FWF: Kellie Elmore, Jhana’s Daughter

 

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inv...

English: Two candles in love. The flame is inverted heart shape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My name is Jhana, I am very old but I have a young friend translating for me. She knows ‘Merican language real good. Now we start: “The pain in Jhana’s old heart was searing now. The intensity, the throbbing came and went but there were times when she would kneel on the dirty, muddy floor and weep. She only did that when she was sure she was alone. Jhana’s children, all except one, brothers and sisters all lived near-by but she was not looking for comfort, she knew there was none. None for this type of her anguished heart.

We are alone with our grief she had learned through the hard times even though we have family for whom we bless. It took more bravery and strength to be able to hold on to love, than to dismiss it. Love is fleeting, like birds in the sky. That, she knew. Love was there, deep down but could you feel it all the time? Of course not. You had to imagine it, rely on it, pray that it would be there or come back to you. Have faith. Love was an assumption only.fwf4Apr

Love was not the “smiling, holding hands” we would look at in the American magazines that the girls would find and hide under mats, and yes we let them. They looked at something called “romance” not true love but we let them. They did not yet know our plans to move to ‘Merica in a year or two years.

Here, in India, I would look at second daughter’s face as if I was looking through her, I had no problems with my other four children. Why was this child so different? The love was always there in my heart, in her father’s heart and siblings. What happened that was different for this child of mine? How could she not know our love? Did she not know that her father and I blessed the differences from her and the others. She was our pearl, our stand-alone gem. If anything she was more loved but would not take it inside herself.

The other older children could play and work and keep busy but this one held feelings deep inside her heart or just could not communicate. There was hurt and anger, deep inside hammered in to her heart but yet she could not forgive. Nor would she allow us to apologize for something we did not know about. She would not give in, she would be strong, very strong. But, I knew better, of course I did. Well, I thought I did. I was her mother.

This was not a betrayed love, this was a love that ran so deep, only a mother could know. I waited patiently until the day she would find her way back to me. Where did we go wrong I asked the husband? He said of course “we did nothing wrong, she is the child.” But, a mother is different, I tried to tell him. No, that is not the answer.” he told me.

I imagined looking at your face with my two hands one on each side like pressing on cold, hard glass. Press too hard and chips of glass would embed themselves in your fingers, blood would run down slowly each time. Not enough to scream but just enough to notice. I would imagine you trying to get away, twisting, fighting and screaming but my love for you was stronger than everything. You could not run away forever. I held you close, I would not let you go, ever.

I tried to forget the unforgiving words told to me about what you called me and how you viewed me because I do not follow that life. Love was a mystery that couldn’t be easily explained. Where was the joy, the simplicity, the laughter of love? Did it exist past the many layers of the wall you created? As a mother I dearly hoped but I could not know, you would not allow me to know.

Beautiful child, lovely child. No matter how old you are, you still live in my heart no matter what you do or don’t do. There is the difference. I will always cherish you, always love you,  for the goodness in you that I see, that I feel. Yes, certainly. Two hearts, even those estranged, can come back and beat as one.

Until the last breath I will love you. Do you hear me child? Does anyone?  I will say it again and again since I cannot see you, my eyes have failed me many years ago. But, I would still know your face, my hands might be gnarled and brittle with illness but my heart knows, will always know that you, beautiful heart, was so blessedly loved every second of every day and night.

I will wait until the last breath has left my body, which dear one, I know will be soon. I will never give up on you, you see I was learning Patience too and different ways of loving. None was right, none wrong. I was changing too.

That is a mother’s truth spoken in my body now and in the next life. I promise this to you. I love you now and forever. Look for me at night, in the sky, I will be watching you still, loving you, when I am gone.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The show must go on (Carry on Tuesday)

parents

parents (Photo credit: Mystic Lens)

I never said we were an unhappy family, it’s all a matter of perspective. After all, to the people in our homeland, India, we lived “the American dream.” My younger brother and I were born in India, we lived with our parents and grandparents together in one room. We knew no different, the only thing we knew is eventually we were going to “Merica” but we had no idea what that meant. My brother and I just assumed it was a neighborhood nearby.

Now, fourteen years later, we live in New Jersey and own a small white house, with black trim. My mother was afraid, she said, “to be perceived as too gaudy.” We have a front yard that is nicely manicured (my father brags to people back home that we have hired a gardener.)  My mother has the flowers, arranged in red, white and blue rows, perfectly, with soldier-like precision.

Everyone seemed to have acclimated to our new life, except me. I’m seventeen years old, did they think it would be easy for me? As in India we had to continue our very traditional ways in New Jersey. “It is expected of us” my parents would tell me and my little brother, Rakesh to carry on our culture with pride. At the same time my younger brother was getting beaten up in the playground each afternoon.  I refused to call him, his Indian name here, so I made up an American name for him in part to annoy my parents and in part to give the kid a chance at surviving elementary school. My parents were furious but I didn’t care, as soon as Rakesh became “Robby”  life got a little easier for him.

If they wanted obedient and silent children than they should have never left India. My brother and I wanted to stay in India when we were children but of course they never asked us how we felt. We knew we had no choice anyway, we always did what our parents told us to do, there was no options. We were never allowed to talk back to our parents, in fact, we were not able to talk at all until we had been spoken to.  Back home we would not even know the concept of talking back to one’s parent’s or anyone’s elder, it was not done, it did not exist.

We are all playing a role, in our new life here, like actors in a play. By the time we landed here I changed my name to “Annie.” My parents could scream but I did not care, I had to live in this society, so yes, I ignored them. I put up a sweet and demure face, I wore my traditional garb at home and changed into my “real” high school clothes quickly in the girls bathroom when I got to school. I changed into short skirts and tight tops. I pulled my long lack hair into a high pony tail and my friends taught me how to put on make up. I had it down to a science in no time. I only feared my parents coming in unexpectedly but I knew that would never happen.

If I had to stay in this country and honor my parents’ wishes I was going to do it on my terms, that is until I turned 18 and then they would have no control over me. I was counting the days until my 18th birthday. Until that day, and ONLY that day, this façade, this show will go on but after that it would stop, immediately. I had circled my birthday on the black and white calendar with a thick, red marker in boundless abandon, this was my secret. I will play the role of dutiful daughter, I will do whatever they tell me to do until my birthday.  The evening of my 18th birthday, I will slowly and quietly pack my things, while my ultra conservative, parents slept, in their separate beds with their overhead fans and ugly, green and white velvet bedspreads with inlaid crystals.

Having planned this for months the night of my birthday I will sneak down the steps and go out the side door. I will tiptoe quietly down the street where Brian, my boyfriend, will be waiting for me in his car. We are leaving together, we are moving to the Village in New York City, Brian has a friend who has an apartment there. If we don’t like it in New York we will go to Boston, or California, wherever we want to go. I will feel free for the first time in my life.

I have to laugh. They named me Ashmita, meaning rock born, hard and strong. What did they expect?

thank you Ghandi

Apple Store San Francisco - Genius Bar

so i went to the snooty mall today, all anxious and not knowing where to go. my sense of direction is what legends are made of. as in i have no sense of direction, never did, never will. and jill was not working. yes, jill our gps helper person.  of course, when I have to go to the complicated mall jill just shows me an hour-glass going up, going down. i had no idea where i was going. had to stop a car in the next lane  and scream to ask for directions. it was all so seventies.  there was bumper to bumper traffic, what should have been a 35 minute drive took me over an hour and ten minutes. I was all jittery and hot and flushed since I didn’t want to be late for my appointment and nordstrom’s doors were locked tight and it was like totally dark in there so we were all milling around in the parking lot waiting to see if someone would unlock the doors because eventually they had to. right? i mean it is nordstroms….

i had a 10:15 appointment with the genius ( i kid you not, that’s what they are called) at apple and I was all running over shlepping my computer because the dvd player which I tried at home at least 12 times, was all of a sudden working. surreal, i know, totally  really surreal, like going to the doctor with a complaint and then as soon as she walks in the room, it’s gone. cured. just like my computer when he, the genius, put the Ghandi dvd in it that had scratches and i swear that Ghandi himself healed the computer’s dvd. no seriously, Ghandi himself fixed my computer and saved me about 200 dollars.

while my computer  was given a free, yes free, new keyboard, i walked around the pretentious mall and wanted to get an iced tea. there was a specially tea store and I swear on my life, they wanted me to pay $4.95 for a small herbal iced tea and i was so “i’m so out of here” because starbucks is even cheaper than this and i have a gift card. i walked around the mall slowly until two people (two different people) accosted me, shoving samples in my hand. and I was all fine and happy that i got free samples until I looked at them and saw they were samples for people with deep, severe, repeat deep, severe wrinkles. now i had two wrinkle cream serums and I thought to myself, omg, I must look so old and horrible and I didn’t even have an iced tea to drink to keep myself hydrated.

i’m in all sorts of pain and my back is all sore especially the lower middle back and i am tempted to cry but am trying to hold myself together because yesterday was a horrible day and everyone was in a miserable mood. today was a little bit better because it must be that Ghandi sent some more healing powers although it seems the genius who worked on my computer did something wrong and now my computer sounds like an airplane on a runway about to take off. but supposedly the dvd player is still fixed, just not sure if i can hear it now.

i met a really interesting friend of my mother’s who is an artist and somehow she inspired me in some sort of creative, optimistic way.  i am now thinking about taking an art class even though i know i have zero talent but i’m talking myself into trying again. i failed clay once and i’ve never forgotten it but i was in my twenties then and at 54 i really don’t care all that much. so i need a new hobby and now i have inspiration and a sunnier disposition to think about it. so i will plug away and maybe get involved in something new or maybe i won’t and will be the lazy slob i always have been and dive under piles of comforters and dream of spring.

“Eat, Pray, Love” Or Don’t Love In My Case

I’m a book kind of girl. I read a lot of books, buy a lot of books, borrow and lend a lot of books. That’s why I always say to myself, once you’ve read the book, DO NOT see the movie. I say it, I mean it, I don’t listen to myself and I regret it. So, in my opinion the title of this movie should be “Eat, Pray, Don’t Love. That’s how I felt after seeing “Eat, Pray, Love” based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. WHY didn’t I listen to myself?  Because I think I know myself better than I really do; and I am usually wrong. So, once again, I am saying visualize on your own, don’t see the movie afterwards, it ruins the images you have.

The movie started with Julia Roberts’  luminous face, all toothy grin and natural beauty. She’s a great actress but a little too showy, too pretty and shiny for this movie.  Light softly silhouettes her face, there is beautiful scenery which of course showcases again the light of Julia’s pretty face. She’s beautiful even when she is supposed to be an emotional wreck. I wanted more authenticity instead of Julia Roberts playing Pretty Woman Now Middle-Aged. It was Julia Roberts on Julia Roberts, in just about every scene.

Another thing for us real women; if i had gone to Italy for a month of carbs and conversation I would have gained 30 lbs. and would have worn sweat pants instead of the teeny-tiny jeans she was wearing before and after in the film. If you are going to love your pizza, and your pasta, your wine, bread etc. keep it real. Most women don’t giggle lying down in a fitting room buying only the tiniest of jeans. Yes, we’ve all done the zipper trick  at home, on our beds, alone, but most of us would show we have gained weight, which is how real life is. Embrace your body? Not with those size 0 or 2 or 4 jeans, not even close.

The other incredibly annoying thing about the movie, which I found totally inappropriate, was the sound track. As soon as I heard the first song, my mouth was wide open, aghast. I’m sure the songs themselves will be hits but they just didn’t belong to the movie. Did Elizabeth Gilbert hear those songs in her mind? Somehow, I doubt it.

Pretty woman, you’re still pretty, and beautiful  but you’re amazingly privileged in the movie. I know a lot of people who go through marital troubles and they don’t get paid a nice salary for taking off time and traveling abroad. I understand the chaos you went through, I ‘m just not buying Julia Roberts feeling it.