Que sera sera

I heard my mother-in-law hum a tune. Curious to know what is she humming, I gently go near her so that I don’t distract her. Oh my! Her voice is still as sweet as her younger years, especially when she hums.

And I wondered what is this song she is humming!! Bingo! Found the song and here it is…

I quickly looked up the lyrics of the song and kept staring at the screen. Those lyrics are just the perfect ones we need for today’s uncertain times.

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother what will I be
Will I be pretty will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother what will I be
Will I be handsome will I be rich
I tell them tenderly
Que sera sera
Whatever will be will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera sera
What will be will be
Que sera sera

Just re-reading or re-emphasizing those lines – “Whatever will be will be, The future’s not ours to see” made me go Wow!

What perfect lines for today’s scenario! And how perfectly my MIL brought it to my attention just by humming it. We just need to listen to the wise words of our elders.

Instead of fighting against the times, acceptance of things will help us to remain calm and less stressed. Let us take these times to reflect on our thoughts and actions. Let us stay home and let us focus inward into us!

Hope

This beautiful click was taken by my dear friend Rekha! It is always an uplifting moment when friends send me pictures of skyscapes thinking about my love for those! Also it is surely a moment of self-satisfaction to know that my pictures and posts have been quite impressive enough for people to remember my love for such pictures.

The picture above is a perfect depiction of hope.

Hope

It all started with the ball of fire
Which showed up this morning
In the eastern sky
Killing the darkness
Lighting this Earth
Bringing in the chirping of birds
Those rays that flow gently
From the sun to humans
Is the reaching out
By nature
As a hug
To reinstate the hope
That this is part of the phase
Which has to happen
All is well
Just stay hopeful!

 

Out of comfort zones…

Many of us have found ourselves in situations that are certainly not our comfort zones, especially in the past weeks!

I used to stay away from washing vessels owing to my tennis elbow. But the past few days I am scrubbing and scrubbing the vessels and the elbow seems fine with me! The high point is that my vessels are shining a tad higher!

I think many people have realized what is it like to be a stay-at-home mom and what are the things that go into the running of a household, as they work from home and watch reality unfold in front of their eyes. An out of zone workplace has given new realizations to many!

There are kids who have understood the value of playing outside just by staying inside the home!

There might be people doing things which they are not used to before…

There might be people dealing with difficult situations which they have not faced before…

There might be a few others who understand how blessed they are during these times…

A few people will be staying in a different place which is not their home…

There may be students waiting to get back into their classes…

There may be people waiting to take up new job placements…

Every plan we had got slightly shaken!

And for every shake out of the ordinary, we found a new plan and learned to survive. After all aren’t we the human species!

This ability to survive among new places / environments / situations is our greatest strength. A decade later children will live to tell the tales of this moment and maybe it will become history to reinstate the power of human resilience.

For now, just be with the moment!

 

The solitary moment

A moment to reflect
Upon thee
Is here
For us to embrace!

Close the eyes
Observe the train of thoughts
Let them all come and go!

Here is the time
To feel gratitude
For this life
For this moment
Where we feel alive!

This solitary moment
Is mine to hold
To breathe in deep
To exhale the stress
And to feel the love
That encircles me!

 

The flooded experience

I didn’t write much about my experience during the 2015 floods in Chennai. I just don’t know why. But today’s scenario around compels me to take time out to write down those moments of utter helplessness when I realized that the place I stayed was surrounded by water.

Rewind to Dec 1st, 2015. It had been raining continuously since Nov 29th or 30th. And I was oblivious to the intensity of the rain as I was busy preparing for the birthday celebration of my husband – read this post to know more about that!

On the night of Dec 1st, around 10’o clock, I heard the rain had intensified and was lashing on us without any mercy. What I saw through my balcony took my breath away! The water was gushing into our apartment through the side gates.

And specifically, to reinstate the seriousness of the issue, I want to tell you that I stayed in Velachery – one of the worst affected areas during Chennai floods 2015. Now, this apartment I was staying in was quite old; it was built around 2000. And the new buildings that happened in recent times, increased their ground level as and when the construction happened. The biggest drawback to all these scenarios is that this whole Velachery was developed over dried-up lake beds.

When I saw the water gushing into our apartment, it looked like a river that gushes out through the mountains. When hit with such force, the whole parking lot on the ground floor started filling up.

Everyone started to worry about their car which was parked. But there was little we could do when there was water everywhere around us. The cars were just let to be there, drowning in the slowly rising water levels. I am just saying…

By around 11.30pm, the power went off. Little did we know that we will get back that power only after 15 days. I am just saying…

I wished my husband exactly by midnight, gave him all those 50 wishes and made him read them all in the mobile torch, wasting precious battery charge. Not that it mattered the next day or for the next 15 days, as the service providing towers were also shut down near our area and we didn’t have any phone connectivity too. I am just saying…

Since the motors in our apartment were all submerged in the water, the maintenance people couldn’t run the motors and hence there was no water for us to use. Whatever was available in the over-head tank, we just filled in the buckets we had in our house. And that is all the water I had for use over the next 2 weeks. I am just saying…

Suddenly we realized we were marooned off inside our block, with no water to even flush the toilet. There was water everywhere around us but I wonder if I had that thing in me to and get a pail from that to flush the toilet. Phew! I am just saying…

The next day morning saw us staring at about 5ft of water in our car parking. All the cars were underwater. The apartment tried to rent motors from outside to drain out the water. But it looked like bad karma as the drained out water went one big round and came back into the apartment through the back door. It was terrifying. I am just saying…

The milkman couldn’t get the milk packets to our homes, not only the next day but for the next 15 days. I am just saying…

We were unable to go out and buy vegetables or provisions. I am just saying…

Many people suddenly found themselves without fuel to cook. I am just saying…

Others didn’t have provisions as they didn’t think that rain could bring in such havoc. I am just saying…

We couldn’t talk or communicate with my daughters and other family members that we were doing fine despite being surrounded by water. All they saw was footage on the television and they really panicked. I finally realized that if we climbed up on top of the water tank which was on the 9th floor, then there was a feeble signal. So, we climbed up, borrowed a phone from a neighbor and called my daughters to just let them know we were good. I am just saying…

My husband started helping out in his own way. Read here to know more.

The refrigerator was cleared and kept open to air it. I finally looked at my refrigerator with pride as I scrubbed it to a shine.

I found books that I had always wanted to read and spent my time reading and reflecting as the man was busy helping out people.

I played scrabble with myself.

I had a nice chat with my neighbor which we never got to do before among all the chores of the house.

We did community cooking and shared food as it helped us to avoid wastage.

I couldn’t have a bath or wash clothes or mop the house. But I survived those 2 weeks, with a minimalistic provision, no electricity, no water, no mobile phones, no TV, no candles too. I am just saying…

What I cooked that day had to be finished within the same night. I cannot carry it forward. Suddenly I reflected on those days where our grandparents lived without a refrigerator or electricity. We just took way too many things for granted! I am just saying…

If I was lucky to get a milk packet, I used it all by the night or made curd. Then the curd next day was a delicacy. Never in my life, I had felt that curd was a delicacy. I am just saying…

Those 15 days of nature-imposed quarantine taught me a lot and the foremost things are not to take anything for granted and for every drop of water I get to drink, I am grateful for it.

And Jan 2018, taught me more lessons on how I should be grateful to have this body and the life within and every moment I live should be valued by me.

I am just trying to say, we are not in the worst of the scenarios if we can just stay calm and remain indoors. I think if people could survive 15 days of nature-imposed quarantine and without any pre-stocking of provisions or vegetables, we can do this with essential goods being available to us, even in this time of quarantine.

It is all in the mind. Our human race has got more survival skills. Even with just rice and no vegetables, I was able to cook something delicious every day. We just need to trust in the process and have faith that things will turn out for the better.

JUST STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE!

Self-introspective mode ON

Pic courtesy: Google

Recently, I had a dream. And immediately I decided that I will not share it here, in my space, for I felt it was too personal to put it out in writing. But today’s introspective mood of mine has won over and here I am writing about my dream and my feelings towards it.

I see myself lying on the floor, with blood flowing through the nose and it clearly looks like I am dying. I see my daughters on either side of me. And all this was happening in a house where I used to stay as a teenager. I could also see the man who was walking towards the house as my husband. Then I could hear what I was talking to my daughters; the silly me was so paranoid that the soul will depart soon and was frantically telling all the passwords in all the apps and websites for my daughters to note it down!

Ok…that was the dream! When I woke up from that dream, I laughed out aloud. And kept smiling and laughing whenever I remembered it. The whole idea of not passing on my passwords gave me the worst nightmare, in my dream; it sounded very silly to the present me.

Now, observing that dream from a more matured point of view, I wonder why didn’t I worry about that favorite sari of mine which I didn’t wear many times! I wonder why didn’t I fret over all those jewelry which I loved to buy but never wore them! I wondered at that unused purse, notebook, pen, saucepan, wine glass, coffee mug – anything that I savored for a better day to come. And I had just kept postponing all those favorite things without enjoying them at the present moment.

I had reserved all the good things for a later date.

I had written love notes for all my favorite people for them to see later.

I always plan on going on a trip that I never seem to get to.

Everything was planned for a later date.

Then the dream happened.

My better self took over. This is the day I had waited for. Today I shall proclaim all the love and fondness for all my favorite people in this world. I will hug them with my love and kindness. I will use that saucepan. I took out my favorite coffee mug.

And suddenly the day I am living mattered.

I got a plant. I smelt the flowers. I stared at clouds. I made coffee. I sang my favorite song. I colored in my mandala book. I learned to forgive all those things which happened in the past.

I suddenly understood what I had to do with my life. It is to live this moment!

Sun’s day out!

The sun came out one day
Lost his way
Found himself on a pot of clay
Looked at people, as if in a play
Some were making hay
Some were gay
While some took to pray
Others became prey
Some of them could play
A few who did a gentle sway
To life’s every-changing way!
Some always obey
And some are a runaway
Some astray
Some on the right pathway!
The sun was laughing away
At all the disarray
For the secret to the life’s gateway
Is to treat it like a child’s play!

A story from the roadside

She sells guavas near the bus terminus. I was pulled towards her cart of guavas for the way she cared about them. She sorted them into two heaps. The ones with the reddish inside variety was kept on the right and the other normal variety to the left. She still sorted them as hard ones, somewhat crisp to eat and the ripened ones. One look at the cart, you will know what to buy and where to look for it in that cart.

She had a big smile, a beaming one. Her beautiful hair bun always had an encircling flowers around it. The big red kumkum circle on her forehead was attractive enough to pull me towards her. There was something about her. I have been buying from her for the past one year and her genuine smile always touched me.

Once she handed me extra change without realizing it. And I also didn’t check it till I reached home. So, the next time I saw her I returned her change and apologized. She was very confident that I will return it. And we hardly had spoken with each other. I wondered what made her think that I will return the money! She was very genuine in her warmth and thoughts.

For the past 2 weeks she was missing. More than the guavas, I missed her, her smile. Yesterday I met her again.

The story went like this.

Her father had boarded a bus to visit her, from Dindivanam. He had taken a wrong bus. So the conductor dropped him off in some place, instructing him to take another bus. In a similar fashion, he was taken into wrong buses and somehow reached Tiruvannamalai, the abode of Shiva for all those who are lost (in a spiritual way too).  And he had no phone with him.

She and her three sisters along with their sons and daughter-in-laws went from one place to another, switched buses to possible places and finally found their father. Without a phone to trace, I found it a humongous task. But not for them, where the hearts were filled with love and an yearning to find him. She was so proud of her accomplishment.

My fondness for the guava lady has grown in multitudes now!

Svadhyaya

I hope to express myself as best as I can, to justify the use of this title for this post.

Now…continuing from my previous post

I sat next to him, listening to all his ifs and buts, in case the inevitable had happened. My mouth agape, I was slightly in awe of this husband of mine. Among the many others who are afraid to talk about death or its effects on the family, here was a man whose mind had worked overtime thinking about all the probabilities.

When he asked me if I would have continued the business in his absence, I took a long time, actually a few months, to think over that question. I gave it a lot of time and thought deeply over it. The first task was to understand as to why did I even go into this business with him. I found many answers like – I like food, cooking, cooking for others but none matched the passion and drive required to run a business that my husband possessed. It involved more than the love for cooking or food. It needed great vision, deep passion, the courage to face challenges and deep routed confidence to handle the extraordinary amount of work it required. Slowly and steadily the entrepreneurship will become a part of you which you just cannot leave it at the shake of a hand. I comprehended all these requirements of running entrepreneurship and along with it came the understanding that I am just not that kind of a person which business requires.

So many questions arose inside me – If I was not passionate about running a business, how did I even become part of one? What was that thing that held me there? Why didn’t I even think of all these before?

There was only one answer to all my questions – I was there, as a tiny part of the business, to be of some help to my husband. Every question I asked myself lead me to the same answer that I wanted to be of some assistance to my husband. I don’t know if it was the right thing but at that moment it felt right to assist him and I did it.

Now, when he put across the question of running the business without him, as an improbable thought, I realized that I won’t be able to do it alone. I certainly didn’t possess that passion to do it alone. And that led to the enlightened thought that it will be best that I reduce my involvement in this venture.

Yes, I was there in the business to help my husband. No doubt about that. Now, the thought process has changed. I wanted to help myself first before I help anyone else.

Those months were very trying times for me as I struggled a lot to overcome the stress of my husband’s hospitalization and then to find ways to help myself.

I had trouble sleeping at night. I stayed awake and watched television without knowing what I was watching, as the mind was not stable. Too many thoughts plagued me about the time I spent in the hospital sitting by my husband. I was sluggish. I lacked the josh to get out of bed every day to cook, a task which I loved doing. I was also going through menopause which confused me a lot.

When one of my friends suggested to me to join a yoga class, I started looking for one. And I had already tried yoga classes 3 years back; one thing I realized –  I was never disciplined enough to practice at home when there was no class. So, I started looking at classes that can inculcate that discipline in me. Then  I found the perfect one.

And I joined a Yoga teacher training program. I just needed the prod that to become a teacher I need to practice daily so that I can inculcate the same to my students. That was the missing block for long. Also, I found an amazing teacher who introduced me to meditation, helped me to overcome my sleeping problems and suddenly I was back on track. I felt I deviated from my life’s purpose line for some time and felt comfortable to come back.

There is this subject on yoga sutras as part of my course and it talks about svadhyaya as the study of self – at various points of our life, to assess our life and what we are doing with it, to reflect on our decisions, to make sure that we are on the path of what we want to do in our life or ensure that we are doing what makes us happy.

I understood that all along, even before I joined the yoga class, I had been doing svadhyaya without knowing about such a concept. Learning about this concept and other life-changing ideas has put me in a path of self-love and not being guilty about it. It is only when I am healthy physically and mentally, can I help my family and others too.


Thank you for being with me all through this month of ramblings 😀

A story and a lesson

One of my teachers told me this story and here I am sharing it with you all!

Once when Buddha went from house to house, asking for alms, as is the norm with monks, his disciple also tagged along with him.

At one of the houses they went to, there was a woman. Buddha asked her for alms. She didn’t know who Buddha was and started to scold him on why he being so physically fit should ask for alms! She kept going on and on with her torrential spray of words on how he could make a living instead of asking for alms. The disciple was very agitated initially but with no end to her whipping with words, he also got very angry.

But he saw that Buddha was simply standing there and smiling.

When the disciple thought that there would be no respite from those words, she stopped suddenly. Maybe she was tired. Maybe she was irked by the smiling Buddha.

She finally said “Even though I don’t agree to giving alms, I am giving you alms this time since you are already here”. Saying which she went in swiftly and got some food for them.

When she tried to give the food to Buddha, he politely refused and walked away.

The disciple was fuming all the way back. He wanted to give it back to that lady but owing to his high regard for his master, he stayed quiet. He kept on talking about what the lady said and asked Buddha about how he could keep quiet. “Master, you should have given it to her…she had no right to talk to you like that”.

Buddha smiled at him and said, “Do I have the food she offered?”

“No”, said he.

“I left it with her. Just the same way I left her words with her. You seem to be carrying those words, still”.

The disciple stood stunned.

The lesson:

It is very easy to stay unhurt when people throw volleys of hurting words at us. This story enables us to understand that it speaks volumes about the personality of that other person and has got nothing to do with us. It’s a difficult thing to just let go of the whole situation, remain calm and even smiling, to not to retaliate and mainly not to think about it later or even rant about it.

Sigh! I don’t know how much of this is possible for me to do or follow but here is something that I can try to do. For it’s in my genetic coding to go into a shell when people use hurt filled words at me and maybe I will never open up to those people any further.

With this kind of practice, I can let those hurting words to not affect me deeply and always stay cool with them.

Or maybe I can stay away from them too ignoring such a presence in my life!