Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Paper Airplane

As a child, paper planes always amazed me. For a long period of time, as I remember now, I would transform any piece of paper around me to a paper airplane. I would be sitting in the class room,  probably 8th or 9th grade, I would make paper planes and chuck them out of the window. Then one day, I don’t know how, we found that we could chew the paper plane on its tip and then when it was a nice solid mass like a spit ball, chuck it up on the ceiling and it would stick. The kids around would be amazed. In a few minutes, there were several of these planes hanging from ceiling. After a while we would put on the fan and then all these would drop down.Ha Ha, that sight was such a delight!!

Paper airplanes were simple but effective in providing entertainment. There was no science, there was no logic..but there was JOY. The joy of that unpredictable flight path and seeing the airplane dive suddenly was unmatched. The celebration when it landed uniquely is even now vivid in front of my eyes. This simple crafted object, had the right measure of function and fantasy. And that was wonderful.... that was happiness, that was my childhood!!

When I look back, I wonder how perspectives change. We get more complicated, our thoughts are intertwined with many reasons and many possibilities, that we don't see the delight, the joy in these little things any more. Life goes on, but as I reflect back I see these little joys and paper planes in different ways. Those paper planes that soared were our souls in childhood. Free spirited and divine. We spoke our heart, opened our souls to our mates and dreams were made of these.

What was a piece of paper, became an airplane? The paper airplane was like the soul we are born with. Plain like paper, simple and with good intentions. As we grow up when we see an airplane, we think about Thrust, Force, Gravity, Physics behind it . When we do that, I realize that we have lost our ability to Wonder!! And Happiness is lost. It gets lost somewhere in the knowledge we have acquired over the years..and the ability to keep our thoughts simple..

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kites -

It was a dream again...

I remember it must have been an hour or so, my best friend and me were in the open field trying to fly the same kite. We took turns launching it and pulling the string in, but we never got to fly it at such a height. Worse, the kite kept crashing nose down a number of times.

It didn’t bother me, though, and then I am thinking in my dream (how interesting this can be). In my mind I wasn’t as bad as I really was because from the get-go I was clear with my intention: I wouldn’t struggle with the wind and have the kite airborne like what the other kite flyers were attempting to do. There were older kids who were go about their business as calmly and enjoying the fun. trees were swaying, amusing clouds floating...birds mindlessly flew around..not interested in anything we were doing. They were going about their business and we were with ours.

but this damn kite...was not taking off...

I knew I will do anyway....The wind was against me, the sun was right there watching...I knew I will do it anyway...that was the determination..

Moments later with the right balance and the right amount of breeze.....the kite reaches the highest height the string allowed, stable up in the air, with its tail dancing to the rhythm of the wind...and I was at peace again..

Dream ends...i wake up..time to go...

I go into the shower, thoughts..fresh thoughts bouncing all around my a fountain. It beats the shower head in its flow..

I am that kite now. I can fly high only if I let go of everything that holds me back — like how a kite flyer supposedly lets go of the string, trusting that each time he lets go, the kite glides higher.

I recall the moment in my dream, when I looked up at the kite and saw past it, to the backdrop of the sky and clouds.  It was a visceral feeling, one that gives your head a dizzy sensation, realizing that above me, there were no limits, only possibilities...

It’s all in the balance. No matter how potentially good the kite is if I fail to balance the string or the line, it won’t fly well. Life is all about balance.  

It’s all about choices. We choose our kite, we choose our string, we choose the timing for flying it, we choose who to fly it with. The quality of the experience depends on the quality of our choices. It is true with kite flying as it is with living.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Thoughts to Myself - 2

I believe everything happens for a reason. I may not know the exact reason, but I have been reminded of many lessons and learned a few new ones. These are some of my wisdom compilations some are mine, learn't from years of growing up..and as life continues...

No matter how tough things get, life goes on. You can’t look to the past. All we have is this moment.

Being “attached” to something means that you will become immobilized without it.

Bad things do happen to good people.

Time heals all wounds… regardless of how you feel right now.

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary. This situation has forced us to both see the beauty in the simple things in life and enjoying what we do have. I often think about the little walks we go for as an example. Brings lot of peace, happiness, contentment and connection

You will encounter obstacles and take detours while realizing your dreams.

There is nothing more important than your health. I think the best thing that came out of the tragic situation is that it somehow woke us up and we changed our diet and habits dramatically. We now choose what to eat with caution and measure

"The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself." ― C. JoyBell C.

Events have taught me to be grateful for all of the obstacles in our life. They have strengthened us as we continue with our journey. I will admit, I miss my dad whenever I face difficult situations in our journey. I miss him in a good way, because he taught us how to fight and how to deal with tough situations.

"And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about." ― Haruki Murakami

Over the years, the journey has become more meaningful, God has given us a purpose and sometimes a reason to stop by and think. We have realized, life has its ups and downs. It's not all about Happiness all the time. It is also about "not" being Happy and appreciating Happiness, when it is felt. Happiness, is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.

Life has taught me to be grateful for all the beautiful people in our life including our wonderful friends.

...and lastly you need no talent, no special gift, no powers to "age". No matter who you thing catches up with you... for sure...Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

School Friends...down memory lane

I just came back after meeting two of my school friends and my school.  I took the bus back home,.. ... sitting in the bus ferrying the school kids on a hot and humid afternoon...memories flooded my thoughts...i thought when I was like them, my uniform was a part of me, my bag was my companion and my little dreams were my future..

I used to hate everything about school. Getting up early in the morning, taking a bath early in the morning…. shoes, socks, morning assembly and hours of back to back lessons (half of which I didn't even want to study). But it was also the place which taught me what friendship is and what is its value. I learned how to stand up on my feet and smile at the one who just pulled me down. I learned that life could have been better but a hell lot worse too. I shamelessly admit, I enjoyed the gossip listening to them and sometimes creating them. There is no joy in life, I reckon more than creating some news and buzz around you. And most importantly gossip is not necessarily made because someone did something wrong, it was mostly just a outlet for somebody's creativity to work :-)

We all  learned to walk on the craters in life but I also realized that the worse that could happen in this craters was not death but injuries and that would heal with time, with lots of memories. I learned to forgive and forget but learned never to expect the same from others. School never taught me to be diplomatic, that was not until college but made me realize that saying blunt truth on the face actually feels great. I realized that you will get a pat on the back from the most unexpected hand but the hand that had held you till seconds back would pull the ground from under your feet. We always liked to be unpredictable. Little fights, petty issues..never BLOATED EGOS. I enjoyed those little fights, not talking to each other, but interesting to know more about the friendly enemy..just every day was eventful.

 Seriousness apart, what would have been life like without those petty fights and pretty crushes from school? How would it be without those friends who stood by you through thick and thin? How would we enjoy life without sharing lunches and stealing sandwiches during French or Moral Science periods? The sprint after class to get out of the one little gate first, long walk with friends to our homes after schools, ink stained fingers…all those are memories!! How would we know what fun is without those stupid but good old games, teasing each other, being curious about unimportant things and of course pulling each other's leg? Would birthdays be enjoyable without the song and more importantly, the question that who gets more toffees. The taste and the aroma of  orange candies by Parle still lingers in my tongue.

I miss my school and also those silly things that I used to hate once. I realized that after all that endless complaints about my school, our  and teachers, my school was indeed my second home..

I stopped at the school and reminisced…When in school, I thought college would be crazy and that college could be the place where I realized its okay to be crazy but school is definitely the place that taught me to be crazy. ....after all, It was my school that gave me my first crush and  my first heartbreak. Can it get crazier…?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lessons in Life

From  friendship day to teacher's day, there is a lot that has happened and changed in our lives. One thing is common, we learn every day and from people we least expect..we learn from situations, events and experiences.  All of these happenings around me has taught me lessons in a subtle but meaningful way…and I am thankful to that..

Meeting my school friends, taught me the joy of friendship. It's an irony, I say this after couple of decades -  True friendship was in school. There were no expectations and no requirements. Everybody was friends with everyone.

Learning to NOT live in the past is the best thing your friends can teach you. Friendship day to me - is a reminder to us - for those days, those  moments with friends we are not in touch.

 You don't have to be together all the time, you and your friends. Just create an assuring impression, which says you're always there for them, if and whenever they need you. Also, don't be disheartened if they don't, because sometimes, friends are only meant to create a few memories and not relive them. And I was not talking only about school friends now.

At the end of the day, you're grateful to those friends and family who stuck with you all the while, when in need – in joys and sorrows. We have had some lovely friends around. Every friend teaches you something worthwhile. Starting from the age when you're toddlers, you learn to play in the mud or pull each others' hair from a few friends, with few you learn to ride a bike, with few you learn to share secrets and keep them and with few, you learn to appreciate time. There are some whom you met for a brief time, then went away never to meet again. They are friends too. Friends need not be with you for ever, they are the ones who come in your life and make an impact. They are there with you when you need them, they give you strength, happiness and go away…without any expectations.

 At the age of seven, I had a best friend in the form of our nanny in school. She was the one with rugged old look who would sweep the corridors, dusted the checked windows, cleaned the toilets and also escorted little friends of mine when there had accidents in the classroom. I still remember her as the 'nanny' -  we would all wait for the school building gate to be and rush to our classrooms. We would see her back hurrying to finish mopping the floor as the streaming kids whizzed past her into the classrooms.

I may have been only six then ; curious as I was – I always wondered, if she worked in the school, why was she, not a teacher. One day, I went out on the porch during recess to talk with her. It didn't take long time to see that this old woman had an over sized heart crowded into that tiny body. She told me that she was not a school teacher but a staff and all of what she did was for a living to support her daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

She was not a teacher, but she taught me a life lesson that day :  We should face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

It's not only the teachers, it is about their profound messages in teaching that makes me feel ALIVE. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Still...with Me

Active Gardening can be profound. Especially.. when you pay attention, the hidden secrets in the continous chatter of your mind can have a whole different meaning. This happens to me and i guess to everyone when involved in an activity, an activity that you love and enjoy at that moment. Uninterrupted, Silently, on your own. In such situation, there is a state I believe when you are connected with God.

A bird flew by me, chirping and singing. It interrupted my thoughts. It landed on the bird feeder and began picking the grains as I watched. After a few minutes it flew away, and disappeared into the bushes.

I closed my eyes again. A gust of wind blew, which caused my wind chimes to dance. They made a joyful sound, but again I lost my concentration on God. I squirmed and wiggled on my knee and continued to fill in the pots. I looked up toward the blue sky and saw the clouds moving slowly toward the horizon. The wind died down. My wind chimes finally became quiet.

In a few minutes, I realized i Ias close to the fence and the neighbor's dog was sniffing me through the fence. I almost jumped out of my skin.I smiled, happy that he cared when there was someone around and guraded my house equally. I quickly tried once again to settle down, repeating the familiar song in my mind. I thought..Be still and know that YOU are around...

"I'm trying God. I really am," I whispered to the chatter in my brain.

The backdoor opened. My son walked outside. "What are you planting," he asked. "I was wondering where you were." I just chuckled... as he came over, stood around, observed me... turned around and went back inside to enjoy his TV time.

"Where's the quiet time?" I seemed to think to myself with these constant distractions, while still being completely involved in what I was doing. Then, I imagined my hearbeats as I picked up the heavy pot and positioned it closer to the door. There was no pain, only a beat that interrupted me yet again. This is impossible, I thought. There's no time to be STILL and to know that God is with me. There's too much going on in the world and entirely too much activity all around me.

I kept working on the annuals as my thoughts were churning. It continued as I saw the little red, orange,yellow, violet colored flowers adorning my pots and planted them in quick succession. "These little plants are going to be awake when I sleep", I thought. As I tuned behind,the neighbor passed by and waived his hand in acknowledgemnt.

I stood up, gazed at the finished assembly of my little pot pourri of annuals for my sweet heart, proud of that moment everything was STILL...That is when it suddenly me.

God has been communicating with me this entire time...He sent the sparrows to enlighten me, thrill me,amaze me. He sent them over to be around us...when they built their nest in our little garden for their spring babies. He sent the Dog to remind me he is always guarding me from the evil, and provding me the security.

He sent that gentle breeze to remind me, that hope is on its way. Time is a healer and spring will bring new blooms, reminding me that HE exists. HE sent the neighbor to remind me I have friends....good friends, lovely friends...amazing friends.

HE sent my son, to remind me he has given me such a lovely family. HE let me imagine my 'heartbeats' to remind me the life he has given me..and here I am trying to find out if he was STILL around...while HE was busy reminding me that he is with me ALL the time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bird Feeder

Jet lags can be very productive. As I sit awake in the middle of the night, it gives me the time to hit the key board and produce this entry. It is the time when produtive thoughts occupy - the otherwise chattering and distracted mind. I want desperately for those twitters of my mind to be birds, to kiss the clouds, fly up to heaven and sing a song for those who endured such pain, for those who lived and died and changed the world forever around us. What intrigues me is when, I see people celebrating less the memory of happier times, but continuing to carry the painful events longer.....

As I keep staring, the golden rays of the sun slowly engulfed the back yard. It is spring again and I am loving it. The leaves were turning yellow, reflecting the sun and the crisp drops of dew were ready to let go the perch of the leaves. Birds were chattering away in the background.

Few of them fly down and circl the bird feeder, before settling around it. Pecking at the grains, fighting with each other..they made the patio a busy place. It did not last long, when a fawn colored squirrel came down the fence and hurried into the company of birds. The birds flew away even faster. Tail up and beady eyes, the squirrel feasted on few grains, dashed to the fence and went away. The birds came back again to continue... after the pause.

I kept watching the bird feeder, standing still and nurturing the birds...creating families around it. Birds seemed to love the feeder, and fearlessly circled around it..being together..being a family. Like we 'cultivate' friends - families have to be 'nurtured'..selflessly like the feeder. The only difference is we feed Time, Effort and Imagination to the near and dear around create families. Families are the link to our past and the future....

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wind Chimes

There comes a time in our lives when we stop..... to Think. Who am I and Where am I going? Pause for Introspection..we all go through it. Especially after life changing events. Graduation, Death, Accidents, Marriage are all life changing events. Life changing event...moves us, impacts us and changes us.

As humans, we always struggle to hold on to our dreams. At times like these, we close our eyes and blink. We see the world through our new vision. Actually, the world is the same, but it is us who tend to look at it differently after events that change our lives.

We do not have the power to alter or change time, our brains only offer us the opportunity to chose the destiny that we witness. We pick and chose every moment and the dimension we head down in our finite lives.

Remember, that we are not altering the universe in any way, we are not changing what will occur, we are merely chosing between the events 'we wish' to witness in this life. Because every senario has has a different ending, and every moment leads to a different dimension.

We will go through this life again, following a different path, and expect a different ending. Infact we will do this same tedious shit for eternity, and forget we were here each time we arrive back, because time is infinite and the soul is eternal.

Again, Time is infinite and always repeating, similarly our lives are infinite and always repeating. Death is an illusion of the linearity of time travel, but in our universe, such linearities do not exisit, and therefore death does not exisit other than in the constructs of our mind.

Life changing events are like the music of the Wind Chimes. A reminder for us . The wind blows constantly, we just don't acknowledge it. Similarly, in life everyday, we just don't notice ourselves as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops us with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks us. The wind brings out everything that's inside. That is when we hear the chimes. We take them in, we survive, and deepen.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thoughts to Myself - 1

“If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire must be not to write.” - Hugh Prather

One writer who inspired me to write was "Hugh Prather". I will never forget his quote. The day I read this quote, it changed my life. I started carrying a small LIC diary and started jotting down my thoughts and my little learnings from life.

For several years I vented, I released, I enjoyed, when I wrote. It helped me observe, reflect, synthesize and appreciate little things and situations around me. Perspectives were different. I disagreed, I opposed, I denied, I rebelled....thorugh my writings. It helped me grow, mature and appreciate others perspectives

Soon, I realised, reading is good, but writing is better. It helps you reflect, introspect and appreciate your thoughts. Thoughts that come to you are your own. You need 'not' follow a writer's thought, like the way you do when you read.

Here is the first edition of
... My Experiences, My Thoughts, My Expressions, My Notes.
It is amazing when I realize that : Even today, I don't 'even' know what I don't know..until some one tells me about it.
Kids have it too easy these days , it took years of perseverence to see Pride and Happiness in my father's eyes...
Pay attention to 'attention'. Life is many small variations in attention over time
Life is really just different types of feelings; even when you think you are in a period when you’re not feeling anything, you really, are feeling something. "Feelings" are "Thoughts" that you cannot identify.
Once you know what is causing an emotion, its no longer an emotion - It is a "thought"
Knowledge Talks....Wisdom Listens
Some people just talk so much that..they forget to use their brain
Small hunches when incubated ...become great ideas. Don't dismiss them.
Inspite the Cost of Living...we will Die for Living
"What you do" is not important, but How you do "What you do" is what matters..
Remember your "thoughts" hidden deep inside you, at the very core of your being, is most important...keep it sharpened like you keep the "lead" of a pencil

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pencils and Promises

I remember my Kinder Garten teacher. "Elizabeth". She was a sweet lady, kind and generous. Always smiling she welcomed the kids with pat on their back or a warm hug as she waved parents good bye.

I still remember my first day at school. Walking with my mom into the basement class, shy and fearful of the new atmosphere. I entered the room and looked at the teacher- a tall lady with a big smile and her thick pink lipstick stood out. After so many years, that shocking pink is still etched in my memories. She welcomed me to the school, hugged me and took me to my desk. She gave me the first pencil and that changed my life. I held that Pencil and promised myself, " I am going to make my parents proud"

Days followed in KG, I sat in the bench close to the window, looking through the checked cement grill that divided the school and the road. That cement structure might have been a just a window to the classroom, but for me it was a window to my future.

Then I remember examinining my pencil. It was the standard red and black looking one..etched "NATRAJ" , not sure if I read that tight. I definitely could read the alphabets. She demanded the promise when she gave me that pencil. Several years later ,every day I remember that promise I made to her..."Be good, behave, be kind and make your parents proud"

That pencil became my proud posession for many years. Sometimes, I would write with it, and feel sad...afraid it would become small and slowly vanish. Keeping my head on the desk and pencil in near sight I would often dreamed..and dream for hours. I wonder what I dreamt, I don't remember any of those dreams, but one thing for sure - I enjoyed dreaming.

I grew up and eventually we started writing by pens. I always felt sad about that. Although other kids around me were excited on graduating to a pen, I was always attached to this pencil. I would often look at it and remember the days with my KG teacher and the stories she read for us. When it became too small to be used, it found a place in a pouch and was safely tucked in one corner of my bookshelf. Every time it met my eye, that was once in a while Nursery rhymes would fill my heart.

This pencil was strangely connected to all the promises I made. Every time I made a promise, I the pencil would catch my eye, kind of reminding me, that I have to keep the promise, like I kept the pencil.

I want to rewind back to those times
as a child when I wrote with my pencil
On the paper, in my book
when life was a journey not a race

I want to rewind to those times
Go back to the fairy tales
draw random sketches with my pencil
make simple promises
That I can keep

Today I still have that pencil,
it is short - but still writes,
can draw the same pictures, bring the same joy

But Life is too complicated
and sadly today
Promises are meant to be broken

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Back to my dreams and my rambles from those dreams. Last night was peaceful, thoughts were settled, but there was an incomplete feeling. Was it a feeling or a thought? Somethings cause us feel, some others make us think.

What is the distinction? the real question is - if someone is feeling, is he thinking less? If parts of your brain are occupied by this feeling, then is there less space for thought?...thousands of questions, soon I drift into slumber..

Sitting by the lake, I see the water is shining bright embracing the rays of the Sun. The little boy right across was enjoying the freedom. He was following this butterfly as it floated around the bushes. Distracted every moment from one thing to another he was careless. The mother was busy packing the stuff and getting bag ready to leave. The boy sat down and crouched around a bunch of rocks. He picked one of them and tossed it.....

My eyes followed the stone into the water. Ripples... extend outward across the surface. The fishes sense the ripples and were spooked...there was a pause in the calmness!! One assumes the further away the ripples get from the center, the less impact they have. That's not so right, they have an impact as long as they last, sometimes they last a lifetime. The spooked fishes move away and get trapped in the net of a nearby fisherman...changes their destiny.

I wake up, ready to leave...this time I am sure these are thoughts. Thoughts about Actions caused by those Ripples...

Actions are in a way similar to there Ripples. One small act of kindness can encourage another person to act kindly, and a chain reaction starts. Similarly, if someone treats someone else poorly, the victim may lash out at another. The smallest disagreement can escalate quickly; this is how battles develop into wars. Every action leads to a reaction.

Think before you toss stones or hurtful words. They do have impact, and the ripples last a long time before they fade away. It is best to make ripples in a positive way because even the smallest ripple has the power to bring happiness to someone or something.

Our Mind in a way is like the lake and thoughts are the pebbles. Thoughts are tossed in and create the Ripples - makes us think, keeps us alive, help us grow.

School Days

There has been reams and reams written about our life at schools, memories of schools, friends at school and there will be even more written. That's how the school life is!! You don't appreaciate it then, but it becomes a part of your later life.

I thought my Blog will be incomplete, without my thoughts on school. What triggered this was a simple Pushpa remark about Viggy and the conversations that followed us, during our walk. Mind is factory of thoughts...that never stops. Here is my ramble about School days...

As a child I remember, the first encounter with the outer world was my School. It was a window to the world for me. Kindergarten especially, was like Facebook in my early years. A space where I went every day to interact, hear and see what's in the mind of other kids. What they liked, how they interacted etc.. without being judged, not being questioned, never was pure unconditioned learning

The school day would start - forcefully being dragged out of my bed by my parents. Then having a quick breakfast and walking to school was the order of the day. For me,the learning started right there. The moment I stepped out, walking by those lanes completely distracted - it took me a while to reach to school. Learning - week days, months, colours, fruit, vegetables and recognizing them were just a small part of studies. Getting appreciation by teachers meant a lot. Learning rhymes, playing with other kids, getting injuries became daily routine. Slowly I learnt one more thing... that scoring good grades was most everyone cared about.

As a child I began to understand the meaning and value of school only when I reached primary classes. And again a new collection of memories got attached. Celebrating independence day, republic day, birthdays, participating in various extracurricular activities added thrill to life. Turning page of those reminiscences in the form of snaps add new life even today. Recollecting those days with teachers and classmates on Facebook makes me feel little lighter now as I share this Blog.

Then the memories of internal exams and their result still cold the nerves. Reaction of my parent when the result was not up to their expectations, Horror of Board exams, all the sleepless nights and then the result all together - a bunch of most nervous moments of schooldays.

Prizes, medals, certificate and appreciation were the part of those days. Lot of stress, competition, struggle was the part but still a healthy atmosphere. Many friends and memories become life long companions were the gift of school. Sharing lunch with classmates, hanging in the school canteens and helping each other in completing their pending home work was satisfying. Today they just remain... as recollections of school days.

Excess pressure of studies and getting good marks, discipline of school and strictness of teachers were the most frightening part of those days.But inspite of all it was fun, new excitement everyday and few worries were the highlights of those school days.

Every time I drop my son to school my eyes begin to swim in those memories of my school days. I see the children turn their back to me and get drawn to those narrow corridors of learning and as I wish if I could go back and get lost in those corridors once again!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

2011...and counting!!!

Countless emails going back and forth wishing Happy New Year. Just realized there is a resulting thought to that wish. ...wait!!! not just to that every wish. If you think about it, we end up counting something or other with every activity, every thought, every wish

Happy New Year
Years' count

Happy Birthday
Age count

Sumptuous Dinner
Calories count

Hours count

Money count

Thoughts count

New dress
Opinions count

Hours count

Miles count

Moments count

Appreciation count(s)

Win/Loss count

Every Breath counts

No wonder we live a measured life :-) Happy New Year 2011

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


It is 10.30 am Sunday morning and I take my position “Standing along the balcony wall inside the house seeing the world outside with my hands over the wall and my chin on top of it”…Balcony was an extension of me. I would go to the balcony, in moments of sadness, happiness, despair, anger, frustration..... It was my place to go for anything and everything. It was my window to the world.

The moment I am out there, in that posture…my heart beats less and calmness enters the mind reaching. State of ‘stand-still’.No blinking of the eyes, but slow movements of eyes to observe and absorb the surrounding and the distractions. Distractions like these made my day. I remember I must have been 10 or 11 years old. Listening the noises around was an art. Seeing what I heard was the science. What I see: The dogs aimlessly walking around, like the sounds of goat’s walk on the road and the sweet noises of the leaves rolling, wonderful sounds of the marbles hitting (where children are playing marbles). Kids walking around kicking the fallen leaves. Suddenly I am distracted to those colorful kites streaming in the sky, kids hanging on the terraces and screaming on top of their voices. Their chatter...... was music to my ears.

Childhood they say have their own rules. Rules not only about their behavior, but how they observe, what they observe, what they conclude and how they learn. Attention and Distraction have no meaning in kids. They are constantly learning.

Today is Sunday. Every one is busy and rushing. Not knowing the beauty of a LAZY Sunday…TV volumes are high at neighboring homes, Mahabharata echoes, sound of washing and vehicle cleaning are heard. So many activities yet I am able to observe each of this activity with due diligence and focus – sure sounds are adjectives to actions around. zzzzzzzz….the wind blows and rrrzzzrzzzz the trees shake and phat phat phat the drying clothes drum..a little girl somewhere around recites the poem “Chubby cheeks…”. Millions of thanks to the creator for these wonderful activities…It is a dream world

Amma comes and breaks the dream. "What the hell" she screams. "You have been standing here more than an hour. Wasting your time." What does she know how much I have learn't in this one hour.

Thirty years later I still remember it, I can still see it and I can still experience it!!! I often feel sad, that these kids are consumed by the chatter of technology, echoes of Ipod and the experience of a world on the net.

But who knows my son will have a different story, thirty years later....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beautifully Ugly

Beauty has no standard, or for that matter any logic. Same is with Ugliness. What makes it beautiful or ugly is not the creator but the perceiver. It is about the mind, and the intellect in action.

Images and thoughts have profound effects on the beliefs and understanding in people.
Sometimes it is the herd mentality that forces the mind to create a false standard in people's mind. Mona Lisa for example is considered beautiful by millions. But then there are some who do not think so. This becomes a classic example about the concept of beauty of a conditioned mind. It's never yours. It is a collective opinion, not your reaction.

My idea of beauty is in curiosity, in spontaneity, in reactions...I find the curiosity, the eagerness, the excitement in a kid more beautiful. I see the progression of life in these little nuances. The growing up of children, them reacting to the world with an unconditioned mind is pure beauty. Their reaction to little things, at a given moment, is so pure. How can you not call it the moment of creation of Beauty. The creation takes a moment, and because it is true beauty, those moments live with you for a lifetime. It is not a result of conditioning - of either your mind or that of the child. Moments such as these are about pure innocence. Like pure innocence is "Beauty", there is beauty in the "Innocence".

Beauty is not about seeking attention or attraction. Beauty is about capturing your mind, that realization, about the purity that exists at that given moment.....Nature is a prime example. you see it in the moonlight, in the flower, in the birds.... You are captivated and devoured by the landscape one day, some other day it is just ordinary. Beauty therefore, is not a quality of the object, it's a function of your mind!!

Beauty is not limited, not finite, not absolute. It is as much in the abstract as it is in the known. We believe in everything as a consideration of others.What will it take - for us to transcend and rise above the self realization and self affirmation.

Beauty is the state of being, state of our Mind. Its that moment of perception that recognizes the Beauty. There is beauty in everything, some perceive it some, some don't. What's beautiful to you one day is ugly some other time. What's ugly to beautiful to some one else. Duality is a fact, it exists. It's the function of your mind and its perception, at that moment, at that time.

That said, even the ugly is Beautifully Ugly. I would hate to think there is anything Ugly...after all they say we have a Beautiful Mind.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Shadows were moving back and forth trying to get my attention. The train had just left the station and I could see the landscape changing as the shadows lengthened in response to the setting sun. I was busy absorbing everything as this was my last trip to my native before I left the country for another life journey.

Shadows! a blend of 'darkness' and 'light'. There are no shadows without either of them. They invite us to read them, understand them and interpret them. Staring at them is like dreaming while you are awake.

Shadows are the absences of light.
Shadows are the reason for light to exist.
Shadows are a result of light.
Shadows are the virtue of the light they absorb.
There is light in every shadow, like there is a reason for every action

Shadows like your conscience do not reflect, you reflect on them.
Like the conscience is your follower, shadows are the followers of the object.

Shadows exist in every landscape around us, but we see the object not the shadow. Our Shadow does not come across as shiny and bubbly like our image, but remember Shadow is our guardian spirit that appears as a disguised voice - "Our conscience"

Like the Shadows punctuate the magnanimity of the scenery with a perspective, our conscience reminds us to be humble when we shine, teaches us to combine innocence with wisdom, that power be combined with compassion and love and your dreams be sprinkled with material wisdom and expression.

Conscience will exist as long you exist, you can choose to ignore your conscience but cannot shut them.

Similarly, Shadows themselves are a hole in the light and it is a fact that You cannot make a hole in a Shadow.

Friday, November 5, 2010


I sat watching the street light in the early morning on Diwali day, stray usual engulfed me.

Sometimes, I thought, we treat life like that area of illumination around the street light, forgetting there is something outside that narrow space...

Looking under a streetlight to find a lost object at night is an apt metaphor for classic approaches to our search in life. You typically search for answers to your life problems within a region or the space surrounding the knowledge we possess. It may not be where the answer is, but it’s an easy place to search! In practice the “streetlight” can be narrow and bright, or be broad and dim, somewhat like the knowledge and wisdom we possess.

Searching under the streetlight, is seemingly desirable, but if the object is actually “in the dark” it is a futile endeavor.

An old story has it that a man came across a drunk looking under a street lamp one night. The drunk said he was looking for his keys which he had dropped. After helping him search unsuccessfully under the lamp he asked the drunk exactly where he had lost his keys. The drunk replied, "Somewhere over there in the dark, but I can't see a thing over there so I'm looking under the light instead."

Like the drunk man, sometimes we are looking for our answers at wrong places.

Borrowed from a couplet; In life, I believe we have to change the way, we look at things – so that the things we look at "change"!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Some of our life experiences are like the challenge facing a Marathon runner. Last year when me and Shilpa ran the Half Marathon, there were looming thoughts lingering in us. Some fearful and a lot of doubt if we can beat the track.

But I realize there are life experiences similar to that journey,the idea of running a Marathon is the thought that extended us physically and emotionally...It was all all about challenging us.

While we choose to run a Marathon, there are other times in Life when one gets to taste times of the darkest despair and moments of soaring hope. Like every runner has long hours of doubt, will come to times when they are sure that there is nothing left to give only to find themselves later running as if there was no such thing as pain or fatigue.

Ultimately the challenge for each runner will be to face down their own inner selves. They will strip away the smallest doubt of claim, until they must recognize and conquer their own physical & mental limitations. It will be at once, the most agonizing of hells and the most uplifting of experiences.

I guess those moments of training last year was preparing us for the future and leading us to believe that we can beat the track, beat any challenge in life that seems unconquerable, with a strong will and focus.Yes we can!!!

Life challenges are the ones that help you discover who you are and what you are made of...

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Life takes us through strange situations. It motivates you, teases you,makes you happy and many times humbles you. "I am strong" I would think, to handle all these.

But there are moments when you think through those difficult moments and realize "of course your are strong". This time, it was different : I also realized, I am strong, not only because of me, but because of people around me. Or may be, even more humbly put : I am stronger because of people around me.

I guess strength is more of how you combine yourself with other well wishing bodies around you. there are has been many a mention about : a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone. Synergy is a law of nature.I believe, we should use these subtle laws of Nature to help us encounter turbulences in life.

I would apply the same logic and acquire "Strength through Synergy" People who share a common cause and wish; can get where they are going quicker and easily, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

as humans, we more than have the sense of a goose, we stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in our direction. Belief and Conviction will take us to the destination.There is hope.

"Your strength is not yours alone, but the strength of the people around you.Every moment is different, So do things differently. One plus one equals more than two."

Dedicated to all the good Samaritans around me

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monk Wisdom Series: Three Idiots

Being a novice,he was always afraid to ask questions in a forum to the teacher. Today an interesting thing happened.

It was circle time at the Monastery. All the disciples were seated around the Master. Amongst the disciples were the Terrific Trio. They always had the most thought provoking questions, that amazed the disciples. Every time the Master maintained his composure at the most stupid questions and answered them calmly.The Trio made it a point to cynically accept the advice from the Master and questioned it further another time. The novice monk watched the tug of words between the Master and the trio and wondered."Where do they get the guts to ask such stupid questions and sound intelligent?" It always appeared to him that the Master gave them a lot of respect, when he answered. For the Master,it was not about the observer, but about the observed.He detached the question from the questioner and answered on its merit.In his mind there were no stupid questions, but only stupid minds. Mind you!!! he never believed there were 'stupid' people.The novice monk observed, Mind plays games and overpowers consciousness. Purity of Mind brings sanity to consciousness.

Time passed by, the stupid questions never ceased.A Chinese Military chief passing by, heard about the Master and had stopped for the circle time. The Terrific Trio were in full form. They were intentionally trying to be different and difficult shooting questions at the Master frequently. The Master always used these situations as an opportunity to provide more wisdom to his students. The Master had always looked at the seekers as a whole and not a fraction of three.

Circle time was ending and it was soon going to be meditation time soon.Just before the break, One of the trio complained as usual "The Meditation that you teach us is ineffective".The other two agreed and in a raised tone added "It cannot teach me how to concentrate, much less meditate." "Teach us a more reliable technique". On hearing this the other students tried to explain,how it was working for them. Soon the discussion turned ugly and distressing. Seeing the commotion, the Master raised his hand and that meant silence. Silence it was. The monastery went through a pause.

The teacher then signaled to the Chinese Military chief who then summoned 3 archers. He divided the water from his vessel into 3 glasses and gave it to the Terrific Trio.Handing it over to them, he ordered "Take this cup of water and carry around the entire periphery of this courtyard." Then he looked at the archers and said "Follow them!!!if they drop a single drop shoot them!!!" the archers drew their bows and followed the Trio.In the next 20 minutes they had learned how to concentrate.

"Smart is not about being different, it is about making a difference"

That day the lesson was not for the three but for all the thirty, such was the power of the teacher..calm but decisive in his teachings..

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monk Wisdom Series ; Fun in Science

I started the Science Club in 2004 to help my son and a bunch of friends understand the extensive,amazing and distinct character of learning about the matter around us.

It had seemed to me then, that we spent entirely too much of our education on the accumulation of unusable and disjointed facts. I felt our goal should not be knowledge for academic sake but develop the skill of using knowledge to solve problems, to spend our early years of education learning “how to think” and not “what to think”.

I have approached my mission with tools and the passion I have. My own passion for continuous learning and a sense of giving back to the kids around us sparked my interest. I am still grateful for these tools my teachers helped me shape. As I still learn and continue to make so many mistakes, that a sense of humility is sometimes all that stands between me and the vast ocean of knowledge that exists around us. Today, technology has helped us see how minuscule we are in this vast ocean.

The guiding principles or credentials for my FUN Science Club are many and extremely different from what one might expect from a mainstream educational perspective.

I want my Science Club to represent those who do not thrive in traditional school settings. Having studied in India in a traditional school where mugging up and memorizing was the hallmark of a bright kid, I want FUN Science Club to be the pool of knowledge where kids can touch and feel the marvels of this universe.

My vision for the FUN Science Club is to continually amaze even the most cynical educators with its ability to create an enthusiasm to learn that empowers even the most reluctant children.

Kids love to learn. This is no secret. The idea of Fun Science Club is to get them excited and then we get out of the way.

Learning is what our species does and does well. Some kids love it, the way they engage, some others are constantly trying to find new ways to engage. Our job as educators is to find them the right engagement model

What the Science Club will do is to remind kids how much fun it is to figure stuff out. Any stuff. Not just science but history, and literature and social studies as well.

My statement is "Science is a FUN way of approaching the unknown” can be applied to approach any subject.

I have heard all of the lamentations about the miserable state of our
Economy and its impact on education. Impact on education is an impact on our children. I am personally seeing and smelling the decay in many of our schools.

And yet I remember the story of the little boy in Indonesia who, after the recent Tsunami wandered out onto the desolate beach and discovered the shore strewn with the still live bodies of millions of starfish that had been stranded there to die. The boy reached down and flung one into the safety of the water and then another and another. When a old man approached him and kindly offered the wisdom of son you will never be able to save all these poor starfish the boy paused looking at him and then replied, no sir I guess I can’t but I can save this one and returned to his task. The old man said nothing and joined the boy in returning the creatures to the sea.

Soon others joined them, then hundreds until all of the starfish had been rescued. Like that little boy I have no concern of the magnitude of the project I am only concerned with what I can do..

The disciple opened his eyes and saw the amber skies from far away slowly descending over him as the dream faded and reality dawned. He saw the Master in his amber suit disappearing into the horizon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Monk Wisdom Series: Past Perfect, Present Tense

The disciple was sitting staring at the horizon. ‘Sounds’ were mere adjectives, ‘Colour’ the verb and the resultant picture was the noun. Approach of the night was greying the environment, silence was setting in and his eyes were watching the scene change.

Change had always intrigued him and as he thought about it, his mind kept following his eyes. Every change was being registered. His eyes were the medium of collection. Collection of the events. And as he collected he imagined the present slowly becoming the past. Time had very little reference. Every time he registered an event he was experiencing the creation of memory. In a sense, memory was history he concluded.

Then he imagined: every moment he was living there were changes happening - gradually and slowly. No two moments were the same. There was no choice. In a wakened state you ‘will’ experience change. Some notice,others take a while. Seeing is not in a space of time, it is instant. That’s the present - then and there. There was beauty in all this – a beauty that cannot be expressed in words, it is an experience. This experience was pure, there were no thoughts, just observation. Every change we look at in a space of time is contaminated by our consciousness. The inner movement validates every move, every change and every moment. It then adds its version as we age.

At this time he had no questions, no answers….He just enjoyed the experience. Soon the moon came over and provided company to his isolation. Every moment that passed was Perfect, every experience at that moment was Tense and he knew nothing about his future….

Friday, August 7, 2009

Monk Wisdom Series: What's in a Name

In this age consumed by materialism, I am attempting to usher in some profound wisdom through my monk stories to the reader. There exist some possibilities for personal transformation through an exploration of alternate realities.

These stories are not very difficult to follow, but they are what most of us believe, but fail to deliver at that moment. To understand wisdom we have to first drill down into the meaning of ‘Wise’. There are many meanings to it; erudite, learned, enlightened, extensive information so on and so forth. Of what use is all this if you make no use of it?

Hence, making due use of knowledge; discerning and judging soundly concerning what is true or false, proper or improper and delivering the message is of prime importance. What these stories or anecdotes try to provide us with is a subtle message. Some of us will identify with it, some others will be critical about it. When we do that we touch philosophical barriers.

“Our mind is like a monkey” the monks say, constantly at work, hopping from one topic to another. Do you have control over it? Your memories, your wills, your sensations, your perceptions,your future and the list keeps going on and on.

Here is the story for today:

The monastery was quiet. It was serene at dawn and the young apprentice was sitting on the boulder facing the hills. The birds flew back in an orchestrated way. The amber light filled the depth in front of him. The view he had from the top was overwhelming. The village far down in the valley was beginning to retire. Electricity had not reached the village. The light was pure, no adulteration.

He had to come up with a name for himself for the baptism into the monastery. What should he be known as? What should be the name? Is it important? His mind was swelling with questions. The Master saw the young face glowing in the light. The mind was reflecting!!! Moving slowly towards him, he perched and sought his attention. The boy twitched his eyebrows and asked the Master.

‘What's in a name?’

‘Oh! It does not mean anything in isolation, it is about what the ‘subject’ is all about. You are not known by your name but your character and your deeds,' he said and then he went on to tell this story:

A Jackal once went to the naming ceremony in a dog's family. All the members of the dog's family were there. They were the grand-dog, the grand - bitch, the father, the mother and few siblings to celebrate the occasion. The question was what should be the name of the newborn dog? It was very simple. Every one had a suggestion. This went on and on, there were many suggestions. No one was impressed with any of the names. The jackal was the quiet observer. He was watching all the fun and thought - that these dogs can never change. He opined to himself: individually they can be masters but as a collection, they are a nuisance. A dog can be the man's greatest friend and considered intelligent but he saw them how they behaved in a group. To be one up dooms us all.

And then the moment arrived. Seeing the commotion one of the dogs looked up at the Jackal. Then another one, and then another. Soon they all looked at the Jackal and started to suggesting the names awaiting an approval. It was commotion once again; this time with their heads up in the air looking at the Jackal. The Jackal was no mood to end the party. He thought over and said: ' You guys are fighting over the name, when
you have it written on your tails. Every dogs tail has the name of their new family member written on their tail. You just have to look at it and name him.'
'Whoever reads it first will get to name him', he continued. Without wasting any time the dogs started turning round and round……in order to see the name in their tails, and they went on and on……

The Jackal was watching all this, smiled and proceeded to next dogs party…. Even today you see sometimes dogs trying to catch their tail.

Master then looked at the disciple and said while ‘some parents spend some time’ to nurture the child and to be 'known' good, others spend on cosmetics to 'look' good. We start to look for names way before they are born, rarely thinking about how we will raise them.The objective I feel is lost some where in the Trivia'

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monk Wisdom Series: Love Failure

It was another day, another moment.A tiring day both physically and mentally.Today he could not sleep. It was pitch dark and the ambiance of the crickets seemed to bother him. Normally silence drew him into contemplation. "Interesting" he said to himself,when my mind is at rest this same ambiance puts me to sleep. Today my mind is filled with thoughts and it is disturbing. He reminisced the situations in life prior to him joining the monastery. Failed at work on his project , lousy investments, failed businesses, ditched by his beloved parents after few misunderstandings, soon the world changed and everyone considered him a loser. It was this disturbance that drove him to seek the inner meaning of existence. And now the thoughts were haunting him...

The breeze was flowing from the westerly direction and his robes were fluttering as if they were speaking to him. It was quiet and serene, between the noise of the wind. He never realized when his Master had joined him. He turned around and their their eyes met. He said helplessly “I am so disturbed by my failures. My thoughts are so suicidal. Please help me, Master”

Master had this calm and still look that soothed the disciple for the moment as he listened to this story from the Master…

The jungle was all praises for this little monkey. He was the star of the colony. Excelled in everything and success was at his feet every day. The mother was all praises about her son and bragged about his achievements. She created opportunities for him to excel everyday. In her own way she was pushing him to greater heights. The other parents felt the heat. Their children could not just keep up with the progress of their peer. Days went by and the little monkey went from strength to strength. Everyday the measure of their success was the fruits they plucked for the colony. Our little monkey always had the most exotic fruits and the most filled basket. One day things changed, it rained heavily and all the fruits had fallen and washed away. That day when he returned with his booty, he saw the another fellow monkey with just one leg had more fruits than he did. He was shattered. After this incident, he never achieved or performed like before. Just one failure was enough!!!! His mother never thought it was important to teach him; how to deal with failure. This was because he was always motivated on his achievements. However this time failure overpowered him.The young monkey began to lose hope and in despair fell in bad company. One instance of failure was enough….

The father of the monkey was a keen observer to all of this. The flamboyance of the kid, the showing off of his mother and the mindless celebrations of petty achievements. The heady behavior of the kid was causing him concern. On a rainy day the monkey, as he sat there scratching his belly, the father slid next to him and asked, “Son why are you no longer competitive, why don’t you hang around with the rest of the kids?” . “Oh!, I am no good, dad. Leave me alone” said he with mixed emotions.

“You never knew what failure was. Your problem was you gained because the others were no better than you. As you grow you will if you wish to be in good company, you will have to be choose the ones better than you. Embrace failure, learn from it and you will be more stronger. Life is not measured by successes in tasks and achieving milestones. It is the legacy that you leave behind in the hearts of others. Sometimes we pay more dearly for our triumphs than for our defeats. Those who do not strive will never fail”. The words echoed the sulking monkey. The next moment he sprang up and joined his friends in their favorite past time. “Scratching each other’s back!!!”

The Master moved slowly and perched on the boulder facing the disciple, while the he was still immersed in the message. The Master said in all his profoundness “ Do not brood on your failure, learn to love failure and learn from it. Success will eventually find its way to you”

The twilight dawned and the morning sun was making its warmth felt. The golden light signaled as if the disciple was enlightened. He looked behind to thank the Master and saw him walking towards to the monastery. He just smiled to himself and followed him.