• Millie in her early twenties

    Going to church every Sunday is another ritual Little Johnny enjoys. Grandpa and grandma are not regular church-goers. So, the neighbors offer to take Little Johnny to church with them every Sunday. The music and singing of hymns and songs enthrall Little Johnny. The two churches at the end of the street sit across from ...
  • 1914 Picture of Baby Millie

    “No, sir! No! No hanky-panky! I would have none of it! Married each one of them!” Thus proclaims Mildred Ruth Ralls, nursing her martini, her voice soft, firm, and reminiscent. Mildred and I are sitting at the kitchen table in the Naperville home. She has received a letter from her sister Elaine in California. Not ...
  • silhouette of person flying a kite

    Although our home is small, the rooms are sizable and airy, with twelve-foot ceilings. Clerestory windows above doors increase natural light and air circulation. A long open south-facing verandah runs the entire width of the building. Sudhir and I spend most of our mornings and evenings here in the open. Another staircase leads to an ...
  • A buffalo being manually milked

    Some mornings I wake up to a parade of memories—whiffs and tastes of childhood emerge from a dream and linger on vividly and wistfully. Moments ago, not quite awake, I savor the rich, warm buffalo milk in the kitchen of my early years. Then, in a flash, I am back in Mummy’s kitchen of long ...
  • Books

    The Tattooist of Auschwitz, a novel written by Heather Morris, tells the humbling tale of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, who was imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II. The novel is an international bestseller, and after reading Lale Sokolov’s story, I feel compelled to honor this book. Based on Sokolov’s real life ...
  • Marbles and Gangajali

    Tulsi Bhua (aunt) is beside herself. She cannot find her Gangajali (a receptacle for holy water). Mummy is helping her search; it cannot just disappear. It is not a tiny thing that can fall through cracks. It is heavy, silvery, and shining, with a latched lid. And it holds the holy water from the river ...
  • Image of London skyline

    Considerable moonlight reaches even the darkest alleys and lights them up with a silvery haze. Throngs of people in raincoats take cabs or buses through serpentine streets to escape the storm. There is no knowing how long it will last. An hour. Two. More. Daylight is a funny thing here in London. It overextends its ...
  • Mother and her ducklings

    Gaggles of geese and ducks abound around me. Paying no attention to me as I pick my way thru the throng, they are busy with each other. Gently clutching this tiny ball of fluffy feathers screeching his head off, I am casting my eyes around. There is so much flapping of wings spread wide. Necks ...
  • summer nights with mother and child

    Summer nights of yore in a sparsely crowded Delhi, dhurries on rustic charpoys layered with cool white sheets, stars pricking in a darkening blue sky, Sudhir and I ready for our bedtime ritual with Daddy – an enduring childhood memory of growing up in Delhi! Delhi summers, unlike the winters, require a rare mindset to ...
  • A Coronavirus rapid antigen test

    It started with a ticklish throat. Allergy-like. Vague. Nothing to fear but the recent pollination of Southern California grasses. But in my heart, I knew the truth. After an international move, masked trips across Europe, government-mandated lockdowns, incessant PCR tests, and two and a half years of a global pandemic, I evaded the coronavirus. But ...