Sharing my world

Credit for questions go to Cee.

If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do? Initially, I would have a hard time accepting money that’s not mine. I would just let it sit in the bank for a long time as I process what the inheritance means to me. Ultimately, I would invest some and give away some. I would aspire to do something that would help carry his name through the generations. I doubt I would spend it for my personal expenses.

What sound or sounds do you love? It’s about 10:20 pm. I still have a couple of hours worth of work left to do. So silence and solitude are what I am in the mood for right now.

What’s your middle name?  Why? I don’t have a middle name. I have contemplated changing my last name to my middle name and have my husband and children’s last name as my last name so we will have a name as a family. It’s an emotional heavy lifting and additional paper work. For better or worse, in my hierarchy of priorities, it does not rank as high. 

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I appreciated a four day weekend for my children. I just like to see them laze around especially my middle schooler who is chasing deadlines and working hard when the school in session. That being said, I am so not going to appreciate the 12 to 18 inches of snow that is expected to fall tomorrow and possibly a fourth nor’easter that the weather guy asked us to be mentally prepared for.

Hari Katha, Humor, Kids, Little Moments, Ram Leela

Little entrepreneur

Ram is smitten by the idea of making money. He has been planning one thing after the other. First, he said he would make things out of origami and go around the block to sell them. Then, he was curious to know how much a glass of lemonade costs. Could he make some? Later, he started sorting his toys into different piles so he could have a yard sale.

The problem was all these plans will have to wait for the weather to turn around. “I want to earn money now amma,” the child sounded desperate. Wanting to give him a break, I told him “If you make a book that I enjoy reading, I will consider buying it from you.”  His face lit up and his mental wheels started spinning. What is your favorite fruit? Mango, I said. What vegetable do you not like? “I don’t know what it is called in english, but is noolkol in tamil”

An hour later, the child came to me with a book titled “The Viellen –  Dr. Noolkol robs a bank” with illustrations. Super Mango is the detective and Dr. Noolkol is the robber. There is action and drama, and the story ends with Dr. Noolkol getting arrested by Super Mango and taking him to a place where he rightfully belongs but dreads going to – the grocery store!

The child was deliriously proud of the 10 cents that I paid him. His anna, on the other hand, was standing there glaring at me. Really amma? He spent an hour working on that book and you are not even paying him minimum wages? Shhhhhhhhhhh! I had forgotten to account for the older child’s activism when I priced the book.

Family, Gratitude, Life, Work life balance

Snow Day

We went to bed knowing that we will get a call at 5:00 am. Without intending to, I kept waking up every once in a while to check if it’s that time yet? What’s the scoop about the 5:00 am call you ask? It’s that time when the school going families in our town receive an automated call from the school superintendent informing us whether the school is going to start late or if it’s going to be a snow day. And today is a snow day. The call informed us that there are fallen trees and power failures on account of the Nor’easter.

I peep outside and don’t see any damages in the front yard. As always at first glance the snow looks magical. What is not to love about pure white? At closer look, the snow is wet and heavy, so I am bracing myself for an hour of shoveling at least. I don’t mind that because there is something humbling and gratifying about seeing the fruits of hard physical labor that we often don’t get to practice in the age of convenience and outsourcing. Snow day also means all extra activities get canceled and we are all huddled under the same roof doing our thing. The kids are happy to get the downtime, and know to keep themselves entertained without hindering my productivity. No changes at work but I am grateful that the snow day is not a source of stress because of the flexibility to pace my work. All that matters is I get my work done. It’s not as simple for so many people that I know.

This is the home stretch for this winter. We are in the first week of March, we are inching closer to Spring. I hold on to that thought as tight as I can.


Sharing My World

Thank you Cee.

What did you or did you not like about the first place you lived without your parents? We moved quite a bit in my childhood. The first house that I remember was appa’s flat in KK Nagar, Chennai. I loved living in a flat, being surrounded by a community. Hopping over to the neighbor’s house and being part of their family uninvited. I loved taking the school bus. I loved hanging out in the common hall when there was a power failure.  The second house is the one in Bhelpur, where I did my middle and high school. Oh I can write an 80-pages book on what I loved about that house and the neighborhood. Living in that house was quite an adventure – there were about 12 mice babies or so that were born (no no, I don’t want to relive that experience), bats (yes, you read it right) circling in the hall, and what not. There never was a dull moment in that house, the most spacious one we had ever lived in. It had pantry cum perumal room, toilet that was separated from the bathroom (why aren’t they building houses like that any more), one spacious airy verandah that had a staircase to the next level, two really big bedrooms. Ironically, the house was only plastered never painted. Why would someone build such a beautiful house and not paint it on the outside, I never understood that. I would love to go back to take a look at the house if it still exists.

What is your most favorite smell/scent? One of the side effects of having a spouse who is asthmatic is you have a different perspective on smell or scent. I prefer to live in fragrance free environment anyday. I may enjoy natural smell (henna, citrus, coffee etc.) once in a while but tend to stay away from artificial scents or fragrances. I enjoy the smell of Indian food anyday anytime though!

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? I neither prefer winter nor snow. It’s a pain at so many levels from not being able to ferment food effortlessly to having to bundle up to step out to the shorter days to the back bending shoveling. So not looking forward to the one foot of snow that is going to get dumped mid week this week.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I appreciated a break from my cooking routine this weekend. I made the mistake of openly resolving that we will not do take out till mid March so I was stuck with kitchen duty. But I unexpectedly got a nice break from it, thanks to my fabulous friends who pampered me with their delicacies. Lucky me!


The weekend

Preparation for Sunday school, Sunday school, Vishnu Sahasranamam (which I barely kept up with), a glimpse of the Raghavendra padukas, temple visit, gorging on delicious food not cooked by me, caching up with friends, Whatsapp discussion, weekend chores, and Oscars, pretty much sums up the weekend. 

Introspection, Learnings, Life, Me, Uncategorized

February reflections and epiphanies

  • When I was in high school, I knew I was a procrastinator. “Thanks to my habit of procrastinating, it has taken me this long to reply….” or something to that effect is how I recall writing letters to my friends. And then life happened and I neither wrote letters nor used the word procrastination as much.  It hit me as I typed the recycling bin post last month that an absence of the said word in my life does not imply the absence of the said trait in my personality. Meaning, I continue to be a procrastinator that I once was. A very useful insight because procrastination with inertia make it difficult to pick up momentum once I lose it.
  • Case in point, I wanted to write the Feb. reflection post on the last day of Feb. I forgot, then I procrastinated, and the post is still swirling in my head. If I don’t write it now, I know it will just remain locked in my head. So here I am tackling procrastination head on.
  • How did Feb. go? Let’s just say, I need a slap on my wrist, a kick on my butt, and a knock on my head. Da returned from India with goodies and I would have been fine had I indulged in just the said goodies. But the break lingered and had a ripple effect. I realized that the time when you know you are slipping is the time you need to double your efforts and bring the habit back on track. Once you don’t act in that phase it becomes too overwhelming with all the self admonition. Also, I realized when I slow down, it does not result in improvement in quality of my life  or an increase in leisure time. It just leads to plain inefficiency. On a positive note, I read quite a bit and that made me so very happy. I don’t feel like a sham when I say I enjoy reading because I know what it is when reading becomes compulsive and takes your life over. Of course, there is the practical difficulty of how to balance it with chores, work and other things, which is why reading has taken a back seat in the first place. As they say, you can have it all, just not at the same time.   I did a solo performance at the temple for Shivarathri. I have performed the dance several times in a group so it was good to compare and make corrections. I learnt that I have to constantly talk myself into relaxing because I get stiff unintentionally due to the focus. Also, it was another exercise in accepting that I may not be excellent in absolute terms but there is immense pleasure in becoming better.
  • What tone do I want to set for March? There is so much important but not urgent stuff to do that I am not doing under the guise of slowing down. Also, one of the important things about building habits is doing the same thing at the same time in the same order. It may not work for everyone but it is something that resonates with me and has worked for me in the past. I need to nail that routine for me. Part of it also would be to come up with tactical actions that would connect to the year of “Us”.

Alright folks, have a good weekend. Thanks for lending me your ear, and I happy to return the favor if you want to let me know how your Feb. went.

Experiences, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Intentions, Kids

Growing pains

Hari was eating his paruppu sadam with beans with delight as I was about to move out of the dining room. “Amma, can you just sit with me for few minutes,” he asked. “Of course, love” I told him and silently watched him for few seconds as my head was reeling from a tsunami of thoughts.

I needed him as much as he needed me in that moment. Earlier this morning there was a post by a local mom on FaceBook about how she had encountered her child using JUULS. Last week, the school principal had sent a note about Vaping and E-cigarettes. That was my first time hearing about it. Google will give you plenty of information about these addictions. In short, these are the latest in the drug world and is directly marketed to young adults as alternatives to cigarettes. Worse still, they look like USB drives, and smell like cheap perfumes. They wreak the same havoc that drugs do. Apparently, it is more pervasive than we would imagine in middle school and high school. The post was disturbing and made me really sad. Peer pressure is so real. One day you hear about suicide, another day you hear about depression, and yet another day drugs. The list only seems to be growing.

Hari and I were generally chatting and catching up when he mentioned, as if reading my mind, “Mom, today they pulled us out of our classroom to question us about drugs. They do it to all kids. They ask us a few questions. Do you use drugs? Why do you not use drugs?” He then proceeded to explain that “I don’t do drugs because the determinants far outweigh the benefits. I also told them that I have a younger brother who looks up to me and I want to be a good role model to him.”

I tried very hard to suppress the lump in my throat. He told me how they explained that their brains are still developing and the part of the brain that makes decisions is the last to develop. “So we have to make safe choices,” he concluded. Then I asked him what would he do if he saw his friends doing drugs. “First, I will protect myself and then I will stay away from their influence.” I told him how important it is to report to an adult, you are not getting your friend in trouble, you are helping him, ok? On that note, we wrapped up our heavy but reassuring conversation.

As I was clearing the kitchen counter, I sent a prayer upwards. I reminded myself to be more engaged, and more cognizant of what’s going on in my children’s lives. It’s so easy to get lost in the everyday busyness and competing priorities. To sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the big picture. Let me not take them for granted. Let me be fully present. Let me verify even when I trust them.