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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 .
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.
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.
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.
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 thelife 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 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.
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;
How rightfully it is said that childhood memories remain with us for a lifetime .It becomes a part of us and we hold on to the good memories with great fondness.
I have always associated the word journey with a “Train journey” since for me as a kid holidays meant visiting our native place and the journey to the native place down south meant travelling by train for two days.
Today as I am keying in , once again my mind is flooded with the beautiful memories of travelling by the great Indian Railways. I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. The dry arid regions, the lush green forests, the changing terrain, rivers flowing with current,the dry river beds, farms with crops swaying in the breeze , the night sky with millions of twinkling lights from the houses all visible in a single journey of 2 days!!.Isn’t this someway similar to the changes that occur in this “journey of life”?
As a young girl I would love to watch from the window the view after the sun went down and the night set in . As the train would speed ahead , no change in terrain would be visible except for the tiny innumerable lights that dotted the land ( light bulbs from houses) with cool air touching my cheeks. I would wish for the view to continue without a change. But that is not possible. Similarly only the good times cannot continue in life too I guess.
I spent my early growing up years in Allahabad and Delhi. Those were the days when vacations were meant to be enjoyed, play outside with friends instead of attending summer camps. We were actually like donkeys set free without any burden of studies during the entire summer holidays.
I have very fond memories of my summer vacations when we would visit our relatives house and Thatha, Patti & attai’s ( Dada, Dadi & Buaji) home in South India. Travelling by train all the way from Allahabad or Delhi to Trichy involved changing trains at Madras , ( I would not prefer to write Chennai but would instead write Madras as that is what it was called then!) and taking another train for the onward journey to Trichy. It used to take three days to reach our grandparents home.
As kids the “chook chook gadi ” travel excitement would commence the day the tickets were booked. We are three siblings and we would immediately announce as to “I will sleep on the upper berth” . The one who announced first would always want the upper berth . There would also be announcement of ” window seat for me ” !.
The ticket used to be of thick cardboard and small in size , ( like the one that pops out in a coin operated weighing machine in a railway station ). It was also a time to look forward to weighing oneself in the coin operated machine at the station and read the forecast with an actor/ actress pic on one side. That card that would come out of the machine mentioning the weight will be preserved by us!!
A surai ( earthen pot) too would be a part of our luggage . Travel was by normal non ac coach and we never ever felt of cribbing or grumbling about the heat.. Amma would carry idlis with molaga podi smeared on it, lemon rice,tamarind rice, curd rice, vadams ( homemade fryums) and pickles in a stainless steel carrier. The food used to be consumed in the order of their shelf life . From the second day it was food available in the different stations that were bought. Water was refilled in the surai in a station. When we drank water Amma would say” please do not sip the glass”
We never bothered about using a hand sanitizer, dettol soap or mineral water. Life still went on without any illness.We would play a game of cards, ludo, snakes and ladders . The co- passengers too would become our friends and play with us. A bonding happened during the course of the journey.
I loved to watch the changing landscape as the train chugged from one state to another. Somewhere without our realizing it a learning process was happening simultaneously. We were actually visualizing the physical features of the land , be it plains,rocks., rivers, plateaus, valleys,vegetation and like a sponge every detail would be getting lodged in our memory.
Even we learnt about food, snacks, fruits that were special to a particular place when the vendors would hop in to sell their items at different places. It was also a learning about the different outfits worn by different people in India during our journey from north to south or even vice versa.
Getting to learn how to use the Railway timetable book was fun. We would keep asking Amma and Appa as to ” Which is the next station ? We learnt about big stations being called as ” junctions”.We would pass by tunnels,rivers, thick vegetation. , bridges.Throwing coins into the river was another fun activity that we looked forward to. The innumerable trips up and down the ladder would be so thrilling when trying to reach from one level of berth to another.! Amma would say ” Be careful, lest you break your bones at the begining of the journey!!. “
It was a time to bond, learn, spend more time together , play, watch the world outside.The ” Jayanti Janata express” ( Allahabad to south) and ” The Grand Trunk Express” ( Delhi to Madras) have left their imprint in my mind.On nearing Madras , we would sing the song ” Madras nalla Madras” & would keep asking Appa as to how much more time was left for Madras central station to come.
Our relatives would be waiting at the station to receive us and would give home food packed for our onward journey to Trichy. Sometimes it even meant changing station in Madras.We would bid goodbye to the surai in the train itself which had helped us in giving chill water to quench our thirst in the summer heat. From Trichy it would be a bus or bullock cart to the village where my grandparents stayed.
“Tea” sounded this way ” chaaya , chaaya ” & also for some soft drinks it would be “coool drinks , coool drinks ” with a tring tring sound made by the bottle opener on the glass bottles.! There is lot to write if one starts remembering the travel experiences by good old Indian Railways !! A Coolie also was an integral part of our journey as we would always lot of luggage . Having graduated from trunks & holdalls to suitcases & now with further graduation to strolleys , a coolie’s assistance in carrying luggage is not availed by everyone anymore. He would walk fast with luggage on his head and someone was required to match his steps to trail behind him.:-)).Amma would say “Keep an eye on him as he will walk fast” . Searching for our name in the chart stuck near the door of the coach was another thing to look forward to! During teenage years apart from our names one would also try to look at the chart to check if someone of our age group or a youngster was a copassenger!!
We never felt the journey tiring or boring. These are memories that are etched in my mind and I cherish them.
At the same time it sometimes makes me wonder if the current generation is missing something like this? Because for them vacations and travel both have taken a new different meaning!!
Travelling as a family was so much fun.Not that travelling now is not fun with my family, kid . But there is a difference- I am a parent now with a kid. The role reversal is definitely very different I believe.In this journey of life I do intend to undertake more fun filled journeys with my loved ones .I can definitely be a kid at heart if not by age to relive those moments of childhood once again!!
Memories are what we hold onto with fondness. Ganesh Chaturthi puja celebration is something very close to my heart . As per our Hindu tradition I pray to all the Gods and Goddesses, but Lord Ganesha holds a special place in my heart. The festival of “ Vinayakar Chaturthi “is one which I enjoy the most. The elephant headed God is widely worshipped as the supreme God of wisdom, prosperity & good fortune. My first shloka that I learnt was also on Lord Gajanana. “Gajananam bhoota ganadi sevitham…..”
My parents have left me with memories of this festival for a life time . Appa would take clay from our garden and make the idol of Ganesha .We would be excited to watch Appa make the idol, then sticking our sticker bindis for eyes, rice grains as tusk, a sacred thread too would be placed on the idol !! As a kid we would be given the job of rolling out the tiny balls for “ammini kozhakattais” (Kozhukattai are rice flour dumplings that are steamed, cooked and tossed in a tempering to make this Ganesh chaturthi snack).
It used to be a super fun activity , the more we roll, the more we get to eat!!
The jaggery & coconut modakams were something we would gobble up so fast .The entire process would be a real bonding time for the family. Amma would make so many yummy items for the Lord. During Puja time Amma would say to us kids, “ Pray for good health, wisdom to the Lord!”
We would be waiting for the aarti , so that post offerings we could feast on the yummy modakams, salted kozhakattais, vadais, appams, ammini kozhakattais, payasam (kheer). In the evenings when we would go out to see the different pandals, our eyes would want to catch a glimpse of the moon. As per the story Amma had narrated she had told us not to look at the moon on that day!!
The clay ganesha would finally find its way back to the garden.
Apart from that visiting the various sarvajanik pandals of Ganesha always added to the charm. Visiting friends houses who bring in Lord Ganesha is also something to look forward to .During school days I used to have a pact with Ganesha too especially whenever I wanted some favour!!. Super brain yoga posture was always for this Lord whenever I wanted good marks in my exams. The numbers would vary from 12 to 108 !!
There used to be a Ganesha temple close to my college and I would often visit the temple and maybe that is how my fondness for Siddhi Vinayaka grew. I moved to Mumbai soon after college when I got a job and again there was a tiny Ganesha temple near my house. I bumped into one of my friends ( who is now my husband) in a Ganesha temple on a Ganesha Chaturthi day !!!
The making of different Kozhakattais , modakams etc is something I look forward to even today as an adult. My husband & son are entrusted with rolling ammini kozhakattais. My little one will compete with his Appa to do a better job in rolling the tiny balls. These days we hardly sit cross legged on the floor & this is one task for which they sit in the kitchen cross legged & my son will say “ Amma , my legs are aching”, to which I will reply –“Bear the pain for Ganesha & he will surely be happy with you & shower you with blessings!!”. Its real family fun time.
Vinayaka Chaturthi celebrations has its own charm. Lord Vakrathundaya’s arrival is special as its after the onset of rains. There is greenery all round. The entire place is clean & free of dust. Vinayaka seems to be saying, “I will arrive once the entire city & vegetation has been cleaned up after receiving the heavenly showers !! ”
It feels nice to participate in the building Ganapati puja celebrations. It is a very nice feeling as if Ganesha is amidst us. There is an air of festivity all around. I look forward to the morning & evening aarti time. It is also the time to wear saris, to have a look at all the lovely colourful saris & other outfits clad by others. The Mahaganapati Homam is a time when the chanting of holy mantras seem to bring positive vibrations around. I feel lucky to have learnt sanskrit while at school. I never liked the studying of third language while in school. But since I can understand, make out a little meaning when the shlokas, mantras are being chanted, I find it enjoyable. I thank my school for having introduced sanskrit.
The prasadams that we get after the evening puja are something I love. The quantity served is quite sufficient & filling as there is no need to prepare dinner. And, yes if someone in my family does not relish all that then it is time for DIY in the kitchen for them.!!!
On the Ganapati visarjan day a part of my mind would want time to tick slowly so that Ganesha could stay a little longer. As we bid goodbye to the Vignahartha I know I would be missing him all the more when I would see the place where he was sitting blessing one & all.
“Ganapati Bappa Morya , pudachi varsha laukarya”.