Hari Katha, Humor, Learnings, Little Moments, Memories, Writing

With Hari’s permission, I am posting the personal narrative that he has been working on. I love how writing is taught here, right from elementary grade. In this narrative, he is required to check for transition words, sensory language, zooming in, zooming out, grammar and spelling.


Bad Kitty!

When I encountered a lion, things weren’t pretty. It did not bite me. It did not scratch me. Instead, it peed on me. That’s right, I was a john for a lion, a once in a lifetime experience.

While visiting my uncle’s family in Bentonville, Arkansas, we decided to visit a famous zoo located 25 miles south of where we were staying.  Although the drive only took 30 minutes, it felt like eternity as my eight year old brain processed the fact that I would see animals which were uncommon in New England.

“Bang!” slammed the passenger door, arousing me.  Not missing a beat, I hopped out of the car and headed towards the zoo, thrilled about what experience awaited me. When we entered the zoo, I gasped. I was astonished at the chimpanzee swinging in its cage like a trapeze artist, a bear expertly balancing on a tiny red ball, and an iguana blending with its surroundings. The warm delicious scent of popcorn from a nearby food cart welcomed me with its lovely aroma.

“Come on Hari,” my mom instructed. “You should take a look at these majestic lions. If you need me, I’ll be in the reptile section.”

“Sounds fine mom,” I replied. I trotted towards the lions, and halted when I spotted them, their orange manes flowing in the cool wind. Standing a mere inch away from the smooth, black cage was a kid about my age, staring at the lion. Turning around, he beckoned me to come sit next to him. Immediately, I started sweating. I felt that standing that close to the cage would likely come back to bite me. However, my undying curiosity to see the lion prompted me to crouch next to the kid and face the lion. I looked in awe at the humongous lion which peered back at me as if saying, who are you, and why are you in my territory?

“This lion is awesome!” I whooped, expecting the kid to respond. Instead, the kid, whose gaze was getting more alarmed by the second screamed “Look out!” and quickly dove to the side. I however, did not have quick enough reflexes. A yellow spray of liquid washed over me, sizzling all over my arm. Embarrassed I scampered away, avoiding as many people as I could, only to bump into my mom.

“What happened to you?” My mom cried, her face turning pale as milk seeing me wet.

“Ummmmmmmmm,” I mumbled, feverishly debating in my mind on whether or not to tell my mom.

“Spit it out, what happened?” She insisted, pushing me to the brink of telling the truth.

“Oh fine!” I sputtered, “A lion leaked on me.” Instantly, my mom put a hand to her mouth.

“Come on, we’ll get you cleaned up,” she replied, extracting a bag of tissues from her purse.

As you can see, I have survived that traumatic experience, but am still trying to live down the fact that I was a urinal for a lion. Now, I always stand far away from the cages of animals knowing well not to repeat the same mistake twice. Nevertheless, I still have nightmares, imagining that yellow substance submerging over me. Most of all, I have learned to accept the facts, and laugh along with my family when they make a joke about that incident – I’m Hari, I was a potty for the king of the jungle, and I am proud of it!


Gratitude, Little Moments

Cup of Joy

A fellow blogger asked what made you smile this week? Plenty of things filled my cup of joy actually.

  • We are in the home stretch of the renovation work. We started moving our belongings to our respective rooms. The kids never complained or ever asked for a room of their own. Now that they have one, it’s nice to see them charmed by it and take ownership for it.
  • Ram exploring the new washing machine and ceiling fan. The things that we consider as mundane are a source of fascination to him. I too sat with him for a couple of minutes, looked at the rinsing and spinning, with wonder.
  • I completely forgot something that I was responsible for at Sunday school. Not only did Hari provide a timely reminder but also did the work for me. I am embarrassed at my lapse but so very thankful that we caught the lapse on time. In response to a call for help from his dad at the same time, the child frantically replied, “Illa pa, I can’t help you. I am busy saving amma”. Brought a chuckle but he was not farther from truth, he was saving my dignity that day.
  • Hot creamy sweet semiya payasam for Karthigai Deepam. I know I am supposed to do urundais, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
  • In sunday school, my fourth graders shared their happy places in response to a meditation session. The range was far and wide – living room, kitchen, couch, their rooms, their desks, the library, reading nooks, and why even the Apple store. They all seemed so happy when they talked about what made it their happy place. That in turn truly made me happy.
  • The seventh graders did a variation of the Shakunthala and Dushyanta story. One team had a twist to their ending. When Dushyantha tells Shakunthala that he does not remember her, she gives a cheeky response – “I need no man in my life” and walks out of his life. Atta girl!
  • I was able to retrieve my comfy cosy sleep robe! I jumped up and down, shrieked out of joy and danced some. That’s about the only thing that I look forward to on chilly nights.
Experiences, Gratitude, Little Moments

Repair jobs

The main goal of the home renovation project is to add footprint. The secondary goal is to fix long neglected kinks in the house. While adding footprint is nice and great, what gladdens me the most is the repair jobs we did. We took down a diseased tree, we removed the broken gutter that had us scrambling for the trash can when it poured, we got the rotting flooring in our entrance fixed, and we took down the walls between rooms and made the area more open. These relatively small changes have relieved our day to day frustrations and enhanced the quality of our life several times over. My heartfelt gratitude!

Gratitude, Little Moments, People

Thank You

Today, at work, someone I interact with sent a very thoughtful and heartwarming thanksgiving mail . When I wrote back to her, she said, “You give me credibility more than you know. Thank you…!”

As much as I would like to think that I derive fulfillment from the intrinsic value that my job gives me, I felt much appreciated with that personal note and external validation.  It made me feel that what I do matters and that it’s important to do my job to the best of my abilities.

I am thankful for the much needed reminder that a small thank you goes a long way. When someone has made a difference, it is important to take the time and effort to express genuine appreciation.

Gratitude, Little Moments, Uncategorized

Today’s Thank Yous

  • Thank you to Da for going to the elementary parent potluck year after year for the past eight years without insisting that I take a turn.  Somehow I have never been inclined to doing it and Da goes without making any fuss about it.
  • Thank you to Da for saving me a part of his eggplant parmesan sandwich from his lunch just because I so like it. It was such a small thing but it made me feel so loved…!
  • Thankful that Hari joined me on a jog this morning. I haven’t worked out in ages and have been struggling to overcome inertia. It will take multiple tries to get the momentum going but I am glad I had company to make a start.
  • Thankful that although I had a late start to weekend chores, I feel reasonably ready for the week. It helps that it is going to be a short work week.
Gratitude, Hari Katha, Little Moments


Going to Hari’s and Ram’s schools is akin to visiting a temple. It’s a sacred place for me. I always leave the schools feeling grateful and inspired. Grateful that my children are growing and thriving in a nurturing environment, where they are allowed to be who they are while being encouraged to give their personal best. Inspired because when I am there I feel like I am surrounded by great thinkers.

Today, we had been to parents-teachers’ conference at Hari’s school. We were pleased to get updates on Hari. The teachers told us he is a model student with the right balance between work and play. Following the conference, Hari took me to his classroom and as expected I was clicking away all the quotes and nuggets of wisdom in the classrooms. Here, I am sharing with you one of my favorite finds of the day.


If there were ever a time to dare,

to make a difference,

to embark on something worth doing, it is now.

Not for any grand cause, necessarily —

but for something that tugs at your heart

something that’s your dream.

You owe it to yourself

to make your days here count.

Have fun.

Dig deep.


Dream big.

Know, though, that things worth doing

seldom come easy.

There will be good days.

And there will be bad days.

There will be days when you want to turn around,

pack it up,

and call it quits.

Those times tell you

that you are pushing yourself,

that you are not afraid to learn by trying.


Because with an idea,


and the right tools,

you can do great things.

Let your instincts,

your intellect,

and your heart

guide you.


Believe in the incredible power of the human mind.

Of doing something that makes a difference.

Of wroking hard.

Of laughing and hoping.

Of lazy afternoons.

Of lasting friends.

Of all the things that will cross your path this year.

The start of something new

brings the hope of something great.

Anything is possible.

There is only you.

And you will only pass this way once.

Do it right.


Little Moments


Thank god, they don’t leave the lights turned on in movie halls. I simply couldn’t stop myself from shedding buckets and buckets of tears while watching Wonder this morning. The movie is as heartwarming and uplifting as the book is, although Hari is of the opinion that the book is the better version.  In the movie, Julia Roberts killed it. As a matter of fact, the entire cast brought the story to life. What fine acting! I can’t wait for it to come on Netflix.