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.


On Wedding Celebrations

While we wait for Baby boy who looks like he wants to take his time to come into the world or like his Daddy arrive on the day he is supposed to, the wife and I got a chance to celebrate an amazing couple who have been together since their teens. Watching their two families come together even though they had disparate cultures was a sight to see, and made me believe that really when there is love, it does not matter what the racial makeup is of the people. It reminded me that far too often we spend time looking at differences, but at this wedding it was truly a celebration of what they and their families had in common.

From the sets of parents trying out Indian culture like food, clothing and rituals to seeing their overjoyed dancing and acceptances of this union. It reminded me that even the world seems like it is going crazy, it is moments like this to show me that we’ll always have love and hope if we choose to let it in. I sound like an old person saying this, but going to a wedding reminds me of so much possibility, a beautiful future, new family member additions, and strengthening of old bonds.

And as always there is gratitude for ones who made the events, and regret and sadness for the ones who couldn’t or are no longer here. So many emotions come up at these times, but it is a reminder that the new couple is on their way for a new journey, no longer just boyfriend, or girlfriend but husband and wife. And it makes me smile. We celebrated them not just for this new bond, but also a way to remind ourselves of what lies ahead.


Week 36 and Impromptu Gatherings

This past Saturday marked 36 weeks for Baby boy which now means that he can come out safely at any point, and so our excitement and nervousness grows. One great thing already has been the open conversations the wife and I are having about our lives changing. It’s not perfect, but us voicing what’s inside ensures that we are on the same page. For the past few weeks, my morning routine now consists of watching newborn essential videos and what to do and know. It all seems a big overwhelming until I sit still and take in the fact that I am going to be a father. n Each day now consists of that wonder and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This past weekend also contained several impromptu gatherings with deepening connections, allowed us to spend with people we haven’t in a while, and also allowed a deep soul searching conversation that I hope leads to better connection with loved ones. It reminded me that there are people in my life who I can call up at any moment, and what is a quiet night can turn into an event of sharing, conversation and sheer good will. For that, I feel truly blessed. To be able to smile so often, so laugh, to miss the ones not here all in one night. So much can occur in a few hours that it spins the mind.

And so Week 36 and the gatherings formed the weekend, but more importantly, are fast becoming the foundation for our changing future. Everyone person we saw this weekend will be part of our lives in some way, and that’s still not counting other family members. In this cocoon, will our son arrive, and that gives me so much hope and relief. He is already loved, and he doesn’t know it yet.


On Passing and Diwali

One of the unfortunate things about getting older is attending the funeral for loved ones. This past weekend, I had the misfortune to attend a dear friend’s mother passing away. He was one of my first friends in this country, making our friendship more than 3 decades old. Yet, there was so much I had missed out on. I wasn’t aware how long his mom had been sick for, or the fact that his kids were grown. To me, he would always remain part of our small group that hung out at my house where we traded stories, jokes and just silly banter of teenage talk. We always went through our recollections when we saw each other, but sadly it was sporadic. Maybe that was part of growing up, losing touch, but not the feelings. Even as I saw him Friday, the first thing he said was my place was the first place his mom dropped him off to. So we have that, and I wish I kept in touch more because his parents are wonderful. A genuine love emanates from them each time I meet them, and now I have lost some of those chances. So I get to do better.

Today is Diwali, one of India’s biggest festival, but mostly I remember it because of all the food, sweets, fireworks and candles. And again, I need to do better because my son will ask me why we celebrate and saying “just because” isn’t going to cut it. I refuse to give lame answers to him because that will become his foundation which means I get to dive in deeper. I get to learn so I can teach forth. So much to learn, and so much to pass forward. The lessons of my past now become the future learnings for my son. It is a heavy task, and I do doubt myself but then I remember who I am surrounded by. A strong as hell wife who will make an amazing mother, and so many family and friends. Which makes this so much more special, and I look forward to celebrating next year’s diwali with my son.


On Preparing and Maya

This past weekend, we began preparations for getting the house ready for baby boy. From cleaning out the garage to finally unboxing all the wonderful gifts from friends and family, and installing the car seat, it suddenly became very real. Nervousness has become my best friend, but so has growing excitement. I know there will be lots to learn, and while I can’t learn everything from YouTube, I am still going to give it a good shot. And then there is my growing list of things to do, from adding him to our insurance, getting ready to truly receive him to getting him his passport for his very first trip.

Which leads to me another special moment of the weekend. Receiving my niece’s wedding card. It’s surreal to see the baby I have known since birth now starting her own new chapter in life. To be brutally honest. I always had a special connection with my nieces and nephews because I’d presumed those would be the only children in my life. And I was okay with that for a long time because I got and gave so much love to them.

But Maya, she was our first born in our family. The first person to call me Mamu. The one I taught (as a joke) that boys are bad, the one who I saw in all messy and beautiful glory. Watching her grow up has been a true joy. From not being just considerate to ensuring that she spent time with my mom, and also getting to know her amazing fiancee, who emanates the same type of kindness.

Getting her wedding card and our baby’s first official invitation just felt like beautiful serendipity, and the realization that life truly is a circle. And as always.I am beyond blessed with the people in my life.

Happy Monday!