Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's refreshing to sleep with someone else for a change

During Coral's first few years, my mother often received e-mails from me on Coral's antics as well as commenting on her intelligence. She became eager to see for herself when she visited me one weekend.

I lived in an one bedroom apartment with Coral then. Any overnight visitors I had would usually either sleep on the sofa or on the carpet with blankets/sleeping bag.

One of the stories I had told my mother related to Coral's intelligence: Whenever at night, I was ready to go to bed, I would say to Coral, "It's time for doggie bed-time". As soon as I switched off the living room light, Coral would immediately dash off to my bed.

Even though my mother had grown up with German Shepherds, they hardly stayed indoors. She was and still is fussy about having dogs in the house, due to hair shedding and dirty paws on the floor/carpet, not to mention sitting on the furniture.

Coral started sleeping with me since she was 1-1/2 years old when she was completely housebroken. It helps to have her sleep with me at times as I could tell whether she was barking or acting strangely. Being alone, I felt safe knowing she would provide "ears" for me.

One evening of my mother's visit, I made preparations for her bedding in the living room. My mother was curious to see how Coral acted when I switched off the light.

With us both standing by the halogen lamp in the living room and Coral sitting between us, looking up at my mother, I switched off the lamp and said it was doggie bed-time.

To our surprise, Coral did not budge; she still looked up at my mother, with her tail wagging.

"Why isn't she going off to the bedroom?" my mother asked, puzzled.

I replied, "She wants to sleep with you tonight instead."

I prefer just the two of us

Coral was 5-1/2 years old when my husband moved to the U.S. Prior to that, we mostly lived alone. As a result, Coral became attached to me. When I had dates over, Coral always greeted them quite eagerly.

However, when my husband arrived to our new place, within few days of picking up Coral from the baby-sitter, Coral refused to greet him. Perhaps she did not like the idea of having to share me with him, besides having to adjust to a new place.

After two months, her action was quite obvious in showing her 'distaste' towards him, even though she would ask him, from time to time, to pat her.

Coral was sitting next to me on the sofa, pawing my shoulder to take her out. My husband quickly offered, hoping to create a bond with her. He walked towards the front door and opened it. He beckoned Coral to go.

Coral sat there, looking straight ahead, and refused to budge. After five minutes of useless coaxing, my husband went back to his seat on the adjacent sofa.

Testing Coral, I got up and calmly ambled towards the door. I then beckoned to her.

Upon the door opening, she suddenly dashed off.

Dogs do sense things happening around them, especially changes. I am sure she figured out that my husband would be living permanently with us, not merely visiting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sixth Sense

My maternal grandmother is quite known for her sixth sense. Everyone took it for granted what she said all those years except my uncle, my mother's brother.

My uncle was a doctor (retired now). Doctors, scientists, and mathematicians tend to have "linear" thinking. As a result they do not believe in anything supernatural; tangible evidence are quite important to them.

Several years ago, my grandmother got a ticket to fly to India for few months for the summer time. She was to fly together with my uncle and his family.

However, few days before the departure, she had a dream. She dreamt that a plane crashed into the ocean. This repeated at least two or three times.

Scared, she told my uncle she was not going to India.

"Rubbish!", scoffed my uncle. "You're going with us!"

She tried insisting she was not going but with my uncle's strong personality, she finally gave in but with much trepidation.

Yet the flight to India went smoothly.

"See I told you! Nothing happened!", crowed my uncle.

But after they got off, new passengers boarded this plane. And the plane then crashed into the ocean.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Let's play it by ear

Few years ago before I met my husband, I was casually dating few guys, in hopes of possibly developing a serious relationship.

I met this deaf guy, Jeff, on a blind date set up by a mutual friend of ours.

Sitting in a restaurant, we chatted amicably, getting to know each other. Although Jeff was not an "intellectual" to my disappointment, he was considered a "street smart" guy.

Soon after the meal were served, Jeff mentioned that when he asked our mutual friend when the actual date of our blind date would be, she said, "Oh I am not sure. But let's play it by ear." (The phrase meant to wait and see what happens. )

Apparently not comprehending this 'hearing phrase', he asked me, "Is she playing games with me?"

Hold on your pants

In the summer of my sophomore year at Gallaudet, I got an internship as a teacher's assistant for eleventh grade at a school for the deaf. There were two other interns who also were from Gallaudet whom I never met. By the end of the internship, we all became good friends.

One of the intern, Jess, was also a teacher's assistant for tenth graders.

This was, and still, is, an era where fashion for youngsters is low-waisted jeans.

During a field trip to a zoo, on the bus I was sitting behind Jess when she turned and told me this.

She said when a student asked her to do something, Jess told him,"Ok but hold on your pants", meaning to wait few seconds or minutes.

The student, obviously not understanding the 'hearing phrase', commented, "Oh no, my pants is supposed to be like this."

Friday, June 22, 2007

There is only 24 hours in a day.

About two months before the end of of my eleventh grade year, I heard that there will be a contest to win a free 3-1/2 weeks trip to England for deaf youth exchange program sponsored by then Gallaudet College. Only 10 deaf and 5 hearing participants (those hearing contestants had to prove their interests related to deafness) will be picked out from the contest.

Excitedly, I participated in the contest. It required two essays, grade transcript, recommendation letter from a teacher, and a project, along with a report, related to England. Sounded a lot? It did not deter me as I was quite eager to begin.

Laboriously, I worked on the contest, and on my school work, especially my upcoming end of the school year report, not to mention the final exams.

There were times I felt pessimistic about being able to finish all. Then my father said to me, "There is only 24 hours in a day. You have to learn how to make the best of those hours." Somehow I managed to finish both of them, on time.

Soon after I finished my final exams, I was eating a snack on the dining table when I saw my grandmother answering a phone call. She looked excited and beckoned to me.

"You won the contest!"

It turned out that I was one of the participants to be chosen out of 300+ in the U.S.

Honestly, I did not really expect to win. I merely enjoyed participating in the contest.

Perseverance and determination, without expecting the outcome, will eventually succeed.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

An Unexpected "Snitch"

As usual, being a child within, I loved to pull harmless little pranks on people close to me.

that April's fool fiasco, I decided to pull another one on my husband.

My husband usually came home about one hour after me. Close to the time he would be arriving, I looked out the window and saw that he was walking towards the front door steps.

Quickly, I went in the bathroom and hid behind the shower curtains. I switched off the lights to make it look like no one was there.

I wanted him to wonder where the heck I was, knowing I would usually be home by the time he came.

I expected him to take some time in searching the place for me, however, less than two minutes, the bathroom light switched on.

Nonchalantly, my husband moved the shower curtains and found me standing there surprised.

"How did you KNOW I was there so soon??"

He calmly replied, "Usually when I get home, Coral would greet me. But this time, I instead found her sitting in front of the bathroom door, pawing the door as if to say she's in there."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Doggie Pizza

Few years ago, I lived alone in an apartment with my then 3-year old black cocker spaniel mix named Coral. After being adopted, Coral eventually became spoiled, expecting everything to be handed to her on a silver platter.

One evening, I came home from work, exhausted. So I decided to simply bake a frozen pizza for dinner instead of making a dish which would take some time.

After changing my clothes to more comfortable attire, I sat in my living room sofa and switched on the TV while waiting for the pizza.

I became transfixed with a program on TV for few minutes. Suddenly I realized I had not seen Coral around. She usually sits with me or sometimes on the carpet, facing me.

I quickly got up and looked for Coral. When I looked in the kitchen, I laughed.

There Coral was, patiently sitting right in front of the oven, waiting for the pizza to come out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Deaf person is often the last one to know

When I was fifteen, during a summer break, my whole family and I took a trip to England and then India. It was our first and last family trip abroad.

England was "on the way" to India, so my parents thought a good idea to stop by there and sightsee for five days then to India for three months (for my mom, my sister and me. My dad was to stay for close to six weeks due to work). Instead of motels, to save money, we stayed at an acquaintance's home in London which happened to be close to a subway station.

Boy, that flat was really dingy! The mattress on the floor was really old and sagging, not to mention dirty! I slept on the very edge of the mattress to avoid the middle part. The bathroom was not clean as well. I remember complaining loudly how shabby the place was but got shushed by my mother. My sister and I were told to be patient and tolerant.

Nevertheless, we managed for five long days. Thankfully, we were out almost all day the minute we got up in the mornings and did not return till late in the evenings.

We mostly rode subway stations around London to go sightseeing. And we walked a LOT that I lost at least 8-10 pounds in just five days!

One afternoon, while in the subway, my parents informed me and my sister ahead of time which station we were to get off. After fifteen minutes, the subway got crowded. My parents suddenly realized they had figured the wrong station and quickly informed the correction to get off the next two stations to my sister. I was standing close to my sister, oblivious to what was happening.

In haste, they completely forgot to tell me. Hence, I got off the wrong station and by the time I turned around, expecting my family to be following behind me, but instead to see the subway doors just closing with my parents panicking against the door window. They quickly mouthed to me to stay put and they would return to this station I was at.

Nodding, I calmly sat down on the bench and waited. I felt no fear or panic. Few minutes later, my parents rushed and asked me if I was "okay". They apologized for the oversight. Without thinking, they had mistakenly assumed I would "overhear" the conversation they said to my sister about the correction.

Deafness is "invisible" and is easy to overlook at times, hence mostly the last one to know what is happening.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Correct steps on following a recipe

Happy Father's Day!

In celebrating Father's Day, I would like to narrate one of the stories my father told me. He was, and still is, a good storyteller. As children, my sister and I would be quite riveted with his tales prior to bedtime and often plead, as soon as he finished, to tell us another one.

One weekend, few years ago, I was visiting my father and stepmother at their home.

Normally, I dislike south Indian food which is somewhat different from north Indian food. My family are from south part of India, so call me a traitor if you will.

That night, as usual, my stepmother made south Indian food for dinner. However, to my surprise, I ate it all, relishing every bite. I told them I felt satisfied with a full tummy.

That was when my dad told me this story. I do not know if it was true or not but that is not the point.

There were British soldiers stationed in some parts of northern India. (This possibly indicates it was during pre-independent India)

One early morning, two soldiers decided to go hunting in the forest. Few hours later, satisfied from their activity, they felt it was time to go back.

Trudging through the thick, dense forest, somehow the two soldiers strayed from each other and eventually got lost. This soldier walked aimlessly without any sense of direction for a long time until it started to get a bit dark.

Hungry, the soldier hoped to find some shelter, at least for the night, if necessary. Suddenly, he saw a smoke not far from him and went in that direction.

He came across a small hut with a family of four, cooking on a firepit. They seemed quite poor judging from the mere belongings in the hut.

The soldier told them he was lost and asked for directions. The kind father asked him to first sit down and eat with them. The food was quite simple and the family willingly shared with the soldier.

Ravishingly gorging the food down his throat, the soldier finally satisfied his hunger. Sitting with a full tummy, he praised the family for such good food.

The family kindly lent him a blanket to sleep on the ground.

The next morning, the soldier woke up and got ready to leave. Armed with directions, he thanked the family and was about to leave when he had this thought.

"Can you please give me exact step-by-step instructions how to make the food you made yesterday? It was really good!"

Pleased, the mother quickly scribbled down the recipe. With recipe in his pocket, the soldier proceeded back to his place.

Upon arriving, he immediately gave the recipe to his cook and ordered him to whip up the dish for dinner that very evening. And then he sent another servant to go invite other soldiers, including generals over his place for dinner.

Eagerly, he asked the cook if the dishes were ready. With all the plates and glasses in proper places and lined up, the soldier waited for the guests to arrive.

Once they arrived, everyone looked at each other, wondering what the special occasion was. The soldier pleasantingly narrated the earlier incident and urged everyone to start eating and enjoy the food.

After few bites, the puzzled guests again glanced at each other, saying "What's this "simple" food he has cooked up? It tastes terrible!" The soldier himself started eating and to his surprise, it did not taste good as it did last night.

As soon as the guests left, embarrassed, he angrily screamed for his cook. The cook nervously walked up to him and asked what was the matter.

"Did you follow the instructions EXACTLY as I asked you to?!" The servant, with his hands clasped in front of him, quickly nodded.

"EVERY step?"

"Not really."

"Which one did you miss?"

"The very first step."

The first step on the paper said, "Take a bath first before cooking."

The soldier yelled at the cook, "You did not have your bath this morning. That's WHY the food tasted horrible!"

The point of this story: If you are quite hungry, then any food, irregardless of your likes/dislikes, will taste good!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Canine fate?

As young as I could remember, I have always loved dogs. Walking on the streets in India, we often passed dirty and mangy stray dogs. To my mother's dismay and panic, I would frequently run and pat them. Fortunately, I did not get bitten, except once by my neighbor's dog. Still I was unfazed.

There's a photo of me as a three-year old, at my grandparents' home, laughing and sitting on the floor while my hand was in a German Shepherd's mouth. I had no qualms about hugging strange dogs or sitting in a doghouse with the dog even if it stank.

As a teenager, I started to beg and plead my parents to get a dog but of to no avail. The reason? We traveled often. My sister disliked and even feared dogs. My dad, even though could tolerate dogs, was not fond of them as well.

Only my mother had grown up with German Shepherds but they were outdoor dogs.

The "You can get a dog when you are grown up and on your own" reply was often repeated, to my discouragement.

To satisfy my desire, at least, I put up posters of puppies of all breeds on the walls of my bedroom.

However, to my surprise, on my 21st birthday, my mother got me a black laborador puppy. To heck with my dad and sister, my mom replied.

Unfortunately, it was wrong timing as I was busy with two jobs and attending community college. And to top that, the dog and my personality did not match. In other words, I felt no connection. Hence, it was given away three weeks later.

Ten years later, I made a mistake of adopting a Husky mix out of pity for this poor puppy who was abandoned by his mother. This dog had issues I could not handle, as I was a "newcomer". I gave it to a friend.

Fast forward to two years. I was with a friend on the way from a store when he suggested to go visit this old lady who collected stray dogs with puppies. I was not in the mood and asked him to drop me home. But he coaxed me to go with him.

"Simply see them and quickly leave." So I relented.

Arriving to this dilapidated farmlike area with a bunch of mangy stray dogs following us, my friend went to talk to this old lady. Leaning against the car, barely holding my nose from the stink, I waited for him to return.

A black curly cocker spaniel calmly walked up to me and started sniffing. He then returned and excitedly said this dog who was smelling me just had puppies. But I was not interested at all and simply wanted to go home.

Urging me to follow him to see the last puppy as her siblings were already given away, he led me, with the old lady ahead of him, to this old abandoned station wagon. I saw few dogs mingling in the car.

Then the lady opened the passenger door and I gasped.

There was this small cute cuddly velvet black puppy, a mixed breed, which almost fit the palm of a man's hand, excitedly wagging her tail.

I fell in love immedately.

Still, I was reluctant to adopt this absolutely adorable puppy because I did not want to regret as I previously did with the other dogs.

Both he and the lady tried to convince me to take the puppy now as it was the last one she had at this point. Yet I resisted, saying I needed time to think, giving at least a week lest do I decide.

It was a risk I decided to take because this puppy was so adorable and seemed to have such sweet personality. It would be no question if anyone else came by and took her.

During the week, I thought about it over and over. I then recalled my mother telling me I tended to run away from responsilities. Therefore, I decided to accept the responsibility, for once and all.

Excitedly, during this time I shopped for items for the puppy. I already had a name in mind for her as I was supposed to give this name, Coral, for the previous husky but it did not match her personality however. I even planned few days off to spend time with her, as well housetraining her.

On that Friday, my friend came and picked me up and went to see that old lady. But to my dismay, the gate was closed. We waited for
half an hour but no show.

Downcasted, I went home. I thought maybe it was not meant to be.

One hour later, the phone light flashed. My friend said the old lady called him back saying she was working overtime but she brought the puppy and her mother with her.

Few days after I got the puppy, I discovered we had a connection!

About three years later, I was sorting out old photos in my drawer. To my shock, I came across photos of me as a one and half year old with my parents' neighbor's black-colored puppies. And I also had a glass statue of a puppy given to me by my best friend for my fifteenth birthday.

They looked EXACTLY like Coral! She is a mixed breed.

Was it a fate?

When you're not "looking", it will happen right under your nose. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Two opposite poles

Growing up, my sister and I have always been quite different. This included our personality, temperament, tastes, likes/dislikes, interests, etc. As a result we clashed often, fighting like cats and dogs.

The only times we did not fight were when we were busy planning surprise "party" or gifts for my parents. However, they eventually stopped being surprised because the minute they saw us acting like "angels", they immediately figured out we were up to something.

Here are few examples of our differences:


healthy food/ junk and sweets
classic lit/novels
no animals/dogs
reserved/open book

I could list a lot more but you get the idea.

One day, I asked my sister, instead of pointing out our differences, what we had in common. I said that there must be at least ONE thing.

She pondered for a moment then replied.

"Our parents."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pants "dye"

Turning twelve, I was almost the same height as my mother. My mother looked young enough to make people think we were sisters. From time to time, I started borrowing some of her clothes which fit me well.

One day, as usual, I borrowed one of my mom's outfits: cream white striped pants with a matching blouse to wear to my sixth grade class. During late afternoon, shortly before recess, while doing my classwork, I noticed one girl in front of me glancing at me and then whispered to the teacher. My teacher looked at me as if I was in trouble. Following teacher's and this girl's eyes, some students looked at me as well.

While trying to rack my brains what I had done wrong or if I had said something inappropriate in the last few hours or even in the past few days, I sat with my hands fidgeting.

Then it was time for recess. Students quickly scrambled to go outside however my teacher immediately halted me and told me to stay put. Puzzled, I went back to my seat.

When the teacher saw that the class was now empty, she leaned forward and told me to "close my legs" and to do so for the rest of class period. Not sure what she was referring to, I quickly glanced down and to my horror and embarrassment, I realized why they were looking at me.

Between my legs, there was a crimson stain.

Monday, June 11, 2007

North and South

Nineteen years ago, my best friend, Missy, a freshman at Gallaudet, wrote me a letter telling me what fun she was having there, meeting all kinds of guys, as well as making new friends. I was attending a community college in my state south that time and was living with my parents. (This was during pre e-mail/Internet era.)

Reading the description of each guy she was meeting, my eyes caught the name of the guy, Todd, who was a special student at Gallaudet for a year. Missy merely described him in few words: He became deaf at age 5. Very intelligent and can speak quite well. He is a country boy from a small town in New England. I immediately felt something was going to happen.

During Missy's visit home on Christmas time from Gallaudet, I visited her at her mother's home. I told her I wanted to meet Todd. Eagerly shoving a piece of paper under my nose, she told me to write a letter and then sealed, to my useless protest, the back of the envelope with a lipstick sticker.

Todd and I became pen-pals for a while then eventually, I went to Gallaudet to visit Missy, hence meeting him. We ended up dating, but long distance though. Every few weeks, he would come down to visit me, staying at my parents' home.

We mostly communicated via TTY, which this time I finally bought. We called each other almost daily, to my dad's chagrin. The phone bills often made my dad jump. He tried coaxing me to merely use a "20 cent" stamp instead but it fell on deaf ears, no pun intended.

One day, as usual, my Yankee boyfriend called me. Upon my answering the TTY call, he cheerfully said, "Hello, how is my Southern Belle doing?" "Hello, Northern Telecom.", I replied.

(Southern Bell and Northern Telecom were the names of telephone companies in the South at that time.)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cough syrup please!

Upon graduation from high school in the mid-80's, I only had two choices of college: my state university or Gallaudet College (it was called college that time). My dream of attending another, but private, college, four hours away, dashed when my father refused to send me far away, not to mention not being able to afford such fees.

Not ready to mingle with the deafies and immerse into "Deaf culture" yet, I chose to attend my state university which was only 30 minutes away.

This university only had one other deaf student, besides me. Hence, I mostly mingled with other hearing Indian students which some of them I had grown up with.

Since many of us Indians lived close by, we lived at our parents' home, to save money, instead of dorms. So, in order to mingle with each other, we gathered in the university library lounge every afternoons.

There was this guy who was from Pakistan, I believe, who eventually joined our crowd. I barely talked to him but I am sure he did hear my conversations with others. (I could speak but not well enough to sound like a hearing person though.)

The whole year went by without this guy and I talking to each other personally except to say a brief "hi" when passing by.

Near at the end of the spring semester, he asked one of my friends why I talked "funny". She replied that I was deaf.

Stunned, he told her, "I had no idea she was deaf the whole time! I thought she had largynitis."

"Kids Only" pillow

"It's time to get up now! It's close to midnight. We have to get ready quickly!", urged my mother who hovered over my bed. Our plane's pending departure for U.S. from India was probably around 2:30 am or so.

Sleepily, I, watching my mother help my sister dress, asked her to help me also but she pointed out I was old enough to do it myself. Grumbling, I proceeded to slowly dress myself.

Finally, we were on the plane, with me sitting by the window. I remember, as the plane was taxiing on the runway, ready to take off, waved and thought, "Good bye, India. I don't know when I will see you again".

The stewardess gave us blankets and especially pillows to sleep on, to my sister's delight.

Several hours later, as soon as the plane made preparations to land in U.S., the stewardess came to take the blankets and pillows away. My five-year old sister, however, refused to hand over the pillow.

"I want to take it home! PLEASE, Mommy!", she sobbed loudly. My mother had to gently twist the pillow from my wailing sister and give it to the crew.

I was oblivious to what was going on as my mind was focused on seeing the U.S.

Years later, I asked my sister why she cried over this "trivial" thing. She replied, "I thought due to the size of the plane pillow, it was especially "tailored" made only for kids like me!"

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Blonde VS Brunette

When my family moved to U.S. from India, I was forced to give up my toys, to my chagrin, especially my precious dolls, due to lack of suitcases space. My father had already moved to U.S. six months earlier. He telegrammed my mother, upon obtaining a job, to come here with me and my sister.

Most toys were given to the servants' children, and my dolls, to my cousin. Hugging my dolls, I politely asked my cousin to "look" after them.

Prior to moving, I asked my mother what America was like. She replied people there usually have different hair and eyes colors. Fascinated, I asked what colors. "Hair vary from black, red, brown, to blonde, and eyes, blue, green, hazel, brown, black, or violet."

Sounded quite like a rainbow! I could not wait to come here. I kept asking my mother when it was time to go. Sometime soon, she would often reply.

Arriving in the U.S., we stayed at my cousin's place where my
dad drove few hours to pick us up. He was already here few months earlier to search for a job and thus obtaining one.

Upon entering in our townhome-like apartment with a "Welcome home" sign on the door, that my dad made for us, I excitedly dashed to the bedroom that my sister and I would be sharing.

There were two twin beds, each set against the opposing walls. And on the top of each pillow, stood two dolls, as a surprise gift from my dad.

Both dolls' faces and height looked identical except one was "tomboy", and the other one, "feminine". The tomboy one had dark brown hair, brown eyes and had on a blouse and pants, while the feminine one was blonde and had blue eyes, with a dress.

Guess which doll we fought over? :) Yep, the blonde

My mother told us to share or keep the blonde doll for a week before giving it to my sister and vice versa.

However, within two weeks, guess who kept the blonde doll after all?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Someone else's bananas surely taste better!

My father told me this story when he visited us two years ago.

I was about one and half years old that time, in India, when my parents tried to coax me several times to eat a banana but to of no avail. They assumed I probably did not like it.

One day, we were going on some trip and took the train. At the train station, there was a couple standing near my parents. They had a bunch of bananas. Apparently, I saw them peeling one and suddenly stood before them, watching.

The couple thought I was probably hungry from the watchful stare I was giving them. They proceeded to hand me a half banana when my father quickly warned them that I did not like it, thus wasting it if I threw it down.

To my father's surprise, I took it and gulped it down and asked for more. They gave me the other half and I ate it quite fast as if it was so delicious.

My father said the episode made him look like a fool trying to warn them.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Shall we duel?

Twenty years ago, I worked at Taco Bell, mostly night shifts. I was dating a manager of Taco Bell, but in a different town though. His name was Geoff.

Technically, I was not supposed to date a manager even though he worked in a different location. But everyone at my Taco Bell knew and kept mum simply because they knew Geoff since he used to be an employee at my Taco Bell just before I joined.

We saw each other quite sporadically due to different schedules, not to mention he worked at least 75 hours a week. I did not have a TTY that time and the relay system was not even set up in my state until about two years later. So, sometimes I would ask a friend to call him or he would stop by my Taco Bell to plan something.

Eventually, I did not see him at all for about one and half months. In the meantime, there was this guy who worked with me named Wade. We chatted and joked for several weeks.

One night, Wade asked me if I was still with Geoff. I, assuming Geoff probably moved on since I had not heard from him, replied no. He asked me out and I agreed. We planned to discuss more after our night shift.

As soon as we closed Taco Bell and went out, Wade and I were about to talk when I noticed a car pulling up to the parking lot.

To my surprise, it was Geoff. Geoff said hi but Wade curtly nodded. I felt Wade's eyes boring at my back. I sensed what Wade was thinking. It felt awkward when they both realized what was happening.

Both guys stood, facing each other, with arms crossed, apparently waiting for one another to leave first. I was in the middle, fidgeting, not sure what to do next.

After a seemingly long ten minutes of silence, finally Wade decided to leave. He walked off quite abruptly.

Since then, Wade never talked to me again, although I insisted I had no idea Geoff was going to stop by.

My lesson? NEVER assume anything!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

April's Fool flummox

Like most new marriages, we started out on a tight budget and limited means. That meant no cable, for either TV or computer.

My husband had never met a deaf person until me. Into few months of our marriage, I was not sure how much he understood the limits of my deafness. (I am profoundly deaf whereas he is hard of hearing) So, on April's fools' day, I decided to play a trick on him.

He was sitting at a desk when I suddenly went to the phone (and TTY) nearby and quickly picked up the phone, dialed some number, and waited for it to ring.

Acting like a "hearing" person, I pretended to talk as if someone on the other line had answered. I
laughed and put my hand on my hip, continuing to chat with expressions showing on my face.

My husband stared at me for a moment and cracked up so hard. Then, he slowly ambled towards me. While intently looking into my eyes, he calmly took the phone handle from my hand, and hung up.

Not letting go of my act, I protested while surprised, "What are you doing? You hung up on my sister?!"

He, still looking at me, coolly replied, "How can you be on the phone when I am currently online?"

This doesn't even look like Lychee!

My husband and I met four years ago, through an Indian marriage website. Upon obtaining a Visa few months later, he came to the U.S. for the first time, in the middle of my move to another place.

At the new place, there were only few boxes and miscellaneous items. No furniture and even no food as the rest of my things were still at the old place.

On the first morning at the new place, as I got up, I noticed my husband had already woken due to jetlag. Walking on the way to the bathroom, I immediately spotted him standing by the kitchen, munching.

I stopped in my tracks and thought, "Hey, what on earth is he eating?? There's no food in the fridge and he does not even have any U.S. money!"

With a puzzle look on my face, I asked what he was eating. Holding a jar with a label, "Lychee gel cups" and something in his hand, my staunch vegetarian husband said, "What is this? This tastes funny." (Lychee is a tropical fruit with a thick red covering and inside is a white fruit that tastes sweet).

Trying not to laugh, I replied, with a solemn look on my face, "It is NOT Lychee. You are eating a dog biscuit!"

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Cardboard hair

Typically, female teenagers tend to spend hours with their makeover, especially hair. Looks are quite important to them.

I was no exception at fifteen. I spent at least two hours each day, just styling and primping my hair! My mother would often bang the door, telling me to hurry up.

My hair was so thick that I had it cut short and layered, yet it still fell over my hair, to my exasperation. The last solution? Hairspray. Cheap brand but strong! As a result, it made my hair like a cardboard. Unfortunately, it caused my hair to brittle, fall off, and create dandruffs at the end of each day.

Nevertheless, I was determined to hold my hair to the layered style from front to the back, as it was the fashion in the 80's. I used hairspray as much as I could that it became quite stiff.

If I dropped something, I would not bend down for fear of my hair messing up; instead I either used my foot or kept my neck still while picking it up.

Hence, my sister came up with a nickname for me: Mr. Stiffneck.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Wow, a LIVE doll!

I was four years and one week when my little sister was born. I considered her as my 4th birthday "present". :)

The day my mom gave birth, my dad took me to the hospital to visit them.
The bed post was at my head's length. I remember being in awe, trying to raise my toes to look at the little white wrapped bundle lying next to my mom.

My mother was at the hospital for few days. During this time, everyday after school, I would be excited to go to the hospital.

I usually slept and played with stuffed animals and/or dolls. But when my sister was born, they temporarily collected dust. She cried, laughed, smiled. That was even better than dolls! I loved patting her to sleep and playing with her as she grew older.

Everyday, the minute I arrived home from school, I would run and squeeze her. Because I could not hear, my mother would keep reminding me not to hug her too tight or she wouldn't be able to breathe.

I used to beg my mother if I could sleep with her but of to no avail. (We did not have a crib. My sister instead slept on the floor with blankets in my parents' bedroom.)

Many years later, I was reminiscing with my mother about my memory of me visiting the hospital. She replied, "The whole time you came to the hospital, you practically made a beeline to see her. Not once you said 'hi' to me."

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Jeannie, please blink me out of here!

I moved to U.S.A. from India when I was nine years old. I was new to my school, American kids, culture, etc. Fortunately, I already knew English which was my first language, although it sounded a bit British.

My public elementary school, not a base school, was about an hour away because it was the only one, closest to my home, in this county that had an oral program for the "hearing-impaired".

Thus, there was no school bus that could provide transportation for far-away students. This teacher, Bonnie, who happened to live close by, offered to give me a ride.

Eventually, a deaf boy in my third-grade class, Jeff, later joined our "carpool".

Because my mother was a housewife that time, his mother who worked would drop him off at my home every morning to wait for Bonnie to pick us up. And in the afternoons, Jeff would stay at my home until his mother got off from work and picked him up.

Jeff was a sweet blond blue-eyed boy who had cerebral palsy. I was too young to understand the concept of cerebral palsy. To me, he was just deaf like me.

The only glitch in getting a ride with Bonnie was that since she was a teacher, Jeff and I had to stay after school for about an hour while she finished up her paperwork prior to dropping us home.

One afternoon, after school, as usual, Jeff and I sat in the backseat of Bonnie's car to wait for Bonnie to finish up her work. Sitting, with my "I dream of Jeannie", a popular 70's sitcom, metal lunchbox on my lap, I chatted with Jeff. (We mostly spoke orally and lip-read each other as we did not know sign language, at least me at that time)

Somehow, I don't remember how it happened, we got into an argument that became heated. Under an assumption that he might hit me, I quickly defended myself by throwing my lunchbox at his head.




By the time I looked up, I froze.

On Jeff's forehead, seat, and car floor, there was blood! Terrified, I did not know what to do.

I then glanced at my lunch box and saw the picture of "I dream of Jeannie" character. For a moment, I thought maybe I could beg Jeannie to blink to take all this away.

As if on cue, Bonnie came down the front school stairs and walked towards the car. I briefly looked at Jeff and the poor boy was crying in pain. Panicking, I quickly got out of the car, hoping to distract Bonnie.

"Hi... Can I sit in the front?"

Bonnie smiled and nodded.

But, Jeff also got out of the car to show Bonnie what happened. I cringed for what was to come.

Bonnie, shocked, with her hands on her hips, glared at me. She demanded an explanation. I stammered we somehow got into a fight and I was merely defending myself.

Furious, she stated she would have a serious "talk" with my parents upon dropping me off and ordered me to sit in the front.

During the ride, my legs trembled, feeling rubbery, and my hands, cold and clammy. I was absolutely terrified at the prospect what would happen at home when my parents, especially my dad, found out.

The ride seemed to take forever. Bonnie's face's expression looked stone cold.

Upon arriving home, I was hesistant to get out of the car, but Bonnie was out and already climbing the stairs to my townhome. This time, Jeff stayed in the car.

What happened immediately is a blur to me as it was so long ago. Maybe I panicked so much that the incident blotted my memory.

To summarize it, of course, my parents were furious and disappointed in me. But to my surprise, all my dad said was for me to apologize to my school principal.

Can you believe I really got off that easy?

To a nine-year old, the principal looked quite a tall man. He seemed kind and considerate. Craning my neck, I mustered my courage and stammered my apology to the principal. Shaking his head, he told me not to do such thing again.

As for Jeff, the poor boy had sixteen stitches on his forehead. His family demanded that my parents pay the medical bills.

His mother never dropped him off at my home ever again.

One year later, my family and I moved to another town.

Jeff, wherever you are, I am truly sorry for my impulsive and immature action.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

A Prank Call Misfired

During high school, I had a deaf best friend, named Missy. A deaf guy, also from my high school, Dale, truly liked this deaf girl, Cynthia, but unfortunately she did not reciprocate his feelings.

Among about 15 deaf students in my public high school, I was the only one who did not have a TTY. (TTY is a Teletype for the Deaf that is used like a telephone for deaf people to make calls to each other).

One weekend, Missy invited me to her house to spend the night. After talking about and pitying poor Dale who pined day after day for Cynthia, we decided to play a trick on him.

Sitting, poised, on a chair with a TTY and the phone handle on the TTY cradle in front of me, I, along with Missy's help, called Dale.

To our relief, Dale directly answered the call. I, pretending to be Cynthia, talked amorously to him. True to his feelings, he responded with an eagerness and full of hope.

Then, after some small "sweet" talk with Dale, "I" asked him out to a movie. Poor Dale excitedly said he could not believe that "Cynthia" changed her mind about him.

The time and location was set up to meet to go to the movie.

After hanging up, Missy and I rolled on the floor, laughing at the thought of pitiful, unsuspecting Dale, full of expectations, waiting at the movie theatre all by himself before realizing he was being stood up.

Ten minutes later, the phone light flashed. This time, Missy answered the call. To our surprise, it was Dale!

He briefly told Missy what happened with the previous call. Missy acted as if she did not know what was going on but encouraged him to go out with Cynthia.

Dale then surprisingly said he called Cynthia, right after my pretentious call because it sounded "too good to be true". He said Cynthia angrily told him she did no such thing.

Hence, to our disappointment, our prank was discovered.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Don't worry, Mother, just simply look the other way.

Seventeen years ago, my parents separated. My mother was on her own for the first time in her entire life. She was 19 when she got married, barely out of college and out of her parents' home.

My mother is an open-minded person but still retains conservative values like many Indian women of her generation.

Moving to an apartment by herself was a big challenge for her. She did not have many things and did not even have a TV as she could not afford one.

I decided to surprise her with a new TV for her birthday which was around the corner. I was living on my own with roommates, working full-time job that time. I had ordered a new TV to be delivered to her home about one week ahead of time.

On the evening of her birthday, after work, I went straight to my mother's place. Upon giving her a card, I told her there was a surprise coming for her in an hour or so.

My mother looked a bit suspicious and asked what it was. But I wouldn't tell.

An hour passed. No delivery.

I pursuaded my mother to wait a bit more and tried to convince her that she would love the surprise. She was getting a bit restless. Normally, she is a patient person, but this time, she seemed a bit edgy. She sat on the sofa with her arms crossed, warily looking at me, possibly trying to figure out what I was up to.

Ten minutes later, she could not wait any longer. She tried to coax some information out of me. But my lips were sealed. Surprise is a surprise.

Anxious, I looked out the window for the delivery van to arrive.

About five minutes before the van finally showed up, my mother gave up her patience. She leaned forward, with her eyebrows narrowed, and nervously asked, "I hope you're not getting me a stripper, are you?"