Day 23 – Block out negativity

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Recently I happened to watch a wonderful program called “Positive thinking” on Discovery Channel.¬† And I liked it very much that I’m sharing it here, especially for you, dear girls ūüôā

A simple situation – Throwing the basket-ball into the basket.
Audience РAbout 15 people, who are instructed to give a pre-defined response, for the sake of this study.
Volunteer 1 – A twenty something lady who has never played basket-ball before.
Volunteer 2 – A guy in college who loves playing basket-ball and is good at perfect throws.
Volunteer 3 – A professional basket-ball player, who is part of the Zonal team.

Situation 1 – The three volunteers are allowed ten trials to hit the basket.

Volunteer 1 tries hard to hit as she has never played basket-ball before.
Scores Nil.
Audience goes “Oh no!!”

Volunteer 2 does it with ease.
Scores 9/10.
Audience¬†applauds with¬†“YAY”.

Volunteer 3 does it with ease too.
Scores 10/10.
Audience¬†applauds with¬†“YAY”.

Situation 2 РThe three volunteers are allowed ten trials to hit the basket, but blindfolded.

Volunteer 1 tries again.
Scores Nil.
Audience goes “YAY” even when she has not hit the basket, giving an impression of perfect baskets to Volunteer 1.

Volunteer 2 tries and there were misses and baskets too.
Scores 5/10.
Audience¬†goes “Oh no” giving an impression of bad throws and no baskets.

Volunteer 3 does again.
Scores 8/10.
Audience¬†goes “Oh no” giving an impression of bad throws and no baskets.

Situation 3 РThe three volunteers are allowed ten trials again after removing the blindfold.

Volunteer 1 starts with a happy frame of mind.
Scores 6/10.
Audience¬†applauds with¬†“YAY”.

Volunteer 2 is quite low in confidence.
Scores 4/10.
Audience¬†goes “Oh no”.

Volunteer 3 does it with ease again and again.
Scores 10/10.
Audience¬†applauds with¬†“YAY”.

Volunteer 1, a novice in basket-ball, has her confidence building cheers from the volunteers, even when she failed to hit the basket when blindfolded.  Her mind is telling her that she is too good in throwing the basket perfectly.  When her confidence levels are good, she gets a 6/10 score after the blindfold is removed.

Volunteer 2, a good player, loses confidence when the audience booed him during his blindfold throws.¬† He felt that he is not playing well and that showed in his third attempt without the blindfold.¬† His mind was feeling low when he heard the “Oh no” from the audience, thereby he got a low score of 4/10.

Volunteer 3, a professional player, always scored the same, irrespective of the audience approval or disapproval.  Her scores remain almost the same and her confidence levels are not based on what the audience say.

Now, my dear daughters, here is what I wanted to tell you, from this simple study…

In life too, there will be always some situation or other, where there may be a lot of criticism from people around you.  Do not let yourself down, based on what others tell you Рlike Volunteer 2.  Block the negativity that the people around you are giving.  Rise above it all and show them your true self.

You should feel good about yourself and what you do and have that supreme confidence that what you’re doing is right.¬† Then whatever negative comments that rise around you will not matter to you.¬† Just block those negative comments out of your mind.¬† In effect, block the crowd that makes the negative comments and focus on what you need to do in life.

I know….I know…I’m on an advice spree…but I just had to share this with you girls ūüėÄ

Month of ramblings

Day 20 – The art of letting go

I remember very well the freedom I enjoyed as a teenager, the trust by my parents and grand parents on me and along with that the wonderful thing called responsible freedom. All the freedom I enjoyed in studying what I wanted to, in going out with friends, in bringing home friends (both boys and girls – 3 decades back it was a huge thing), on deciding whom to marry and when to marry – everything came with the tag of responsibility. No one spoke about that to me, but it made the freedom appear more valuable and I could take much better decisions.

I wanted to study Engineering and my Appa said yes to it.
I joined in the same Company where I did my final year training. My Appa was OK with it.
In that Company, I was dealing more with the Hardware concepts. When after 3 years, I decided to shift to software, I just quit the job one fine day and came home to tell my Appa. He just looked at me and asked “What next?” ¬†He didn’t even raise his voice to ask Why I left that fabulous job !!
I decided to study further and my Appa supported it.
I got into a software company and my Appa was happy for me. And it was this job that made me the happiest. I thank my stars for such supporting parents, who actually didn’t criticize when I listened to my heart.
And when they wanted to get me married, Appa came and gave me the freedom to say yes or no to it.
Not only my father, my mom too has been great supporters of my decisions. They accepted me as who I am then and still accept me with all the changes that has happened to me so far.  That acceptance has given me the ability to do things as my heart says and not do things as dictated by parents or society.

And this acceptance can happen only if we, as parents, learn the art of Letting Go.  What it actually means ??

It’s a beautiful art where we as parents are attached to our children yet detached in many ways.

Teach them cooking, be there to see whether they are being careful about not getting burnt. But allow them to do it. Without trying it on their own, they can never learn. Every child knows its going to burn them, if they are not careful. A small scar today can teach them much better things than our protective “Oh no…don’t touch this or that” !! ¬†The cooking is just an example. ¬†As far as possible, allow them to make mistakes when young and when we are around to support them. ¬†¬†The lessons are learnt better that way.

Let Go of that super-protective instinct that might sometimes choke the children. As a young mother, I was paranoid about so many things. I’ll be scared to let them cross roads on their own. I was scared to let them go out and play alone. I used to tag along. And whenever I sent them alone, they used to come home hurt. ¬†That used to increase the paranoia I was feeling. ¬†May be they were getting hurt as my mind was constantly thinking about them getting hurt without me.

Realizations hit later in life and I was no different. ¬†The moment I started believing that they’ll be fine without me, things started to change. I wanted them to travel to school by public transport and learn the routes. And for that I’ve left them to go on their own. ¬†If I keep holding them with me, they’ll never learn. ¬†Learning the routes and being alert on the road are things which we learn by actually being there and not by sitting at home, totally protected.

And as parents, we just need to instill in them a sense of morality, a sense of what is good and what is wrong and then be done with a job done well. If we keep monitoring them, at every stage of life as to what they are doing, they’ll start doing it behind our back. Let them be. If I have set a good example of being morally responsible, then I’m sure that my daughters will be morally responsible too. After all, my genes do dwell in them ūüėÄ

We need to be attached to them by sending out love, strength and support and yet be detached in allowing them to fall and make mistakes and keep going on and on, without getting scared of making mistakes.  This is such a huge lesson that I learnt.

So, dear daughter, what is it you want to do in life ?
Do you want to travel a path less traveled ? Have you got the guts in you to keep going till you realize your dream ? ¬†Tell me how you want me to support you – I will. ¬†I’m there for you, behind you and absolutely rooting for¬†you. You go, find your niche, create your dream life and just be immensely happy ‚̧

Month of ramblings

Day 13 – Heart to heart

Yesterday‚Äôs post appealed more to my daughters as they understood¬†the need inside me to say ‚ÄúI say so‚ÄĚ ūüėÄ ¬†The younger one even called to say that she laughed so much as she recalled those days…he he ūüėÄ

But they were also glad and open in admitting that I was strict with them during those years and later became a lot relaxed with them, which helped them to do things better or understand things better. Then, I felt good when appreciated by them for things which I thought were imperfect on me as a mom.

We always got comments like ‚ÄúThe 3 sisters‚ÄĚ and all, but heart of heart really, we three feel like that now. The girls are grown up now. And the talks have ventured into career, doing things passionately, handling relationships with classmates and other girly stuff.

This handling of relationships ‚Äď the friendships which bound them to people, are their biggest support system where they can be themselves ‚Äď its their age group. Thoughts are alike ‚Äď silly, matured, playful, teasing, happy, sad, angry ‚Äď everything put into one bundle.¬†¬† As they keep realizing their own personality and what they want from a friendship, lot of hassles happen in their mind ‚Äď whether to continue with this friendship or not.¬† And the biggest thing we need with friendships is patience, if we really want to give it a try.

And I keep talking to them about maintaining such bonds which you can carry on for a long time in your life.  I had lost touch with many of my friends when we shifted out of school, without any proper contact information. Now, with technology’s help, we are all back together.  And I can feel that warmth among us when we meet.  I want them to maintain such strong friendship bonds, which are very essential for our survival.  Solitude is good, I love it too. But I want a circle to fall back on.  These are the small things which I want them to understand in nurturing a friendship.

Now is not the time to say ‚ÄúI won‚Äôt talk with you anymore, because you didn‚Äôt give me notes to copy‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Those childish days are gone! We are big enough to put ourselves in their shoes and think with clarity.

Not only this, there might be people all around who will be waiting for opportunities to put the girls down, make them look bad in front of their teacher  or even bitch about them everywhere. I wish that my girls are more matured to handle such situations, stronger to deal with the bitches and smarter to take on with the teacher and prove themselves if required.

Last but not the least, I want them to Live the present! Do not worry about what happened in the past ‚Äď we don‚Äôt live there anymore. And do not break your head what‚Äôs going to happen in the future. Keep living every day, as if this is the best day of your life. You‚Äôll live to see only best days forever ! ¬†Month of ramblings

 

Lighting up lives, this Diwali

As I wrote in my last post on the evading rains of Chennai, the Rain God Indra¬†laughed within himself. Little did I know that He was going to shower the city for 3 days. My God !! Whatta rain…Whatta downpour !! It’s been a loooong time since we Chennaiites had such good rain.

And my wonderful house help Muthu came to work, in spite of the heavy rains. I told her to take it easy today, as it was Diwali and she can spend time with her family.

But, she being she, rang my doorbell, as usual. Along she came to tell the story of what happened yesterday at the other house, where she works (Read more about that person here).

Yesterday, after finishing work at my place, she had gone to that house. They asked her to go and give some things to another friend’s house. The lifts were off, as we had a whole 24 hour power cut. She took the stairs, slipped on the water, tumbled down 3 steps and hurt her ankle.

The thing that made my blood boil was, when she told them about her fall, they didn’t even feel for it. But made her do all the work in spite of the pain.

What kind of people are they ?? Don’t they have any human consideration ? ¬†This is the time of the year, when people need to spread happiness and cheer in the lives of people, who are short of it. And this kind of treatment is no way near humanity.

And then there are people like these, who are changing for the better…we need more people like them. I know how difficult it is to change from the immense drilling of the younger years. But it has to happen for the cause of humanity. I’ve seen such changes happen with my mother and aunt and it amazes and humbles me. I want to be the person to respect them for the work they do and certainly not to disrespect them for the caste they belong.

My Mother Invited Our Domestic Help’s Family To Diwali Dinner And Started A Tradition

Let us be the change…
Let us bring in more cheer to others…
Let us give more happiness…
Let us love more !

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Let us light up lives ūüôā

Weekend rant

I’ve done it before, of course, the rant – here.

And it keeps happening again.

My household help is Muthu, a very sweet and naive woman, mother of three little girls – read something more about her here.

She keeps throwing up questions at me, which shakes me up so much ! So, what was her question now ??

Akka, have you read Bhagvad Gita ??

Yes, sort of (as I’ve read a few chapters of it).

Does the Bhagvad Gita tell you that you should not allow people from other castes to touch things in your house ?? Like me touching the Pressure Cooker or the Gas Stove or vessels or things like that ??

***Absolute shocking silence from me***
And then, I shake myself and ask “Why such a doubt suddenly??”

I work for this other house…you also know her. In her house, her mom doesn’t allow me to touch any vessels. She washes them all after I clean up. Is this what the Bhagvad Gita says?? Because all people follow their holy book, right??

Muthu….Muthu….not only Bhagvad Gita, none of the holy books talk about discrimination to people based on caste or anything. All the holy books talk about way of life – by doing good things to others. The caste and other things like touching or non-touching have been created by us, humans and its a terrible thing to do. ¬†To treat another human being lowly just because of silly reasons like caste is the biggest of crimes.¬†

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Even though I sort of explained things to her, it was a slap on the face moment for me. ¬†I wondered how for all the lowly things which the humans are doing, the holy books are held responsible…sigh…

 

 

Weekend Musing : Being Religiously Correct

When Thursday was a holiday on behalf of Ganesh Chaturthi, it felt like a “mid-week weekend break”. ¬†It’s during these break times that my¬†mind goes into some serious thought process¬†which has resulted in this musings post.

Yesterday’s visit to a legendary place of worship in Chennai brought my focus on to the right track and here are a few for you.

There is the sign in that place of worship which prohibits people of other religions to enter inside.  Reading that sign, I was angry and ashamed at the same time.

Now, can anyone explain in the truest sense what does it mean ‚Äúto belong to a particular religion‚ÄĚ??? ¬†Is it wearing the traditional clothes associated with a particular religion?? Or blindly visiting places of worship?? Or simply being human and kind, as all the religions in this whole wide world says?

If anyone¬†truly looks into any of the holy books for reference, all one could get is that all religions talk about a way of life – the way to live, the way to show love, the way to show kindness, the way to show charity – it’s the way of GOOD. All the other customs or traditions were the making of the people and in effect created a vast discrimination among people.

And we still follow those customs and traditions¬†blindly not understanding it one bit and in effect, not allowing a particular sect of people to come into places of worship. Isn’t God the same for every human being??¬† Why should there be differences in allowing people into places of worship??

I recently had the opportunity to visit places of worship belonging to other faiths and I was humbled by the whole experience. God is the same everywhere…people go with such tremendous faith in the Supreme to help them in their personal lives.  Now, is it wrong of me to have enjoyed those experiences of being in a different place of worship other than mine??

There is also one more thing that keeps bothering me ‚Äď that holding onto the fact that you can do charity only to people of same religion. Where is humanity in this?? Hunger is the same in all religions and food should be given to people who are hungry not because they follow a certain faith.

And then when I’m given food because I belong to a particular religion, I am confounded with doubts of whether I truly belong to this sect of people, as I don’t have any qualities like them !  What if one of my forefathers lied to his successors about the lineage and I’m mistakenly taken as part of this sect??

Hunger, shelter, protective clothes are a need to the human kind and is certainly not decided on the basis of religion or faith. It’s just so simple to follow. I do not understand the adherence of religion¬†to do charity.

We spend so much on cooking fabulous meals during Death ceremony and finally the left-over food is thrown in the dust bin. Yes, that food cannot be shared with anyone outside the family.  Or may be it can be given to the cow. Now, where is the cow?? My heart bleeds at such waste of food.

Just have a look at the food being wasted at weddings / parties / other small functions. Can we show a little compassion here and give the left-over food to people who are starving??

And then there are so many small family functions which are part of a bigger tradition relating to the welfare of the family. But entry is restricted only to people of the same religion.  Food and clothes are given only to people of the same sect.  Even if anyone is need of the food or clothes, it is not entertained.  I can say with certainty that religion is surely taking over all the core-values that maketh a human.

Let us make that effort to let people go into places of worship and let religion not be the restricting force.
Let us give food, clothes, shelter to people who need it very much and not restrict to people of one single religion.
Let charity be done based on morality !

And let us not allow religion to over ride the humanitarian values !

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PS : What I wrote yesterday seemed quite blunt to the point, which I liked. But here is the polished version of the post, as I should be Religiously Correct on the social media !

 

Stand up for your heart…

Dear first-born,

Stand up for your heart, dear one
For nothing else will matter in the long run.

I think it’s the need of the hour to tell you a few things of the heart. ¬†You’ve crossed the legal major milestone, but you’re still a child in matters of the heart. And especially when it comes to your career, it’s better to follow thy heart. ¬†For the one you choose with your heart is always the best one for you. ¬†Now, you’re doing the culinary course listening to your heart. Now, take the big step of taking a job, in the same way – listening to your heart.

There are many who say that mind is logical and its best to follow that route – even I did. ¬†I’ve had my great moments in my career as a Computer Science Engineer, but I wonder now, why didn’t I take to writing earlier !! I love it…I find happiness in expressing myself with words. ¬†I find happiness in baking, cooking and I should have gone for that career. ¬†Little did I know that all these matters of the heart should be taken seriously. ¬† And these ways of the heart are the one to give us maximum happiness and satisfaction of a life fully lived.

To quote a living example : Your dad was exemplary in his career and had many a high spots in his marketing field. But it was only when his passion for food got converted into a business that he really found true happiness.  He took many years to realize and go for it. Sometimes, we are afraid to take the plunge as the mind keeps telling us logical situations and their outcomes.  And in the process happiness gets lost.

Break that fear, dear ! It’ll constrain you.
Listen to your heart…it’ll make birds of you !
Flying towards your passion
And hence you’ll be happy for no reason !

Use your mind to accumulate knowledge but using it for situations in life is something to pause and introspect. ¬†I don’t know if anyone else will tell you NOT¬†to think logically. ¬†Because as I write for you today, I can tell you with assurance – I’ve been there in the logical side and all. But here, when I listen to my heart and bake or cook or write, I’m the happiest. ¬†It doesn’t seem like work. ¬†I’m enjoying every moment of it.

You think I’m the best mom ?? I listened to my heart, my instincts as a mother…that’s why you think I’m best. Now, you listen to your heart. You’ll be the best in whatever you do !

Life is short, life is once, live it to your maximum, live it by listening to your heart !
So, when your heart tells you to follow a path, stand up for it and walk through the path with your heart !

Love
Amma.

Live and let live

Girl: Hiii…are you a Brahmin??

Daughter: Yes…why?? (Shocked¬†with such a question on the first meet – she didn’t even introduce herself or ask for her name)

Girl: You Brahmins treated us as untouchables for long ! (And she holds my daughter’s hand tightly to tell “Now what can you do??”)

Daughter: (Certainly pissed off with that girl’s attitude and talk about untouchables and all, gave her back in a super duper way) ¬†Ayyo…somebody get me sanitizing lotion !!

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There are few things which I insist upon my children. The first and foremost of them is to tend and keep the humanitarian quality inside alive.  Being kind to people, giving a smile simply, giving food for the needy, thinking about the people who work for us are a few among them.

I’ve also insisted to them to practice kindness rather than being superstitious. ¬†Customs and traditions are fine but need not be done on a fanatical way. ¬†Do things you like and love to do, not because someone forced you to do it, is what I keep telling them always. ¬†Also, the most important thing is “follow your heart”, as in following your gut feeling / instincts.

Being a human has always over-ridden the fact of being a Hindu or a Brahmin. ¬†Its the way I’ve brought up my daughters too. ¬†Yes, there are a few things we do at home, things that have been ingrained in the blood, when we were young. But I make sure that no one is offended by my following of any tradition.

And then there are others, who are fanatic of what one sect of people did to another sect, decades back !! Its a sad state that we bring up our next generation with this mentality of hating others.  Can we live and let live ??

live-and-let-live

 

 

A long pending letter

Dear Menstrual Cycle

I’ve been wanting to write to you for sometime now, about your queerness and quirkiness. I don’t know whether you wish to solve these issues or keep mum about the whole episode. I just felt that I’ve to let you know the discrepancies that I’ve seen in your cycles in many women.

There is this daughter-in-law of my friend who wants to conceive and month after month you make an appearance, so dutifully, that she is frustrated at the sight of you.

And then there is this friend of mine in her forties who is just wishing that you come in time. But you fail her – totally. ¬†When you come, you don’t stop flowing for a long time that she wishes that you don’t come again. But, as the next cycle rolls by, she’s feeling the same as before.

You even come with a big bang of pain for so many women out there, who just hate the sight of you.  Even though your presence in our bodies is supposed to be good, the pain out beats the whole purpose of getting the cycle.

And then there are those in menopause, who have no clue on when you are due, how long you are going to stay or why you keep coming so often !!

You smell…you stain…you give terrible pains…you make us feel bloated…you make us feel depressed…you make us moody…you make us crave for food…yet, we go through the ordeal. ¬†Can you at least be kind enough to be on time or not come for 9 months or leave the pain somewhere ??

I sincerely hope you’ll pay heed to our simple requests, as we keep hosting you month after month, till our uterus stops its hormonal function.

From
A woman who bangs the bed stand to beat those cramps.

Life’s great lessons, yet told simply…

I’ve a younger sister and brother. ¬†We all grew up with the same kind of dos and don’ts and thankfully, my brother was treated on par with us, girls. ¬†Appa and Amma used to be the same strict parents when they felt we were going beyond their financial boundaries. ¬†But sharing the reality with us, made us aware of the harsh side of life very early in our lives.

We saw our parents slogging day in and day out for a better and comfortable lifestyle; those times were tough ones. Even though they were stressed up for a better financial life, there were small things that they enjoyed and music was one of them. ¬†Whether its MS Subbulakshmi’s Suprabatham or Sulamangalam sisters’ Skanda Shasti Kavasam or the morning Vividh Bharati or the amazing voices of Rafi, Kishore, SPB, Jesudas – every kind of music was appreciated and enjoyed.

One night Vividh Bharati was broadcasting Ghazals by Rafi.  A soulful rendition by Rafi and it was the first time I listened to it.  Appa was sitting and having his usual Vethalai pakku ritual (betel leaves with supari was his favorite) . Listening to it, he suddenly had tears in his eyes.  Music does that to him.  And when I asked why Ghazals today, he told that it was the Death Anniversary of Rafi.  I still cherish this musical memory with Appa.

We three siblings still do – music is a part of our life giving us little places to find solace and peace within us. ¬†Appa played the music he enjoyed and we just took the music forward into our lives with open hearts ūüôā

The world may say different things about what we believe is right.  But we need to persist with our beliefs.  For this we need tremendous amount of inner strength to face the world, with our principles intact.  This is another big lesson from my parents.  They were silent yet strong.  They were resilient even when problems hit their shore in subsequent waves.  They learned to smile during tough times and expertly passed on that quality onto us.  And I am so sure that this is the biggest lesson that we three have learnt Рits the game of survival with a smile.

And biggest of all was the freedom that they gave us – in doing what we liked in our career, in choosing our friends, to go out with friends – they trusted us implicitly. ¬†And as a mother, I’m trying my level best to impart the same to my daughters and I hope I’ve done well. ¬†This freedom is like a breath of fresh air, when I hear tales of girls not being allowed to do what their heart desired.

Appa resides in our hearts now…
But Amma is still strong in her mind and in the way she’s helping others with financial difficulties. ¬†I see her day in and day out, doing something or other, never resting for a minute. ¬†She reminds us about important things which we need to do asap, in her own gentle way. ¬†She’s a pillar of strength and I’m thankful for her presence in my life. ¬†She still teaches me on how to be busy even when we grow old and enjoy the simple joys of life, as it comes and also in adapting to the changing ways of her grandchildren.

We learn some lessons by reading about it…
We learn some when we are the players in the field…
And then some are learnt by observing our parents…