Monday, April 17, 2006


We saw Rani off, at O'Hare airport, last Saturday. It's difficult to tell you about someone that emanates pure serenity, at the same time touching and changing lives with whirlwind energy.

Daily, we discussed the differences in our lives, in women's lives. Here vs. India. We covered everything we could think of, from arranged marriages to funerals. We accepted and celebrated our differences.

We both cried each other's presence, while she was here: she upon finding that she would not be able to visit her sister in Canada, me over Brian's "shipping out." Cultural differences disappear where boundaries girlfriends, sisters, and mothers are concerned. We "there-there'd" each other and cheered up.

We laughed. A LOT. She taught us "Laughter Therapy": Hold your hand on your diaphragm and laugh heartily. Good for inner organs, good for soul. It really works, she had me, Marcy, and my mother nearly falling off the couch with laughter. Try it in a group. It works.

Try it alone, and you'll feel kooky but definitely better! Go do it. I'm not kidding. Try it, I say!

We cooked. Oh, baby, I have eaten biryanis and curries, idly's and dosas and dahls and upmas, and potatoes this and that, and murka and rices. She could make millions here. We fed her lasagna, jambalaya, spaghetti, pizza, crab chili, apple crisp, and more.

She happily cooked for my friends, at my shy request.

She introduced me and Marcy-Momo to her friends here. We gathered together at my place for a little going away party the Thursday before she left. Her friend, and now ours, Shanti, showed up with a gorgeous silk sari in hand.

The women whisked me off and dressed me in this stunning fabric. Have you ever seen a sari, unwrapped?

It's LONG! And there is tucking and accordion folding, and wrapping and swooping and pinning to be done! I felt QUITE the princess as they dressed me. They do this by themselves! "Oh, you get used to it" they assure me.

I gave it a shot: I tried to continue cooking for a few minutes: if they can do it, I can do it, yes?

No, I am clumsy and trippy and afraid of setting myself afire while I rotate lasagnas. Having your hostess go up in flames almost always ruins the party. I tackled my way out of the sari to continue cooking.

A vegetarian dinner was marvelous, and afterwards, Shanti sang for us. I wish I had a photo, I wish I had a recording, I wish you were there, as her voice rose strong and loud while we sat listening in candlelight. Marcy and I both teared up.

Once we dried our eyes, Mike was "on deck" for dessert. He makes a killer caramelized banana something that Rani dubbed "Banana Delight" and she wanted it one more time before heading home. Served over vanilla ice cream, it comes to about 4000 calories per serving, but you don't even care.

Sigh. Well, I miss her. We ALL miss her. She may return with her husband in August, though, so I guess I can wait that long to see her again.

In the meantime, I'll keep laughing. I promised her I would.


  1. Nice picture of you wearing a saree....:)

  2. thanks for this closer look at someone I've heard a bit about, but not enough. A wistful-happy piece, this. Aren't you so glad she's touched your life?

  3. Your posts are always filled with so much love. Thanks for sharing.

  4. It sounds amazing - I feel lucky to have been there through your post! The sari is beautiful - the thoughts are beautiful. Thanks!

  5. I love, love this post! Rani is truly an inspirational woman. I feel blessed to have met her. And you have written this post so beautifully and described her perfectly. And Shanti's singing - the tears came to my eyes again just reading about it.

    I hope Rani visits again soon. We can smile thinking about her.

  6. Melissa4:35 PM

    I only wish I could have spent more time with her. Your shy request to cook for friends, my shyness keeping me from asking for a take-home plate. I still regret not asking! Her cooking was devine. Beautifully written post.

  7. Good friends, good times, good laughter ~ does it get better?

  8. wow, that sounds like it was extremely special. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Another pound of molten butter...that should do it!

  10. Edina: Thanks; it experience.

    SS: I am glad; hope you can meet her some day:

    CBez: As are yours. I'll keep sharing if you do!

    Wendy: Thanks; we'll wrap you up when you came over.

    Momo: Keep saving loot for the Rani-box!

    Melissa: You and yours touched Rani also; she loved your kiddies, was dumbstruck by how smart and well-spoken your daughter is. I'm sure you're being spoken of 'round the world.

    BP: I know you appreciate good friends also; it does NOT get better!

    JayR: Anytime. Hope you find your library book.

    Woof: What's another 2000 calories between friends? Make some more!

  11. you haven't eaten until you've eaten authentic India food at home hey?

  12. The sari is GORGEOUS, just like you said it was!!!! :) And the party looked like FUN FUN FUN.

  13. A.k.a.b.u.: I think ALL food is the best when it's "authentic," cooked up with fresh ingredients by someone who knows what they're doing. YUM!

    Cass: Thanks! It was a great evening!


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