Thursday, December 26, 2013

The First Things

What is the first thing you do when you come out of the confines of a bath?

My Father always emerged from his bath wrapped in a fresh white dhoti. He would fling a white muslin shalya around his shoulders and walk with single minded attention to the prayer room and place a dot of red between his eyebrows. Ten minutes later tinkle of the small brass bell and aroma of burning camphor filled the air. We trooped into the room and waited for our turn to take the aarti. And we felt blessed.

Yes. The prayer room. The lighting of lamps. The aarti with a camphor flame. The shlokas. These are rituals.
God, Universe, Supreme... give any name ... is pleased with devotion. I don't think He really cares if you forgot to place bits of areca-nut on aligned betel-leaves.... or pinched the skin of the mousambi on offering just so...
It's the thought that matters.

But what's with this mind of ours? Like the flutter of pigeons on a roof top that suddenly scatter at the burst of a firecracker, a hundred thoughts are eager to take the mind to a thousand destinations ..... phatak-dhum.

Seth Godin tells me if you think you should do it. You will.

Does Cola make me happy because the ad says it does??
You are more prepared to laugh at jokes when you go to a stand-up comedy show. You are more prepared for idle chatter when you attend a party. You are more inclined to serious conversation after an intellectual movie. 

So when Anna was performing the daily ritual .... maybe on some days his mind was on the board meeting he would attend? or on a Deal that he was about to close? But the prayer room by virtue of daily ritual had acquired a certain 'This is what you should do here' aura.
Hence when we went to the prayer corner we felt blessed. And gathered our thoughts, stilled our minds, if only for minutes, (or seconds) and emerged rejuvenated and recharged.

So maybe there is something in rituals? A ritual that is not imposed. A ritual that is admired and internalized? A ritual that is followed everyday until it becomes second nature?

Allot a zone at home to write, to cook, to worship
and the spot acquires the ability to guide thoughts!
When you are 'not in the mood' the zone will help you with its acquired aura!

I suddenly write here in defense of rituals!!!
And I always thought ... I hate rituals!

I know now. I like my rituals. I just hate it when others make me try to follow theirs!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Do we need the Daily Bath

Amma I have to go for my bath.
I will tell him to call you later. He is having his bath.
Tell Ajja the water is hot. He can go to bath.

I had thought of bath as two buckets of warm water - a plastic mug - and soap. This was modified to sporadic jerks of water from a temperamental shower head - and silky body wash.... until our trip to the US.

warm water and plastic mug

With absolutely no intentions of buying anything, we spent an hour at  the Bed&Bath section of a well stocked mall. A trim sales girl came up to us and asked, 'Do you take baths often?' 'Huh?' we thought. What a question. And then we notice that we are wandering through bathtubs. Soaking in a tub - that is what she defines as BATH. Water trickling down head and shoulders is SHOWER not bath!

The concept of soaking in dirty water (to me) is one big uggh! There were times in Europe when ONE tub of water was used by members of the family for their BATH. The eldest went in first and then the rest in descending order of age. Hence when it was the turn of the youngest baby the water became quite opaque! And that is the origin of the proverb: Don't throw the baby with the bathwater.
  • A morning shower with a mild body-wash cleanses away the sweat and grime, washes away the lethargy, pumps up blood circulation and gives the day a good start.
  • A morning shower with a soft smile on the lips cleanses away grouse and gripe, washes away doubts and fears, pumps up hope and charity and gives life a good start.
No matter if you are in a tropical climate or not
No matter if there is water a plenty or little
No matter if you sweat it out or laze it out
A bath with a smile 
is a must. What say you?


Friday, December 20, 2013

How to Sleep Late and Get up Early

You can invent something or publish 4 books or climb up a sheer wall to considered wise and achieving. Or, You can just be an early riser! One universal symptom of being wise and motivated is Getting Up Early.

The moment someone tells you... Oh I get up at 5. I like going for early morning walks... There you have that inevitable Guilt Feeling rising up your throat and plonking on your shoulder. and you secretly Hate Them Early Risers...!!! just a little bit... just for a few moments...

What if you are a night owl? What if you like to read into the wee hours of the night? Or you just need those 10 hours of sleep? How then do you stake your claim to the 'wise and the worthy' title? I Googled. And found many pointers.

  • Sleep early to get up early
  • Turn on the lights as soon as you wake up
  • Keep the alarm clock / cell phone far away from your bed
  • Sign up for an early morning gym class

But be warned. Above methods are good. But mine are better...
If early rising is important to you follow my list here. This is bound to make you early riser in a jiffy.

  1. Have a maid who leans on your doorbell and half past six in the morning
  2. Have a cat in your neighbourhood that will drink up the packet of milk if you don't bring it in as soon as the milk-guy drops it off
  3. Keep a pet dog that wants to poop at 6
  4. Set the mechanical kitchen timer. It will not turn off till you go there and whack it.
  5. Have a baby and bring it up in the Indian grandma-pampered way.

I write in defense of Late Risers.
It is nice to be wise and worthy without feeling guilty!
The early bird gets the worm. But perhaps it gets the worm that is fuzzy and walks slow because it got up too early?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Do only cowards give up?

My friend is heartbroken. She has tried very hard to maintain a good relationship with her cousin. They grew up together and even went to the same hostel. But if anything, her cousin gets ruder and abusive.

The near and dear,
                 good friends and peer!
The doodwala, the dhobi,
                     the maid and cabby!
Now-and-then adorable,
                         are mostly queer!
Keeping affairs in sync is
               more chore than hobby!

Relationships are like plants. They do not grow in a day. They need nurturing. Don't give up on relationships. Work your way towards making them wholesome.
That is what we know. That is what we believe. Yet we do give up on relationships don't we?
When you do not get along with a doodwala or a dhobi, no problem. Wait till you find a better one. And go for a change. What if its a neighbour or a boss/colleague? Not easy to change house or job! What if its a family member... say an uncle or cousin? There is more at stake here. Lots of other relationships are involved too.

So you work at the connection. You try to make it better. You talk things out. You extend your conciliatory hand. You say sorry when you do not have to. You make the call though you have been ignored. You buy little presents to make them feel better. You praise. You give positive strokes. You try reason. You say nice things. You walk the mile.

Still things do not change. And that one sour relationship blocks the view.

The shuttle that our mys bound Shatabdi had to wait for

Then what? Would I be a coward if I gave up on that link? Would I be counted as a deserter? Will the world smirk?

My physiotherapist tells me, "That cartilage in your knee is weak. Nothing can be done about it. Invest time and energy in the other muscles in your knee. They will become stronger. They will compensate for that weak cartilage".

So it is with relationships? A particular relationship is weak? Too bad. But why allow that failing to sour all waking moments. We can give it some space. We can back off and accept the truth, however harsh. And enjoy the other wonderful people in our lives.
It is not always the cowards who give up. Would you agree?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Acceptance, with eyes wide open

What we see ........ depends on what we are looking for....!!
I traveled to Mysore over this weekend. I took the Shatabdi. Sitting by the window I sighed at heaps of garbage lined beside the railway tracks. I squirmed at the shambles of houses that dotted what had been farms and open land. I pondered over the diminishing water bodies. The train is running late. And my stomach is rumbling so! Did you notice, a train that is late, waits at every way to the train that is on time. And thus the train becomes more and more late! There a big lesson to be learnt here... Don't be late, and if you are late, don't be a Shatabdi.

My cousin P and I have a quick lunch of hot rotis, awesome aalu palya and lemon rice (no adjectives here!!). Manu the auto driver arrives promptly at 4 and we are on our way to Chamundi Betta.

gopuram of temple on chamundi betta
'Do you think you want to stand in a line to enter the temple?'
'Er! what! We don't go in??!!'
Thankfully there is no line at all. We have a nice darshan and wander into the courtyard around the temple.
We hold back. We observe other devotees.  A young man dips his head into the sacred stone at the back of the temple. A purohit sits crosslegged by a brass pot offering thirtha. A grandfather cups his hands in reverence. He takes a sip and scatters the rest on his bald pate. A young girl skips to her grandfather. A lady hurries by tucking a yellow shavantige into her hair. The heady fragrance peculiar to temples is everywhere. Everything is so beautiful. The raw stone floor, the pillars, the wooden beams, the intricate statues that make the gopuram,  the experience of being together and silent in this place...

thirtha and kunkuma prasada
Two days fly by. And I am again in a train on my way back. A gentleman sitting beside me looks out of the window and says ...Oh! this stretch between Bangalore and Mysore is the best.  What wonderful scenery! and this time I see.... green carpets in rice fields, purple flowers of sugarcane, glistening blue pools of water, white egrets with long necks, and stuffed scarecrows doing their job ...

I realize, when I am watching out of the window the first time I am an opinionated city woman. In the temple I am a relaxed tourist seeing everything with open eyes of acceptance. On my way back, the gentleman's words nudge me towards looking at the same scenery in acceptance. And that makes all the difference.

Perhaps that is why travelling opens up the mind? A new kind of acceptance is awakened. And we are able to look at our own lives too in different light.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Actually I bought this because...

Why are we so apologetic about being able to afford things? Here in Bangalore I suddenly notice that we are uncomfortable with our affordability!

  • yenu andrey... my old car was giving me too much problem. So I bought a new one. I did not want to change the old car. But what to do...
  • That cell phone was good only. My husband got me this one as a surprise gift. I told him why???
  • We always go by train. This time we decided it is OK, we will go by flight. Also time saving you know...
Cut to most parts of Delhi Punjab and etc. The conversation changes rapidly
  • What did you buy for Diwali? Guess what! I got my first beamer. They didn't even consult me for the colour yar. (sshh that's because it's used-car)
  • I have iphone . How do you manage with this? (she has only borrowed it for the party)
  • I wonder how people go by train. It's so dirty!!! (after their first flight)

Perhaps it has a lot to do with how we want others to perceive us? We take to our mantras like we take to air.
Be it
Simple Living High Thinking.
Live it up. Make it Large.

We can't do without it!
it's us!
Enjoy a fabulous Deepavali. Lots of light or lots of boom?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Danielle Steel - Thank you

And suddenly he was gone.
The fact is not reversible.
The truth only hits gradually.
At first I thought I would have a heart attack too. The pain was so intense.
And then I thought I was only shell, the best part of me is missing.
Then I thought I have work to be done, Some god's will yet to be fulfilled.
Then I spent a lot of time hunting for myself, for I have God's will to fulfill.
From an emotionless zombie, I am moving towards emotion again.

Friends, family, my children hold my hand and urge me forward. With a push, a joke, a sermon, and a task. They bring me back to earth.

Yet the one person who has held my hand, with no clue that I am even alive, is Danielle Steel. Her characters resonate with grit and feeling. They are real people with real problems. They are not perfect. They are not mushy and soft. They are not so strong that one is left gaping.
When the head is too muddled to absorb complicated intrigue, caustic bitterness or diabolic scheming
Just try Danielle Steel
She is a balm on a wounded soul.

Danielle Steel - Thank you
You help me deal with my husband's passing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making it Big

A teacher, a banker, a psychiatrist and a mom get talking... We slurp up alugedde neeruli huli mixed with rice, crunch into sabudana appalams and lick a pointing finger of lemon pickle. We talk about retirement, about second beginnings and about our children. Like and Spike stories. and Inevitable...
A flash back into my staff room chatter and cell phone conversations ensues. Let me give you a peek into...

At first we thought it was marks. We applauded those in the exalted 90s and agonized over students who got less than 80. 85, 90 percent. What will become of you??? we wailed.
But they proved us wrong. Kids who did well for themselves were not necessarily in the exalted 90s, they had often been in the simmering 70s or the almost 60s.

And then we thought oh, maybe its not only marks after all.  So we though it is perhaps English. They were good at English you know.
But they proved us wrong. Kids who thought oversight was the past tense of oversee, kids whose eyes glazed after the first two lines of a word problem in maths, kids who had crisp textbooks and overused guidebooks, posted their amazing strides into the world of business. And offered JOBs to class toppers...

And then we thought oh its family backing. Papa has a nice business and kiddo takes it forward. Or maybe Papa finances a venture.
But they proved us wrong. Facebook updates show daring entrepreneurs, stomping boldly into fields untried by family, sometimes by anyone, and making great name for themselves.

And then we said Luck, we paused, and shook our heads and said, yes OK, Luck counts, but as they say... Fortune favours the brave. So is the last word then... Being Brave?
Being brave enough to dream
Being brave enough to acknowledge the dream.
Being brave enough to step out of line and follow the dream.
Being brave enough to stop and learn the skills required to move on.
Being brave enough to ask for help.
Being brave enough to express gratitude.
Being brave enough to shine when success is in hand.

Thank you Kids. For Being brave. For proving us wrong.
Psst. A feather in your cap, is always a feather in ours (teachers, moms, counselors,)
Here's to facebook
and to the updates.

Monday, September 30, 2013

In the blink of an eye

Yesterday at half past six in the evening we decided to watch LunchBox in the theatre. Bookmyshow ensured that we had reservations for the 7.55 pm show at Rex.

And then it was a flurry of activity
Take Max down for a quick pee
Can I come in this only? Jeans is OK change the shirt ...
Feed Max no... give him pedigree
Did you leave him some water?
Who has the house keys?
Close the room doors... I don't want him sleeping on my bed
Should we leave the TV on... Max will feel better
(notice that it's mostly about our boxer pup Max!!)

We finally started the car at 7.20
We took the Domlur flyover curved into an immediate left, cruised down to MG road and braved through the heavy traffic on Brigade road to reach Rex theater in 15 minutes! We had time for a pastry at adjacent Nilgiris. Good old Nilgiris! So nicely they have built the flyover. Just so convenient, we gushed!

When the area was all grime and dust and narrow muddy deviations we were happily away... driving down the wide freeways of Delhi. I am sure there must be many who think, at last the flyover is ready, and sigh relief.

Hey! When did this happen? We say, a little perturbed, or a little angry! Or as it happened elated at the convenience.
It is as if it all happens in the blink of an eye. Suddenly it's different. Suddenly things are not the same.

kids grow up
relationships change
technology moves ahead
new business methods arrive
competition thrives

But that's not true
Nothing happens suddenly. We just did not pay attention. Or we chose to ignore because other more important things consumed our attention.

And when suddenly something nudges us awake, we look around like Rip Van Winkle and say  "Surely, I have not slept here all night."

When he did wake up, Rip Van Winkle, gleefully exclaimed, I have slept for 20 years! It takes courage to say that too.

Friday, August 30, 2013

A flight to catch

Amma has been with us for four months. Yesterday night she took the Singapore Airlines flight to my brother's house at US. Strange, but these four months I have taken her presence at home for granted. Today I suddenly realize that I will miss this

Non-spicy food served in steel plate
Heated discussions in Kannada TV serials
Ten minute sweaty walks in the corridor
Piles of Kannada and English books by the pillow
Squeaks of the wayward walker that she needs to keep pulling into track
Four ParleGs to Max during afternoon coffee
A daily concerned query - have you given Max his lunch?
Weekly craving for fresh-fruit-cake and motichur laddoo
Culinary updates with Star Saviruchi
Stories from the Mahabharata, life in US, air-travel, lunches...
And random reminiscences of life lived

Today she travels to US to a country she has made her home.
Today the packers will be here to transport our stuff to Bangalore.
A new life begins again for us all.


Thursday, August 29, 2013


If we pass gently through a sieve
Now breaking into bits
become whole on the other side
Would we be the same?

If we flutter pretty in the breeze
Like a saree in a balcony
get folded into a shelf
Would we be the same?


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

On wiping the plate clean

There is a banker in Atlas Shrugged, I think his name is Midas??, who does this amazing thing. He decides to close down the bank. wind up affairs. He settles the debit and credit so perfectly that on closing day, the balance is nil. Debit = Credit !!
I have been working towards such a thing in my kitchen... The packers come in 3 days! So today we are on a rava idli and sambar diet.... that way I use up the rava idli mix, the curd, the last bit of sarina pudi and the 3 hirekais, one capsicum and the wimpy half carrot ... and the last cup of tur dal.

O ho ... I find half a cup of thuppa (ghee) and an opened packet of kadalehittu (besan)... shall I make mysore pak? what say? O for that I will have to open a new packet of sugar.... lets say I make pakodas with the besan and use the ghee??? ... oh! then I have to buy onions.... aaah
how did that guy do it?
Oh I know what I can do. I will pack all the half used packets into a large bag and give them to Moni, my maid. wah. Debit = Credit.
I did it.

Our champion ... the boxer... travels tomorrow. We don't know how lucky we are... the railways and the air travel guys do not ask us to buy the seat. No not book a seat... BUY one.
That's what we are expected to do for our boxer!!
We have actually bought this crate in which he will travel. I mean come on. There must be so many pets travelling by air. Why can't the container be reused? But no. So here we are with a crate that we have no later use for! and zillions of people who are buying it like us for single use. okay not zillions... but still...duh
a good business proposition. What say?
air travel approved crate for pet

And my 30 days of trial are almost done
Afternoon nap? weekends are not counted right? so check
Read Books? I read 2 danielle steeles, one sophie kinsella and one charles dickens and one devadutta pattanaik and one jack canfield. so check
as for 30 pencil/pen trees. Here they are. count all the tiny ones too. ok? so check.

Installation! A kindergarten tree!

The easiest person to lie to... is me-myself. They say...
The most told lies are the ones we tell ourselves
and the most dangerous too?


Friday, August 2, 2013

Not so scary

Live your childhood dream.
Just do it.
Make it happen.

That's what they all tell us. Ya right. But hey, what if I don't like that dream life after all? What if I goof up? What if I am good at it and yet don't have the to keep at it?
What if after all that self mobilization I am left feeling more of a failure?

And then I find this video in TED talks that sets me free.
The commitment is just for a month. I can safely change my mind after that and still feel good about myself.

Yoohoo!  Do watch Matt. It hardly takes two minutes.

So here is my 'first 30day target'
no afternoon nap (o-ho)
paint/sketch/pen one tree a day (You will see them soon)
read 200 pages a day (I begin with Great Expectations)

Learning to go from We to Me ... is tough ... but possible?

Monday, July 29, 2013

What we say

Picture this: Boss pulls on a stern face. Calls his staff. Tells them they slack work and spend too much time at the coffee place. He has doubled the targets, advanced the deadline, threatened to restructure. He ends with Got it. This Got it says help me guys, If I don't perform I may be forced to quit.

Picture this. The TV is on. The family is gathered in chairs and sofas. A favourite soap or a nice movie is the guest of honour. There's popcorn and pepsi and fries. And then a stunning one-liner, a sudden twist in the story, an amazing pun pops up. And you turn to a person in the gathering and ask -Got it? ... This Got it says 'Nice na' I am happy to share this moment with you.

Picture this: Mom is leaving for veggie shopping. She tells her ten year old. By the time I come back your room must be neat. Put everything back into place properly. Got it? ... This Got it says guests are coming tomorrow. If you don't do it I will have to!

Picture this: Teenager is leaving for a party. Mom says Come back before nine. Get someone to drop you home. Got it? ... This Got it says don't do drugs. don't be stupid. I will begin to breathe after you return.

Picture this: Batsman lofts the ball. The guy in first slip has his hand to it, almost, but it pops out. Fielder runs in from mid wicket and grabs it in time. Got it? ... This is the dream come true Got it we all want. Someone to pick up, straighten, pull the foot out of the mouth, apply balm, sort out... the mess we leave as we hurry through the day.

Picture this: He says ... the exploration for an immaculate marketing strategy lies essentially in the pursuance of the accessible and the evident. She says Got it. This Got it says aah, now I understand... or it says forget it dude, I will never figure that out.

Now tell me ... did you read the whole thing or did you read the first three lines and say ... uh uh Got it! This got it says ya ya ... sakamma ... ab bas bhi karo ... enough already!

We are at a happy place if only we get the 'Got ITs'
That's the difference between I know and ...... Do I know?


Friday, March 22, 2013


Have you seen the Heptathlon competitions?
These mind blowing athletes who participate in them ... wow amazing guys
they do seven things and are good at them all.
OK. they don't all win
but they do those seven things...right?
swim, run, jump, bicycle, hurdle, throw .........?? what else?
obviously they do all that every day.

and I start on one thing... and everything else lies unattended
blog posts pending
phone calls not made
bills not paid
applications not filled
papers not submitted

it is really amazing even to be the last guy in a Heptathlon...
achu, shall we order Chinese today?


Monday, February 25, 2013

To Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest
What a magazine that was! What an amazing concept.
It was just the right book to wean a beginner into serious reading.
A beginner ... dug into snippets from Laughter is the best medicine or Humour in uniform.
Graduated to enjoying a play on words? Read the yummy two-liners that appear at random after an article as surprise gifts.
Garner some medical info from the health series called I am John's... (liver, pancreas, muscles etc etc).
Tales of warmth and kindness and soul-stirring reality give courage to face smaller turmoils. There was rarely any horror or evil. It made you feel that the world is a wonderful place after-all.
Drama in real life provided nail biting stories... that I often read in a hurry... to see what happens in the end. These stories carried us into US and into the strange crisis they face....
 a delivery in a far away cottage, a car crash victim who crawls a few miles before he reaches help, a shark  attack....snow...blizzard...typhoons...twisters
The - Test your word power - that made us feel scholarly if we earned Good.
And then if you are ready for serious reading... there is the abridged story in the last section of the book.
The back covers carried painting by upcoming artists. I spent many afternoons trying to replicate the paintings.
The world was divided into two classes of families...those who read Reader's Digest and those who didn't.

But over the years, I changed and so did Reader's Digest. It lost its charm. Perhaps it is too soft? Perhaps it is too diverse?

But I feel sad when they say it will close.
Thank You Reader's Digest. You have given me hours of immense joy.  And much claim to elite reading.
Today I Salute
All marathon runners who have it in them to place one step after another to complete a marathon. and particularly to Fauja Singh who ran at the rollicking age of 101

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Music to the mind

Dha Dhin Dhin Dha
Dhanka Taka a Taka Dhanka taka dhum

Can you listen to an hour and a half of this?
I thought I couldn't. And I was so wrong.

Yesterday we had been to the Times of India music fest featuring Percussion Artists from the world.
It was mind blowing.

encore please - Times of India music fest

Taufiq Qureshi - son of Ustad Allarakha - led the stage with a large variety of percussion accompanying him.
So we nodded, clapped, tapped our feet and shook our bottoms to -
tabla, mrudangam, dholak, khanjeera, morching, dholki, Manipuri pung cholam, South African toca, punjabi dhol, Rajasthani khartal, and so many others that I do not know the names of.

Fascinating Taufiq is a master performer on stage and kept us enraptured with the awe-inspiring variety of sounds that he created alone. Whoosh sounds that reminded one of a passing train, the sizzle of a rain and the roar of downpour, tluk-ta sounds made by hitting on an open mouth .... and all these sounds blended so well with the on going percussion to make an amazing experience.
God's gift - to be in a profession that needs heaps of dedication and spreads loads of ecstasy.

The dance-song-drum-talk-drama (barely clothed) ensemble from South Africa was an hour that had us in splits. Some of it intentionally funny some of it ...not!


Today I Salute
Work means you have to get up even if you are sleepy. Obey orders even if you think otherwise. Get going even if you are not-in-the-mood. These amazing men choose a profession that send them into deep infested jungles ... all in the course of a day's job. 1000 CoBRA, CRPF jawans hunt for Reds

Friday, February 22, 2013

What makes you weird?

If the tea is not hot enough, if the old newspaper is not kept away, if the dhobi is not on time, if the baby wails loudly ... Venkatachala gets furious.
At 70 Maya colours her hair jet black, wears danglings on her ears, and pearls round her neck.
Pratham calls every sibling and every cousin and their kids every month gives long pauses and asks repeatedly yen samachara ... what news?
Gautam has 5 dogs
Priti is super-thin, rides a bicycle to office, runs half marathon, and eats salads for lunch
Madhura has an itchy throat which she clears loudly every so often
Guna leaves wet towels on the chair and coffee mugs on the desks
Shama wears six rings on 4 fingers and advises people to be confident and brave

That's weird. yes. Not conceited, not cruel not obstinate...
just plain weird.

What makes you weird?
thank you Seth Godin
Today I Salute
This pilot who saved 180 lives with his presence of mind. But the Times of India did not give us his name or publish this wonderful man's photo. Weird?
While on the way down this pilot spotted a plane on the runway! He was alert enough to climb up again and prevent a major head-on. Those 180 passengers and their family are thanking their stars and hopefully thanking this amazing pilot too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One foolishness allowed

We see this perfectness on screen - big and small - and expect that perfection all around us
and in us. But suddenly what do we do?
We go and put our foot in our mouth or see someone else doing so.
And we get very angry. We agonize. We wish the incident away. We fret. We feel stupid.

And do we say Oops ... I goofed up. Sorry ...
oh no ... not by the hair of my chinni chin chin!!
We huff and we puff and we blow it all away.  
We go all out to defend ourselves. What? me do something wrong? never.
or go offensive .. You are silly. You are giving that soooo much importance.
or become Aunt Prim.. dont be dumb. Be mature ... blah blah
and thus, instead of simply pulling that misguided foot out of the mouth, we go and stuff the ankle and the leg in too!

Suppose...just suppose
we declare that one foolish act (FA) per person per day is normal ... er ... make that - One FA per person per day is mandatory
So, in place of oota aitha? or had your tea? or it is sunny today...
we can say, FA aitha? or done your FA for the day? or today is a good FA day...had about 3 already!

That will take the air out of a lot of unwanted tussles
and when that foot gets into the mouth we can say
hey look... this was my mandatory FA.
what say?

So the next time a sarcastic comment goes awry
a playful prank goes serious
a 'funny' remark gets out of hand
We just say... that was my FA of the day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our boxer marks territory

When I walked into home after 4 months I got a rousing welcome from Maximus our brindle boxer.
In four months he has doubled his height, tripled his weight and has gained impressive muscles.
But he is still a pup of 8 months
So in his excitement he makes 360 degree jumps
weaves in and out of our legs rapidly
leaps up and down in place
and yelps in glee

oooo he remembers you amma ... they all rave over his amazing memory

and then....
he sees me cuddling my daughter
he sees me sitting on the sofa with them chatting and laughing
and he feels left out

who's this?
invading my zone? he seems to ponder
nnnn...yuuummm...nnyuuu he wails.... and we say awww and gather him in a tight embrace
that he struggles to escape from!

then he begins to mark his territory
he pees in the hall, he dribbles in the corridor, he pees again and looks at us
as if to say huh?
he ignores his lunch.... he messes with his pillows
we are at our wits end
he never used to do this before amma... my daughter says

well..... he is just fussing ...... let's give him some time
so I play tug-o-war with him ... and win! (gently touch his gums with your fingers amma...he will never bite you)
I play fetch the ball
I give him his lunch
I rub his chest

After 8 days, he has accepted me. I am now part of his pack!
thank you Max
we are friends again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love and Friendship

Yesterday we went to a restaurant here for dinner. 
The place is done up in punjabi dhaba style. Small mirrors on the wall, hanging lanterns, low seats with roll pillows, bright torans and pottery decor on the tables. We choose a table and sink into the cushions.  Tall glass with green chillies, aam panna and onions in vinegar are placed to tingle taste buds. A young man in green sherwani and embroidered vest  smiles us the menu book. A while after he has placed the platter of starters he comes by to inquire ... happys? and when we are done with the starters he offers ... cleans? He walks with a skip, he serves food with style and clears the table with quiet.
He has made friends with his profession. And he makes dining a happy experience for us.

He respects what he does. He values the comfort of every customer. I am sure he has hopes and dreams. He trusts his work to get him what he desires. RESPECT and TRUST are the basics of Love. 

I notice 
where there is respect and trust - home, office, shop, whatever
there is peace and growth
there is an atmosphere of comfort and acceptance
the mind is free to aspire and climb

I wonder
are respect and trust to be won?
or to be given?
Must one work to gain trust and respect? 
Or is it something you either get from a person or do not?
like the rejection of his bahu  by the stubborn father of kabhi kushi kabhi gam
or like Scrooge's mistrust of Christmas vacations in Charles Dickens
or like Hitler and the Jews
what do you think? Is respect and trust. to be won or to be given?

This is the season of love. A season of pink hearts and chocolates and ribbons
A season of respect and trust
May you have overwhelming love and friendship in your life
Happy Valentine's Day

The abundant love that you give me....makes my life.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A handful of seeds

Today, I like to share a story that my daughter's boss told her. The story applies just as nicely to a family as it does to an office place and work colleagues.
well....I embellish the story in my own way !!
God hands over a handful of seeds to 3 different farmers and tells them to plant the seeds and allow them to flourish and multiply.
God visits them after 6 months.
Farmer 1 looks at God anxiously. I have been really good to the seeds you gave me God. I made a special place for them in my watermelon farm. I give them exactly the same care as I give my watermelons. But look at the plants now. Small leaves, thin stalks, pale colour....You tricked me. These seeds are no good.
Farmer 2 has nothing much to say. I tossed them into the soil. The plants must be growing well. Hey God, Isn't that what they are supposed to do? he challenges.
Farmer 3 is happy the flowers are coming out well. God, he says I am a little concerned about the pumpkins. But am really proud of my peas, and petunias.

Farmer1 wonders why his 'watermelon' plants are under achieving. Farmer2 sometimes wonders why some flourish but some wither and dry. Farmer3 has a garden with vines, creepers, delicate flowers and hardy vegetable plants.

We get a handful of seeds... also called family, friends, fellow workers and fraternity.
It's to our benefit if we remember ... They are not all watermelon.

swaying in the breeze

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The buck stops here

here? way!
there may be?
na a no way

This proverb in kannada provides startling imagery. And describes a very common Indian quirk ..........
Tanna elle li katte sat bididru, pakkada elle inda nona vodasd-haage
ತನ್ನ  ಎಲ್ಲೆಲಿ ಕತ್ತೆ  ಸತ್ ಬಿದ್ದಿದರು , ಪಕ್ಕದ  ಎಲೆ  ಇಂದ  ನೊಣ  ವೊಡಸದ  ಹಾಗೆ 

He swats a fly hovering over his neighbour's plate while a donkey lies dead on his.   !!

Defining, refining, profiling the tasks of people around is just soooo much more interesting...than completing the task on hand...!!

50 years ago, the roles were well defined. housewife, cook, preacher, tailor, barber, tahsildar, clerk, each had a specific job description. and one had to merely complete that task neatly to feel efficient and proud. They knew exactly which buck stopped where.

The lines are not so well defined anymore. everyone does everything. While that brings in equality. It also brings in arguments about exactly which buck stops where.
the dust on the table
the rent we forgot to pay
the birthday card that was not posted
the incorrectly worded mail

becomes at the same time a mistake that belongs to all and no one owns.
aaah the landline is ringing..........someone get it .... hey! ..... are you picking it? ....


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ice on branches

The changing scenario in this land -USA- constantly fascinates me. With every change in the temperature, season, wind or cloud the scenario changes. In the few months that I have been here, I have seen Nature going from verdant green to glowing orange to bare essentials.
And today I pull up the blinds on my window I peer out and hold my breath.

Small icicles hang from the branches that brush against my window pane. The gentle drops catch the sun and make a naughty sparkle. A particularly sharp glitter catches my eye. And I run to get the camera.

And while I am admiring the beauty of it all, my daughter braves the chill winds as she struggles to scrape the ice off the car.

The doors are stuck, the windscreen has frosted and the mirror has icicles 4 inches long ... that my grandson is thrilled to pluck off one by one!

As the day progresses the sun weaves its magic on the shiny crystals. The tree opposite my balcony acquires a dainty radiance in frank contrast to the steel like rigidity of the pine tree close at hand.

I enjoy it all from the warm comforts of my heated home.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stinking white flowers

Hey ... I am not being rude. I am just telling you.............
We brought this planter with ready-to-grow bulbs and placed it on the window sill and watched it with pride as it grew long green stalks, and sprouted pretty white flowers.
small smelly flowers

Then we walked around the house saying there is something rotting in the house...
we cleaned the trash cans
flushed toilets
cleared kitchen drains
looked suspiciously at each other
Then the three of us walked into the room, looked at the pretty bunch on the window sill and said
yeowww this flower stinks!!!
Paperwhite Narcissus Flowers

But there must be many winged guys, who take one whiff of this fragrance  .... rub their hands, smack their lips and go mmmm yummm yumm ........  and dive straight towards the stinking white flowers!!
Read more about stinking flowers here

Do you know someone you like to gift this one??  wink!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Wish you all a very happy new year. May 2013 bring us all peace and plenty.
Plenty of work,
plenty of family time,
plenty of good friendships,
plenty of hugs and
plenty of watchable programs on TV.

They said things about 20-12-2012 and then 12-12-2012, and now there is talk that it is 2013 with emphasis on thirteen.
This is 2013 only in the Gregorian Calendar. But we have other calendars. We have the Hindu, the Islamic, the Persian, the Chinese, the Hebrew... the list is endless
there are calendars based on the sun movement, and those based on the moon.
In none of these, this year is thirteen!!!
And the earth perhaps uses a calendar of its own... and for the earth 2013 was over quite a long time ago...
So, have a great 2013.