Posted in Experiences, Gratitude, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Me, Now, Wishes

Word of the year

For 2015, the word of the year was Discipline. The year taught me that I have a hard time being disciplined because I am an inherently indisciplined person. And I realized that striving for Discipline is a lifelong ongoing effort for me rather than something I can master in a year. So the quest continues.

For 2016, the word of the year was Detox. Relative to 2015, I did much better in terms of sticking to the intention. But I was unable to keep up the momentum in spite of having practiced it aggressively for the first six months. I knew I was slipping, I kept telling myself that I need to pick myself up. But somehow the mind has a mind of it’s own and it sabotaged my voice of reason. And that’s ok. It just means that I need to work a lot harder than what I thought.

For 2017, I am  choosing Mindfulness. I want to know my mind and if feasible, befriend it so I can help it to help me. I want to be aware when the mind is running helter skelter and gently bring it back to the present moment and to the current task.  I am also choosing this word because I am a big picture person, which has its pros and cons. Pros being I am generally easy going, I can take a step back from a situation with some effort and I do not sweat the small stuff for the most part.  Cons being I do not pay close attention to details, I can be blissfully clueless about so many things, and most importantly, I am not living life in all its richness. So I am going to give a shot at beginning the practice of living a mindful life.  

If you are reading this and if you feel up to it, I would love to know your intentions for the new year. Here is to new beginnings, opportunities, experiences and intentions. 

Posted in Experiences, Family, Gratitude, Holidays, Introspection, Learnings, Life, Loss, Wishes

Reflections and Wishes

“Breathe in. Breathe out,” I tell myself.  I feel heavy hearted as I recall the events from this year. I scroll back to the entries since the beginning of the year by way of reassuring myself that this year too has had its share of joyful events. And I am not disappointed. There is plenty to rejoice about. Life is kind that way, it tosses bouquets even when it throws brickbats.

My mil’s health setbacks and her subsequent passing away this year has undoubtedly dented our lives. And just like that this year marked the end of an era for the family. We miss amma at random times for random reasons. Sometimes we talk about it and at other times, we just sit tight, keeping a low profile, waiting for the feeling to pass.

“Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande is the book that has had an immense influence on me this year. Human body is a complex and sophisticated machine and like any other machine, it is bound to wear and tear with time.  The book made me think a lot about aging and mortality and humbled me.  We can’t live life fearing the worst. Nor should we live life as though we have unlimited time on earth. We should strive to live our fullest in the moments given to us, with the people around us.  

This year has been a milestone year in so many ways. Da and I celebrated our 15 years of togetherness. Hari started middle school and Ram began kindergarten.  We became US citizens and voted for the first time.

I took up a lot of volunteering projects this year – at school, at the local library, and in Sunday school, and realized that there is always so much to do. The more activities I engage in outside home, the more motivated I feel to come back to my home, to my people. I experimented with cooking quite a bit this year, and loved practicing eating right and eating clean. I jogged consistently for the first half of the year, shed some pounds and felt like I took responsibility for my health, I tried my hands on meditation and was awed by the power that mind has over the body. 

My heartfelt wishes to you and your family in the brand new year.  I wish you clarity amidst chaos, faith and hope in the face of panic, strength and belief to fight setbacks, focus when distractions rule, interests and passions that fill you, family and friends to love and cherish, a healthy body, a peaceful mind and a sound intellect. Lightness, cheer and merriment. Happy 2017.

Posted in People, Wishes

Celebrating one-of-a-kind person

Today is Da’s sister’s birthday. Aaru (I am calling her Aaru in this space) is one of a kind. She is smart, compassionate, fun loving and people oriented. Aaru and Da share a very special sibling relationship, one that is devoid of expectations and is defined by utter trust in each other. She accepts and embraces her reality but never lets them define her. The past decade and a half I have known her, not once has she made a rude remark about anyone. With her smile and people loving nature, she puts everyone around her at ease. She is an everyday Santa who indulges her kids and nephews.

Happy B’day Aaru, may you be filled with the finest things in life, now and always! You are a blessing that I truly am thankful for.

Posted in Holidays, Little Moments, Milestones, Uncategorized

Holiday Updates

  • Santa came, and so did the Tooth Fairy…!!! Our little Ram lost his first baby tooth this past weekend. His grown up tooth has already sprouted, so he is technically not a pokka vai. The Tooth Fairy left a 5-dollar note for the child. The first child glared at his parents, rolled his eyes, and asked, “How come the Tooth Fairy left me only one dollar for my first tooth and nothing for the seventeen that fell after that?”  What can I say, the Tooth Fairy seems to have suffered from a major memory loss…!
  • Da and Ram were playing with the 3D printing pen that Santa left for Hari, who could care less about the unsolicited gift.  Ram was intrigued. “Appa, how come you and I are the ones doing scientific stuff and have talked a lot about 3D printers but anna gets a 3D printing pen?”  What can I say, Santa seems to have had a major lapse in judgement!
  • We visited our friends in the next state over the long weekend. During my tête–à–tête with little N the earlier day, he told me with unmistakable excitement in his voice that he was looking forward to our visit  more than Christmas. We outrank Santa, can you believe that?
  • Your truly has watched three movies this week. Fantastic Beasts with the one and only spouse on a rare day off for both of us and not for the kids. Loved every minute of the movie. Then, went to Dangal with a friend. The movie stretched in parts, but overall good one. And today, Hari, Ram and I went for Sing. A very nice kids movie that I too enjoyed!
  • I have been off work since two days prior to Christmas. Unsurprisingly I had grand dreams to tackle all the pending stuff but surprisingly I am not bothered that I have not accomplished a fraction of things on my To Do list. This is the calm before the storm, so I might as well make the most out of it. Once work and school resume, it’s going to be a whirlwind of activities and deadlines till next Fall. So yeah, stay calm and rest when you can!
Posted in Holidays, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays

“Mommy, I don’t think tooth fairy is real because there are no fairies in real life. But I know Santa is real,” said Ram without a shred of doubt. He laid out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer tonight. Hari kept telling, “He is so cute amma. He thinks Santa is real.” 

Both the kids went to bed filled with excitement from head to toe. They tossed and turned unable to sleep. I know they will be up early in the morning and I hope they like what Santa has left for them.

Happy Holidays everyone…!

Posted in Uncategorized

Random pondering

Ram and I are at the kitchen island gathering  ingredients for making playdough. A task I signed up to do for the classroom holiday party. Ram holds the spatula in anticipation as we assemble all-purpose flour, salt, cream of tartar, oil and water. He stirs them for a few minutes and then whisks away to the living room to make paper airplanes, his latest obsession. I place the vessel containing the mixture on the stovetop and stir it so that the lumps dissolve into a gooey mass.

What I expect to feel at that moment is a wave of satisfaction and fulfillment from having done something right. The kids will play with chemical free dough. I managed to find a way to  contribute to the event. Not to mention the excitement in Ram’s voice as he measures, pours and stirs.

Instead what I end up feeling at that moment is a wave of guilt and remorse from having done something wrong. Using food to play doesn’t feel right. It wouldn’t feel right if you have grown up seeing people living in deplorable state or if you have seen hungry kids peddling knick knacks at traffic stops. When you see things like that you grow up having strong opinions . And in my mind, food has a purpose, and that is to provide nourishment.

Posted in Experiences, Life, Loss, Uncategorized

This too shall pass

Today, a friend who had lost her husband this summer shared some of their pictures on Facebook by way of celebrating his birthday. The pictures and the words were achingly beautiful. 

I can’t imagine the weight of sorrow that the friend is carrying in her heart. I can’t imagine the loneliness that must engulf her as the story weaved in these pictures comes to a sudden halt.  I can’t imagine how non-negotiable the journey ahead is for her.

I know her enough to leave a message on the post but not enough to drop by her place to give a hug or be of comfort. But I believe in the healing power of intentions, wishes and prayers and I am sending lots of them her way today in the hope that they will make her day a tad lighter. I am thinking of her fondly, wishing her love, strength and peace to plod through life. I hope and pray that the pain that feels so raw today becomes bearable someday. I wish that on difficult days, there is something around the corner to lift her up. I want to remind her that the most remarkable thing about the human spirit is its resiliency. 

Posted in Learnings, Life, Writing

Quotations – Day 3

The Sunday school is held at the local high school. Before going to my class, I generally stop by the “Collage of Voices” board where comments from high schoolers (from regular school) are posted anonymously. The theme seems to vary periodically and captures the voices of the kids on matters that matter to them. Eg. what stresses them and how do they destress.

Every weekend, I linger in that area to read and reread the collage by way of grounding myself in reality. Hari will be in high school before we know it. He will have enough stress of his own. The last thing that we want to do is weigh him down with our expectations and judgments. Easier said than done, which is why I go here often so I can internalise the messages that these kids are brave enough to voice out.

Today, the board had the following comments under the topic “Words of Wisdom”


Posted in Uncategorized

Quotations – Day 1

A few weeks back gobblefunkist tagged me to do a 3-day quotation challenge. The task is to post three quotations on three consecutive days and tag  three bloggers on each day.  Unfortunately, I don’t follow as many bloggers these days, so going to pass on the tagging.

I love quotes, have always loved them. I used to religiously write them in an old tattered notebook that has traveled with me since high school. It used to be my constant companion through the years and I took a lot of pride in jotting down quotations, sayings, articles and words that moved me in that journal.  I even brought the book with me when I moved to the US. While the old book is safely tucked in the book shelf, the collection of quotes over the past few years have gone digital.

Without much adieu, presenting to you today’s quote, the Serenity prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Whenever I say this prayer, I am filled with a sense of calm, an extra measure of strength, and a boatload of faith. You control what you can and what you cannot control, you accept and let go.