Experiences, Family, Food, Gratitude, Hari Katha, Uncategorized

Weekend updates

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.


The weekend

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. 

Introspection, Learnings, Life, Me, Uncategorized

February reflections and epiphanies

  • 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.


Blast from the past

I was checking some of our digital pictures from 2011 or so today. My heart soared and ached at the same time.

There was a video of Hari and Ram dressed as Balaram and Krishna for Janmashtami. Ram was barely able to talk but he was filling in the blanks for the Krishna story. Hari, patiently, playing the big brother role was filling in for him in broken tamizh and letting him have the last word. Those pudgy cheeks, eager eyes, and tender hands. I fell in love with both of them all over again.

There were several pictures in which Hari and his cousin Vish were dressed in similar clothes and doing all sorts of things from bursting fire crackers to playing cricket to the kumara bhojanam at Vish’s poonal function. They are about the same age. They barely keep in touch with each other but when they are together, they pick it up right from where they left.

My eyes became moist as I saw pictures of my mil, and grandparents – once people pass away, that’s it, right? You lose them for life, isn’t it? All you are left with are the memories and the love.  With every passing year, the memories fade but the love deepens, for absence creates fondness. Why do we tolerate people less in life but glorify them in death? Why is it so hard to be kind, nice, loving and forgiving when we have them in our midst ? Even as these thoughts swirled in my head, a wave of gratitude washed over me – short or long, we were so lucky to have had that time with them.

Experiences, Experiments, Food, Health and fitness, Intentions, Me, Uncategorized

January Reflections

I did the monthly reflections post last year for a couple of months and abandoned it after. Let’s see how far this year takes me.

January has been a slow and steady month.This is the time of the year I normally tend to push myself to build new habits. But this year, I am just going with the flow without any grand goals or lofty ambitions. Just making sure to put in small consistent steps every day. This month I focused on infusing some discipline into my eating habits and imbibing 15 to 20 mins workout. It is not a lot but it has helped me get some of my stamina back. I also worked on one of my very annoying habits – I often leave my handbag unzipped (yikes!) and forget where I leave my keys (I never lose them but always misplace them as a result spend a lot of time searching). I can’t say I have conquered the clumsiness (I doubt I ever will) but have certainly been more mindful.

For workout, I wanted to share the youtube video series called Jessica Smith TV. It works well given the weather outside. There are many styles to choose from setting you free from monotony. They are for different chunks of time ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins, so lack of time cannot be used as an excuse. There are different levels to choose from. And the person who does it, keeps reiterating that something is better than nothing, which is kind of a great slogan when it comes to workout because you don’t have to do a lot, just a little something everyday. Some days that pushes you to do more and on other days, atleast you know you did a little something.

How quickly one month has gone by, isn’t it? Where are you with your new year goals?

Books, Uncategorized

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

The title is intriguing, isn’t it? Makes you want to dig deeper, isn’t it?

A small set of Punjabi widows are coaxed into signing up for a creative writing class led by Nikki, the 22 year old protagonist of this novel. The catch is majority of them do not know to write the english alphabets let alone taking a stab at creative writing in english. But who said one needs to know to read and write to be a creative story teller? So what was originally a creative writing class evolves into a creative story telling class. On the surface, these women seem to be timid, conformists, and gossip mongers but the erotic tales that they spin shatter the stereotypes, and  unleash the unfamiliar and unexpected sides of their personality and personal lives. Through these storytelling session , not only the widows but also Nikki find their voices, their place in the society, and break free from the shackles that society imposes on them.

This is a story of immigrant acceptance and assimilation, of identity differences between first and second generation immigrants, of complicated sibling and parent relationships, and of a small neglected and written off subgroup of the Punjabi community in a suburb of London. Most of all, it is a story of women empowerment and finding the courage to be the change you want.

I found the side stories of this novel a little distracting and a tad Bollywoodish but it was a small price to pay for a novel that was at  its core funny and thought provoking. Grab this book, it is worth a read.

Little Moments, Uncategorized

Little Moments

I thought I would restart the weekly Little Moments post starting this week.  Let’s see what extraordinary moments stand out in this ordinary week.

  • Ram has lost his upper two middle teeth. I feel a rush of affection every time I see the gaping hole in this upper row teeth. It adds an extra sparkle to his twinkling eyes.
  • A trip to Hot Breads. Treated myself to a bhel and brought home paneer puffs and chocolate truffle cakes for the boys.
  • Working in the home office next to Hari. He doing his thing and I doing my thing. Love our presence with each other.
  • Trying Calm meditation audio this week with Ram. I do find the background sounds very distracting and mildly annoying but thrilled to explore something new.
  • Hot hot pongal made by my neighbor. Relished every bite of it.
  • Worked on my LinkedIn profile. Needs further clean up but god knows how long I have been procrastinating. Overcoming that inertia was a small win.