And then there were Five

The week started off wonky enough as I had to informs a clients child of their demise, but at the time, I had no idea more changes were coming.

Yesterday my mamaji passed away at the age of 84. One of the toughest things in getting older is hearing news like this. Immediately, I got a flashes of memories of him. From the time he showed up at my boarding school in India with fried chicken to living with him for a few months in London, and thinking he was unwell because I never saw him out of the bed (he REALLY REALLY like to stay in bed) to listening to his dry humor. But where I got to know him best was through his son Bobby who not only is a mentor, brother, but someone who is missed at any family or friends gathering. He is his legacy along with his wonderful daughter, his wife and his many grandchildren. The man left us a treasure.

Both father son spoke little but listened deeply. How do I know that? Because even in their spare words, they conveyed so much. Their gift for making others laugh always surprising because of their quietness. Yet mamaji had a commanding presence, and I couldn’t imagine passing by and not greeting him. Sometimes, in large families, there are relatives that you know only by name and relationship, however my mother’s family made it so that we grew deep bonds not just with them but their children, who in turn, had children. And it only grew as we attended big birthdays, engagements and weddings. But its the funerals that hit home hard. They remind us that we are here only for a time to be determine by fate or God, that each day is a chance to live the life you want. I know mamaji certainly did. Even though the running joke about the bed sounded like we were teasing him, it contained tons of respect and love for him living his life his way.

I am blessed I recently got to see Gurcharan Mamaji, but it now hits me that my mother has lost yet another sibling. When I think of it that way, it hits hard somehow as I imagine how I would feel if it was one of my siblings. Funny how we put a distance on relationships simply because they are far in years and distance. Coming from a family of 9 (I think there were more but they passed as children), I have gotten to experience most of them. I took it for granted that no matter the bridge in time, nothing seemed to change in their love for each other and their big families. I go back to Bobby and his family, and his kids, and now we grieve but held by each other.

Each loss takes a hit but perhaps the only saving grace that we got to experience the ones gone at least. I do want my son to meet the others, to feel the love that we have, and to know that he will always be surrounded by love, near and afar, and even when time passes, the relationships don’t fade, but get stronger.

For now, that has to be enough even as the ache of losing yet another resounds in my heart.


Welcoming Zyan Sabarwal

On November 15th, our lives changed for the better in a way we did not think possible. I have a label I did not think I would ever get: Papa. Our son Zyan is already the center of our lives, and looking at him each moment makes me want to be the best parent that I can be for him. This means being healthier, open to new things such as sports, being ready to teach, share our interests, show him the blessings around him that we call our family and friends.

But wait there’s most, from the inevitable question “how much sleep are you getting?” (not bad so far) to the constant panic when he goes from his chill self to a bit whiny or a brief cry that is unusual, the wife and I are continually learning and adapting. The second question that follows is “How’s Bella coping with Zyan around? ” I am proud to say that our 14 year ol fur baby has been an absolute gem with her little brother and is usually glued to him! Both our cheeks and hearts hurt from the constant joy he already provides. Each day now has more urgency for me in terms of ensuring we contribute to his well-being, We are still learning to navigate the deluge of information out there, and are grateful that not only do we have experienced parents around us, we also know of medical personnel which for any new parent can be hugely beneficial,

But enough about that. I know want to talk about my son and to my son. I want him to know that he will be rich. Rich in experiences. In information. In learning. In relationships. In expressing himself. In family. In loved ones. i know I will struggle with wanting him to not face adversity. To stop myself from seeing him struggle. I hope my experience allows him to form his own path with less mistakes or perhaps different one, but I am also resigning myself to the idea that he may make more. And that’s okay.

My journey to adulthood took far longer than 18, but I am richer for it. I know setting random milestones is a recipe for disappointment or too much pressure so my goal is simple: to let him figure out things once we have given him the tools. But for now, we enjoy him, take him in like the fragrance that he is, and keep being grateful for him,

Welcome home Zyan. Papa loves you.