Family, India

Women’s Day

It is March 8th and yet another Women’s Day..while we rejoice this important day and women’s equality is always discussed in all spheres of life in every part of the world,Β  I keep wondering what can and should change for women. It should not be a one day affair that we talk about it and forget about it later in the year. From career choices, to pay checks, to household chores – there is always something that a women wants to speak up for.


While I have always been very lucky in that “I” have been the only one in my life who always made my choices in how I want to work, whether I want to work and how my life will be, I know many women might not have that luxury. They are boxed into certain “careers” or “likes” from a very young age. They are told(directly or indirectly) they should be married at ‘xyz’ age and not study too much(because they will not get an equally educated groom!!) (All this might not be as prevalent in the bigger cities of India – but it is definitely present in the smaller cities)

Women in bigger cities of India have definitely come a long way but still I feel we are “boxed” into certain categories “working before marriage”, “should not work after marriage”, “must work after marriage” etc etc. I am sure most of us are helping in any little way, but I would suggest the beautiful woman to take charge and decide what is best for her and her family… after all the woman’s happiness is the family’s happiness!

Help her choose what she wants to do and stand by her!

Cheers and Happy Women’s Day! πŸ™‚


Family, India

Balaganesh Manikandan

As the morning of 29th of May dawned, many of us who were mothers, fathers, grand-parents and well-wishers of 15-16 year old 10th graders were again eagerly awaiting the results of the ICSE exam. It had already been an agonizingly long wait for all of us and there was already one false report stating that it will be released on May 15th and it wasn’t. Finally the day dawned and the clock started its slow march towards 3:00 p.m.(the time when the results were to be declared online)

2:50 P.M:

I was nervous and was sitting glued to the laptop. I had kept the online portal open to check the results as soon as it was declared. My son, Balaganesh Manikandan(a.k.a Bala) the ‘unique’ one (who has never liked to play and is always wondering what to do in a soccer field :)) Β – was as cool as ever, just going about doing his mundane everyday things. He spent his time ambling along and reading his favorite books(‘Tinkle’ :)) while his parents and grand-parents were nervous wrecks.


3:00 P.M:

The time was finally here and the online portal to check the results was initially jammed. Finally, at 3:10 p.m. I was able to login and was able to see the results of my darling son, Bala and lo and behold -he had scored the most amazing marks:

Math -99/100, Science – 99/100, French-98/100, Computers – 100/100, Hist/Geo – 98/100 and English – 91/100!! πŸ™‚

He had scored 97.4% and stood 3rd in school!!

The absolutely shy, introverted boy who rarely talks to anybody and keeps to himself most of the time (or at other times he is wondering ‘what to say to people and how do I say it?’ – the exact opposite of his mother!! πŸ™‚ ) was totally calm and serene while the parents/sister/well wishers went completely bonkers with joy!! πŸ™‚ Β While the phone rang incessantly, congratulating him and us, he walked nonchalantly away onto his next project…..doing his FIIT JEE assignments! πŸ™‚


Message for Bala:

A boy of a few words and not having any fancy needs and wants and racing towards your sixteenth birthday, you are an easy going boy with simple likes and dislikes. But most of all, I like the fact that you can state what you do NOT want rather than what you do want! Here’s hoping all good things come your way and we are always there for whatever decision you may take!! (within mom’s rules ;))

Good luck my son, as you take the first few steps to spreading your wings into adulthood,

Happiness always in all you do,

Mom, Dad and Maha!





Family, India

Why we returned to India!

After having lived in the US for 14 years spread across three states(Texas, New York and Michigan) I have always been asked this question “Why did you return to India?” and have always been amused by the question. Recently, one of my friend’s husband posted about it which tickled me into answering the same question in my personal blog post as well! πŸ™‚ As he correctly noted – nobody ever asks you “Why are you going to the US?” but we are always asked the question when we are back.(why, I wonder)

While most of us vow to always return back after a few years abroad(whether US, UK or any other country) it is but difficult to say who will actually return back and who will not. There are variety of reasons for people to not return:

  1. Love the meticulous way and organized way in every facet of life(from getting the driver’s license, to get getting admission for kids in schools)
  2. No corruption at all(at least in the areas where we transact our day to day life)
  3. Perfect well laid roads and highways(we don’t see people digging up newly laid roads the very next day!!)
  4. Always think of making ‘X’ amount of money and coming back
  5. Just got used to the Western system and might find it difficult to re-adjust back to Indian system(for parents and children)
  6. Scared of living together with family at a short distance πŸ˜‰ (this is probably true for most families – most go abroad in their 20s and have no clue how family relationships work when they return in their 40s – we would rather watch the happenings from a distance!! :))
  7. Wondering how they will adjust to a new work life in the Indian sub continent
  8. There are still others, who are not able to come back because of medical conditions as they age in a foreign country
  9. When one spouse agrees to go back and the other doesn’t – it is better to stay back after all….
  10. Those who have built a good family network there(they have their brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, parents, in-laws and everybody else there – they wonder who is there in India to see?!! :))
  11. Those who are always thinking that they will return the “next year”!! πŸ™‚
  12. Those who have never thought that way at all…
  13. And finally, those who do not want to come back at all!

And I am sure there are several other reasons that I have not listed as well…

The reason we decided to return back to India:


Elaborately though, as the first year of our marriage gave way to successive years and the American life of luxury enveloped us, there was a small but certain hole that was certainly forming in our lives. It was not very evident in the initial years(we were very excited initially like everybody else πŸ™‚ – new country, new life, new customs, new traditions)  but the hole grew by leaps and bounds as the kids started growing up.

The social life for most of us, Indians in the US is always a very narrow circle – there are a group of 10 or so families who stay tightly knit and celebrate Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas and so on.  Things that we take for granted in India like stepping out and meeting your neighbours(I have written about this already?! :)) , authentic way to celebrate festivals in India was sorely missed. I missed the color and vibrancy and buzzing life of India.

There is also a slow and but sure communication gap that occurs in everyone’s life(in spite of all social media channels) when staying abroad for a prolonged period of time.

These reasons might look small as I write it but it can envelop your life as you live alone and see life in a different way. All these reasons propelled us to return to India for good!

Note: All these reasons are solely mine alone. The bottom line for those wondering whether to return or not depends on you and your circumstances alone! Stay where you are happy!! πŸ™‚

Family, India

More about arranged marriages!

My last personal post(which seems ages back!) was on arranged marriages in India! This post is in continuation of the last post…

Most Tamilian weddings shown in movies show the “boy to be” “seeing” the “girl to be” at the girl’s house and deciding whether they are in fact “made for each other”!! πŸ™‚ The “boy” and his family eat sweets and savouries and talk and decide the relationship for life! πŸ™‚

It should be noted that even in this day of digital relationships, a lot of marriages occur only via word of mouth. We in our families have a novel way of having an arranged marriage! (no, we don’t have much say in who we are getting married to!! πŸ™‚ ) – but before the “seeing”, a lot background match making occurs.


  1. First, the “match fixing” occurs. Β  X who is connected to Y might fix an alliance for Z who is A’s cousin!! πŸ™‚ ‘
  2. Once it is made sure that the boy and girl are indeed made for each other by each other’s families, pictures are exchanged, horoscopes are matched and the pair is made sure that they are indeed the perfect celestial pair! πŸ™‚
  3. Β Finally, after a lot of talk the boy and girl are allowed to “see” each other. The girl will be shown to the “boy” Β – not in anybody’s house….but at a public place, like an “exhibition”(“a carnival” , for my Western guests!) Β The “girl” is not supposed to be knowing that she is in fact being “shown” to the boy and his family(but in all probabilities, she will be knowing, considering that she is in fact all dressed up!) (There is actually a time of year in my hometown when eligible parents of boys scout the “exhibition”for girls who might be dressed up! πŸ™‚ )
  4. Once the “boy” is satisfied with the “girl”, the girl is also given the go-ahead to see the “boy”and the relationship is given a “green”flag to move ahead.
  5. Phone calls begin and the date of engagement and marriage is fixed and all is bliss! πŸ™‚
Family, India

Arranged marriages!

“Love marriage” is one way of getting married and there is yet another way of getting married which is highly prevalent in Indian homes and it is known as an “arranged marriage”.

India is so beautifully diverse with its languages(all of the four southern states have a different language) , cultures, religions and climates (If you ask me how diverse India is – I could do an entire blog post on that too!! :)) , but they are all united by one novel way of getting married which is the “arranged marriage”.

What is arranged marriage?

‘Arranged marriage’ is when a boy and girl get married as per the parents and/or grand-parents wishes! πŸ™‚ There is no “getting to know each other phase”, “living together phase”, “seeing each other’s parents phase” – some arranged marriages get completed in a matter of months.

How do the parents know that the “boy” and “girl” are made for each other? πŸ™‚ ( well, that might be for another post ;)) – for now, they just “know” that they are made for each other!! πŸ™‚

Given the complexity of human personalities and the constant change it undergoes with respect to its environment, it is truly amazing that arranged marriages work and continue to work. “Arranged marriage” is in my opinion -one of the most surreal of all relationships! πŸ™‚  I don’t know how it works and till this date I try hard to wrap this thought around my head “how two people who have absolutely no clue about each other, each other’s personalities, each other’s habits and most importantly each other’s families are told to spend the rest of their life together and they successfully do! πŸ™‚

Given the huge success rate of arranged marriages, it is a sure bet that this unique and blissful relationship will continue for more years to come!