COVID-19 Diaries: It Takes A Village

Photo by Bruno Cervera on I woke up at 2:45 am to news that Amma will be discharged Friday. By the time I brushed and checked messages again, I learned she would be going home today. The following hour was manic. Phone lines buzzed between continents. Friends and family worked in tandem to make … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: It Takes A Village

COVID-19 Diaries: A Lull

Photo by ArtHouse Studio on I woke today to news that Amma may be discharged in a day or two. Panic set in. Was she really okay? What if she got sent home and her condition worsened? How will we manage to clean the home and make it ready in a day? What preparation … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: A Lull

COVID-19 Diaries: Bone Tired

Photo by Sofia Garza on It has been five days since Amma has been admitted. The communication gaps when trying to coordinate care in a country 8000 miles away is staggering. Basic questions like what medications is she on? Why is she being given the medicines she is being administered? What is the prognosis? … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: Bone Tired

COVID-19 Diaries: Glimmers of Hope

Photo by Dominika Roseclay on I am on a work call. I am distracted by incoming messages. At some point, I request the rest of the day off and focus on the messages on my phone instead. There are different sets. One with Amma. One with my siblings. One for my medically competent friends. … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: Glimmers of Hope

COVID-19 Diaries: Doom

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on My right eye twitches. I press my finger on the jumping nerve to still it. Tears poke behind my eyelids. My eyes burn. I am feeling feverish from a lack of sleep and running on adrenaline for two weeks now. My phone lights up with a notification. An extended … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: Doom

COVID-19 Diaries: Direct Hit

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Over the weeks, I have mused countless times about how much the pandemic occupies my thoughts. I have imagined in vivid detail what the virus does and can do to our bodies. I have feared that someone dear to me might be affected. Amma spiked a fever ten days … Continue reading COVID-19 Diaries: Direct Hit

Unsung Heroes: The Woman In My Life

“Vandhacha?” I text my sister. The message says delivered but there is no response. I put my phone down and walk around the house. I clear the sink, I grind the coconut, green chiles, curry leaves, and cumin. I check my phone every once in a while. It is when I am tempering cumin in … Continue reading Unsung Heroes: The Woman In My Life


My watch shows 3:57:03. I should be in the study anxiously poring over my presentation one last time. Instead, butterflies in my stomach I watch through the window as the school bus rolls past our home. Just as I am to turn and walk away, I notice my Amma looking diminutive from the other side … Continue reading Vignettes

Filial Expectations

I am at the stove deep frying thenkuzhal, a golden extrusion of rice and lentil flours fried and drained on paper towels before being inhaled. Amma stands next to me painstakingly filling the extruder for me to use for the next round. She then walks over to cut cabbage for the evening dinner. She is … Continue reading Filial Expectations

Trinkets and Thoughts

I set out with Laddu in the mid morning sun. Strapping her in, I seat myself comfortably in the driver’s seat and hum a song under my breath. Easing out of the driveway, I reach my destination almost on autopilot. Spring is in the air. Everything around me is bursting with promise. I see nascent … Continue reading Trinkets and Thoughts

The Voice At The Other End Of The Line

The phone rings a few times before her voice comes on the line. Reassuring. Available. Just there for my taking. We exchange pleasantries. We talk about what we cooked, how we slept, minor aches and pains, the cost of medicines, the cost of a kilo of tomatoes. We talk of bank balances, siblings and children. … Continue reading The Voice At The Other End Of The Line

Simple joys

 We step out in the darkness, a distant light reflecting off the puddle of water in the middle of our driveway. We skirt around it and walk leisurely out to the road. It is past nine in the evening. The lamp-posts in front of each home emits a dull glow. Fireflies wink in and out … Continue reading Simple joys

Underappreciated and overwhelmed

I woke up to the sounds of Amma bustling in the kitchen. The dishwasher was being unloaded, the microwave humming and the cooker hissing in the background. Stretching lazily, I also heard sounds of one of the twins waking. Ignoring any temptation to snooze for a few more minutes, I jumped out of bed to … Continue reading Underappreciated and overwhelmed

Honeymoon over?

Racing against time this morning as I sped to make it to my 8:00 AM meeting I was wrought with guilt. As I waited for the signal to turn green, I debated turning back and heading home. You see, I left home with two babies that needed a diaper change and as much as I … Continue reading Honeymoon over?

My everyday hero!

Watching and rewatching a slide show of pictures from my twin's birthday party, I noticed my GMail Inbox tab had a (1) next to it indicating a new mail. Smiling, I checked to see a note from my good old friend saying "Amma rocks!!! You must write a piece only on her." I was taken aback a … Continue reading My everyday hero!

Arbitrary thoughts

In a precious few hours, my amma will be here. Laden with goodies for Kay and Cee and my siblings and I, she will step off the car a shy smile changing her face into something that will be etched in memory. For years I have longed to welcome amma home as paati. This will be yet another … Continue reading Arbitrary thoughts

Following in the footsteps of Mom

Sliding the glass doors of the showcase that houses the various knick knacks my siblings and I accumulated over the past couple of decades in our home in Madras, I paused. Littered through the glass plates that served as holders, there were a multitude of ceramic figurines. A pair of wolves, a dog, a fish, … Continue reading Following in the footsteps of Mom

Standing at the door

After six months of having Amma over every weekend, six months of telephone calls every three hours, Amma leaves to India today. As I stood at the door waving Bye I was filled with sadness, concern, anxiety and a sense of responsibility. You see, this is the first  time Amma is traveling by herself. It … Continue reading Standing at the door

East or West, Mom’s the best!

We drove back from my brother's home with my mom in the back seat. In the quiet silence of the night, I marveled at how much my relationship with amma had morphed with the passage of time. From being a person I rebelled against to someone I now look up to, I understand her better … Continue reading East or West, Mom’s the best!