Posted in SYW

Sharing my world

Interesting questions Cee, thank you!

Do you use paper money? If so is your money organized sequentially according to denomination? Not as much because I don’t keep account of what I spend in cash. I don’t organize my currency notes sequentially, which I am very embarrassed about because I grew up with a dad who was quite the expert in money handling. My dad was a banker and I have seen him handle money meticulously. He flicks the currency notes and puts them in proper order even when he plays Monopoly. So I should know better.

Goes to show most things in life should come from within. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to stick no matter how much training you receive. Nevertheless there is value in that training because when the mind is willing to change, it knows how it’s done.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time? When I was just married and came here on dependent visa, my biggest worry was I would have nothing to do. I sulked until I found opportunities to volunteer and prepare for my Master’s program. I just wish I had the wisdom to know that it was just a phase and that it was a golden opportunity to soak in the new culture and take the time to know the new person in my life. New country, new culture, so many things to explore and experience. Wisdom comes in hindsight but we don’t live life in hindsight. Right now, I am up to my eyeballs so the notion of nothingness does not resonate and I am utterly incapable of it. My earlier experience has taught me not to crave for something that I do not have, but to soak in what I do have. There time will come when nothingness will be an option and I will comfortable with it but right now I will try to snatch pockets of leisure when I can.

What is your greatest strength?  For the most part, I accept myself and others for who they are and a situation for what it is. Paraphrasing a blogger friend who once quoted in her blog –  he is he, she is she, you are you and I am I. Sounds like Dr. Seuss rhyme but pause and think about it. I consider it as my greatest strength because it makes me less judgmental, more open and empathetic, and gives room for relationships and friendships to grow organically. Likewise accepting a situation for what it is helps me look at it matter-of-fact without taking too much offense. Sometimes it happens after my sight has been clouded by emotions, but if I allow myself some time and space to feel what I feel, acceptance and clarity follow.

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 very much appreciated the gorgeous weather on Sat. It was idyllic with no need to layer myself up.

Ram’s innocent comment “Amma, yesterday was Earth Day, we did not do anything. Let’s go out now and spend some time with earth.” brought a smile a mile long on my face. Tightly holding on to the innocence while it lasts!

Posted in SYW

Sharing my world

Taking up Cee’s questions after a break. Thank you Cee.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get? Bhelpuri, Plum Cakes, Chocolate Complan, Cadburys nuts and raisins chocolate bar, onion rava and sambar, gobi manchurian… oh the list is long!

List at least five movies or books that cheer you up. Movies/Shows: Wonder, Harry Potter series, Michael Madhana Kama Rajan, I love Lucy, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends.. Books: Calvin & Hobbes, Asterix & Obelix, Harry Potter, Wonder

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing? Depends on the season and depends on the day. If there are no commitments outside, then the typical scene would be – your truly preparing dinner while Hari is catching up with his homework in the home office, Ram is lying down on the couch utterly lost in the world that his book has dragged him into, Da is checking mails and catching up with me in the kitchen. Then we would have dinner together, Ram is the first to sit and last to get up from the table. Da would load the dishwasher as I wrap up. Kitchen is closed and lights turned off in the living area by 8pm. We all head upstairs for our “me” time followed by bed time routine. 

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. My children made me smile this Sunday. The days that I apply anything more than moisturiser on my face are far and between. On a whim, I applied Lakme kajal on my eyes and went about my business for the day. I was pleasantly surprised that both the boys noticed and started chit chatting about it – “Your eyelashes look bigger amma”, “It looks good on you amma, not made up.” A silly little moment that brightened my day. What did I appreciate? We had been to Quebec early last week, The weather was a disaster but much fun was had visiting aquarium and Museum of Civilisation.  I very much appreciated the much needed break from the monotonous routine.

Posted in SYW

Sharing My World

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.

Posted in SYW

Sharing my world

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.

Posted in SYW

Sharing My World

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!

Posted in SYW


Here are Cee’s questions for the week.

Complete this sentence: I’m looking forward to….  

I was going to say I am looking forward to spring. So Da and I don’t have to co-ordinate car parking in the driveway (we have a small driveway and we are not allowed to park on the street). So we don’t have to budget 10 mins for bundling up instead of just wearing flip flops and stepping out of the door. So I don’t have to jump through hoops for making curd/yogurt at home… But you know what, winter comes with its share of joys too. Yeah, I would happily give up the bitter cold weather any day but winter is also a time when we get more family time, relatively less chauffering around, and generally we are focused on getting through our daily routine without distractions. Every season, every phase, every age comes with its pros and cons. You can’t just have the rose without the thorns. So I am just happy to be in the now, soaking in what the present moment has to offer.

What is your favorite comfort snack food?

Tangy spicy Bhelpuri! I simply love love the contrasting and complimenting flavors.  Not just snack, I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All day, every day. Ok, I am exaggerating but you get the drift, right?

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

In the US, I worked as a photocopier in my graduate school. I also worked as a weekend guard for an art classroom. I was so thrilled that I could earn a little something and pay for my train tickets. How much I wish that this was an option back home?

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I appreciated how much dance has enriched my life as I practiced yesterday. I know a lot of people think bharatanatyam is age bound, that you stop dancing after a certain age. It is one of the best things that you can do to build your physical strength and to stay mentally agile. It is the most intensive cardio workout and interval training that one could practice. Mentally, it is constantly challenging you. To build muscle memory, to embrace stillness in the midst of action, to keep all your senses alert, to internalize the repetitions and stay in control… truly, it’s a gift that keeps giving, especially when you do it for yourself.

Posted in SYW

Share Your World catch up

Just catching up on Cee’s questions for this week and last. Thank you Cee.

Do you prefer a bath or shower? Shower, and I write that writhing in guilt because of all the water that gets wasted. Having grown up in a place with water scarcity and seeing people struggle to get water for basic needs, should have taught me to be less wasteful and more mindful with the use of water. Not really, unfortunately. 

What do you do to make a living or during the day? If you are retired what mostly occupies your day? Or if you are a student what are you studying? I provide escalation support on customer inquiries on existing standard analytical solutions and tend to create collaterals for new analytical solutions.

Is there a stuffed animal in your bedroom? Nope! Why would I want one when the cuddliest little person walks into our bedroom at the strike of midnight every night to cosy up. 

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. “Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how you use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.” by Ann Taylor inspired me last week.

SYW – week of Jan. 01

What one word describes you best?  The word that I would use to describe myself is work-in-progress. Learning, growing and evolving – that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

What is set as the background on your computer? A lady running in the beach. It’s a standard preinstalled background from Lenovo. I don’t personalize my gadgets as much at all because they carry nothing more than functional value to me. And I am lazy!

If you have been to a foreign country name those you have been too? I guess I could say Canada. Otherwise pretty much layover during international flights.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I appreciated the slowing down over the holidays. Staying productive and relaxed at the same time.

Posted in Gratitude, SYW

Share Your World

Thank you Cee for this week’s questions.

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? I hire someone for cleaning, and she has made a world of difference to my life.  She takes care of the deep cleaning while I do the daily maintenance. I would prefer to do my own cooking. I can’t say I am passionate about cooking but I like the idea of knowing of what goes into the food that I feed my family. While I don’t want to admit, I do feel happy when my family devours the food that I cook. On second thoughts, perhaps a cook who would cook over the weekend would be nice change and would take some burn out from the daily cooking. Yard work has been royally ignored all this year and we certainly could use help to restore it.

If you were to move and your home came fully furnished with everything you ever wanted, list at least three things from your old house you wish to retain? I would like to take our shrine (something Da and I built when we moved to this house), our home office (again, we put a lot of thought into designing it), and all the ventilation we have post renovation.

What calms you down? Productivity calms me down. It calms me down because it reaffirms that while I cannot control what I cannot control, I can control what I can.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  I appreciated the holiday party for kids at Da’s work place. It is a low key affair where they have a ton of arts and crafts activities for children. Hari volunteered and it was endearing to see him working with other little kids, hi-fiving, guiding and cheering them. Ram loves to make things, so it was like being in a paradise for him. All in all, it was nice soaking in the holiday spirit.

Posted in Gratitude, Me, SYW, Writing

Share Your World

Enjoyed answering your questions Cee.

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing? Cleaning anything that spills or breaks. Specifically when glass container shatters all over the floor. No matter how thoroughly you clean, there is always a piece staring right back at you.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Over the weekend as I arranged our closets listening to Oliver Sacks speak.

How many times have you moved in the last ten years? Zero. We moved to our current home 10 years back and have planted ourselves here since them.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. RadioLab podcast had an episode where they have captured Oliver Sacks think aloud, brought goosebumps as I got a get a peek into how great thinkers think. To hear his assistant talk about his passion for writing made me want to write passionately and from my heart. I felt so grateful to live at a time and age where access to such gems is just a finger swipe away.

Posted in SYW

Share Your World

Thank you Cee.

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio? Since I don’t have a creative bone in my body, I wouldn’t know what to do with an art and craft studio. I like taking pictures but not sure if I like it enough to want to have a photography studio. But I love love reading nooks. That was one of my top wishes in our renovation project. We have several windows in our house now, I just need to find a way to make them into a reading nook.

Tell how you are feeling today in the form of a weather report. (For example, partly cloudy, sunny with a chance for showers, etc.) Partly sunny with intermittent clouds, temperature in mid 60s. The intermittent clouds is a reflection of the blues that recovering from a long weekend entails.

If you could witness or physically attend any event past, present or future, what would it be? I would have liked to be physically present for both my grandparents’ sadabhishekam (grandpas’ 80th b’day).

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. Tim Ferris podcast Tribe of Mentors inspired me this past week. In particular, I liked the talk called Busy is a decision. The crux is if something is a priority, we would make the time for it. If we do not make time for it, it just means that it is not a priority.