I had a day filled with little moments of celebrations – Ram made a b’day balloon out of Lays chips packet, he tried his best to train Alexa to wish me happy b’day, and brought home sweet little knick knacks (paper boats, rockets and what not!) from his KG buddies. He made sure that anybody and everybody he came across knew that it was my b’day and made sure that I got wished. Hari left a heartwarming note for me this morning and has been been talking to me in Tamil all this week. I had a nice walk in our very picturesque neighborhood, chit chatted and connected with friends and family, and wrapped up with a nice dinner at an Indian restaurant. Did I forget to mention that I am typing this post on a brand new laptop? All in all, I feel celebrated and pampered. I am deeply thankful for this privileged life.
Thank you Cee for your questions this week.
When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? As a child, I have aspired for a better handwriting. I even used to have a notebook in which I practiced writing. Somehow, I never got better at it. I also write very slowly and can’t write well with some writing instruments (eg. ink pens or mechanical pencils). For better or worse, the only time I write is when I am writing a check or a checklist. My instrument of preference is Reynolds Bold black ballpoint pen.
Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer? I would love to be an amazing dancer with profound understanding and appreciation for music.
If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating? The idea of debating does not hold my interest anymore. When it comes to debating, people come with the mindset to win, to prove their point; it is seldom about learning and seeing things from another’s perspective. On the other hand, I love to be part of discussions where things are analysed from different perspectives, where there is an opportunity to grow and learn. The kind of discussion that NPR hosts – Onpoint, Hidden Brain and Ted Radio. I would relish any discussion related to the human nature and the enigma that the human mind is.
What are you a “natural” at doing? Empathising comes naturally to me. It’s both the boon and bane of my existence.
Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Last week was an emotionally draining week with a lot of things going on. I am very thankful from the bottom of my heart for Da’s calm, solid, unbiased, predictable presence in my life. This week, I am looking forward to coming back home after my business trip.
Gobblefunkist does a weekly post on Share Your World through Cee. It’s something I have come to like and more often than not, I participate via comments on her blog. Thought I would post it on my blog going forward. I have made some modifications to my original responses for no specific reason.
What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
- Making tea/milk/coffee on stove top the old fashioned way instead of heating it in microwave. There are so many things I get lazy about, but not this one. I take great pleasure in serving/having frothy milk or coffee.
- I do namaskarams to my dance teacher before and after class. It’s my way of reminding myself to not take this opportunity for granted.
What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?
- Favorite genre of book – memoirs.When it comes to books, I like them to be profound and rich.
- Favorite genre of movie – chick flicks.
Be it books or movies, I can’t handle swear words. I simply cannot.
How often do you people watch?
Not as much. A lot of times, I get my first couple of minutes to stop and notice when I am at Ram’s bus stop in the morning. That’s when I notice things – why are his lips so dry? I need to give him a haircut? Oh he has outgrown those tshirts. I am not sure I am a people watcher. I do know that I love love watching children interact, I love seeing them in action, I love getting a glimpse into their worlds.
What have you only recently formed an opinion about?
Meditation. I think it’s a gift that we are giving ourselves – to just sit there, without any agenda, without any goals.
Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
Grateful for a relaxed weekend. Looking forward to being disciplined.
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.
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.
Bharatanatyam has been part of my life since second grade. I have taken many breaks (board exams, hostel stay, wedding, and child birth) but have managed to find my way back to dancing. I am not the kind that starts swaying to music or intuitively taps to the beats of a song. I work very hard at my dance. I practice an item several times before it becomes muscle memory. Only then do I understand the music and the beats that go along with it. It used to bother me before, but now I just accept that that’s how I learn dance and that’s ok.
I have learnt a lot about myself through my dance. It has taught me the power of practice and the beauty of being in control. Through dance, I experience different emotions at a much deeper level, be it motherhood or devotion. Dance exposes me to music that I would not have known otherwise. Through my dance class and workshops, I get to see first hand how art is made. I get to interact with folks that live and breathe this art form. I get to do things that I never knew I could. How cool is that?
For the longest time, I tried to understand why the pull to dance? Is it the comradeship? Does it quench my thirst to learn and get better at something? Has dance just become a matter of habit? Why all these years? Then I decided that the reasons don’t matter. All that matters is, I get the opportunity to dance. I dance. And for that I am thankful from the depths of my being.
I have taken to my dad’s side of the family when it comes to my hair color and density. My hair started greying in my early 30’s, and at a fast and furious rate in my mid 30s. The sight of those silver strands used to make me really sad. It left me feeling that my youth was slipping away. I was also annoyed that for all my preaching about inner beauty, inner calm and inner strength, the greying of my hair rattled me so much. Isn’t it the normal part of aging, why so much resistance?
On a whim, I started treating my hair with henna a couple of years back. For the first few times, I went to the parlor with resentment and annoyance, wishing that I just accepted my greying hair and not fight it as much. But gradually, over time, I started enjoying the experience. I mean all I needed to do was sit. Just sit for full 20 mins while someone else did the work for me. What was not to like about that? Not to mention the heady smell of henna and how it conditioned my hair.
While I am still not ready to give up my henna treatment, I can honestly say that the silver strands do not take as much of my mind space any more. I am thankful that henna is a stop gap solution that I can fall back on till I come to terms with my aging. I am also thankful to my dad and a couple of my friends for embracing their grey hair. That’s the state of mind I aspire to achieve with time. A calm acceptance of my aging hair.