Priority

I missed writing for 2 days. And I sit with the letter P, this is the word that comes to my mind. There were other priorities that kept me away from writing.

Now, writing is great therapy for me and I love to babble here, in this space about all that is going on inside my head. But there are times when this becomes like a huge commitment to write every day and the thing is there is a built-up of guilt when I skip writing.

This time I was clear about my priorities and I also decided to be flexible about it. The same writing cannot be held at the highest priority all throughout the month.

So, one day became magical with laughter, good food, and great company when I spent it with my friends. Even after coming back home, I was dwelling there, relishing the funny moments, the laughter, the comfort zone among the group of friends! Sigh! I allowed myself to soak in that moment of magic with friends! I prioritized my friends that day!

And the next day, I gave priority to procrastinating! Haha 😀 Yeah…I did! I just let myself be carried away with what happened in the day and never gave a thought to writing.

I felt exalted! While I felt very powerful expressing myself in words, I felt more powerful procrastinating (the writing) – I hope someone out there would get this feeling! For a person like me, this is like being wild. And I enjoyed the day with myself! My husband was home early and I talked a lot and allowed him to comfort me! Sometimes I find myself very strong and being comforted by another person makes me feel less confident. Yesterday, felt different. There was love in that comfort and I soaked in it. I embraced it with both hands.

I loved the way how the day changed to comfort and love when I changed priorities inside my head. I felt a beautiful lesson bloom there for me!

Advertisement

Longing – Learning – Letting go – Love

Everyday I sit to practice pranayama – gently working on the inhale and the exhale. First making the exhale long and subtle. And then holding the breath after exhale. This helped me to relax a lot! I was Learning a lot about my breath as I practiced everyday.

Some days, I tried to work on the inhale and may be hold after inhale. I felt energetic the whole day.

As I worked on the inhales and exhales, one thing became clear – the body has tremendous confidence of the next breath coming inside. It just holds a small volume deep inside the lungs and allows the breath to let go! Go breath go – that moment of exhale is too important that you cannot stop noticing it. What assurance do I have of the next inhale? Nothing. Anything can happen or all can be well. But the body knows. Letting go is the best option. Holding it inside is more suffocating. As I type these words, I feel enlightened! Really! Have you wondered about breath like this?

Same holds good for emotions, food, water – anything that goes inside the body needs to be let out. The body cannot hold it all for its suffocating to hold.

I have realised that the beauty of Love is also to let go! When there is so much love for one person, we sometimes try to hold them close and never let them go out of sight. It is like the love is the leash that keeps them connected to us. This is suffocating too. I learned that love needs to be free and giving – not to be held inside but let out in words, expressions, in letting the other person be their own, in not using it to change the other person! And I feel that I am in a space of love and enjoy being in that space!

Being conditioned in that restricting kind of love all these years, it is a struggle many times – to feel the love even when the other person is in no mood to receive it.

There is Longing inside to Love better…
Am Learning everyday to Love better…
The Letting go is helping me to Love better…

Thank you for lingering till the end of this post!

Thatha’s garlic love

Did you notice today’s date? Its 20th May, yeah! But if you write it like May 20, 2020, it looks and sounds so magical. I have this thing for looking for numbers that repeat or those numbers that make a rhythmic sound when pronounced. Maybe it is a genetic trait from appa. He always looks at numbers and finds rhythms in them. That was something he did as a natural and no wonder, the Telephones department where he worked, found him to be irreplaceable.

The month of May always reminds me of my thatha (paternal). I just don’t remember my thatha’s birthday but the day he left this world is something that I cannot forget. This May 13th was his 25th death anniversary. He was always there with me from the day I was born and I never wondered about his birthdate. But one fine day, he was no more and that date is stuck with me forever.

Thatha’s presence was always there at home. Starting from deciding on the menu for lunch to dinner, planning to go out, temple trip, tv program schedules, vegetable shopping – anything and everything had thatha in it in some form. He will have a request for everyone, a word for everything that went on in the house.

He was an expert on naming people, including my appa also!

If there is one thing which he loved the most it was garlic and he had done well by passing on those garlic love to all his lineage. My amma stood at the opposite pole of thatha when it came to garlic. She wouldn’t even touch it with her hands. But she cooked all the garlic dishes so well, especially the poondu kuzhambu is something out of the world.

This is precisely the reason why thatha used to have a say in the menu of the day; he decides the days when garlic can be cooked. Since he used to fast on Mondays and Amavasya, he made sure that garlic is not cooked even for us – the children of the house. He just didn’t want to miss eating garlic!

Sometimes, we use to pester amma to make poondu kuzhambu (garlic kuzhambu) and if it happens to collide with thatha’s fasting days, she will hesitate.  But we will pester even more and she will eventually agree to cook the delicious kuzhambu.

When the smell of frying garlic wafted through the rooms to that sharp nose of thatha, his loud voice will suddenly boom through the house make an announcement “today’s fasting cancelled”! Ha ha…everyone at home laughed out loud about how garlic ruled his heart and other things like fasting took a backseat.

Dear thatha, if you are alive today, you would have cherished the poondu kuzhambu which I cook! Always in love with you and with the enormous simplicity of your love for me!

Pal Kozhakattai

Whenever amma made kalandha sevai (rice vermicelli mixed with coconut or lemon), it was an arduous task. She used to make the processed rice flour, then make a dough with hot water. And then cook them again in boiling water and transfer it to the sevai nazhi (sevai making machine) which was hand-pressed. The arduous task eases down and joy overrides when the strands of sevai fall seamlessly from the sevai nazhi. The long strands of sevai were thoroughly enjoyed when we eat them. A slightly similar comparison will be the noodles that the kids slurp in one go.

The best part is always for the last. After making the sevai, there will be leftover rice dough which will be then rolled into small round balls and cooked gently. Jaggery will be added and crushed cardamom will be sprinkled. Coconut milk will be poured and mixed. And that is the definition of home-made heaven, which is called the pal kozhakattai. The simple and delicious dessert to be eaten after the sumptuous meal of coconut and lemon sevai.

Making pal kozhakattai is like a nostalgic journey into the kitchen of my patti and amma, sitting there next to them in my pavadai sattai (Long skirt and blouse), helping in the pressing of the sevai nazhi, waiting impatiently for the sevai process to be done so that patti will start making pal kozhakattai.

A dish as simple as this reminds me of my patti’s soft hands and the way she will smile at me for making my favourite dish.

A dish that is reminiscent of my petite patti and the way she does magic in the kitchen!

The taste of Pal kozhakattai in my mouth just takes me back to the times when I am still a little girl lying on the lap of my paati – the sweetest part of my childhood!

And here it is paati, this is for you, made by me in my kitchen!

Motherly love

I saw this tree during a recent trip to Tirunelveli. As I clicked this, I not only saw the tree but I saw the branches that have grown wide and strong, the green foliage that was pleasant to the eyes, the shade big enough to accommodate many people, the breeze that cooled everyone around the tree!

And immediately all I could relate was the qualities of a mother, whose heart is big enough to accommodate her kids and other kids too. The way she hugs all her children was quite similar to the way the tree swayed to the breeze, the trunk trying to reach out to the branches.

This is precisely the reason why I love taking pics of trees. There is something about them that makes my soul feel happy and good. Maybe I resonate with the tree and the way it sways with the wind, reminding me to sway to the tunes of the ever-changing life but keeping the roots strong.

Every time I see a tree soaked in sunshine or raindrops, the feeling of happiness just doubles. It may be something silly for some people, who laugh at the way I start clicking pictures crazily. But there is a joy, a connect and a feeling of motherly love!

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!

Thank you ma…

Its only when I became a mother, I realized and understood many aspects of my mother. Till then, she was my provider and all I could relate to was materialistic things and emotional support.

But becoming a mother myself made a huge difference in my perspective of my amma. For the biggest gift she had given me was freedom – freedom of choice, expression, to explore, to experience things my way. Combined with the concept of morality that she told in the most subtle way, it was a deadly combination to keep me on track of doing the right things at the same time giving me wings to fly!

I could explore and come back to ground reality. Thank you amma for that.

I think I had already reminisced about my amma’s attached detachment. She asked me to go but held me when I came back. She allowed me to make my own dreams and live them too but smiled at me with encouragement when I came back. Even today, as I hold my motherhood as the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me and as I keep celebrating my status as a mother, she is the silent presence in all my thoughts and celebrations.

As daughters, we are greatly inspired by mothers and try to imbibe them in many ways in our life. I was no different. I imbibed and then improved, thanks to the thought of freedom which was passed on as I was born.

I learnt her ways and then made them to suit mine. And then I see her changing her ways to suit mine.  That was too strong a message. Here is a woman who is leading by example. She is changing herself constantly and continuously to the changing world of grandchildren in an effort to reiterate to me – you better change with the times.

My amma was brought up in an orthodox household and her impressions of dos and donts are a mile long, thanks to her upbringing. Coming from such a background, she has changed with the times again and again. Its like hitting the nail on the head for me, to prepare me for the future times ahead!

Here is a heart full of gratitude and love to my wonderful amma, for bringing me to this world, for teaching me the flexibility to change, for helping me understand the value of freedom and the ability to hold on to the quiet strength deep inside in making things happen!

Ma, it is not enough that I wish you only today! I am eternally grateful for all that you have done and still doing for me, for being a mother is not a temporary job but a lifetime process! I might be a mother to two grown-up girls but I still yearn for that motherly affection! Thank you for being there for me, amma ❤

Remembering Appa…esp today!

With so many ads and reminders in the TV and social media, one just cannot skip the fact that today is the special day for fathers. When one day is never enough for celebrating the father-daughter relationship, this day can be the affirmation day of such a beautiful love.

I’ve written so much about my Appa before, here in this space.

There are many things I adored in my father and I greatly respected him for that. One such thing is the simple fact of giving us the space to find our foothold.

This man, my Appa, needs to be applauded for the simplest fact that he just let me make my decisions on what to study, where to study, where to take up a job and he quietly supported me in my endeavor to make a difference in the world.

Out of all the support he gave me, I consider this incident to be the best in his life as a father, for it meant a great deal to me, then and now.

I was working with a company’s research department, after my college. Even though my dream then was to work with Microsoft, this was the most coveted job among my classmates. And I was the lucky one to get through the rigorous training, which made me the happiest one ever. Appa was elated to know about the job and he was so proud of me, which meant the world to me.

Over a time frame of two to three years, I felt a natural shift inside me to search for something else as I felt that that the job I was doing, was not my calling. I started feeling a natural boredom in the place of passionate research. I just wanted this whole thing to sort out by itself. It just took me some more time to realize that whatever change that needs to happen in my life, will happen only because of my decision to change.

And one fine day, as I was sitting and pondering in my chair, I just wrote a resignation letter and submitted and quit the job. Phew…I felt relief. I didn’t know my next course of action. But I was open for new things to happen as I was free of those things which held me back.

I came home by afternoon. Appa, thatha and patti were having lunch. Appa asked me “Ennachu?” (What happened?) I told him that I just quit my job as I didn’t feel like continuing in that job and that I wanted to do something else. It sounded strange to my ears as I was prepared to let go of that engineering studies and its related job profile, while I was the one to go for it after school.

He just smiled and said “Just sit and eat” – just pure acceptance of me, my decision and whatever I wanted to do later. My God! What a relief it was for me for such blinded acceptance from my Appa. It just made me to work harder and to get back in a good job about which my Appa will be proud again. Even though I did things for myself, I secretly aimed at making my Appa proud.

Today, I sit back and reflect all these, as my daughter has quit her job and come home to take a break and there is this smile of acceptance and support from her father and I feel grateful for such fathers in this world.

For without such understanding fathers, we daughters are never complete.

Happy birthday, my sunshine girl <3

Her smiling face is her passport
To all the good things that comes her way!
Her perseverance is her guiding light
To those amazing things that make up her life!

Her vivacity
Friendliness
Intelligence
The josh to live life on her own terms
Standing up for what she thinks is right
Her fiercely independent nature
Gives her the glow of joy of living!

She enthralls her group of friends
With her laughter
Lame jokes
And a great zeal for doing things!

Her clarity of thought
On things to do
On her studies
And way beyond too
Makes me so damn proud of her!

And this is the best time to thank God
For bringing her into my life
Through me
As she is the sunshine
Which I need everyday, to be!  

Happy birthday, my sunshine girl ❤

This and that from a mother!

I remember the day she started loving paneer…
Its still so fresh in memory, the day she started having milk like other kids, overcoming her allergy to milk…
The day she stopped telling “buuuu” for any color I ask and started telling the colors so clearly without the hint of baby language…yes, I remember…
The day she stopped referring to herself with her self-made name “athroo” and started referring to herself as I / me / myself – very fresh in memory…
The day all the baby talk blabbering stopped…very much remember them…

Now, I wonder when her fav color changed from blue to pink or the other colors which she didn’t prefer before!
I
I wonder when she started preferring geometric designs on her dress!
When did she grow up so much to give psychological lessons to me!!
Or when did she become my mother to scold me for getting a headache..he he!
When did she start disliking her fav potatoes and started liking the fruit salad!

Am just sitting here and knowing about the changes suddenly, without any warning and am like, when did this happen!? I just sit and wonder about them, as they keep going through the changes.

As a birthday keeps approaching, the mommy is going through a lot of thought process…