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!"