A Bronx Bully Goes Organic #17

IMG_3263With the exception of the apple pie I just made and the Brownie Sizzlers I am going to have later tonight, I may be becoming one of those people I dislike even more than the people who yell “Woooooo” really loudly all the time. There is a chance that if I remain unchecked, I may become a “crunchie”, “granola”, “raw food”, “can’t eat gluten”, “Namaste” type of girl.  Just the thought of it gives me hives.  Even up until last week, I would have bet two pounds of caramel popcorn that it wouldn’t happen, that it couldn’t happen to me, and now, it’s all looking a bit uncertain. Read the rest of this entry »

Fried For Christmas #16


My iPod has provided theme music and solace during this journey.  It has kept me company and helped me through the long and tiring waits.  It has kept me sane in traffic jams and helped me to ignore that which was too hard to take.   It has been my friend.

Today, without warning, it is gone.  I am alone in my world, forced to exercise, mother and commute without my companion.  It is a hard pill to swallow during our already tough Christmas.

Like all of the other electronic devices before it, one minute all was well and then, with a quick burst of smoke and a lingering stench, it was toast.  Singed beyond repair.

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The Wrong Girl Goes to Pune # 15

 With the exception of the lug of a guy I met from Alabama in the German Bakery, and the cows on the road that didn’t want to move, the trip to Pune was without incident.

We left six hours early to allow for any unforeseen delays and made it through the twisty mountains and the Hill Stations in the estimated three and a half hours.  There was a light rain and the air was pleasant.

When we arrived, I scouted out the Iyengar Yoga Institute and I took pictures of the yoga sculpture in the garden.  On the property, I met the retarded cousin or brother or friend who hung around greeting guests and making them feel at home.  He was warmer and more friendly than the yoga teachers I ran into inside from my classes in Mumbai.  They were cliquish and aloof.  They greeted me by name but neither spoke or acknowledged me until I went over to say “hello”.

I keep getting surprised to find “ego” in yoga. I imagine that it is a spiritual and egoless practice and that once you are a teacher, you are beyond the trappings of it.  Such is not the case.  Why on earth would it be?  We are born and live by the ego, to lose ego would be to lose self.  Alright, keep the ego but say hello to a lost soul in a new city.  Not a chance.

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The Birthday Party #13

The boys are making me a birthday cake and because they are boys, wire cutters, banging, the Internet, and homemade candles are involved.  I think you can get candles in India judging by all of the shrines I’ve seen but, well, that would be easy.

Taj is taking a cooking class in school and thinks he is a chef. Every time I turn around he’s throwing something into an already cooking pan.  He keeps coming home with nasty things and he tries to make me eat them while he watches.

This whole birthday is an excuse to eat sugar and play with matches. He has done both tonight and I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to put an end to this phase before something goes up in flames.

I am running out of options and he seems to have gotten me this time because they all stare while I eat a big slice of the birthday cookie/cake.   In addition to being disgusting, it’s raw.

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“Little Bill” #12

My cousin “Little Bill” is coming in next week from Dubai where he lives and works and when I see him I’m going to break rules eight and nine in the Indian Customs Rule Book.

Rule Eight – No loud screaming and squealing like a banshee unless it’s for the sake of religious worship.  I’m sure that I’m going to shriek and squeal to finally be in this place with him after so many setbacks, so many phone calls, so many false starts.

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09-09-09 #11

Today should have been a calm day. Instead, it was fraught with panic and turmoil.

It didn’t even begin like any other day; it was slow and hectic right at the start.  The 4-year-old wanted different clothes, the 11-year-old didn’t want to wake up, and the 13-year-old was just not moving.

There were three stomachs in varying stages of unrest.  Taj was just getting his appetite back and kept trying to eat things he shouldn’t and the others were nauseous and didn’t want to eat at all.

Being the Mom, it’s my job to make sure that everyone gets off to school having eaten what they should.  Already, 09-09-09 is getting the best of me.

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Bad Wife #10

For the past month, I have been on the “Bad Wife” list at Robin’s job.  Never mind that I moved my whole family across the world for him.  I closed up a life of 20 years in Los Angeles, helped to rent our house, sold three cars, and arranged dental and medical care for the whole family in a foreign country.  The thing that makes me a disgrace in the eyes of the Indians Robin works with, supervises, and is supervised by, is that he doesn’t bring his lunch to work, packed at home, in stackable containers called Tiffin Boxes, like most of the Indians at his job do.  Inside these containers should be three different dishes, some sauces, homemade pickle. Maybe, and fresh, still warm, chapattis.

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Trip to the Hospital #9

We took Taj to the hospital the other day.  He was getting thinner and quieter with every trip to the toilet.  It was past time for an expert opinion.

It was Day 11 of the yearly Ganesh Festival, the culmination of celebrations and worship that had rocked the town for days.  Lord Ganesh is the Indian god who is half boy and half elephant.  He is thought to remove obstacles and is very popular in Hinduism.

There was a hush over the city as teams of women, men, and children, with idols of Ganesh perched on shoulders, in rickshaws and trucks, headed across the road to Lake Powai for the Immersion.

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Salaam Salim #8

As the taxi speeds home from my friend Jacinta’s dinner party, I get the distinct impression that I am riding through a Ridley Scott film.  Dark, damp, glistening streets, buildings in some dilapidated state of disrepair or construction.  Men huddled in the shadows around fires and dim bulbs.  Colorful women, dingy children, murky pools of standing water.

Streetlights flash green and red but the cab plows through the intersections, dodging dogs and slowing only for deep potholes and cement construction barriers.

We are going much too fast on this slick and uneven street, but the taxi driver is calm and confident, unflinching and unflappable as he blows through red lights and careens in front of rickshaws.

As is often the case in the backseat of cars in India, I have no seatbelt.  I simply plant myself behind the passenger seat so that there will be something to slow me on impact.  And then, I sit back and marvel about how far away I am from Silverlake, Los Angeles.

Somehow, I am not particularly afraid.  Perhaps it’s the lychee martinis that have dulled my senses; maybe it’s just that after having driven with “Salim the Maniac” for more than 2 weeks, something very precious and critical is broken.

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