My father’s funeral took place on the outskirts of a mango orchard belonging to our uncle Ramachandran. Once the last of the smoke from the funeral pyre faded into the tropical evening, it was time for the ritual bath. My mother led the way to the pool. The mossy stones were cool beneath my feet. The three of us waded into the tepid water, holding hands. That water washed away our tears, the smell of smoke from our nostrils and gave us a moment of watery peace. We ignored the fish nibbling on our toes and plunged beneath the greenish water, each of us saying a silent farewell. A the water cascaded off our bodies, it took away our sadness and we finally acknowledged my father was dead and gone.
This custom of bathing is cleansing and cathartic.
I think we all should take this traditional plunge on New Year’s Eve. Let’s give 2020 a fitting and final good-bye. So turn on the shower, fill the tub with hot water and bubbles, and say farewell to 2020. We are all so ready to move on to a better year. Welcome, 2021!
Covid Life Lessons:
- Finding solace in being alone. We isolated, stayed away from family and friends and over the weeks and months learned to find peace in our own company.
- Patience is vital. As we waited for time to pass, we learned the value of being patient. This was especially important when baking sourdough. The sourdough starter is on its own timer. We learned that by waiting, we baked the tangiest and tastiest loaf.
- Personal connections are more important than ever. Growing up in a small town in south India, we knew everyone from the farmer who grew our spinach to the girl who brought us fresh milk every morning. Covid taught us, slowly and painfully, how important these personal relationships are to us. We’ll never take the farmer, the cashier or postal delivery person for granted again.
- Deepening bonds with those close to us. We forged stronger connections with loved ones. We overlooked faults of household members and learned to be kind. Continue to cherish your loved ones.
- The backyard is filled with wonder. Nature is a wonderful thing and is all around us. Sure, the ocean and redwoods are dramatic and awe-inspiring but the humming bird hovering in your garden is just as impressive. The squirrels, the raucous blue jays, the doves nesting in the jasmine bush and colorful butterflies provided endless entertainment.
- Soil is life. Gardening is good for the soul and the body. Nothing is more satisfying than eating a tomato, grown and picked by you. We found peace in the garden, however big or small the space.
- Slowing down. Covid made us slow down, take deep breaths (with masks on) and enjoy the moment. Doing one thing at a time is a skill that is forgotten in our busy world. During this time of isolation, we found slowing down made every task easier. We forgot to feel overwhelmed.
- We learned new skills. Covid taught us to be independent. We baked, we cooked, we grew vegetables, we learned how to work from home, we discovered our children were a handful and we learned to be homebodies.
- What’s really important is right under our noses. We learned to cherish the tiny things. We learned to appreciate our children (and their teachers). We re-connected with spouses and other loved ones. We learned the simple life is attainable and we could do without a lot of things. We learned we cannot wait to hug again and renew personal connections.
- We learned to believe that the best is yet to come.
- Happy New Year!
This book baby’s birthday is May 5, 2020
Help celebrate by my book’s release by buying one (or more) copies to give to family and friends. This book is the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or any day! It is also the perfect summer reading–tasty and satisfying like a good ice cream cone.
Seeing Ceremony, a feel-good, stand-alone sequel to the award-winning My Mother’s Kitchen: A Novel with Recipes, is all about family, love, good food and finding one’s way back home.
Author Louise Miller (author of The Late Bloomers’ Club and The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living), says this about the book, “Seeing Ceremony is a rich coming of age novel, full of myth and legend, romance, and the heady tastes and scents of India. It is a love letter to both place and family—the ingredients that make home home. Meera Klein is a natural born story teller—I felt as if I were sitting at the kitchen table as she told me this story—and Seeing Ceremony is truly a feast for ALL of the senses. A true delight.”
The book is now available on Amazon, B&N and Homeboundpublications.com. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my book and let me know what you think. If you enjoyed this book, please write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. These reviews help both the author and other readers. Links provided below.
If you are part of a book club, please consider Seeing Ceremony as your next read.
Best wishes to you and your family. Stay safe.
Filed under amazon review, Book Birthday, Book Club recommendations, Book clubs, Book Launch, book review, Careers, Celebrations, cooking, family, Indian Fusion, Kerala, media, multi-cultural, my mother's kitche, Nilgiris, Personal experience, published, reading, recipes, Seeing Ceremony, South India, South Indian, spring, renewal, Summer, Uncategorized, vegetarian cooking, writing
Dirty dishes are no longer daunting
This book baby’s birthday is May 5, 2020
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” Lily Tomlin
When does a chore become a relaxation tool?
I was a little surprised when this happened to me. A couple of weeks ago, our dishwasher died and so I started doing dishes by hand.
For the first few days, I rushed through this task wanting to finish as soon as possible.
But slowly, a funny thing happened at the kitchen sink. I found myself slowing down and taking my time. The more I paid attention to the endeavor at hand, the more I found myself relaxing.
A close and wise relative of mine was always reminding me to slow down and take my time and so I thought I knew how to do this.
But now I discovered something new: Slowing down made an unpleasant chore, enjoyable and satisfying.
I found harmony in the kitchen sink and soon a pile of dirty dishes was no longer daunting.
Just don’t tell my husband because eventually I’d like a new dishwasher!
OTHER EXCITING NEWS:
May has always been a special month in our family. Twenty-eight years ago in May I became a mother and celebrated my first Mother’s Day. That first one was extra special because my mother was with me. She took care of my newborn so I could go out and get a pedicure, neck and shoulder massage and a haircut. It was one of the most unforgettable days of my life as a new mother.
On May 5, there will be another baby in our house. Before you jump to conclusions, this one is a book. Yes, my next book will come out into the world soon. I’m excited and happy to share this latest novel with all of you. The book launch video will be posted on my website and I hope you all watch it and support me by buying a book or two. This book will be the perfect Mother’s Day or any day gift for a loved one.
Filed under amazon review, Book Birthday, Book Club recommendations, Book clubs, Book Launch, book review, family, harmony, meditation, mindfulness, multi-cultural, my mother's kitche, Personal experience, pots and pans, reading, Seeing Ceremony, Uncategorized, writing, yoga, stretching
I’m at that fortunate stage in my life where my college professors are my friends now! Jonah Raskin was one of the first teachers to encourage me to keep writing. I’m proud to call him friend now (and by his first name!) nearly 30 years after graduating from Sonoma State University.
He’s a talented writer and you can read his work here. Enjoy!
Book blogger Kristen Galles of Bookclubclassics says “book clubs that appreciates beautiful prose, rich culture and tempting treats will love My Mother’s Kitchen!”
Check it out: http://bookclubclassics.com/Blog/2016/04/25/mothers-kitchen-review/
Things are warming up in My Mother’s Kitchen! Freda’s Voice, a Canadian book blogger, just posted a wonderful review of the book. You can read it right here: http://www.fredasvoice.com/2016/03/my-mothers-kitchen-by-meera-ekkanath.html
I think of positive book reviews as fine pearls and I love collecting them! Here is one that will be a fine addition to my pearl necklace!