Monthly Archives: October 2013

i totally hate

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bouquets. I think they are a waste of plastic crinkley, money and flowers. and everytime we had a celebration, we’d get a bunch and as soon as the guests back were turned i’d mumble and grumble.

and every year I notice that I’ve been mumbling and grumbling louder than ever…

finally. I’ve turned over a new er petal

when life hands you bouquets, my stance is make pookalams 🙂

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not really lovely by mallu standards, I agree;

but i’m tam!

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golu- fatigue

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firstborn developed golu-fatigue after the first four bommai golus, we attended.
the twinkle returned in his eye only if there was a ‘cricket set’ in the proceedings…

else he had a certain faraway look, a generalised ennui, that no amount of sundal, and chota bheem stickers in the golu goody bag could wipe away.

as for moi,

the top four things that didn’t work for me this navarathri…

1. golu padis. EVERYONE has this store bought shelf and converted it into a golu-padi; the uniformity here in Chennai was frightening.

in the interest of novelty, one should make steps. one year you do steps, next year you don’t. one year you try asymmetry. I sobbed with joy when I saw a golu on a dining table… ,

no wonder firstborn was yawning his way through the proceedings .

2. plastic flowers: Chennai gets so much fresh flowers and people make do with plastic. pfui.

3. ctrl c + 2012 = totally annoying. mix em up maami. same same, is so last year.

4. blinking tiny lights. again. the psychedelic effect of the golu gave me a headache. maami, may I visit during the day when the lights aren’t on?

and

here are photos of what I loved…

a sewing machine, loved the yesteryear feel

a sewing machine, loved the yesteryear feel

we could never find four for carom. two was max. maybe three. but 4? I wonder which team won

we could never find four for carom. two was max. maybe three. but 4? I wonder which team won

awesome that there was mighty Vivekananda towering over Gandhi and others. thumbs up for Vedanta

awesome that there was mighty Vivekananda towering over Gandhi and others. thumbs up for Vedanta

and this pic is here in deference to firstborn who stops to stare in a lovestruck manner...

and this pic is here in deference to firstborn who stops to stare in a lovestruck manner… he

loved this beauty

loved this beauty

and marriages never go out of fashion

because marriages never go out of fashion

handmade. I like. underneath the mountain is an overturned empty tin, and 5 kgs of sand lugged from the road, and a sore back from all that building.... mountain, I bow to thee

handmade. I like. underneath the mountain is an overturned empty tin, and 5 kgs of sand lugged from the road, and a sore back from all that building….
mountain, I bow to thee

and here’s a cute song doing the rounds…

Who am I in this world… ?

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I’d like to tell you that I live an ordinary life. i raise sons. i am a nurse today, taking care of two boys with 103 degrees of temperature, each.
i still have trouble with my smart phone. i accidentally called someone who i had just smsed. #facepalm.
i play my veena — i touched it lovingly after many years. And the music is more lovely than it has ever been.
I memorise poetry. And i am terrible at it.
I wear saris twice a week and believe Indian culture is safe in my hands.
I avoid fussing over festivals. But my husband overcompensates so, we are hovering at a midpoint, i think.
I have a camera. And I shoot on sight. Here are some photos taken over the years, that i have sifted through to find moments that are prayerful to me … for many reasons.

a child guides a blind man, who is may be related to him. this was during our stay at a serene Ashram in Kerala

a child guides a blind man, who is may be related to him. this was during our stay at a serene Ashram in Kerala

i too lit a lamp at batu caves. ghee, oil and folded a prayer when i lit a wick... a prayer that was one of a hundred that night...

i too lit a lamp at batu caves. ghee, oil and folded a prayer when i lit a wick… a prayer that was one of a hundred that night…

strands of delicate white, plucked from scented bushes. how green was my valley? taken in kerala

strands of delicate white, plucked from scented bushes. how green was my valley? taken in kerala

my mother in law lights the lamps as part of a 50-year-old tradition. it was night, and we could hear the sounds of insects and as a few dozen devotees sang the aarti, her experienced hands unfalteringly lit the tiny lamps

my mother in law lights the lamps as part of a 50-year-old tradition. it was night, and we could hear the sounds of insects and as a few dozen devotees sang the aarti, her experienced hands unfalteringly lit the tiny lamps

this was at a hotel in mahabalipuram during a vacation. my brother in law's had plucked two flowers and deftly perched them over the dieties... and we saw that, and have adopted that as a practice in our home as well

this was at a hotel in mahabalipuram during a vacation. my brother in law’s had plucked two flowers and deftly perched them over the dieties… and we saw that, and have adopted that as a practice in our home as well

taken in Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. when i lived in malaysia, i thought this was my moment of pride as a photographer. because the speck of white in the sky is the moon.

taken in Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur. when i lived in malaysia, i thought this was my moment of pride as a photographer. because the speck of white in the sky is the moon.

just outside my in-laws home here in chennai. God pops in for a visit...

just outside my in-laws home here in chennai. God pops in for a visit…


one of the most solemn weddings i have attended... i had never seen a bride and groom sit so still.

one of the most solemn weddings i have attended… i had never seen a bride and groom sit so still.

the lovely garlands in Malaysia. We used to buy one every week for Rm 10. sigh.

the lovely garlands in Malaysia. We used to buy one every week for Rm 10. sigh.

this is at a chinese temple that was 15 minutes away from my home... in kuala lumpur. it was the quietest place i ever visited. every week, i walked there and sat quietly and prayed to the Chinese Gods to keep me in Kuala Lumpur. I lived there 4 years.

this is at a chinese temple that was 15 minutes away from my home… in kuala lumpur. it was the quietest place i ever visited. every week, i walked there and sat quietly and prayed to the Chinese Gods to keep me in Kuala Lumpur. I lived there 4 years.

my beloved niece was getting married... 6 hours on a busride to kumbakonam, but so much sanctity in the chants and vows

my beloved niece was getting married… 6 hours on a busride to kumbakonam, but so much sanctity in the chants and vows

at mylapore. what hand created this infinite symmetry...

at mylapore. what hand created this infinite symmetry…

But, those are just scattered moments in a flailing world. I find what works for me is a painstakingly put in place spiritual practice .. despite my passion for disorder.

I’ve slowly changed my lifestyle to make way for the changes Paramahansa Yogananda prescribes…

“If you spend your life in constant excitement, you will never know true happiness. Live simply and take life more easily. Happiness lies in giving yourself time to think and to introspect. Be alone once in a while, and remain more in silence.”

And even though i lead an ordinary life, I today understand the meaning of this Zen Proverb…

Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.
Peace. Out.

(just a post i felt like writing after i read hip hop grandma’s post. Her’s was an entry to Cycle Pure Agarbathies’s contest on prayer

(If i get a Lakshmi Pooja Pack, i’d pass it on in a trice to my mother-in-law, who adores mantras and rituals and has a daughter named in reverence to the Goddess)

This contest is being conducted by pure prayer

committing to memory

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i am doing the obstacle course for my brain = learning to memorise.

this was always a challenge from school days = i couldnt, couldnt couldnt mug.

i would be able to understand a concept and then write in my own words. and i discovered, in hindsight this is far slower and less thorough than cramming… it didnt work in many subjects, and i was always many many miles behind the toppers.

now that i am safely out of school, i wanted to see if i fare better at committing to memory.

i’ve chosen poetry… i have a certain reverent openness to poetry.

or rather i am not close-minded, bull-dog faced, and hands defensively crossed across my chest, as is the case with subtraction or chemistry. ugh.

and the last three days i’ve stolen half an hours here and there to help me memorise William Blake’s poem…

today i froze in the signal while driving, trying to think what came after “smiles at all…”

but the progress is 2/10. and it’s such a simple poem to read.

i am only 3 stanzas up and v. shakily too… i tried to see if repeating it nearly hundreds of times, would lose the lyricalness of the poem and make me dislike it for re-re-reading. it didnt.

but the progress is slow… do you think there is a class i should take?
is there an easier way to memorise?
is there an easier way to memorise poetry?
or rather is there an easier way to memorise poetry, now that you are 35 years old?

On Another’s Sorrow

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird’s grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear –

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant’s tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give His joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.