Zoom

2 years of the pandemic has brought a lot of things under the zoom lens of life – relationships between people, the roles and responsibilities of employed parents, and the way they managed work and home. The sudden shutdown of in-person meets and interactions led to a lot of upheaval of emotions on the home front. Many people found it difficult not to be able to meet their parents.

People were living inside the world of their phones and laptop and not being aware of what was happening around them – in their homes or office. This pandemic brought them out to feel that life cannot survive around just the phone and laptop. It reinstated the fact that people seeing others and interacting is very much required for maintaining good mental health.

Offices zoomed into the homes of their employees through the Zoom app! Since working from home became the norm for a majority of the employees, many of them who were staying far away from home moved to their hometowns and spent time with their family and at the same time being committed to working over Zoom interactions. It was a challenge to many as they had to manage both work and home, the noises and TV to be managed during work calls,

Teachers zoomed into the homes of their students and sought help from people at home to keep the child within the frame so that they can see their students. So either the parents or the grandparents got involved with this process. It helped them realize the job of the teacher and the challenges they face. Teaching a child is no more the only responsibility of the teacher where the parents can easily blame the school or the teacher. It has rather become a beautiful blend of responsibilities. Even though the children miss the interaction with others in person, Zoom classes helped in some way to keep the child involved in some learning.

There might be a lot of disadvantages felt by the parents and teachers but the situation was like that and I think it was the best we could do!

I had just completed my Yoga Teacher Training Program in Dec 2019 and I took 2 students at home to teach yoga asana. Just when I was getting used to the idea of “how to teach” and “how to observe the students and their movements”, the pandemic started and I had to stop the classes. While I was wondering how to go about the classes, Zoom gave me the confidence to go ahead. I started my classes online and if not for Zoom, I wouldn’t have been able to reach all the people in different countries.

When people were forced to stay indoors during the lockdown periods, it led to a lot of emotional health challenges among many. The need for coaches, and therapists started increasing. The need for improving the emotional health of people became very important. Even though in-person counseling is the most advantageous, Zoom call counseling and coaching still helped. People reached out to help regulate their anxieties about what will happen with this pandemic, the stress of looking at screens all through the day. And I did my little bit by helping people understand the right way to breathe and how emotional upheavals can be lessened with the right breathing techniques along with therapy.

Many times I have felt that the pandemic has helped people to pause their busy lives and take an audit of what is happening with their life. It has helped people understand the need for rest and rejuvenation.

The pandemic zoomed into our lives suddenly! We managed to keep our lives going with Zoom. Now, it is the time to zoom into the health aspect of our lives instead of the constant hustling.

Yin Yang



The web of lines
Emotion filled
Thoughts
Perspectives
Judgements
That compulsive order
The need to do
To surpass myself…



The stillness
Clarity
Surrendering to the chaos
Letting things happen
Feeling the energies
Manifesting
Holding space for me…



I shine
I glow
I am complex
I am the Yin and the Yang!

XX-XY

I was taking some time to decide on the word for X and requested my daughter to help me. She suggested this. The moment she said this, I just had a flash into my younger years.

When I was in school, we studied cell division, new cells, and all that stuff. We were beating around the bush but the topic of sex education was never approached. The herd of sheep was brought up without any basic knowledge of the most basic function of human beings. I was rudely shocked to read about it in some book. Am glad that sex education is part of the system now. I just hope that the transfer of knowledge happens at the basic level.

I wondered if I had been curious to know what is the big fuss about all the things like – don’t wear revealing clothes, cover up your chest, start wearing pavadai davani as soon as you start developing the breasts, and many such things. Personally, I feel that pavadai davani reveals more than it can cover!

Coming to the topic, my ignorance about the sex chromosomes continued till I joined college. Even though I studied Engineering and our brains were filled with numbers and equations, thankfully the gossip was more biologically oriented. I think it was some news about female infanticide that caught my attention and I started learning more about it.

I was pleasantly surprised to know that the gender of the baby is decided by the chromosome of the man! I came to understand this rude truth after I crossed the age to vote. WOW! And why do women go through such painful moments of not keeping a baby because someone in the family desired a boy to be born! This kind of news disturbed me a lot.

The play of the chromosomes happens in a few minutes. But when the XX or XY (and there is an XYY too) forms, too many people interfere in the decision. (Read more on the sex chromosomes here – link)

May the mothers have the freedom to be and may the child have the freedom to live!

Watch

No guessing there…I choose the verb!

Just thought of listing a few watchful things that have made a huge impact on how I move through my day, and my challenges.

I watch my breath. Whenever I can. And also allocate some 20 to 30 minutes every day (I try to do this without fail but there are exceptions) when I practice my breathwork. Even during that time, I try my best to be with the breath – watching the inhales and exhales – than to be led by my thoughts! Some days are too good and I just don’t have any idea of what is happening around me. There are also days when all this is too much effort.

I watch my thoughts when I am in my shower. They are my sparks. They give me solutions. They give me ideas to write. They help me connect deeply within myself. Every stroke of the soap on my body strengthens the connection and I feel that I am getting a download of the document which I wanted to write. It is an amazing space to look for yourself.

I watch my posture when I am in the kitchen. When I am standing and watching that milk to see if it will come to a boiling state, I check if my weight is equally distributed between my legs. When I chop vegetables, I watch my back – I watch if my legs are open so that I stand firmly with weight in the center – I watch if I am bending too much – I also watch to see that I am changing posture every few minutes. This watching has helped me to be relieved from knee pain, hip pain, and lower back pain.

I watch my skin with its white patches in certain places and understand the residue of the trauma that I experienced in 2006. I hug myself for accepting that trauma, for speaking about it to people around me, for writing about it, for learning to process it, for seeking help, for moving towards art, and for making beautiful connections!

I watch how I cook every day. Do I think of it as a chore dumped on me or do I feel the love inside me for my family that I cook something they relish? I have been through both stages and felt the extremes in both. Now I watch if I am kind to myself in this process. Menopause has taught me the biggest lesson of being kind to myself in all sorts of situations. So, when I feel irritated to do any cooking, I watch it happen – ask for help from others to take up the cooking or simply order. When I feel the love overflowing from inside that needs to be expressed in my cooking, I take it in stride and cook with joy. Even though I am writing all this in one paragraph, it took me nearly 3 years to reach this stage. And I struggle some days. I hug myself. I become kind to the person inside me.

I watch. I heal. I struggle. I watch. I think. I draw. I cook. I watch. I love!

Voice

After my Appa passed away in 2010, I didn’t delete his landline number from my mobile. If I let it ring for that whole minute, then I could hear my Appa’s recorded voice at the end of the ringing stating that he is unable to attend the call! I used to listen to his voice like this, whenever I missed him or felt like hearing his voice. I also had this childish urge that Appa will attend my call!

Appa had a deep voice that resonated with his personality! His intentions and the way he executed his intentions always touched deep into the soul.

The biggest gift that Appa gave me was letting me be myself in all that I tried to do with my life and the way he gave his support to all that I did. And if I have some sense of music and an ear to appreciate good music, the credit goes to Appa for instilling that good music sense in me! From Carnatic music to ghazals to movie songs, he played them all at home.

After some time, while updating some software on my phone, all the data got erased and Appa’s number was also erased. I could have keyed it in again. But I didn’t.

Maybe I had progressed a little spiritually, by then. I learned to feel his presence in my memories and in the things he liked doing.

Nowadays, I just close my eyes and I can hear Appa and his deep voice, inside me! And somehow, I find this more comforting!

Unburden

I think I have chosen such a challenging word today, for there is so much to write about this word and what it means to me in my life! Let me delve into one of the aspects here.

There are things and perceptions in life which may feel very comfortable and something to be proud of, during a particular phase of life and then the same may feel like a burden. Here, I am talking about my uterus. I was so proud of it when I got it for the first time even though I faced menstrual cramps every month. There was also a kind of peer pressure in my class when all the girls who were going through menstrual cycles will meet secretly and discuss things. I wanted very badly to be a part of that group. I was delighted by the fact that women are the ones who have the physical advantage to help in the creation of another life and to hold the child inside for 9 long months.

Every time I had to go through the menstrual cramps, I would tell myself that this is the place of creating another life! I would be dying inside with the pain but I kept telling myself that this is all for the good and that one day I will be holding a child inside my uterus.

I burdened my body with this thought and went through the cramps every month with gritted teeth. I didn’t know what other options I had and at that time I didn’t want to look at any option.

The burden of the pain was kept at bay and sugar-coated. Every doctor I consulted gave me just pain killers and advised me to bear it – it is considered as a part of the menstrual cycles.

None of them wanted to do a pelvic scan to a girl who was not yet married, for simple reasons like menstrual cramps.

And then they gave me ideas – that when I get married, the pain will go away! Haha 😀 They put ideas in my head that menstrual cramps are cured by sexual intercourse.

But pooooffff to their ideas! I was still burdened with that pain, after marriage, and after blah blah blah!

Then came the next round of suggestions – maybe the delivery of a child will help in relieving me from the pain. Oh really? It turns out that both my children were born out of C-section surgery and the required expansion of the pelvic bone didn’t happen. And I continued with the pain every month.

It worsened when I hit peri-menopause and then later menopause. I felt burdened by the many years of being with the menstrual pain! There was no more delight in the idea that women are the only ones to carry a child inside.

And now I feel unburdened! The cycles don’t happen! There are no suggestions or sugar-coated solutions.

I have met a lot of women who sail through their menstrual cycles as though nothing has happened. It was a cyclical storm for me for nearly 4 decades! I wonder how I went through it.

There are a lot of things that I understand now about my body, my pain, and sometimes feel the burden I was carrying inside my head contributed to this pain syndrome!

May we all learn the art of unburdening – whether it is pain or anything!

Tidbits with T

Being very confused with the process of choosing the topic for T, I settled to write 2 liners for some words in T.

Tall

He stood next to me to check if he is taller, the day we met. Being tall or short didn’t matter to me, till then!

Tea

It was an addiction and my world revolved around it. I stopped it for 4 years and suddenly my world revolves around me!

Terrace

A special place where I connected with the night sky, watching the stars tumble over me. Nila soru, moonlight dinners were enjoyed in our terrace, as we visualised sitting by a stream, lying on the grass and watching the moonlit night!

Trees

Hug them, touch them – they are alive and can feel our touch. “Were you my friend in my previous birth?” I wonder!

Thought process

My thoughts are like waves, not one but many, arising from different sources with a common destination – me! Attention to the “breath wave” has lessened the thought wave and I seem to be floating (many times) rather than struggling to swim!

Stories

This flower has a story to tell
About its mother plant
And how it came to bloom…


 
The plant has a story too…
About how it was part of a bigger plant
The harsh way in which this branch was broken
How it felt barren and naked
Devoid of leaves
Feeling dried up
Till it found this pot
And the wet soil
To hold on
To nourish itself
To make new leaves
And to be the mother plant now!


 
The pot has a story
Of how it was made
And how the potter sold it…


 
The balcony has a story
Of how it hosted this garden
Filled with these beautiful pots
And the plants, of course…
Of how bare it was before
And now the scene has changed…
Of how it enjoys the sunshine
The breeze
The rain that splashes
And the joy of being clicked!


 
Every single thing
In nature
Has a story
If only we can listen!

I have a story too
To share
Of how I took up a career
In Engineering
And then left it
To embrace motherhood
And after two decades
Of running around the mill
Trying to figure out
What to do with my life
I found a hold
In Yoga!
I went there to heal myself…
Now I have learnt
To be a trigger
A nudge
A seed
To others
And help them
Find their own healing!
I am a teacher
And a student
Of yoga
And how it is a part of our lives!

You also have a story
Am sure of it…
Which you can share
I am a listener…

Rava Dosa

With having written 2 posts for P and Q, I feel rather at a loss of vocabulary…too dramatic! Yeah 😀 So, here comes a food post – the easiest I could do to keep up with the #atozchallenge.

These days I am looking at everything from a different perspective – understanding what makes certain things work and what does not!

The simple art of making Rava dosa is not so simple anymore; I will tell you why!

First, the batter consistency is very important. Too thick batter, it won’t spread on the Tawa and the dosa will be thick and not crisp. Too thin, it will tear when we try to flip the dosa.

The second is the temperature of the Tawa. If it is smoking hot, the batter will be stuck to one part of the Tawa. And the very low temperature will not give the nice holes in the dosa.

Third, the rice flour used for the batter should be processed rice flour for better results. Also, the flour should be very finely ground. Coarse flours are a big no-no for this dosa.

Fourth, the batter should soak in for a minimum of 2 hours for good crispy dosa.

Fifth, mix the batter well before pouring on the Tawa – each and every time.

Also, it is better to use a flat Tawa than a convex Tawa. You can control the flow of batter.

The recipe I use is my amma’s authentic one 1:1:1 of processed rice flour:Rava: maida. Add salt and mix well. Make a runny batter – not too thick or thin. Add jeera, finely chopped green chilies, curry leaves, and coriander.

Let it rest / soak in for 2 hours at least.

Then it’s time to make yummy Rava dosa.

The best side dish is Idly Milagai Podi and spicy coconut chutney!

Another option is to make Ragi Rava Dosa. Instead of 1 cup of rice flour, add half cup rice flour and half cup Ragi flour. Everything else remains the same and we get delicious Ragi Rava Dosa.

You can add finely chopped onions to the batter to make Onion Rava or Onion Ragi Rava Dosa. Unlimited options are available when we use those tastebuds effectively!

So, do you make rava dosa?😀

And if there is anything different you do, pls share with me.

Quick to Quiet

I can’t believe this myself. I couldn’t think of a word in Q about which I wanted to write. I went and googled some words that start with Q. I stopped at Quintessential, then at Quesadilla, and pondered a lot on Quixotic! Haha 😀

I was Quick to ask for Google’s help but some Quiet time gave me something to write.

I used to be this person Quick to judge others, label them – mainly on doing things to perfect as I had this humungous notion that I am the one who is perfect always! Quietening my inner thoughts and perceptions have led to clarity – no one can be perfect and there is no such concept.

From “jumping to Quick conclusions” to “take-your-time to decide Quiet me“, I have journeyed well.

All the Quick thoughts, Quick actions, Quick cooking, and Quick decisions were becoming more stressful. I was creating stress for myself. Have you heard of this? – Ellu na ennaya irukkanum – which translates to – even before I say sesame seed, the sesame seed oil should be ready! Ugh! I was brought up to be like that and sometimes I expected everyone to be like that! What high levels of stress that thought can create!

Now, it is all about Quiet moments by the plants, Quiet moments to enjoy the tea, Quiet moments with my thoughts and my breath, Quietening myself to observe, Quieter cooking moments – like doing one dish/task at a time! I feel the enjoyment in those Quiet moments!