Tuesday, December 30, 2008


We went to both the Bronx Zoo and the Central Park Zoo this weekend. I can't say I am a fan of zoos. They are an improvement over Circuses for sure and seem like wildlife reserves in comparison to Sea World. The kids love the zoos,and I do buy into the theory that if you see and know animals, you will be more likely to be stewards for nature and wildlife.

First stop the gorilla "exhibit". We saw two mother gorillas sleeping with their babies. Co-sleeping validated!

The Polar Bears, at Central Park Zoo are infamous. Their coats are yellowish and that day they were lazing around--literally lying around with their eyes open. I heard somewhere that Polar Bears have the worst outcomes of all large animals in captivity not because of their size, but because they have very large roaming areas, and then are forced into small confining spaces. They were listless, as are many, many animals in zoos are.

The lion at the Bronx Zoo lays on a grassy little perch, watching over the engineered moat that separates him from the deer and birds that would have been dinner for him in another life. We look out into the "exhibit" and see openness and space, but it is an illusion validated by the immobile (literally laying down in the same position every time we go)lion, looking exactly the same as the last time we saw him. Zoos have impressive production value -- creating an illusion of space to veil incarceration at every "exhibit."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4, 2008. We woke up today telling our kids, who are off from school, that we would all go to the polls today and cast our ballots. They have been talking about this day for weeks. We took our kids to an Obama barbeque/ garage sale fundraiser a few weeks ago. Several kids (and two parents) dressed as unflattering Palin’s for our school Halloween parade and Obama buttons sprouted like weeds on well worn backpacks for months.

The weather was amazingly warm and sunny and by the time we got to the polls at 10:30am, dozens of people were lined up hoping to beat the pre-work crowd and the lunch crowd. Standing in line was fine and felt empowering, we chatted with our neighbors and continued explaining to the kids what would happen once we got in.

The crowds pressed tightly once we got in, but the kids were game. The woman who checked my name on the list gave Sonali an enthusiastic explanation of what she was doing. In the booth, Sonali pulled the lever, flipped the switch, and pulled the lever back for me. I think we are the only state in the union, still using levers—so middle ages. The kids were thrilled all day, asking when we will know who won.

At dinner, we broke out a bottle of Prosecco for us and Fanta for the kids. They toasted to Obama. And then we let them stay up until 10pm as they watched the results roll in harassed each other. Then spontaneously, they decided to make “Go Obama” posters. Sonali and Arjun whipped theirs out and helped Sunam to “create” her own.

And so today, I walked around with a substantial grin, knowing that the age of fear mongering, and leading by gut (not information or logic), and anti intellectualism, and soft (and hard) racism, and rejection of science, and paranoid counter-productive xenophobic foreign policy, and erosion of civil liberties, and suppression of criticism of one’s politicians, and shabbily informed neocons, and corrupt lobbyists, attorney generals, VPs and their staffs, and corrosive campaigns would all come to decisive end. I hope our children will have some even slight recollection of this day, but more importantly, I hope that Obama and this country’s leadership will make their futures better.

11:24pm—I am watching McCain’s concession speech, and there is not a single person who is not white. Weird. Although he did give a very gracious speech, despite the boos in his audience.

I thought this was the funniest thing during the campaign.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chuk De De La Govind

As you all may know, I am not the world’s biggest fan of Hindi Movies. The last Indian movie my husband and I saw in a theater was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge sometime in the 90s. We did try to see Taal while I was pregnant with Sonali (8 yrs ago), but there was an incident—mechanical dysfunctions, paan chewing mobs, NJ State Police etc. Needless to say, we did not see the movie. So my childrens’ recent theatrical obsession with Chuk De (at least there is a positive feminist message…mostly) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (uh…athletic, short haired girl loses boy to long haired newcomer, and does not get him back until long-haired girl dies and bequeaths boy to her! WTF) have me a bit baffled and honestly a bit annoyed when they are begging to watch one of those for the gazillionth time.

I tried to convert that enthusiasm into something we all could do together and that I judged to be more worthy of 3.5 hours. So I convinced them that we would make our own version of Chuk De using our new Flip. It sounded so great in concept, but it was tough. I was a demanding director and they were not always compliant. There were costumes and props, and cinametographic limitations of the Flip. Well, we managed to get only the first scene shot before they decided this was not as fun as they had been promised. Here is the clip.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Endings: School, Nursing and Spring

Today I threw out my nursing pillow-finally after months of sitting on a chair. I tried to give it away, but had no takers. It made me really melancholy and for someone who approaches purging the apartment of impractical albeit sentimental items with the steely determination and ruthlessness of an assassin, it was a first. It was hard to leave it in the trash room and every time I returned to toss out some other piece of plastic battery operated crap in my spring/summer cleaning campaign, I saw that pillow sitting on a pile of recyclables, and got sadder. I think letting that pillow go means that Sunam is growing up, and my own 7 year vocation of tending to babies is nearing its end. I got choked up—weird for me, but it happened. Stop being sentimental—you have kids to raise!

Ok, so there is this lovely 5th grade boy, Theo, at the kids school who lives in our neighborhood. When the kids are all outside, he volunteers to have Arjun on his team knowing that Arjun doesn’t understand the rules or wont help his team win. And he gently coaxes Arjun to keep playing and not giving up, and always greets the kids at school. Anyways he is very kind and since there is only one class per grade at our school, all the kids know each other. Now Sonali’s crush obsessed friend (don’t’ get me started) has a crush on this boy, but Sonali as far as I can, thinks of Theo as a friend. On the last day of school (5th graders are leaving the school), I was chatting with some parent’s and then turned around and saw Theo giving Sonali a hug. He was giving everyone hugs.You should have seen the look on her face—she doesn’t really like physical affection. She had this look of stunned euphoria on her face—muted of course as Sonali is about emotional expressions. It was sweet and I think she was a little embarrassed!

Arjun had a fabulous first year at big kids school and has become quite the little soccer player. Status towards new baby: mixed, love mixed with pulling of arms, twisting legs and HARD kisses. Will this pass?

Sunam: Sheer delight. What did I do to deserve such a wonderful baby? I tell Prashil all the time, I don’t care about the smallness of our living space and the beat upedness of our car, and the lack of our ability to buy even a 2BD apt in our neighborhood, Sunam rocks and makes me happy. Thanks kids. Ok, back to the fish oils

Summer is here. We love NYC in the summer, so much stuff to do and the grass is so lush. It truly is greener and lusher than anywhere else—I swear.