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.

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!

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!

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!

Changing the self-talk

The past few years, I have avoided going out in the sun. I used to do this self-talk “If I go out in the bright sun, I will get a headache”!
I avoided the sun as much as possible, especially after 10 am when it becomes hot too!
The lockdown situations aided my thinking as I comfortably stayed put at home. I was happy to be exercising and never gave a second thought to my requirements from natural sunlight.
When my blood tests showed a lesser Vitamin D in the body than the normal levels, I knew I had taken the sunlight requirement very casually.
Now, I need to be out in the sun for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Some days I go early for a walk in the sun. On certain days, I become held up with some work in the kitchen.
When I go for a walk after 9 am, the sun is out in full warmth. The first day I was hesitant based on my earlier self-talk – “headache when the sun is bright and hot”!
I just had to change my self-talk to “This sunlight is good for me. It gives me energy, warmth, and Vitamin D”!
As I kept repeating this new self-talk, I found newfound energy during my walks. I have started to enjoy my walk in the sunlight; the time doesn’t matter now!

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!