Sunday, June 05, 2022

The Mystery of Wet Lips

I came out of the restroom one day in office, and just when I was exiting, I washed my lips, or rather I made them wet. For a moment, I stopped in my tracks and wondered why. The next shocking revelation was that I had been doing this for as long as I could remember! I mean, it had almost become habitual for me to wet my lips when I was exiting the bathroom. Almost like - I would as if feel I am walking out of the bathroom naked if I didn't wet my lips. Or the other way round, if ever someone saw me coming out of the bathroom with my lips un-wet, I would get caught.And there, incidentally, lay the answer to my unusual habit...

Back in my childhood days, I used to visit my maternal granma's house for summer holidays. During those times, the houses were designed in such a way that the toilets and bathrooms were outside of the main house. Which means, you had to get out of the back door of the house (if the house was big enough), walk a few steps and you can then enter the toilet. In case the house was small and there was only one door, still, the toilet was away. No matter what, the ablutions could not be carried out under the same roof as where you ate and slept and did pooja, etc. So, in the dead of the night, if you wanted to relieve yourself, yes - you had to open the door, go out in the dark amidst cockroaches, lizards and other-what-nots (thieves included!) and come back in quickly cursing why your bladder was incapable of holding up till daylight. And in case it was raining, God save you. 

Despite all this, toilet inside the house was a strict no-no. In fact, this at that time was a 'modern' house. Because a majority of Indians (which was rural then) did not even have a dedicated toilet or bathroom, and Nature was where everything happened. Now compare this to the current generation where we have a bathroom every few steps. Each bedroom will have a bathroom in addition to the common bathroom which is closest to the living room. 

But of course, I believe there was some science behind how the houses of the previous century was constructed in India. Daily ablutions purges the body system from all possible toxins, unwanted bacteria and viruses. The complete set of wastes in our body gets thrown out. The obnoxiousness in the air associated to such wastes obviously needs to be far off from the other parts of the house where we usually spend our time during the day. In fact, the outhouse-kind of toilets did not even have roof or shelter so that there is lot of free air flow to eradicate the obnoxiousness. But nowadays we are stuck inside a small bathroom, completely packed like a matchbox and totally relying on even small exhaust fan to suck out that air. 

And not just that, we spend a lot of time in that same toilet thanks to the "ingenious" new design of bathrooms containing wash-basin (toothbrush), mirror (make-up, grooming, shaving), shower (bath), etc. in addition to the water-closet. Oh, add some more time - I forgot  to mention the mobile phone! No wonder, it would seem, diseases for humans are ever increasing, newer and newer hospitals are sprouting up in every corner of the society, more and more pharmacy stores, etc. Such did not seem to be the case with a typical 'Indian lifestyle' back then.

But lets get back to the topic now. So, my mother's mother was a strict authoritarian. What she says, has to happen. So she made me cultivate a habit of washing my mouth (yes, like how you do when you brush your teeth with mouthful of water, roll it around and spit) every time I came out of the bathroom. I guess she rightly felt that the foul, disease-filled air inside the bathroom (despite being far away) would somehow get into the mouth and hence one had to wash the insides of the mouth whenever one exited. This is personal hygiene taking many notches beyond imagination.

For me, it just didn't make any sense back then as to why I should wash my mouth (of all places) when I relieved myself. So I used to happily ignore my granma and come out, but she would rebuke me to a great extent and, worse, she used to make me go back in and get it done. And so I invented this ingenious way of making my lips wet so that when she saw me coming out of the bathroom, she would know that I have washed my mouth! Ta-da!! And that's how this tradition of mine started. It then became so much of a routine that even when I now go to bathroom just to wash my feet, still I will exit with making my lips wet! The subconsciousness habit of mine will ensure that my dead granma even if she sees me now exiting a bathroom will still think that I have washed my mouth! Strangest thing is that I never realized this strange of habit of mine until now, and used to blindly do for the last 35+ years!!

So next time if you see my lips wet when I am exiting a bathroom, you know the story...!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Goodbye after 17 years!!


The first house that you own will always remain special....

Friday, March 25, 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022

Nirjala on Vaikunta Ekadasi

"Ekadasi", in my childhood meant, not eating the usual day-to-day meals comprising of Anna (rice) and Rasam or Sambar. It meant a day of lot of "tiffin" items comprising a variety of a typical breakfast snacks like Poha or Chapathi or Poori, etc. Contrary to the true meaning of Ekadasi when one is supposed to fast, it was a day to look forward to!

My mother used to fast, her mother used to fast, and it went on so. I didn't know why this tradition was followed but I am not the kind to ask questions (although I knew it was kind of a 'religious' thingy). I just eat what is put on my plate! My mother seemed normal during the fasting days but when I was at granny's place, I used to see her really struggle during Ekadasi. She used to puke and become very weak yet her resolve to not break the fast was so strong that despite whatever happened she never used to eat although she used to cook yummy food for us all grandchildren. But I used to wonder what is the whole point of doing anything (related to a religious practices) despite such struggles.

Flash forward to the recent past, my better half started "full-day" fasting, not every time but on and off. Inspired by her (and also to ensure she didn't cook food that she couldn't eat herself), I too started to delay my breakfast. Began with fasting until noon and then staying rest of the day on fruits, nuts and vegetables, basically staying on uncooked food. It didn't seem to be too hard as I thought. Then pushed it by few more hours like until 4 pm. Then until 6 pm. Yes, there seemed to be a mild headache but it was not unbearable. In fact, when it started to become too much of a strain, I used to break the fast. The intake reduced drastically on Ekadasis. Not any more those sumptuous, yummy-licious Ekadasis of my childhood!

Yesterday was Vaikunta Ekadasi - the mother of all Ekadasis, and wifey said she will do nirjala, meaning fasting without even drinking water. She has done it few times in the past as well. In fact, she goes one notch higher by even doing Mouna Vrata, meaning no talking the entire day too, and that includes not indulging in any kind of gadgets as well like TV or mobile or iPad, etc. Inspired by her, I thought I might as well try nirjala as long as I could. I thought I could last maybe until noon.

Noon came and went but I felt ok. So I thought let me push it further. 4 pm came and went, still I was A-ok. Nearing 7 pm I felt very easily that I could last the entire day. Not even the head ache this time. Not weak, not anything. Just normal. Chanted full Vishnu Sahasranama at 8 pm. In fact, I worked the entire day just like how I do every day. I even helped my daughter with some home-made salad that she wanted to prepare and eat for herself.

Thankfully there were no late night meeting and I could retire to bed at half past ten. And as I hit the bed, I felt great that I could do Nirjala Ekadasi too, just like my wife, my mom and her mom and her mom. And I didn't even puke. It felt like a great accomplishment indeed. It was always something that I thought could never be done by myself. It is true what they say: it is more in the mind than physical.

The day after, in the morning, I did feel a tad too low and pukish. Kind of felt very weak and wobbly. But had three glasses of lemonade with honey and I was back to normal. Not sure if I can do this again or even if I want to. But it sure feels good to have done it, and blogged about it!!

PS: The videos by Amarendra Das & Sadhguru on Ekadasi fasting offer (pun intended) food-for-thought!

Monday, December 13, 2021

Variety Dinner for the Family!

Saturday: Set Masala Dosa, Rava Idli, Idli Vada

Sunday: Sev Puri, Jain Bhel Puri, Plain Dosa

Monday: Home-made Maggi Noodles

Tuesday: Gobi Manchuri, Veg Hakka Noodles, Idli Vada

Wednesday: Capsicum Puff, Khara Bun, Plain Bun, Dil Pasand, Sandwich, Chocolate Cake

PS: This reminded me of my old posts - this, this and this!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Another Birthday Present!

Those of you who thought The Princess Story ended, well, you were wrong! This, lo and behold, is Part 2!

The grit and determination of the Princess which made her the Champion continued beyond the College Days into her Life itself! Just out of college, it was now time to be "Independent". But being a Princess, it is not easy to 'break free', right? We all know how hard it was for Elsa to leave her Kingdom! 😊 Despite the strong bond with her parents, she managed to convince the King and the Queen that she had had to live on her own feet, that too, in a different city! After much reluctance and perseverance, they gave in, and the Princess came to Bangalore in 2006. With some help from relatives, she set herself up as a Paying Guest in one of the lush localities which made her instantly fall in love with the city. The first great achievement followed soon after - getting a job! With unemployment soaring back then, and thousands of graduates pouring into the city in addition to tens of thousands of graduates already in the city, it was not so easy. But our Princess got through!

Next up was the natural process of finding herself a suitor. In the country that she was in, it was not a natural and easy thing for girls to publicly call out for the male species for marriage. Usually it happens through family network of parents or relatives. But, the Independent Princess, that she was, standing on her own feet, went into a Cyber Cafe (non-existent nowadays), set up a profile in Bharat Matrimony (the Karnataka version of it) and poised herself up for the next greatest achievement: becoming a Queen. After about 190 odd rejections for all kinds of odd Princes, she finally chose one who seemed to be sound and resonated with her well. The best part was his (yours truly!) birthday was on the same date as hers! Five months later, on July 2008, she was no more a Princess. She became the Queen!

Marriage took her happiness to several notches up. Literally too, since she travelled with the King to many places suddenly. Traveling was not something that she had thought too much about, but the King being more of an adventurist and explorer, she hopped on the wagon and made several local trips. Beauty of the Nature caught on to her. Then, with the King having to move to other part of the World, the excitement could hardly be contained. The Nature beckoned in all Her glory in the Beautiful Lands of United States of America in 2009. Weekends meant Traveling! Abruptly, though, the King had to travel back to Motherland and she accompanied him much to her chagrin because she was getting ready for a dance performance just a few days later. Alas, it was not to be. However, it was just as well, because her next achievement was due: she gave birth to her own Princess in 2010! What better way than being on Motherland, near her own Mother!

Next couple of years involved Motherhood and Parenting. Total Involvement. Beautiful and cherished years of her life. Once again, she moved along with the King and her Princess to US, this time for six long years. In 2012, the previously lost chance of a dance performance in US came back. While the last time was an informal, self-prepared, twisting of hands and legs, this time around was under the guidance of a Guru who was dedicated to Bollywood. This involved continuous classes, rehearsals, many long hours of preparation and intensity. Just like a decade ago when she became a Champion, she was now all-in, fully-focussed. Fully taking care of the needs of her the then toddler Princess (who bemusedly looked at her mother on stage dancing away to glory not really understanding why but understanding enough that it seemed to give her joy), the Queen finally made it to a Big Grand Stage in South California to celebrate 100 Years of Bollywood. In all, she performed in about 8 dance sequences including one solo. This was a massive tick in her list of achievements! An 'always-wanted-to-do' thingy!

Soon after, the King's work took him away from SoCal. But the Queen was satisfied with her dance - the performance on the stage was a culmination of the ambition. Now, with the princess no longer being a toddler, travels came back with a bang. Every long weekend was meticulously planned and researched far ahead in advance. From the lonely islands of Hawaii to the desert lands of Arizona, from Niagara Falls to Key West, from Disneyland to NASA, from the Land's End in Mexico to the Northern Lights in Alaska. Mind you, it still was not easy. Indeed, it was an achievement in itself! Being outside on -22 degrees Fahrenheit on an icy night in Fairbanks to watch Aurora Borealis with a Pre-schooler. Three layers of clothing, socks and gloves but still hands get numb because the blood freezes, thats the effort involved! But all worth it. Those colorful greenish, pinkish hue on the dark starry sky! One thing that got missed out during that Alaska trip was the visit to the Arctic Circle which the Queen badly wanted to experience. Not to fret, Mission Accomplished in 2016! 

It was now time to get back to beloved Motherland India for good. 2017 was a new year to settle down afresh. In a Palace. In a school that could be relied upon for the next decade for the Princess. It took many months but finally got the bases settled. But, then, the Queen was not yet done! With her immense love for the kids, she always wanted to be a Kindergartner teacher. Now, mind you, there are several qualified teachers who want to do this for a living, for daily bread. But this Queen wanted to be a teacher just for the love of it. Again, just like a decade ago, she was back amongst qualified folks trying to get a job with hardly any experience. Again, just like a decade ago, she excelled herself and got through as a Kindergartner teacher in 2018! It was like an unimaginable dream come true! 

After enjoying an year of teaching and getting loads and loads of love from infants, toddlers, kids, picking them up and swaying them for hours, (oh yeah, wiping away their running noses too!), she felt fulfilled with herself and her next dream ignited of being a singer. With her Princess now learning Carnatic Music from a Music Guru, the Guru was kind enough to involve the Queen too in non-classical devotional and folk-tale song renditions. Once again followed many days of training and practices, just like the 2012 Dance days! Success follows those who struggle. Soon, she was on stages of Kannada Sahitya Parishath & Ravindra Kalakshetra. Another massive accomplishment!!

Next up was the toughest of the lot. The Queen had come across Sadhguru's videos in 2015 and now being in India, it was easier to access his practices and ashram in Coimbatore. So, as soon as she got back to India in 2017, she completed the course on Inner Engineering and started practising regularly the Shambhavi Maha Mudra. Then she started reading a lot about Spirituality, Kundalini, Liberation from the cycle of Birth and Death - the works! Now Isha has carefully crafted a number of spiritual programs, one after the other, to finally taste a completely new dimension of life. The Queen went through all of this and decided to go all out! After Inner Engineering, next was Bhava Spandana. It is a 3 day residential program in Isha Center, Coimbatore. This meant staying away from her Princess for the first time in her life. She opted for it. It was heartening to see the mother-daughter cry when the bus pulled away. Next was a week-long Hatha Yoga program, thankfully that was in same city few hours daily. Manageable. Penultimate was Shoonya. This was again a residential program in Coimbatore. Once again the separation. And then the final round of selection for the Ultimate Advanced Program: Samyama - a 8 day, no-talking, no-eye contact, residential Meditation program. Needless to say, she breezed through this one. It was the first time she was staying away and alone from family for such a long time. Samyama is like how folks back in the olden days used to do Tapas, no less. Thanks to Sadhguru who has crafted this program for the mediocre & bourgeois to experience this dimension of life. 

Our queen successfully completed Samyama and now all she has to do is sit quietly and tears will flow down her cheeks. She experiences Oneness with the Universe, the Creator within herself. The initiations that she has been through has cleared away her Karmic debt and she has experienced the awakenings of the different chakras within her body. Like the Green Mile movie, she can experience the pain of others as if it is her own. The other day, she watched Aruvi and she cried her heart out feeling the exact pain that Aruvi went through! It was surreal. This dimension of life, which only human beings can experience and no other living being on earth, has been initiated to her through her guru Sadhguru - and it has only been possible because she is a devoted student, through her many hours of sadhana every single day, no matter where she is (airport, railway station, train, hotel, etc.). What an achievement, huh?!

Well, that could have been the toughest, but that is not yet it! Just a few months back, the Queen ignited one another of long cherished dreams of learning Bharatanatyam dance! Although this is an art form that needs to be learnt at a young age, the dance guru of the Princess (who also started learning) encouraged her and the Queen is already making great strides! The recent accomplishment has been a devoted Mother-Daughter dance. Another tick in the already huge list of accomplishments of the Champion!

Now, will there be a Part 3 of this series?! Only time will tell! 

But, here I am, once again, seven years later presenting this blog-post as another (hopefully immortal) birthday gift which will make her smile and wonder how she has achieved all those immeasurable and seemingly insurmountable hurdles over the last couple of decades!


Sunday, April 04, 2021

Jondig Holocaust

Usually, after 11 pm at our home, we do not venture into the living room or any other part of the house. We are on the bed, reading book or gazing at some digital device (I know it is bad!) or, even better, sleeping! But there are these rare instances, when one feels thirsty and, lo and behold, there is no water jug nearby! Someone forgot to get it! So, one of us walks all the way to kitchen to get the jug of water. It is about 25 steps away that takes one through a corridor, and then part of the living room and finally to the kitchen. I know, a big house, right? 🙄

Well, anyway. In these 25 steps, after 11 pm, anything can happen. Because, you see, it is not the time for humans to be walking around. It is for the nocturnal creatures! And the Jondigs are our usual visitors. We believe they make their way from the umpteen sink-holes and drain-holes that we have in our apartment. Despite being on the 7th floor. 

So, anyway. Now, when this person is walking towards the kitchen, being totally aware of his or her surroundings, as if ready even for a tiger or a lion to be lurking around, it is not surprising that he or she catches sight of this roach happily crawling on the sparkling white tiles - somewhere on the 12th or the 13th step - at the sight of which comes out a shriek that doesn't move the Jondig anywhere and yet I will be there in a flash with the super-efficient Hit spray. It will take me a minute or so, and I will be gassing the roach away to glory. The roach will be poisoned and liberated in the next minute.

Now, every time I do this act - I somehow cannot help feeling that these roaches on which I am spraying poisonous gases were those cruel Nazis at one time in their previous birth who gassed & exterminated hundreds of thousands of Jews in the concentration camps. It would be a fitting thing.

However, what about my very act of gassing these roaches? How will it impact me and my future lives? Definitely there is got to be a karmic re-bound. 🤔

Unless I myself was one of the exterminated in my previous lifetime getting my Redemption now!!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Bowing down to the Sun

One day morning, some time in late 2016, when I was still in the Bay Area in USA, I returned home after dropping my daughter to school, parked my car and walked towards my apartment. The walkway from the parking spot to the apartment was small, cobbled and there was lush green grass all around. As I walked on this path, I spotted a man standing erect on the grass, barefoot, his face looking directly at the Sun but eyes closed and his hands folded with great reverence. I was seriously taken aback looking at this sight. There was something about this whole thing that shook me to the core. Upon closer look, he was an Indian and that kind of made some sense and yet it was really captivating. It was also early winter, which meant the air was chilly and the land was cold, so jackets and boots seemed the norm and yet this gentleman here was barefoot and with no jackets, just giving himself away to the Sun. This scene has stayed on with me to this day.

Three years later, around mid-2019, when I was waiting for my office bus to pick me up, I had to stand at this place where the rising Sun caressed its rays on me fully from head to toe. So, there I go, right in front of everyone, I face the Sun, bow down my head slightly, fold my hands in full reverence and bask in His glory - although not barefoot. It was quite something for me to do this in public and slightly being conscious initially. But then I started to do this daily, and it became a routine and I was no longer aware of people staring at me. In fact, I started looking forward to doing the "literal" Surya namaskar daily. There seemed to be a lot of positivity in simply acknowledging the Creator for his creation (me). Sadhguru has spoken in many instances how important the Sun really is in our life, how we are all really solar-powered beings. Just understanding this basic fact and bowing down to Sun makes a world of difference.

In the past, whenever I went to pilgrimages and I used to take bath in rivers or in holy ponds, I (like everyone else) used to sit cross-legged facing the Sun and perform the Divine rituals. It always felt good, and in fact, I even felt purified by those actions. That too, was something that I always looked forward to. But I realized only later that even this simple standing devotion to Sun, even in the middle of a bustling road on my own city - or even in my own home - is sufficient to feel the positive vibes.

Now, it is not just once a day affair. Anytime my wife or me come to the balcony, we just look at the direction of Sun (even if not visible due to the concrete jungle that we live in), and simply bow down our heads with folded hands in great reverence - whether it is first thing in the morning or if it is noon or even if it is past sunset - and (I hope) that will go a long way to be part of the Divine Grace.

As I read once in a Saibaba temple - 

Divine Grace is eternally available everywhere like Sun rays or Rain drops. The only question is: Are you willing to soak in it...?!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

And she turns 10...











Sunday, September 20, 2020

Wife, Daughter & the Chair

So this happened on Dec 26th, 2018 in Bodh Gaya at about 2 pm. But this blog post has no significance to the day, place or time actually except I remember because there is a dedicated travel blog-post (call that free marketing for my travelogue blog!)

It was extremely hot even though it was winter. In fact, the wintry chill only commenced after the sunset. We were walking from the main Bodh Gaya attraction (Peepal Tree in Mahabodhi Temple) towards the Giant Buddha statue and we were famished at that time as we had a light breakfast. Plus the walk in the sun had drained us all out completely. My eyes fell on a seemingly South-Indian restaurant because it was called Tirupati South cafe. It had both an indoor and an outdoor setting, and we chose the shaded outside because there was a nice breeze under the restaurant's shelter. 

I washed my hands at the wash-basin, arrived at one of the tables and took a seat while my daughter and wife went to the washroom. I relaxed and stretched after all the walking and tried to get some breather. After a few minutes, my daughter came and asked me if I could move and take another seat, as she wanted the same chair upon which I was sitting. I got annoyed at her and asked her to adjust in one of the other seats that were around the round table, and I didn't wanted to be disturbed since I had already sat. She meekly chose one of the other chairs.

The waiter came and asked if we were ready to order, and we chose full thalis. The clay pot for the bread was right close to us (outside) and it was fascinating to see the cook masterfully rolling the dough until it became paper-thin and tossed and weaved it on the long stick which he then used to place it deep inside the clay pot. The waft of the bread was alluring and we were waiting for the order eagerly. I asked my daughter to go near the clay pot and see how the cook prepared naan and rotis.

After some time, my wife came from the washroom towards the table where I was sitting and asked me to move to a different chair. Just when I obliged, my daughter too came back to the table and saw what just happened, and she asked me, "How come you shifted out of your chair when Ma told you to and you didn't when I told you to?"

It may seem strange but this question took me completely off-guard. In fact, I hadn't even realized that I complied to my wife without any questions but I completely ignored my daughter's exact same request, and even annoyingly scorned at her for asking me to shift after I had already sat. My whole action of having shifted the seat after my wife asked was done as if in sub-conscious trance-state despite the fact that I was tired and I didn't wanted to be disturbed out of my seat.

So, while I blabbered something to my daughter as a response, I thought of a reason as to why I did what I did. Several questions rummaged through me - 

1. Do I love my wife more than my daughter?
2. Do I take my daughter for granted?
3. Why couldn't I say the same thing to my wife (that I told my daughter) and be scornful to her too?
4. But then, why was I scornful to my daughter in the first place?
5. Was I afraid of my wife not taking my 'No' as a response as against the way my daughter would? 
6. Have I stopped saying 'No' to my wife?
7. Was I just abiding to my own promise of taking best care of my wife's needs?
8. Do I care for my wife's happiness more than anything else in the world - even if I had to be disturbed?

Frankly, I had no right answer. It was a mix of all of the above plus more, I guess. 

I felt nice for what I did to my wife though, really, but repented for having said no to my daughter in the first place. So, I made up for it by getting her an ice-cream for dessert! 

And then, we lived happily ever after!


Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Midas Touch to the Newspaper

 My daughter's friend (aged 6) and my daughter (aged 9) were scribbling all over the newspaper today and going gaga about it. They were breaking into fits of laughter and doubling over. It was so much fun just to see them. All they had with them was a black pen, one for each of them, and sheets of Times of India newspaper including the Bangalore Times

After a while, they both came running to me and showed what they had done:
1. They had blackened all occurrences of the word "Covid" on the main sheet.
2. There was a photo of a model, barely-clad, and the girls had drawn a dress and covered up all the exposed skin.

Just goes to show how easily two young kids can understand negativity and not-so-nice stuffs to something good! It is such a little act and yet so portentous - loads of learning for the Editorial staff of major dailies.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Integrity Personified

After almost a month- and half-long lock-down due to Corona virus, my wife and I finally stepped out to the 'outside world', thanks to my daughter's school asking us to collect the books for her upcoming grade. They asked only one parent to visit the school and collect the books. I took my wife along in the car since there were other things to do. We reached school and since it was way too hot to sit inside the car, I asked her to accompany me and sit inside the school premises under shade. She complied and we started climbing the steps towards the school gate.

The guard who was sitting on his chair informed us gently that only one parent was allowed but when he heard my reasoning, he agreed to let us both in. While my wife was searching for the right spot to sit, the guard took his chair and placed it near her and asked her to use it. Even though we refused, he wouldn't have any of it. He insisted and left us both. So my wife sat and I went inside.

It took me a little while to get the books and I finally came out. The whole thing had lasted about 10-15 minutes. And then, my wife and I made way back to the car. The guard was standing near the car, and we thanked him for the chair and told him again there had been no need to give away his sitting position and instead stand under the hot sun. But he just smiled away and said "It's ok, sir. That's my duty."

We smiled back and sat in the car and drove off. But, on reflection, that was not his duty at all. What he did was purely out of his humane character. It somehow felt very odd to show so much respect to my wife and me even though he was several decades older than us.

Our next stop was at a flour mill shop. It was more than a month since we had jowar flour and thanks to the lock-down, jowar flour was not so easily available either. Instead we had got jowar and with the help of the mill, we intended to get the flour. It was a simple 5 minute task and upon asking how much, he said Rs 8. My wife gave him Rs 10 and asked him not to return the change but the owner insisted and gave back the Rs 2. 

As we loaded the jowar flour into the car and drove off, we wondered how people can be so full of integrity. With almost 40 days of no customers in the mill shop, he could have definitely taken anything extra that came his way and yet he refused to take even a Rupee more than what it costed him.

By this time, the sun was blazing upon us. I stopped at an ATM kiosk on my way and withdrew some wads of cash since I had ran out of it during the lock-down. Right beside it was a sugarcane juice shop. We ordered 2 cups for ourselves and a half-liter bottle for those at home. The total came to Rs 105, and he said Rs 100. 

Boink! How come everyone was so nice and goody in this world. We just underwent a complete lock-down and economic impact was tremendous, especially for the small and petty shop owners. And yet, just like any other day, these folks were either taking exactly what they were taking before the economic crisis or rounding off to the lower ceiling. My wife and I just couldn't get it. It was time for us to insist this time around and we gave his due share, and left.

Finally, it was time to head back home. On our way back, we reflected on these three characters we had met today - the security guard who relinquished his throne even though that was not his duty, the flour mill owner who refused to take Rs 2 extra and the sugarcane juice owner who quoted Rs 5 less than the actual price. 

Three simple characters, three simple events and yet what a great and profound example of integrity and humbleness! We were literally dumb-founded at the day's experience.

I remember seeing an old Kannada movie of Narasimharaju's where he is stranded at a petrol station with no money, and some nice well-wisher agrees to pay for his fuel expenses. At that time, Narasimharaju says - "Thank you so much, sir! It is because of people like you that we get timely rain, wind, harvest & crops. Let the Almighty keep you in good stead!

Those were the exact words on my lips for all these three great gentlemen, except that I didn't say it out loud...but I wish them the same.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Harpic Man

So, I was cleaning our bathroom commode and my daughter was seeing me. Suddenly she said -

"Papa, that's not the way to do it. You need to put the nozzle inside the inner edges."
Me: "How do you know how to clean the commode?"
She: "I have seen the Harpic Man do it."

At this time, I realized she was talking about an ad on TV. I don't watch much TV and hence was not familiar with any specific ad that she was referring to.

Me: "What Harpic Man?"
She: "His name is Akshay."

I then realized she was talking about Akshay Kumar's Harpic ad (here and here). Although my daughter saw TV to watch her fav kids' episodes, she was still not familiar with the names of all Bollywood heroes yet, so I was curious to know how she knew Akshay Kumar.

Me: "Now, how do you know his name?"
She: "He gets down a bus and one of the ladies exclaim, 'Akshay!'"

Back in the 90s when he started off in Bollywood movies & when I was my daughter's age, he was the Action Hero. And 3 decades later, I get to hear of the same Action Hero as The Harpic Man.


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Stressful Meetings

During Corona lockdown times...

My 9-year old daughter: "Your meetings are so stressful."
Me: "Huh? I am not stressed."
She: "Stressful for me, not you."
Me: "How is it stressful for you?"
She: "I have to wear headphones to watch when you get onto meetings, and I don't like to wear headphones."


Saturday, March 07, 2020

Light & Joy

My daughter was studying for her Computer test and there was a portion in her text book about LED vs CRT monitors. So I started explaining to her about LED and CRT - at least to what extent I knew. And then my eyes fell on the Tubelight in our room and I told her that this was an LED tubelight. I told her about the advantages of the LED tubelight and how it turns on immediately when we switch the light compared to the Fluorescent tubelight that we had in our previous home which used to take a couple of seconds to fully light on. And then this is how our conversation went - 

She: "Yeah, yeah, I remember. I miss that tubelight so much!"
Me: "Huh? Why? Since that light used to take a few seconds to turn on, we bought these LED tubelights!"
She: "Yeah, but in those few seconds, I had so much fun! It was like a dance party!"

I was speechless! Because at that instant I realized what we think as a technological advancement is actually burying our kids' joys! I mean, in a few years' time she is going to completely forget about the Fluorescent tubelights and their flickering. In fact, we as kids used to have so much fun & giggles calling our classmates as 'Tubelight' in case someone is slow in grasping just for this exact reason that a tubelight takes a few seconds to fully turn on. All those jokes are no longer applicable now with the advent of LED tubelights! 

In fact, even the Salman Khan starrer Tubelight is also made on this exact concept. Speaking of which, now if someone Googles Tubelight, the only thing we get to see on the first page is about the movie, not the electrical light emitting device! Poor Tubelight (the fluorescent one, I mean) is getting whacked down and down to the point of extinction! 

This also reminded me of what my wife always says how much fun she used to have when the power used to get turned off. In my childhood, when the BESCOM turned the power off which was a regular thing for months together especially in summer due to lack of water and hence lack of Hydroelectric power generation - usually called as 'Load-shedding' - I used to get irritated. Because that meant, I had to study under the candlelight, get bitten by mosquitos or even miss watching cricket on TV. But on the other hand, my wife apparently always had fun whenever there was load-shedding. In fact they were waiting for the 'current to go' - as we say in local language - because all kids could enjoy in the dark night under the moonlit & starlit sky. 

That's when I realized that the kids nowadays hardly get to see moonlight nor starlight. Stars yes maybe here and there some nights, but moonlight & starlight so rare. With the technological advent of Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) and Inverters, especially in apartments, kids hardly experience loss of electricity and power outages. And as such, they never get to see the dark night and amaze at the beauty of it nor even play in moonlight/starlight. 

Lo and behold, there goes one more childhood joy due to technological advancement...



I was just scrolling through my latest posts and I see nowadays it is mostly about kids and their wonderful talks! And here goes another...

A couple of elderly grannies were sitting on the porch of our apartment lobby in the open air with apparently one of the granny's two-year-old granddaughter who was walking here and there, pointing at moving cars, autos, etc. And right there, another mommy happened to cross by with her own two-year-old daughter in the toy-like pram which the mommies can easily push around and at the same time go walking. So, this first one pointed at the second one and the second one's attention too got withheld by the first one - which seemed like a common setup because kids get usually attracted to one another for some reason and start playing around! 

Looking at this scene where the kids are trying to point one to the other, the grannies prodded the first one to say 'Akka' (Kannada translation of 'Sister') which is a common term used for other girl kids. And the mother tried to say the same thing to her daughter and prodded the second one to say 'Didi' (Hindi translation of 'Sister'). While the adults are trying to make the kids get accustomed to learn the customary greetings, the neurons in the first one's brain finally clicked and she pointed to the second one with renewed confidence and blurted out:


While the grannies were still trying to make out why she said that although they were trying to make her say 'Akka', it was time for the mother's neurons to click now: Sammy was indeed her daughter's name and she realized that Sammy and this other girl were actually classmates in the daycare! So the first one actually recognized Sammy and even Sammy had actually recognized the first one - in an ambience outside of the usual classroom, which is actually remarkable - although not to the extent of having remembered the name as quickly as the former! So, now that the mother understood the context, she then started explaining the whole thing to the grannies who finally got it too!

I was waiting at the lobby for my elevator while this whole thing got played out right in front of me, and it seemed fascinating to me how couple of toddlers who did not even know how to talk could make the adults understand what they had already recognized and how, even as adults, we so easily fail to understand our kids sometimes. 

Here, the adults were trying to teach something to the kids but the kids finally ended up teaching something to the adults...!


Sunday, August 04, 2019

The Paranoia of a Cab

One fine weekend evening, my wife and I were sitting in the driveway of our apartment, enjoying the breeze when a cab came and stopped just about in front of us. Obviously, it was either an Ola or a Uber waiting for the passenger.

At about the same time, an aged lady whom we knew in the apartment, was walking close to us, carrying her 9-month-old grand daughter in her arms. She smiled at us and we returned the smile. The grand daughter was happily looking here and there, and enjoying the general ambience, being pampered by the granny. And then, her eyes fell on the cab, and suddenly she started sobbing. She pointed her hands to the cab and shook her head while her crying increased. Her tears welled up, she became absolutely restless & started wailing. She was almost furious with the cab while at the same time realized she was helpless. The very presence of the cab in the apartment was causing her immense distress. While this sudden change in the emotions puzzled me and my wife especially because the child was crying looking at a cab which seemed so unusual, her grandmother explained it to us:

Apparently the child's mother goes to office every day in a cab in the morning. And the presence of this cab made the child think that her mother would go off once more in this cab! And hence - the anger directed towards the cab & the helplessness of the inability to stop the separation from her dear mother all of which resulted in a desperate outburst of tears...

Aah, such a heart-wrenching sight. Poor child, what unimaginable pains she would have gone through every morning of her life when her mother left to office for the emotions to come out like this just by seeing a cab...

Like so many other times, Sadhguru's speech on motherhood came to our thoughts.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A child's question

I was walking in the park when I saw a child who was maybe about 3 years old. She was swinging on the swing. Her eyes were roaming all around the park and she was talking to her mother who was right in front of her. 

When the path on which I was walking came close to her, I heard her ask her mother, "From dinosaurs?".

As I was about to go out of earshot, I heard the mother reply "No; from other human beings."

As I continued my walk, within a few seconds I came across some other kids running around the park as a warm-up. They were all wearing Taekwondo uniform. 

And that's when I understood the full conversation between the child and her mother...

Saturday, March 09, 2019

The Strange-Looking Fruit

I was driving on my two-wheeler with my family near Banashankari bus stand one day, and was about to take a left turn when I noticed a mother crossing the road, dragging her child behind her who was struggling to keep pace. I stopped my vehicle to let her cross the road despite getting honks from behind me. While the mother was looking hither and thither to ensure she was not in the way of any vehicle, the child who was about 4-5 years old, had absolutely no care in the world for all the traffic around him despite the road being heavily occupied with all sorts of vehicles. He had absolute faith in that hand which was held by his mother; and his legs just kept moving one feet after next following his mother. To be honest, it was definitely a tough road to cross even for adults what with all the vehicles enjoying the erstwhile green signal, and having to drag a child too in the complex moving maze was a challenge indeed. 

And while he was following his mother, his eyes were looking high above the sea of vehicles. His eyes lit up and he tugged at his hand to catch his mom's attention. But she didn't pay any attention to the tug. Her sole aim was to cross the road. He kept tugging and indicating her to look at the top of the tree which was at the corner of the junction. But she couldn't take her eyes off the road. At that instant both my wife & I followed the direction of the boy's attention and then we saw what the boy was seeing: a strange-looking fruit!

It was big in size, rectangularly-oval-ish, with maybe some spikes & brownish. It was something I had never seen before. And there were lots and lots of them. I was astounded and so was my wife. In fact, my wife asked my daughter to see that bunch of strange-looking fruits too! I am not sure if the mom finally paid any attention to her son's tugging or not but it was as if that whole episode was for my family and me to witness Nature's inexplicable existence: a massive tree growing a large bunch of weird looking yields in the middle of a highly polluted crossroad!

I have driven over that road thousands of times having never once paid any attention to that tree nor its fruits - & here comes this tiny being who just took the tree and kept it right in front of my eyes! What a marvelous experience! And look at the innocence of a kid: in all that cacophony of angry honks, amidst the waves of vehicles, he calmly looks at a tree while crossing the road, sees it in entirety a way an adult never does & appreciates it to such an extent that he wants his mother to acknowledge too!

It is such simple things as these that we as adults miss but kids do not. And unfortunately when kids highlight it to us, we brush it off lightly and yet these are the gems of the Creation that we ideally ought to wonder about. The whole scene might have lasted less than five seconds - and it occurred about 4-5 months ago and yet I cannot forget it.

Nor did I want to miss blogging about 'such a simple incident'!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Family Tree

My daughter just uttered "Amma" as a way of "Good Night" endearment while she was about to head to sleep, without wanting to say anything else - when the below interesting conversation ensued. Much of it was in Kannada, and it is imperative that I retain the local language because the conversation churned out certain gems only due to the Kannada words...!

Daughter said, "Amma...
Mommy replied, "Magu..." (but pronounced it as 'Maggu')
If pronounced as 'Magu', it means baby; if pronounced as 'Maggu', it means a flower bud.

D: "Naa Maggaadre, Nee Hoova." [If I am a bud, then you are a flower]
M: "Naa Hoovaadre, Namma appa amma are seeds." [If I am a flower, then my parents are seeds]

D: "Then Ajji thatha are roots." [Ajji thatha = grandparents]
M: "Mutthaatha has transformed from roots back to Earth, from where all Life originally comes up!" [
Mutthaatha = Great Granddad (who died recently)]

D: "So, I am a bud!"
M: "Yes, from Magu to Buddy - thats how parents ought to treat children as they grow up!"