My Father, My Hero

It’s almost twenty one years since Appa left us. He left home never to return back when a tragic accident snatched him  away from us .When a hale and hearty , lovable , one’s hero , a very active person suddenly leaves us it’s very very difficult to digest and come to terms with the sudden loss .

Two decades ago I was not even aware that something called ” father’s day” is celebrated world wide.

There are so many things I fondly remember about my first hero in life. He was a self made man. Coming from a very humble family background he worked very hard to rise to a very high position in the corporate world.  There was a fire in his belly to excel  in whatever he chose to do. He was very meticulous , dynamic and a very honest man.

My parents have given me a wonderful childhood and I have umpteen number of beautiful memories of my growing up years. Although he was strict and a disciplinarian,  he was also very friendly , loving and caring. He wanted his daughters to shine in academics and be an all rounder in other activities too. He introduced us to badminton, carrom board, tamil film songs, devotional light music, good movies, books, gardening, table tennis, access to library, photography, chanting shlokas, travel, comfortable journeys by road, rail and air. He taught us to ride a bicycle and the two wheeler. Whenever we took part in extra curricular activities he helped us in drafting with the poem recitations, speeches and debates.

There was never a dull moment with Appa around.He was a good singer, was good in drawing, appreciated good prose, poetry, music and dance. He would also enact some bharatnatyam songs with his hand gestures and facial expressions and would try to explain the meaning behind the beautiful lyrics. I still remember his all time favourite bharatnatyam dance song ” madhavi pon mayilal”  sung by T.M. Soundararajan. He introduced us to the world of tamil music through T.M. Soundararajan and poet Kannadasan’ s songs which were rich in meaning.

He was an all rounder for us who guided us at every step in life.

He had  travelled around the globe and believed in ” be like a Roman in Rome”. Coming from an orthodox south Indian family his views changed because of being posted to different places within the country

Whenever we visited a new city he would take interest in showing us around the city. The two things he was particular about were  rising up early in the morning and scoring good marks. We as kids would often grumble about it . He believed in the power of education and wanted his girls to scale heights. I could see the pride in his eyes for his daughters whenever we won a competition, secured admission in a good college, came out with flying colours in exams.

We had lots of Jasmine flowers in our garden. He would personally pluck the flowers with so much care for us. Amma would string it for us to be pinned on the hair.He always helped my Amma in kitchen and in few household chores. Once in a while he would cook and let Amma relax. We are a family of three  daughters and since we always saw our Appa lending a helping hand to Amma, the very concept of boys or males not helping in household activities was alien to me and my sisters. We have been fortunate enough to have a beautiful upbringing and we were always  given the freedom to express our views.

Appa was religious and had immense faith in the Almighty. After he met with the tragic accident we were very very angry with God. Circumstances they say change a person. Me and my two sisters started questioning so many things. After facing the turmoil and tough times along with Amma,  we in a way have become less emotional when we see people cribbing for trivial issues. We started questioning some of the superstitious rituals that are followed. Yes, maybe people think that we are outspoken  and not as submissive as girls are expected to be.

Appa passed away within six months of my marriage. It was a big blow. Newly wed girls normally celebrate all the festivals with so much enthusiasm within the first year of  marriage . Somewhere the looking forward to celebrate festivals lost charm within me. He could never play with his grandkids too.

It took time to come out of it. I still have a letter that I wrote to him in heaven , a year or two after he left us informing him about how we are dealing with life without him. I realized that at least I could enjoy and experience the relation of a father till my early twenties. There are so many in this world who might  not be as fortunate as I was . I reconciled myself taking it as God’s plan.

Memories are finally what is left behind . Thankyou God for blessing me with such lovely parents. I firmly believe that my Appa is blessing and guiding me in each and every step in life. I hold him close within my heart and he will remain there to walk with me throughout my life until we meet again.

For My Mother In Heaven

Amma, with Mother’s day approaching I am remembering you all the more . This year will be my first Mother’s day after you have reached your final resting place to join Appa in your heavenly abode . Thankyou Amma for giving us a wonderful childhood, memories,  moments to cherish, education, teaching Sanskrit shlokas , introducing us to the world of stories and storybooks and values. Children learn watching their parents and we surely as kids absorbed many things like a sponge during the growing up years.

You gave us the freedom to express our thoughts even if we differed in our thoughts on some issues and had diametrically opposite views at times . This  opportunity to air our views and to agree to disagree philosophy is something I simply love and respect about you.

I say this specially because I have seen some people of my generation not being given this opportunity when it comes to talking to their parents . They call this respect and love . I call this respect and love accompanied by fear ( my personal opinion).

For every child their mother is the best cook in the world. You always made sure that you prepared dishes that your children relish even if it meant making an extra effort since with age/ health issues  your likes/dislikes/ preferences for something could have changed.

You were so fond of cooking and  knitting  sweaters for your children and grandchildren. I never managed to learn these two forms of art with the same passion as yours  ( and I don’t regret it too ). You agreed that nature and degree of  interests could vary from person to person and also from one generation to another.

Cooking is something which I learnt  after marriage and since you were always a phone call away I could always trouble you anytime and ask for recipes and tips before the “you tube “and “google maharaj” made their entry. The practical tips always have been so handy which the books /videos / google maharaj would seldom specify.

You would pack my things for me every time when it was time to leave for hostel  before the college reopened. You had the ability to make friends easily across all age groups and with your humour you normally won over most people. I wish I had  inherited that quality from you.

I still remember the second Sunday of May  2003 . It was also a Mother’s day and we three sisters were travelling  from Baroda to Madras along with you and your two toddler grandkids by train. We realized we had been talking so much (maybe at a volume audible to others) and having fun when some passengers who were travelling in the same coach a few berths away told us that they liked our lively and cheerful banter and struck a conversation with Amma. They seemed as if they were eager to know about all of us.

You always went out of the way to help us . When your grandkids were infants , toddlers and your kids could not go to buy train tickets or because of the summer rush it was impossible to get tickets you always volunteered to buy us tickets by going personally to the railway station by taking the trouble to be there at the booking counter in the morning hours  ( around 16/17  years ago – which seldom your generation ladies would offer to do).

You were employed with the Accountant General office in Madras and Delhi for 11 years- a central govt job,  but you gave it up after the birth of your twins and I have never ever heard you grumbling about it even at times when you were annoyed with us. Appa left home never to return when  a tragic accident snatched him away from us. You remained a pillar of strength for us  .

I quote here the words of my dear Uncle ( Amma’s  younger brother)  to his nieces ( to myself and my sisters)

“From Valady ( a place in Tamil Nadu) to Vadodara her life has been a life which inspires confidence. The life values she has imparted on you all, after the untimely snatching away of your beloved father, without buckling and complaining tells a lot about her confidence and maturity and fighting spirit.  Resonating with her name ‘Visalakshi’ she adopted a broader vision and courage to stand against some meaningless customs and practices”.

When we were living in the same city post my marriage ,  I would call you up on my way to your place to keep tea ready for me. I could take this liberty with you. According to me this is what I call  a closest relation called ” Amma” .

Amma , we miss you many times and fondly remember so many things about you .  We ( kids, grandkids)  remember your dialogues, proverbs that you often used, reactions to our activities . It is lonesome without you since you have gone away but we seem to hear you whisper to us to cheer up and carry on . Each time I see your picture you seem to be telling us with a smile  “Don’t cry, I am in God’s hands and we will meet again someday.

Amma, I hope and wish that I too prove to be an adorable mom to my kid, the same way as you are to me.

Today as I am keying in, I want to write so many things but I would restrict myself now and summarize with a beautiful poem by Pat O’ Reily

I borrow the words from Pat O’Reilly

“ Wonderful Mother”  

God made a wonderful mother,

A mother who never grows old;

He made her smile of the sunshine.

And He moulded her heart of pure gold;

In her eyes He placed bright shining stars,

In her cheeks  fair roses you see;

God made a wonderful mother,

And He gave that dear mother to me.

Recharge

Via Daily Prompt:wp-1476971794734.jpg Recharge

Source: Recharge

 

We have got so used to recharging our gadgets on a daily basis that sometimes we forget to recharge ourselves on a daily basis. The daily grind leaves hardly one with enough time.

We look forward to vacations to break the monotony of the daily routine. Vacations have become so popular these days . It does make me wonder sometimes at the impact nature and travel has on the mental and physical well being of a person. Travel, sports, visiting new tourist places, sight seeing, camping, trekking, hiking  are some ways to recharge our batteries .

Apart from these things I consider some more things equally  important  to recharge oneself on a daily basis like expressing gratitude for whatever one has works like magic. A simple thankyou expressed from the bottom of the heart works like magic to recharge both the body and soul.Prayers too said sincerely, it could be any time of the day, when said from the heart works wonders and recharges the mind. God never said take bath before praying , avoid x y z food items, perform  x y z rituals for me. It’s all created by humans.

A visit to a hospital , blood bank made me realize and learn some important lessons in life. Blood donation is  something so important. Blood transfusion for a patient in need of blood saves his/her life. This fact made me realize how it recharges one’s physical body with life. As I watched the crowd who had come to collect blood for their loved ones -Travel, sports, visiting new tourist places, sight seeing, camping, trekking, hiking for recharging oneself seemed so insignificant at that moment to me.!!

Meditation too is said to play an important role to recharge. I am yet to practice this and experience the benefits of this form of recharge.

A warm genuine smile, kind words, acknowledgement,  laughter, encouraging words, interesting company, food of ones choice, a nice book, writing wherein allowing thoughts to flow, heart to heart talk  ,yoga,running,walking, hobby, the feel of cool  breeze,  music are also some other ways to recharge oneself.

It’s time for me to wake up and recharge myself!!

A Piece of Advice

Advice is something like a medicine. Nobody likes it but at times it does influence a person.It also depends upon the source from where /whom the advice comes.

As a kid and during the growing up years plenty of advice are given to guide ,teach, learn the ways of life . They really help in setting up values which form the foundation of a person’s character.

An advice that I will always remember was once given by my uncle. He said that when one faces a situation in life where you have to take a decision and its a “fork” type situation. God will always choose the best path that is meant for us.

what he meant was –Maybe we decide to choose path A but if God wanted Path B for us. We will choose path A , travel it, realize its not working and we would come back to the intersection and decide to follow path B . Sometimes what we think is best for us may not be the case always, as God has his plans already chalked out for us which HE knows is best for us.

This advice I liked and often I remember my uncle for this piece of advice.

Express Yourself

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Express Yourself!.”

Expressing oneself in today’s world is essential. People bestowed with the gift of the gab ( interesting type and not the type that irritates people )  are indeed very lucky. Although hard skills are required but it is the soft skills that makes one get noticed,  takes one ahead in life.

Apart from the gift of the gab there are some other art forms that people dabble in successfully to express themselves like art, craft, sculpting, painting, music, dance, poetry, story writing etc.  For me drawing comes naturally I guess, I am fond of sketches which depict three dimensional figures. Even a layman can understand such three dimensional sketches. I enjoy visualizing things in space maybe that is why spatial arrangement puzzles and questions attract me.

Writing is something which I find interesting, but my style of writing is very simple .Not everyone will find it interesting. Its again a matter of individual liking/preference.

Finally what matters is to be with people who encourage  you to imagesA48T618Aexpress yourself

Our House

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Our House.

 

The term ” Our House”  brings memories of our Ancestral house in our native place and also all the houses where I have grown up since we moved to  many cities during my growing up years.

We used to visit our grandparents during the summer vacations. My grandparents used to live in our  Ancestral house  in our native place in a village . It was a huge house . The place where the  houses were located in that village was called an “Agraharam”.  It had a huge portico in the front, huge two halls where everyone would spend time together, have meals, sleep . There were four smaller rooms adjoining the big halls.

At the backyard was a well, a makeshift bathroom. There was a separate room near the kitchen where firewood would be stocked for lighting the fire for the hot water . The staircase to the terrace was very narrow. On the terrace floor at a place above the hall was an opening. The idea was after the grains were kept in the sun for some time, instead of carrying the grains down, it was pushed through the hole on the ceiling of the hall ( floor of terrace) to avoid carrying the sacks down. At the backyard some vegetables were grown.

There was greenery all around. A canal used to flow close by to the house. Evening time there would be lots of mosquitoes. A plastic sheet smeared with oil would be hung  ( just in case the mosquitoes sat on the sheet, they would get stuck). We used to have food on banana leaves. There was no ceiling fan, Only one table fan used to be there and we would as kids take turns to be near it . The table fan would always be placed near to Grandpa.

There was a temple close by and we would sometimes go there. Going out meant travelling either in a bullock cart or bus. Since we would be there only for a few days, we would be pampered so much by all the neighbours and by my grandparents.

Looking back staying in a village had its charm. Life there for us as kids was carefree, so different from the life in the city where we were staying with our parents. Maybe  as kids it was fun time for us. And the generation of my mother would be always busy at the kitchen . Grinding the batter for some food varieties, pounding grains etc was done by the ladies manually. I realize it would have been tough for them. Today I am in that age bracket where I am supposed to be in the cooking department and I would certainly not enjoy being in a village ( if it was a time without gadgets like those days)

Now , that house has been sold. No one from the family stays in that village. My desire is that someday I would like to go  and visit the place during this lifetime.

My other houses have been in cities in northern  and western India. Normally we would move to the new city after the academic session came to an end , and my daddy would have already joined work and would have fixed a suitable house. He would draw the layout (plan) of the house in an Inland letter for us and post it .

All the houses were good and I have beautiful memories of them but what was best is when in college I had to make a layout of a residential/ public building in exam or had to submit an assignment the layout of the various houses, schools, market eIMG_3019tc then the places that I got to see in the different cities helped me in my thinking process!

“Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall.”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.”

Mirror, Mirror,In the Wall

Writing about oneself is the most difficult part I have realized during the assignments  in’ Writing 101′ and ‘Blogging 101’ .

Every mind sees the same thing but perceives it differently and interprets it even more differently. I guess this is what makes every person unique , a little different from the rest .

I am supposed to answer few questions here in this daily prompt

My blog name- Pink blossom. I love the sight of the Jacaranda tree when in full bloom, laden with her pink blossoms . I find this tree very beautiful. For me she stands like a queen on the stretch of road.

My Tag line : Liking what I do is happiness. I strongly believe in  ” Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you  do is happiness”

My Theme choice : Nature . I love being in the lap of nature.

Posts: I key in what ever comes to my mind whenever I am penning down my thoughts. I followed one rule during the ” writing 101″ and ” blogging 101″ assignments. I read others posts on a particular topic only after I am done with writing mine as I wanted my posts not to be influenced by others posts in any way.

Images: The images that I try to choose reflect my thoughts too. 

My profile pic: images8XZUADI8 

Mirror images are either magnified or diminished , virtual or real, upright or inverted in nature depending on the type of mirror used and the distance of the object from the reflecting surface.

Similarly, my views change with the nature of topic, my experiences, exposure to situations in life , circumstances but my views will never be contradicting.

untitledimagesH4ZAC7XE

GANESH CHATHURTHI

This is in response to Day 15: Blogging 101-Create a feature labels-

My label-  My thoughts , experiences

GANESH CHATHURTHI

Lord Ganesha’s arrival brought rains . Its been pouring
cats & dogs since the last three days. There is greenery all round.
The entire place is free of dust . ( muddy puddlesis a different story).

Vinayaka seems to be saying I will arrive once the whole city has been
cleaned up .!!

This year our complex Ganapati is for three days. We have an eco friendly Ganesha made of clay sans colours ( if the paints are used they are chemicals which are toxic to the water body when immersed)

It is  a very nice feeling as if Ganesha is amidst us, maybe all the more because our
complex is not very huge and has just six buildings. There is an air
of festivity all around. I look forward to the morning & evening Aarti (ritual of worship-song sung in praise of the deity, when lamps are being offered)
time.
Its also the time to wear saris, to have a look at all the
colourful saris & other outfits clad by others.

The Mahaganapati Homam is a time when the chanting of holy mantras just seems to bring positive vibrations around. I feel lucky to have learnt Sanskrit while at school . Never liked the
third language studying while in school. But since now I am able to
understand , make out a little meaning when the shlokas (prayer), mantras are being chanted, I find it enjoyable. I thank my school for having introduced Sanskrit .

The prasadams (offering to the Lord)  that we get after the evening puja (rituals in worship10626635_696778777038133_3413941923418747777_n) are something I love.
Being a southey I am all the more familiar with puliyodarai ( Tamarind rice), bagala baath ( curd rice), chakara pongal,   ladoos ( not the moti choor type but the Tirupati ladoo type),  besi bela baath,  lemon baath ( baath means rice),  sundal,  rava kesari……………. yummmmy

The quantity served is quite sufficient & filling ,no need to
prepare dinner. And, yes if someone in my family does not relish all
this its time for DIY in the kitchen for them.!!!!

Finally, its Ganapati visarjan (immersion of Lord’s idol)  time . A part
of my mind asked time to tick slowly so that Ganesha could stay a
little longer . As we bid goodbye to the Vignahartha , I  am going to
miss Him all the more when I see the place where He was seated
blessing one & all.

Finally, its time to say “Ganapati bappa morya , pudhchya varshi laukarya”.

Recreate a Single Day

This is in response to Day 14- writing 101

Recreate a Single Day:
write a post that takes place during one single day
BRAHMA  KAMAL396432_411752092207471_1500494047_n 533614_411751448874202_2032634840_n

It is almost 2 am at night. As I am going to bed ,I realize that it is the little things in life that make us happiest. A simple pleasure  derived from simple appreciation has made me very happy tonight.

Today morning on my way to work I bumped into mausi (elderly lady in Marathi language) . She started talking to me in fluent marathi and I could make out that she was talking fondly about some plant  and it made me  wonder, what is the big deal about a plant!!

At around 10pm , I was in the midst of corrections when the doorbell rang.
It was mausi . She asked me to come down to see the “Brahma Kamal” & offer prayers to the flower. In my heart of hearts I thought-is she crazy?-prayers for flowers !!! that too at this time of the night!!! I told her politely that I would see the flower the next day morning. But she kept insisting that I should come since the flower would not be there in the morning, and I again thought to myself -“how could that be possible if no one  plucks it ! Anyways, I finally had to say-ok

On reaching down there was excitement in the air. There were many ladies and gents downstairs and were talking v excitedly about a flower.  I learnt that the flower starts blooming late in the evening  & blooms fully by midnight and then starts closing down after midnight. Also that this flower bloomed only once in a year which makes it very auspicious. People had been invited to watch this flower bloom .

I must say the sight of the two white flowers which they called “Brahma Kamal” was breathtakingly beautiful. I was seeing them for the first time. They were actually growing from a leaf and not from a stem or a stalk.

The ladies performed aarti  (songs sung in praise of a deity, when lamps are being offered- is a hindu religious ritual of worship) , offered prayers. Tt was celebration time.

I on my part was amazed by all that I was watching around  the– devotion, the knowledge about nature which mausi  had-(which in today’s world is limited to the so called educated ones including me )  the importance that humans in the early ages gave to nature & looked forward to with so much enthusiasm.

I must admit I did feel blessed to witness something like this and be a part of something which had so much importance attached to it. I was glad that I had come to see this “Event”

I came back home and the flower made me google to know more about it. I came to know it is called by another name and not the “Brahma Kamal”, but it is something similar to “Brahma Kamal”- anyways that name was  no more important to me. I was already impressed by the flower.

Writing and not Writing

This is in response to Day 11 on Writing 101:  Writing and not Writing

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

Today, publish your post in any form you wish, as long as you focus on one or all of these questions.

Writing and not Writing

1)  What do you do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing I am busy with the activities of day to day routine. But since WordPress is accessible at the touch of the screen , there is also a tendency to keep checking  for new notifications, new posts ,WhatsApp messages , emails etc that I am so addicted to now . So in a way there are times when technology does distract me!!
2) How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed?

I am very new to the blogging world, the blog bug has bit me . After my son and husband leave for school and office respectively the first thing in the morning I do is to see what is the topic of the day in blogging 101 & writing 101.
If it’s a topic that I can relate to immediately, my mind keeps thinking and preparing for the write up as I go about the day’s activities. I try to start keying in whenever I am able to squeeze some time . If it’s in the afternoon its post tea . But once I start writing I like to be left alone in my world of thoughts without any disturbance.

3) What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

I like to practice Yoga on a daily basis. It gives me flexibility. I get a chance to meet people in the Yoga class and its refreshing to be able to do practice in a group. I also like home decor, so there could be days when I am absorbed with some creative idea and it makes me happy. These days I also like to read new posts by other bloggers in this community of writing 101 and blogging 101. I am really amazed by the fact as how everyone writes so differently and so beautifully express their thoughts.