Questions credits to Cee. Thank you!
What is your earliest memory? My earliest memory must have been when we were probably 4 years or so. It was when my parents were in Bangalore. I vaguely remember going to Kripa akka’s house and eating idlis in their house. I remember being thrilled by the color plates on which they gave Sathya and I idlis. As I recall this, I am wondering if this is a memory, a dream or a story I made up in my head.
Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under? Never really paid attention to this minutia. I am going with under.
What makes you feel grounded?
To center myself instantly, the body scan meditation really helps. When I feel stressed out, I start paying attention to my facial muscles. Making conscious attempts to relax my eyebrows, cheeks, jaws and the tongue; relaxing in the body does lead to relaxing of the mind. It always surprises me how often the body tenses up and stays in that state without me realizing it.
Other things that help me stay grounded on ongoing basis are routine, discipline, and productivity. And faith – just knowing and accepting that there are so many things that are beyond my control and putting my faith in the higher power keeps me going.
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 woke up on Sat morning sleep deprived, with back to back commitments. I neither had the time nor the energy to review my dance items but I knew if I didn’t review, with a clouded mind and tired body, the class was a disaster waiting to happen. But guess what? My teacher rescheduled our class to the next day. I can’t tell you how very relieved I felt. That would go down on my books as something that I appreciated the most this past week.
Just like the prior week and the week ahead, the weekend was full. This is how it is expected to be for the next few months. No complaints. Just have to learn to be focused, efficient and budget R&R to avoid the burn out.
- On Friday, my childhood friend came with homemade pickles and besan ladoo. We decided to have dinner together impromptu. She is the best when it comes to rolling rotis, so that had to be part of the menu. Much fun was had cooking together and gorging on simple home cooked dinner. Beats take outs and eat outs any day. Could not have asked for a better start to the weekend!
- Most of Saturday and Sunday was spent out of the house. Can’t tell you what a relief it was to be home in the evenings, even if it was filled with chores. When I am doing chores, I am either listening to podcasts or catching up on phone with family or friends, both of which are the sounds of relaxation for me.
- Hari and I watched 60 minutes today. There was a segment that interviewed the student activists from the Florida school. Oh God, my heart weighed a ton and my eyes were streaming with tears as I watched them speak. I have no words but deep deep admiration for their convictions. Like one of the moms said, I wish we were not behind, but in front of them. These kids shouldn’t have to do it. We should not be thrusting this burden on their shoulders. But really what choice do they have after their lives have been so profound affected and changed forever?
- Last week Hari participated in the Walk Out against gun violence. He is aware, has been following the updates, and has been forming strong opinions.
Time to hit the sack even though there are gazillion thoughts waiting to be written down. Adios amigos. Have a good week.
In a slump here. Wanted…
- Unlimited reserves of motivations and will power
- Relentless discipline to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same sequence
- Laser focus to take one thing at time and do it well
Send some along my way, will you?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
- 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.