Hour 23: Barbieland – A Distant Dream

As I watched the Barbie movie,
I couldn’t help thinking about what our world would be if it was more like it.

A world where every woman could truly dream to be whatever she wanted.
Unfettered by glass ceilings or skeptics, or, in more extreme cases,
Threats of violence.
On the contrary, a world in which all men admired, and supported,
the aspirations of their daughters, sisters, or wives.

A world where women would support, rather than compete with each other,
because there is space for more than one at the table.
Where each woman treats her sister with the respect and kindness
that she would want for herself, even if she isn’t currently afforded any.
And together, we can shape a better world each day.

A world where every woman is considered beautiful, in their unique way.
Be it Stereotypical Barbie, Mermaid Barbie, or Weird Barbie.
Where men are not chasing a body fat number or skin color,
but rather a person, flawed, complex, but whole.
Where women are more than just their looks.

A world that ours strives to be like, no doubt.
But like Barbie discovered when she entered our world,
this is a distant dream.

Hour 22: Late Night Delights

When it’s so late at night that
all other restaurants are closed.
When I’m sad and the leftovers in the fridge
just do not speak to me anymore.
When I really, truly, really, just want something
spicy and loaded.

I walk out the door, down a dimly lit street,
Towards the harsh, but welcoming lights of my local pizza parlor.
I wait eagerly as they prepare my order.
Always around fifteen minutes, never more, never less.
I feel myself smile as they hand me the hot box,
with the soft drink I had asked for on the side.
And I bite into the pizza,
cheese and curry sauce overwhelming my taste buds.
It’s no culinary masterpiece
But at that hour, it’s everything I need.

Hour 21: Simple Pleasures

Flowing through my hands.
Warm and comforting.
Nuzzling me as I scrub and scrape.
Plate after plate, spoon after spoon.
Turning the most mundane of chores
into an act of comfort.
Giving me some pleasure,
some stillness,
Till I am ready to finish,
turn off the tap,
and once again, start

Hour 20: Chai

On a rainy day, or a Friday afternoon, or a Sunday morning after a long Saturday night,
I make my way to my kitchen.
I take out the special saucepan and the special cups,
reserved for this very special drink.

As the water begins to sizzle in the pan,
I take out the spices of my childhood.
Grind the cardamom, grate the ginger,
Losing myself in this rhythm, as if in a trance.

The water bubbles, the ginger cracks.
And it’s time for the most special ingredient of all.
Chai, black ground tea leaves.
Their strong smell overpowering my senses, their color turning the water a homely red.

I add some milk, the pan is now tan.
And now, I wait, watching the transformation of this concoction,
till it slowly darkens to that beautiful golden brown,
frothing, beckoning to me to get it off the stove.

I pour it out, with the same childlike fascination, each time.
Chai – this marvel of water, acid, and heat.
And as I take my first sip, enjoying the chai of my labor,
There is nothing else that matters in that moment.

Hour 19: Building Blocks

Orange leaping up at me,
green drooping down.
Red, black, and white all around, blending into each other perfectly.

Cacophony in my left ear,
melody in my right.
Somehow, perfectly in sync.

Lingering taste of spice,
soothing salivation,
from the dinner I cooked a few hours ago.

Fresh floral scent.
Is it me, or someone else?
I’m too tired to know, but I appreciate it.

Cold air making its way through my coat, counteracted by
Blankets warming my legs, and
poetry warming my soul.

All these, working together, to shape space and time for me.
Heightening my senses, grounding my mind.

Hour 18: Hello Anxiety, My Old Friend

You creep up on me on the strangest of times.
A casual remark in a random conversation.
A busy day at work.
A traffic jam on the highway.
And sometimes, you’re the first thing I feel when I wake up.

You started when I was a child.
At that time, I didn’t quite recognize you,
but my body did.
Teeth biting lips and nails,
legs twitching.
All parts of my body, on high alert,
pumping me with adrenalin,
till you would take your leave.

Now, I know the warning signs.
The clenching of my heart.
The shivers.
The short, shallow breaths.
And the immense strength it takes to move or speak or even think.

For when you visit, my mind is completely possessed.
You, anxiety, are the ghost of my mind.
Not by any means my best friend,
but certainly my oldest one.

Hour 17: Kaleidoscope

Kneel down and look
At a myriad of colors
Light and dark
Energetically twisting around each other
In perfect formations
Dancing, lifting the spirits
Of young and old alike
See them, and vow to live a
Colorful life
Of unexpected encounters, journeys, and surprises
Painful at times, but always leading to a sweet

Hour 16: Remember To (The Wife Edition)

I’ve landed in Seattle and will reach work soon.

Remember to:
Eat the food the cook made yesterday that’s in the fridge.
Take a look at the rest of the fridge for fresh fruit before you reach for any other snacks.
Put your plates in the dishwasher right after eating, so you don’t forget.
Bring the trash cans in after noon.

And also,
take frequent breaks from your work so you can focus on the things that give you the most joy,
your hobbies, your walks, your friends.
Smell the herb patch in the backyard when you water the plants.
Call me after you’re done with work for the day.

And most importantly, not miss me too much.
I’ll be back before you know it.
And as you know, I’m always with you in spirit.
I love you so much.
My baebee.

Oh, before I forget, do remember to pick me up from the airport on Thursday. Thanks!

Hour 15: Today is the Day

I woke up in the morning to the smell of fresh scones and coffee.
Rhea was still asleep.
I snuck out.

Today was a big day, and I needed some fuel.

My aunt was in the kitchen with my mom.
“Are you ready?” they said,
smiling sneakily from ear to ear.
But before I could respond their expressions changed drastically.
Flutters of nervousness, slowly settling into a poker face.
“Morning, Rhea” they said.
I turned around, warned.

Rhea was sleepy, still in her PJs,
and desperately in need of a cup of coffee.
But I noticed none of that today.

Today was about bigger things.

Later, as Rhea got ready, my family gathered around her, underplaying things.
“Oh don’t wear that dress, it’s a really casual lunch, and we’re going to the beach after.”
“Hmm,” Rhea said, her face wrinkling up as she thought.
“But we’re still going to a winery right? I think it’ll be nice to dress up a bit.”
“As you wish,” I said, with the calmest, truest smile I could muster.
But inside, my heart was thudding.
Did she know? Was she in on my secret plan?

A sharp cry interrupted my inner monologue.
I rushed out, and my grandmother’s hand was stuck in the car door.
As we got it out, she wailed in pain, tears streaming down her face.
I had never seen her so frazzled before.
As all of us gathered around her with a mix of ice and ointments and the like,
someone suggested taking her to the hospital.
My heart, which at this point was ready to burst out of my ribcage,
Sank down low.

Today was not going as planned.

Then magically, in the matter of a few minutes, my grandmother’s pain subsided.
“No let’s go to the winery,” my mom said. My grandmother nodded, so did my aunt,
so did the rest of my family.
They were ready, and now I had to be.

In the car ride to the winery, I tried my best to calm down.
My mom had the bags of stuff, Rhea’s family had been informed,
and my grandmother was feeling back to normal.
Everything was under control.
Yet I felt slightly unsettled.
Would things be ok?
Was my grandma really ok, or was she just saying so for my happiness?
What else could go wrong?

Would today really be the day?

Then I looked at Rhea, sitting to my side, and I instantly felt relief.
It was just her, and it was just me.
We would figure this out.
I gripped her hand, rubbed it a few times, and smiled at her.
She smiled back, the slightest flicker of curiosity in her eyes.
I once again got the sense that she knew.
But before I could think any more, we were at the winery.

We did one photo under the trellis, with the vines in the backyard.
And then it was time.

It was time for today.

As I went down on my knee, I saw Rhea’s eyes shine with surprise and delight.
In her happiness was mine.
As I said the words I had rehearsed so meticulously,
asking her to be one with me,
all anxiety and hesitation vanished,
and everything flowed naturally,
as it should.

Today felt right.
Me had become we.
And with her and me together, I knew we could handle anything.

1 2 3 7