What a Great Life!
One gets to choose friends but one never gets to choose family. So, I consider myself immensely blessed to inherit my family - both mine and my husband Rajat's.
So, here is a little bit about my family - The Pratury Side
As I am raising my son, I am even more aware of how much sacrifice my family made for me. My mother, Subba Laxmi, was almost 40 and my dad, Dr. Tirumala Rao, was in his mid 40's when they had me. I did not cry when I was born. As my father turned me upside down and gave me a whack, I uttered my first cry and the nurse annouced that my mother's pulse was dropping. All my life, my father told me that my mother's life came into mine and that she has been doing all the things she wanted to do through me. That's why he could never say "No" to me! My father was the first pediatrician in the state of Andhra and he was wonderful with children. I remember sitting with him in his clinic and watching him treat patients with dignity! That's the word .. dignity! He never treated kids like kids but as human beings. He listened to them, treated them and talked to them like they were grown ups with care and attention. He was also a freedom fighter. He marched side by side with Gandhi to arrange hunger strikes and hartals and was involved in getting the British out of India! I used to call him a hopeless optimist! He saw the best in every person and I hope to inherit a fraction of his attitude!
My paternal grandparents passed away before I was born. I was very close to my maternal grand parents. My grand father was a Homeopathic doctor and my grand mother was a freedom fighter. My maternal grand parents moved in with us to take care of me. Now I think of how much I must have meant for them to shut down their livelihood and move in with their son-in-law! My grand mother Lakshmi Narasamma passed away when I was ten and my grand father, Dr. Papa Rao passed away when I was fourteen.
My oldest sister Swarajya Lakshmi is Political Science lecturer, social worker, yoga teacher. My brother in law, Dr. Venkata Ramayya is an opthalmologist. Their son, my nephew, Vamsi Kasturi lives with his wife Krishna and their son Kartikeya in Delhi. My sister and brother in law practically raised me. They gt married when I was five and have been always there for me.
My second sister Samrajya Lakshmi and my brother in law are both doctors and they live in Birmingham, U.K. Their son Kasyap is a doctor and daughter Lahari has a degree in Business and is working in England. All three of my nephews and niece were my babies. I can't believe how grown up they are! They have all turned out to be beautiful human beings and I am so glad that they are in my life. All of them brought joy to me in more ways than I can ever put in words. In some ways, they prepared me to hav the courage to have a child of my own!
Rajat's Family - The Rakkhit side
Rajat's father was in the IPS and passed away before I met Rajat. I met Rajat's mom, Anupama Rakkhit, who was one of the most amazing women I ever met. She told me that her husband was her best friend, who taught her English. She welcomed me into her family with open arms, respected my privacy yet took care of everything I needed. She passed away in 2000 and I was there! I was in Kolkata the day she passed away. All the way from America, crossing the miles of distance between us, I arrived there to say Good Bye to her. In the most ironic way, Rajat was there with my father just in time to say Good bye to my father when he passed away in 1997. It's as though we both took care of each others' parents .. as though there is no difference between who belongs to who.
Rajat's older brother Ranjan in addition to his profession as a manager in a factory, is an amazing cook and his wife Shibani is a prolific writer in Bengali. Their son Rintu is is hgh tech and their daughter Ritu is going to college in Kolkata.
Rajat's sister Ramola and her hubby Deepu Da live in Kolkata. Didi is an amazing manager of household and Deepu Da is one of the best doctors in Kolkata. Their oldest daughter Paromita is a teacher, her hubby Sandip is an exec in high tech and they love with their daughter Pritha in Kolkata; their second daughter Debolina and her hubby Krisanu work in academics at University of Michigan and live in MI wiht their daughter Diya; their third daughter Sangita and her hubby Photon work in Bio tech and live with their daughter Maya in the bay area.
The family that both of us inherited:
I have two sets of God parents - Gerel and Henry in Portland and Esther and Jerry in the bay area. And then there are Glen and Eric, who are my son's God parents in the bay area. Even though my son is away from his family in India, we are glad that he has loving sets of grand parents, god parents and friends who love him!
The special one for me:
Now I get to tell you about the closest family I acquired - my hubby Rajat. He is one of the best Operations person I met! When I spoke at Andy Grove's retirement at the Intel shareholders meeting, I said that really wanted to thank Intel for letting me understand the importance of Operations people because I married an operations person, which was the best decision I ever made. My father did tell me that my husband would be good for me because he would love me but not let me not walk all over him! True to my father's words, Rajat has managed to stay with me for over 10 years and make me look forward to come home every day! We make our home along with the new love of my life, my son Arnav at home in the bay area.
In addition to all these people, we have our cousins, their children who are all like close family. We have the usual share of the good, goofy, nerdy, funny and the weird among us and we are happy to have them all sail along with us!!