A Proud Prized Possession of mine

This life of mine, wonderful moments to cherish, education, teaching sanskrit shlokas , helping me with my homework , introducing me to the world of stories and storybooks , freedom to express and air my views ,  agree to disagree philosophy , values, housekeeping skills, cooking…… apart from the materialistic things are some of the things that have been passed on to me by my loving Amma.
Children learn watching their parents and we surely as kids absorbed many things like a sponge during the growing up years.
Amma was very fond of cooking , stitching and knitting . She used to pamper us with her home made delicacies and used to  knit so many sweaters for her kids and grandkids.
Amma had bought a sewing machine from her salary when she was working before her marriage. That makes the machine older than her marriage and daughters too!!
 I have this flair for creative work and  Amma’ s sewing machine is with me now . I use it do some alteration work as and when required or to try my hand in creating some home decor stuff. I am filled with joy  both internally and externally when I am using her sewing machine. Internally because I know she would be so happy to watch me from heaven making use of something that she passed on to me and I feel externally happy too when I see my creative stuff  enhancing the look of my home..
I had brought it to my home in two trips by train. The first time I brought only the top part and used it like a hand machine .During my next visit I brought the entire bottom frame consisting of the pedal, frame and wheel.The first thing that I did was to call a service centre person who could install the bottom frame to the machine and set it working for me.
Each time I am pedalling and stitching  she seems to be smiling and whispering to me to unleash my creativity.
This machine was bought by her in 1969  and is half a century old now !!!. I am often reminded of the times when she helped me complete my SUPW activity while in school in which we were taught stitching .
It is definitely one of the proud prized possessions of mine  and I feel her presence surrounding me, comforting and protecting me whenever I am using one of my Amma’s possessions.
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Transformation

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Source: Transformation

Any change or variation over a period of time brings a transformation. It could be natural , man-made, physical, spiritual, emotional, geographical, cultural, social.

Nature shows us changes that happen over a period of time. The formation of smooth pebbles from sharp stones due to action of water over the ages , weathering of rocks, changing of seasons, a larvae changing into a beautiful colourful butterfly, melting of icebergs because of global warming, metamorphosis of a zygote into a baby, a bud blossoming into a flower are some examples that happen so naturally and beautifully.

Digital Transformation can be both positive or negative. Science and technology have transformed our lifestyle to such an extent that it is just unimaginable!!

Social media and internet too have transformed the whole lifestyle. I have seen thriving businesses coming to a standstill in the past decade. Services that were so much in demand went down. The mall culture wherein everything is available under one roof is responsible . So many shopkeepers had to shut shop as they started incurring losses.

Some shops that used to be famous for wooden furniture too had to shut shop with the arrival of lightweight , dismantable options that started replacing heavy and expensive wooden furniture. With online booking of railway tickets at the press of a button from the comfort of ones home the people who were earning their living as travel/ticket agents went out of demand. I have  myself gone to these travel agents when I had to buy tickets. There used to be a heavy rush in their offices.

The mobile phones have transformed our lives . A single gadget has replaced cameras, wrist watches, desktops, laptops, calendars, landline phones , calculator, television, DVD players, CD players , photo albums to name a few when it comes to material possession and even human relationships have been affected to some extent.

The current generation is very health conscious and the correct form of exercise coupled with proper nutritious  diet brings about mind blowing transformation physically which of course is easier to attain than maintaining the achieved physical transformation in the long run as sustainability is the key to take it up as a lifestyle .

 

 

 

Pongalo Pongal

Pongal-o Pongal

Happy Pongal, Makar Sankranthi, Lohri to everyone in India. It is the festive season now.

What I remember of Pongal as a kid is waking up early in the cold winter morning and walking towards the drawing room to catch a few more winks on the sofa half asleep waiting for Amma to call us to come to the kitchen. We would wait for the milk to boil and rise and shout ‘Pongalo Pongal- Pongalo Pongal’ and prostrate before the Pongal Panai (pot) .It was a time to feast on chakkarai (sweet) pongal and venn (salted) Pongal with some other delicacies that Amma would prepare .

Fast forward a few years.

I am the one who is buying the turmeric leaves, applying turmeric and kumkum to the pongal panai (pot), tying the leaves securely to the pot, cleaning the gas oven and kitchen counter top in the morning ,adding the required ingredients in the panai and simultaneously keep calling my kid an hubby reminding them that its time to wake up.  Now my son ambles half asleep towards the sofa and then to the kitchen when its time for the milk to boil and rise up.

I am more than happy and satisfied by the time I prepare both the varieties of the pongal dish and the “neivedhiyam ” is offered to the Sun God!  So the lunch and breakfast of the day is done minus any more delicacies that my Amma would prepare.

Pongal literally means “boiling over” as the milk is allowed to boil over, signifying abundance.

I look forward to this morning every year

Perhaps I manage to follow certain customs in ways convenient to me during the current times with some short cuts . Our beautiful traditions have evolved radically but the essence still remains the same  and they keep reminding us about the beautiful culture that we belong to.

Build Your Own Rainbow

Childhood is the time when we are most active , bubbling with energy , stress free and with all the time in the world  playing and bonding with friends .  As we grow into an adult the scenario slowly changes and it is a mixture of fun and stress of a different order be it about academics, one’s looks , peer pressure, relationships,  career, marriage  , learning new skills , adjustments , childbirth, raising kids, taking care of elderly  and the list is really long .

Especially women in India have to make lots of adjustments and for us the twists and turns of life and age sometimes makes us ponder over the uncertainity at many stages.

In the journey of life at different stages of life, there does come a time when one is not sure about the future, a fear somewhere resides in some corner of the mind, yet life goes on. One tries to do what one thinks is best at that point of time. And when ones wishes are fulfilled its a nice, beautiful feeling.

How many women  can resonate well with the fact that we tend to put everyone else ‘s needs before our own . Priorities change with time with family commitments and raising kids that time just flies ahead juggling between home front and work front .The fact that when kids are a little older and need us a little less as their circle of friends widen is the time which allows us to pursue our own goals, hobbies & passions which had taken a backseat.

So just stop for a couple of minutes & think, ” what is my oxygen mask” ?

Do things that are highly energetic and reflective. Spend some time in nature and enjoy your surroundings, have a chat with a good friend , watch films, do exercise , yoga , dance , pen down your thoughts, feelings, listen to  music and sing along to your favourite song,  travel, read, rediscover a hobby or a creative interest , just something you enjoy wherein you are so involved that there is no room for worrying about anything else. Spread your beautiful wings and fly to all the places you wish to be.

Do what you enjoy and fly and soar up in the sky and be perched on the throne like a “Queen” and rule your life and life will open new doors for a better you.

Heart full of joy and House full of lights and diyas #happydiwali #newyear #festive #festivefun #deepavali #bloggers #lightdiya #dorangoli #begood #havefun

Deepawali  is just around the corner and there is a festive atmosphere around. I am reminded of how my parents would wake us up in the early hours on Naraka Chaturdashi day for the customary oil bath. We would be woken up around 4 am in the cold winter morning of October/November . Appa would have switched on the radio and would have tuned into Short Wave band for some south Indian music. The early morning celebrations would start on an auspicious note with Nadaswaram music.

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning was a big task. We are three siblings and we had a rule. As per the rule –“whoever gets up first will take bath first.” That way the other two could catch up with some extra sleep was the idea. But the question was – who would wake up first?? The solution was that whoever’s name is called out  first while waking us up would have to take oil bath first and then one of us would grumble to Amma – “Why did you have to call only my name first??”

On the previous night Appa would have applied a little haldi and kumkum to the corners of the new dresses which would have been piled up on a tray . All the new clothes, sweets,  savouries, crackers, homemade special herbal  medicine, a big vessel smeared with little rangoli pattern , gingelly (sesame) oil would be placed in front of the God.

After waking up Amma would make us sit on a low level wooden seat  and anoint our hair with warm gingelly oil. We would then go out and light a cracker/sparkler . The one whose name was called first would go for the oil bath while rest of the two would try to  catch some few more winks of sleep.

Post bath Appa would give us our new dress and Amma would give us the special homemade herbal medicine in the form of a small ball . I hated it. My sister used to find it tasty. Amma would ask me to eat it fast as it helps in the digestion of all the sweets and savouries that we would be consuming for the next few days. I would find it very difficult to push it down my throat. We would wear the new clothes and seek the blessings of the elders.

Gorging on the different sweets and savouries would be fun. Phone calls to greet relatives and friends would be with “ Ganga snanam accha?”. Evening time would be spent in lighting diyas, greeting  friends and exchanging sweets. Since my growing up years were in northern and western  India we would save the bursting of crackers for the next day when the whole neighbourhood would be bursting crackers.

In today’s age enthusiasm is the same for celebrating  and I do eagerly look forward to this festival of lights but some things have changed for me I realize.. Waking up at 4 am has shifted to a little later by 2 hours, gingelly oil has been replaced by parachute coconut oil for namesake,  shikakai  has been replaced with shampoo.

When it comes to sweets and snacks –it’s the shortcut as I prepare just one sweet and one savoury item as I find the deep frying chores in the kitchen immensely boring . Rest are purchased from shop. Diwali herbal medicine too is purchased ( symbolically bought if available) and the packet remains unopened for days to come, and is finally discarded one fine day. Crackers too are brought on a minimum scale now  keeping in mind “green Diwali”.

Piling up new dresses on a tray with haldi and kumkum smeared in a corner and placing the sweets , savouries , Diwali herbal medicine and crackers along with the new set of clothes is something I look forward to. Its also time to bond with neighbours and friends by exchanging sweets.

What has also got added is looking forward to make a colourful  rangoli apart from the traditional rangoli with rice flour and decoration with lots of marigold flowers and lamps , diyas, serial bulbs.

With my generation some things have changed, and with the next generation some more things will change. We do try to hold on to some rituals ,customs, traditions as per our convenience and the love, laughter and bonding continues to keep everyone together.

May the beauty of Deepawali season fill your home with happiness

Wishing everyone a very Happy and Joyous Deepawali

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk a mile in my shoes

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

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Human mind is strange, its always active like a monkey. Judging others comes easily to us. Its such an inbuilt mechanism of the thinking process that we cannot stop it. However we can limit ourselves to the extent that we don’t express our opinions and judgements openly . We should try to put ourselves in other person’s shoes first to understand them properly.

Last week during my yoga class I tried to do a new asana and somehow hurt my lower back. After coming home I realized that every movement like sitting on a chair, getting up, lying down , turning on bed was so painful . I got irritated by the sound of the calling bell when someone was at the door. I could not bend down to open the drawers in the kitchen to have an access to the food items or remove something from the refrigerator . That is when I actually realized  the real pain that my mother would have experienced and how she bore the acute pain for two and half years in her  right hip and the doctors just failed to diagnose her ailment properly. Every moment of her two and half years was spent in pain and because of the hip pain her mobility was affected immensely. She lost interest in life too.

My mother bore the pain and would try to lead her life and activities without depending on others as much as it was possible.  Last week when I was down with pain ,the words “Walk a mile in my shoes and then you will realize how it is” kept piercing and echoing in my ears and I kept remembering my loving mother who is in no more in this world and I shed silent tears . This was on a physical level.

On a mental level in life we should never judge another person as two individuals will think differently. What governs ones mental makeup is the circumstances one is thrown into. Follow the motto of ” live and let live” and never ever be judgemental.

 

 

Mens sana in corpore sana #ApneTareekeSeHealthy

I am joining Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy initiative and sharing my ways of being healthy in association with BlogAdda.

“Mens sana in corpore sana” is a Latin phrase which means ” a healthy mind in a healthy body” .This phrase is so self explanatory emphasising the importance of health in our daily lives.

I believe that a sound mind dwells in a sound body.  Only when we are far away from ailments and physical pain  we can concentrate in our daily activities. Fitness is very important. Our body is like a temple and each individual is a caretaker of this temple. There are many ways to keep this temple clean and fit on a physical and mental plane.

As a teacher i have different types of students in my class. Some are good in studies, some are good in sports,some are good in extra curricular activities. I try to relate myself to these three categories whenever I have to do an activity . I realized that when it comes to activities involving mind and some extra skills  I am like one of those students who is good in academics and extra curricular activity . However when it comes to a physical activity I am like one of the students who is not good in academics in a class. I have always felt this whenever I joined classes like aerobics, dance, yoga wherein I will be among the students who fares badly compared to the others in their exams. This on a physical level is associated to fitness. By birth we are bestowed with some genes which we cannot change but we can always make an attempt to improve our lifestyle habits and compete with ourself to become better .

I was always on the skinny, lean side till my mid twenties. In fact putting on weight was a task in those days when my metabolism was perhaps at its peak. At mid twenties life got busy with a career, marriage, commuting, childbirth, stress and responsibilities that fitness took a backburner. The body is supple, strong, agile for another decade and although I knew that I am growing horizontally I did not bother much about the expanding waistline.

It was only when I hit my mid thirties that I actually paused and mulled to take control of my lifestyle to incorporate health and fitness as a priority.  It has been my constant endeavour since past couple of years to take care of my health. Diet and physical activity is something I am particular about now. But, alas its a yo-yo type swinging between  overweight to obese. :-((( whenever I have been unable to give time to physical activity.

Yoga has helped me to become flexible with little less stiffness in my joints and improved my breathing technique. Most of us do shallow breathing instead of abdominal breathing. The proper technique of breathing through abdomen is something I have become conscious about now.

I also try to squeeze out some time for walking and strength training whenever time permits. The most important  knowledge apart from  “what to eat is when to eat’. I am slowly becoming aware of this concept these days and try to incorporate it in my routine apart from keeping myself well hydrated.  I normally neither sweat too much nor do I feel thirsty which makes me drink less water. I make it a point these days to keep sipping water often.

Starving oneself to shed the adipose layers is also a mistake as the metabolism goes for a toss. Our body needs calories input even to perform the basic activities like breathing, repair of tissue, circulation, digestion when it is at rest which is called the BMR ( basal metabolic rate) so we should not deprive the body of food thinking it will help in shedding weight. I try to keep this in mind.  80% diet and 20% exercise is the secret for a healthy and fit body.

Getting some basic tests done on an annual basis is important to keep a check . The annual health check up in a way helps me to keep a check and monitor my health parameters.

I came across this once-“If we do not make time for exercise now we will probably have to make time for illness later ”

It is important to find time in our already packed schedules to allot some time for exercises as the benefits are plenty in the long run. My parents generation was not aware about how important it is to find “me time”   but my geneartion is aware about “me time” concept . So I believe in using this ” me time” to work on my health both on the physical and mental level . Sleep and rest are also important for the body so as not to increase the cortisol levels that causes weight gain .

Avoiding junk food, sugars, aerated drinks, deep fried items, white flour (maida), greasy food, frozen food, tetra pack juices are some of the food habits that  I am very particular about. I am particular to use good cooking oil medium like saffola which is good for the heart.

People lose weight without realizing that it is very important to lose fat and not muscles. I am trying to keep this in mind that my exercise and diet regime should target at fat loss and not in muscle loss as both show reduction in weight on the scales

I am trying to  remain healthy by following a structured diet along with correct physical activity five times a week. I believe that ” health is wealth” .

Taking care of our temple (body) should be one of the priorities in  today’s busy lifestyle to avoid the lifestyle diseases to rule us.

 

Life is a box of ……

Bombay is a city of dreams. For me too it was, it is.

Although Politically its called Mumbai now, for me it will always be Bombay- as that was how it was called when I moved to this city to build my dreams.

I spent nearly two decades in this city. I came to this city as a young girl in my early twenties when I got a job. This Metro city has a magnetic effect. Whoever comes here  gradually falls in love with the city inspite of it being called fast paced. She takes into her arms every one who comes to her , and gives an experience of  warmth, struggle, love, independence, exposure and the various other ingredients that are required to experience life.

Its a city for everyone- for the rich as well as the poor. I have always felt that she has a beat, a rhythm, a pulse to her. She is a city who never sleeps.

She gave me – my first job, my first house, my first love, my bundle of joy , friends, an experience and exposure which taught me so many things in my life.  As I started loving the city immensely there came circumstances because of which I had to relocate to another city. I think relocation is not the word- uprooted would be an appropriate word.

My heart was torn. I felt very sad too . Although I moved to another city which is equally very developed but my heart does not belong here.

This was the time I came across the book ” who moved my cheese”?  by Dr Spencer Johnson and it helped me to deal with change in life, It taught me how to adapt to change, how to look at life beyond the comfort zone.

Well, after moving to another city, I try to look at the positive side that the city has to offer me. I did learn couple of things here . I just hope change leads to something better and I manage to fall in love to the new place too.

For my blogger friends who understand hindi- this is the song which is very apt for me when I started my life after marriage in Bombay

” do  diwaane  shahar  mein,  raat  mein  yaa  dopahar  mein
aabodaanaa  dhoondhte  hai,  ek  aashiyaanaa  dhoondhate  hain”

Hope and Uncertainty go hand in hand. This term ” Uncertainty” is definitely a heavy word.  In the journey of life at different stages of life, there does come a time when one is not sure about the future, a fear somewhere resides in some corner of the mind.Yet life goes on. One tries to do what one thinks is best at that point of time. And when ones wishes are fulfilled its a nice, beautiful feeling.

Sometimes it does happen that, what one may think is best for oneself , God does not think that way, as HE has a different plan chalked out and when that happens , its a tough time. Hoping against hope one has to tread the difficult, dark path waiting anxiously to see the light ahead in the tunnel of life.

I am always reminded about the time when we come to a fork point in life. Which path to choose be it career, studies, spouse, house, relationships, relocation to another city/ country , medical issues , etc  sometime tear us apart giving stress . One then follows what ones heart/head/or others say with the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the head, leading each day with a SECRET desire that all turns out well with no REGRETS of the decisions taken , and with the LOVE , support of  family at HOME, friends, associates, we TREASURE we take each day as it comes.

I strongly believe that “LIFE IS A BOX OF UNCERTAINTY AND HOPE”.

Whenever I have faced UNCERTAINTY in my life . I like to remember these lines that I came across once to give me comfort

The water falls from the hills,

it never thinks it has fallen,

it rises to run as an Unstoppable river.

Life is not about falling.

It is about rising at every fall

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

WOW: Look Outside Your Window- “A BREATHTAKING VIEW “

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This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

This is a view from my window in summer. What a beautiful sight it is!! I tell myself  as to how lucky it is to start my morning watching the beautiful bloom & enjoy my cuppa along with the newspaper sitting in front of the window.

The flame of the forest is all over the place now. It was sometime in the first week of April that I noticed tiny buds sprouting .

These Gulmohar trees with their fiery orange flowers in summer seem to be competing with the fiery sun rays to me.

How I wish that I was a sparrow [they are hardly seen in cities these days 😦  ] or any other bird and I could soar up in the sky and be perched on the branches and sit among the orange blossoms & keep chirping to my heart’s content.

Wishful thinking !!

There are some other equally nice things that summers offer apart from the king of fruits. It’s the melodious voice of the koel. I often get to hear their voice from far off while I am in my home. I have realized that summers offer a feast to the eyes, ears and taste palate too.

My earlier place of residence in the city of dreams offered me to enjoy the koel’ s voice during summers apart from the famous Alphonso mangoes.. My current place of residence in the city of pearls offers me an additional visual treat .

The koel’s voice reminds me that the rains are not far off. As I walk on the orange carpet of flowers as I set out in the morning I really wish that the sweepers while sweeping the roads during the course of the day do not remove this beautiful carpet made by nature.!

Just a month or more and mother nature will adorn herself with a beautiful green colour as the showers will bathe the entire vegetation around and it will be time for me to admire the different shades of green.18951434_1342029902513014_7724045216683687700_n

SEASIDE TREASURES – EAST COAST

Seaside Treasures -East Coast

The Marina beach and Elliots beach in Madras were my initial introduction to Sea .

Apart from that as a girl studying in 6th std, I was fascinated by the life near Sea .We had a poem titled ” The Coromandel fishers” by Sarojini Naidu. My english teacher Ms. Mukherjee explained the poem in such a beautiful manner that we could actually visualize the life and feelings of people who stay in the coastal plains. Since then ” The Bay of Bengal” has always attracted me more than the ” Arabian Sea”. In my later years I also learnt it to be much more naughtier than the Arabian Sea. I was delighted when I visited “The Northern Circars” . In a way I felt that the mighty “Bay of Bengal” has beckoned me . I don’t know why I never felt the same for the ” Arabian Sea ” during my visits to the coastal plains in Bombay, Goa or Kerala !!

The view of the sunrise was simply breathtaking and I long to go back to this place again. Building sand castles with my son was so much fun. Be it building sand castles, collecting sea shells, splashing water on each other, writing in the sand with the waves rushing forward to erase it, feet sinking in the sand when the tide was a little high as the waves rushed towards us , every moment becomes a beautiful memory to cherish. The roar of the waves is also so musical to the ears. Even in the stillness of the night I enjoyed the roar of the waves and it seemed so relaxing.

Nature has such a calming effect on our nerves that we forget all the other things when we are in her lap. Isn’t it so wonderful.? The pleasure that mother nature gives is just incomparable against all the modern gadgets of today. As  I watched the sun rise and the fishermen begin their day, it made me think about the bond that they shared with the sea . Its after all their livelihood, their mother, their goddess, their wealth

I actually could recollect the lines from the ” Coromandel Fishers”. Its few lines are:

“Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,

The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.

Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,

To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!

the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;

Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea.

The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all”.

As I bid goodbye to the sea to visit some other places nearby , I carried back lots of pictures in my mind’s eye which is “seaside treasure ” for me till I visit the mighty “Bay of Bengal ” again.

The submarine museum in Vishakapatnam-INS KURUSURA- is a decommisioned submarine of the Indian Navy for public viewing.The Submarine Museum is Asia’s first submarine museum. Very informative museum as it throws light about the life of all the sailors and officers who live in a submarine for months together.It is a marvel to observe the type of engineering machinery inside the congested place. I could also admire and appreciate the effort that has been put into installing the submarine weighing a few tonnes in sandy soil near the beach and how it also managed to withstand the cyclone “Hudhud”

Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex in Vizag ( Vishakapatnam) has some monastries which are in ruins now. The complex has a number of Stupas, chaityas and viharas. This place was inside the Kalinga region which was instrumental in promoting Buddhism.

I have a fascination for monuments that were built ages ago before the construction machinery of current times evolved and it  has always amazed me. Beauty of nature is also something that captivates me and interests me to no end.

courtesy: some lines from “Coromandel Fishers”

Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;

Row, brothers, row to the edge of the verge, where the low sky mates with the sea.
” The sea is our mother, the cloud is our brother, the waves are our comrades all”.
the kiss of the spray and the dance of the wild foam’s glee;
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