Kick the Corona

Lokah samasthah sukhino bhawanthu- May all the beings be happy and free.

We haven’t stocked up groceries or toilet rolls fearing embargoes. Blessed with caring friends who are even willing to share what they have in pressing times such as now. Carrying the baton forward, we are looking at making ourselves resourceful to those in need.
In times of “stay-at-home” notices, it’s also important to appreciate those who keep us running: army, police, medics (doctors & nurses alike), postal service, civic services and many others whom I may be unaware of. After all, they are braving this Covid19 with full steam. My heart also goes to those daily-wage workers who are most affected by this virus both emotionally and physically.

I am neither a doctor nor a policy maker. As a layman, all I can do is stay positive and spread the same.

The past couple of weeks made us realise how close we humans are as a race across the oceans. Also, this is bringing local communities together.

Beating all the odds, we are climbing up.


Our best days are ahead of us, let’s cheer up!

Scars are good!

Scars are good. Even better are those that get deep involving pain and bless the bearer with the tenacity and perseverance. A well-led life is the one that has gone through the crests and troughs of life. A life that’s awash with unexpected predicaments, and evolved a winner passing many priceless heat tests can relish the actual fun in life; the fun that’s above and beyond cash flows and back-scratching.

It was exactly eight years ago, we had had a burglary that filled me with trauma and made me spill hot boiling oil on my calf that gave me nearly third degree burns. I feel that was the culmination of my depression from suffering. The suffering that was the result of constant conflict between hard work and luck, fate and destiny, and rupture and rapture. That accident resulting in unfolding of many shocking events was the pinnacle of my combats. Then on, I feel I’m invincible. That physical scar still helps me deal with any emotional scar gracefully .

Coming back to that December incident when my younger one was months baby, older one was not even 5 was a life lesson. Doing maths between time and distance, visit by family from India was ruled out. Friends who were frequent weekend- stayers at ours, announced they wouldn’t come over to help my husband who was struggling with visits to burns unit at local hospital where my months baby wasn’t allowed. They never came back to us till date. One of many examples of good riddance.

Right then, the angel who imbibed confidence and infused life back into me stepped in. That friendship burnt the ambiguity in me if I had to change myself to suit the selfish people around, or hang on there for the right time and right people.

Then on, no looking back. I feel I can see beyond the masks that people wear. Yet, I feel amused and blessed when people use my time and emotions on the name of friendships and relations. That’s where some lives start and stop. I made an oath to not change myself; should I change, I let those precious people who define ‘life in life’ bringing the contentment through spirituality, slip through!

Yes, I am a proud owner of certain precious friendships that don’t expect me to scratch their backs, nor extend me those party invites that are put forth based on people’s financial status and glossy outlooks. They accept me as I am! They introduced me the concept of humanism. At this juncture how can I not express my gratitude to my parents who raised us (me and my sister) on moral grounds! I should also not ignore my husband’s acceptance of my ideologies and giving me a free hand in inculcating these values and principles in my children. Pray, I, along with these other precious friends, stand tall with these time-tested values! This chosen path may leave us with scars, but they are worthy.

Scars are beautiful. A life that hasn’t experienced those isn’t a complete life. A life marked with scars helps one see the simple joys of life, teaches one to be happy for others, be part of other’s pains, and helps you weave human relations. How one deals with scars define that life.

If scars force one to be self-centered, then one hasn’t learnt the art of living.
Scars that guide one’s life to be empathetic is a blessing to the world.
Lucky lives remain oblivious to scars, but those are the empty lives.
Those who never experienced scars, yet, are benevolent, are the angels.

My scars help me be a simple human being. All I have is a great family, friends, and angels who lift me up.
Trust me, when I say, scars are good.

Deepawali

To many Deepawali aficionados, it’s a couple of months programme to get the fire crackers perfect. For me, getting trained under my grandfather, it took just a couple of days as all we (me, my sister and cousins) did was to fill the flower pots with phosphorus, aluminium foil, and sulphur. But the white flower pots require an empty bottom that needs clay-sealing that ought to be dried for 5-7 days. Grandfather did all the great and tedious jobs. All we did was just the filling. Then comes the fire lanterns that lit in a style if we used the glazed, thick paper that came in Soviet Union and SPAN magazines. Our neighbours who were professional at making rockets, variety of other crackers and flower pots collected these papers from us at least 3-4 months prior to the event. Rest of the crackers that included bombs were all store bought- but locally made.

These specialised neighbours used to make multi coloured fireworks which were named aubergines, rockets, onions, sparrows based on how they flew, and how they slithered or moved around!
At least in our area we celebrated this festival beyond religion and creed. People lived in thatched houses, used to water them well, so they remain safe in this process.
Gone are those days. On the name of pollution and the flummoxed political gains, and with the imports from China nothing is the same.

How long one lit the crackers depends on how well-off and lavish one is! Of course, with little socialism spread well across, almost everyone enjoys this festival irrespective of their origin or religion.
What remains the same for me is the memories. With UK law letting us celebrate this festival, we have had lovely celebrations with friends in UK, and the same in US but with some restrictions on the crackers, this has been truly festival of lights. These two countries, where ever we lived, also have given us opportunities to come together as a group to be able to extend these celebrations to our children’s schools too.

Deepawali marks the killing of Narakasura by Satyabhama, and also Ram returning to Ayodhya after killing Ravana signifying victory of good over the evil. Wishing everyone a safe, happy Deepawali/Diwali- row of lamps/lights.

Yeohaeng of our first black belt!

My son, Indi, is officially a black belt now. What else could give me more pleasure than penning (well, typing) my thoughts after a long break! With all due thanks to his instructors in two counties, I have a few friends who I need to be grateful to.

This journey into Tang Soo Do, a South Korean martial art started a while after I saw my very good friend, Helen.W, walking her two ninjas (in her sweet words) home after their Tang Soo class. I was fascinated the way they both were dressed in neat Do Bohks holding Bo-staffs. I shared that delightful sight with my family, and Bala and I felt Indi should join as the classes were in the same small, beautiful village. It took Indi at least 5 months to make a decision. But once he saw the Tang Soo Do demo for us all, there’s no stopping him.

He soon became a golden boy with medals where-ever we went that included tournaments within England to Wales to Holland, and the encouragement from the then instructors, Jeff, Mick etc., and the students of higher ranks, Karl, Tibbett’s family, Dixons is remarkable. Everyone there supported and encouraged him.

Then happened the big move for us from UK to US. All Indi asked was a similar Tang Soo Do institute, and Jeff and Mick guided us to Austin Karate Academy run by Master Mukherjee. With slight changes in his forms, he graded every time he is due, and soon was a blue belt. With India trip last year, he had to wait for one extra year to give his black belt test, and he did! In this journey, he inspired many children to try this martial art, and more importantly, he achieved which neither his mum nor dad has!

He was one of the two who scored 100% in written test, and his essay, which he wrote with his heart got a special mention from his mentor and master Mukherjee. We would like to thank all his instructors and black belts for the support, and younger belts for the warmth.

Ms Tracy has that attention to detail, Alejandro that motivation, Mister Bailey, Ms Carol, Ms Carla everyone for training him.

We would love to thank Master Mukherjee for being his mentor, a master with dedication and discipline. Indi, also is teaching now, and understands what teaching is about! According to him, his journey has just begun.

8 DANS TO GO!

Now, a special thanks to all our friends who sent their best wishes to him. Vicki.W, Jo.W for constantly checking on us during the testing, and for our wonderful Eunjoo and the Lee family for celebrating his black belt even before the results were out!

Tang Soo!

Towards organic ‘cult’ivation

Once we moved to US, along with the health insurance hokums, another arduous challenge that gradually dawned onto me was to find natural food not necessarily extremely healthy food. It was tougher than I thought; it’s  ineffable to put those thoughts, especially, in the initial first year. 

I had discussions at length with a good friend of mine, who still thinks super foods is the only solution to cater to this growing population. This more so when we consider that the actual amount of agricultural land is decreasing and the consuming population is ever increasing. And, according to him, that’s how the future existence will be. Whilst I am preparing myself to not get distressed seeing posterity taking a pill of super foods for their meals, my husband dug a small portion of the limestone-rich backyard to make a fertile vegetable bed for us. The main aim is to grow organic vegetables and fruits. Land is abundant in Texas and so is the sun; a perfect recipe for cultivation!


And thus started our foray into backyard ‘organic cultivation’.

With the initial frost in the late spring that affected the corn, choosing wrong varieties of seeds for the squash has costed us this year just hard work and low-yield. But, this journey makes us, especially the kids, realise the value of food. a farmer’s true difficulties, and to invest time to not go for foppish but inculcate love for natural food. 

Lush green fields that please your eyes hiding, well-camouflaged, yet unwelcome guests: pests!

  • Mealy bugs
  • Garden snail
  • Carolina sphinx
  • Tiger crane fly

The word organic that I took for granted while I was growing up in India, and used fashionably in UK has made me very finicky about natural, organic food. Added to these, adulterated food is now coagulated into our systems beyond our measure or control. As they say, organic cultivation is the future of our agriculture. Perhaps, it is high time we should seriously consider thinking about the source of food we eat. Growing it yourself could be one way of knowing what we eat.