The ‘goods’ this week, April 26th, 2021


As a library worker, I am thrilled! I am absolutely thrilled that my daughter got an outreach programming job at a renowned library system. She interviewed on Monday, and they called her on Tuesday to offer her the job. It was a virtual interview so I could hear some of her answers. As I heard her coherent, well thought out responses, my mommy heart filled up with pride yes, but also with wonder. She sounded so grown up, so mature and thoughtful. Since this position which she truly longed for  is part time, she also got a job in our neighborhood Starbucks. Her response to the question “why do you want to work at Starbucks?” made me smile. She told the manager that Starbucks has been her reset button since she was in high school. Before an exam or after, before something important or after, during her solo Europe trip, whenever she needed a reset she sought out a Starbucks. At this juncture in her life when she just graduated and is contemplating her place in the big world ahead of her, she opted for her reset and that is why she is looking for a job there. The manager hired her despite this honest confession. For a lover of library as well as coffee, these two jobs seem like a double win for Madammommy.

I destroyed a paneer dish and then resurrected it to be truly delicious by using my ingenuity. Pat on the back because I am all that.

I woke up at 4 am on Monday to take Ryan to his 5 am practice. It was the day before pink moon. However, a brilliant (white) moon followed us all the way to Ryan’s school and then it kept me company all the way home. I kept my eyes on the roads, of course but the company of that bright, white orb in the sky above the lonely deserted road when the whole world was asleep was a peaceful sight. But no, I will not do it every week. I am not a morning person, Sean is. I only took him one morning because Sean had to work late.

We had warm days!! Hallelujah. My old bones need the sun.

I am talking to my mom while dad listens in, almost everyday.

I answered a phone call at work which made my day. The woman on the phone wanted me and my coworkers to know that we kept her sane by providing books and DVDs during pandemic. She was so very kind.

I helped a distraught woman print out some documents at work. When she tentatively asked how much it would cost, I said the print job was free. Her face lit up. She had been paying $5 to $6 at UPS store for printing documents. Her husband lost his job and money is tight. Working at a public library is extremely gratifying.

I make book suggestions all the time, completely unsolicitated. I got a message on wsapp from a long lost friend who read Funny in Farsi by Firozeh Dumas upon my recommendation and absolutely loved it. I think she read my review on my blog site. A couple of hours after her message, I got another message from a colleague who read The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart upon my suggestion and asked when could we talk about it.  She felt all the ‘feels’ as she read the book. She even said she will be open to reading anything I recommend. She does not know what she is wishing for. 🤣

Sahana got her second Covid vaccine shot on Sunday. I am so grateful.

I wrote and posted 8 days in a row which has never happened before.

Happy Monday, my friends. Stay healthy, stay alive.

PS: Ryan cleaned his closet last night. That totally classifies as one of my ‘goods’ for the week. 😀

The ‘goods’ this week, April 19, 2021


Since I started this exercise, I am making a mental note of what is good and writing it down as soon as I get a chance. I am not allowing a good moment to pass by without acknowledging it. That is good in itself. However, India is blowing up in Covid cases, many flights going to India have suspended their service, CDC has rated India at the highest level of danger zone. So it has been hard to focus on the good lately but I tried and that has to be enough.

The ‘goods’ this week are as follows:

Ryan got his first Pfizer shot. Now both the kids have at least one shot in them.

Sahana had ordered a cap and gown for her upcoming virtual graduation from college. They came and she tried them on. The special day is not going to be what we hoped for but we will make the best of it.

I got to see 2 of Ryan’s high school water polo games. He is a mean defender and he scored 2 goals yesterday. Most importantly, he is so animated and happy on game days.

Our work will transition to one full day a week and I will get to work with my dear friend who I hardly see any more as our schedules are completely different these days.

I read Brother by David Chariandy for the second time for my book club and felt the author’s luminous prose at the core of my heart. Sometimes sheer beauty of words brings tears to one’s eyes.

I am rehearsing for a play that will be sent to North Atlantic Bengali Association in July. It is a short skit but I do enjoy acting and it takes my mind off from what is going on in real life.

I have quite a few good books waiting for me to read. They are adorning my book shelf. It makes me happy to look at them as they hold unknown stories within their pages.

I did some weeding this week. Although only half of the flower bed is done. I will tackle that.

Warmer weather is on its way.

We tentatively went out to eat in a restaurant. The restaurant was empty so we felt comfortable.

Sean and I went for a walk. As we talked I realized, yet again, how much I love him.

As I ground coffee beans for tomorrow’s first cup of coffee, I looked out of the kitchen window and witnessed a glorious sun set.

I am surprised that this list went on for as long as it did. I am glad I am writing this every week. I am thankful for all the ‘goods’ and the fact I am mindful of them.

Happy Monday and have a great week.

What was good this week.


My sweet coworker wrote an email saying a previously owned Le Creuset Dutch oven was free to a good kitchen. I happened to be on my work email when her email popped up. Instantly, I hit reply saying “Me! Pick me!” She did. I was happy because I kept thinking of buying a Dutch oven but balked at the price. When she wrote back saying the Dutch oven was mine, my first thought was “I am going to make biriyani in that Dutch oven.”

Although that is good – me scoring a Dutch oven, the best part, however, is my daughter’s joy at the news that a Dutch oven will be coming home. She actually squealed with joy and instantly started looking at recipes. Biriyani will have to wait. The new appliance will be inaugurated with Julia Child’s beef bourguignon. And then no knead bread I am told.

It may sound odd to some but my daughter came to the library to browse for her allotted 45 minutes after over a year. Seeing her roaming the stacks and making a huge pile of books for check out was amazing.

I submitted some bureaucratic papers which were causing me anxiety.

I finished a really engrossing, 900 plus pages book – The Evening and The Morning by Ken Follett. It is a prequel to his Kingsbridge series and I commend it to all who simply wants a captivating story set in early Middle Ages.

Sean and I went for a hike and I got to sit by a gurgling river and watch an Irish setter fetch sticks from the water.

I looked up at the blue sky with wispy white clouds over foliage of promising, young green and thanked the universe for granting me this scenery. I felt humbled at the beauty.

Ryan is driving me around. He took us to Indian grocery store and I got served by my favorite Indian gentleman. He has such a kind demeanor about him. I was holding a bag of samosas close to my shirt, he warned me that my shirt may get oil stains as he rang up my fare. I stocked up on Indian snacks as I inhaled the familiar smell of home in that store. Then we got Indian food for lunch.

Sahana’s departmental graduation was yesterday. It was virtual and not what she hoped for, however, it is the culmination of her hard work. In my books, that is good.

Sean and I went out to Annapolis, enjoyed a lovely day, tasty lunch and ice cream.

I will post my ‘goods’ on Mondays to start off the week.

What’s good in my town?


My friend and fellow blogger whose blog site I encourage you to check out at http://theycallmetater.com writes about What’s Good in Tater Town. While I read his posts diligently and like what he writes, I love his posts about What’s Good in Tater Town the most. As I sat outside today and looked at the most beautiful blue sky, the hopeful green of early spring, fat bunnies in my back yard and the familiar ping of ball hitting a baseball bat in the baseball fields behind my house, I realized THIS was good in MY town. Yet my inside was clenched over anxiety about rising Covid cases in India, when can I go home, health and well being of my parents, my distance from them and thousand other thoughts. The constant anxiety is probably taking away years from my life. And then I thought about my friend’s post about what ‘his’ good is in his town. He enlists having dinner with his son and daughter as something good that happened, reading out in the deck is something good that happened, getting a free coffee from Dunkin is something good that happened. These are indeed good things that happened. He notices these, acknowledges these and writes them down. I too have these moments but I am so busy worrying that I gloss over them. And lose them in the process.

So I mindfully looked around me to honor the beautiful day. I looked at the new green and appreciated the life it promised. I had dinner with my family and I focused on what they said. Ryan had a weekend of fantastic swim meet, dropping time in all his events. That was good. Sahana got her first vaccine. That was amazing.

I think I will follow my friend’s example and write down what is good in my town. Who knows, perhaps I will inspire someone to look within their life to find the ‘goods’ like I was inspired?

Footsteps at the doctor’s office


I pulled the robe tightly around me as I moved my bottom to get comfortable on the examination bed in my ob/gyn’s office. The crinkly paper underneath me crinkled in protest. I gave up trying to be comfortable and looked at my watch. I was waiting for 20 minutes now in a cold office with only a flimsy robe around me, ready to be examined by my adorable, very competent, extremely chatty gynecologist.

I have been going to her for the last 13 years and I adore her. Every year I worry she will retire and I will be left in a lurch. But after my exam and consultation, she gives me a hug and promises to see me next year. The problem is, she is friendly and chatty with ALL her patients. As a result, she is always running late to see her patients who are waiting next in line. I have learned over the years to ask the nurse how late is Dr.___ running that day. The answer I get from them is hopefully not too long, but who knows with Dr.____. Then we share a conspiratorial smile.

The nurse I got today is very new. She did not know how late the doctor was running. She also registered my weight 10 pounds less than I actually weigh but that is beside the point of this story. So I waited in a thin gown on an anxiety provoking examination bed in that solitary room. Generally I read a book. Today I simply looked at the cat decorations in the room, listened to the calming classical music playing in the background and paid attention to every sound that came from outside the examination room. I heard the footsteps coming towards my room, hope rose up in my chest and then fell as the footsteps went past my door. I heard voices, conversation, laughter and tried to discern if it was my doctor’s voice – finishing up with a patient. I could not tell. I heard pitter patter again outside my door and started to feel hopeful only to have my hopes dashed as my door did not open. It was a strange roller coaster of hope followed by disappointment with every sound of footsteps and conversation outside my door. Finally, when I was wondering if I should get my book out from my bag, I heard the welcome rat-a-tat-tat on the door. The door opened and in she came with a welcoming, “Hi honey! It is so good to see you. Oh my! Look at your hair. You are so gorgeous.”

I did not get a hug this time with Covid and all. But I got a promise of ‘see you next year, darling. You are in great health!’

I vowed to get her first appointment of the day next time. Although, she is totally worth the wait for her bedside manners and old school charm. These characteristics seem like lost treasures.

Tired Times – a poem by Sahana


Sahana has been writing a lot during the pandemic. She shared some poems with me and gave me permission to share with the world. Here is one.

Tired Times


It’s been hard to leave my bed,

Not because I’m depressed,

But this time because emerging from the cocoon of warmth without a shell,

Kafkaesque, to protect the softest parts of me,

Means I risk getting hurt, tearing something on a sharp edge,

Loose threads being tugged away without my knowledge or consent,

By the news or the flashing screen of my phone, lighting up with notifications

That just bring me dread now, honestly, after years of craving their validation.

It’s the shit I don’t wanna see, don’t want to know how many we’ve lost,

Don’t want to feel the weight of the lives we’ve built crumbling before my eyes,

Feeling like my metamorphosis was forced into an untimely pause.

I had been blooming into something, I’m sure of it.

Something bolder, the way I had always hoped,

No chip on my shoulder, learning how to walk again,

No hand holding this time, there was no need

No pressing expectation holding me by the throat and pinning me to the wall,

Rather, gentle hopes, laying me down, soft hands holding cheeks,

Looking me in the eyes and telling me I could.

But she couldn’t stay, hope was needed in other people’s hearts and I had a home to go to.

But when my mother, father, brother, huddle outside my door and ask to be let in, I can’t speak,

The pincers in my mouth choke down any cries for help and

The weight of my body pulls me through my bed on the floor,

Devastating dreams and I want to wake up,

But I know waking means looking in the mirror.

Waking means seeing that it’s real.

It means, knowing and going through the same paces,

Wanting to live the life I had in my grasp and had taken away from me.

I pace in a liminal state, subway station, under the earth,

Waiting for the character development or even better, an eventful end.

But the dreams don’t stop and the living doesn’t either,

Almost at the break of dawn at every turn, but the sun slips back under the horizon,

So I sit with the tired times, and wait for a new morning, sometime.

There are 3 things that are good right now.


Everything seems sad at this time. If I read this blog in about 5 years, I will most likely (hopefully) be in a happier state of mind. I am writing this blog for that future ‘happy’ me. Here are some things to juggle your memory ‘future happy me’:

We are in the middle of a pandemic.

I am the only one going to work for limited hours right now, the others are going to school, working from home.

200,000 people in America died from Covid 19 thus far.

RBG died and it looks like Trump administration will fill the Supreme Court vacancy with a conservative judge.

I can not go home.

But 3 things are going well for me right now.

On the suggestion of a friend, I started watching Mandalorian on Disney plus and I love it. I go through all day with the hope of watching one episode at night with Ryan. I love seeing baby Yoda.

The second show that is now a bright spot in my life is The Call of Midwife. Each episode brings forth different characters in 1950’s England, dealing with a harsh life, childbirth, loneliness and yet the young midwives and nurses in Nonnatas house go out everyday caring for the vulnerable.

The third thing that I look forward to these days is Abir Mukherjee’s Death in the East. Sam Wyndham is in Devraha Swami’s ashram in Jatinga, Assam. He has voluntarily come here to treat his opium addiction. On his way to the Ashram he thinks he saw a man from his past, 1905 to be precise when he was a young constable involved in solving the murder of Bessie Drummond. Mukherjee has done it again.

Ps: I wrote this blog a while ago when there were 200,000 death is USA. Now we are about to cross 400,000 grim milestone. I have long finished the book I mention and also the 2 shows. Some worries remain – my anxiety for my parents, my family catching the virus, despondency for no one specific reason. However, the vaccine is being administered. Hopefully, we can get vaccinated in the coming months and all the procedures for going to Kolkata will either be lifted or at least relaxed so I can go home.

A year of heroes.


There is a weariness in my soul which, sometimes, stops me from feeling hopeful. The learned people say the next few months will be darker. It will get worse before it gets better. That is hope I guess, those words, ‘it will get better’. The sentence that I desperately search in tweets and interviews of medical professionals is this – it will get better.

So I would like to urge you, my dear readers, hold on to your sanity. Cling on to that hope – it will get better.

It is hard to find a bright spot in this tumultuous year of loss and tears. However, if you think about it, 2020 did give us our heroes – the medical professionals, the scientists, the grocery store workers, the front line workers, our educators, the parents who continued to work while providing childcare and conducting home school, those living alone, battling loneliness. We persevered in our own unique ways. The heroes existed. 2020 shed a bright light on their heroism. And this year, we gave the most. We lost so much, materially, spiritually, emotionally, yet we gave to those who are more vulnerable than us. The charitable organizations received more donation this year than last year, both nationally and internationally. It is hard to be grateful for much in 2020, but I am grateful for this spirit of giving. I am grateful to witness resilience and empathy. Tragedy brought us close despite political rhetoric trying to tear us apart.

I sincerely wish you all a hopeful 2021. May our fellow humans all over the world, irrespective of the wealth of their nations, have equal access to vaccine so we ALL can heal together. That is a naive wish you may say. But aren’t we at the cusp of a new beginning? Isn’t this the time we feel everything is possible? Besides, I am a firm believer in positive energy. I send that energy to you and to the universe on this first day of 2021.

This photo, taken on Cliff Island, Maine seems very apt.

Thank you.


Most years around this time, I ask myself a question. If I could change my life to make it better what changes would I make? And the answer, after some deep thinking, is nothing. I really would not change anything. I am grateful for what I have received in life. I am thankful for the love I get every day, the love I get to give everyday too.

This year Thanksgiving is different for so many of us. We are choosing to celebrate alone this year so we can celebrate together next year. My family did not drive up to eat Thanksgiving meal together with mother, brothers, sisters and cousins because we love them and want to keep them safe. Looking ahead, it seems unlikely that we will get together for Christmas either this year and that is heartbreaking. We live a distance away from our loved ones and mostly see them during these holidays. The prospect of spending the holidays separately is sad no doubt but hope is in the horizon. There is the hopeful news of vaccines being developed. I believe by next year around this time majority will be vaccinated and we will be together. I am keeping the perspective that in the grand scheme of things it is a sacrifice of togetherness for one year. This sacrifice we can make. A lot is at stake if we don’t. Lives are at stake if we don’t. Way too many lives have been lost already. Many have died alone. Very few families have remained untouched by the tragedy of Covid 19 and sadly, experts say, we will lose more.

I have spent a few Thanksgiving alone as my family drove up to see the extended family. No matter if I am with family or just by myself, I take some time to reflect and give silent thanks for my mom and dad, my husband, my children, the kinship that I have created and nurtured with some wonderful souls. This year, I continue to be thankful for all that I mentioned however, I want to write about my heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude to those that I did not include in my thoughts in previous years. My deepest regards go to the medical professionals who are truly super heroes caring for the sick at huge risk to their own lives. My sincere gratitude to the scientists who are working day and night to develop vaccine to protect the vulnerable from dying. My admiration and heartfelt thanks to all those essential workers who are taking big risks to go to work each day so we can stay home. When books are written about this pandemic, I hope the heroism and courage of these women and men are acknowledged. The entire world owes a whole lot to this section of humanity who took care of the rest of us, kept us alive, kept us fed, kept us entertained.

On this day of giving thanks, I bow to the goodness in you.

There will be many empty chairs at Thanksgiving table in this country as families remember loved ones who succumbed to Covid. My heart truly hurts for those families. Millions are hurting, physically suffering and emotionally devastated. We NEED to do our part to control the spread of this virus. We owe it to each other as members of humankind. Here is to hope that this shall pass with the help of our collective efforts, our compassion for each other, our desire to do what is needed for common good and yes, sacrifice.

Monday blues


Before I write more, let me say I am not overweight, my BMI is within the normal range for my height and I feel great. Having said that, I weigh the most I have ever weighed in my life. Everytime I see a photo of myself, I think in my head, “Ok, that’s it. I am giving up sugar. From next Monday. ”

I was a skinny child, truly skin and bones. I was a skinny young adult, then a skinny young woman. My husband lovingly called me ‘slender’. He wrote love poems, describing me as ‘lissom’. Nope, I was skinny and not at all graceful. I had the confidence that skinny people have, that no matter what, I will never gain weight. Well, WRONG! Don’t believe it. Metabolism does slow down with age, and skinny body gets lost in small rolls of fat.

Ideally,I would like to lose 6 pounds. That is not a lot and I keep telling myself, I can do it. Easy! All I have to do is give up sugar. Reduce carbohydrate. Spend little longer on the machines at the gym. I will get strong. I will do it all – from next Monday. Mondays, for me, have become the day of failed resolution and eternal hope. In the middle of the week, I pop in that one last piece of chocolate thinking, “Monday! I will not touch sugar from Monday.” Or, “I will surely go to gym from next Monday on.” And when Monday comes, well….

Sometimes, I do start things – good, disciplined things, on Mondays. Like eating more salads and lean meat, cutting out dessert and working out at the gym. I stay with it for a couple of weeks. The weighing machine starts being my friend again. As soon as I see I have dropped a couple of pounds, I get cocky and munch on M & M’s again. I pop in a dessert or two and my body says, “Woman, you will pay for it.” And I do. The whole cycle starts again.

Mondays have become my “New years”. A new day, new possibilities, new me. As Monday rolls on to Tuesday, Wednesday I roll on to my undisciplined self and as I do so, I make the resolution, “No more. From next Monday, I will……”

I will turn over a new leaf. I will! On Monday…