Today is Thanksgiving in the US, a celebration that is said to have originated in 1621, when the original English colonists shared a harvest feast with the Wampanoag tribe (Native Indians). The day is said to commemorate the year’s harvest and other blessings, but to an immigrant like me, it seems to be related to turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Don’t get me wrong, even our Indian festivals revolve around lavish feasts, but I simply do not understand the connection between cooking a turkey and giving thanks. I am sure the turkey or turkeys that get the presidential pardon every year are definitely thankful and grateful for being allowed to live.
Anyway, my first ever Thanksgiving was spent at Mr. P’s cousin’s house. His cousin’s wife is an amazing cook and she had prepared a sumptuous vegetarian feast, complete with a vegetarian turkey. No, it was not the notorious tofurky. She had painstakingly shaped puff pastry to look like a turkey and filled it with a delicious rice dish. I was, and still am blown away by her creativity because every Thanksgiving that we have spent with them, she has laid out the most amazing spread for all of us. If 2020 were a normal year, I would have been writing this post from their home after devouring another fabulous meal. But alas, this year has had a totally different plan for the whole world.
So here I am, at home, writing out this week’s post while reminiscing past celebrations and feasts. Am I dejected that we had to spend Thanksgiving at home, alone? A little. Only because we couldn’t make our annual trip to the Bay Area to see our family and friends. Other than that, I am good :-).
A few days ago my cousin, Ms. A, wrote a touching post about the things she was grateful for in this turbulent year and I felt it was apt to write this today, instead of my usual Friday schedule. I am grateful for many things, but these top the list — family, friends and good health. I am glad that all my near and dear ones have been healthy through this pandemic, none of us have been adversely affected by a loss of employment, and life has been overall peaceful when compared to the millions who have suffered dreadful losses around the world. It wouldn’t be right to not mention two special groups of people, especially this year: healthcare workers, first-responders, and firefighters. Thank you, to the heroes who have put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us safe.
Apart from these big things, there are many small joys of life that add a little cheer to what has become our new normal during the pandemic. Most of our regular activities, his work and my classes, have been remote since March. It has worked out fine for us, except that his laptop and gigantic monitors have taken up our dining table completely. Yes, I make it a point to complain about it to everyone, because I am now left with just enough space to place my tiny laptop. I do have a new office chair though… Mr. P has no complaints about his new work environment, probably because there is no stress of driving and if I may say so myself, he has my company (which can be occasionally annoying), 24/7 ;-). Our only outings have been for walks, grocery shopping and occasional visits to friends’ homes and though I miss having people over and feel bad for declining invitations to social gatherings with friends, I think that it is all worth it considering the fact that we have managed to stay healthy through all this. This year has also seen celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries go virtual, with global participation. Thanks to technology, we managed to wish everyone from teenagers to nonagenarians on their special day and I am glad we could make the birthday babies feel special in a year when big celebrations have been shelved.
Nine months into the pandemic and regardless of how much longer it takes, I believe that we will continue being cautious and remain forever grateful for our family, friends, and health. Just like it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s day to say ‘I love you’ to a special someone, it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving to be thankful. I spend everyday being thankful and grateful for all the big, tiny and everything in between things that make my life joyful and I hope that you do too. Happy Thanksgiving!