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.