Tuesday, June 26, 2012


A couple of years ago, we tried to separate a banana plant from its offspring. Growing banana plants in the midwest US is a rather difficult job. The plants have to be bought inside for the tough winter and therefore have to be in pots. Ours was a relatively young plant in a small pot. All we had to do was get the plant out of the pot, remove the baby and put it in a separate pot. Easy peasy, right?

Wrenching the plant out of its pot turned out to be quite a job. When the plant was finally heaved out, we were stunned. The plant had deceptively deep, extensive roots. No wonder it didn't want to come out.

Our move out of Lexington is sort of similar. I am discovering roots I didn't know I had until I tried to uproot myself. Some of it is rather trivial and relates to the human need for routines. For instance, I am used to seeing a neighbor take her morning jog at a certain time every day no matter what the weather is. Our next door neighbor always waters his lawn on a certain schedule. I am used to the neighborhood kids skateboarding and racing their remote-controlled ATV on the road during the summer. I know these people through their routines and I have them slotted into my daily life. Disrupting that life is stressful. But this can and will be overcome pretty soon.

What's harder is establishing a good team of service providers. Here, we have a go-to person for everything: realtor, cleaning lady, doctor, pediatrician, mechanic, plumber, painter etc...All of them have been vetted carefully and we have a level of trust that can only come with years of familiarity. To think of establishing all this from scratch back in India seems a bit daunting.

There's also the social aspect of it all. I know what to expect from my friends here. We have our patterns of conversation - kids, work-life, vacations, weekends, promotions etc..I wonder how it'll be back in India. Are people so different really? Aren't human concerns the same everywhere?

If there's one thing I know for sure, it is that it'll all turn out okay in the end. As a child, I was used to moving every so often and I always went through an emotional pattern in a new city - hatred, curiosity, grudging acceptance, familiarity and finally, fondness.

I assume I'll have the same reaction this time around as well. Except I am doing it after a gap of about 9 years and I've forgotten the feeling of moving. So this journey is going to be a re-discovery of sorts for me personally. I just hope it is memorable...:)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wasp's nest

I am not an intrepid person when it comes to tangling with nature. I'd rather not attempt "survivor in the wild" type stuff if I can avoid it at all. I have a healthy fear of wild animals, creepy crawlies and such. Mostly, I think it is ignorance. Who knows what a scared turtle might do when you go near it? I don't, do you?

A lot of people do know though. A couple of months ago, I took G to a pond nearby for a play date. I was chatting with my friend as we watched the kids throw rocks in the pond. Suddenly, a snake flashed past my right foot into some bushes. I ran screaming some 10 feet away. S, my friend, calmly wandered over to the bushes and started poking around to find the snake. He suspected that it was just a harmless water snake judging by its color but wanted to make sure it was not a copperhead. The copperhead is the only poisonous snake in Kentucky and it was mating season. See, that's the sort of information I never know and I'll never go poking round bushes. Snake = run is my simple philosophy whether it is poisonous or not. S, on the other hand, knows all about snakes, turtles and fishes. He could even spy a fish underwater with his bare eyes. All I saw was mucky water with some vegetation. Go figure.

Anyway, the point is, sometimes if you are ignorant, you do stupid things. Like photographing a wasp's nest up close because it looked so cool. I didn't know they were wasps. I certainly had no idea that bees sting when provoked but wasps just sting at random just because. Yikes. I spent a good 15 minutes up close with the wasps. Thankfully, got away unscathed and as ignorant as ever until I posted this photo on Facebook....:)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The things you can tell..

Our house has been up for sale for about a month and a half. We've had a lot of traffic through the house including multiple showings a day sometimes. The owners have to be out of the house when the house is shown. So we never get to actually see the buyers. But I get curious. So I look for clues when we get back. And its amazing how much you can pick up about people by just looking at the trail!

Most realtors leave behind their visiting card as a courtesy to the owners to let them know they were in there. They thoughtfully turn off the lights and lock the doors behind them. One of them was even kind enough to snuff out a scented candle I'd left burning upstairs and left a note about it.

And then there are times when you get back to the house to see all closet doors open, every single light ablaze in the house, doors unlocked and no visiting card. I can always find out who the realtor was that showed the house but still, it almost feels like an intrusion. I caught myself thinking I wouldn't want such careless people to own my house because that's pretty much how they'd treat it too.

Our realtor told us that leaving back visiting cards is an old-school courtesy that's fast fading amongst the new crop of realtors. I did notice that most realtors that left their  cards back looked middle-aged or at least old fashioned..:) A good thing, I think, in this case.

Thursday, May 03, 2012


There's an American kid about G's age who lives down the street. He has his grandparents, aunt, cousins and other extended family living in Lexington. His older cousins take him under their wing and teach him to shoot hoops, play ball and read books. He has the benefit of the wisdom of adults other than his parents.  It families should be.

I feel wistful that G would never have all these relationships if we continue to live in the US. No grandparents or aunts or uncles or cousins or extended relationships to help him through life. That's a melancholy thought if there's any.

There's a lot of self-righteous talk amongst Indians about how we value family and we're not like "those Americans". But, come to think of it, it seems like a lot of us Indians here in the US are the ones that have our priorities wrong.

Is living in a foreign land worth family and other ties? Maybe. Maybe not. That's a question we have to answer to our consciences when we go to bed at night everyday.