Posted in Inspiration, Introspection, Learnings, Life, People

Work ethics

I had to convince myself a lot before we started hiring cleaners. It felt wrong that someone else was cleaning up the mess we created, and I have chided myself for taking the easy way out. But I am glad we made the switch as it has freed up so much of my time to do things that are close to my heart. In the process if someone is benefiting, then why not? May be there is no need to get all righteous about it.

The Brazilian who currently cleans my house every other week is my all time favorite. I don’t like to micromanage her. If I have to spend time hovering over the work of someone, why not do it myself? While the earlier cleaners have taken advantage of this attitude, she works with integrity. It is important to her that she does her job well.  She is one of the hard working persons I have ever met. She works on three to four jobs, waking up at odd hours, carrying the weight of having to support her family back home on her shoulders. But you know what I like the most when she comes – she hums her favorite numbers when she cleans!

That she is doing what it takes to keep her life going inspires me to no end.

Posted in Uncategorized


So many things to be thankful for, where does even one begin?! When you are young, you live as if you are entitled to all the goodness in life. And then you start seeing people around you, and you go through your own experiences, and it hits you that you did nothing different to deserve better. You learn to be humble. You learn to count your blessings – big and small!

We did the round robin in our house last evening. What are you thankful for? Hari posed the question, and these were the responses.

Ram: I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for my friend Leo, I am thankful for all the presents I got and I am thankful for Lego Chima.

Hari: I am thankful for all the things that you do for me. Even the thitties (scoldings) because they build my character…!

Da: I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my kids who brighten my day everyday. I am thankful to Ommachi (almighty) for watching over us.

Maha: I am thankful to all the people in my life for accepting me for who I am . I am thankful for being able to live life on my own terms.

And I could have gone on and on but I sensed hunger pangs so went on to toss the semiya upma on the stove while mentally making the list of all the things that I am thankful for. On that note, let me know what are you thankful for?


Posted in Uncategorized

Celebrating our first born

You are up to my shoulders. You take pride in saying that your shoe size is almost as big as mine. And you even attempted to lift me once. I am not sure you noticed but I have been having panic attacks on and off for the past couple of weeks, and I completely blame it on you. Why the hurry to turn 10…? They say kids grow up fast, but this fast… really? seriously? you must be kidding, right?

Oh Hari, as I think back on the years that have gone by, I am filled with myriad emotions. In hindsight, it feels like I should have given you more – more of me, more of my time, more of my TLC, more balanced meals, more of this, more of  that, and more of everything. But then will it ever be enough?  So I glare back at the menacing self-doubts, determined not to let them  undermine what we have had for these past ten years.

You are barely 10, but you have already outgrown me in terms of what I can teach you. Everyday you are broadening your horizon – you are asking me questions about world war I, II – details of which I have forgotten, you are exploring new music – genres that I am not familiar with, and you are constantly talking about sports about which I am blissfully clueless. And there are times when I am overwhelmed and I worry that we are perhaps growing apart as you are growing up. That fear makes me want to learn, and take interest in things that I am otherwise disinterested in.

Ten years have rolled by but so many of these memories are fresh as the verdant leaves on a spring day. I remember how you would be latched on to me for hours during your just born days.  I remember rocking you in your car seat, listening to your breath intently, being cognizant of your every move,  as I studied for CFA exams during the first few months. I remember how you would cry your lungs out at the stroke of 6 PM when you were three months old and the only thing that calmed you was swinging you in your car seat – boy, were we sore from all the swinging! And dropping you at the daycare on the first day and seeing you fall sick constantly for that second winter was one of the most difficult phases we have had as a family. I remember how I wept uncontrollably at the specialist office when he nonchalantly declared that you were a candidate for ear tubes as if you were a toyota corolla and he was your mechanic. You were resilient, you bounced back, and we escaped the surgery by a whisker – that taught me a life lesson or two! I so vividly remember so many other things  – the half an hour of dedicated reading time between you and I, our music lessons at Yamaha, taking you along with me to my dance class, the pillayar visarjans and the Krishna-Yashodha dramas, the India trips, so on and so forth.

Your home and your family are your safe haven, atleast for now – “Mom, how about we all snuggle up with a blanket and do our own thing in the same room while drinking hot chocolate. What could be better than that, huh?” And your eyes are always dancing with love for Ram and seeing both of you bond with each other is my most favorite thing to do in the whole world. I swell with pride when I see you at the hockey rink, pushing yourself to do better, working hard at something you are passionate about. And reading is such an integral part of your life like eating, sleeping and breathing that we do not make a special mention about it. I love how you give me book recommendations, and insist that I read it “because I know you will like it ma.” You wrote your first fiction this year and although the editor in me was fixing the grammatical mistakes, I was beaming inside at the story plot, the humor and the vocabulary – I will always be your no. 1 fan child!

I think of you as my friend so it puzzles me when I see that you are scared of me but you have wise words even when I am second guessing myself – “I think it is good that I am afraid of you amma because it makes me want to stay out of trouble.” I like the bond we share with each other. No facades of perfection, open and honest discussion.

Hari, welcome to the double digits. No matter what, be you! Do things that you are passionate about, and give your personal best in all your endeavors. Be nice and kind to people around you. We love you from the depths of our hearts and wish you the best. Happy 10th child….!!!


Posted in Experiences, Inspiration, Introspection, Reading

Word play

A friend’s friend mooted the idea of six-word ollarals (gibberish) that can loosely be interpreted as stories. I had a blast spinning these 20 tales.

  1. To let go, she held on.
  2. Happy 10th, surprised child, mixed emotions.
  3. Head rules, heart weeps, soul ponders.
  4. A moment of weakness. Lifelong sadness.
  5. Volumes spoken in the loud silence.
  6. Some carry in womb. Others in heart.
  7. Why? he asked. Why not? she replied.
  8. Mind spinning. Thoughts tumbling. Words humbling.
  9. Rich in intentions. Poor in translation.
  10. She is wise. He is otherwise.
  11. Labor of love yields sweet fruits.
  12. Unexpressed emotions locked in heartfelt words.
  13. She gave up. He let go.
  14. The game of life – ace it!
  15. Imagination soars, brevity holds, creativity unfolds!
  16. You and I make wonderful Wes.
  17. Time stands, life sprints, death stops.
  18. Peppy tune, happy feet, soaring spirits.
  19. Timeless moments, priceless values, meaningful memories
  20. Stomach rumbling, mouth grumbling, senses plummeting.

Have a good week.


Posted in Experiences, Hari Katha, Little Moments, Milestones

Big night

Yes, tonight is a big night for Hari. He is watching the Bruins vs. St Louis game live in TD Garden as a I type this post. I am so psyched for him. Da and I contemplated gifting this experience as a birthday surprise for him but decided against it because it was expensive to make it a family event. So last night when we got a call from his hockey coach asking if Hari would like to join his hockey buddies to watch this game at TD Garden, he and us grabbed the opportunity with our hands, legs and what not. May be some things are simply meant to be…?!

“Mama, I can’t help it. I can’t stop smiling,” said the deliriously happy child dressed in his Bruins tshirt. “I don’t want to be seen in the jumbo T.V. with the big jacket, so I will not wear it in the stadium.”  After arguing over it for sometime, I dropped him at the skating rink. Da is chaperoning, so he gets to ride along, see the game, and be part of the fun.

I see that Bruins is currently leading. East or west, Bruins is the best…! You see I don’t let the lack of knowledge about the game stop me from rooting for the  home team.


Posted in Dance, Experiences, Little Moments, Milestones


In all my years of learning bharatanatyam, I have never learnt varnam. Prior to learning this dance item, I have known it to be the central and the most complicated piece in an arangetram. It can run anywhere between 25 mins to an hour and for this reason it can sometimes tire the rasikaas. The theme is usually around love or devotion, and if I have observed it right, the narrator typically is the subject,  meaning it’s about her love or devotion to someone, usually, a hindu deity.

This term in my dance class, we are learning Rama Neevu, a varnam item. It has been such a joy, and it has opened me to so many nuances underlying this dance item. It gives the dancer the luxury of time. There is no rush or pressure to dazzle the audience with speed. It starts with footwork, the tempo is slowly built, and is interspersed with strings of adavus with varying speeds. For the abhinaya, the dancer warms up by portraying the literal meaning of the lyrics word by word and then improvises by giving context or performing to its implicit meaning. Varnam is storytelling at it’s core.

Mostly, I have come to realize that this is probably one item where the dancer derives much joy from dancing than the rasikaas watching her perform. Soul nourishing bliss!

Posted in Experiences, Family, Holidays, Kids, Little Moments, Work life balance

Veteran’s Day special

The kids had the day off, so I took the day off with the sole purpose of spending time with them. We watched Horrid Henry and had a sleepover last night. Then this morning, we headed out to Michaels before going to the zoo. It was such a beautiful day with the crisp fall air and sunny weather making it ideal for being outdoors. The last we went to this zoo was when Hari was as old as Ram; so many fond memories packed within this premise. We missed Da a lot today. This is probably the first time in all these years that we went on a family outing without Da.

The white cheeked gibbons were the star of the day. They belong to the ape family, the females are tan while the males are black. The babies are born as tan, they turn black as they grow up and the females turn back to tan after a certain period, very fascinating, isn’t it?  We saw a one-month old gibbon latched on to its mommy. It was an endearing sight – the mommy kept swinging back and forth, putting on quite a show, all the while with the  baby latched on to her. On the opposite side, were a species of monkey, whose name I forget. There were two babies about the same age as the gibbon, but they were more developed and independent than the apes. I believe monkey in general develop faster than apes.

All of us had a grand time. We came back home just in time for a playdate.


Posted in Hari Katha, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Little Moments, Ram Leela, Us

Of shots, pills and problem solving

As we approached the nurse’s station, I cautioned the 4 year old, “It will hurt a little Ram, ok?” He nodded matter-of-factly, hopped on to the chair, rolled up his sleeves, and stretched his arms bravely to the nurse. He did not as much wince when the nurse administered the shot. ”It hurt only a little mama. Now can I get my sticker and lollipop?”, said Ram chirply and went off to eye his options on the nurse’s table as Hari and I fell off our chairs as the whole scenario unfolded in a completely unexpected manner. Bravo kiddo, bravo…!

Tsk tsk, let’s just say that the mama, who is a fusspot in similar situations, felt a little braver as she was settling down for her turn.


In other news, when Hari was down with sinus infection we were told he was grown up enough to swallow pills. Oh the child agonized over it, and I could relate to every bit of the agony. I used to be such an oscar-winning drama queen when it came to having tablets. It took us some trial and error but we figured out what would work for him, atleast this time – “You are going to take three deep breaths, you are not going to think about whether or not you can do it. I will place the capsule in your tongue and then pour some water, and you are going to swallow it, that’s it!”  I would walk him through the routine as he closed his eyes breathed intentionally. As cheesy as it sounds, it worked!  In his words. “It calmed my nerves amma.” I did this routine for a couple of days, and then the child ran with it on his own for rest of the course.


One of the things that I truly love about parenting is working with the kids to find out what works for them, giving them the tools and seeing them solve their problems on their own. As much as we want to, we cannot protect them from the curveballs that life can inflict upon them, but if we can raise them to not get frazzled and have confidence in their problem solving abilities, we can rest a little knowing that we have done our part.

Posted in Experiences, Introspection, Kids, Learnings, Little Moments

My Zen Masters

Who needs Zen masters when you have little kids to teach you the art of living?!


These days when I get upset with my 4 year old, he has a new way of coping with the resulting feeling of rejection. He would weep inconsolably for a few minutes and would instantly rush up to me for a tight  hug , “Mama hug me now. I am feeling so sad and upset. I want to feel better.” Just hearing those words aloud, having tangible evidence of his vulnerability, and sensing his genuine need to see me happy so he can be happy, would soften me over the edges, would make me see the situation through his eyes, and have a heart to heart with him. Little does the child realise that in an attempt to make himself feel better, he is helping me overcome my negativity!


One look at me and Hari would instantly knows if I am present or not. “”Oh no, you are preoccupied. I will come to you later”  or  “Mama, I am going to say something and I don’t want you to be preoccupied, so look at me, ok?” or “Amma can you listen to me with full attention please. I know when you are not fully listening.” Can reminders to be in the NOW get any louder or clearer?

Posted in Introspection, Learnings, Life, Memories, Us


Drafted on Nov. 5

Sometimes you make certain decisions; hard choices that you think would alter your life and would fill you with a sense of void-turned-into-purpose. Then days roll into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, and you are pulled into the whirlwind called life until one fine day you realize that the decisions you agonized over, the choices that you thought would be inflection points, are nothing but mere blips in the grand scheme of life.

Is this how time heals? What should one infer of these blips?