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Karma..or fate?

My 100th post… 🙂 Did I actually spew out 99 blog posts? A milestone in my writing journey. Perhaps an appropriate time to write about something that has been in my deepest thoughts.

Karma or fate? Which do you believe shapes your life? Your actions or some unknown factor that we have labeled destiny or fate.

When most of us work so hard towards definite goals and making our lives a little better, why do only a few of us get rewarded while some keep suffering setbacks? Some seem to have Midas’s touch and some keep on trudging through the drudgery of life without going anywhere.

Do we by our own actions, decisions, thoughts, will-power shape the path we walk on or is the path pre-determined for us, making us choose the actions and make decisions that we eventually do?

I have read in some self-help books, that if we think positive, visualize positive events, we can bring it about in reality. That is the power of thought. Is meditation a means to harness this power? Like a dam built to control a wildly flowing river. Positivity definitely helps. If nothing else, it gives us some courage to take bold decisions. And they say fortune favors the brave. So for example,  if I keep visualizing a positive event, say winning a lottery, or maybe getting a job in AB Inc, will I actually make it happen? Or do I not have the discipline to garner all my thoughts together and focus on my wishes?

We may assume then people who are psychics or Mensa members, are people who have successfully harnessed their mind power? The new BBC drama “Sherlock” shows Sherlock and his equally if not more intelligent brother Mycroft, delve into their ‘mind palace’. They refer it as a filing system. Whatever you read, hear, see or learn is stored in some logical, systematic way and can be accessed whenever needed by simply digging deep inside your head. This should perhaps be called memory palace, but Sherlock is able to use his memory and knowledge stored therein, to make logical connections, read patterns and give jaw-dropping deductions.

Is this the very palace, one can also tap into to turn life around? We Indians have always believed that our minds are extremely capable and has the power to make us reach the zenith of human existence, Nirvana, by simply focusing our thoughts. So we should be able to determine our future ourselves and become the architect of our lives.

Or is it in my destiny to not win a lottery or not getting a job pre-determined before my birth? Astrology is widely believed as a science. In India and abroad, astrology is considered a precise science and involves complex calculations. The stars and the planetary positions at the time of birth determines our future. Indians also temper it with past actions and the actions of our fore-fathers. So if my great-grandfather was a good man, and I have been pretty much a good person, I should have a life of roses. Win that lottery and have that job!

Our ancestors have said that we are but puppets and God is the puppet master! In that case, all we do is just run like a train along pre-determined routes.  Are we nothing but goldfishes in God’s aquarium? He determines our happinesses, sorrows, success and failures. Then how do we know how much effort to put in our chosen path? Based on past events in our life, maybe we should just do a trend-analysis to determine which way the wind is blowing and go along with it.

It is a discussion I have often had with my mentor, guide, friend and soul mate, Samiksha Desai-Sheth. She gave me a very beautiful answer to this:

“Destiny is the broad framework within which we do our Karma!”

Interesting! Further thoughts on sleepless nights are needed on this. Meanwhile please let me know your own insights.



A dog it is!!!!!

I haven’t blogged in over a year. One year and two months to be precise! Simply ran out of interesting topics, not that the world has been without interesting events. And also got insanely busy. Social life took off like a Concorde and had to actually scale it off. I am now learning to choose my poison.

Nov 18, 2012 I had gloated in a blog how I had bull dozed all efforts by my husband to get a dog. October 18, 2013, our puppy flew all the way from Kansas straight into our hearts.

The two arguments are now a way of life for me:

  • The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
  • You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, “My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” – Dave Barry

I admit I was apprehensive of this really new and major change in my life. While my husband was getting her from the airport, I wanted to run away to avoid meeting her. However, whoever said “A man hasn’t known love if he hasn’t known the love of an animal”, was right. I fell in love. Head over heels!

After my daughter this is the second time, I have felt blessed by a miracle. This bundle of joy forces me to get out of the house and have long walks, EVERYDAY, Multiple times. She has also forced me to calm down, remain cool and be assertive in the nicest way possible. She has taken over my schedule being a puppy and an energetic one at that. And I don’t mind it one bit. She has just sooo much of love in her. Her eyes are a window to the sweetest soul in the world. How can anyone not love her? IMG_2048

So much better to spend time loving a dog than to spend time burning with skanks. So much positivity in her! Beyond the obvious physical benefits, she teaches a lesson more profound. To live and love in the present. She doesn’t remembers bad events beyond 20 seconds but remembers to take note and be cautious forever. She  has her life sorted out. To eat, play, sleep and love. And of course be naughty!

Right now, she gains immense pleasure if she can sneak out a sock from the closet and tear holes into them, or jump onto the sofa and sit regally like a queen! And its funny to see her barking at her own reflection on the glass. Small things but immensely happy things!

And for Toffee the song dedicated is – “Jaane kyu dil jaanta hai, tu hai to I’ll be alright! “

I have suggested several people who profess themselves lonely to get a dog. The smart ones do!

Pain and Prayers…

Last night I couldn’t sleep. My daughter is having problems at school. Every time she thinks she has made a friend, the friend turns around and says she doesn’t want to play with her. Recently she started playing soccer at recess with a group of her classmates and now this one girl won’t let her play, and everyone else is going along with this. So here I have a sad girl with tears brimming in her eyes, who has no clue what to do next. And I have tried giving all sorts of advice on making new friends but they seem to work for only a day or two.

We both are at our wits’ ends. But to see her yesterday, crying because noone will play with her broke my heart. I was so upset to see my little one in pain that I couldn’t sleep at all. I can do only so much for her. Outside she will have to fight her own battles. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t have friends in the neighborhood (as we are new and in an apartment rather than a house), nor any siblings. 😦

While I sat the whole night feeling miserable, anxious and hurt, sometimes blaming my misfortune over the miscarriage of my twins, I had no clue today would bring a whole new definition to the word “pain”.

With shock, and tears I read the news of the shooting in Newtown, CT. This is insane, in-human. What can drive a human being to mow down sweet young children the age of 5-10 years? What??? I wish this monster hadn’t killed himself but had been taken alive to see the damage he has inflicted upon the families and by extension to the whole country.

Nothing can justify his actions. Nothing! But more than this sick monster, our thoughts should and are turning towards the parents of the sweet children killed, and the families of the victims.

My God! How horrendous they must feel, how angry that some stroke of luck hadn’t protected their young ones and made them survive this insanity. Nothing can ever prepare a parent to lose a child.  And to a mindless, selfish, completely avoidable evil! I can’t even begin to imagine what their heart must be feeling right now. I know this will scar them forever. Time doesn’t heal wounds, it only makes them dull.

This is even more horrible because Christmas is just round the corner. I am getting goosebumps and tears simply imagining the parents looking at their kids’ Santa letters, and the cute holiday crafts they would have left their parents. Dear God, how do you justify this inanity?

Our prayers are with the familes and the kids and teachers of the school. May God give them the enormous strength they need to pull themselves together for the sake of themselves and their families. They have a long and very tough road to go. The wonderful people of Newtown will rally together and give support to the families of victims but they need our prayers for when they are alone.

Rest in peace little ones! And the teachers and staff of Sandy Elementary! May you rest in peace!

Getting there….

Still not my promised post on the road trip across Texas, this is more my journey into self-realisation and ambition. Big words but very very deep meaning.

My entire youth, I  was focussed on my self, my career. I had it all mapped out. Very clear-cut. I knew what I wanted to do with myself. Where I wanted to reach..and How I was going to get there.

I spent about a year and all of my vacations trying and crossing out various professions until I zeroed in on Human Resources. I loved meeting new people, listening to them, getting to know them better and so on.

I learnt I derive my energy from people. No matter how tired I am or how down, talking to someone, recharges me better than the Eveready battery bunny. I knew I wanted to go into HR Management, not though what was practised in India (more like exploit the working class) in the name of HRM.

When you genuinely want something, the universe has a strange way of delivering it to you. I got this sudden opening in an IT firm and so began my journey. I had mapped out the courses I wanted to do, an MBA from a good but not world-famous institute. An institute that would teach me the real tools of the profession, not just feed me with the jargons and assembly-batch me out to waiting sharks hiring companies.

I wanted to reach the peak. In my mis-guided youth, I used to think having a career and reaching the very pinnacle was what Buddha realised under the tree. 🙂

Until life hit me big-time. Or was it destiny or God or karma…No clue. It just changed my life so drastically, and with that I had to change simply to survive. I can not recognise my own self. Recently when a friend was talking about relaunching my career, gaining self-respect or dignity by chiseling my long-forgotten career, I just had to smile indulgently like a mom does to a child performing somersaults and move the topic to something more real.

Past 15 years have changed my thinking so much that I can not recognise myself. I no longer crave the pinnacle, do not even want to get into the rat-race ( I call it the hamster wheel), and treat money like a clump of dirt.

Those who are closest to me in mind know why. Others can only guess. And I am not about to break the crazy like a bat mysterious aura around me. 🙂

After spending all my 20s running behind an illusion, I suddenly found the real thing. The act of doing something for no personal gain. Except satisfaction. I have written earlier about how much the USA and some of its people have inspired me to turn outwards in my ambition rather than inwards. I have, like everything else in my life, taken up volunteering with a passion. Given my whole 100% of it. The reward has been priceless.

I get no money. Indeed I have to spend from my own pocket. But the satisfaction and the happiness is immense. And all the rewards that I always ran after, recognition, designation, achievement and all that jazz…are all falling into my lap without my even trying.

My school PTA board selected and offered me the position of Vice President – Press Release. They are also honoring me this month as the Volunteer of the Month. Honor, title, achievement. Outside the school, none of this is of any value. Indeed many Indians sneer when they realise I don’t get paid. Yet I feel blessed. Finally I have begun to think I am on the right lane.

This is so much more meaningful than anything I would have ever done in the corporate world. I am still in that world but in a way where I get to pick only the positives. No politics, no bickering, no race. Nirvana!

I am honored and humbled. And am beginning to glimpse what the Buddha might have seen with his eyes wide closed.

Disclaimer – This post is by no means looking down on all those who work hard at their careers. Indeed I would encourage everyone to be good at their job (can’t erase the Management trainging, can I?) and reap ample rewards. This is my journey, my life. To each his own!

Giving Thanks…

4 days off for Thanksgiving…Bliss. Usually it means a lot of cooking for the Americans… traveling, family, tension and the unforgettable shopping on Black Friday. For many Indians, Thanksgiving means shopping for deals and traveling to far-off places. We did the same. 654 plus miles or 1078 kms in Texas. Traveled in a triangle of Dallas, Austin and Houston. That however will be a different blog, not my current topic.

I was compelled to write how beautiful Thanksgiving has eventually turned out for me. One offers thanks to God for all the good things in one’s life. In my case, while I keep thanking the Lord ever so often for my friends and family, the real feeling was enforced thanks to my 7 year old daughter.

Back to school after the holidays, meant I was too tired to cook much and had quite a few volunteer duties. Yesterday I pulled a full day shift at school. The first 2 hours volunteering at the library. I knew I had to put in hours at the Paw Printers, our school’s voluntary branch that prints books, poems etc written by students, class or teachers. All in aid of encouraging the budding author or poetess out there.

My trouble is I can’t work on an empty stomach and so had decided to have lunch with my daughter after library and then continue at the workroom. Unfortunately I had forgotten that my daughter goes in for lunch at 11 am and I was to work at the library until 11.30 am. When I realised my mistake, had to choose between going back home to have lunch and come back again for Paw Printers or forego lunch (really not an option at all) or work till 1 pm and then call it a day.

While I was musing my un-attractive options sitting on the librarian’s chair, in walks my daughter with her teacher holding a lunch tray. Students aren’t allowed to walk out of their assigned rooms, so she convinced her teacher that her mom wanted to eat lunch but couldn’t leave the library.

Her teacher fell in with the plan and lo and behold, fish fingers, baked potatoes, cut mangoes and crazy cake stared at me in the middle of the library.

I was genuinely over-whelmed. I had not thought my daughter, all of 7 years would go out of her way to remember her hungry mom and buy lunch picking her favorite items and talk her teacher into walking down the hall way, into the library with a laden tray.

It was her gesture and kindness that just bowled me over. I knew she was kind but this was beyond expectations. Even her teacher realised how touched I was and gave her a hug, saying you made her day. (Of course, she refuses to let me forget that now!)

She insists that I do not scold or discipline her or compel her to study..basically just let her do what she wants (which means she has been snuggling up with me in my bed every night and watching 3 Idiots over you tube…grrr). 🙂

I can not give enough thanks to God for blessing me with such a sweet-heart. Yes I have a tiny family but this family is priceless. My one child is God’s greatest gift to me. Thank you Lord for blessing me with Aditi…


Its a dawg’s world…

The surest way a child can ensure that he/she gets a puppy is to ask for a little brother/sister. 🙂 My daughter has somehow learnt this from someone who needs to go into hiding. :/

My family is a small one. I do feel the need of a having a slightly larger family and did consider having siblings for my daughter. God and husband unwilling, learnt to be happy with a tiny family, making my daughter the apple of my weak eyes.

However, the new pressure is now to get a pet. It started about 5 years back when we were in India, and my daughter was just 2 plus. Lets get a puppy…pleeeeeassse…..

Luckily we stayed in an apartment and I mis-used an article which basically stated keeping a big dog in a small apartment amounts to animal cruelty. I soooo agree, and have happily given up my dream of living in my own sweet cottage.

Luckily also we moved to a different country so the argument of having to deal with broken hearts and ties, won battles.

However, we landed in Dog’s own country. The US of A. Here many dogs have better lives than most humans in India. And so started the chant we want a pet. Any pet. Our apartment managers allowed only cats. As we all know, Dogs have owners, cats have staff…Saved by the skin of my teeth.

Instead we happily got fish. Of course my husband always believes in more is more. So he got 4. Truth be told, I grew attached to them most. Talking to them, watching them spin their magic, concerned for their well-being in extreme weather. Until we moved.

Happily we managed to find a great home for our pets. My sister from across the seven seas, and her cute little boys now look after Goldie, Pepperoni, Ray and Goldilocks. 🙂

Down south, the houses are huge but the apartments are small. Although we are allowed to keep dogs at an exorbitant fee of $400, the apartment is too small to keep anything bigger than a pomeranian. So the options are all the tiny yappy ones, which I hate.

If I am asked, I like the big stately dogs, who walk around commanding respect and dignity. My favorite is the Golden Shepherd. Can do with Golden Retriever and the brown Labrador. For a dog of that size we need a house and that is still a few years away. 🙂

My main problem is I am petrified of anything that moves and can jump. (including some so-called humans). I can not bring myself to touch them, so imagine having a pesky dog! I’d try to climb the highest furniture but unfortunately  a dog can jump too. And will too, thinking its a fun game. 😦

My friends have in the past tried to make me get over my crippling fear. I have petted under safe observance. But the sensory organs go dead the moment my hand reaches out to pet. And heaven help me if the dog tries to lick me or even come close to take a sniff. I had be out of the house in a heart beat. Since I do need a roof and my family needs to feel complete, I will have to get over this fear.

Also arguments have won me over. like:

  • The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
  • You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says, “My God, you’re right! I never would’ve thought of that!” – Dave Barry

While friends say its a lot of work, its so much easier than getting pregnant. 😦 (I know I’ll be crucified by the Madre Brigade, but having only recently regained my life and watching countless friends wrung like a wet towel running behind kids, I am sold). I can also feel their unconditional love vs. the cold disdain of cats. And love dahhlings I will take. In whatever form.

What should I do? Animal shrink? Oh that had be for the animal. so just a shrink then?

Whats next?

Its been such a while since I have written anything, almost the whole of 2012 neglected.

A lot has happened through these months. I moved to a different state. Moved away from Hurricane Sandy, in the nick of time it seems. To warmer climes. Except I prefer colder weather and love snow. I will miss it this year. Was saddened by the amount of destruction Sandy brought to my beloved coastline. All those beautiful houses by the beach destroyed. Insurance barely covers the loss. In this economy, people will be hard put to get their finances straightened out. And now their dream homes have turned to rotting messes.

Personally, a lot of ups and downs. While the downs have been life-changing downs, the ups have been life-enhancing. I have suddenly found myself an alternate career in volunteering. So instead of having basically not much to do, I find myself having to organise my dates and time using ipad apps.

Oh also got myself an iPad this year and the iPhone 5 is on the way. Was torn between Samsung Galaxy SIII, Note 2 and the iPhone 5. Even though I have come to prefer the Android, chose the iPhone 5 due to some bad reviews from friends regarding battery life and size.

Perhaps, I can blame my reticence on the iPad. It’s difficult to pen long thoughts on a device which doesn’t provide save drafts option. Have lost number of articles after typing them, because the touch screen is sensitive to even a fleeting brush. Hopefully, the iPhone 5 is all that it promises.

It is almost the end of 2012, and cant wait to get rid of it. I love this time of the year. Holiday season is so cool. Something to look forward to. Time spent with family. Holidays. Traveling, Shopping and of course gifts.

What will be next?

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