My maternal grandma is a refugee from Myanmar, then Burma. She came to India walking with thousands of other refugees in the 1930s. I am told she came here with her sisters leaving her brother and uncles behind. How they walked from Burma to reach Chennai, then Madras to put up a base terrifies as well as surprises me. Such hardships to just be alive 😭

My earliest memories of her are many, but what I remember is asking my mum to tell me her story many times, how was their childhood, what did they do to pass time..much how Moo asks about my childhood every other day. Kids really like imagining their parents as kids I guess 🤷‍♀️

My Ammama along with her sisters and other cousins worked hard from a young age to make a life for themselves. One of her sisters didn’t marry to take care of the family – she went ahead to become a bank manager, a big thing in the 1960s. The man my Ammama married so wanted a son after three girls that when he heard that the fourth pregnancy resulted in twin daughters he didn’t come home for 10 days. My mum is the elder twin. He passed away soon due to some illness making his widow bring up five daughters single handedly. She was a strong willed lady and never let anything deter her. She was a medical receptionist with the city hospital and so always had government quarters allocated to her. She put her younger daughters in hostel and sent her eldest to her banker sister for helping out in studies to work two jobs and pay for all. One after the other each of her daughters graduated and became earning members of the family.

She doted on her grandchildren like any other granny and always had stories and sweets to share. She was courageous and stood up to her relatives and society when her second daughter came home within six months after marriage stating she wanted a divorce. This was in the mid 80s!! She supported another daughter who wanted to marry a guy she loved following another religion and didn’t bat an eyelid when the said daughter converted her religion. Many deterred her into giving my mums hand in marriage to a man who lived and worked 2000km away from Madras.

There are so many instances where she went against what was the norm in those days – it is not that she didn’t make any mistake, but she accepted them and owned them and there in lies the beauty of her heart.

She had a nose pin or mookuthi from her mother which she had brought with her when she migrated. It is made of white stones with a base of gold. This precious and old heirloom is not meant for any of her children or grandchildren can you imagine! She had pledged it to be gifted it to my brother’s wife when he marries. This she told my mum when she saw her grandson( my brother) soon after his birth. And no he is not her first grandson 🙂

She worked till she reached her retirement and passed away after battling stomach cancer. I was 10 at that time. I have her memories up until that time, the house she last lived, the way she travelled to our home in Gujarat as a surprise without informing us, her way of plaiting my hair, her beautiful face and smile – she used to tease her granddaughters ( we are 4 ) saying ‘I wonder which of you girls will get the Burmese smile from me’

My girls are quite young to understand the richness of their ancestors, but I hope to recall their great granny’s story one Sunday afternoon. That we might still have long lost descendants in another country is fascinating in itself.

Prachee, your post was the trigger to write this ❤️

On languages

It has been that kind of day where you worked hard, your body is tired and mind is happy. Mental peace is a real thing you guys!

This blogging is such a wonderful feeling in these days of instant gratification. Feels like writing those inland blue post letters to and fro ❤️ I love it when someone comments on my posts. I love it even more when I get a reply if I leave a comment in your blog. Thank you for spending your mind space with me and me alone for 1-2-3 minutes ☺️

Pepper wrote about a wonderful topic recently which is close to my heart. Language(s). I have spoken of my background here. Zack speaks four languages and I speak the same as him and three more. There have been many instances where people have assumed I won’t know Hindi judging by my appearance and continued to gossip in public places. At home we speak Telugu. It’s not the authentic dialect since both of us never lived anywhere in AP but we are getting better. Zack and I switch to Tamil if we want to keep Moo out of the discussion. But the clever cat she is, she picked up the words quickly and now we resort to Kannada. We have a Sikh family friend from who live nearby and from them Zack and Moo learnt many Hindi words. Moo’s favourite Hindi words so far are ‘paani piyo’ and the Hindi numbers – she learnt it from the ‘Ek do teen’ song 🤣 She has been practising writing her name in Hindi script and shows it off to her grandma who doesn’t know to read Hindi 😅

She has picked up Telugu well enough to hold her conversation with a Telugu couple who come visit often. And I have been telling her to speak to Boo in Telugu. She remembers this but 99.9% of the time forgets it with us. I will always get a reply or a question from her in English. With Zack I have to keep nudging him to switch to Telugu when Moo is with him. I know why I took the onus of constantly reminding her to keep using whatever Telugu words she knows even if she kept saying Amma it’s difficult for me to say a full sentence.

She asked me in an angry outburst once. I said it’s our language. But we can talk in English too, she said. Everyone talks only in English.

Yes baby, but I want us to speak in our language. You can call it a secret language. So that I can shout across your school gate that don’t lose your water bottle and empty your lunch box and no one will understand.

At wits ends

When we shared the news that Moo is going to have a sibling to family and friends, almost everyone had to say the same thing – this time it will be a boy.

Second variation – One of each and your family is complete.

Third variation – Oh there is nothing wrong with another girl..but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a boy.

Last and final variation on getting ‘the look’ from me – Anyways it doesn’t matter boy or girl healthy baby only we wish for you.

I’ll not get into the much discussed gender equality across many mediums since internet boomed. Yeah we know no distinction against boy and girl, but when well read and people our age group say such things you don’t care anymore about how deep age old beliefs have been entrenched into the mind.

On the contrary every non-Indian stranger who heard or saw us with two daughters told when are we planning for our third and how wonderful it will be for a third daughter. Apparently having girls is considered extremely good, the more the better 😄 which is another kind of favouritism which I again feel weird about.

What I will get into today is our comebacks for the first type of comments. I honestly didn’t expect Zack to tell these things to his family, but hey looks like good company is rubbing off 😎😎

MIL: Another girl, oh oh. Are you sad? Would have been good if it was a boy.

Zack: Oh not sad at all. I know I will have only have girls.

MIL got audibly flabbergasted 😂


Relative Aunty: Aiyyo, another girl aa.

Zack: Yeah yeah, not too difficult to raise another one. Moo has given enough experience.


Same Aunty as above: Two girls shabba

Me: All babies need same about of love and attention. All babies when they grow up give same amount of frustration.

Aunty gasping for air after laughing out loud


Family friend: It will be nice to have a boy this time. Not much shopping options for clothes but something new!

Me: How about NO shopping at all! Not much to shop except newborn stuff. So many of Moo’s good clothes to reuse.


Family friend 2’s mum: The way you are carrying its 100% boy. Anyways with one girl you should have one boy.

Me 4 days past my due date: Aunty, during Moo’s time also same thing people said. You should instead guess when will I go into labour.

Family friend 2’s mum: That nature will decide.

Me: And who decides whether baby is boy or girl

Family friend 2’s mum: I’ll go make some tea



Moo’s friend’s mum: So what do you feel you are having this time? What’s your gut feeling

3 month pregnant me: I feel it’s a girl. Same kinda morning sickness, same kinda weight gain.

Moo’s friend’s mum: Oh is it, nice nice. But I wish you have a boy this time. One of each.

3 month pregnant me: Haha, be it a boy or girl, can’t wait to sink into the newborn scent and cuddles.

Moo’s friend’s mum: Yeah yeah ofcourse whatever it is is ok, should be healthy that’s all.

3 month pregnant me: Then everything is dependent on me, healthy mum healthy bub. And healthy me means eat, see and talk only happy things.

Moo’s friend’s mum changes topic getting the hint 😎😎😎


SIL: You have to start saving money from now itself, you have to marry off two daughters.

Me: And what does marriage have to do with our savings? They can earn and spend their money on their weddings. And from what I know of Moo she will be the one demanding money from the boy’s family to pitch in for the wedding costs. Wants everything equal you see.