A Cultured Life…

…stumbling through life with two beautiful daughters – often tripping, sometimes running!!

I am really doing this!!!

I want to write.  Any number of variations and years after I first thought these words, my words will see the light of the day. One and a half months after another new year vow my blog is up and running. There is a crazy lightness of being and I feel the words tumbling out.

It has been six months since my daughter, Aditi, began Freshman year at Boston University. I am still not completely used to this altered state at home – three of us instead of four. We have startlingly different ways of dealing with Aditi’s absence.  My husband Srini goes about with usual abandon, knowing full well that I will tell him something, anything about Aditi that he craves so badly. My 15-year old, Swati has suddenly taken on the mantle of an only child and I think it has now lost its novelty. I find myself overly solicitous, going in to check on her like three times in 30 minutes. I have always known that my two girls are different from each other.

How different and how difficult – I am realizing today.

I miss the follow up notes after an exam. I miss the expression of relief when there is a break between exams. I miss the dissection of the q-paper after work.

I am reminded of a paragraph I came across many years ago. I don’t remember the context or the magazine or book or the author.  “A mother does not love her children equally. She loves them differently”

I happy when S said that a topic that I insisted she study,  did actually come for her test. That is the closest she will come to expressing herself.  She wants me to leave her alone to unwind with another reading of Harry Potter. She will never know how difficult it is for me to leave her alone. I want to baby her!1.

They are just 18 and 15 and I think they still need me.  I KNOW they need me. What I do not know is how to hold on tight enough that they don’t lose their way and yet let them explore the world and themselves

This is it for my first post. I did not mean for this to be sad – contemplative, yes. I hope in the coming days I can talk about all that makes me happy.

 

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Introduction

Culture as defined by Merriam Webster is “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.” Culture to me is also the Tsp. of yoghurt that is added to warm milk to get the next batch of yoghurt. All my life, I have known my mom to make yoghurt at home and I remember running into the kitchen as soon as I wake up to see if, overnight,  the container of milk has transformed itself to yoghurt. It was nothing short of a miracle and that sense of wonder over this transformation has stayed with me over the years.

Let me explain the painstaking process mixed with a significant dollop of the ‘other’ that precedes the journey of milk to yoghurt. You start with a container/pot/vessel of milk and it is boiled until bubbles over. Then you wait for the temperature to have receded from its earlier boiling point. The culture, a tsp. of yoghurt from a previous batch, is added at the precise time and the vessel is then kept in a warm spot. What makes this a ‘new’, ‘new’ thing every day is attaining the temperature that is precisely perfect for the addition of the culture.  Definitely not warm or and not a shade below boiling. When you dip your finger in, it should be hot to touch (like a hot coffee) but not too hot to burn.

At my home, I am your everyday yoghurt making fanatic. I have this compulsive need to make yoghurt every night. I have my excuses down pat: – the store bought ones are not healthy, have too much starch in them and tastes like paper. In the deep recesses of my mind, having a container of freshly set yoghurt every night at a dinner table is closely bound to my concept of a ‘good mom’. Where and how this connection was made, I do not know.

When I was thinking of my reason for a blog, the first thing that came to my mind was that I am a dramatically different person from who I was 20 years ago. I feel like this pot of milk that transforms every day with the addition of the culture, albeit a transformation over many days and nights. Today I am the culmination of many ‘cultures’. I hope to chronicle many such moments – as a wife, a mother, a working girl, a friend, a runner – and maybe understand the trajectory of the path I choose.

Running is my newly found passion. With many training programs, three injuries, one Marathon and one half marathon, there is much to discover. I have also discovered a love for teaching and wish to marvel at the transforming ability of a teacher.

Conscious living and conscious writing – will hopefully result in ‘cultured’ writing.

~anuradha

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