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June 27, 2022


 Dearest Antu,

Time flies like it always does. It also shows us what really matters. When I sit to write these birthday posts every year, it makes me think of the all important milestones and happy memories and reminds me to be grateful. And also to be in denial about all the things that should nt matter but still does. But hey, progress not perfection, right? You are fourteen today and I am still trying to adjust that you are a teen! You can be a total baby one minute and a mature old soul the next. Cuddling one moment and banging the door the next. Being silly and goofing around and then all emotional and upset. We spoil you rotten and in return you make us fell that we are your whole world. Your father dances to your every tune and you both belong to a secret club of two where I am not allowed. Who wants to belong in this silly club anyway? Im not at all jealous! We both have lot of fun together doing umpteen things without the rest of the family. You are my favorite car passenger. And my favorite person to cook for because you enjoy your food and never fail to compliment. Are you sure you are not adopted?

You have completed one year of secondary school and has made new friends. And that has been a total relief. I used to think you are more social than your sister but things have been hard in that department as you have become reserved and quiet in the past couple of years. Are nt school years supposed to be all about friends? Guess you and your sister take it quite seriously and actually learn! I thought Ashu had high expectations for herself but she has mellowed a bit in high school. You are a menace though! Anything less than a perfect grade and you fall apart. I am exhausted giving you pep talks and making you feel secure about yourself. And to accept life as it is. Let me say this again. You are smart. Believe in yourself. You are thriving in all things music. You play piano like a dream. Pick up carnatic songs with ease and music theory is something you love too. Never lose the interest. Just keep at it even when things plateau. Challenge yourself and don’t forget to enjoy the process. You are barely hanging onto swimming and tennis and am glad you are doing something sport related even though you are not a fan. Your father really wants you to take up running and join him in his weekly runs. Lets see if this is the year. Go on and make your old man happy, why don’t you?

We took care of our neighbors small dog off and on this year and you totally fell in love with the little one and took care of the dog with so much love and affection. It was heart breaking to say bye to the dog each time and you have upped your nagging about getting a dog of our own. It would tug at my heartstrings but unfortunately I have none! I really really wish we could. But its not practical so Im against it. But at times I feel I should give in. Believe me when i say that no one likes to have a dog more than me in this household. So lets see if the universe conspires.  Your sister hooked you into Marvel movies as well and its the one thing uniting all four of us in the household right now. Books have been bought. Cake themes have been done. Endless discussions have been had. Its fun to have something in common with the resident youth. Thanos is your favorite character much to your sisters annoyance but still she made a Thanos cake for your birthday this year. You both fight like crazy sometimes but also giggle over silly things. You want to emulate her in every way and she pretends to tolerate you. Its unbearable sometimes when you both are at it but while the bad times are bad, the good times are very good. So there.

Mistress of questions, that’s what you are at this age. You love to know everything about everyone. Right from favorite color to the deepest darkest secret. Its so easy to talk to you. You hardly judge and even if you say something hurtful, you are quick to apologize and own your mistakes and make the necessary changes. Which is a phenomenal character trait to have, according to me. And it comes so easily for you. Your emotional maturity astounds me sometimes. You are very clear in your beliefs and at the same time, willing to listen to the other side. I wish I could be as empathetic as you. I sometimes get upset with you for no reason. I overcompensate for your sisters indifference. Blame you for stupid things. But I hope and pray I have nt killed the spirit in you. I am genetically obligated to take your side against the world but you make it look like the right choice and I thank you for making my life easier. Go forth and flourish and I wish life is kind to you in all the ways I am not. Happy 14th Birthday, Thangamma!



April 27, 2022


 Dearest Ashu,

17. One year short of a legal adult. Just one more year of childhood. Give me a moment here to contemplate my life. …… Fine. Lets move on. This year has gone by in a blink and I am not sure it sunk in that you are 16 yet before another birthday has zoomed in. Whats the rush? School has consumed your life and whatever time is left over, we either ignore each other or quarrel. As soon as you open your mouth, I see disrespect and cynicism. And when I do, you see anger and disappointmentl. Match made in heaven, that’s us. If not for your father and sister, I wonder how anything would get resolved between us. They both are the solid rocks to our tidal waves and I hope you appreciate them for all they do for us. I analyse my behavior constantly and feel regret and guilt and like a colossal failure as a parent.  I would die for you without a second thought and at the same time, can’t bring myself to be more patient with you. What is it that is wrong with me? Nothing in particular but everything in general, you might say! Yes, I see my faults in you. At the same time, you are also the favorite part of me.

You have such a morbid sense of humor and a healthy dose of pessimism. Deadly combo, that. You should come with a warning! This one time we were discussing the point of life and your sister who has nt yet been disillusioned with life by high school was giving me quite a peppy answer while you commented, “there’s no point. we are dead already". And I turned to Antu and said, “Please hit me in my head if I ever ask her anything anymore” and without missing a beat you quipped, “Can I do it for her?” Ha. Ha. Ha. I was making a photo album for your grandparents a few months back and under the family photo, I had written “Putting the fun in Dysfunctional” and thought that was quite witty. Until you came back from school and commented, “More like putting the fun in Funeral”! I rest my case. 

We had such fun having a family reunion at our place in October and after the pandemic panic, it was so nice to see you and Antu with your grandparents, aunt and uncle. We have not been out of Swiss in the last 3 years and finally bit the bullet and traveled to Sicily earlier this month and we had a fantastic time. I will never ever take travel for granted again. Nor should you. You have grown leaps and bounds in the cooking and baking area. Being a total perfectionist helps. But at the same time, be kind to yourself too when something does nt go your way. Be patient and don’t give up easily.  You take fantastic photos but hate it when I take pics of you. You love to cook but eat very less. You like school but are a grumpy bear on weekdays. You are a bunch of contradictions and a riddle wrapped in a mystery and as you grow older and older, I feel I know you lesser and lesser. Guess, that’s every parents journey and I hope I have the grace and dignity to accept it. Give me time.

The only time we bond is when we watch TV. And we have been doing that quite a lot this year as you are interested in all kinds of movies and shows now. More so than before. You nagged me and Antu to watch the Avengers movies with you if we want to watch the new Spiderman and Doctor Strange movie and after some initial resistance from me, we did a marathon for 10 days straight and watched that many movies and by the time I watched Endgame, a fangirl was born. (Black Widow is your favorite Avenger. Captain America is mine!) WandaVision followed next and now I am hooked. We watched Secrets of Dumbledore recently and were collectively disappointed. Even though for completely different reasons. (Give me more Grindeldore!) Nothing like art and entertainment to bring people together. One day, I will be able to wish you a happy birthday without choking on my own heart but that day is not today.  Happy 17th Birthday, Kannamma! I love you 3000.

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