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!

 

Sunday musings – God dwells inside us…

With the birth of the Tamil month Karthigai, there begins the feverish activity all around the southern states, where people decide to take up the 48 days viratham before going to take darshan of the Lord Ayappan at the end of this mandala. Those people who undertake the viradham wear the customary mala around their neck and wear black or blue colored dress.

This year is special at my place, as my husband has taken up this viratham for the first time. And I keep hearing to the dos and don’ts during this period of 48 days. This period is actually a preparation time for the devotees to take up the difficult path via the jungles to reach the Ayappan shrine in Sabarimala. The walking of barefoot, restricting food intakes to two meals per day, sleeping on the floor are a few things that might look like the luxuries of life are being given up. Devotees abstain from drinking alcohol, smoking, usage of curse words and other activities which are considered a vice.

There is a saying that anything that is done consistently for 21 days becomes a habit. And when something is done for 48 days, it becomes a way of life. And then I wonder how these people, who have made it their way of life for these 48 days, leave all this and go back to their vices after the darshan of the God!

In all these days of observing these people, I noticed that they call each other as “Sami” meaning God. And everyone is treated with the utmost respect during this viratham days.

There is also a viratham for people to go to Melmaruvathur Adi Parasakthi temple. And here everyone is called “Sakthi”. Here also people treat other devotees with utmost respect, during the viratham days.

Even to the primitive mind, this will strike a chord that the God dwells in each and every human. And this is not restricted only to the viratham days – God is inside each one of us always. While people call each other Sami or Sakthi, during these viratham days and then later spew enmity at each other after visiting the temple, just proves their constricted thinking or rather no thinking at all.

The terms used to call others are not for just showoff during viratham days. It’s a direct implication to the God (conscience / supreme power) inside every human being.

Let us open our minds to accepting that each one of us needs to respect the other person irrespective of this viratham.

Thoughtful Thursday

A new temple to visit
New procedures to follow
Buy this color flowers for God…
Buy ghee for lighting lamps
So that your wish is fulfilled…
Start a puja cycle for 48 days…
Spread the paddy grains in front of God
And write your wishes
To find them fulfilled…
108 circumambulations will help…
Donate to the temple annadhanam…
Give your details and we’ll mail you prasadams…
The list is endless
For wishes to be fulfilled…
Every item in the list is followed
And more lists are welcome too…

But outside the temple
The old lady who is hungry is ignored…
The animals are shooed away when they come near…
Helping others is found time consuming…
People think that talking loud and arguing
Are the ways of this world…
Bargaining for a few rupees from a local seller
Is being the smart one…

Somewhere along this journey
In search of the never ending things of life
There is a heavy loss of humanity
And kindness…

Let our hearts soar like this gopuram
In reaching to the heights
Of humanity
In looking out for others…
In praying for others…
Talking a lot by being silent…
Doing an act of kindness everyday…
Bringing a smile to one person everyday…
That is rising above the ordinary – just like the gopuram!

Microblog Mondays: Women’s sports – watching is biased too…

As we all know, the recent headlines has been that the Women’s cricket team is doing extremely well in the World Cup tournament.  Even though the viewership has increased to watch women play cricket or any other game, there is this chauvinistic mentality to not watch women play sports and where they doing it extremely good too.

Any sport is a combination of strength and technicality. Some require a need for greater strength, some need more technical execution. Some sports are a treat to the eyes like synchronized swimming or floor exercise in gymnastics; while visual beauty is appreciated, the hard work behind it for such perfect performance is looked over.

The application of strength or technical precision or a mixture of these two, on the arena or field and to remain calm in a tension packed zone and perform well too – all these require the sports person to be well balanced in body and mind.

So why the bias in watching women’s sports and especially those when they are performing well?


Happy birthday to my mentor :)

I am a strong believer of the fact that people come into our lives for a reason. Sometimes we understand their need in our lives, other times we don’t. But they are there to bring meaning to our lives or make us understand the meanings of our lives.

Among all the people who have made a remarkable difference in my thinking and in my approach to my life is my husband’s eldest brother. And today, I wish him all the happiness and love, as he celebrates his birthday!

This post may come as a surprise to him or shock him too, but these birthdays are the best times to thank people for their presence in our lives and how it means a lot to us. So, I hope he’ll bear with me for writing this.

He has this simplistic way of looking at things and never minces words to express his thoughts. This is something which I yearn to be – “I live my life in my own terms”.

Another amazing quality which I am in awe of, is his magnanimity to give and not to think or talk about it later. What makes him unique is that he doesn’t have an air about him. A quality which I aspire for…

And since the time me and my husband have turned entrepreneurs, he has been a great source of positive energy for us. He has this way of appreciating us for the work we do and also encourages us to take more risks. The apprehensive me has learnt to let go and be more energetic in taking up new projects. This mentoring has enabled us to grow as an industry with the values intact.

As I believe in the fact that some people come into your life to teach you something or be there for some reason. Here is a person who inspires me to bring the best in me, just with his presence in my life.

And my heartfelt gratitude to my mentor, as he celebrates his birthday today!

Sunday rumination – Life’s always throwing lemons…

Its up to me to decide if those lemons are meant for making a sweet lemonade or to make a spicy hot pickle or just crush it out to clean the whites of stains 😀

Actually every lemon that gets thrown at me is an opportunity for me…

…to distinguish the good from the bad, in my own way

…to move away from closed doors and start looking at small windows that are trying to open for me

…to understand that some incidents happened in my life to change my course of journey and to make me think differently about the same situation

…to turn the sour lemons to sweet melons, just by looking only at things which give me happiness

…to ignore the things that cause hurt and pain to the heart – oh yeah, this could be a daunting task, but well worth the effort, as I love myself more than anyone, now a days

As I woke up this morning, “When life throws lemons, make lemonade” came to my mind…its one of those bizzare thought process of my sleepy mind. Just out of the blue, I started thinking more about that line. As I loaded the clothes into the washing machine, I thought that it need not be lemonade always and it could also be made into a pickle – the citrus-y spicy can make the tongue wanting more of it!

And when I was making coffee, came the philosophical thoughts – some days are like that – I just learn to take it as it gives me myriad of thoughts and critical analysis of myself. The only difference to the whole scene today is I don’t carry on the guilt of not performing to my standards. After all the thoughts are processed, I realize that I am more important to myself and my happiness is more important to myself and it is one of the treasured things which I should not forego at any cost.

So, keeping myself happy, whether with lemonade or lemon pickle, I go about my day, writing my thoughts in my space – a recording to be read another day to calm the mind and soothe the heart.

Friday musing – Wearing what you want with confidence…

I can say with great affirmation that I decide what to wear, clothes, accessories or anything.

But there are other kind of people too. One set of people are driven by their children. The son or daughter decides what the mom should wear. “Ma, wear sari when you come to school” “Ma, wear salwar kameez when you drop me at my friend’s place” – this and that. It can even go to levels like “Ma, don’t wear jeans…it doesn’t suit you” “Ma, those big bindi on your forehead – I don’t like” “Ma, wear small studs for your ears, these jhumkas are for younger people” – And I feel like throwing some very bad curses at all these comments as these are very opinionated either by the children’s peer pressure at school or by the family’s comments and decisions on what suits the woman / mother. Of course, its only her and always her and her dressing sense, which is under scrutiny.

Then there are women, who are uncomfortable in their own skin – they feel fat, ugly and not fair skinned – may be all put in one. It takes too much of insecurity about one’s own self to be critical of one’s body and deciding against wearing clothes which may not suit the body type. After all, we’ve this one life to live, which we can remember. Why not live it fully, by wearing whatever the heart desires!! Why should someone die in the hope that one day they can wear slim-fit jeans? Why not buy and wear them today?

Another major deterrent is the fact that the husband find the wife fat or ugly.  He doesn’t want to go out with his wife anymore, because of her body shape or structure. His reasons “She wasn’t like this before the children were born”. It takes a lot of maturity on the part of the husband to understand the consequences of being pregnant with a child and going through the process of delivery. The hormones play havoc on the women, who go through these stages. Some put on weight on their thighs alone or back alone or it could lead to different health issues after a post-pregnancy depression. Without understanding all these, the husband just wants his wife to come out of a pregnancy and delivery stage, looking like those movie stars. Excuse me…man, you’re not fit to be a human at all!

While it takes a woman of very strong confidence to look down on those kind of people like the dust in her shoes, many women are still struggling to fight their own fear of “Am not good enough for my husband”!

The other day I saw a woman, shorter than me but wearing a long kurti with side and center slits and tight pants. From my point of view, it looked nice on her, as she was wearing what she liked. But I did hear a comment like that the dress doesn’t suit her because she is short of nature. It seems that short women are supposed to wear short kurtis so that they look tall. Really? Which world do you live in…people? Even if this is true, let that woman be the deciding authority on whether she wants to look tall or short.

Sari designs – “Oh…these are for the older women”
Spectacle frames – “M’am choose something your age…this is for the younger generation”
Heels – “Oh no! A big no no for older people”
Dupatta / shawl – “A must for women, especially the heavy bosom ones”
Anarkali type kameez – “A big no for fat women”
Crisp cottons – “Thin women look like sticks wearing sari”
Myths…myths…all made by our own society…

Is covering from head to toe, an apt dress??

Also, saris are the most desired attire for married women – Really? Women wearing other kind of dresses don’t remain married or what?

First, we bring up the girl child in our homes to hold on to all the fears of the previous generations. She cannot wear pants, she needs to wear pavadai davani after puberty, she needs to wear sari after marriage, no other dress code is allowed for her.  And it’s the societal prejudices that drive the women to dress in a particular fashion.

It takes a woman, an extreme dose of strength, inner guts, trusting her intuition, a don’t-care-about-others attitude and most of all, excessive loads of self-love to be herself and wear what she desires – clothes / bags / jewelry / bindi.

So, love thyself first woman!!
Wear what you want and be happy 🙂

No flashy cards…

I was a hoarder for membership cards. I loved to flash those colorful cards around and get points accumulated to my account, not money…mind you 😀

And whenever I bought purse, it was always a huge one. More than looking at space for money, I always checked for the no of cards a purse can hold. And within a matter of seconds I filled up all the card holder space and will carry another separate card holder for all the left over cards. It was a difficult phase to decide which are the important ones to carry in the purse and which can be moved to the card holder.

I’ve this fetish for buying certain things in certain places, ONLY. Provisions are bought in one store of my liking. Even if they provided good vegetables and fruits, I’ll not deviate from the loyalty I had for the small time vegetable vendor in my apartment. Am like that 😉

Jeans are bought in one store, kurtis in another, inner garments in another place…in effect I was always going from one store to another to buy the various things and absolutely enjoyed the whole experience. And in all this going around, I was accumulating points of loyalty!

BOOOOOOOOOOM !

I was jerked into reality and practicality just a few years back, when I started working alongside my husband. Time was the constraint and I had to do all the shopping I needed in one place and at one time flat. I was crying for shopping time, spent alone, cruising the aisles, looking at new products, new brands and all that fun thing. But, that love was getting split and I started enjoying the time spent building the business and learning the nuances.

The bolt came when I tried to redeem all those cards which I had collected for years. While I imagined an amazing equivalent of money for all those cards, I was dumped down from my card-collecting-high-pedestal and made to understand that all those colorful flash cards were for nothing.  The money redeemed was just peanuts. Maybe all these were there when I signed those forms for membership, without even reading the fine print, but I felt disappointed.

I stopped going to different outlets and tried to buy things from one single shop, so that it’ll ease me from getting into those traffic chakravyuhams !

Now a days, I buy from the small time vendor, who brings produce from near his house or a nearby farm. One old lady brings drumsticks from her garden and sells it to me at my office. Another lady makes ghee at home and brings it for selling. Drumstick leaves are gifted by my staff.  There is joy in buying from these people. And they bring good products and you can check the authenticity of the products. The happiness they feel when I buy products from them is immense and equals my satisfaction levels.

There are no more flashy cards but only toothy grins as return 🙂

Day 24 – The “Shawl”story

Just don’t get it wrong – Chennai is not freezing – neither am I in the colder places – nor am I wearing a shawl.  People like me always refer to Shawl as this beautiful Kashmiri one which is used during chiller climates or as a beautiful accessory to a sari or dress.

And then there are others – who refer to the simple dupatta or a stole or a dirty towel as shawl – mind-boggling, I tell you !

Especially in this conservative land, where I live, the use of a shawl is a must, whether you wear a night wear (nightie), salwar kameez, jeans + tee shirt, jeans + shirt, jeans + kurti – anything apart from a sari, you need to wear a shawl to cover your boobs; of course, apart from the basic clothing.  Those people wearing nightie at home, just come down to drop their kids in the school bus in that nightie – Oh ! And covering themselves with a dirty towel which is perfectly defined as Shawl, in this land !

Girls are brought up conditioned by this rule – wear a shawl always ! Cover your chest, hair, face – anything you want.

Boys are conditioned too by this rule – any girl not wearing a shawl is bad – just bad.

I was shocked first, then saddened by the whole damn thing.

During my recent train travel, I met this sweet girl, who was travelling with me. She had come to Chennai for work and on the first day of her job, she wore a sleeveless kurti and jeans. Even if the company allowed the women to wear such dresses, all her co-workers were stunned and started criticizing her and her dress for she cannot wear sleeveless to work – the reason “Idhu Chennai ma” (This is Chennai). She had the shock of her life, as she is so used to wearing such clothes at her place – Bangalore.

But I made sure I’m not affected by this and neither are my girls.

Clothes do not define my personality. PERIOD.

I dislike wearing dupatta…OOPS…Shawl !  I may use it as an accessory whenever I like it but certainly not to define my personality !

There…its out of the system…and I’m relieved 😉

Musings from the heart

Mathematics was my fav subject
It still is…
I knew the tables upside down
And geometry was so much fun
Algebra, Trigonometry
Logarithms
Oh my !! I used to race them all
In solving the problems and all
I thought this was the world of genius
And I felt part of it
Thinking that this will take me ahead
I walked around with a proud head
I surely felt elated
My ego was suitably inflated
I used to feel like I knew it all
Till a decade back
I realized
That all those functions and theorems
Doesn’t have anything to do
With my present state of life !! Sigh !!

I went behind it too
To pursue it as my course
I jumped into logic
Binary and Hexadecimal
Coding with C++
Till one fine day
When I learnt that
Doing things without logic
Just on the intuition of the heart
Gives me more happiness
And joy !!

And in the process of loving a subject
I left out on many things
Which I would have loved to do
This certainly is not a regret phase
Its just thinking aloud
About not learning those other things
Which I am good at too !!

My dad used to swim well
I could have learnt swimming from him…
I did learn later
But with Dad it would’ve been great !

My mom cooks damn well
I could have learnt straight under her
Instead of learning from her through phone…

My patti was a great entrepreneur
She did so many things from home
It was her necessity
But I try to think of her ability
To manage business so well
Without a B-school degree !!

I could have learnt to sing better
To stitch better
To design clothes better
To do kolams better
To solve that crossword better
To paint better
To bake better
And…
I could have read more books
I could have traveled to places
Than be stuck in the same place !!

I never realized the art of writing
Was there inside me
Till the day I pushed myself
To become a blogger !!

This is just a blabber post
About people missing out
On their passionate stuff
And to realize their true self
The skills they have
With which they were born
We fail to look into ourselves
And see what we have !
We close our eyes
And jump into the sea of people
Who throng those colleges
Of professional courses !!
Without understanding what we are
It is difficult to study engineering
Or medicine or any course !!
Why not take time out to see
How we fare
Inside our hearts
Do we have a singing voice ?
An urge to play an instrument ?
Interested in stars ?
In reading palms ?
Helping out people ?
Talking to people ?
What are we inside ?
What do we like ?
Make a career out of that
And never feel a regret !!