Pooja eating a tootsie pop

Tootsie Pops come to South Asia

On my recent trip to my friend’s hometown, I took along some of the leftover Tootsie Pops I’d brought from the US. Pooja had never had one before and I told her about the chocolate-goodness coming at the middle of the pop. I also told her about the tradition in the US of trying to see how many licks it takes to get to the center… She seized upon the idea and loved the “game” from the US, displaying amazing patience in the quest. For the record… it only took her 75 licks to hit the first vein of tootsie roll!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

The day of Diwali (Nov. 5th) was also my mom’s birthday. A combination of the build up of stress from the past week and missing my mom on her special day made me rather emotional. I was near tears most of the evening – and they even broke out once. Pooja and her family were distressed and did everything they could to distract and/or comfort me. The height of their efforts was to purchase a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday” loudly to my mom as I cut pieces for everyone. Later, we called my mom and Pooja personally wished her a happy birthday on behalf of the whole family.

Please... not another vegetable...

The day after Diwali was another festival day, involving a stew with 56 vegetables one of the Hindu gods had provided for people under his care. We spent approximately 4 hours cutting every type of vegetable I know (and many I didn’t)… from spinach and kale to eggplant and yams. By the end of the day, our thumbs were a dark green/black from all the cutting and we had a massive amount of vegetable curry stew…