The Longing


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I was about 8 years old then and till date it is one of the best family photos. My dad is holding me up

When I was a kid, my father used to work in Kolhapur 8 hour train ride away. He used to come once every month and usually on a Friday as it was the day when he had off. Before my birthday, on 8th November we didn’t receive any phone call from him. I think I was worried as he would call everyday at a fixed time. My mom wasn’t worried and that should have given me the hint. Next day on my birthday my dad surprised me by coming home in the middle of the week. The memory is still blurry but I remember getting really happy and my dad’s belly laugh.

I am doing the same thing now.


My manager/company CEO Warren told me a month ago about the company Christmas break. Other than the 5 public holidays, the company doesn’t shell out a 3 week break like every other company. The first thing that came to my mind was I can go home now.

I acted on the impulse without thinking much and within two hours I had booked my flights. I rapidlyy fire messages to all my friends in India telling I am coming home. I was two seconds shy of posting it on Facebook as I realized that my parents would see it. My trip is a surprise for them, it is exactly as I have always pictured my first trip home would be.

I would ring the bell in the morning and my mom would gasp when I say hi. My dad would probably be eating his breakfast and ready for work. My brother would be too sleepy to bother but I know he would be really happy as well. My dog, Jimmy would be the one who is visibly the happiest.

I won’t be landing in the morning but I still expect a similar reaction. If anyone ever tells you a month is not long then introduce them to me.


More than a year ago, prior to me getting an admitted to AUT or getting a visa, I was having dinner with my dad and brother. We were talking about my future and how I was innocently saying that doing Masters’ would be easy or something like that. He was always reluctant with the idea and I always thought it was because of the money involved. He admitted his reason that night.

He said that he was worried that I will leave them and eventually forget about them. I blame Baghban movie for that kind of thinking. His statement was the equivalent of a sucker punch to my gut. Suffice to say that night was a very emotional night for us. My brother wasn’t much emotional though, he was laughing about it eventually.

I did my best over the last 15 months to not forget about them. His sentence would always be in my head.


“How long have you been here for?” a friend asked me.

“15 months”  I replied. I didn’t like rounding off the number or saying more than a year.

“That’s not very long”

“It feels longer”


I have never lived without my family. As a kid, my parents used to scare me that if I didn’t behave they would send me off to boarding school. I think every parent used that line to, sigh, get their children in line.

If I had I would have some experience with living with myself. I would have some taste of the freedom. I would have known how to cook better and how to deal with my finances better.

Today, I don’t have to answer to anyone about where I am going or when I will be back. I can come back at 6pm after work or I can come back at 2am after a party. I could eat whatever I want and I can even sleep hungry. I can keep a stack of clothes on my rooms’ chair instead of hanging them on hooks.

This freedom brings along with itself loneliness. Regardless of when I come home, my room will be quiet. There will not be my angry sulking dad or my chattering mom. There is no dog wagging his tail at the door for me.

I am by no means saying one life is better than the other. Neither am I saying I wanna go back forever. I could enjoy my life as much as I want here and at the same time miss the life that I had back in India.

I can be happy with my life in Auckland and still long for my life back.

For the next three weeks I intend to enjoy my home, my mom’s cooked food. I intend to enjoy meeting old friends and share a laugh or two. I missed them all.

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A year in AUT


A year ago, I was in Mumbai working 9 hours a day and secretly trying to get my visa sanctioned. I had kept my Masters’ plans secret from my colleagues. I would frequently call my brother whenever I needed some advice about my visa or about my job.

No one really tells you how hard it is to live away from your family. It is harder still to live without home-cooked food. It is hardest when there is no dog happily running around when I return home. I have weird priorities.

My friends from India do not share the same time with me. They are lagging behind 8 hours. If I need advice from my friends, I would get a reply from them 4 hours after my message. One of my friends moved to Germany now which lags behind 12 hours so basically I would wake up when she sleeps. I slowly stopped asking for advice and used my instincts. If I am confused, I toss a coin to decide.

I cannot summarize the last 9 university months in one sentence. In fact, I have been writing this post for the last 2 weeks and every draft I wrote was unsatisfactory. My drafts were mechanical, emotionless and not me. I had to sit and shovel the feelings out of my chest so my feelings can guide the words flow into this post. I should thank one of my university staff for that shovel.

I am competing for an award in my university. The final step to submit my award application is a personal essay to the university staff member. I have to write an essay about my feelings. It ought to be easy considering I have a personal blog right?

When I started in university, I was fresh off a content writing position in India. I was trying to transition back to engineering again. I saw my university’s monthly magazine and I said to my friend “I will submit an article in here”. I never submitted any article and forgot about it. In October I read the year’s final magazine again. I regretted never submitting any article.

I was also happy that I did not submit any article, I was no longer a content writer. My writings were academic focused and maybe no longer suited for magazines. My transition was complete.

Regarding my award application, all my essay drafts were sent back for revisions. She said my essays did not have feelings, they were similar to academic writings. She made me stop and think, think carefully about what my university months meant to me. Without her push, this post would have stayed in my drafts.

I did a lot of things in my university. I don’t want to list them, I want to relive them as I write the words here. I don’t know when I will resume my university for Ph.D. yet. At the moment, the nine months of university is what I have for certain.

I lived in two different houses while I studied. I loved both of the houses for different reasons. One house was near to sea face and my current house allows me to bike to my university. I made some great friends in my previous house, one of them recently sent me a postcard. The simple 3 lines on the postcard gave me immense happiness. I have to send her a postcard back soon.

I can’t talk about the AUT Debating Society enough. They took me along with them to my first roadtrip to Hamilton. I enjoyed the debating weekend getaway, the location and it took some time but I loved the people I met. On regular university days, every Tuesday I would be debating with them, making arguments and high-fiving my teammates. The funniest thing I have ever heard my teammate say during a debate was ‘Spiritual Porn’. The argument used will always be funny.

Recently, I volunteered for a medical technology event. It was not my first volunteering and it will not be my last. During the volunteering, I felt a surge of pride when people appreciated the exhibits. I should have clicked photos of kids reacting to the exhibits. The kids had a curiosity which made them keep exploring. The event was exhilarating and it gave me an excuse to cycle along the waterfront. I was as excited about these things as a 8 year old would be.

I got lost on so many days here. If I don’t have my phone then without maps I would also be geographically lost. I kept looking for a replacement home. I understand my immense involvement in a church now. They are a bunch of great people but with time I realized that I don’t really belong with them. I was trying too hard. Luckily, I found a good replacement home. A entire community of people who want to do good, and they accepted me into their homes with open arms. They called me ‘fam’, family for short. I can’t wait for their wedding in December.

It is not easy to live in a new country. It is easier to stay with other Indians because it is familiar and comfortable. I never fit in with them either. So I never waited for anyone. I wanted to watch a movie, I watched it. I wanted to eat a pizza, I ate it. I wanted to go to a party, I went. I never waited for anyone, I couldn’t possibly call my best friends from India here.

The year in Auckland, 9 months with AUT was a promiscuous mixture. Some days I went outside the house with ambition, some days I just closed my eyes and slept again. The 9 months are no less symbolic than childbirth for me. I feel independent, optimistic and ready for whatever comes my way and I have come a long way from where I started.

Diwali In Auckland


(PS: that is not my home, it is my neighbors’)

To me, Diwali is the festival of food, particularly sweets. Families all over would create  culinary masterpieces and the very air would be infused with myriad aromas. When Diwali is passes by my house would be filled with lots of food, boxes of sweets. The sweets are delicious. They are perfect eatery when I am wandering or standing near the refrigerator door.

I have many favorite sweets. Over Hindu calendar year, there are many festivals where sweets are obligatory. During Diwali, we would go to our cousin’s place to exchange sweets. The purpose of meeting people is to catch up, spend quality time. For me, that never mattered, I am not much of a people person. I enjoyed Diwali as long there was enough food.

I decided this Diwali would end with sweets. This was not nostalgia or delusion. I can’t eat food and be instantly transported back to home. I don’t need sweets to recall what home is like on Diwali.  The evening would be alive with firecrackers’ noise. Mum would startle hearing a burst of a cracker. My dog Jimmy would run around smelling food. He got quickly immune to the noise of crackers.

Dad would watch a Diwali celebration concert on TV. The concert would be terrible but he would keep switching channels. Navin, my brother, would play on his phone or roam the town with his mates. If he is out, he would come home half hour late at the minimum. He always did that making everyone fret over his ETA.

Eventually, everything would work out fine. The entire house would be lit with oil lamps and decorating LEDs on the windows, dry color floor artworks (rangoli) outside the house. The LEDs lights toggle their brightness. It would continue to dance and emulate the twinkling the stars for the rest of the night. The Pooja (prayer) at home would finish quickly while Navin or I would make sure that Jimmy doesn’t eat any of the sweets.

Funny how easy it is to recall mundane memories at times like this.

Auckland is different. There is no startling noise of crackers, no decorating LEDs. But I decided that tonight at least there has to be a meet and catch up. The main reason was food obviously. I made a plan, invited some friends to a nearby Indian restaurant. As I cycled there, I could see which houses have Indian families. It is easy to spot that one house in a lane with LEDs adorning the porch. The house which has oil lamps lit on the veranda. Someone started fireworks as well.

I was not the only Indian out eating today: meeting everyone and greeting them ‘Happy Diwali’ was familiar to the days in India. Over the entire year, no one would say hi to one another, and on Diwali, everyone would greet each other like we are some long lost cousins.

The food was amazing. The essence of Diwali for someone like me was achieved. It was with a bunch of people who I can count on. The familiarity made food more precious. I didn’t miss home today as I thought I would.

Weekend Coffee Share: Househunting again


If we are having coffee, I would tell you that coffee shares are surprisingly simple and difficult at the same time. How much am I supposed to share? Am I just supposed to gloss over stuff, or dive into my feelings as I do in many of my posts.

I would tell you that I hate my housemate. She is subletting the apartment to us and is no longer willing to adjust all the while binding us to her house rules. I don’t mind the rules as long as I get what I want, which I have to argue over. This past week, things boiled over and there was no conclusion other than it is worthless. Time to move again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I never realized what my parents meant by ‘having a stable home’ till now. After everyone argued, me and my roommate started by taking out our frustration and then each shared stories. I shared the story of the best people I met here, who would call me to dinner every Thursday when I lived in my previous home. He told me his overnight stay in his friends family place, and how he now knows what family is.

I looked in a couple of places this week, one of which I loved but was too expensive. After messaging, the houseowner said that nothing can be done. However, as I visited that place, I cycled by Mission Bay and it was so worth it. Auckland sure does have a lot of coastal ways and that is something I love.

If we are having coffee, it is at this point I would let you speak. To hear some others said, check them out.

 

 

Thank You Gmail


It is not easy; I knew it the moment I landed here in Auckland tugging two suitcases trying to soak in the new country and at the same time worrying about the things that I need to do. I knew that if there is one thing that I am going to miss the most about home is the ability to just call someone when I needed something.

To have a conversation without having a huge 8 hour time difference.

Now, I do the only thing I know well enough by now: I write them letters. Everyday my phone reminds me at 2 pm to send an email to my parents telling them how my previous day was. Sometimes I draft the email at 2, sometimes I don’t. The only thing that doesn’t change is my honesty. I know that they are the only ones at the moment who would like to know everything happening in my life in Auckland.

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The first email I sent was a surprise to them. Three weeks into this, I mail them everyday. My mom’s morning routine now includes an email from me the first thing in the morning.

I do leave out a certain things, like the fact that one of my Japanese roommates decided to post a video on Facebook tagging me. Now I am going to be teased for a month or more. But its all cool.

The idea is similar to ‘If we were having coffee’ which I read on Sabina’s and Jay’s blogs. I liked the idea then and now I am using it not on my blog but with my family. Gmail made it really easy.

Okay that’s it, I’m in heaven! #sunset #nofilter #harbour #auckland #dockyard #walkway #manukau #beautiful

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 19, 2016 at 1:05pm PST

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I am trying to do the same thing with my friends back in India. I mail them every Sunday however I am pretty sure they will not be as enthusiastic as my parents. I don’t blame them, they have their own lives and not everyone can read hundreds of words.

I could Skype them, I did do that today. But I am not a guy who can talk. I am guy who knows how to put my thoughts into words and back them up with emotions. I tried the other way and because of the time difference it is not feasible. So now, I do what I know the best: I write letters to the ones I miss.

I write about the Lantern festival in Auckland, I write about the marina near my house. I write about the food that I made and about the food that was not so good. I can’t call them every time I need some help but I can surely remember where I came from; why I am here.

When you miss home, you make pav Bhaji (without the pav of course) #foodporn #pavbhaji #homesick #indian #auckland

A photo posted by Mayur Wadhwani (@mayurdw) on Feb 26, 2016 at 6:16pm PST

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Nostalgia and Family


After two years of hard work, failures and obstacles that still seem unbeatable me and my family now have finally done it. I write my very first post from Auckland, New Zealand.

The road has been not been easy. The last six months were the hardest months that I had. Almost zero friends, a job which I didn’t fully enjoy and a slippery future were everyday thoughts. I crawled through the thick and thin, some days having support and the other days with my head bowed in guilt and loneliness.

The day before was the family dinner. Just the four of us, no Jimmy because restaurants are not exactly animal friendly here. We walked, and for the first time my elder brother, Navin was not fussing about my clothes. The dinner was never going to be a grand gesture, nothing flimflam but just something we do. Thanks to the India-Sri Lanka T20 match, the table talk was not filled with awkward silences.

*

I love food. But I love eating the comfort familiar food more than trying out different new dishes. Give me a new cuisine and I might excuse myself. Give me Dal Rice and I will definitely ask for more, probably with some fried potato slices. So the menu for me was fixed: tomato soup, Chicken lollipop, Nan and curries.

Familiar Dishes. Dishes with which I have grew up with.

The other day while roaming my town to complete some work (still pending and I’m worried about it.) and it was then I realised that there is so much that’s left to eat. I walked, music played by my phone echoing my mood, remembering all the small stalls where I would eat. Junk food, delicious food and places which I will not visit for over a year now. A couple of blocks away from where I was, an awesome vada pav (Indian Burger) stall is located. He would add chat masala and onions as garnish. I remember the innumerable times I finished my tuitions and ate there. That Idli corner or the sugarcane juice stall or the Pav Bhaji stall.. My mind raced and my belly growled.

So as I walked, ignoring my belly’s urge to go and eat away the food again. I did eat most of the said food but there’s only so much time I had.

*

So the family dinner was no different. As we four walked back home, I looked around trying to soak in every scent of my neighbourhood. To remember the school and the college, because I know I’m going to miss it when I’m gone. My school, where I spent 7 years is now a mammoth structure that is sucking the marrow off parents savings. The school is under reconstruction for years now and who would send their children to a school that is under construction. Or so I thought as the school is only getting bigger and prosperous. It’s just school management’s greed to run the school.

A couple of my school classmates houses past, my memory gates opened and I was inundated: the corner sweetshop Kaveri sweets which became so popular that everyone renamed the bus stop. I lived and saw throught the slow gradual process of renaming a locality took place. Half a block past is a building which once was the dream building: from the gates of the building it looks as if there is an city inside. Opposite to the building is the power office. When we were in school we would come home, me and Navin and look at the schedule for power cut and whine about having to miss Pokémon again.

Not everything was the same though. New sitting benches have been put up, the evenings now host a vegetable market. Not everything resembles my childhood.

But most of the things do.

The temple which would be the study spot for everyone as exam day arrived. Or the upslope road where my brother rode his bicycle with me seated behind. I was always lazy.

I was too busy in my nostalgia that I fell behind mom and dad. Every single place had a memory with it. Some with mom. Some with dad. Most of them with Navin. A tiny smile lit my face, a genuine smile which I missed in my life for long. I love this place, my neighbourhood.

As we climbed up my building stairs, memories kept me alert and reminiscent of my surroundings. I even recalled the smooth feeling of a wall which has long been remodeled. My building once has no automobiles parked now has a parade of cars, new and old, motor bikes and cycles. So much has changed and I want to say it happened too quick. It didn’t. I lived here since November 2002, 13 years.

I played with Jimmy, I make him run around the house and in no time he is tired and grinning his signature. I don’t think my dog has a sixth sense. He should be the emotional one and he is licking his butt.

I always said. Jimmy is an idiot.

*

Overwhelmed I wrote this before sleeping in my bed that night. My last night in my bed. Next day the very first thing was to change the location of my bed to accommodate some furniture and so my bed had to move.

My Mom knows me best and she senses the tiny changes in me. Mom teased “Enjoy the bed.” I laughingly say yes. Even though the lights are off but I’m sure my mom heard my smile in the dark.

Even after the lights are off I am still thinking about everything: from the way my brother talks and behaves. From my dad’s logic to my mom’s emotions to my dog’s stupidity: I cannot help but recall every instance that I have spent with them. I don’t remember what I dreamt that night but I am sure I dreamt about them.

*

Final day was full of nervous excitement for everyone. There is so much riding on me now, everyone had done so much for this. The unexpected surprise came when Navin made a special farewell video for me. I knew he was working on something but never thought he would make, edit an entire video.

Navin always had a good taste in music so obviously the chouse of music would be good. He roped in his friends, mom and dad into the video too and I watched barely controlling my quivering lips while with me exclaiming ‘Aap bhi ho?!’ (you are also featured in the video!) Trust my brother for a surprise and he never disappoints.

*

Mom and dad say Navin and me always fight. We argue, occassionally we fight too but at the end of the day there is hardly anyone more important to me than he and my parents. I got calls from friends and relatives wishing me good luck for my abroad trip. I never told anyone of them that its not that I am going abroad, the thing is I am leaving my family behind.

My parents worry about us both. They shouldn’t really. Not anymore: they raised two great kids.

*

Mom quickly made some delicious ladoos which I inevitably forgot. Now I regret forgetting the ladoos because the food at the Hong Kong Airport is either too expensive or just too bland for my taste.

Yesterday when we arrived at the Mumbai airport we were awestruck with the arcitechure and colossal size of the terminal. Somehow, despite my anxiety I sat down on the plane and braced myself for the take off. But my mind was still fixed on my family. I already know the first thing that I will miss when I reach in Auckland.

In India, I can call up Navin or Mom for anything that I want to ask. Now, regardless of the advanced internet calling services, that one thing will be missing. I can only keep them in loop but at the end I have to make the decision. It does not sound like a big deal but it is. My family always has my back and I will have their back; now there would be a distance of 5000+ miles and a time gap of 8 hours.

*

It was easy to get lost in the moment as I boarded the plane. First time experience, the gravity pull and push as the plane changes altitude. The sight of Mumbai from the sky; the sight of New Zealand as I flew past the shores of this amazing and beautiful country.

It’s quiet here: country side and the people are friendly. I love this place already.

*

Last night in flight I dreamt of the way my parents talk. How Navin would ask for something and Dad would just shoot him down. How I used to laugh at the embarrassing situations that I or anyone else faced. I have no idea how they lived with me laughing like an ass for so many years. Now, I am thinking of how will they do things. Who will walk Jimmy? Who will feed the plants? Will mom eat after coming home from work? Will dad tell me if there is something’s going on?

If I ask them this question they would tell me to just focus on my studies. I will focus on my studies and make a career. They have always been right about this: I can’t do everything at the same time.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Navin. Thank you everyone who wished me well.

Walking My Dog is Heartbreaking


That’s Jimmy, we brought him home in April five years ago. We still don’t know when he was born, we adopted him from the street. This morning when I walked him I couldn’t do it without tears in my eyes.

Walking Jimmy has always been an important task of the day for me, I trained him so I walked him most of the times and not my elder brother. Parents hardly walk him because then Jimmy is the one in control and he is a total brat with my parents. I love walking him, I have used walking him as an excuse to walk away from family when I am angry or sad, I walked him so that I can forget about a girl or I wanted to think things over. He is the perfect companion, always laughing. Sometimes I seriously wonder if he knows my mood and his demeanour changes accordingly, if it does then I don’t know how he does it.

Last couple of days he has taken ill, he doesn’t eat and there is a sprain or muscle injury in right hind leg. He limps. Back when he was healthy, coming home I would be greeted by his sloppy kisses, the thumping of his wagging tail and infinite energy. It was either that reaction to my homecoming or he would fall down asleep because he is too sleepy and my coming home had disturbed his sleep.

But I know he was happy to see me. He looked cute, peaceful in his sleep. I have previously written about him here.

In the last two days, things have changed. Now he wouldn’t get up from the corner of the room that he has occupied. No wagging tails, no drooling tongue and no grinning welcome. He doesn’t even lift his head. My mom cries helpless looking at him. I sit next to him and comb his fur. He had lost weight I can see, his fur is thinning out. The light in his eyes is not the same, he looks in agony.

He is no longer happy to see me.

I took him to the vet and got him checked up. Vet suggested that I would let him rest and if he doesn’t start eating then I should bring him in again today evening. I was glad that mom didn’t come along too, she wouldn’t have kept her cool if she saw him wailing in pain.

He is eating but only sparingly, not with the same viciousness that he used to devour food. I kept my worries in check, kept my emotions in check because only I will be taking him to the vet, only I can stand by and not cry while he wails when injected. But it is so difficult not to.

Today I took him to walk. Usually he is full of energy, he would be the one to lead and I would be the one who is pulled by him. Today his trot was slower, clearly favoring his right leg. Head and tail drooped, he looked so old today. He was already past his energetic days, but today he looked frail.

Frail but stubborn because he still walked his usual long route. I tried to make him walk for less distance, give him rest but he wouldn’t. The whole twenty-five minutes this morning I looked at him walking and it hurt.

I still can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes, three hours after. He walked cautiously then suddenly decided he has to lead and try to canter, stop before he would hurt himself. While returning home, he took two steps and stopped, this happened a lot of times. I tried to carry him but he would wiggle out of my hands, he didn’t want to be carried. The bastard has his pride, he has to walk the same distance and he will walk back without my aid.

I tried to encourage him, telling him thoda dur (just a little far) but my throat clenched up in a try or two. All I could do was to touch his back and hope he gets the message. He always sits downstairs in the building compound and today he made no exception. He  sat on his hunches, ignoring my pull and stared at every passer-by. I know he was in pain, otherwise he would be grinning. Uncomfortable but he still was unwilling to drop his routine for some comfort. He sat on his hunches and he looked more proud today that on any other day.

Somehow we managed to climb to the third floor, he could barely walk now. I could barely watch. Inside the house he went back to occupy his new customary corner while I sat facepalmed telling myself that Jimmy would be alright

He will be alright.

Jimmy

Down Memory Lane


Mulund. Devi Dayal road. My father’s home.

We visited an aunt last Saturday. After a long time, we met her and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We got to know that the lane in which my father lived his childhood has changed, the buildings are replaced by residential towers, the road is bigger and slum dwellers at the end of the lane are now up scaled to a building.

Only thing that stayed the same was Hanuman Temple.

My mother’s curiosity gave the necessary nudge and we walked father’s lane,  down memory lane.

I have heard my father’s childhood stories numerous times. Nonetheless they are always hogged down by my ears, my face may actually light up on hearing those stories.

He pointed out small garage type house that his family of 10 or more used to live in, I feel proud to see how far he has come, how humble his origins are, somewhat closer to understand why he aspires greatness from me. That house is now the office of Rotary Club.

Father’s friend used to live in the building opposite, now there’s a new ornate tower standing there, the friend moved away now.

My mind begun coining a line, something inspired from a WWE match I saw. Before I digress and ramble upon my fandom of The Undertaker, I’ll quote the lines:

Fortune fame 
Mirror vain 
Gone insane 
But the memory remains 

Buildings torn down. Shopkeepers changed. Gardens built anew. Pictures faded. Friends moved away. But the memory remains.

As our trip down the memory lane finished, the stories were just getting started. Father told me again about how he and his friends would hang out at the gate the Lalchand Laxmibai hostel, his school Dayanand vedic highschool. His tea ‘adda’ or spot with his friends and later my mom joined him after marriage at paach rasta. (five way junction) He remembers the cost, 4 paise for a cutting tea back then.

He showed us his favorite restaurant in its early days, Kirti Mahal. That restaurant is extremely popular now, with a huge queue waiting for their turn. His pals would visit the restaurant and with hand skills steal spoons and forks for their hostel. My dad looked for a pan wala but that shop was missing.

Alas, no visit to past memories would be complete without loss. He found out that one of his school classmates passed away a year ago.

I had great hopes for finishing this evening with the best dinner possible: Pav Bhaji from the stall that he used to eat from. Yes that stall is still there after 40 years, the food delicious.

After waiting for 30 minutes for the food, I quickly hogged it down, burped on the road without any shame. My dad satisfied by eating there, greeting the busy cook.

The evening was a mix of melancholy and ebullience.

It made me think about why I always loved Mulund more than my home Dombivali(both are city names).

The former has a family connection, it feels homely. It feels part of my heritage, my roots arise there. The exact same feeling arises when I visit my maternal grandparents.

There’s a bond there which runs across a generation. It is like homecoming.

Captivated


Many people catch my attention but only few of them truly captivate me.

Today I met an extraordinary woman.

She is my aunt’s mother, easily older than 80 years.

I don’t know her name, her last name I learnt from the nameplate.  I am clueless about her education, her marriage, her accomplishments or her regrets: because I didn’t ask them.

In fact I didn’t ask her anything, I just watched her in wide eyed wonder. I observed her energy and cordial personality, a person captivated.

Yes, captivated.

She couldn’t hear anymore but that didn’t impede her loquacious nature, she can lip read everyone: me, my parents, my aunt, even the actors on TV! Her focus oscillated from one person to the next as we spoke, she wanted to be a part of the conversation.

She spoke with everyone, she made me feel as a part of her family even if I had just met her for the very first time. I am part of her family, to her my father is like her son.

I heard her stories and her theories. She doesn’t leave her house anymore because she wants to pass away at her own home, she doesn’t want to taint her sons’ houses with her death.

Back when my father was a child, she used to summon him for small errands, my father never said no. Today when they met she told him she has some work for him, he still didn’t say no.

Her two favorite things are the bank and moving. Yes, I said she doesn’t leave her home so wait.
Her residential area is under remodeling. Old buildings are being replaced with new towers, the previous residents are given apartments in the new tower. She keeps making arrangement for a new temporary apartment even though her building is not scheduled for remaking. In fact, the plan is just under talks and nothing is finalized.

She is meticulous about her accounts, always checking to see if her money’s still there. Nowadays she calls over a nearby kid, pays him 15 rs to go and check her account! The same kid was also summoned to visit her cousin who was hospitalized.

She has a diary, all the people who she knows are in it. Contact numbers, their residences everything. She has maintained it over the years so well that my aunt only uses her diary as a contact list. She took our numbers today.

Like I said her gregarious nature doesn’t permit her to stay aloof, she calls people and speaks to them over loudspeaker of the phone. According to my aunt, her telephonic conversations are a shouting match.

I love her, I don’t have any blood ties with her but I wish there should be one, no matter how distant. Her diabetes has no control over her, she would eat rice and sweets whenever my aunt’s unaware.

Funniest thing is that she is always smiling. She is unique in that, her frankness and motherly nature. If you were there, you would probably touch her legs in awe and respect. Like I said I was captivated.

Before we left her abode, she gave me and my brother ten rupee notes. I never do this but I marked her note and vowed to never spend it. When she made me vow to never spend it later at the door, I wanted to hug her and say I was never going to spend it anyway.

wp-1463814512867.jpg

This is the goal. To be so venerated, to possess such candor, to meet another youngster and make him captivated.

After all, what is life’s goal but to be remembered.

What Do You Want to Do in Life?


My dad sat with me the other night to have a very important talk. I expected the conversation to involve drinking or something related to it. Instead he shocked me by asking a question I was never ready for. I will probably be never be able to answer.

Beta kya karna hai life me? ‘what do you want to do with your life? ’

*******

Two months and so many job applications. I have been choosy and more than haphazard in my options. So till date I’m still looking for a job that I’ll go and say yes without slightest hesitation. Idealistic and dreamy view.

I wrote two pieces about my recent interviews and I have realized that I have made my share of mistakes. My brain though is amazing in figuring out where a circuit is faulty is not so speedy recovering from unprepared questions thrown at me.

*****
I couldn’t answer my father. I didn’t lie, I said I don’t know what I want to do with my life, I am confused. I am trying to figure things out. One step at a time but I need some experience to understand my capabilities and my interests. He never pushed me neither did he gave a reprimand for not knowing the answers. Usually this question sends me to Dark corner where there is no return for a day or two. This time I stood and tried my best to answer it. And I intend to make sure I have an answer for it.

And as the decision dragged on they said that I give up too soon. I might be a cantankerous and testy asshole but I never give up. And then I kept quiet. Because I knew now my words are useless and I had to get things sorted.

*****

I have no idea how or when my parents decided to visit a fortune teller. They have their own faith and while I can’t say the same I couldn’t oppose it even if I wanted to. Because they never told us where we were going.

My brother lost his job recently. And while we are really confident that he can dust this off in no time and pick another great opportunity, we all are worried for him. And my parents had two reasons to visit the teller. And the revelations were fantastic/hilarious.

They intend to make a locket for me because I’m a sloth and that’s the way to make a person active. I don’t my parent’s concern or care but I do think it is pretty useless. I said if you both believe it then I’ll wear. The decision was instantaneous.

The funny part was when they exclaimed that they asked about my marriage. Apparently I’m going to have a love marriage. I’m sure that’s fortune’s way of mocking me.

*******
I made a to do list. It’s huge and it’s constantly being amended. And just last week when I thought I had a great life I realize that’s because I let procrastination get the better off me. This list has unfinished items from atleast six months. Prominent among them is to get my slurred speech remedied. I am not going to be mocked because I can’t pronounce Roller.

I still don’t have answers. But I am going to try get them. And I won’t quit.

******

I had another interview. This one via a contact and this time something that I know is perfect for me.

And I didn’t keep quiet when he said this isn’t the job for me. I tried, I tried harder to somehow change his answer from ‘we have no job openings’ to something affirmative. Something that shows a glimmer of hope. Nada.

Another job I’m not made for apparently

******

My juniors ask me for suggestions in their project and GRE and placement. Everything they ask. And I don’t blame them, guidance is needed.

So if you are reading this and you know you are going to have to face a similar situation as my juniors my advice would be the same.

Go for it. Couple of redundant certificates don’t hurt. Do whatever comes your way for now. Do them till you figure out the answers to the questions I can’t answer. Tap on every opportunity you can get. You don’t know where your life will head. So don’t be an idiot and think you have everything figured out. Go for it.

To The People I Met in College


(Four Stars

Write a review of your life — or the life of someone close to you — as if it were a movie or a book.)

While having lunch, someone posed the question ‘Where would we be five ten years from now?’

None of us could answer, but that got me thinking.

If the Mayur of 2011 would meet the Mayur of 2015, he would neither recognize nor believe that this is what the next four years of college would hold for him.

I was shy. Unfriendly, friendless, alone and yes scared. To come to a college that resided in a society that’s way above my normal social standards! I still remember the gooseflesh I had on the very first day, I reached college at around 7.30 am for a 8 am lecture. I met my first classmate that day.

The college magazine photoshoot took place the other day. There is my class! All of us grinning, happy for this photo of our class that we would always have(I would!)

I imagined sitting in my class/lab 306 and bantering. Laughing. Writing assignments. Cursing and laughing again. And then thought about what will we do tomorrow.

And it hit me, maybe tomorrow(literal sense) we won’t be in that lab.

And I realized that day, the college is just a step away from being ‘Present’ to being ‘Past’. That ‘I am going to college’ would soon become ‘I was going to college’. The imminent end is here.

Coming to Dadar I met a senior. Passed out last year she is looking for a new job. She hates it. She misses college. She misses the routine of college.

Okay, here it goes:

If I could sum up my college experience it’s this: The people I met here. Its my parents who pushed me to come here, my brother who supported me.

You!

The memories I shared with you all, some made digital, some forever lost in the grooves of my head.

YOU MADE ME REACH HERE!

EITHER BY SUPPORTING ME, or by enraging me.

I ate with you or most probably I ravaged your lunch.

I laughed with you. I laughed on you, you laughed on me. I teased you, you teased me back.

I sang with you, I danced with you.

I consoled you when you were down. You consoled me when I was down.

I never refused to help you when you asked, I never stopped begging for help because half the times I was helpless.

Most importantly I spoke with you. Had lengthy or transiting conversations with you. I got to know you. Glad that I got to know you.

My college is you:

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU.

Even if I just say hi to you while walking on the stairs, I’ll remember you.

I’ll remember the one liners you spoke, I’ll remember the hi fives and the bear hugs.

I’ll remember the times I laughed so hard my stomach ached.

I’ll remember the times I got so angry on you that I wanted to just kill you.

I’ll remember the fights I had with you. I’ll remember the fights we watched happening and wished we had popcorn.

I’ll remember you.

So if a long time from now we meet, I’ll grin in recognition because you mattered.

Thank you for all the memories. Thank you for the lessons both taught wittingly and unwittingly.

I’m not good with changes, never liked goodbyes.

Maybe I’ll lose contact, but you have my email, you know me on Facebook. Contact me, I’ll reply.

I’ll be happy to.

I’ll miss this routine.

I’ll miss the familiarity.

I’ll miss you.

Thank you for the four years. I’m glad I got the experience.

While everyone keeps saying and tagging their pictures #onelasttime I would rather say #TillNextTime

Thanks For Reading
Itsmayurremember

Let’s see what others have written:

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https://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/path/
http://www.destinary.com/2015/04/20/beyond-the-sea/
https://nicholacmassey.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/four-stars/
https://salihinyacob.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/four-stars-for-life/
https://adarkworldinside.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/is-such-a-life-enough/
https://lauzlau.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/once-upon-a-life/
https://heleneparish.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/beyond-the-sea/
http://californiaurbanite.com/review-of-my-life/
https://helenmeikle.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/daily-prompt-lifes-a-beach/
https://avenueaesthetics.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/avenue-aesthetics-whats-new-in-esthetics-in-alberta/
http://jonathanwrogers.com/2015/04/19/a-life-and-death-story/
https://nelkumi.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/my-life-in-review/
https://kurtengel18.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/rating-without-stars/
Reflections: What Are We Feeding Our Children?
https://avenueaesthetics.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/whats-up-in-alberta-aesthetics-keeping-it-clean-and-healthy-for-all/
https://hometogo232.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/daily-post-four-stars/
FIVE PHOTOS FIVE STORIES CHALLENGE: A date with Langurs (Day 1)
https://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/before-2/
http://ireland-ms.com/2015/04/19/booksireland/
http://clipsandsnippets.com/2015/04/19/review-one-beleaguered-life/
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https://naveenwins.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/book-review-only-for-you/
http://lifeisgreat0.com/2015/04/19/love-and-war/
NOT ANOTHER!
https://saurab275.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/the-search/
https://reallifeunscripted.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/just-underneath/
https://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/five-stars/
https://iseeiseesaidme.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/unmentionables/
https://myleviathan.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/the-nearly-man-2/
https://shameport.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/sunday/
https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/temporary-home/
My Life : Review
https://kretschmannland.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/four-stars-why-not-five/
https://grieflessons.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/the-long-road-four-landays-napowrimo-day-19/
https://thelonerose.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/four-stars/
Daily Feline Prompt: My Feline Life
https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/love-story-opening/
https://kimaedwards.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/daily-prompt-four-stars/
https://alotfromlydia.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/a-lot-of-sweat/
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https://livingonchi.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/daily-prompt-the-loss/
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https://509majesty.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/could-we-get-a-rewrite/
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https://unbolt.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/a-doll/
https://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/not-so-sober-tale/
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http://cancerisnotpink.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/eddie-and-the-horses/
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http://thesoundoflaughter.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/review-of-a-life-so-far-a-writing-exercise/
http://averystrangeplace.com/2013/06/08/daily-riffed-3-its-a-thankless-job-but-apparently-i-have-to-do-it/
http://2013weeklyphotochallenge.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/weekly-photo-challenge-home-made-flower/
http://stuckonzero.com/2013/06/06/%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85/
http://ncieslak.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/daily-prompt-four-stars-its-not-always-a-wonderful-life/
http://calliopeslyre.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/i-will-not-break/
http://mannalexandra.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/daily-prompt-four-stars/
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http://noelephantsinthisroom.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/i-give-it-2-stars-so-far/
http://writinglikeastoner.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/daily-prompt-four-stars/
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http://linesbylinda.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/daily-prompt-four-stars-from-the-past-and-beyond/
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A Pet’s Life For Me
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http://marta87wink.wordpress.com/2013/06/06/daily-prompt-four-stars/
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Book (P)review…
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Joy


Ha! Ha!

I kept laughing like an absolute lunatic on the phone. She kept shouting at me to stop laughing because it was something serious. Eventually she gave up and hung up the phone.

This evening things went after a huge time better. I don’t know what prompted it. Whether there was any prompt or this was just a random act of kindness bestowed upon me by the universe.

Mostly the latter.

And I became happy. So happy that I jokingly threatened my mom to take care of her health, in an Italian accent no less. I even used The Godfather’s immortal line ‘I’ll make an offer you can’t refuse.’

And then laughed about it for like fifteen minutes.

Then skip to the phone call. I was supposed to be serious (it was more funny because of my temporary tattoo) but I couldn’t help it. The conversation was so cute that I kept on laughing and laughing.

image

Why So Serious

I am Happy. Over no reason at all. Yes, that makes me a little left out of center. And qualifies me for the nearest asylum. But I’m enjoying this feeling.

I’m smiling over nothing. I’m quoting movies and so many cliché Hindi statements, to my parents and brother no less that I am surprised they haven’t called asylum yet.

I even called Jimmy “Kutte!” (Dog in Hindi) full in a dharmendra (an bollywood actor who made the dialogue immortal on account of his style).

I love this feeling and writing this post because I know this happiness won’t last. And I want to make the most of it.

So I will give you an advice which I just gave.

If you ever feel like this: Enjoy it. Embrace it. This will not last. Make it count.

In a world where you are looking for reasons to be happy, being happy over nothing is rare.

Thanks For Reading
Itsmayurremember

Holidays!!


They are a benedictions and yet most often a malediction. And expectation come hand in hand with them.

If you have read my previous posts you will know that I absolutely abhor expectations. In fact I’m irreversibly marred by them. The tyranny of expectations breathe down the neck when holidays are descried in the horizon and I know, I have a gut feeling that they will end in tears and heartbreak.

It is like one is not complete without the other. And if I may, it is like they are fraught with sadness. Like expecting a heavenly time and getting, kind of hell. It seems a bad conclusion of Newton’s second law of motion.

Holidays for me are simple: watch movies, read books and eat and sleep. I don’t want to shop, roam pointlessly, just relax. After all I deserve it, working and traveling so much is grudging and I need some time off.

But a upcoming family holiday changes the dynamics. Everyone has expectations and abashed as I am to admit it, no one wants their perceived version of holidays to shatter. Father wants to do something, Mother wants to do something else. Brother, for the matter, just swings with the flow and is ready for every plan.

Unfortunately, not a single one of their plans is compatible with the other. And all of their ideas are resolute without any scope for compromise. Hence the tears and heartbreaks.

So my holidays are an anticlimax. With a heightened enthusiasm at the onset, disappointment comes at the end. And with each person the way to express this disappointment differs. And at the end no one is happy and praying that no such holiday comes again.

Such a scene in a few days of reprieve has been repeated so many times that even if I try, I cannot possibly come up with something new to say or do to lighten the mood. I don’t like the dolorous ambience at home but what can I do?

So when at times of Diwali(Reason for holidays, most auspicious festival in Hindus) when everything is expected to be beatific, nothing really is.

But the holidays this time had a special moment too. See on the first day of the three day family holiday, we all had breakfast. Now we never do that.

With my college, my brother’s and parent’s job schedules we never have viands at the same time. Never.

This time we did. Only once in the three days but we did. And we laughed and talked. All of us sitting in that table together and eating and sharing stories. No sadness, no tension. And to make things better even my dog came along to eat. Yeah, he completed the family picture at that time.

If we all weren’t so disheveled and somnolent I would have clicked a picture. I can’t even believe that the best time was then, when no one was wearing newly brought clothes, no expensive food or sweets. Just tea and some breakfast. And it was perfect.

I later said that after how much time did we all eat together, that now my Diwali is now complete. I probably jinxed the mood.

I hope that in a couple of days or months when I look back I only remember that morning and not the subsequent days. Because that morning was special. What followed was like a over repeated commercial that you are fed up with.

Thanks For Reading
Itsmayurremember

To the Men I Never Met


Daily Prompt

(Modern Families

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?)

image

This is the kind of thing I hardly talk about, so this is difficult.

My Grandfathers. From both my parent’s side.

I never met any of them. I do want to meet them.

I heard from others about their grandfather. How much they adored them. How much they admire them. I have seen them broken up when they lost they adored. I saw my best friend lose his grandfather a day before my friends birthday.

They cried. I tried to console. But I couldn’t. I don’t know that feeling. Never had that person in my life. Never heard his voice, never heard his laughter, never had his blessing, never. Too many things I never will know.

It is like never having something and yet missing with such anguish.

My father never says much about his father. From what all he has spoken, I saw some pain in his face, I heard admiration in his voice.

My mother talks about her father. My mom never met him on his last days. She was hours late. And she stills regret it.

I want to meet my grandfathers. I want to know them. I want to see them. I want to be rapt by their stories of my parents’ childhood. I want to hear their version of events.

I want to meet my father’s role model. I want to meet my mothers strength.

I want to to meet the men who made my parents what they are today.

Or I simply want to be at the same dining table with them, while my parents sit with me and my brother.

Something I’ll never have.

Let’s see who others want to share:
http://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-modern-families/
Daily Prompt: Modern Families and no connection available on the daily prompt.
http://bumblepuppies.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/prejudice-insults-my-intelligence/
http://easterellen.com/2014/05/15/a-visit-from-grandma/
http://flowersandbreezes.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/a-life-so-changed/
http://mitraarchita1995.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/generation-gap-daily-prompt/
http://teepee12.com/2014/05/15/oy-vay-guess-whos-coming-to-dinner/
http://silentlyheardonce.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/mom-visits-from-heaven-modern-families/
http://rheyofsunshine.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/modern-families-a-visit-from-my-grandpa/
http://idleandboredtwo.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/modern-families/
http://cateritforward.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/potlikker-with-the-kingfish/
http://professoradrstilettorockstar.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/late-for-dinner/
http://allthingscuteandbeautiful.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-being-modern/
http://tnkerr.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-modern-families/
http://cindyshea.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/modern-families-daily-prompt/
http://mitraarchita1995.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/someone-special-for-dinner/
http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/great-x-17-uncle-thomas/
http://jaynesdailypost.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/modern-families/
http://willowscottling.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/2342/
A Bottle of Ketchup
http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-ancestry/
http://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/9-reasons-my-ancestor-would-return-to-their-grave/
http://lifeofloww.com/2014/05/15/modern-families-the-bloodline-is-tainted/
A visit from my Pathan ancestor…
http://www.10nineteen.com/2014/05/15/diverse-family/
http://djgarcia94.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/no-table-for-starters/
http://myrandomthoughts365.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/modern-families/
http://bobbeck1600.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-modern-families/
http://lifeisgreat0.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/history/
http://eastelmhurstagogo.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/that-was-then-this-is-now/
http://kurtengel18.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-promptbeing-modern/
http://thetravellingtiles.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/modern-families/
http://mirakraz.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/mongrel/
http://seikaiha.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/daily-prompt-modern-families/
http://itsmatthewburgos.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/killed-daily-prompt/
http://buffguyguideblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/i-own-an-apron-a-steam-iron-and-i-am-a-man/
http://underthemonkeytree.com/2014/05/15/read-think-eat/
http://lovehappynotes.com/2014/05/16/friday-funny/
http://taswegian57.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/daily-prompt-modern-families/
http://kansamuse.me/2014/05/15/ancestors-for-dinner/
http://mariemba.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/feh-what-is-this/
http://lazymoan.com/2014/05/16/umm-who-let-the-white-folks-in/
http://www.rejoicebeloved.com/the-stranger-photograph/
http://goinroguedotnet.com/2014/05/15/modern-families/
http://magoo45.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/me-and-dandy-tompkins/
http://10eveningflowers.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/1519/