Posted in Food For Soul

நான் அறிந்த தெய்வம்

Inspired to write this:

அன்பற்ற ஆசாரம் பழுது

நேயமற்ற நோம்பிலும் நேர்த்தி குன்று

மனிதம் இல்லா மந்திரம் வீண்

வாய்மையில்லா வேதமும் விரயம்

ஆர்வமற்ற கலை அப்பழுக்கு

உயிரற்ற ஓவியம் விலை போகா

இனிமையில் சொல்லும் சுடும்

இசைவில்லா முயர்வு தோல்வியே

நம்பிக்கையற்ற நெறி தவறும்

உருக்கமற்ற கதையும் கவராது

கனவில்லா துயில்வும் சுகமில்லை

ரசனையற்ற மனமும் வெறுமை

பொருளில்லா புத்தகம் பலனில்லை

மணம் இல்லா மலர் சூடுவதற்கில்லை

மக்கள் இல்லா செல்வம் மங்கும்

பேணுதல் இல்லா உறவு கெடும்

ஆக்கமில்லா செயலும் செல்லாக்காசு

 பிடிப்பில்லா வாழ்வு பாழ்

நோக்கமில்லா மார்கம் தடுமாற்றம்

தூய்மையற்ற அகமும் விளங்காது

சமத்துவம் இல்லா சமூகம் அவலமே

சமநீதி இல்லாத சமயம் அயோக்கியம்

மானுடமற்ற மதம் மூர்க்கம்

ஆறறிவு கேட்ட மனிதன் ஜடம்

உன்னதமில்லா எதுவும் உயர்வன்று

ஒளியற்ற ஆலையம் கேடு

சீரற்ற வழி செம்மை இல்லை

பகுத்தறிவற்றாரை கடவும் கடந்து போகும்

Posted in Food For Soul

Attention Seeking: A Serious Character Flaw

In a world where there is so much of talk-down on negativity and gloom, there is one trait in some of us that may go unnoticed. It is ‘attention seeking’ sneaking in as a domineering streak in those closest to us that most of us grin and bear. Others may disregard such a highhandedness as a personality flaw and move on. Wanting to have the last word in everything, the compelling need to remain under the spotlight, hijacking and steering conversations are a few tell-tale signs that can give away that an attention seeker in our midst.

A very fragile ego, unwillingness to sidestep for others and the strange longing to get into everyone’s good books all at the same time could be the reasons behind a dominant character. A pampered and privileged background cannot be ruled out for the nurture of an attention seeking personality. Characteristically, a noticeable absence in attention seekers is the sense of empathy. Passive aggression is seldom considered a threat and most of us quietly put up with it offering no resistance, not realizing that this is nothing short of bullying.

Some of us don’t give two hoots to attention grabbers. Attention seeking can cause damage to best of relationships in the long run. To those who have had lessons from life, letting others have their small successes comes naturally. Yet when boundaries are breached, there may be grounds for discord. Attention seekers can have their way, because of the complacent company (or cronies) they usually surround themselves with. A sense of amusement may also be reason for some of us to tolerate insolent behaviour.

Maturity is the natural output of a satisfied life. Shying away from attention is a mark of such maturity. It is the string pullers who run the show from behind the scenes in most cases. Being one in the crowd, faceless, nameless is a defence like none other. It is not without a reason it is said that there is safety in numbers. To opt to go unnoticed is an understated elegance, class. To underplay one’s self-importance purposefully is an art very few can master. Lack of urge to prove anything to anyone is a virtue. We retain our identity or perhaps our privacy. The sense of peace lies in coming to terms with reality. We are in contest with no one in life and life is not a race to be won where we have to outwit each other and prove to the rest of the world that we are the best among the pack. It is alright even to be a loser. It is embracing your destiny with grace that is the greatest human virtue.

Class is keeping a low profile. Why should we want audience for everything. It is not our business to steal the thunder from others.

Classism comes not from our clothes and shoes and bags and our automobile, but from the elegant standards we maintain in our life, the way we etch our character. Classism is dignity when we do not lower our standards, when we prescribe the standards.

Waves of fellow humans following our footsteps fast outpace us taking our spot every single minute. Before we may bat our eyelid, we may be gone just like that. We are but a miniscule atom in this universe.

The best of ours will stay with us, come what may. The ones who are with us never leave us. The ones who leave us were never ours.

It is a blessing if some of us need not have to work hard at relationships. It is a gift that some of us need not have to go for it, seek or snatch attention. With a shrug we let go off, conceding defeat to attention seekers, otherwise there may be one hell of a price to pay: the relationship. It can be a sore disappointment discovering the personality flaw of attention seeking in our closest circle.

Posted in Food For Soul

The difference between Lakshmi Teacher and Susheela teacher…

I am blogging this after a conversation with a friend. I am afraid at the cost of repeating myself for an umpteenth time, i will have to dig from my mother’s school now.

My grandma told me the reason my mother decided to teach the hearing and speech impaired middle school girls. Like any teachers’ training aspirant, she had enrolled in a staff training college in Santhome. But one day when her classes were on, in walked Mother Superior. Out of the entire class, she picked my mother and told her, ‘child, anyone can teach normal kids. but it takes a special someone to teach special kids. go to the class teaching special skills and start teaching deaf and dumb (as they would be referred then) girls.’ This changed my mother’s life as she thought she had gotten her calling. She became a teacher on course completion and served over 16 years teaching teen girls who could not speak or hear – until the very last day of her life.

I and my sister grew up literally in this school campus. It is in Gemini. For term holidays and for their school days, sports days etc., we would be there with our mother until the day she passed away. This school also contains a section for the blind. I grew up thinking disability was normal. I never viewed the loss of speech or hearing or eye sight as handicap at all for years. Watching the blind children in sports day competing in Lemon and spoon race etc, and playing with deaf and mute girls in my mother’s class as equals, probably had had an effect on me that sustains me until today. Back then I had no idea, these were my learning days.

Pious Hindu, my mother still took us to chapel in their catholic convent. Like typical hindu girls we touched the feet of Mother superior and other sisters in her school every time we went there. We lit candles in the chapel and we also visited the Santhome cathedral and Besant Nagar church a little before Christmas to avoid crowds. But we never got mixed up still. Our Hindu roots stayed unwavering through all this.

My mother also had been the first Hindu teacher among the school staff. Before her, only catholic nuns were teaching in their missionary school. After my mother, a few more Hindu teachers joined the school. The initial influence of the christian fraternity was there in my mother who was refusing marriage to serve the disabled kids, but my grandparents prevailed and had her married. So naturally I became the first staff kid in their entire school history, and i remained the most celebrated one until my mother’s last.

In the years when my mother was around, for every Diwali she would hire cooks to make hundreds of sweets like laddoo, jelebi etc., at home along with tins of murukku to distribute to her entire school as most of their kids were hostel girls from poorest families who had abandoned them. Some kids had parents in foreign countries or other places in India who would never pay a visit. My mother and one more teacher regularly brought home 4 to 5 girls for Diwali to celebrate the festival with us. She would get for these girls bangles from Mylapore Mada veedhi and also new clothes. The highlight was, taking them for shopping along with her. It is only after my mother left I understood her sensitivity in these matters. She could not bear the idea of young girls holed up in hostel during Diwali so she would seek special permission from Mother Superior to get home those stranded in their dorms with nowhere to go.

The devotion of teachers in my mother’s school was such that, in order to explain a crow to a blind student, one of the staff caged cleverly a crow in their terrace and brought it to school with the beak tied! The blind children had a chance to touch and feel the crow to know what a bird it really could be. I still remember to this day how animated my mother was telling us about this real life class story. It is in this section of the school that Kamal Hasan filmed his ‘Raja Paarvai’ and my mother did get to watch a lot of shooting then. Every evening I would wait for my mom to tell me what happened at the film set.

The blind section as well as the deaf and dumb sections of the school enrolled boys upto class 5 in those days. From middle school, only girls were allowed to continue. My mother was in charge of class 6 to 8. It meant she went with the girls upto class 8 from class 6 teaching all subjects. She remained with these girls for a 3 continuous years before returning to take on a fresh batch at standard 6 again. Each class had a maximum of 10 to 12 girls, with every girl fitted with a mike and a hearing aid. My mother spoke the sign language of the deaf and dumb to them and had yearly staff training for improving teaching methods. Because she remained with the girls for 3 years, she shared an intimate familial bond with her class girls always. For the girls, their teacher who was with them 8 to 3 for all week days became an obsession. After her they refused to learn from another teacher for next 6 months, Special kids are known for their adamancy. It took the school more than half an year to coax my mother’s girls to accept an other teacher in her place.

I cannot forget the mass in memory of my mother in their school chapel when there were over a thousand blind, deaf and dumb children crying their heart out. For the first time I cried for my mother in happiness because I saw how much she was loved by her children. Indeed the entire school had turned up for her last journey including the catholic church, filling streets. They took over her final ritual after the Hindu ceremonies and read from Bible etc. My mother was also a daughter of the church at the same time.

This brings to my memory the girl Rosy who was my mother’s pupil who finished her SSLC. She was an orphan who had lived in the hostel lifelong. School rules required that once a candidate finished school, she must not remain a single day extra in the campus. Church found a boy for Rosy to marry. Only, she needed a place to stay on for a month or more until her wedding date. My mother got Rosy home. I and my sister called her ‘Rosy akka.’ She was with us for over a month and one day her groom came to see her. He sounded pompous and my mother put him right in his place. She was assertive that Rosy was not in any way less than him. There was tension in the air. But then he finally came around. They had a happy marriage and after the wedding the couple did visit us once. What stays in my memory is how my mother was protective about Rosy like a mother hen, defending her and indignant that her girl must be thought inferior to anyone because of her handicap.

I have to mention Lakshmi Periyamma here (that is how we called mother’s colleagues. either periyamma or chithi) who also worked in my mother’s school, who had joined long after her. She lived in our street too. She was widowed immediately after her marriage and she came from an Iyer family. Only daughter to her rich parents, her father had retired from govt service drawing handsome pension by those days standards. They were comfortably off even if Lakshmi Periamma cut a sorry figure. My mother had utmost sympathy for her situation. The family lived in a far spacious house than ours. Financially they were equal or probably better off than us. Never did once this periyamma mix with the kids the way my mother did when she was around. Not a single girl came home. Nor were sweets shared with the kids. Rosy akka could have comfortably stayed with their family instead of ours. We were 6 of us sharing our house and with Rosy we became 7. What prevented Lakshmi periamma from taking Rosi to her home. Caste. I don’t have much respect for my own Mudaliar community, but I can say this one thing about my folks. So long as you don’t go after their sons and daughters they are fine. Generally a bit they are inclined towards charity. Many do put humanity first over religion. This is what I told my friend today. What prevented Lakshmi periamma from putting humanity first over religion was the shastra sampradaya. In spite of being a devout Hindu, what my mother refused to come in between her and humanity was the Dharma which she believed in and practised in real life.

Raised by this woman until my 14th year almost, how could I ever think otherwise.

The difference between Lakshmi teacher and Susheela teacher perhaps is the difference between Shankaracharya and EVR Periyar in my opinion. I don’t believe in a faith that relegates humanity to a secondary position over customs and rituals. It so happens that it is those in the service of God who seem to miss the of essence of Dharma sadly. Dharma is unfortunately in the hands of some narrow-minded sections who interpret Dharma totally wrong. மனித நேயம் இல்லாத ஆச்சாரத்தில் எனக்கு உடன்பாடும் கிடையாது மரியாதையும் கிடையாது.This strong conviction of mine will not make me any less Hindu.

Thanks a zillion my dear mom, wherever you are shining from as a bright star in this universe… It will be 39 years this July since you left me, but there is not a day I don’t think of you or weep for you. You just made your daughter cry. Why did not I hug you more when you were there, why did not I talk to you more. What a fine woman you were. Do you know mother, I don’t see many like you even 4 decades after you left. Which is why I remember you more with each passing day. You taught me empathy, you taught me compassion, you taught me that nothing is more important or sacred over humanity. From your staunch independence as a working woman from 1966 when you married, i gained my own bold and independent streak. In your absence you manifested yourself a lot in me that I am becoming more and more like you every day. Only I am living longer than you.

I remember you giving your new favourite sari to our housemaid Kanniamma a teenager who took an instant liking to it. You did not think twice before wrapping the sari around her the very next moment. You got her married with seer senathai as if she was your own daughter that when you passed away 3 months after her marriage, she and her husband gave their first born your name ‘Susheela.’ They even printed your name in their auto, Ma. I am so proud of you, even so long after you have gone…

Thank you so much for making me the way I am. Your grandson is even a step forward. You are the first person I want to embrace when it will be my time. God took you back soon because you were a Goddess too. You are my guiding spirit, guardian angel. With lots of love, your daughter. How I wish I could cook you a meal for you, get you a sari… My mother who refused to wear silk that came from killing thousands of mulberry worms, except for her wedding day and grihaprevesham…

I am a chip of that old block. Don’t expect me to be any different…

**************************

என் தாய் போகாத கோவிலா பண்ணாத பூஜையா. அவளுக்கு தெரியாத தர்மமா கர்மா வினையா.

The Sai Baba shrine in Mylapore… My mother was probably their first devotee. As a little girl she and my aunt used to go there when it was a thatched hut and had no visitor. Literally nothing. The founder sadhu would bless my mother every single day. She had become his favourite child. My grandma used to say, my mother was a very special atma with a lot of blessings. That is why she left early.

Beloved to her alma mater, that’s my school, my HM Ms. Satyabhama sent my class teacher and my sister’s, to lay wreath on my mom on behalf of my school. An honour like none received.

Someone with refined aesthetic senses, my mother sewed rarely and nurtured a beautiful terrace garden that bloomed with myriad flowers all the year around. In my parents house at a different place, my mother planted dozens of trees some of which live until today (while some were felled). Unique were the ceylon red coconut trees that she planted with her own hands. After her time, we gifted her sewing machine to a poor tailor. A voracious reader of Tamil novels, her precious and possessive collection of sepia tinted bound volumes from the torn pages of Kalki., Kumudham, Anandha vikatan were taken away by friends never to be returned. A hindi film buff, her last muse were Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan and Runa Leila of Bollywood music.

Fondly remembered by our former neighbourhood Mamis who recall my mother getting the first mixer grinder and tv in our street. Saturdays were devoted to grinding kitchen powders and chutneys for all mamis of the street.

There was not a life my mother did not touch in the short span she lived. “There will be none like Susheela’ say the Mamis, the Susheela I never got to know wholly.

Posted in Food For Soul

Silver lining in the cloud…

தங்கத்தை புடம் போட்டால் தான் தங்கம்னு ஊர்ஜிதமாய் சொல்ல முடியும். புடத்தில் இடப்படாமலே நான் தங்கம் நான் தங்கம்னா எப்படி.

There is no way you can define happiness or positivity without seeing extreme tragedy or negativity in life. Anyone who may speak otherwise is like a character in the ‘blind men and the elephant’ story we all grew up listening to. One blind man feels the ear of the elephant and says its like a fan. The one who holds its trunk says its like a snake. The third who touches the elephant’s side says its like a wall. The next one who holds the tail says it is like a rope. The final one who moves his hand over the tusk says the elephant is like a spear. This encapsulates human tendency to measure anything and everything with our own yardstick. The elephant is nothing like the blind men perceive. Happiness and positivity to some are like the blind men’s perceptions.

Perceptions as we see differ from individual to individual. Happiness and Positivity are not subjective by nature. They are more objective in the sense, you can relate to them by context. Confining them to narrow dimensions is neither right nor fair. Like how the elephant is unlike the blind men’s perceptions, happiness and positivity cannot be confined to any individual’s definition.

How can you bring happiness to a kid orphaned in present covid circumstances for instance. You can only hope for him/her to find relative happiness in future. How can you talk positivity to this godforsaken child. He/she may grow up into cautiously optimistic individual at the best.

Negativity to me is lacking love and respect, denying someone their dignity, dashing hopes, being inhospitable, insensitive, lacking empathy and compassion.

I wouldn’t want to go into this subject again. I have done it once. Enabling link here:

Someone who has seen the darkness can appreciate the light at the end of the tunnel better. Unqualified happiness is like a mirage. Unreal and shallow without a depth. Blessed are those who have not been subject to the task of whisking happiness out of vacuum by destiny.

Life experiences may mold some of us into different individuals. There is happiness in doing things by ourselves. For ourselves. For others. There is this sense of gratification in taking home the first paycheck however small it could be if it is our own sweat and blood… This is the moment we reckon our self-worthiness… Someone wanting to share their life with us for what we are – as an atma, as an entity that’s the next peak we can scale. Basking in that special gift that life bestows is unlike any other euphoria we may experience other than mothering our child There is pride in doing things on our own not taking orders from anyone. There is happiness in picking our own groceries and provisions. Cooking our own food, dusting our house with our own hands, even rinsing and pressing clothes can be self-satisfying however menial the chores could be. We are doing something productive and that is by itself a positive feeling . There is this unbeatable sense of euphoria acknowledging that we are self-made. … There is happiness in making a meaningful life, building our beautiful blissful home when the very earth under our foot has been shifting, shaking and spinning. There is this unparalleled sense of gratitude realizing that we have made it in life proving our critics wrong. And then finally comes over this sense of peace like the jewel in the crown, when we don’t have the urge to prove anything to anyone any longer. That we are complete on our own. We don’t wait for anyone’s appraisal or approval. We can live without that applause. We do not want to have that last word in everything. We let others have their small successes…

Positivity is the sheer will to squeeze a lemonade when life hands us down lemons . That is how I arrived here. The easiest way out is to quit. Nobody handed down anything to some of us in silver platter. We have had to beg, borrow, scrounge and swallow self-respect on the way. At the end of the day if we refuse to vent our frustration on third parties and put up a big smile for everyone, then that is what qualifies for true happiness and positivity.

I am therefore I am. I cannot be a hundred percent happy and perfect individual always but I strive to be happy despite what life has done to me. Embers of painful memories remain in the backburner. Not knowing the moment when they will make it to the surface, those of us who have been at the lowest ebb of our lives can never think of happiness without recalling our sadness that seasoned us. We are hopefuls despite the odds.

That rare gift of empathy in some of us is from life experiences. To me this exceptional sense of perception is the one positivity that counts. Happiness is an attitude when we wear it with pride when the scars earned shine like the striped stars…

Posted in Food For Soul

Decoding Dharma 4: – Jeev Samadhi when fully awake

Hindu by default. Vegetarian by default.

But why do I always be wanna be reborn a Hindu. This is merely my simple ingestion of the essence of Dharma. I may or may not be right. (I think I have a long long way to go through many multiple janams before hoping for an elimination from the birth cycle). Practising Hindus must be aware how we seek liberation (Mukthi) from this vicious circle of birth and death (which is the illusion or Maya) in our Prarthana before blending with the One Collective Consciousness.

Just watched a video of a Buddhist monk in Thailand attain Jeev Samadhi when fully awake. I have blogged on this earlier. This kind of taking leave is possible only for Hindu/Buddhist/Jain monks of the Dharmic nature.

Where others fail and why is Hindu Dharma scientific. Because, only we speak of a higher consciousness that we regard as the nether. If we do not evolve as humans to this state of consciousness, we may get propelled into the birth cycle again and again. We may take a thousand janams and still be not rid of the birth and rebirth cycles. For Hindus, this emancipation is entirely a mind factor. This is the ultimate state of Nirvana or Moksha whatever name you may call it by. What we see in temples is for those at the base of the pyramid who have limited thought process to imagine anything beyond. As we may reach the upper echelons of our consciousness, we may start leaving rituals entirely behind. Some of my friends do follow parallel paths in search of this elusive truth or wisdom.

(You may ask about those folds where rituals are non-existent or minimal. Absence of rituals is no guarantee to enlightenment. Contrary to the belief of many, ritual processes enable us and prepare us for the next stages of consciousness. Yoga and Meditation may be effective tools for attaining the discipline for both mind and body control. Which is why the Christian Yoga that dispenses with Om Mantra may not serve purpose. Synchronization of the body and the mind can be achieved with focus with Om chanting)

I have spoken of the ‘ant and the boot’ story pretty often. To the minute ant at the edge of the boot, the imposing man can never be comprehensible. It is beyond the tiny brain of the little ant to break out of its intelligence level to understand the looming man in his entirety. This is all Hindu Dharma is about. That overwhelming knowledge is our God-Goddess. We simpletons may relate to this supreme consciousness as Shiva or Raam or Shakthi as per our comfort level.

I am sharing links to my earlier blog posts on this fascinating subject of mine. I have always regarded myself as kind of spiritual(!) over religious!!! That inspite of me having limited spiritual knowledge. Still this is the one single realization that the Abrahamic folds completely missed out on. This may be because, Hinduism has no founder. That we are not an organized religion like others, helps. Dharma is not an ‘ism’ at all. The Sanathana Dharma is way of life that if you follow with conscience can open doors to achieve supreme levels of higher conscience when you can belong in the other world without your physical/mortal body even as an earthling. Otherwise this is possible only when we shed our physicality (on death). This is where transcendental meditation comes in. Hindus are eternal seekers. We seek, don’t pray. We seek the supreme knowledge to attain the level of higher consciousness in our own time which is possible only for Mahans like Swami Vivekanand.

I am writing this up after watching the video of a Thai Buddhist monk take leave of his physical/mortal body when fully awake. I am not the owner of the video. This is a very recent recording. Generally this kind of Jeev Samadhi is not possible to witness at all. Rarest to happen. What a highest level of super consciousness the Buddhist monk must have attained. Technology has gifted us this wonderful opportunity to understand or decode the one true path which is Dharmic (Buddhism and Jainism and even Sikkism are offshoots of Hindu Dharma).

Pranaams to the noble Atma. Blessed. What a way to take leave. In a world wracked by violence and bombs and bloodshed, what a dharmic way some live by. Om Shanthi!

(On my friends’ suggestion I am adding this on India. Bharatha is Yoga Bhoomi while the Abrahamic nations in Middle East and the West are bhogis. In short, materialistic. Our paths can only be divergent).

Posted in Food For Soul

Who will tell their stories.

The way I care for my househelp etc., makes my hubby wonder whether I was born a housemaid in my previous janam. I don’t know about that. But I merely think I can become that voice for those unheard, unseen people that’s all. And where can I share their agonies. Only here in my blog. The way they struggle for their livelihoods, their tough survival conditions and their simple way of life touches me most. The injustice of it all angers me. I honestly feel connected to lower middle class lot, I don’t know why. May be because of my mother who used to take us girls to her school until she was around. Growing up with blind and deaf-mute girls who we got to meet and play with as kids every month and during vacations, watching the girls in running and sack races, lemon and spoon etc., all that must have touched something in my heart. Many of my friends find this empathy of mine unusual. Never felt, the girls in mother’s school were different. The notion of disability never entered my mind for decades because I was used to treating the handicapped as pretty regular from early on in life. Same applied to the poor. My mother got our housemaid, a teenage girl, married a mere few months before she passed away. She footed the entire expense and treated the girl like her own daughter in our presence. No special treatment for us daughterss over our maid who mostly lived with us. We two daughters ate our food or snacks with our maid Kanniamma who was mere few years older than us. That sense of equality probably got deep-rooted in my heart.

Most of all I reckon that those who work as housemaids etc., are there only because of their birth conditions. We only have to do a quick stocktaking to realize the injustice and unfairness of it all. Is anyone from my circle/community working as housemaid? driver? plumber? grave digger? scavenger? How come I and my family have a good birth? How come we have access to finest things in life that we take for granted? How come we are privileged and we assume we are born to this. On our way to here, who did my forefathers suppress. Whose livelihoods and dignity did our ancestors tread upon. At whose expense am I here at all.

These are the exact thoughts that I harbour which makes me go soft to the poorest. Sometimes their ignorance and helplessness can make me cry. Their mere unquestioning of their state, mutely submitting to injustice can depress me.

Reservations etc., can improve lives but the stigma attached to generations of oppressed will take a millennium to clear. Not a favour, we are paying for damages.

If my words can stop even a single soul to pause and reflect, that I shall count as my greatest victory.

I write for my own feelgood factor, not to impress.

Posted in Food For Soul

Speech Is To Impress. Writing Is For Heart.

It so happens that today I received my CC certificate from TM International. Means, I am a certified Competent Communicator. (Must be the first 50+ housewife to crack it hahaha)! The problem is, I have not always seen a correlation between the levels or certifications and the degree of proficiency that has been demanded of the hierarchy as you climb up the ladder of Toastmasters. Sorry, I had to wait for this date to pour here my frank opinion on TM. I have enjoyed the journey no doubt about it, but I am kind of wary of the phoniness sometimes. For me, each and everyone of us must truly DESERVE being there, merit every single step we take forward to becoming DTM or whatever…. If I hadn’t believed so, I would have been a CC in 6 months. I took long pauses because I thought I needed to honestly grow up to the level I would move to. I felt I should truly belong there. I am a grammar police as well and I can’t stand rambling or nonsense substance sugar-coated in glamour. I believe in stuff. Worthy stuff. But I don’t deny having listened to some well crafted beautiful, moving speeches on the other hand in these last 5 years I have been into speeches. These rare ones are true life stories sans exaggerations. In any case, public speaking is not my forte, my passion is for the pen.

Not that i am a voracious reader or writer, yet writing to me is cathartic, therapeutic. That’s why I pour down my words into blog posts. Started with my Malaysian days to fill in long lonely days after leading an extremely busy (working mother) life until then. That was upto 1998.

Words give a definition to raging thoughts that swirl into phrases proper and then settle into short and long sentences and finally amass into sensible neat paragraphs. What a work of art this is. A lot of editing and re-editing follow but that’s the ecstasy, with words tangoing one over another into unorganized piles and hence the resorting and rephrasing and re-paraphrasing. The net output may be entirely estranged from what originally was the germinated idea that led to the torrential outpour of your imagination. We swerve, we reconnoiter, we evolve and then we emerge! That’s how at least my posts flipflop and make it to publishing point! May be had I honed this skill I would have ended up least as a sleazy reporter in a yellow magazine! But then I need no audience, no reviews – and had it been not for stats in the blog I wouldn’t have even bothered to check who is reading from where. Earlier I used to be wary of uninvited visitors, now I have come to accept the inevitable reality that there is no privacy online. That you are fully exposed. So even for me there needs to be a kind of restraint now, i try to not divulge too much personal details but it happens otherway around. Because, when you write from heart, you write real life stories which is not really a figment of your imagination…. I need no window dressing, I need no commissioning. It’s just plain me all the way…! So when you are that direct, what is there left to conceal….

Whatever, nowadays reading amateur authors whose simple prose is to only relate a hearty story sans frills, with no intention to impress readers with the clout of their English language proficiency, I am smothered by this feel-good factor, because I see a potential amateur secret writer-publisher in me hahaha! This is how you write from heart I suppose! Two hoots to these good samaritans! I am not for the icing in the cake always, i would better take a big chunky bite of the cake first!

Writing even if as an amateur, naturally made me wonder about delivering speech on stage, the next logical step. This is how I got into trying out my luck with speeches. My personal speech journey has not been good at all! The gratification I derive out of writing from my heart goes missing when I have to act out in front of a select set of audience. It is somehow too very cosmetic but then I didn’t want to leave it untried. The tailor-made speeches to score a point with a bunch of speakers who are on the same boat as you hardly made me feel good about myself. But what it did manage to do was bolster my self-confidence. I became much more outgoing from being a little awkward much more vocal (than already!) and more conscious of the use of conjunctions, pauses etc. I learnt the knack of continuity mostly.

The plus with a short speech is that, you can keep your audience engrossed without the risk of boring them with a long speech. Attention span is better and you are 100% received.

But then after listening to India’s political speakers who are so mic-savvy, I knew a good speaker is born, never molded or made. We are pros here in India, we have naturals who need no brushing up or memorizing. Who transcend all borders and who colour their elocution with such awesome quotes that you know you cannot afford to miss a single word when they are on the dais. These men and women set the stage on fire with their matchless oratory skills and histrionics. Inspiring speeches that shake you and leave you in a sweet mess!

I guess only democracy spawns this breed of bold courageous outgoing speakers who resonate and ring like the very thunder! Do they really script their speeches?

Descending to the lesser world of officeroom kind, speech drapes a different outfit in such organized settings. It is mild, inoffensive and peppered with civil greetings.

Speech to me still remains a sore point. We speak to impress audience and that somehow hits at the base of my need to find fulfillment in expression. When we address a crowd, we cater to their whims and fancies, we limit our natural rhythm and flow, we become unnatural. We set ourselves boundaries. We are not to touch taboo topics, we have to play upto the arena and we cannot infringe upon many a sensitive territory. I have tried to master the art of delivering a truly good speech but have failed miserably I must say. Reason is chiefly this. Animation without substance beats me. Substance without emotion trips me. Emotion that is faked again stumbles me. I am unable to walk out of this trap and hence I can hardly make a decent eloquent entertaining and more than all a CONVINCING speaker.

Allow me the vast uninterrupted online space to fill a 100 pages, I can do it no time. I can make a mincemeat of anyone and everything shedding my inhibitions, shredding their false shrouds to smithereens in no time. I am a self-certified keyboard warrior over a certified CC really.

This is my hometurf. Who is here to stop me.

Posted in Food For Soul

going vegan… from vegan silk to vegan leather…

Many of us raised vegetarian from birth still have no qualms about leather or silk in our everyday life. We try to rationalize our guilt trip justifying, our belt or purse is ethical leather. We can’t be without dairy either which is far more horrific than even leather industry or meat processing where the cattle/sheep die a single death.

Is it time to move away from our phony vegetarian values and adopt a sustainable, humanitarian lifestyle.

Try as I may, I am unable to grow out of my obsession with silk living so close to Kanjivaram (Kanchipuram) geographically. Traditionally too, ours is a silk weaving community, mostly hailing from Kanchi and Arni, although our folks have almost completely weaned themselves out of our native occupation in recent times. I do still have a few relatives left out who have installed ‘thari’ or handlooms in their ‘thazhvarams’ and ‘mithams’ (front yard, courtyard, backyard etc., in traditional tiled ‘ottu’ veedu or house typical of Tamil Nadu that are fast disappearing even from our villages – that are big and airy and impressive) and keep weaving as family: daughter-in-law to mother-in-law to son and daughter – as they did their chores like cooking, cleaning etc., side by side. One lady told me they wove this way one or two handspun Kanchi silks watching our tv soaps in the evenings as dinner was served! The men tended to the marketing/business part.

In fact, our family tree grew along this silk road to success! Arni is my father-in-law’s hometown. Even now there stands his ancestral home with 4 grand entrances in 4 streets, with a family temple close to one gate (where outsiders were not allowed up until very recently), a second one dedicated to business deeds with big enormous ‘thinnais’ that served like modern day showrooms in the bygone era…, one entrance reserved for women alone and one for servants. Erected in late 1800s, the colossal palatial edifice stands today as a testimony to the family heirloom and wealth that was spun out of Kanchi/Arni silk business by our forefathers. Silk is therefore much more than a simple attire to us. Silk meant food and livelihood for centuries.

Senguntha Mudaliars built their fortunes with silk industry which was patronized by the royals, the British and the temples all at the same time. Very conservative and pious community, they diversified soon to become successful doctors and engineers by the turn of the century. Now very few families stick to the traditional profession. Astonishingly, the business has been taken over by Naidus and Reddys of Chennai! Sengunthas started owning huge estates with money made from silk business and donated heavily to upkeep of Hindu temples around world war times. I know because my grandfather gave away dozens of houses within Chennai city limits to various temples as my family signed on the dotted line without asking a single question. My in laws families too gave up. We are blessed not to have an iota of regret for what we have given up. All the silk money is gone and with it we lost our native occupation as well to new ventures that are doing extremely well. Times change. Life changes. A 2000 year old familial knowledge and heritage and customary practice is now not in our hands.

Markandeya is believed to be the sage who gifted the art of weaving to Sengunthas as we believe, hence mostly Markandeya gotra. Pazhaiyana azhidhalum, pudhiyana pugalum. Absolutely no regrets about the modern day transformation.

My mom who taught until the last day of her life deaf and dumb middle school girls, had a severe aversion for silk. All her life, she wore silk only on 2 occasions: on her wedding day and for our house grihapravesham. A true vegetarian.

However, I have never been able to resist the temptation of silk, any silk for that matter. Give me anything be it Benaras or Tussar or Mysore or Maheshwari or Assamese or Chanderi or Patola or Bandhni or Uppada or Gadwal or Jamdani or Kota or Kashmiri … hahaha I will take it without a second thought!!! Of course, my reigning queen in Kanchi Silk !!! Not only because we have an emotional familial bond with Kanchi silk that bred my ancestors, but also because, from experience of traveling and shopping (even if not much) a little bit I can tell you, Kanchi is No.1 silk in the world that women and designers and fashionistas outside India are dying to lay their hands on! Undisputable No.1. To think that my forefathers perfected this Kanchi silk weaving art and robed the Gods and Goddesses and Kings and Queens, makes me proud kind of.

So Vegan silk always raises for me these uncomfortable questions. Profound shaivites who thronged temples, Sengunthas still wove silk out of the silkworms drowning cocoons in boiling steaming water. Every single traditional vegetarian family in south still draped this sinful silk most importantly on auspicious occasions like family weddings and pujas and other celebrations, and to temples. Why this self-contradiction.

I have heard of Ahimsa silk which I believe is only partially less evil. In regular silk, the silk worms in cocoons are boiled in a cauldron. For Ahimsa silk, the silk worm is let out and the cocoon is separated for silk yarn. Tragedy is, prematurely ejected from the cocoon, the silkworms die a torturous death after a few hours of miserable life on earth, before being brushed enmasse onto garbage. In what way is Ahimsa silk better than regular silk.

Talking to someone who shunned silks and leather entirely in last few years, I was disturbed to learn how the tearful vibes of the millions of silkworms that sacrifice their lives in most crushing cruelest manner get spun into the silk robe you drape. Same holds true for leather. Every leather accessory we may use still may moan quietly with the tragic vibes of the animal (cow or sheep or goat or buffalo) whose life was violently snuffed out by skinner-butcher. At least a fraction of such a bad vibe can get transformed into our soul and influence our own aura. This can have a lasting effect on our spirituality and even perception of things, life. There is therefore a compulsive need to grow out of silk and leather. It asks for greater mental strength to rise about these materialistic temptations, but I guess I could be ready.

Vegan silk I believe is a great alternative because it is mostly made from plant cellulose. In specific cases, microfibers may be woven into the vegan fabric/textile upon request or as situation/design demanded. For the first time ever, I am going for Vegan silk that is completely animal abuse-free. I can have a clear conscience donning the silk. I am trying to stop silk shopping completely now and switch over 100% to vegan silks. Because vegan or whatever, my fascination for silk continues! At the same time at the back of my mind I recall that this Kanchi silk is what fed my ancestors for generations and generations. I am here because of Kanchi silk to say NO to Kanchi silk! What an irony. But this is something that has to be done without sentiment or prejudice. Sooner or later….

Vegan leather too similarly is mostly made from plant cellulose that is bio-degradable. Great alternative to leather. Leather industry with its toxic chemical dyes for effluents also is a great pollutant of our rivers and other water sources. All the more a good reason to say a big NO to leather, ethical or whatever. By the way, what is ethical leather. The hides and skins used by ethical leather units reportedly are procured from meat industry through regular channels. Does that make leather ethical by any means?

I also have always owned leather purses, handbags, belts etc up until now. Somewhere we must make a beginning. Stopping forthwith, leather shopping.

What is very testy is, giving up dairy. I gave up coffee for 10 months but it was torturous. Then I decided that no Mother Goddess wanted me to give up coffee!!! So saying ‘excuse me, i am starting coffee Ma 😀 ‘ to Her one fine morning, I restarted my coffee routine! Similarly living without milk or panneer or curd or buttermilk seems next to impossible! As a vegetarian I find dairy to be my greatest comfort food! Can’t just do with Almond milk or Soya milk – which I have tried in futility in Doha.

As for eggs and meat, many are switching over to organic eggs and organic poultry as well. The poultry industry breeds caged broiler chicken that are pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones. Something our younger generation must keep away from, because this can be very damaging. And to think about what the poultry birds have to go through! Meat consumption has gone up in India only in recent years. Earlier when I was a kid, meat was a luxury reserved to very rich few. Others saw meat once or twice an year only. Biriyani is the greatest health hazard to our youngsters. Unhealthy with spicy content that can cause heartburn and bathed in oil, this foreign food needs regulation. I am that rare vegetarian who can turn out the best mutton and chicken biriyani from my kitchen (as certified by guests) without ever knowing how it tastes, but I only use organic meat. Seafood is better than river fish as river fish swallows a lot of toxins.

Size of fish in Doha and size of fish in India raise another important question. My husband favours Shankara (red snapper) fish which is of 6 inch plate size end to end by length in Middle East, caught from the Arabian Gulf seas. In India the same fish is much, much smaller in size almost only half in size, which indicates we are overfishing. Very soon our oceans could be running dry of fish. Scary.

So back to basics, finally…

I will post updates on this one, as to how well I am doing with my Vegan silk and Vegan leather. As for my existing silk and leather, I am keeping them because I have invested heavily in them over years. But no more fresh buy where it concerns silk and leather. I would like to spread the message.

Let us think of a Vegan silk India and Vegan leather India. My only request to vegan businesses is that, please don’t go easy on polyurethane or other such micro fibers in vegan leather or silk, in which case original silk and leather will look like top-of-the-line always. We are all for eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle but we will not give up silk and leather for microfibers and plastics instead. Make sure, the vegan leather and silk are one hundred percent plant based. Reforest/afforest the deforested ranges that your industry derives raw material from. This is a very important angle we have to look into.

Always after silk, cotton is my immediate next choice. Sustainable, bio-degradable and suiting Indian climatic conditions, and 100% desi, Indian cotton is one more No.1 in the world. Absolute class when it comes to the yarns and weaves we have from different states of India. In foreign residence, climate may require me to go for manmade fibres but given a choice, my vote is always for pure silk/cotton. However from now on, it will be Vegan silk and Vegan leather. Let’s see.

Posted in Food For Soul

2019 was an exceptional year for me…

2019 was unlike any other.

In this one year,

I visited 38 ancient temples in Kumbakonam-Mayavaram belt with my school friends gang after some meticulous planning. In fact for Chitra Pournami that fell on a friday in April that year, I was sitting teary eyed in front of my ishta devta Mother Lalithambika in Thirumeeyachur for over 5 hrs reciting Lalitha Sahasranama at least for 3 times and then singing in chorus many bhajans along with my friends and other devotees. The temple was very crowded. We got our Mother Her favourite silver anklets. There is no way I can put into words the range of emotions that washed over me in those 5 hours. At that moment, I was ready to take leave of everyone and everything at the lotus feet of my Mother. From Brahadeshwara temple in Tanjore to Airawateshwara in Kumbakonam and rest, we covered vast grounds in mere 5 days in very hot April starting our days by 4 am and retiring to bed by 11 pm. All of us are middle aged women – friends from school days. We all have our health woes. Then what gave us the strength and will power to go on. I wonder whether I can ever repeat this feat in future.

Before embarking on Kumbakonam Mayavaram tour, I had already paid a visit to the temples of Kanchipuram. Of course, as Kanchi is stone’s throw away it is not a surprise still periodical darshan of Kamakshi and Ekambareshwara and Varadaraja temples is like tonic to me. This was with my Zumba gang.

Earlier with my school friends I had also visited the Chengleput temples – Eri Katha Ramar temple, Bhagavathy temple at Mel Malayanoor and Selva Lalithambika temple, which is not on tourist map.

Before it was time to leave for Doha, a short stop at Madurai on way to Kodai couldn’t be missed for a million dollars. Mother Meenakshi beckoned.

Of course, not before visiting our Kula Deivam in Arni, a must for us. We don’t do anything without getting Her approval.

A friend from Hyderabad flew down to Kerala and four of us friends were scouting the Athirapalli forests going up on the mountains until Valparai where we doubled down to get back to Thrissur the day after we had a hearty darshan of none other than Shri Guruvayurappan at Guruvayur and of course the unmissable Vadakkunathan (Shiva) and Bhagawati before I exited India this time from Kochi.

Guess I flew in and out of India at least half a dozen times. There was still time to go on a short holiday to Azerbaijan with my hubby and then later on to Turkey. Both were different kind that I enjoyed maximum, unaware that Turkey could be our last vacation in a long time to come.

Before Turkey, my zumba gang booked me into Tirumala Tirupathi tour. I was still in Doha when arrangements were made. Within a couple of days on landing, it was time to leave for Balaji darshan on the last day of Purattasi. Believe me or not, it took us not more than 1.5 hours in queue for a glorious darshan of Venkateshwara, the lord of the seven hills. As I neared the sanctum, all prayers were forgotten; with eyes watering for no reason, all that my heart was filled of was Balaji. None else. You called me without my asking, why. I kept asking. Nothing else mattered. I was there.

Three awesome days at a Kotagiri tea estate cottage was simply out-of-the-world when the entire Zumba gang was there. This was back to back after Tirumala-Tirupathi.The orchestration of the entire tour was by my friends who gifted us an unforgettable fun-filled vacay with girlfriends for a lifetime. I discovered that going places with friends is on entirely a different and unimaginable plane compared to holidaying with family.

Before the end of the year, it was time for a Karnataka round trip covering the Mangalore coastal belt with my Doha wives gang. My second visit to Mookambika temple in Kollur, first to Sharadamba temple in Sringeri among others.

With Mookambika, this is my life experience. From 2001 I am doing this Kuthuvilakku Puja assuming Mother resides in jyothi swarup in the flame reciting Lalitha Sahasranama (which I am reciting since 1993). First I was using my mother’s tall brass diya Pancha muka one, now i have moved over to small and compact silver diya. I never believed I would be visiting these holy shrines at all shuttling between Qatar and India. My hubby wanted to just stay home whenever he visited. My friends and I weren’t bold enough to go on temple tours on our own. This we are doing in last 5-6 years only. But I always told Mother Goddess, even if i couldn’t visit Her, She was there in my thoughts and prayers always. Never made a conscious effort therefore for visiting Kollur but the train tickets were booked by a Doha friend of ours without even my knowledge for his wedding in Udipi. And that’s how I ended up at Mookambika unasked for.

During my first visit to Mookambika temple in 2010 i think along with my hubby, it was not very crowded. I stood with my eyes closed in front of my Mother. A priest walked to me and said, ‘hold this diya (a small size kuthuvilakku) and show the aarthi to Mother right from where you are.’ I couldn’t believe it. My hubby who stood with me understood in a moment what was happening to me, and the significance of the entire development. I lost sensation of my entire body right then and felt like floating. Felt extremely light like a feather, as the priest handed over to me a same 5 wick (pancha thiri) mini kuthuvilakku like I used in my Puja, encouraging me to do the aarthi. Mother was caressing me as I performed the aarthi in total stillness. I stood pretty close to Devi as much as it was allowed. At that moment I knew, my Mother heard me every single day, every single time. She honoured me the way unimaginable to human mind. I never once asked to visit Mookambika. She summoned me out of the blue to Her abode. I could be the smallest ant worthy of squashing, but She still got down to my level even if I could not lift myself up to Her level. I felt connected and only my husband knew and believed the same way I did. I related this to my closest friends who were stunned to hear this story.

This second time in Nov 2019, just as my foot touched on crossing over into the Mookambika temple doors in Kollur, I felt a shocking vibration course through my body. Like if you get a mild shock on touching a power point. Barely lasted for 30 seconds. I was here with my different gang of friends again. I wasn’t prepared for this welcome, but I knew at heart my Mother was waiting for my return. We had late night and morning darshans, double bonanza. Blessed to have a darshan of my Devi in Her golden chariot. Blessed to see Her in her golden lehenga. Just staying the night over very close to the temple was enough for me.

I kept asking Mother, why Ma. Kamakshi, Meenkashi, Lalithambika, Mookambika, Sharadhamba, Durga (Kateel and Patteeswaram), Abhirami, Garbarakshambika just to name a few avatars of Hers apart from Balaji darshan. Left out was Athivaradha and Arunachaleshwara temple at Thiruvannamalai (finished in fag end of 2018) and Chamundeshwari in Mysore (covered in January 2020). Why such an avalanche of blessed darshans.

So much has happened since. I flew back to India on Dec 1st, 2019. Never did I imagine that our life course was set to change forever and my return to Doha would become a big question mark. Not that I regret. I started 2020 too with a visit to my street Shiva temple for midnight zero hour darshan. Visit to Kapaleeshwara temple and Mundagakanni Amma temple very regular. Even Navashakthi Vinayaka temple in Luz. My favourite is Devastana Balaji temple run by TTD in T. Nagar.

A complete roller coaster of emotions since December end but all is well that ends well. I now understand the significance of the events of 2019. Life has since given me back to back promotions 😀

Sometimes when I pray only tears stream down my eyes. There is no way I can explain this to others. I just know that my Mother Raja Rajeshwari is hanging on to every single word of mine. All the more it is important for me now to be more responsible and cut down on the negative things. But then we are human. To err is human.

During this Navratri I only wish to record that, Mother listens to every heart. There are subtle ways She lets us know that She is listening. I got married as an orphan. Today if i am at least in this station in life, it is not without Her guidance and blessings. Before my wedding, everyday I would be before the Durga in Valleeshwara temple, Mylapore and Karpagambal in Mylapore. Mundagakanni Amma. Not to leave out our street Renuka Parameshwari. Making jaggery pongal for Mundagakanni for years, decades now. Used to make within the temple precincts but age has caught up with me now. My energy level is low so I now make it at home and take Her the offering. Also for the local Devi temples here that are Kaval deivam for this locality.

In january, I don’t know why I rushed a visit to our Kuladeivam and then to make pongal for Mundagakkanni amma and our Kaval deivams. Normally I do it in Aadi and if i am there in Thai month, if time permits I do it. Yearly once, a ritual. But this year, I finished my annual ritual well in advance in Jan. After corona, there is hardly scope for the ritual now.

She is the Mother for the motherless. Just surrender. Without questioning. More accepting Her direction in total faith. That’s what I do.

Used to attend Varahi homams once upon a time for over 2 years every Amavasya. From then on, I tell myself, ‘Vaa endru azhaithaal vaaradhiruppalo Varahi.’ I take Her everywhere with me. She is my courage. She is my strength. I pray with Her to kill my self pity even after all these years. I am on my way to become a grandma. Mother has more than compensated me over years. I acknowledge Her direct hand in my life, yet as a lowly human form, all I can think of is about myself. My world is very small. How I wish I could break this jinx and become less self centered.

Navratri to me is awakening of these powerful emotions. I have a different kind of relationship with my Mother Goddess. I have arguments, I call Her ‘vadi podi’ – I don’t know if anyone will understand this equation between us.

To my Mother I pray for the gentlest heart that can understand others and bring happiness to everyone. To recite the Lalitha Sahasranama in every birth of mine and be able to visit Thirumeeyachur and Kapali temple in Mylapore in every janam of mine. I don’t think i will break the birth cycle in another 1000 years 😀 To have the same family every birth.

I think I prayed very much for same things in my previous janam. Just an intuition. In every single Devi temple I stepped into in 2019, i managed to recite Lalitha Sahasranama. I wish I could die with Mother’s name on my lips even as I chant Her nama.

Mother exists for those who believe in Her. Sometimes all I long for is to keep my head in Her lap and go to sleep forever and never wake up, in content and peace.

Posted in Food For Soul

Count Your Blessings

It is a blessing

To love more, hate less

To be always the sunshine of someone’s life

To be the sunshine of your family and friends

Never the party pooper

Never the naysayer

Never the heart breaker

Its a blessing

To be able to laugh aloud and shrug off situations

To have a short term memory of unpleasant days

To be bestowed with the gift of the ability to erase and rewrite

To learn and unlearn smart

To be able to simply move on

To not be able to carry grudges

To not be able to carry the burden of prolonged anger and resentment

To not overtly hate

To not breed lovelessness

To not make others lives miserable

To not alienate from ties easily

To not dig for a reason to pick trouble

To not become the prime reason for frictions

To not initiate unpleasantness

To not propagate animosity, enmity

To not find a scapegoap for our misgivings

To not find excuses for lapses

To not want to spoil things

But to be the healer,

The harbinger of better times

The usherer of happy tides,

To be able to build relationships and cordiality

Not break nests, break chains,

To be able to forgive and forget

To not be vengeful and brooding…

To focus on what really matters

To restore and maintain the precious precarious balance,

To ignore and consign garbage to where it belongs…

It is a blessing

To be able to see the black as well as the white

To be able to see the grains between black and white

To be able to see the pluses as also the minuses

To weigh both the good and bad

To be able to look at our mirror image and find horror there

To have the ability to laugh at ourselves,

To spread infectious laughter,

To come to terms with reality

To live in reality

To owe only good times and happy memories to all

To never be associated with ugly arguments and spats

To be never connected to bad vibes

To not court controversies,

To not be feared,

To be approachable,

To instill confidence in others,

To ooze with spirited confidence,

To build lives,

To do something wonderful to someone that cannot be repaid in cash or kind,

To be able to trust readily

To lead with actions

To be cheerful and in charge of situations

To strive to make your world happy

To make your circle smile than fret

To be that solid pillar of strength,

To be the support system to the vulnerable and weak

To become the agony aunt with handy solutions

To be the problem solver not the mischief maker

To become the shock absorber

To not shift responsibility

To not lie

To be reliable and trustworthy

To be the giver always, not the taker

To not play the victim card at drop of hat

To be free of apathy

To not blow things out of proportions,

To minimize damages/damage control,

To save relationships,

To owe up to one’s responsibilities and slips,

To be willing to rectify, correct

To not be just politically correct, on paper,

To be imperfect,

To make mistakes

To go back and redo,

To apologize

To love more than hurt

To give more than seek

To grin and bear pain

To not transfer our pain and sufferings to others knowingly or unknowingly

To not bring down everyone with our gloom and mood swing

To have this uncanny sense of justice

To have strong intuitions,

To be impulsive,

Still to know the right from wrong,

To reason and dig for truth

To not tarnish images

To not character assassinate

To not want to punish and revenge

To not want to teach a lesson

To not seek remedy to every situation

To resist playing the moral highground

To be aware of sensitivities

To put ourselves in others’ shoes

To respect sensitivities

To respect minor dominions and opinions

To include than divide

To put forth your point without hurting a soul

To have no hidden agenda,

To have real relationships not fake

To live by principle of trust and honesty

To underplay tensions and overplay joyfulness

To infuse the world with loads of positivity

To rise over pettiness

To be broadminded and generous

To not be calculative about every penny, every action

To not prioritize our self interest

To not give in to vanity of the mind,

To resist displaying the ‘holier than thou’ attitude

To talk less, do more

To prove by actions not words,

To not seek for approval in others,

To owe up to our deeds and actions,

To owe up to failures,

To take rejections in our stride,

To accept and agree and accede,

To not slow poison relationships

To not make your environment toxic

To not plunge your world into despair

To not be the reason for anyone’s unhappiness,

To not dull the otherwise cheerful world,

To be grateful and sincere

To instill hope and cheer,

To not overthink and overplay things

To not agonize over with jealousy and envy

To not magnify petty things for fault finding

To not be accusatory

To live and let live,

To want to step back and allow others take lead

To reciprocate affection and love and respect in equal measure

To value and respect the dignity of every living soul.

It is a blessing

To stay impartial, unbiased

To keep an open mind,

To be willing to change,

To be reasonable, logical

To be compassionate, helpful

To give without anticipating anything in return

To be not in haste to jump to conclusions and harsh judgments

To factor in the odd and the negligible

To be tolerant and nourish lives

To become the haven or sanctuary for the trusted

To be warm and receptive

To hold the gift of a soft heart

To be moved easily to tears

To not self portray oneself as Mother Theresa

To harbour self-doubts

To acknowledge we are the very devil incarnations

To think the best of others and worst of ourselves

To believe that to err is human,

To reflect, self introspect,

To ask for forgivance

To repent

To feel remorseful, regretful

To feel the shame and be killed with shame

To be strong and unflinching in character

To have that strength of character

To have the virtue of noble deeds

To be bold and beautiful in heart and mind,

To wear your integrity on sleeve

Yet to be flexible and adaptable wthout a compromise of virtues

To not be weak and petty

To lack the strength to say a big ‘no’ in face

To be naive and gullible at the same time,

To have a childlike innocence

To be taken for a ride

To never take anyone for a ride

To never be the smartalec primed on one-man-up-ship

To be free of crooked thinking

Not to have a manipulative mind

To not want to win every argument

To not want to prove anything to anyone

To resist to prove and disprove

To resist to construct and deconstruct

To extricate oneself from peoples and situations

To liberate oneself from narrow constrictions

To feel the power of goodness in everything you rub

The feel the grace of everything beautiful and profound

To remain neutral and calm

To remain subjective over objective

To be empathetic over sympathetic

To be spiritual over religious….