The “goods” in the week of October 4th.


Today, as I write this, ma has been dead for 5 months. Today is also Panchami, the beginning of the biggest festival of Bengalis – Durga Puja. Every year, around this time, I get terribly homesick. I used to call up home to listen to the sound of dhaak (drum) as the neighbors welcomed the idol of the goddess in the pandal. Baba took initiative to light up the entire apartment building. And he sent me a photo of it. One year I even made it back home for the Pujas. This year, the first year (of many to come) without them is especially hard. So why am I writing this in my list of “goods”?

I walked in the woods with Sean this morning in companionable silence. As I walked I thought about how peaceful ma’s exit from this world was. Even though she had very high count of the virus, she never felt ill. Her oxygen level was depleted and she was extremely tired so she went to sleep and in her sleep, her soul left the vessel.

Her alter ego, the obstinate ma plant, has bloomed beautiful flowers.

Sahana’s papers to go to India arrived this week, 10 weeks after the application was submitted. She is now all set till she is 50. I do not know if either of my children will ever go back to India now that the reasons for going back are no more, but I want to make sure they have the hassle free option. It makes me happy. Ryan’s papers came earlier this year. I had filed for his papers before his grandparents died. When his papers came, they were dead.

I have had lunch by the pavers dedicated to ma and baba at work whenever the weather allowed. I have walked out and stood by the stones every day.

My delight this week was finishing Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier again. I read it as a 15 year old – almost in another life.

There were many tears this week. They are cathartic and cleansing so I put them in my list of “goods”.

Ryan had two days of great swimming. He got his best tines in all his events. His excited voice is definitely in my list of “goods”.

It has been so comforting to have Sahana home at this time. One day this week was especially hard. She picked me up that night from work and we went to a frozen yogurt place after 9 pm. We both sat outside and had big bowls of frozen yogurt with all kinds of unhealthy topings. It was the best.

Last evening the four of us went out for dinner. These dinners are rare now and hence, special. We talked of all the places we want to visit.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of September 20th.


Not just good, the amazing event this week was how my coworkers surprised me by engraving two paving stones in memory of my parents in the garden of our library. My baba loved nature and ma loved books. There can not be a more perfect place for the two of them – a garden in a library. Now I have a clear destination to go to during my breaks and lunch.

I cried when I saw what they had done. My family was there too. I cried because I feel the love that envelopes me in my universe. I don’t realize it every day but when I think about it, I know. Ma and baba, if they are watching over me, must be smiling.

I continue to read The Book of Delights by Ross Gay and continue to be amazed by the poet’s depth of perception and his ability to acknowledge delights.

I made it to one of Ryan’s water polo games. They won and Ryan played so well. I blew him a kiss from the stands and he acknowledged it with a shy smile before their game started.

Sahana is finishing up one of her jobs this week. She will become my colleague from today. She is joining my library system. I hope she has a great experience. The job of a public librarian is one of the best.

I am savoring the book Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. That is my book suggestion for this week if you enjoy historical fiction as well as literary fiction.

I wrote not one but two book reviews for our library blog after many, many months. It was not easy putting thoughts into words after such a long interval but I did it. Fortunately we have great editors.

After a year and a half, my co facilitator and I started our historical fiction book club at work. Both of us were slightly apprehensive about face to face interaction with participants but it turned out to be wonderful. The book club members even clapped for us for doing this. It felt meaningful.

The four of us went for dinner last night as a family. That certainly goes into my list of “goods” because what used to be a norm even a few years ago, has become an exception due to the different schedules of my family members. Dinner time was always special for me. It makes me sad that we do not eat dinner together anymore.

Before dropping Ry off at the dorm, we sat next to each other as he worked on his English paper. These short moments of sitting together before going our own ways to tackle the work/school week are precious.

And lastly, a word about my “obstinate ma plant.” As my summer plants are winding down and I am considering putting the garden to bed, obstinate ma plant sprouted some new buds. She is holding on to life. I just wish her namesake did the same.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of September 13th.


I have to dig deep for the “goods” this week because mentally, this week was pretty bad.

I am starting to make myself comfortable with the idea that I may need grief counseling. Perhaps that is what “stay strong” means – seek help.

Sahana and I had some good conversations about her future. It gives me immense pleasure to hear, and sometimes counsel about what she wants to do in life. She is seeing more people her age after a hiatus of close to 2 years. That makes me happy.

Ryan was sick at the beginning of the week. He got a Covid test. The result was negative and he is on the mend.

I have started reading The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. These are a compilation of short essays by the poet to mark all that which brings him delight. This is the exercise I am doing as well but I do not possess the poet’s eye for detail or his lyrical prose. The essays do inspire me to “look” more actively. They are wonderful.

After a year and a half, one of my book clubs at work will be meeting in person. Strangely, I am looking forward to it and also not. It will be odd to have an hour long discussion in person but it will be lovely to see everyone.

At work, we ordered Indian food for lunch on Friday.

We went out as a family for dinner on Saturday after many weeks. And also on Sunday before we dropped off Ryan at his dorm. We do not go out as a family any more due to schedules and commitments. It was especially nice to be together and laugh.

Sean and I went for a hike on Sunday morning. The day was perfect and being in nature brought me peace of mind.

I have been consciously meeting my step goals each day.

After many, many months I attempted to write a book review for my work blog.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of September 6th.


The first in the list of “goods” for the week is surely our 25th anniversary of marriage. It was serendipity that we met in the first place. I happened to work that particular evening shift in a gift store at a five star hotel in Kolkata. Sean happened to be posted in Kolkata at that time and happened to walk in to the gift store on a Sunday evening to buy a gift for a Bengali wedding that he was invited to. I happened to walk past him and the pallu of my saree happened to brush his arm. He turned and smiled at me.

To celebrate our special day we traveled to Zion and Bryce canyons. We both love nature and being amidst nature to thank the universe for bringing us together was fitting.

I sensed an unfamiliar feeling as I looked around the splendor of the canyons around me. It was happiness. I thought I would not feel happy again.

The nights are still hard and I can not fall asleep as the darkness and anxiety and sadness overwhelm me. I think of the sunlit canyons and the serenity that I just witnessed to calm my mind. Nature heals.

My aunt spent many days in ICU in a hospital in Kolkata. It brought back horrible memories and anxiety. But she is on the mend and will hopefully be released within a week. I am cautiously optimistic. We have already had way too many losses this year.

Sahana got a job in my library system. We are coworkers now. I am so happy for her. She will, I am sure, find fulfillment in this job.

Ryan seems happy both in academics and in sports. He has this desire to do well and the desire springs from within. That makes my life easier.

There were many little things that were good this week – being with Sean, hiking, eating delicious food in Springdale, Utah, nature. I wrote about it all to preserve the memories.

After 106 degrees Fahrenheit heat in Nevada and Utah, it was pleasant to come home to fall weather.

It was good to get back to work on Saturday and see my friends.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of August 23rd.


I wrote so much after my parents died but now I do not feel the urge to write at all. I did not want to continue with writing the “goods” blog either but forced myself to do it since it makes me focus on all that is good in my life.

Sahana did a virtual interview for a job. Her door was closed and I could not hear the questions, but I could hear some of her responses from our living room. As I listened to my girl talk, I marveled at how eloquent she has grown up to be. How thoughtful, how introspective! I remembered the softness of her little body nestled in the crook of my arm, way back when, as I read books to her. Her eyes focused on the pictures, mind completely lost in the story.

I continue to laugh with my coworkers. It is a transitional phase at work and often, we have to sigh in frustration. But I work with such tremendously creative, adaptive and hard working people that despite everything, we know we are all in this together. How did I get so lucky?

A trip to farmer’s market once a week with friends is always a joy. Fresh bread, fresh vegetables, chorizo sausage…

In a couple of weeks, Sean and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary. I have known him more than half of my life and have been married to him for almost half of my life.

A dear friend had health scare but is on the mend after medical intervention.

Ryan got placed in varsity water polo. This stuff is important in this country. He is so excited. His sparkling eyes as he talks about defense and goals and assists make me smile.

He is moving into boarding this week. After being together for year and a half, I will miss him. However, I am happy for him. He is ready and so excited.

Ryan has grown several inches in a year and a half of pandemic. He is very close to baba’s height now. Last night at dinner, he said, “Dadai did not give me the chance to catch up to him and then grow past him. I can not lord it over him when I get taller than him. Very unfair!” It was sad but also heartwarming at the same time. These little things…

I took off from work for a couple of weeks. I hope to write blogs about what we do. I hope I have the motivation.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is my book suggestion for the week. This novel-in-verse was soul touching.

Whenever I think of ma and baba, and I think of them all the time, their young, smiling faces come to the forefront. Not the faces as years went by and they got frail. It is interesting how mind sifts through the sadder memories and preserves the happy ones.

Hope your list of “goods” is long and you have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of August 16th.


This week had some unexpected “goods”.

It is always hard to come back from a vacation and go to work. Going back on Monday after a week long travel with Sean produced some groans from me. Sahana surprised me at work by dropping in with my favorite drink. That made the day so much better.

An elderly woman came in looking for books on immigrant experience. Naturally, we got talking. I mentioned I was an immigrant myself and am also very interested in reading about the experiences of other immigrants. After selecting a few of the books I suggested, she started heading towards the stairs. Then she came back to me and said, “I wanted to tell you, I am very happy that you are here.”

On that note, I just finished an anthology of essays called A Map is Only One Story. Twenty writers wrote short essays on “immigration, family and the meaning of home.” I could relate to some of the experiences written in the book.

I had some pleasurable interactions with customers, both in person and via email. They were helpful in reminding me why I love my job. I am afraid my love for the job is somewhat waning. I needed these interactions as a reminder to focus my attention on my customers.

I had an unpleasant conversation with an anti-masker at work. The man was trying to get a raise out of me by continuing with a pointless, circutitious argument about whether mask is mandated in county buildings (it is in our county) and if it is, am I going to throw him out as he was not wearing one. If I were not going to throw him out, the mandate meant nothing. We continued in this vein for quite a while as he became more and more belligerent. The “good” is how unaffected I remained at his aggressive behavior and ended the conversation with my final line. As I turned away from him, I said in my head, “Dude, I just went through hell in my life. Whatever you are doing right now – the belligerence, the aggressiveness is NOTHING to me. Absolutely nothing. You don’t scare me.” The level of trauma I recently experienced has made me intolerant of posturing fools complaining about first world problems like his right to not wear a mask in a building where mask is mandated.

On the 3 month anniversary (anniversary is a happy word though, I should think of another word to mark the death days) of baba’s death, Sahana picked me up from work and handed me a Cadbury Fruit and Nut chocolate bar. On the 3rd of every month, for as long as I can remember, baba bought me a bar of that particular chocolate when I lived at home. Even when I was 26 years old. After I left, he would buy me that chocolate bar every time I headed to the airport – either to go to Delhi or USA. He got paid on the 3rd of every month before retirement. Sahana remembered.

We watched the movie Respect in a movie theater on Friday. It is a biopic of Aretha Franklin. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Ryan cooked lobster claws and they were amazing.

I spoke to my mashi, who is closest to a mother figure in my life and I spoke to my cousin sister. They are my connections to home now.

I made a blueberry peach pie on Sunday to fortify us for the week.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of August 9th.


This was a vacation week so it was not only a good week, it was a great week. The losses still remained, the unanswered questions still lingered but I forced myself to simply focus on the moment that I was living. Just for this week. Please! For the most part I was successful. There was a night of sleeplessness and intense sadness but the “goods” in this week pushed the grief to a corner.

Sean and I drove down south for a road trip.

Our first destination was Raleigh, North Carolina. After fighting traffic we arrived at the city famished and found a delicious Indian and Nepali restaurant right across from North Carolina State University campus. After lunch we walked around college grounds.

Next stop was Durham and a walk around the campus of Duke University. The buildings are gothic and gorgeous.

We had amazing biscuits at True Flavor diner in Durham. I highly recommend if any of you are headed that way.

Biscuit with fried green tomato and pimento cheese.

On Sunday we drove down to Charleston, South Carolina. The waterfront park, the houses on Rainbow row, a long, hot walk along the historic district, a ghost and graveyard tour, a trip to Fort Sumter, Folly beach, Sullivan’s Island, more walking in the downtown, not to mention the scrumptious shrimp and grits, shrimp rolls and pulled pork, this city stole my heart.

On our drive up to Virginia beach, we stopped at Myrtle beach and then Wilmington, North Carolina. We had lunch at a funky restaurant called Mellow Mushroom right by the river in Wilmington. If you ever go there try their pizzas.

We arrived at Virginia beach around 9 pm. After dropping our bags at the hotel, we went out for a long walk.

The two days at Virginia beach were filled with lazy afternoons, some romp in the sea, leisurely strolls, lot of people watching and delicious meals at restaurants that were off the beaten track.

Those were “goods” of the week. The “bests” were a lot of laughter, lot of meaningful conversation, some tears, being together, being fully present in the moment, realizing, yet again, I am still hopelessly in love with the man I married.

Life is waiting with all of its sorrows and hopefully happiness at some point. This week was different.

On Saturday night I dreamt of ma and baba. Both were young, healthy and smiling.

Hope your list of “goods” is long. Have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of August 2nd.


The weeks and days seem to blur for me and it is difficult to remember the “goods” of this week. Did that good thing happen this week or the last, that is the question. Anyway, here is an effort to remember the “goods”.

My book club met this week after 2 months. Last 2 months were horrendous and I did not have the mental bandwidth to prepare discussion questions for books. However, when we met and discussed our selection for the month of July, I realized how much I enjoy meeting with each of those participants every month. How much they enrich my understanding of a book by their insightful input.

One work day I had lunch with a dear friend and coworker. She asked me how I coped or continue to cope with my losses. She has both parents living but both are elderly and she shudders to think of the eventuality. So we discussed. Sharing my thoughts with her was cathartic. I will write a different post about that conversation.

I went to the farmer’s market on Wednesday with friends.

Sahana, yet again, cooked delicious fried rice for our lunches. I am grateful for her love of cooking as well as culinary skills.

We got to pup sit for my friend’s puppy. She is my therapy pup.

My flowers look lovely and the African daisies are in full bloom. So are the gladiolus plants.

All of a sudden, I received a gorgeous dish garden from florists. A coworker sent it to me saying she continues to think of me and prays for me every day. I thanked her. Grief is lonely but it helps when one is enveloped with love.

Ryan is enjoying a couple of weeks of free time and is hence much nicer to be around. I am even getting occasional hugs.

Lastly, Sean and I embarked on a road trip down south. We hit Durham and Raleigh. We are now in Charleston and will visit Virginia beach before heading home.

As Sean and I sang along to the Spotify list that Sahana gifted Sean with our favorite songs as we drove down Interstate 95, I realized how much I love being with the man I married.

Although thoughts of ma and baba are never far from my mind and although there are several moments of sadness off and on, I am happy to be away from home and seeing something new with my favorite person.

This morning I asked Sean if he minded me talking about my parents to him so much. Talking about them, even their death and my sadness, helps me. He said “Absolutely not.” His eyes teared up along with mine.

Hope your list of “goods” is long and hope you have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of July 26th.


Not just the “goods” but the best thing this week was Sahana’s birthday. Although it was a week day, we went out for dinner and watched a movie. I love to celebrate birthdays and this was the birthday of my special girl. I can not lie, the day was bittersweet. I shed a lot of tears and also felt an immense surge of love for life with Sahana in it.

Ryan finished his 6 weeks of summer biology on Friday. He ended up with decent grades and judging by his incessant chatter on the subject, some knowledge.

Sahana wanted a beach day with family for her birthday. So the four of us went to the beach on Friday.

Our youngest driver drove us to our hotel and there were just two white knuckle moments in the entire journey.

Saturday was perfect for a beach day. Sahana and I went to the beach while the boys lazed in the hotel room for a while watching Olympics before joining us.

I read next to Sahana on the sand.

Sean gave me a heart attack when he went to swim in the ocean and disappeared without telling me he was going for a swim. I thought he had drowned. I even spoke to the young lifeguard on duty. The “goods” is he did not drown. He came back and was even sheepish when I told him I was worried sick.

We had unexpectedly good Mediterranean food at the beach. And of course, ice cream.

It was good to be together without any constraints on our times.

I was craving to be near water since the loss. I was able to sit and watch the waves crash relentlessly. There is a belief life is like a wave, building up and then crashing before becoming one with water again. I thought ma and baba are back where they came from after giving me life and a lifetime of love.

Sahana drove us back. As I sat next to her and watched her navigate traffic and heavy rain I again wondered how quickly time passes.

I hope your list of “goods” is long and have a great week.

The “goods” in the week of July 19th.


The whole point of this exercise is to be mindful of little things which enrich my life. It is to be aware of the small picture and not simply live through the moment which was good. The point is to acknowledge them. I thought of skipping this blog of “goods” this week. It has been a long week of routine. This week has been one of remembering and being sad of my loss. But I still had some “goods” and I want to write those down.

I have been hitting my step goal every day. I go for my walks and then during my breaks at work I go around the grounds of our library and end up at the library garden before going in.

I went to the farmer’s market with my friends and bought bread, coconut cupcakes and absolutely delicious strawberry balsamic vinegar.

On Wednesday I was supposed to drive to pick up Ryan from his school after practice, but my angel of a daughter finished her work early and offered to go in my stead. I could go home and relax instead.

My garden looks vibrant with colors. My osteospermum, in other words, African daisy plants lay fallow for many weeks. All of a sudden they are full of buds and flowers.

Ryan finished fifth week of summer biology and talks a lot about what he is learning. He seems excited. One more week to go.

Ryan’s swim practice will end next week. The anticipation of not having to drive him for a few weeks is one of my “goods” for sure.

I find myself laughing with my coworkers more these days. Sometimes I surprise myself that I can laugh again. But that is good. That is moving forward. My parents would have wanted that.

Ryan scored well in his Advanced Placement test of World History. Funnily that was surprising to both of us as he said he did not test well in that subject. He also did not know when the result was coming out. My friend, whose daughter took an AP test told me she got her result. I checked and there it was. I worry about that boy about his organization skills.

I love sitting down with Sahana at the end of our days and exchange customer stories from our respective work places.

Ryan had a swim meet in Virginia this weekend. Sean and I dropped him off at the facility and drove to nearby Leesburg. We walked around the historic downtown and ended up having lunch in a cute restaurant called Shoe’s Cup and Cork. I had a good day.

On Sunday, while Ryan swam, Sean and I walked by Potomac river. I paused by the river for a while and thought about ma and baba.

This week I had a long conversation with my cousin in India. Both our mothers died on the same day within 10 hours of each other’s death. Interestingly enough, these two sisters-in-law were close friends as well and we both remember their giggly youth. We laughed about how they planned their exit together to giggle some more like yester years and eat junk food like they used to. Then we both cried. My memories of our shared childhood is a comfortable place to land when my grief becomes too intense. I told her that.

Ryan got best times in 6 of his 7 events. His happiness at his achievement after putting in hard work is definitely in my list of “goods”. Ma and baba were embarrassingly proud of both of their grandkids. I bet they are bragging about them to whoever will listen as I write this.

There were still moments of sadness during days (and a sleepless night) but there were no I-can’t-breathe anxiety this week.

May your list of “goods” be long. Hope you have a great week.