HOW TO PRAY . . .
Pray to the morning warmth that creeps through the shuttered window on a bright sunny morning in February, no rain, no fog, it reminds me of sleepy summer vacations in the hill station of Dalhousie;
Pray to the flood of immigration in the late 90s that has brought Patak's pickles to the Indian Spice Market and Bollywood movies to Regal Cinemas at Hacienda Crossings. Now I can choose if I want to see Fifty Shades Freed or Padmavati or both, in the span of a lazy afternoon, if my heart so desires;
Pray to the 11 p.m. phone call from my daughter who's away at Santa Clara University, an entreaty for me to visit with her furry, four-legged friend, Coco. "Thank goodness, she didn't choose to move five states removed to Tulane University," is the heartfelt cry of a mother who's bewildered by how much it hurts to have an empty nest at home;
Pray to the escape from a furious mob wielding an unsheathed knife in one hand, their angry footfalls as my turbaned brother and I duck into an alley in Defence Colony to flee from the rioters in 1984;
Pray to the comfortable assurance in diction, the wide circle of friends, the four-bedroom 6000 square-foot home in the gated community of Piedmont, that two decades of living in America has wrought;
Pray to the vagaries of destiny that settled me in culturally diverse California, where stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana are received with eager interest in Tom Snyder's creative writing class, secure in the knowledge that Trump can go on blowing fire and fury in far-flung Washington D.C.;
Pray to second chances, to trips home to an unforgiving mom who's laid low with disease and weaknesses of the mind. She laughs a lot, forgets most things and is suddenly so bearable in her frailty;
Pray to knees that are old and decrepit, that creak and collapse at every burpee and squat that Erica wrests out of me at the Tuff Girl boot camp class at 9:35 a.m. I groan, I complain, but nonetheless, I show up. Bless the heart-thumping adrenalin, the glow of sweat on my sunscreened chest, the broad smile that hugs my make-up free face as I leave the class exactly thirty minutes later. "God bless America," I bellow as I hurl my fist in the air.
Let this be the year of no Botox and letting the wrinkles show, of adding my voice to the #Metoo campaign, of being a size 6 and not striving to be the size 2 of my 20s, of living in faith that the whole world is on my side as long as I am true to the best that is in me.