My Love in India


When I first got married, people often said that my husband and I should have our own reality show. I admit, how we worked through cultural differences was often quite funny.

My husband is Indian. A Kashmiri Pandit from the Indian side of the LOC (Line of Control), to be exact. I met him while I was working in India for Amazon. The company sent me to Hyderabad in 2005 to help open a new office–the first Amazon-owned customer service center in India. Previous to that time, Amazon had only worked with outsourcing companies. This was the dawn of a new era when Amazon would be in a foreign country and run things in their image rather than someone else’s. I was honored to be a part of it.

I arrived in Hyderabad after a harrowing trip through Paris. Twenty minutes into my flight from Paris to Hyderabad, the plane started smoking. There’s nothing like seeing flight attendants running down the aisles with fire extinguishers to make you feel safe and comfortable while 30,000+ feet in the air. My immediate reaction was to lay my head against the seat in front of me and chant, “Om Kali Maa, Maha Kali.” (I had been a devotee of Kali since seeing her in a dream as a teenager; this fact made the trip to India even more emotional and spiritual for me–although it was supposed to be all about work).

Finally the decision was made to turn the plane around and try to figure out what caused the smoke. After six hours of trying to stay awake in the Charles DeGaulle airport, the airline finally decided to cancel the flight. After an aggravating weekend in Paris, the urge to return to the United States, and bursting into tears on the side of the road, I finally made it onto a flight that SAFELY arrived in Hyderabad. Jai Maa indeed.

Since I was in India for work, the first two months were spent doing just that–nothing but work–well, except for the occasional tourist or shopping trip. After weeks of all-day office work and evening conference calls with people in the U.S., I needed some downtime. My co-workers and I decided to take a weekend trip to Bangalore (a place that has become my favorite city in India, although Hyderabad will always have a special place in my heart).

During this weekend trip, I went to a get-together for a Bangalore teammate’s birthday. At the party, I met Deepak, the man who would later become my husband. He offered to show me around Bangalore, and we had the best time ever. My favorite memory is of meditating in front of the largest statue of Shiva in all of India. It was an epic experience.

Deepak and I kept in touch after I left Bangalore. We even saw each other again as I made other trips to Bangalore and he visited Hyderabad. But I had to leave. After six months, I was to return back to my life in the U.S. Neither one of us wanted to be apart. It was with these strong feelings that Deepak asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, not exactly. The immigration process is a nightmare for people in love, but I’ll save that for another post.

Deepak finally arrived in the U.S. in February of 2007. That trip would be the first time he had traveled outside of India. It was culture shock to say the least. Although we both spoke English, those cultural nuances would often cause misunderstandings. Like the time he told my nephew to put the groceries in the dicky. Saying this to a teenage American boy was definitely cause for twelve-year-old-type innuendo and laughter.

For me, there was the month where on separate occasions, he basically called me a homely fat cow. Let me explain.

When he stated that I was fat, I was still in that American frame of mind that immediately took that as an insult, as a negative criticism of my looks. To him, it was just a statement of fact, not a judgment on my appearance. To him, a person can be skinny or fat, which has nothing to do with one’s beauty. I understood that. Still, it took me a long time to see things his way when it came to that perspective. I still count this initial misunderstanding and later clarity as a huge contributor to my lifelong process of body acceptance. For that, I thank him, even when I wanted to smack him when he had first said it.

Then there was the time he called me homely. I immediately took offense. To me, homely meant “not pretty, plain or unattractive.” To him it meant “being familiar with the home”–in other words, a Domestic Goddess. I definitely enjoyed that much more than the fat comment.

Lastly, he called me a cow. I nearly blew a gasket! He explained that he worshipped cows, and for him to make the comparison, it was like calling me a Goddess. I’m still not sure, even after almost nine years of marriage, if he was being honest or backtracking when he realized his faux pas. Still, I’ll accept any time someone wants to call me a Goddess. And I definitely made sure to tell him to NEVER, EVER call an American woman a cow unless he wants to be slapped.

I could go on, but I’ll leave that to a different post. Right now I’ll just say that I love India, and I found love IN India. I’ll just say that I’m glad I live with an open mind and respect others’ differences. And we make beautiful babies.

 

Getting Real about Getting Healthy


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Much has happened since we moved to the Chicago area.

I spent a month on the couch in severe pain. Testing showed that I had ovarian cysts and a tumor, which required surgery. After the surgery, we learned that I have Stage IV endometriosis. During the first surgery, much of the endometrial tissue was removed, along with my left ovary and fallopian tube. Unfortunately, since I’m Stage IV, I still experience continual discomfort with random episodes of sharp stabbing pain. To treat this, I will be having a full hysterectomy in January, which will mean six to eight weeks of more healing time.

Given my physical health challenges and a familial episode that was sparked by my sometimes illogical sense of aggravation, I decided it was past time to really be serious about my overall health–for my benefit and my family’s benefit, particularly my daughter, Maya, because she deserves a healthy and happy mom. To this end, I decided to accept the diagnosis I was given when I was twenty-six. I went to a psychiatrist for re-evaluation and was finally honest about some things that I had never told a mental healthcare worker before–specifically about my compulsive spending, days of elevated irritability, and episodes where things seem to explode and my behavior becomes erratic (which often leads to self-injury). The psychiatrist confirmed what I was told fourteen years ago–I have bipolar II with hypomania. I’m not rejecting the diagnosis anymore.

For now, I’m on new medicine, and so far the change has been so amazing, I’m mentally kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Of course I will likely have to fight the urge that I had so many years ago–once I feel good for a while, I will need to resist the urge to convince myself that there’s nothing really wrong with me, those episodes were just me having a “bad day.” More recently I had justified all of this by saying that I had an intolerance for a**holes. Like I told the psychiatrist, with so many different episodes with different people, the only common denominator was ME. Therefore, I need to get over myself and accept the fact that I’m the one with the issue so I can treat it and go on with my life.

So that’s what I’m doing. As you can expect, you will read much more about my journey in upcoming posts. Until then, health and blessings to all.

Just in time for Halloween!


Mining the Dark

Y’all have been waiting long enough, so I decided to do a “soft” release of “Mining the Dark” on Amazon‬ Kindle‬. Just in time for Halloween‬!

So what’s a “soft” release? It means that for now, instead of doing a lot of marketing, I’m only letting y’all in the know so you can get it before the bigger release.

And don’t worry, the cover image will be updated on Amazon soon.

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think. I’m really proud of this one. I sincerely believe that “Mining the Dark” goes above and beyond “The Source” in many ways. So, enjoy! And don’t forget to post a review when you’re done.

Fang on! v–v

Zombie Spider Man? Heck, Yeah!


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Yesterday was a busy day for my family. We have finally settled by getting a townhouse in a Western suburb of Chicago. We had a lot of errands to run, which means that I wasn’t able to do much horror movie watching.

I was able to get in some reading. I finished the comic Marvel Zombies: The Complete Collection Volume 1 by Mark Millar, et al. I was originally drawn to this title not only because I love the Avengers, but also because Robert Kirkman is a co-author.

I absolutely loved the art in this one. This book is representative of why I think of comics as a creative “twofer.” In a good comic, not only do you get a good story, but you also get amazing art. Comics truly express double the creativity through this media mix.

If you haven’t checked out Marvel Zombies, or Robert Kirkman’s other offering The Walking Dead, I highly suggest it. And don’t forget about the free web comic Benedict Barlow and the Curse of Rotwood – it’s a nice way to get your feet wet in the murky waters of horror comics.

Fang on! v–v

More than Novels and Movies


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It’s only the second day of October and my horror movie marathon continues. So far today I have watched Frankenstein, Valentine, and Leprechaun. However, my interest in the horror genre is not limited to just movies, TV, and novels – it also carries over to video games and comics.

When I was younger, I LOVED to turn off all the lights and play Silent Hill 2 or Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. Now that I have a family, I don’t get to play video games as much, and having a young child means practically no horror games. The closest I’ve come to a horror game in recent years is Alan Wake, and I still have yet to finish it. Le’sigh.

I am still able to get my horror fix with comics. Like multitudes of other people, I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead. I also thoroughly enjoy a web comic written by my good friend Seth Coleman, Benedict Barlow and the Curse of Rotwood. And to be expected, I have read all of the Buffy and Angel comics.

What’s your favorite horror comics and video games? Please comment so I can scope out other titles.

Fang on! v–v

The Creepy and the Crawly


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October is my favorite month because I LOVE Halloween! I tend to celebrate the Halloween spirit all throughout the month, not just on the 31st. I even squeal at the sight of Halloween decorations in stores. Oh, and let’s not forget all of the wonderful Halloween make up. I’m getting excited just writing about it!

With my month-long celebration, I submerge myself in all things horror and paranormal. I watch scary movies, read gothic novels, and am usually wrapping up my once-a-year viewing of the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This year I have included a viewing of Angel to round out my vampire cravings.

This year I’m going to use my blog to highlight some of the things that I love most about Halloween and the media genres associated with the holiday. I would like to start out by directing your attention to the book that piqued my interest with all things paranormal and science fiction – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend it. And don’t forget to pair it with one of my favorite movie classics, Frankenstein by Universal Studios, starring Boris Karloff.

Enjoy and let me know what you think about these tasty offerings. Fang on! v–v

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