Tarun and I are best friends and polar opposites. We have navigated this dichotomy for decades with finesse and a fair share of arguments. We certainly agreed on how to raise the kids, we love to workout together and we both are good at getting things done. We are at opposing ends of the spectrum when it comes to our tolerance levels and food habits - I get easily aggravated, he is kind; I eat to live, he lives to eat.
Young Josh's hilarious declaration on our disagreements keeps us in check: "You guys are so immature!" he said when one of us - ahem, me! - tried to rope him into taking sides.
Spurred by incredible blessings and standing at an unexpected crossroad, we are finding alignment that has long eluded us. Having this happen in a city where we have no roots has topped up my faith in humanity.
Life-saving assistance came from colleagues and strangers who made sure Tarun got to the hospital quickly. A dear cousin arrived in an hour bearing a mission-critical item - a fully-charged power bank! How smart to think of device sustenance above all else. A friend sent a colleague to help while she finished her meetings and then refused to leave my side until things were stable. Another friend flew from Delhi and arranged for 24x7 transportation. My nephew stood by to pick up the medical tab in case our credit cards did not work and my sister-in-law had special food waiting for Tarun when he was released.
Did I say that we are surrounded by kickass practical folks who bring calm to the most insidious tempest?
Even without adding the doctors and nurses to this list, I can go on and on and still not finish enumerating our blessings. The safety net these good people deployed for us had such tensile strength that I struggled to imagine how I would do life in Virginia without them!
Just as I was grappling with this thought, neighbors and friends in the US offered help and dissipated my anxiety.
Of all the assistance that we have received so far, what has mattered the most is the emotional support. Sitting with loved ones and talking about mundane things was the distraction I needed from the unfolding medical chaos. Tarun was in amazing hands and I needed to wait patiently for the positive effects of the treatment to take a hold. Helping me pass the minutes in between was a priceless gift.
We are determined to eject food as the central prop of happiness in our lives and steadily transition to the eat-to-live end of the continuum. I cannot wait to get back home and regain control of daily operations. Prepping from scratch, cooking, cleaning, and serving a meal quickly is in my DNA. I don't like to linger or experiment. For this reason, I don't make a great cook. Fortunately, my middling skill is just what the doctor has ordered.
Do call and visit when we are back, walk with us, watch a movie and suggest what we can do together that does not involve food. We are incredibly grateful for the second chance that the universe has given us. Add to that our gratitude for your presence in our lives and it's clear that now is the time to make best use of both.
Like a lighthouse, Tarun and I will shield each other from the rocky shores - without arguments, I promise - and we are so ready to do the same for you. See you on the other side of the pond!