Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pasha-kaal! Or Month Seven Begins

Dear Arhaan,
Your great-grandmother's generation had this beautiful term pashakaal as the seventh month of the calendar year set in-literally translated it means the year turned back. It had an hour-glass kind of quality to it, as she sighed the words when August set in. It was as if my grand mother could flip the year around by sighing the word pashakaal, with the sand grains of the coming months settling down to my feet.
My dear January-born, every month you remind me how time is flying by. I have dreams of you all grown up and when I wake up startled I reassure myself hugging you that you are still my little baby for a few days more. Even though the pashakaal to year one has now officially started. I guess the first six months were all about the effort to (forgive me if I use the term ) accommodate you in my life and to assure everyone (particularly myself) that Nothing Has Changed. I can still perform all the verbal gymnastics that I do at work and you will be a smart accessory (though a posseting one! ) as I get on with my day. You were your parents' plus-one (you have to watch SATC to understand this-but not for some years sorry!) when it came to social engagements. So to be fair to you the next half of the year will be about you now and some juggling on our behalf to shift the spotlight to you. You will not be a baby for long sigh!
And there are new reminders every day that you are a person in your own right. And a very different person than me. More recently when your Australian passport came in the post (this brings the Aussie population in our household to two-Pesho and the bub). The heart has its reasons and I did not want to avail of the dual nationality option , a decision I was very comfortable with .But when I saw the blue-black of yours lying next to the green of mine (as luck would have it a new booklet for me had come in the post as well) I burst into tears. I cried for the better part of the afternoon, for I knew it was just the first of the many changes and political differences to come, you are of me but not me. Phir socha itna iss baat par ro rahee ho, save some tears for the day he tells you he cannot stand Shahrukh Khan. The issues of nationalism and identity are very complicated and I know we all will have our own paths-- at times they will overlap and times diverge, but there are some decisions I should not begrudge you. Your great-uncle, my mamoo had long mentally prepared me
"See Aneela, you will always be tied to us, you will visit , you will wax nostalgic--your children will also have some idea, you will drag them on trips to South Asia, have some values drummed into them, but your grand-children they are George Bush's (where George Bush stands for the Great White Man) and the sooner you reconcile to it and not fight it the better for everyone involved."
And I thought I had achieved closure...oh well. Khair, it is a long journey ahead for all of us, and who knows how the goodie-bag of ethnicity, religion and community plays out for you. And as a sardar in Thailand guffawed about his NY cousins and their over-the-top Americanism in the post911 world to me " they try to dress and talk like them but shakal tau unkey nahee la saktey na you will never look like them eh" . So baby end of the day, even if the green of you might not out, I will continue to love you and be proud of all that you choose or not choose to be.
But please please for your mom's sake learn to love SRK.
All my love,


  1. Aneela,

    There's always hope for SRK, yaar. I am not such a big fan, but my gori TG ('George Bush's grandchild') adores him!

    So don't cry yet

  2. You never know, he may even want to BE SRK! Prepare yourself :)

    Lovely letter and blessings to your wee little one.
    *sigh* how I miss those days!

  3. Only time will tell! In the meantime, enjoy your adorable Aussie!

  4. Broom: Thus proving that TG has good taste.
    MMMM: Aap kay moon may ghee shakar....crossing the fingers and toes
    Dipali: well here's hoping eh

  5. whatever he is, whoever he is, hes yours. enjoy that and dont let identity be the definitive force. being good is more impt. im trying to reconcile myself to such truths also- so giving advice is def easier than taking it. :D love to a

  6. A full circle post: moved by the beautiful way of looking at the seven-month milestone (must read up more on this), then laughed silly, then was moved by issues that I relate so strongly too - even though it's for my nephew - and then laughted again.
    Although I must say, Aneela, Arhaan can always come home to me if he does not like SRK. *running away quickly*

  7. Beautiful letter. First time here and I look forward to what you'd write when he is one year old!

  8. awww such a sweet letter :)and dont worry about him not liking srk..srk is irresitible..I have a smitten two year old n her sulking dad to prove it :P


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