Growing up in a small town in India during the 70s and the 80s, I did not have arguments with my parents because I never knew that was an option. Both my brother and I were expected to obey our parents. Not arguing was particularly difficult with Ma because she was a strict disciplinarian and I had a curious mind. Not surprisingly, despite our many good and loving moments, Ma and I sometimes collided in our ways of thinking and I, not allowed to protest verbally, became upset with her more often than not. Ma never asked what was wrong because she believed in giving me time to cool down.
Baba, on the other hand, simply could not stay away when I was distressed. He lingered around me just to start a conversation. Sometimes it worked, and I started talking to him. And sometimes it didn’t. One of those times, I was lying down with my face covered, and he started to pat my back affectionately, which made me more annoyed. I told him “I don’t want to talk to either you or Ma. So don’t touch me.” He did not stop caressing and calmly said, “I am not touching you. I am patting my daughter.”
We did not observe Father’s Day in India the way most families do now. In fact, I learnt about Father’s Day after I came to America. I wish there was a day called ‘Father’s Day’ back then so that I could have told him, “Thank you for your unwavering love, unyielding support and unbelievable patience. They made a world of difference in my life.” I did not get a chance to tell him then, so I am telling him today, “Happy Father’s Day, Baba!”
I am not a dog person. Actually, I am not much of a pet person. I adore them for a distance but I am considerably afraid when they come close and this is true for the most well-behaved and playful pets. To my utter embarrassment, I have screamed and ran in fear in the past when they came near me.
Couple of weeks ago, Kendra, a friend of mine, asked me whether I would be interested in a 5K / 3 mile run on May 19th for a charity. I registered, thinking, “Why not?”
When I reached the 6th Annual Hair of the Dog 5K! event location today morning around 9 am, I was stunned to see the number of dogs running for the event. I knew it was a charity for dogs in animal shelter but never imagined that dogs will be part of the running event.
In a few minutes, I found myself surrounded by dogs of all kinds – from the big, majestic Husky to the adorable, cute Pomeranian. Being well-aware of my dog fear, Kendra started to educate me with species names to allay some of my fears.
I looked at her sadly and remarked “I could have picked a different charity where the pets are not going to run with me.” It was drizzling and the weather was cold. So I thought “Do I finish what I came here for today or return home?” In the end, I decided to stay and finish what I started.
Kendra and I walked and ran alternately amid hundreds of dogs along our sides on a narrow road and finished the race in 49 minutes. I was exhausted but proud of myself. This, however, does not mean that my fear has left me for good but it is definitely a step in the right direction.
I came home from work and unlocked the door, expecting my daughter, Oishi to be at her desk doing homework. She had been working on an American History thesis paper for the last two marking periods, and her chosen topic was Music in the Underground Railroad. It was natural for her to do online research on many websites for the paper, but not Amazon.
“Oishi, why are you on Amazon for your research? And why are you using Bing instead of Google?”
“Mama, I had to check something on Amazon, and I use both Bing and Google for my online research. Don’t worry. I have good material for my thesis paper.” With a hint of nervousness, she tried to assure me that her research was on track.
A couple of days ago, when I returned home from work, Oishi looked at me and said, “I cannot keep it a secret any longer, even though I wanted to surprise you on Mother’s Day.” She put her hand inside her school bag and took out a small pouch which had a pair of aqua colored, silver designed, oval shaped earrings.
Ecstatic but perplexed, I asked, “How did you get those?”
“Bing has a rewards program. I opened an account and used it for my research. I accumulated points everyday by searching on Bing, and when I accumulated 525 points, I got five dollars for my Amazon account.”
She gave me the pair of earrings and said, “Happy Early Mother’s Day, Mama!”