Wednesday, December 12, 2007

When he came..............

PP brought him home one evening. The minute he stepped into my household I could notice his magnetic presence attracting everyone's attention. When we finally sat down to have our daily doze of ginger tea and hot snacks with the regular exchange of the day's events , his personality was already casting its spell.

He seemed to have a knack with kids: for they were already on top of him without a moment's hesitation. I too couldn't stop leaving frequent glances in his direction.

All of us readily embraced him as our family and from then on he was my constant companion. I didn't have the heart to leave him behind when I had to run errands or go for a doctor's visit.

His constant companionship opened new vistas in our relationship. I found it hard to hide my feelings for him. He became that perfect friend , I was longing for during my monotonous drives. He had a magic in his voice which was so powerful , that you couldn't help listening.I couldn't help reciprocate his loving presence.

I could drive with ease , without being scorned at ....when my steering wheel turned right instead of left. I felt content to be accepted for who I was .

His presence always boosted my confidence.I no longer had to face the " when will you ever learn" looks nor hear the impatient sighs that emanated from the side seat.

Today is different! When ever I take a wrong turn , his voice is still poised and calm . He just says " re-calculating"!!!

Meet my new friend , who has instilled in me the sense of direction.... he is none other that the global positioning system (GPS)!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Miles to go before I sleep ...

I have decided to merge both my blogs into one. From now on impressions on my travels will also be posted in my " miles to go before I sleep " ....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"ni" of my Sadhana!

Light diffuses into its myriad colors painting a spectrum....
each hue shining in its might
a rainbow.... a beholder's delight!!

the sight of a rare rainbow sprouts joy, wonder and excitement in almost all of us. Light casts itself into its various colors,with varying frequencies and wavelengths ...!!! each having its individual properties .. yet is only a part of the whole!

We too, in our day to day lives put on various roles...that of a mother , daughter , wife , employee , student and many more....and in the long run start identifying with our roles. We transform ourselves into these roles and just bury our true self, in this role playing.

At one point, I am the wife , never ever tired of nagging ...and then I am the mother, always expecting ... then I am a daughter always demanding .....In all this role playing, I have forgotten to shed the roles and just be me. In the previous posts relating to sadhana ... I had revealed a few facts about myself . Today, when I try to come up with yet another fact, I can just say that I am not just a daughter , wife , mother , dancer , student .....I am something more! I am not just the human, I am also the " being"....and it is that something which makes me whole! Like the VIBGYOR colors, which are beautiful expressions of the same white light ... the roles I play are only expressions of my Being! The Ni of my sadhana is that I am some thing more that I think I am ....the taste of which I have experienced .....only in glimpses ...or split seconds when I have shed my egos unknowingly, when I have forgotten to play my roles!

With this post I conclude my long tag! Thanks to my friend Bharathy, for tagging me ...and helping me launch a quest... I thoroughly enjoyed it! ( I am sure she will never ever dare to tag me in future :) )

Friday, November 9, 2007

"dha" of my Sadhana!

It is Diwali today! But it was different. I did not wake up to the sounds of the fireworks or the shouts of the kids outside. I did not receive any "Happy Diwali wishes " from neighbors who used to knock our door with their diwali sweets and sweeter smiles. Nor was I tempted to venture in to my kitchen to savor the freshly prepared diwali specials .

As I peeked outside through the blinds of my tightly shut window , I had to remind myself that it was diwali. Trees were already bare, it had cast off all the colorful leaves which had adorned it a week ago. Nature had decked herself in comforters and blankets of mist and cold, ready for hibernation. This ambiance lulled me into a dream state and I dream t of the excitement which used to go with deepavali, the festival of lights!

As kids, our day use to start with a nice and long oil bath. We used to be first bathed in oil, with genuine strokes of lavish massage. Applying oil on the face was the most difficult part! We as kids used to run in order to avoid the oil from glistening our tiny faces. But at last we had to give up and ended up making "bheebhalsa bhavas" on our faces like the Kathakali dancers.After the elaborate bath, we used to be dress up in new clothes and Amma would have already prepared the plate if diyas. The kids in the houses were taken aarthi, with home made diyas...Dusk would be welcomed with lights all over the house and yard! crackers and fireworks on the veranda would have surely invited divine grace.

Though I tried to charge our home with the spirit of the festival by running around the house to apply oil on my kids, I was overcome with nostalgia. As I stared out of the window, I saw something different! I felt I was not alone ...Nature clasped her hands with me in the was raining if to say enjoy this is shower of white and light from a higher realm for you ...just feel it the spark in you!..I could feel Nature pulling me to an elevated state..lightening up each cell in my body.In front of me were my kids dancing was the dance of joy ! I wondered at the simplicity and innocence of the sight of snow could inspire and gift us with moments of bliss.

I joined the rhythm of my toddlers...with each sway in my body I felt the waves of joy encompassing us.We were dancing with both body and being! After all each one of us are the "DANCE" of the macrocosmic consciousness....

Dha of my Sadhana is that I would like to call myself a passionate dancer! Dance to me is prayer, a communication , an enlightening experience. On this auspicious ocassion of Deepavali , I wish all of you a wonderful year ahead filled with light and love! May this Diwali enlighten our lifes helping us realize our true passions . " Happy diwali ! friends...

Sunday, November 4, 2007


"I am going to be a spider witch"....." I 'll be a mermaid"... I am a princess"..." I love being a butterfly".....each one was eager to share the details of their costumes for the Halloween. This was my first Halloween and I was amused at the excitement that filled the innocent faces of the kids who had gathered home for their regular dance sessions. I asked them " What is Halloween?" and the answer I got was , It was a day when we will get a lot of candies....and we get new costumes for our costume party!"

Then I got a note from my son's school regarding the Halloween party! They were supposed to go to school in a costume and take with them gifts or treats to share with their friends. So I went searching for the costume of his choice to the mall. The whole mall was filled with the spirit of Halloween. there were spooky corners which sold scary masks and costumes...,there were special offers for miniature chocolate bars and candies....on the shelf stood pumpkin shaped pails with different facial expressions ...!!!
"Amma , I don't want to wear any thing scary!" ......My son came up with his demand!....his eyes stuck on the red costume of a fire fighter and he was satisfied.

Still I did not get a satisfying answer regarding the roots of this festival which seemed to have gained a wide popularity , second only to the Christmas. The festival is now commercialized , and the real reason behind the festival seemed to be missing. I digged a few books and searched the internet and found out that this was originally a Celtic festival with its roots in Ireland.It is named after " All Hallows even " or Eve of All Hallows Day or All Saints Day.Romans who later invaded the Celts seem to have blended in their customs into this festival.It originally symbolized the end of summer and beginning of the dark period or winter.It was called "Samhain" by the Irish, who celebrated this day with bone fires and bambrack( a traditional fruit cake).It was also believed to be the time when other worldly creatures roamed the planet ! There fore who ever , left their homes disguised in costumes in order to be in sync with the outside atmosphere.They used to roam around with a lantern made from gourd(jack o lantern.... which represented the plight of jack the farmer whose spirit roams around, who is denied entry to heaven or hell due to a spell from the devil).gourd was later replaced by pumpkin, which is more abundantly found! The poor in Ireland used to knock at doors and beg, and in turn would pray for the souls of the bereaved. This has been transformed into "trick or treating" today, where children run from door to door in their costumes and are given treats !

The Roman Goddesses Pomona ( Goddess of fruits) is remembered by the custom of bobbing of apples. This is a game where apples and coins and thrown into water and is supposed to be picked up with out using the hands.

Though the festival is not celebrated in its olden significance, it is a great time of the year ...when each house hold welcomes you with the colors of autumn, signs of harvest, symbols of ghouls and ghosts and witches....the pagan festival is redefined to fit into today world... celebrated with a difference!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The "Pa" of Sadhana!

" Amma , Kaani... Amma Kaani....." my elder son was obsessed with stories from a very young age. He used to repeat these words continuously, suggesting favorable topics for his stories. It could be on any thing under the sun...animals, vehicles, plants ....he would name it and I had to give an extempore on the given topic. This exercise has surely kindled my creative faculties and my imaginative thinking! has helped me realize the beauty of childhood, which is a life with out any limits...

One day , he came up with a topic..".hands"! Once upon a time ......I started with my on the spot story! ... it ended up to be something I had heard in my childhood....It went thus....

".......there was a discussion which turned out to be heated debate among the five fingers. Each one wanted to prove that it was the best. The thumb said, "I am the strongest! with out me to support no one can even hold a pen or a pencil. So I am the best!"
The pointer said," I am the best, there is no doubt about that.....people use me to point at things...I am the most useful one in communication!"
The middle finger said," Come on guys! how can any of you imagine to be best ....I am present! I am the tallest...and the most elegant! "
The ring finger said, "Can't you all see ! I am the most honored ... people adorn me with precious stones and jewels ! I am the symbol of love!"
All waited for the little finger...what would it tell, after all it was without any special features....but the little finger mustered up all confidence and rose to the occassion.It said," When you greet some one or When you bow down before God with folded arms , I lead the way! I am greeted back first! How can you all look down upon me! I am the most blessed!"
Each one has his or her own role to play .. like the members of a family!
Like the palm which holds the fingers together , it is love and understanding which holds the family together.

Each member of the family, big or small is important to make it whole. Shiva kudumbam or the family of lord shiva, in hindu mythology is an apt example of the diverse personalities in the family. Shiva who has smeared His whole body with ashes and has snakes for ornaments, the embodiment of penance and austere meditation with His divine consort Parvathi , a potrayal of feminine beauty and power: their elephant headed Son Ganesha with a protruded belly and their warrior son, Subrahmania. They represent a family .... entirely different personalities who are held together with the power of love.

The "pa" of my Sadhana is that I am my Family....a part which makes it whole....! I enjoy the warmth and the joy when we are together. I am surrounded by the embrace of my family ....the time and togetherness we share nourishing our growth , strengthening the roots of relationships!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Kanna and Sree go Apple picking!!!

I was waiting with Sree my toddler, for my elder son Kanna's school bus to arrive. I couldn't help wonder at the tapestry of nature , as my eyes fell on the swaying colorful trees as they performed their autumn dance. All the colors were compressed in the costumes these trees wore , creating a divine aura of joy and bliss.
" Anna bus , Anna bus" , yelled Sree as he heard the approaching yellow school bus.
" Amma, Anna come in magic school bus. Sree also go in magic school bus with Anna" he added.

Kanna came running , his face beaming with pride , his out stretched arms eagerly waiting for a warm squeeze and a loving hug. He started elaborating the days events at school... trying not to miss every opportunity at arousing jealousy in his little brother.

"I have something special to give you " said Kanna as he opened his school bag and pulled out a few papers. On it were given detailed recipies of apple sauce , apple sauce cake and apple muffins.
" Amma, I am going to help you make these!" he declared.

There was home work to for me .. it said " write why is your child the apple of your eye?"

" Amma, my teacher lives near an apple orchard!
Amma, you know what , my friend Zac brought apple sauce to school today!
Amma , you know there are red , yellow and green apples.......if we slit open an apple we can see a star...........

He went on and on ....and apples were the main topic of discussion through out the day!

We finally decided to go apple picking at "Erwin Apple orchard", which was a 20 minute drive from our place.

On Saturday morning , off we went to the apple orchard. We first took a ride around the farm on the farm wagon.. trying to figure out which variety of apples we would fill in our plastic bag , that we bought at the counter.We passed the corn maze , the pumpkin patch and finally arrived the apple orchard.

Red and golden balls were dangling from small healthy looking trees , which was a real treat to the eyes. Some trees were covered with these from top to bottom , that even my two year old could easily pluck them with out any one's help. The golden delicious were so tempting and inviting that it reminded me of Adam and Eve's first temptation. Our hands involuntarily held the golden fruit , and it came off its branch with a slight twist. Before long all of us were busy munching the juicy treats as we roamed through the rows of apple trees trying to research on the juiciest ones.

Adjacent to the apple orchard was the orange pumpkin patch with huge pumpkins....Kanna went in search of the perfect pumpkin which he could carry ...the long search finally came to an end after trying to lift each pumpkin we saw ....finally we discovered kanna's perfect pumpkin.

After a long day of apple diet .... we once again succumbed to the freshly made apple donut and apple cider before heading for the games that were organized for kids.

Our apple cake

apple pickle

Back at home , we made apple pickle, apple sauce and apple cake .....while Kanna stirred the dry ingredients , Sree and Appa blended the wet ones .....we all anxiously waited for the cake to bake ....its aroma arousing our taste buds....As the kids savored the apple cake ...I could catch a twinkle in their eyes , a glow on their faces !!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The "ma" of my Sadhana!

" Om Hari Sri Ganapathayee namaha! " wrote the tiny little fingers on the tray of rice with joy and excitement, squatting on her dad's lap. She used to wait eagerly for this moment every year! The nine day Navaratri festival filled her home with energy and life. Her dad used to walk to every nook and corner of the house with a broom stick threatening the homes of spiders and bugs while her mom used to rearrange the home giving it a new look. The house echoed with the music and chitter chatter of all the students who used to spend long hours in her home practising and preparing for the oncoming cultural events which are routinely held at the famous thrikkakara temple.

The best part was decorating the pooja room for the "pooja vaipu". All the Gods and Goddesses were given a rose water bath. A ritual carried on with reverence and creativity. the small room was transformed in to a temple ....a temple of art and learning! ornate d with musical instruments , dancing bells and books. Each instrument was considered divine , and respected with the offering of new attire ( which later was to be worn by us).
Pooja vaipu is considered a sacred moment ...which is an act of total surrender act of shedding ones egos which are build on learning and wisdom act where one offers all knowledge acquired in this life to the Divine and prepare to be a Zero.

As young kids we were given all the time in the world to play once the pooja vaipu was done. We relished those moments of unhindered luxury when we never ever heard authoritative voices lecturing to us about the importance of reading our books! On the other hand we were asked not to read .... forcing us to break the rules and later put on a face of guilt.

Vijayadashami was on the tenth day . I usually woke up to the rhythmic sound which emanated from the kitchen would be the sweet music born from the voice modulation of the coconut and the chirava(coconut scraper). The artiste would be Appa .. while Amma will be preparing the nivedyam for the day "phovu kalailolo" ( a blend of rice flakes and coconut and jaggery and banana) After bath, all would assemble at the koodi(pooja room) for vidyarambham or new beginning. For infants this day is considered auspicious to begin writing. And for the rest, this symbolizes the necessity of relearning, new beginning and the beauty of remaining a forever student eager to learn and re learn at each and every phase of our lives.

The "ma" of my sadhana is that I am a student forever......(a fact that I never realized during my school and college days). A role which makes life worth living ......I dedicate this post to all my gurus ..Guru means someone who guides you from darkness to light. It is difficult to name each and every one here... so as I visualise them in my inner eye I bow down before them seeking their blessings!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Life is Relationships....................................

In this journey called life we come across umpteen number of people. We pause to exchange a "hi" with many.....with some we manage a shake hand.....with a few we sit down to chat and with a few others we hold a bond. Life is relationships......

The few countries I visited in the past seven years have enriched my life with beautiful bonds.....
when I tread back my memory lane , its these beautiful moments created by some wonderful friends that I am reminded of than the places I visited.

I would like to dedicate this post to four loving couple who made my days memorable in the four foreign countries I visited. There were many more lovely relationships which I still treasure today ....but these couples have surely etched their names with their infallible love and untainted friendship.

Kajiyoshi San and Sadami San of Japan

They were the most polite people I have ever come across. Sadami San was kind enough to prepare a full vegetarian course meal , when she invited me to her well decorated traditional Japanese home. Kajiyoshi San was one of the librarians in the library which was opposite to our apartment. How can I forget the knock at our apartment door at 4.30 in the morning....on our last day in Japan. We would have missed our flight , if he was not at our door step to bid a final good bye to us. He was in his seventies , but still helped us with all our luggage and dropped us at the railway station .

Mrs and Mr Jaison Shang of Taiwan

Our first day in Taiwan. My husband PP had already left for office and I was feeling homesick and far away from home. Just then the phone bell rang , and a female voice introduced herself as Mrs Jason , wife of Customer site Manager of PP's project.She was already waiting for me in the downstairs lobby , to show me around . She helped me purchase necessary groceries and fresh fruits and vegetables from the local market and I was already feeling very comfortable . The warmth and the kindness , we receive when we are far from home is so precious.

Mr Naas Ferriera and Mrs Wickie of South Africa

They were the most jovial and energetic couple I have come across. There enthusiasm and energy is so contagious , that they skillfully trap us in their magical web of love and friendship. My baby had started calling Mr Naas " abu"( meaning grandpa in our mother tongue.) Once they invited us home for dinner , which was an unique experience. Naas was cooking hot and fresh buns for us in his open hearth oven in his back yard. Each one had to prepare his or her own dinner.We were each provided with pans and small portable stoves. They had cut a variety of vegetables and cooked a huge casserole of rice and lined up a row of various spices. We could make a meal from the ingredients they had provided and eat from the pan. Each one came up with a different variety of rice which all savored in the warm embrace of friendship.

Mr George Chacko and Mrs Anuja Chacko of USA

I am glad to have met these wonderful people , who have made me and my family feel so much at home. Anuja 's support in exploring my artistic talents and also establishing a personal bond has made my life here more fruitful and enjoyable.

I feel fortunate to have been exposed to various cultures through my travels. If not for these experiences , I would have been like a frog in a pond.....leading a cloistered existence ....the nomad in me is thirsty for more travels and more experiences.....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The'ga" of Sadhana

The "Ga" of my Sadhana is that I am a " Chrysalis". Try to recollect what you learnt in your biology class in school. ....
Doesn't Chrysalis sound familiar? An adult butterfly lays eggs , which hatches into a caterpillar. Caterpillar swallows and accepts all the greenery that comes its way ..shedding its skin every now and then. It later transforms into a chrysalis or pupa before evolving into a beautiful butterfly.

I remember learning the life cycle of a butterfly in school, but now, I am relearning it. Today I am not forced to memorize the process of metamorphosis in a butterfly, but I pause to think the powerful message it implies. Metamorphosis is not a process that is characteristic of insects or amphibians alone. Though not physically, we homo sapiens too have the innate capability of metamorphosis. Like a caterpillar we take in with greed all that comes our way. As we tread along towards growth, we shed our, preconceived notions, beliefs and image building egos...changing every moment. Then we enter into yet another new existence ....that of a pupa.....which might seem static, but is actually a dynamic existence.
A state of meditation, awareness .... moments brimming with life.
A state which makes life meaningful and worth living.
A prelude to a celebration....
a state before the flowering of a butterfly.

Like the light in total darkness which guides you find your way, the various retreats and youth programs at the "Oneness University" helped me live each moment of my life. Boredom was erased from my life dictionary, and I started living life with all intensity. Perceptions and attitude changed, and I stepped into the robe of a chrysalis.

Here is a video on metamorphosis!!! Hope all of you will enjoy!

I was delighted when my brother Naveen responded to this post with a beautiful poem.To read this poem click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A relaxing Dessert !

Would you like to have your favorite creamy ice cream that tickles your taste buds and swims down your esophagus ?
Would your like to have aromatic and glistening gajar ka halwa with the intoxicating smell of ghee ?
Why not try the thick sweetness of palada payasam , enriched with the flavors of condensed milk ?.......
Do not mistake this for a food blog, though I have dreamt of starting one....

These are a few of my favorite desserts though the list can get longer in a jiffy. I was notorious for being a picky and fussy eater during my childhood. Though my affinity for food has deepened as I grew up , there is something that has remained constant temptation for a nice dessert. You can put a full stop to your meal only with an exotic dessert! It cools down , relaxes and also rejuvenates your tired digestive system after it has to assimilate , grind and digest the heavy inputs.

The same calming and soothing effect is met when you get a good assertive foot massage at the end of long hectic day. I am fortunate to enjoy this daily doze of dessert at the end of each day, which is like a balm , and which has all the properties of a sleeping pill. And my daily therapist is none other than my husband PP.

When we were in Taiwan I grabbed the opportunity of offering my feet to a professional foot massager. The board " FOOT MASSAGE" used to be so inviting , and I always suppressed my temptation of peering into the road side massage rooms. But I finally gave in ; and on one of my usual walks to bargain for fresh vegetables from farmers , who displayed their crops in the congested and noisy streets, I stopped at one of those boards ...and found few people in a queue awaiting their turn for the massage. I too joined the group. I could also hear pleading and yelling voices from the customers who were already tasting the efficacy of the massage .It was finally my turn ... and soon realized the secrets behind the pleading and yelling voices.The half an hour massage that followed was an experience that I find difficult to put to words. You have to experience it.

The person who massaged my foot kept on talking to me in Chinese , but I was not in a state to explain that I did not follow their language .. If I opened my mouth to speak I knew I would not speak , but only scream. After the massage I was given one and a half liter of warm water , which I was supposed to drink . Even though my bladder could no longer endure the pressures from within, by the time I rushed back home .....I went back every week for more of those massages.

Though the massages were painful, it promised energizing each and every cell by removing the blocks that have piled in our body!

Here is a small video of a Taiwanese foot massage, which brought back memories.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The "Re" of Sadhana

Once upon a time there was a man who used to go from street to street selling hats. One day, when the Sun was scorching, he sat down under the shade of a huge tree to have a midday nap. With the basket full of hats next to him , he dozed off . The huge tree which sheltered the man was also home to a few monkeys. Fascinated by the basket full of hats, the monkeys grabbed all of them from the basket. Now each of the monkeys had a hat on top of their head!

When the man woke up he found his basket empty. What he found was a bunch of chattering monkeys crowned with his hats. He tried to shoo them, but in vain. Then he threw stones at them. They imitated him by throwing back fruits from the tree. He suddenly realized that the best way was to trick them. He understood that monkeys only imitated, while he had the capability to think and act. He removed the hat from his head and threw it towards the monkeys. Any one can guess what the monkeys would have done. They just imitated him and the man got back all his hats.

The "re" of my Sadhana is that I was more or less like a monkey during my growing up years. That doesn't mean I have stopped growing now :). I was just alluding to my school and college years. I never knew why I was doing something. I just did it because everyone else did it. After my tenth grade, I chose science group, just because everyone around me was doing that.I wrote both the engineering and medical entrances because I did not know what else to do. After I got selected for Ayurveda and Homeopathy(two streams of medicinal approach), my mother asked me whether this was what I exactly wanted to do. The answer was no. But still I did not listen to what my heart spoke....! The other options were taking up a degree course....there were varied subjects from which I could choose from....physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics.....Any subject was equal to me as I never realized, what I actually liked. The Principal of our college, asked me to take up English literature as I would not have to lose lab attendance, whenever I wanted to participate in extra curricular activities. I just nodded my head and signed in. I am not sure whether I enjoyed my classes in college. After my graduation, I pursued post graduation in the same subject...this was when I started knowing the fact that till now I was not listening to my heart ... or my passion.

Here is an interesting video on Ganesha Chaturthy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Power of Prayer!

Its only a few months since we came to US . A month after we arrived, we visited a temple 15 miles from our place. It was not like the temples I have gone to in India . It was an ordinary brick building, which never gave one a clue that it was a temple. But my impression changed as I stepped into the building which housed beautiful icons of various Hindu Gods.There was a large hall for meditation and the atmosphere was calming. I enjoyed the silent vibrations that penetrated the surroundings. I found a huge accommodating auditorium at the basement of the temple. A function was about to commence in the auditorium. A deep desire to perform at this temple sprouted in me.The splendid auditorium was so beckoning! I made a silent prayer .....It was a genuine and intense prayer......! To me prayer has been a communication ...for when ever I communicated clearly my prayer has always been answered....!

Even with very little exposure and limited by the fact that I am a total stranger ....My prayer was answered!
I danced in the Bharatiya temple last week and I enjoyed every moment ! Things have materialized in a very short span of time ...which have confirmed my faith in prayer !

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The "Sa" of Sadhana

"sa .. re .. ga .. ma... pa.. dha.. ni...!!!"...............I remember repeating these musical notes after my music teacher when I was a young girl. These are the seven basic " swaras" or sounds called sapta swaras in Indian music. Like we always begin the musical journey with the Musical alphabet "sa".....I venture on with my sadhana.....a sequel to my earlier post.....a tag which I owe to Bharathy of spicy chilly!

Each new task is begun after offering salutations of Lord Ganesha.....dispeller of all obstacles! Hindu tradition. I invoke Ganesha (the elephant headed god).....
I remember a very inspiring story about Ganesha!
" One day sage Narada visited Kailasa , abode of Lord Shiva and his Shiva Kudumbam ( his family consisting of Parvati , His divine consort and His two sons Ganesha and Subramania). Narada offered Lord Shiva , a golden fruit during his visit.Shiva called his two sons, Ganesha and Subramania and said,
"I will give this divine fruit to only one of you. Whoever circumvents the whole universe thrice and comes to me first will be given this fruit!"
Those were not days of formula cars ....and the two sons had to rely on their "vahanas".Subramania's vahana or means of transport was a peacock....and Ganesha's vahana was a rat. As soon as the rules were laid for begetting the fruit , Subramania sped on his Peacock. What would poor Ganesha do? He was in a dilemma! He knew well that he would lose if he traveled on his mooshika vahana or his rat!....but Ganesha knew exactly what to do.He went straight to his parents ....circumvented them thrice and asked for the reward!
"To me the whole Universe is my parents!....I have circumvented my Universe thrice and I am eligible for the golden fruit!"

Thus Ganesha won the race!!!"

We see this whole wide world around us through our parents ! from the moment we are born .....though the umbilical chord is cut as we are welcomed in to this world the bond persists for ever! the first bond , the first relationship...of pure love...!!!

The "Sa"of my Sadhana is that I am a daughter....blessed to be born to two wonderful people....and like to echo the words of Ganesha !!! I dedicate this post to my parents , to whom I owe my life.

I was fortunate to be born to an artistic mother and loving father ....who helped me make a blue print of my life in childhood , which I am living today!
I wish I could relive those days ....with my parents ....
life without any stress or responsibilities...
a life where you could just relax and swim with the current....
a life where you travel like a passenger fully aware that the driver will take you where you ought to go...unperturbed by the route you might take .....
a life where you could take your parents for granted and still bask in the warmth of their affection and security....

I have been honored by my dear friends...,
Mishmash is a creative artiste , who surprises me with her innovative presentations and mouth watering recipes....
Bharathy , a wonderful friend, I am happy I stumbled upon her in this blogsphere, who delights me with her day to day recipes and equally good shots!
Thanks to both of you for the awards!...I am truly flattered!

I have passed on "rocking blogger award" to someone who is very dear to me. She is my grandmother , who started blogging at the ripe young age of seventy five. You can read more about her at her blog - khayals.
I have also love visiting Krystyna's blog...I have passed on this award to this inspiring blogger too.

"Power of schmooze" award is being conferred to
1. Mathew whose blog is rightly named spark , for he never fails to kindle sparks which glow with sense of humor and satire.
2.Maddy whose varied interests and knowledge on umpteen areas , cannot go unnoticed.
3.Naveen , whom I am proud to call my brother , whose perspectives and values are reflected in his posts. And I truly admire his writing skills.

I pass on the "Thinking blogger award" to
1. Kalyan , who has a passion for photography and travel. I love visiting his blog , "heaven's garden"
2.Dharma, whose posts portray simple day today events pondering into it with the depth of a philosopher!
I am not sure whether these awards have already been conferred to you!....if yes! I am not surprised!

Here is a video of a musical instrument... listen to it , friends! Can you guess what this instrument is just by listening to it? All the sounds are produced from a single instrument!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Staying Connected!!

" It was dark ... and she squirmed and huddled close to her sister trying to get some sleep. Those were days when there was no current and electricity in her remote village.....but nature's abundance of fresh air and cool breeze caressed her with their soothing lullabies. Though she belonged to a large household with a huge old house and acres of fertile land, she never had a room or bed of her own. Compartmentalization and selfishness were traits unknown was all about giving and sharing...! She shared a central hall with the whole family which was transformed into a sleeping room at night. It was not a hall but a place where she used to weave her own dreams ... and her imagination soared up high with all the fabulous stories her mother would tell them during those twilight hours.

But today , some commotion outside was forcing her keep her eyes open and ears sharp!!! She could hear her uncles and grand father and father in a rather commanding tone and she was alert. Suddenly she heard " Thief ! Thief!" and could feel a fire inside her small tummy!!
One of her Uncles came rushing in ......" Do you want to see a thief ? " he asked. She climbed on his shoulders holding on to him tightly.....this was the most adventurous moment of her life! She was going to see a real thief ! She never thought a thief really existed .. and even if there was one he never belonged to the homosapien species ....he would be from some "homonstero sapien" species alien ....who is alive only in stories.. with monstrous features .. horns and huge body and fierce eyes!!! And now how brave would she be if she could just face that creature even though from the shoulders of her uncle !!!

Out they went to the veranda ....they had caught a thief who was trying to steal coconuts from their trees ....
" did you see the thief?" asked her uncle.
She couldn't spot any one other than a tiny man held by one of her other uncles....who was bowing down in shame and embarrassment and trying to make excuses like..." i had just come out to relieve my self! i had to attend to nature's call!" ......
there was no monster or gigantic figure - just a normal human being!.....She was surprised ......!!!!"

I heard this story from my Amma when I was a girl . It was not a story but a real life situation of my mother's childhood. I loved hearing such incidents from my mother and Grand mother . Such stories laid strong foundation for creativity and bonding.It was a good way to stay connected. Story telling is a beautiful way to let the kids explore their imagination....and who can do this better than parents and grand parents! One of the most precious moments I enjoy with my kids is our story time . The time when they are rapt in attention, their eyes trying to capture every bit with out a blink .....the stories opening new doors to their dream world....their soft bodies leaning on me and embracing me with their undivided attention.

My kids seem to be extremely lucky, as they have had story sessions with their grand mother and also great grand mother. But today, as we are away from home , and away from our dear ones my kids are missing their grand parents! .... but surely not their story time . My parents who were initially apprehensive to computers and hesitated to approach them .... are today using them with ease! Internet and Google talk have made distances seem little ones screams from here are so deafening to my parents and also to their neighbors ! My naughty ones eagerly wait for their ammumma and abu to call.... so that they can start their story time!....I can't help smiling when I see my little ones rapt in attention....alert to the sound of their grandmother's story line , plunging onto their world of imagination.....laughing and giggling along the way....shouting "one more kaani ! one more kaani !!!....".

times have changed.... though jobs have taken us far apart ....from different parts of the globe we still find ways to stay connected!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


"Sadhana" in Sanskrit means quest or practice. First of all I would like to thank my fellow blogger Bharathy of Spicy Chilly for having tagged me into launching on this Sadhana. You may wonder how can tagging you with "seven random facts about yourself ! " , be a Sadhana? .When I was tagged by my friend , I thought and thought and thought .....and couldn't come up with seven random facts...!!! Seven facts about yourself does not seem a simple task to me .......mainly because I would like to give a deeper meaning to the word " yourself" in the tag!.....So when I came up with a fact that I was short tempered !, something in me spoke that I was not the short was just an emotion that passes! So I did not want to attribute such passing and changing mind games that frequent me to the "ME". And thus I decided to venture on this quest or Sadhana....

I would like to climb down the ladder from where I am now introspection!!!......a quest!!!....there fore I would like to stretch this tag beyond this my quest has just begun. This Sadhana might not be very interesting to my readers ... but I would consider it a small inward journey which I wish to undertake!

As I close my eyes , relaxing my whole body.....drifting into the alpha beta and gamma waves .....silence speaks!!!....I pause at the number "7". Seven seems to be a very powerful number.....
the 7 scales of music ,
the 7 chakras or energy centers in our bodies
the 7 colors of the rainbow
the 7 days in a weeks
the 7 wonders of the world
the 7 seas
the 7 .....many more.......and here I should come up with 7 random facts about "myself"....

.........and here my quest begins......let me be patient with this "Sapta Sadhana!!!!!!!"

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Standing Meditation!

"Are you ready?" said one of them.
"Hmm....I think so....What am I suppose to do?" I en quired.
"Do nothing! Just stand still" came another voice.
"Ok" I replied thinking that it would be an easy job....JOB? .....yes.. it was a job.. I was supposed to be paid at the end of the day!

Thus I started to work....I stood still staring straight.....And In turn I saw many pairs of eyes staring back at me....
Who doesn't like to be noticed ? ..And I was being showered with all the attention anyone could aspire to in a foreign land!

Now let me share with you the story of how I landed up at this job ....a job where you are supposed to do nothing.

It all began in one of the Japanese classes which was offered to foreigners in Japan. We were nearly 20 students from different parts of the world and we were initiated into this language by three Japanese ladies.
One of our teachers was especially kind to me and would praise me every now and then , leaving me a bit embarrassed. One day she came close to me and stood there just smiling at me. I greeted her and reciprocated her smile ...but I felt she was not satisfied . She continued staring at me .....After a while she asked me whether she could make a portrait of me . This was an unexpected question .....She was part of a painting group and her group would invite me to their painting school as a model for painting! I would be paid too , once they finish the portrait.

That is how I landed at this interesting job!....Interesting .....only for a while....My legs started aching nose started eyes started drooping.....but the enthusiasm that reflected on the faces of my friends made me carry on . Each minute seemed to be stretched to infinity...

.I realized doing nothing was not easy! Our mind tries to invent new things all the time ....that when it was supposed to shut still kept on talking as a matter of habit! ... I realized this was the best opportunity to slow down my mind by shifting my attention to my body....I tried relaxing from my feet upwards....I could feel a latent energy come to life in each and every cell of my body...the life force was rejuvenating me and I was enjoying it.....I seemed to have stood still for quite some time.....but it was now a meditation I enjoyed....aching legs, itchy nose and drooping eyes were no longer issues....

This is the snap I took with the artists at the painting school.

As I returned home that day I was feeling fresh and new!....May be we should meditate on any job and really live life...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A message from the Father of Our Nation!!!

Remembering this great hero on the 60th Independence day.......
Listen to this video.....and read more on India's "Shasti poorthi"(60th birthday) on "life is beautiful".

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A must read for every Indian

A must read for every Indian."
I have three visions for India. In 3000 years of our history, people from all over
the world have come and invaded us, captured our lands, conquered our minds. From
Alexander onwards. The Greeks, the Turks, the Moguls, the Portuguese, the British, th
French, the Dutch, all of them came and looted us, took over what was ours. Yet we have not done this to any other nation. We have not conquered anyone. We have not grabbed their land, their culture, their history and tried to enforce our way of life on them. Why?Because we respect the freedom of others. That is why my first vision is that of FREEDOM. I believe that India got its first vision of this in 1857, when we started the war of independence. It is this freedom that we must protect and nurture and build on. If we are not free, no one will respect us. My second vision for India is DEVELOPMENT. For fifty years we have been a developing nation. It is time we see ourselves as a developed nation. We are among top 5 nations of the world in terms of GDP. We have 10 percent growth rate in most areas. Our poverty levels are falling. Our achievements are being globally recognized today. Yet we lack the self-confidence to see ourselves as a developed nation, self- reliant and self-assured. Isn't this incorrect? I have a THIRD vision. India must stand up to the world. Because I believe that,unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. Only strength respects strength. We must be strong not only as a military power but also as an economic power.Both must go hand-in-hand. My good fortune was to have worked with three great minds.Dr. Vikram Sarabhai of the Dept. of space, Professor Satish Dhawan, who succeeded him and Dr.Brahm Prakash, father of nuclear material. I was lucky to have worked with all three of them closely and consider this the great opportunity of my life.I see four milestones in my career:Twenty years I spent in ISRO. I was given the opportunity to be the project director for India's first satellite launch vehicle, SLV3. The one that launched Rohini.These years played a very important role in my life of Scientist. After my ISRO years, I joined DRDO and got a chance to be the part of India's guided missile program. It was my second bliss when Agni met its mission requirements in 1994. The Dept. of Atomic Energy and DRDO had this tremendous partnership in the recent nuclear tests, on May 11 and 13. This was the third bliss.
The joy of participating with my team in these nuclear tests and proving to the
world that India can make it, that we are no longer a developing nation but one of them. Itmade me feel very proud as an Indian.The fact that we have now developed for Agni a re-entry structure, for which wehave developed this new material. A Very light material called carbon-carbon. One dayan orthopedic surgeon from Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences visited my laboratory.He lifted the material and found it so light that he took me to his hospital and showed me his patients.There were these little girls and boys with heavy metallic calipers weighing overthree Kg. each, dragging their feet around. He said to me: Please remove the pain of my patients. In three weeks, we made these floor reaction Orthosis 300-gram calipers and took them to the orthopedic center. The children didn't believe their eyes. From dragging around a three kg. Load on their legs, they could now move around! Their parents had tears in their eyes. That was my fourth bliss! Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them.
• We are the first in milk production.
• We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
• We are the second largest producer of wheat.
• We are the second largest producer of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan; he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert land into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.

In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime. Why are we so
Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things?
We want foreign TVs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why this
obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is. She replied: I want to live in a developed India. For her, you and I will have to build this developed India.You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.
Do you have 10 minutes? Allow me to come back with a vengeance. Got 10 minutes for
your country? If yes, then read;
Otherwise, choice is yours.
YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work; the railways are a joke,
The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.
YOU say, say and say.
What do YOU do about it? Take a person on his way to Singapore.
Give him a name - YOURS. Give him a face - YOURS.
YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you
don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores.
YOU are as proud of their Underground Links as they are.
You pay $5 (approx. Rs.60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim
Causeway or Peddler Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM.
YOU comeback to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity. In Singapore you don't say anything,DO YOU?
YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai.
YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10
pounds (Rs.650) a month to, "see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else."
YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the
traffic cop, "Jaanta hai sala main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks and get lost."

YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the
beaches in Australia and New Zealand.
Why don't YOU spit paan on the streets of Tokyo?
Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston?
We are still talking of the same YOU.
YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in
your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch
Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country,why cannot you be the same here in India? Once in an interview, the famous Ex-municipal commissioner of Bombay, Mr.Tinaikar,had a point to make. "Rich people's dogs are walked on the streets to leave their affluent droppings all over the place," he said. "And then the same people turn around to criticize and blame the authorities for inefficiency and dirty pavements. What do they expect the officers to do? Go down with a broom every time their dog feels the pressure in his bowels? In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan.Will the Indian citizen do that here?" He's right.We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility. We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity. This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public. When it comes to burning social issues Like those related to women, dowry, girl child and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? "It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forgo my sons' rights to a dowry." So Who’s going to change the system?What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbors,other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr. Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.

Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and
praise their system.When New York becomes insecure we run to England.When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf.When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government.Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding
the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of
introspection and pricks one's conscience too....I am echoing J.F.Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians.....
Let’s do what India needs from us. Forward this mail to each Indian
For a change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.
Thank you
Dr. A P J Abdul Kalaam
Honorable President of INDIA

Friday, August 10, 2007

Simple joys of living!

Her hands were continuously working on those pile of clothes.The warmth of the sun and the smell of breeze were still emanating from those clothes...making me feel like just snuggling on them. Her face would beam with pride as she stacked up those clothes in neat racks, categorizing them according to size.

I still remember her squatting down with a bar soap and scrubbing brush...teaching me how to hand wash the clothes, with out wasting water. Every drop of water was precious, after all it was Chennai. She would wrinkle her nose in displeasure as I used to hang the clothes on the clothesline. She used me lecture me on the art of drying clothes. Her hands would then handle those freshly washed wet clothes as an artiste approaches his canvas...untangling all the folds ....each and every inch embracing the warmth of the radiant sun. Her work done she would smile at her own artistry....satisfaction bordering those lips. This was my Grandma. I used to spent my whole summer vacation at her place and today I can tell she has deposited many thought provoking moments in my memory bank....which I retrieve every now and then to enrich my life today....

Today I don't have to hand wash my clothes... washing machine has taken over....and there is the dryer which helps us dry clothes in winter!....But as I would like to deposit some rewarding moments into the memory bank of my kids, drying clothes in my patio with them is a task which I wish to undertake.

The other day as we were enjoying those wonderful moments at our patio I was approached by my neighbor. I could read a sign of displeasure on her face.
"Why don't you use the dryer?" , she inquired.
"Its very bright and sunny today. I thought it would be better for the clothes and also for my pocket...and more over my kids love doing this chore", I replied.

She was still not happy. " You see, people here do not dry their clothes outside", she continued...
"oh, what a pity..." I thought...
" I know ... I still wonder why people here do not dry their clothes outside?"I replied.
I knew she was considering me as an old fashioned Indian, not yet ready to adapt to the modern American life style.
I realized there was no point in explaining to her about the joy I experience while hanging those clothes with my little ones.They were learning numbers ,colors and were also being home schooled in sharing and taking responsibility.These were simple joys of living I wanted to LIVE....for I am sure they would one day be retrieved by my kids from their memory banks and help them LIVE their lives!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Food for thought!!!

Act One ; Scene I

An exhausted mother rushes to feed her baby yelling at the top of her voice!!!
She has prepared the home made baby food.! ..squatting down with her bundle of joy, who is concentrating more on her opera, the young mother now tries to feed her with a spoon. And there! the whole spoonful, is all over her face giving her a free facial.
The yelling baby is distracted by a few musical toys....
mouth wide open in awe and wonder , the mother tactfully pushes spoonfuls of baby food, down the infants throat.

Act One Scene 2

The chubby infant has grown into a naughty toddler...
Its almost lunch time and the mother wonders how her child is surviving without a morsel of food!
The mother switches on a favorite cartoon. the child beams with joy and squats in front of the idiot box, eyes not blinking, glued to the screen.
mouth wide open in awe and wonder, the mother once again tactfully pushes down spoonfuls of meals , down the toddler's throat.

Act Two , Scene 1

Its eight in the morning , and the child is still not up. Mother is anxious ," what if she goes to school on an empty stomach? ". She is at her daughter's bedside with a full glass of milk... and even with out waking the child... the milk is poured down her throat.
Mother's face beams with satisfaction. No more fussing over food in the morning! sigh!....

Act Two , Scene 2

The whole family is having dinner.The daughter is min
utely examining the texture and smell of food in front of her
" Have you still not learn t to eat fast?" ....parents simultaneously pounce upon her.She gulps down the remaining food...and leaves the scene!

Act Three, Scene 1

Mother is in kitchen... trying not to waste the left over food stuff and munches any thing and everything she puts her eye on from the plates to the counter tops to the fridge! .....unaware... she is being transformed into a waste bin.

Act Four , Scene 2

The daughter has grown up to be an adult....she has hoisted herself in front of the laptop, on a couch.....her favorite program is running on the television.
Her forever companions( a whole lot of snacks) are loaded beside her. Her mouth , her hands , her ears , her eyes.. all are at work!

Does this ring a bell somewhere?
Have we ever realized or thought about ... the simple act of eating?
Have our taste buds , ever been able to taste food?
Now as we are heading towards busier schedules and strenuous life styles... are we not killing the simple joys of eating!

Take a deep breathe. relax! use all your senses, eat slowly! feel the food in your mouth justice to your taste buds ... enjoy your food..... try it once....!
let this be your meditation.....I am not joking! the mere act of eating can open doors of spirituality for you......I am not going to lecture on spirituality here.. don't worry....
but let this be your food for thought ..." when you eat a banana.. EAT A BANANA.... and when you drink water .. DRINK WATER!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

At a Japanese farm house!

" Kombamwa!!! Is it Nanditha san? I am Tamura ! We wait you in ready? We wait OK? ".................
"Kombamwa!!! Ok Tamura San! I 'll be right there!" I replied and took my bag and rushed down.
I was ready, as I knew how punctual these Japanese were....I could never move around according to the IST ( Indian Stretchable Time) here. We once took a wrong train and traveled in the opposite direction unaware till we reached a new place!!( all because we boarded the 7.35 train instead of 7.34!). Can you ever imagine this in India ?

Mr and Mrs Tamura were waiting for me in the car.
" Wow! Your Indian dress nice!" complimented the couple.
" Arigato!" I thanked them in Japanese.
" You Japanese good! ... Indians clever!" I bowed at Tamura San's compliment . They were always surprised how Indians could handle so many languages!! I had the extra privilege of knowing Malayalam, a language which can be credited for offering maximum flexibility to your tongue!

We had a long drive. We were heading towards the country side, and I enjoyed every bit of the serene picturesque panoramic beauty around.Each day in Japan was a new experience for me . I enjoyed these experiences and encounters.After an hours drive we reached a small farm. This was unlike any place I had visited before. I was invited to give a performance! I wondered where I would perform, for I did not see any signs of it! There were a few wooden chairs, around fifteen in the yard.

We were welcomed with all warmth and I was receiving all the attention and care of a gaijin( foreigner).
It was getting dark, and still there were no signs of any formal function! I wondered and worried what PP would be doing back in our apartment.I had not fixed dinner expecting to reach before our dinner time .....I rang him up on Tamura San's mobile and explained to him the situation I was in . He told me not to worry and that he had fixed dinner ! I felt a lot better ..!

As it was getting darker the crowd was slowly increasing .....Tamura San told me,"come, lets go for walk!"
What did this mean! Was I brought all the way here for a walk? And that too, when my stomach was grumbling , partly due to hunger and partly due to the turn of events here! I had never been invited for a performance, and asked for a walk! I would have preferred to walk with some casuals on ! Now here I was all decked up in a silk saree, with matching jewelery, and make up! I thought I was invited for a dance performance !( thank God I decided on not wearing the dance costume....) Imagine walking in Japan in a Bharatnatyam costume....with all the farmers!

"we show you the farm"....Tamura San could surely not see my facial expression in the dark....We had to be very careful....there were damp and swampy areas and I could hear ducks quacking away in their coop.
All my uneasiness vanished as I got the first glimpse of the moving stars dancing in front of me! This was a rare sight ! I had never seen something like this before! They were numerous! As we continued walking we were surrounded by them ....They had created an aura on each one of us....I was transported into a different world altogether ....They were the fireflies!... Yes ! and this was the firefly festival ..! The whole farm was glowing with their light ....I felt as if I have entered a fairy land! I remember seeing fireflies when I was young ... but never were they so huge in size or infinite in number!

As we walked backed to the farm, I felt the fire flies had kindled my spirits and evoked a sense of calm with in.They reminded me that each of us carry a light with in us....which when it glows can transform our land into heaven.....

Back at the farm house, I was not bothered about dancing with out a formal stage or a hall packed with audience! I danced under the twinkling stars and in the midst of glowing fire front of a small audience , who lived a life of simplicity! I was honored! My performance was followed by a musical symphony...which played ethnic country music! I was fascinated by their instruments and music which transformed one into a different horizon.

Later, we were served food under the stars....They loaded Tamura san's car with lot of their farm products, ! Which was unloaded at my apartment...It was their gratitude ! their token of love.....What I experienced was so precious , so valuable .....I treasure those moments , at the fire fly festival!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tribute to Balanna!....

I used to open those gates with a special sense of feeling......( a feeling that sprouts from intense admiration , respect !)...I knew I was entering the house of God...( of course! I was entering the temple of dance...). I involuntarily prayed..." let all my actions and words be always right!"...

I was always welcomed by his compassionate smile and kind words! They immediately put me at ease! No one had to prompt me to fall at his feet and seek his blessings! It just happened . He was always at Padukka's side , like a pillar of strength , with whose support and companionship , the artiste in her bloomed.

Last week I was in an elated mood! The music and rhythm that emanated from my music system would invite me into a world of dance ...which would raise my spirits ....and all three of us ( my two little boys and me) would dance around in our living room ..energizing every cell in our body...later plunge on to our couch , on top of each other , our walls echoing enchanted giggles! That night , I dream t of him! As usual beside his sister and my Guru.
" May God bless you, ma!" he echoed in his usual affectionate tone.
I reflected on my dream the next day....and came to a conclusion that I was contemplating too much on my days at Chennai , and my dance classes!

Yesterday , my Amma called from India ......" Balanna is no more!.... he passed away!"
My hands went cold .... and I replayed my dream once again....
" When?" I asked....feeling a burner glowing in my stomach!
"5 days back!", came the reply.

It must be my flight of imagination , or just an accidental co incidence of incidents!.....I like to believe that passport and visa were not hindrances for him , after he left his that he could come and bestow his blessings on me!
I felt a pain rolling in my throat....trying to find a vent!... But I knew for sure that I was blessed!

Yes , when I open those gates again, I will no longer be welcomed by his kind talk and compassionate smile....
Yes ,who ever came across him will miss his presence!...
May his blessings and good will ....that he has left our spirits ....and enlighten our lives!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Kanna and Sree visit the Zoo!

" Anna , Anna !.. ... wake up, anna! " There was urgency in the 2 year olds tone.

His brother was still in bed and didn't show any signs of waking up.

"Anna , wake up Anna , today we go zoo! " Now Sree was on top of his brother , Kanna and was howling into his brother's ears!

"Yeaaaa! Zoo.... Zooo! both of them were in heights of excitement already!
"Sree, come lets brush our teeth " , now the 5 year old Kanna took over.
Within seconds they hoisted themselves besides the wash basin and proceeded with their brushing!

"More paste! Want more paste" , Sree started crying....
"NO!" replied Kanna, " more paste will spoil your teeth, see how I'm brushing"
"I Want , I want more paste", Sree invited his mother to the scene...She some how explained about the whole lot of wild animals waiting for him at the Zoo and wound up the brushing!

"I give fish food...."Sree yelled.
" wait for me.. wait for me...." Kanna almost knocked his brother down.
By the time the fish food was in the small aquariam, there was enough on the ground too!

"give me milk! give me fruit loops!" Sree squatted on the kitchen floor.
"I want cornflakes , with honey and banana and lots of raisins!", Kanna squatted beside his brother.

"I want the red bowl", shouted Kanna.Their mother knew well what would follow!She sighed...
"Red me ! red me!"now it was Sree`s turn. Mother sighed again, wondering when she would be able to strap them on to their car seat.
Red bowl was given to the younger one (as usual), Kanna was bribed with an extra spoonful of raisins and pacified with an orange bowl( explanation: orange and red hail from the same "family!").

"Amma, Sree is eating from my bowl!" complained Kanna. Mother knew well, there was no point in yelling at Sree, for he had the most powerful weapon, his heavy down pour with thunderous sobs!

Mother again brought Zoo to the picture, and cajoled Sree with thoughts of wild animals eagerly waiting to see their beloved friend Sree!

"Come on Sree , lets play in the bath.."
"All my animals need a bath, Wait Anna, let me get them", Sree was busy picking up his bath toys.

Today it was father's turn to give them a bath, while mother packed snacks.
"Amma.....! Sree is splashing water all over the place" mother ran with the mop....while father scooped them from the bath !
Both were hanging on their father's shoulders like langoors....

" Sree wants Anna shoe!....Anna shoe!" Parents Sighed in unison, this was yet another hurdle they surpass daily!
Sree was adamant at wearing his brother's shoe , and that too all by himself.
"Animals want to see Sree's new shoe.. or else they will cry!", Kanna came up with a new tactic which consoled Sree.

Thank God!... not much of a drama today!...Parents were relieved!

Finally Kanna and Sree were buckled in their car seats...Kanna picked up a book... and so did Sree...Kanna started his usual enquiries," when will we reach the Zoo!" Sree echoed.."when ZOO WHEN ZOO!"

"Give me something to eat!" Kanna pleaded......" Sree MA..MAMA , SREE ma..mama!" Sree followed..
Mother passed them the apples hoping the snacks would last through the Zoo visit!

In the Zoo Sree and Kanna enjoyed their train ride....

"This is Thomas the tank engine....", Sree was excited.

Both the boys were so happy to see many peacocks, just walking along ....

" See , see they are dancing!" Kanna spotted.

"Did you see the flamingos, Sree!...look at one sleeping on just one leg!" Kanna tried to imitate!
" You know how they get their color? " Kanna continued without waiting for an answer."They eat food with beta carotene!"
" Sree,so you should eat lots of carrots! OK" , Kanna had started his non stop lecture.

They hopped into the Kangaroo shelter and even saw a baby kangaroo peeping from its mama's pouch.

"Did you know how Kangaroo got its name?" asked father.
"NO"..Kanna replied.
"once a foreigner visited Australia and asked one of the aborigines what the strange animal was? The Aborigine replied,"KANGAROO".. MEANING I don't know!.From then on Kangaroo got its name!" explained father.

"Amma Maamum, I am hungry" Sree said.
They had a picnic lunch under a tree.

Then proceeded to see the other exhibits.Till five in the evening they walked around the whole zoo... amused by the animals...

" Amma , legs are aching how long will it take to reach our car", Kanna was tired.
"count till 100 and you will be there!" said father.
" come on Kanna, if you finish counting till 100 and still do not reach the car , then Appa will get nice beatings! OK" Mother raised up Kanna's spirits!
The thought made him laugh and he started counting loudly inviting a lot of attention.
By the time Kanna reached 100 , father was running - Sree, Kanna and Amma close behind.

Return journey was easier as there were a lot of things to talk about.All had a light dinner and plunged on to the bed.
"How was the day? did you enjoy it?" asked Amma...
"Zoo no good! no dinosaurs!... Why no dinosaurs!....Sree like dinosaurs!"

"ONCE UPON A TIME, long...............long.............ago.......there was a dinosaur...."When Amma started a dinosaur story Sree was happy and he involuntarily closed his eyes with a baby smile still on!

"I wish i could see dinosaurs too.. i like Apatosaurus and Triceratops and Stegosaurus.. you know why ? they were herbivorous...." Kanna too dozed off to sleep , weaving his own dreams!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Month Of Ramayana!

Today, is July 16th and the month of Ramayana begins!....In Kerala it is the month of heavy down pour ! Nature pours down its purging waters , and people of Kerala wash down their impurities with Ayurvedic Sukha chikilsas( full body treatments), coupled with intake of food apt for the purgatory process(karkidaka kangi).They squat before the lighted lamp and read or listen to Ramayana(aayana or journey through Rama's life).


Ramayana, the literary masterpiece of Valmiki is an epic poem, which reflects Indian ethos and values. This allegory not only quenches the spiritual thirst of the inquisitive listener but also the imaginative elevations of a curious child. Ramayana, portrays the divine birth, extraordinary childhood, exciting adolescence , and spiritual maturity of Rama the hero. It represents a story line where good triumphs evil, love triumphs lust, where virtue triumphs vice! Ramayana is not only the story of Treta yuga, it is also the story of Kali yuga. In Rramayana, there is war, battlefield, defeat and victory! the same strife, the same war, the same struggle is manifested in our inner world.... the Ravana in us alive.....we need to call upon the Rama in us to rescue us from this battlefield and mark victory ...: lead our path towards better evolution!


Valmiki , who authored Ramayana was said to be a great enlightened sage. He was not a born saint , nor was he born into a family of saints. He was an arrogant, ignorant hunter, who lived with his family in a forest and hunted and robbed for his livelihood. Once he aimed his arrow at a pair of birds... A great sage witnessed this and asked him , the reason for committing this sacrilege.... and warned him of the consequences! The hunter was confident that what ever he has to bear in his life for his sins, he will always have his family by his side! Back home, he realized that he will always have to suffer alone, when his family backed up from sharing the fate of his deeds! Realization dawned on him ... he badly needed to come out of this life's maze. He ran back to the sage and surrendered at his feet. The sage asked the hunter to sit in between two trees and just chant...aa maram(that tree) ee maram(this tree)....He sat as per the sage's directions and chanted aa maram eemaram .... for a very long time .. which eventually became rama rama rama rama....He was enlightened.....this was the power of rama mantra!(chants which take you beyond your "man" or mind).


I was first introduced to the rama mantra by my Appa(father).When I was fascinated by my own hand writing, when I began to hold my pencil right and drew alphabets on paper.....Appa introduced a routine for my brother and me. After our regular chores in the morning we were supposed to write down one page of rama mantra. I still remember chanting Sree ram Jai Ram JAI JAI RAM and writing it down in a book.The enthusiasm of writing actually sprung from the innate competitive spirit to outdo your sibling! My Appa still keeps our books. This helped us in improving our hand writing and also introducing us into mantra japa without our own realization.

I also remember waiting for Sunday mornings during my school days, so that I could watch the Ramayana story telecast on Television.

Later RAMAYANA came alive to me through the dance sequences taught by my mother.The literary magnum opus found expressions in dance and music , creating Rasa! I was awe struck by the dance potrayal of Ramayana by my Guru Dr. Padma Subramaniam.She lived Ramayana in her Ramayatubyam namaha!, where audience were enthralled and glued to their seats,and elevated to ecstatic states!

For the past few years I have been regularly reading Ramayana , during this month . This year I left my copy of Ramayana back in India. But I have started a story session with my kids , every morning, much to their excitement.
Sri ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram ! this mantra echoes in me ... it also enlivens sweet childhood memories!