you before I saw you. Our hearts knew each other long before that. I loved you more than I realized and each day I love you a little more. You showed me a part of me that I didn't know existed.
Your tiny hands hold my entire world. 

With you, I love more deeply, pray more fervently, see more clearly. I recognize my own real happiness and I see it in others as well. You have taught me to be fearless and brought out the Mama Bear in me. I see good in people....because I see them through your eyes.

I love you. I will always love you.
More than words can say and more than you or I, will probably ever know.

You are our biggest blessing, our dream come true, our Baby Button, our rainbow of joy.

Happy Birthday Our Dolly girl.
You are loved.

Forever Yours,