Friday, November 23, 2012


Today we had a thanksgiving dinner at home. Like every true american, we too invited our close family for a feast. The table was laid out in all grandeour. Vegetarian dinner was made with loving care and offered in sparkling glassware.

Our golden retriever also got all charged with the energy in the atmosphere. He was happy. He was playful and very very curious.

The shops offer discounts
Offices down shutters
Teenagers sit for a meal with aging members of the family
Handy lunch bags are purchased and dropped into donation boxes
One day set aside to say THANK YOU.

When one day is exclusively set aside for gratitude
And a whole nation observes the day
Mighty big things get done, in just one day.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

What are you good at?

This very question presupposes that we are good at somethings and not good at others.
Which means it is quite alright to be bad or dumb or slow-to-learn at some things.

But it takes a lot of strength to accept and agree when someone tells me...
I am bad or dumb or slow-to-learn at some things.
How much energy we spend in trying to convince ourselves that we do not need help in certain areas.... When we know we do.

Did i just go bluggblubwpqllt?
Here try this.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wag, wag, wag and a woof

I was all prepared for it.
Two feet firmly on the ground, a strong wall to lean against, bags discarded on an empty chair
And here he comes
With a woof of delight
With his tails creating gusts of wind
With legs that are quivering in excitement
He comes at me ... Gently ... Giving the warmest welcome a person can receive.
I baby talk him, cuddle his heck and ruffle his back
But he is not done yet
Aithu... I tell him. All done. Let me meet the others too.
But no..... Mowgli the large golden retriever doesnot agree.
I look to my brother for translation of woof-talk. You forgot the belly rub.
Ooooo. I oblige... Sorry mowgli.
A look of tender satisfaction in his eyes, mowgli settles into his favourite sofa.

We have a lot to learn from him.
When he wants to say i love you. When he wants to say i need you. He says it with pride. He says it with confidence.
What makes us so apprehensive? We hide behind corrosive sarcasm or arid apathy.
We take rejection so seriously we do not give acceptance a chance?



Monday, November 19, 2012

The panic button

I am in chicago airport. I need to catch the connecting flight to sfo. Not much time left. All around me are so many people in so many shades of skin colour busy commuting within this vast airport. What is that rapid drum beat i hear? Oh...thats my heart! Its beating so hard i barely hear the sounds around me.
Then i say to myself. Hello. Stop. You can do this.
And the noise subsides. I am able to think.
I walk and walk and walk and reach the point at which i can board the shuttle that will take me gate C. The queue snakes all down the wee passage and half way down the aisle. A shuttle comes once in ten minutes and i miss two trips for there are way too many people.  My panic button is ready to trigger. I again say to myself. Hello. Stop.
There are two happy approachable ladies in the line ... Excuse me. What is the time in chicago pls? I have a 6pm flight to catch. They do not 'have the time'. But they are taking the 5.20 flight to LA.
Hey! If they are so cool. Why am i pressing the panic button?
Pressing the panic button has nothing to do with the gravity of the situation.

It is a habit. Some do it. Some dont.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happy Children's Day

At one point of time I was the thinking-doing adult and I knew and interacted with a lot of children.
Today, most of the children I knew have children of their own. And I see that the children I knew have become fine thinking-doing adults.
I always had a stack of colourful books to jot down interesting lines from books, articles from magazines or random information.
today I have no books to dust.
At the click of the mouse ... change that to touch of a finger ... my laptop, my PC, my ipad brings me a world of information. So all I need to do now is bookmark the relevant pages! or send them into a personal cloud space! and the information is at my fingertips ... literally!
Does that change how and what we teach our children?
It does.
Help your child to learn to read. Private Schools in India have a loaded curriculum. Every book is a godsend. Help your child to master the skill of reading. When he is fifteen he will bless you for it.
Encourage your child to become familiar with the PC. That is the world he is growing into.
Take threat and bribe from your bag of child resources and throw them into the trash can. Find other means of getting the kid do what is correct. There are other ways. You may lose some hair (while you tear them out)... but there are!
Believe that he is the best behaved kid with a golden heart. And that is what he will be.

Listen to this wonderful speaker. Viktor Frankl suffered the concentration camp and lived to apply the wisdom acquired to help people face their psychological stresses. He has written a wonderful book - Man's search for meaning. You will find the online version of it here. 

And to you all
Happy Children's Day.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Papaya, and Peach, and Melon,

and Carrot and Tangerine, ... and Pumpkin, and Bittersweet are some explicit shades of Orange.
New York is reeling under the second storm ... this time a snow storm. The snow flakes speak to me of Christmas time and love. But my uncle in Boston says "that is only the first time you see snow... after that it reminds you of spade and gloves and skidding!!"
Here in Lexington it is getting colder. The bright sunshine is misleading. The chill winds bring the outside temperatures down to 4 degrees C. The walk from the door to the car is a short one, but the kids are swathed in extra thick jackets. I wave them a 'Bye, Have a happy day'... from the balcony and make a cup of hot coffee for myself.
I walk into my room ... and
My room is bathed in orange glow. A large tree outside my window has turned into two-hundred shades between red and yellow. And the sunlight filters through the leaves bringing in colour and warmth.

Colour ORANGE triggers memories.
Of watching the Orange Disc as he sank - behind distant hills in the Western Ghats, or - within black rooftops in Orlean, or - into the watery horizon at Baga Beach, or - among a thick line of trees on a dusty village road
Of the Delhi sky in July that takes on a distinct shade of orange and pink for some unclear scientific reason
Of the waters of the Yosemite lake that reflected the rusty hues of the fall season last year.
Of the mounds of chameli flowers that are seen in festive season on the sidewalks of mayur vihar.
Of the thirst quenching pitchers of TANG made on a summer afternoon.
Of the line of kanakambara (crossandra) plants heavy with those magical small flowers at my uncle's house in Banashankari.
Of the oil wick lamps in the small cave temple
Of Neil Harbisson who listens to colour!

Orange is the colour of warmth, energy and hope
It is also the colour of renunciation and wisdom as in the saffron robes of saints.
perhaps energy warmth and hope are the stepping stones to wisdom and peace?

The wise internet tells me - if you want a change in energy levels you can light an orange candle for 7 days.
that surely is worth a try?
er.....if nothing it will keep up the energy levels of the orange candle market?

myriad hues between red and yellow


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Doing the dirty dishes

As a young kid going to school I was told to decide what I wanted to be:
a) The kind that washed dishes..... or
b) The kind that sat back with a cup of curd
for those who know kannada ... musare thikkteeyo? mosaru thinnteeyo?
So when it was exam time I was petrified of getting low marks and falling into category (a). All endeavour was towards the cup of curd.

Childhood fears carry with us to adulthood and shape our lives for us. So I avoided like plague the risk of falling into category (a) and chose to fill my life with activities, strongly denying that washing dishes had anything to do with my life. And of course there was always a maid who came in twice a day to promptly do the dishes. 

Now I am in the developed country of USA. 
gaadi hai (big cars)
bangla hai (big house)
branded clothes
cut veggies
loaded fridge
heavenly baked stuff
strong internet
on demand movies
and last but not the least
You get flowing hot water ... to do your dishes. 
But hey, I am not type (a) .... remember?

that is the fun of a developed country. You fall into both categories. (a) and (b). 
And suddenly I realize there are really no categories..... just people.... and tasks to be done.
And the wife in the house-hunters episode matter-of-factly says - doing the dishes is his job (pointing to her husband)
back in India ... we wouldnt have said it ... even if ...someone did find a husband 'who does the dishes'.

but hey ... I still do not like doing the dishes.