I shouldn’t be calling this post March reflections, I ought to be calling it March ramblings. That pretty much sums up my month.
For the month of March, I committed to focusing on eats, workout and meditation . I also committed to focusing on cooking simple meals. I am embarrassed to admit that on the first commitment, the story is not any better than what it was in Feb. I had a bumpy start to the month, then I made attempts to settle into a routine but did not turn around, just lost momentum. I did not adapt well to self-inflicted change in work routine and did not try hard enough to work around unanticipated winter weather. It didn’t help that this month was really tight on all fronts – work, kids’ school activities, and others. Long story short – excuses, excuses, and more excuses.
On the second commitment, I am happy to report that I made some progress. I was mindful when it came to planning my meals. I cooked only after emptying what was left over. When it comes to grocery shopping, I have a tendency to overstock than follow a just-in-time inventory. I worked on that tendency this month.
So what’s brewing for April? Again I am going to attempt to focus on eats, workout, and meditation. For workout, this month I am going to see how I can incorporate my dance practice, which is nowhere close to where I wanted it to be. Another goal for this month is reading, which is at an all time low and it makes me extremely sad.I miss the thrill of getting lost in a book.
Now that I am done with my sob story, tell me yours. Where are you with your self improvement goals? What are you going to do differently this month?
After finishing Ram’s bed time story, I tuck him in and settle down by his feet leaning against the wall for some downtime. I am browsing on Facebook catching up with what’s going on in my friends’ circle. I am reading the article where references are being made to how Joe Biden could have become the president. Joe Biden says he couldn’t contest at that time because he had lost part of his soul, referring to the death of his son. The article makes me sad and heavy. Just then, Ram, who I thought was fast asleep, starts talking eagerly with an unrelated concern, “Amma why do fish let their eggs float. When the baby fish come out, what if the first thing they see is a shark and they think the shark is their mommy.”
It was a very poignant moment, one in which the heaviness of my heart found relief in the sweet innocence of my 6-year old.
Hari and I went to Hidden Figures tonight. What a fantastic movie? I didn’t want it to end because the movie gave hope. It’s a story of three independent, hard working, smart women. Imagine being a trendsetter, standing tall and confident when the world around you thinks less of you. It calls for some courage and strength of character, isn’t it? The best part being, it is not a feel good story born out of someone’s imagination but is based on true life events. Granted, reality may have been tweaked here and exaggerated there to make it commercially successful but that doesn’t take away the fact that there was segregation, discrimination and that wisdom, grit and courage knows no color or gender. That there are some people who don’t let their circumstances constrain their lives; they rise above and lift others with them. Their courage is a gift to mankind – one that inspires us to try harder, and stay stronger. Do watch this movie to believe in possibilities…!!!
I have been very fortunate to have seen democracy work at close quarters.
Last year, my part of the town was at risk of being redistricted from elementary school perspective (that is instead of going to our home school, part of the incoming kindergartners were assigned to a different school). The neighborhood came together, brainstormed strategies to oppose the proposal and showed up at town meetings to voice our dissent. While I can’t claim to have played an active role, just being their passively was an eye opening experience. I learnt some valuable lessons that night as we high fived each other for making our voices heard – every single person counts in a democracy, never underestimate the power of your voice, and there is magic in numbers.
Tomorrow, it is election day in my town. We will be electing our Selectman, and School Committee members, amongst other positions. My next door neighbor and a good friend is contesting for school committee position because she believes that true change begins at grassroot levels. I second that, I second her, and it has been a privilege to support her in small ways. After seeing my neighbor work for the contest, I have a newfound respect for these elected officials, who take these positions for the love of the town and to influence policies and decision making. These are voluntary positions that involve significant time commitment. So next time you meet these elected officials, remember to say a Thank You. They are working hard to make our voices heard, that’s the least we can do.
I had noble intentions and grand dreams when I signed up Hari for learning tamil in sunday school. I thought I would push myself to learn to read and write in the language in order to be able to guide him. Turned out, this is one of those classic cases wherein the notion of doing something is more appealing than actually doing it. It was easier said than done.
Hari has been learning tamil for the past six years and almost always, it has ended in one way – with an SOS call to my parents or my friends with a plea for last minute help. Poor Hari! The child does not complain, the problem solver that he is, he resorts to google translation, and does his best to be independent. But there is only so much self sufficiency in an unfamiliar language.
Do you ask why continue then? I don’t know. I really don’t know. Seeing that this is going nowhere, a rational person would have let go. Somehow, both Hari and I are unable to let go. We have come very close to giving up only to go crawling back to square one.
They say, on the day of victory no fatigue is felt. When we read an essay we have written, an essay we were incapable of writing to begin with, one we struggled to frame word by word after referencing to google translation and generous help from family and friends, there is a part of us that feels hopeful and accomplished. And it is that spark of hope that makes us pick ourselves, again and again.
After days of yearning and preparing for it, it was finally here! Ram was thrilled to bits. It was his special day, the day he gets to be “the important person” in his class. In this project, every child from the class gets a turn being the star on a certain week and shares a “suitcase” containing selected things that are important to him. The goal is to learn more about the child, his family, and his culture.
Ram has been counting down to this day ever since the announcement came in January. He worked diligently on it, the hardest part being goading his mom to roll up her sleeves and help him out. So what did he take to school?
- Four of his important objects were – his jumbo pokemon card that he has been dreaming of taking to his class and showing off to his friends, his baseball trophy that was special not only because it was his first trophy but also because his dad was the coach for his team, his collection of ironing beads that he had spent hours making with his brother and dad, and a foam peacock that he had built out of a kit that his athai bought for him. “We can tell it’s India’s national bird amma”
- 10 Apples Up on Top, which he read by himself to his friends in class.
- A collage of pictures from his last India trip along with photographs of him doing his favorite things – dressed as a superman at the park, plonking himself on the bench in the library, “I love my mom and dad” henna on his hands, pretending to ride an auto with his cousin on the back, rolling chappathi, slicing tofu, playing with snow and so on. To my surprise, he explained, “There are cars in India but there are more scooters. They can be bumpy”
- A questionnaire that had details around where we live, his b’day, what are some ways in which he is like others, what are ways in which he is not like others, what does he like doing inside the house, and what does he like doing outside the house.
- A form asking him to say how to say Hello in our native language. After explaining how to say vanakkam, we practiced it with folded hands, bowing to each other. The kids followed our demo, hands folded and saying vanakkam as they giggled endearingly.
Ram was reluctant to take anything or talk about anything that was related to Indian culture when we were brainstorming about this project at home. It made him feel like he was not like everyone else. But in class he surprised us by sharing stories of Ganesha, mooshika, and Krishna. I was pleasantly surprised and mildly shocked and worried that they may be taken out of context. But that was just my adult mind overthinking, the children just listened, with their open and curious mind.
Ram generally doesn’t like being in the spotlight. He doesn’t like it when attention is lavished on him. He prefers intrinsic fulfillment over extrinsic recognition. Today, I saw that side of him that reveled in being in the limelight. Glowing like a bright star, with confidence and enthusiasm.
The icing on the cake today was that his special day coincided with Dr. Seuss’ b’day. Happy B’day Dr. Seuss. Thank you for showing us how much fun can be had playing with words, for stretching our imagination and daring us to think all the things we can think and for nudging us to go conquer mountains. Why worry, we have shoes in our feet and brain in our heads..!
I kept up on mindfulness till mid-February. But the last two weeks saw me falling, falling and falling. I was disheartened that I had not kept up the momentum but let’s face it. Not falling is not a realistic scenario. Atleast not for me. So may be the goal is to minimize the frequency of the fall and to pick myself up as quickly as I can after the fall. This month I will focus on eats, workout and meditation.
Coincidentally, I have enrolled in the advanced nutriage workshop, wherein we will design our own menu, eating clean 80% of the time, and allowing for indulgences 20% of the time. I want to specifically focus on cooking simple meals. Wish me luck.