Thursday, June 7, 2018

Fun and lessons I did not sign up for....

'Sanyam' began. Some days passed and I had this urge for change in the city I was staying. Bawa and Dinesh Da have always told me, 'true leadership lies in creating more leaders'. So Yours Truly thinks in terms of Volunteer Training Program (VTP) in the city. I had few friends in mind who will benefit leaps and bounds from the beautiful sessions. I meet Shalin Desai, Director of VTP outside the Dining Hall, Boone Ashram. He was chatting with someone and I was busy rehearsing the 'convincing conversation' we are about to have.

I had interacted with Shalin Bhaiya when he was the National Teachers Cordinator(NTC). The quality of his that struck me was his impeccable memory. He recollected my e-mail to him and details, when he met me in the half-constructed  Canadian Ashram too. Leaving that aside, the next time we meet is in Chicago downtown, where I had decided to start teaching again. I thought I will begin by observing the new-format of the course that was being taught by Shalin Bhaiya and Kshama Di. Treading on the realms of infinity in a very light, witty manner, he shared the knowledge with so much ease. I enjoyed the 3-day session, and thought he should teach VTP here in Naperville. I go a lot by hunch. My friend Sharika knows that's how I am about people. 

                                                Photo Courtesy: Prabu Vijayan

Before Sanyam, organized a course for Kshama Di. We taught the course together and I realized what loss it was for me, that being given this seat of highest knowledge, I was letting it rot within. I knew how I was when I was teaching and what became of me. I was feeling 'lack' in many ways. This is the part of awareness that I am not a big fan of :)

So coming back to VTP, spoke to Bhaiya in Boone about coming to Naperville for VTP. He told me to contact him for dates.He must have thought I would not call him. But I called! He was booked and the only dates which opened up was April last two weekends. I had three months and around 7-8 people I would approach. So here is Shalin Bhaiya who made place in his busy schedule, so I wanted to make the best out of it. With the enthusiasm of a child began talking to all the above said people and somehow none of them seemed interested in this adventure. I had handful registrations and to add to the fire, personally/physically suffered a large setback in personal life. I had this high opinion about how strong I was from within. This tragedy literally removed the ground from beneath. I was completely lost and confused. I called up Bhaiya to cancel the VTP and we spoke about the setback and everything else not even remotely connected to the same, but I could not bring myself to tell him to cancel the Course. Though I did not have faith in myself, i did not want to fail :) But after the conversation I began working on this. This kept my mind and body busy. If on his own Bhaiya would have asked me to take a break, I would not have been so gratefully writing this post. I would still be brooding in the 'lack' which was never there! Somehow on D-day  the VTP happened. Other than 3 people, rest of them were not in my assumed-list, but this was even better. 

My BIL Rakesh, describes me as a sarcastic queen. There are times when he has messaged me for sarcastic replies to be sent to his friends. Shalin Bhaiya is the CEO of sarcasm. Somehow that works for me. I must say that worked with me. He never gives you a break to be lazy. I have got angry, felt happy, sad, upset and what not! but at the end for all the mistakes I made and things I overlooked (list is endless) he never even for a second made me feel guilty but made me realize where I went wrong, a quality I need to learn ASAP. Best form of service is to uplift someone's mind-Sri Sri. Have seen him follow this. I learnt to be independent. It strengthened the knowledge points which I knew theoretically. With all this polishing, I know there is some shine. Above all this I became awesome at preparing crispy dosas with Idli batter :P

Little did I know when I stepped into this country that I will be driving, on my own taking charge and organizing courses, giving talks and talking to Hotels, booking Halls, interacting with random people of various designations and most importantly little did I know Ratheesh will always have bhaiya's support even if Ratheesh is wrong. In 3 months I learnt the Masters of Business Administration and Management without even enrolling for one :) We as a team are organizing the biggest course in Illinois and it is because of him and his energy. Full time working- career wise, father of two beautiful children and traveling and teaching the Art of Living courses, he has not left a room for me to complain of no-time :P

I learnt a lot. I never had so much fun in life. We became a well-knit family. Vini whom I felt was missing from 2009ish days came back, in a better way. Every bit of this gratefulness belongs to my Guru. I have always noticed that He always sends right people at the right time and place. A friend recently asked me how I managed the 'setback' - I replied "With a smile from within' :)



(I am glad my blog post came out before your book "My fair-share of experiences working with Vini!")

Friday, June 17, 2016

SAHM: Thankless Endeavor (For me )

Being a Stay at Home Mother (SAHM) was not a choice. But it happened as I am not allowed to work due to the Visa limitations in this country. I might have chosen to be a SAHM after the birth of V. May be?! Who knows.

Being a SAHM is very taxing to my brain. I am always planning. I am planning what to cook, when to eat, what to buy, when to clean, when to wash, when to vacuum, when to feed, when to give him a bath, when to put him to sleep, when to wake him up, when to play, what to play, what to watch, when to poop and what not. Every step I take my mind is running, so that I know the next second would be comfortable for the little one or his dad. All these things get done in a routine of its own through multi-tasking.

Prepping is an important part of motherhood. I make my cutting, chopping, soaking, cleaning etc in advance so that I need not do the taxing-my-brain part, I mentioned earlier. But this  involves thinking. I have what is called a mommy brain, where in I forget important stuffs, but not the silly things. Every time I sit to eat, V either drops his food, bumps his head, falls down or wants to poop or invariably wants to have what I am having and finds it spicy and there I go washing his hand , mouth and face. Cutting my finger and burning my hand, having headaches and forgetting something important is a common thing which I learnt to forgive myself for.

Me time is a fantasy. I sit with my phone in the bathroom, not with any purpose. There has to be a knock asking me where something is or 'Amma, please come out and play'. My baths are 3 minutes, Its not a joke. If i take more then that, it means V is sleeping and I want a break.  I have always felt being sick, can be draining. No! Have you had a sick child? Nothing more weary then that. Irony is I am sad that he is not his running, happy, never-tired kid. Moms life :)

In between all this, where am I appreciated? Where are my needs met? Where are my compromises respected or made note of? Where is my sickness afforded? Its like how in an office when you are always regular no one notices, but 2 days you are late or leave early, everyone frowns. I did that. I have taken a holiday of sorts, when i did not even make my bed or keep the cup away. But it was just too much work the next day, so eventually I stopped.

Yeah! Sometimes I become that needy nagging woman, when I am ready to breakdown. I seriously keep my mom-crown to the side and let go. But the perfectionist in me starts to workout again and I take the ride...


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Jacobite Swargarajyam - Review of sorts

Many people had told me JSR is a beautiful movie. It's not a comedy movie but still a feel-good worth a watch one. We have been watching quite a few movies in theatre of late and the movie had been running for two weeks, so we went in. This movie began with Dubai sand dunes which itself took me back to my Dubai Days.

We had been in Dubai for 6 years. My high school education till tenth in Indian High School and staying near clock tower, Deira. My father was working in the Indian Counsulate so we know a bit more about the Indians in Gulf. 

My Achan is notorious for sleeping through movies and going out in the pretext of phone call and not coming back as the movies never entertained him or were too violent or loud for his taste. But this movie, when I called him, his phone was switched off and he mentioned to Amma that we should go for this movie, again. That's a big achievement for this movie, in my eyes.

The whole movie- the dialogues, the family interaction, the places, the school, the in roads, desert rides, the Etisalat, the Trade Center etc bought in memories and made my eyes misty. I never felt this movie was our story as Vineeth accurately points out it is Greg's story. But I have seen many people in similar situation, duped for no mistake of theirs, their passports (only possesion) being taken away, put in jail etc and their relatives or friends crying for help during the Amnesty. That's when we knew what Dubai also is. 

When my relatives and friends come back from Gulf with suitcases full of perfumes, electronic goods, dresses, sarees, pencils, toys etc, I realize it cost them every sweat to fill it with love and surprises for their loved one. The way they toil day and night for that one money order to be sent home. 

This story is an inspiration for many. How in a make or break situation we can take the threads in our own hands and chose to make something out of it. The values and ideals instilled by Jacob and Shirley, were the forces behind all his children's actions. Every time Jerry thought he is down, it was his mother's confidence that made him chose wisely. I never wished I had parents like them, as I am proud that my parents are also like them as we have been in similar situations like this . Parents are made of different materials, I must say.

Family and relationship is the ultimate possession. This movie has successfully helped me think about it and realize it. The actors were all to the mark. Shaan Rehman helped in emoting with songs and awesome lyrics, cinematography by Jomon T John was a feast to eyes, the sub-titles were to the mark, kudos Vivek Ranjith, though I felt Arabic translation would have been good too (Though the acting was translation enough) and last but not the least Vineeth Sreenivasan, you were successful in dedicating this story to the world. On a different note it also made me think, Dufai pazhye Dubai alla😃


Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Vedu Chronicles - Little Helper

Organizing and cleaning my home and room has been my forte. A cluttered room causes unrest in me. But that does not mean my home or room is always clean.

With V's birth I realized how messy a home can get, how busy I can be and how finicky I am about clean home. Till he was two there were two things I could not come to terms with- I will not be getting my 7-8 hrs undisturbed sleep and a clean home for 1 hr. The interrupted meals due to baby crying, eating, shitting etc are just bonus. But the first too were just too much. It's only after his 2nd birthday I realized that not accepting and coming to terms with it were causing too much stress in me. 

It began fun with this toddler helping in folding clothes, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming , chopping veggies, stirring pots and pans, emptying dish washer ! These two little legs and hands became busy body trying to impress me. It was fun to sit back and see him following the routine which he unconsciously was observing me.

For instance last night I was washing utensils and this little one wanted me to read him the night time book. I told him 10 minutes and he went away. He comes back with the broom and starts sweeping the kitchen floor, emptying the dust pan and getting his water bottle for a refill. He did not do anything the way I wanted to but the very thought he put behind it filled me up with joy.

The one thought which has always crossed my mind is to make V realize that there is no women chores and men chores. He has seen that at home so I am sure this will not be a daunting task for me to carry. My acha has always helped Amma in his little ways and same with R during weekends when he is home he does his share. The enlisting of chores at home made sense in olden ages with men were out working and ladies stayed back home. Now when both of them are working whether at home or out there, this nullifies the division of work. 

I witnessed this situation at a person's home, when a boy wants to help and mother does not give him any job but the sister is asked to sweep the verandah. And Aunty told me, "He is a boy." I was stunned. That does not make him any special as both of them were studying for their exams. Just like how they ask does the girl know to cook, why not ask the same question in reverse? Does she know to take care of home? Does he know too?


(I don't edit my post after writing :) So forgive me for the errors I did not intend on making.)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Musings-Part 3

There are times when I have been brimming with thoughts and words. But homework, time and situation does not let me switch on the laptop and pen it down. Thats when I make use of my 'Notes' section in the phone and pen the words. Is this how the right side of the brain works? I have no idea, but I love the whole process. Have been penning them since over a year. I watch it and revel in the outcome.

(Once I pen, I don't read it again hence the errors)

Learning is not as difficult as unlearning . There are times when I look back and I thought 'Ah forgetting is so easy!', and I could not be more wrong. We learn and repeat the things unconsciously or consciously in our mind and it is every hit the nail gets from the hammer. When you remove the nail after long one is so sure that the hole the nail made will remain until it's filled with the same material as before or till the wall is pulled down.

Being creative can be fun and a process for a person. I want to think of myself here. Being creative is tedious. That is why it is said that being with a creative person is like being with an 'emotional fool'. It's a stifling process to be in a bottle and the more you close the fist on it, the more dead one feels. End result of creativity is satisfaction and not necessarily appreciation. 'I am satisfied' feeling gives life to it and in order to continue  the same enthusiasm one has to feel, 'Not yet done. There is more.' This keeps her going. There are times when things get repetitive and one sits back and waits in meditation for it to flow. It's fun to watch lyrics, music, art etc flow and one stays on the bank watching it in 'Awe'. Yeah that is the 'gift' ....


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Charlie, Malayalam Movie

Watching a movie, till 2009, was just for the story, songs, comedy and the actors. It was never for anything else. I took triple main with specialization in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature and world around rolled for the better. It began with 'No Mans Land' in the Journalism Studio and the discussion which followed the same. Fr Richard Rego helped us in developing an eye for details in movie-making. He passed his passion on to many of us and we still carry it around. Prof Lourdswamy, English Professor taught us to visualise symbolism, romanticism and poetry even in the most boring context. Ms Shalini Aiyappa made us thing of the humane emotions and circumstances in the way we may not have thought of before. Hence, watching a movie is a wholesome experience, at least for me. A movie which does not click for my friends and family or the box office, clicks for me. Same thing happened with Charlie.

Watched Malayalam Movie Charlie directed by Martin Prakkat. Story by Unni R & Martin Prakkat with cinematography by Joemon T John. The story is unique in its own way. The Art work and cinematography by Joemon makes one smile through the scenes. The characters portrayed by Charlie (Dulquar Salman) and Tessa (Parvathy) are elements which adds to the story. There is no extra screen presence, as every character who comes and goes is indispensable for the story to continue. There is a Charlie and Tessa in me, which made me live that life for few hours. After long watched a movie which made me smile after the movie. Theatre viewing adds to the experience :)

Its interesting to see the experimentation in the storyline, cinematography and characterization of late in Malayalam Cinema. More and more non-malyalaees are viewing Malayalam Cinema in theaters which was not so before. Malaylam movies were known for real-life emotional drama and watched by film-festival goers. The mass-media, sub-titles, songs, actors have widened horizons to include global audience. Am glad this happened! Better late than never.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Am not sure if it has happened with you all. Something goes wrong in the situation, you are not responsible for it. The person responsible for it realizes it and blames you, till it sounds like the truth. The whole clan surrounding this event supports him and his narrow views. You keep staring at him thinking, "What just happened?"

This person I mentioned is a family member whose family is being helped by many others to bring to the stage where they are now. The job he has is also a blessing of another relative. Not being thankful is okey, but forgetting what has been given and talking third-rated language to elders, thinking that he has his friends and like-minded people with him (BTW they never helped him or his family) is not fair to the people. Fun part is everyone knows it and no one wants to talk about it thinking of the adversities the elders in the family has to suffer. I have been advised the same too. But this rant has been brewing for a while and it had to be out.