Happy Birthday Mom!

I know everyone thinks they have the best mom in the world, but dudes.

Mine puts up with me.
And Paps.

Sometimes at the same time.

And in almost thirty years, she’s never sold us to human traffickers.

That’s pretty impressive.

In addition to that, she makes really good Indian food from scratch, yells at the TV while watching football and totally backs you up when you make the assertion that your father looks like a smaller version of Erik Estrada.

So, to Mom on her birthday:

Sorry I curse so much.
And whine like, all the time.
And yell about pretty much everything – good, bad or indifferent.
And don’t drink enough any milk.

Basically, I’m sorry for being your kid.

You deserve so much better…but I can assure you that no-one will love you as much as I do.

And there is absolutely no-one alive who will take as much glee in mocking Paps.

Happy birthday, Mom.

I love you.

Your Jemika xx

Home Sweet Home Or, You’ve Got Mail

Living over 1000 miles away from your parents is tough.

I see them once a year if I’m lucky and traditions like Sunday Dinners? Not really a reality in my world which is a shame because Mom is a pretty phenomenal cook.

However, they do send me pretty spectacular care packages.

Upon checking the mail today, I realized I had a giant box waiting for me in the communal mail bin. I lug this beast home and call Paps.

Jaime: Jesus, Paps! I almost killed myself trying to lug this thing into the house. What did you pack? Cinderblocks?
Paps: Just open it, will you?

I grab a knife and start shredding away.

Jaime: Who taped this thing?!
Paps: I did.
Jaime: Was your primary objective that I not be able to open it? Because if so, well done!

Yeah. I’m the worst. People should not love me.

I finally manage to open it and notice a slightly squashed box with my name scrawled on it in an unfamiliar hand. I gingerly rip it open and immediately start roaring:


For the uninitiated, Rainbow Cookies are these amazing cake-like morsels of heaven sandwiched with raspberry jam and almond paste and enrobed in chocolate. And the best ones in the whole world can be found at Columbino’s in West Palm.

And I have them! In my kitchen! Right now!

Once I stopped roaring like a lunatic about rainbow cookies, I tore through the rest of the care package to discover:

Two different kinds of naan bread
Cassava chips (because I grew up in South Florida with a Ugandan father)
Banana chips with black pepper
Gummi Bears
Heinz Baked Beans (I’m English. Every now and then, a girl needs a fried egg and beans on toast with lashings of Worcestershire Sauce)
Homemade lime pickle
White pepper
Two different kinds of hot sauce – Mexican Yucateca Chipotle and Jamaican Grace Hot Sauce

It’s actually a pretty good culinary representation of my life – Spanish South Floridian influences, East African influences, English influences and Indian influences – every last one of them delicious.

Thanks for the goodies, Mom and Paps! This is the best care package ever!

I love and miss you so much. Thanks for feeding me even though I’m over a thousand miles away.


Your mouthy kid. The perpetually hungry one.


Happy Father’s Day 2012

“You need to be nicer to your dad.”

I hear this all the time from people who don’t really know Paps. Primarily because a majority of my stories about him involve me yelling at him.

For example: yesterday, we got into an argument about classic rock. I’m talking about how I prefer the Stones to the Beatles and he asks if I like David Bowie:

Me: Oh yeah. Bowie’s cool.
Paps: You know his real name isn’t David Bowie, right?
Me: Yeah. It’s David Jones. He changed it because he didn’t want to be conflated with Davey Jones from The Monkees.
Paps: He named himself after the knife.
Me: Yeah. A Bowie knife. I know.
Paps: He did it to impress Mick Jagger. Jagger…dagger.
Me: No, he didn’t!
Paps: Yes, he did, Jemmy.
Me (physically biting off the words in anger): No, Paps. He. Didn’t.
Paps: Jemmy! I used to read music magazines in the 1970’s. I would know!
Me: Paps! I read music BOOKS NOW! I would know!

These are the stories people hear and as a result, they wind up wanting to buy Paps a pint and thinking I’m a jerk who needs to stop yelling at her father.

Fair play. I’m the one telling the stories. I have no problem painting myself as the mustache-twirling villain in these scenarios and honestly, they’re a lot more interesting and a lot less glurgey than the way I really feel about the guy.

However since it’s Father’s Day and I’m over a thousand miles away, I figure a little glurge wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I don’t look anything like this anymore. Like, 15% of me has a very genuine concern that this isn’t really me at all.

Paps is my hero and I am so damn proud to be my father’s daughter – dark-skinned, bullheaded, schmoozy and loud. I just hope I’ve inherited his other traits too. His loyalty, his generosity, his kindness and his selfless devotion to the people he loves. I have never met a man who does more for his family than Paps and I am so damn lucky to be his kid.

So, to my hero on Father’s Day – I hope you have a wonderful one and I really wish I was at home with you. This is the one day you get to be better than Superman, so live it up. Because tomorrow — Man of Steel’s back on top again.

I love you, Paps.

Your foul-mouthed, nakami oldest kid xx

Happy Anniversary Mom + Paps

Mom - who is that dude in the back with the rockin' mustache?

We have four different couches at Mom’s house and yet, she insists – insists – on smooshing next to Paps.

In the middle of summer.
In South Florida.
In a house where they don’t really like to run the air.


They’re kinda sweet.

Happy anniversary, guys! Here’s to 32 more.

Love you both.

Your mouthy older kid who calls with stupid questions and spends a majority of her time arguing with Paps*

* Look, I wouldn’t argue with you if you didn’t say such preposterous things. Also, you make up bald-faced lies about things and then when I repeat your lie – operating under the assumption that it’s the truth – I get yelled at. Hey, you know what’s not amusing? That! How the hell was I supposed to know that there’s some sort of tribal ridiculousness about the definition of the word ‘Marvari’? Also, the caste system makes no sense to me. NO sense. And the fact that it’s been Balkanized even further, segmenting castes into separate groups based on geography and identification with a particular deity? It makes it even more complicated. You would think that a nation with a billion – Carl Sagan with a B Billion – would actively work to make things easier, not more convoluted. I mean, Christ! You need a phD in Indian anthropology just to make sense of the damn thing and yet, it’s common knowledge to everyone who isn’t me. Where was I? Oh yeah — stop saying things that get me in trouble in a roundabout way. You’re making me look bad…and I do an excellent job of that all by myself.