A message from a father

One of the NaNoPoBlano participants Angie of The Life of An anxious Writer started writing letters to her son so he could read in future. I thought it was a wonderful idea. Recently my father too sent me a What’s app forward in which a father writes to his son. He asked me to read the message completely. I am close to my father than my mother. So often times I turn to my dad for solace. He sends me some forwards to inspire me and motivate me and get going with life. I am sharing the what’s app message here. I am not sure about the authenticity as to who wrote this. But this is what it came as.

Following is a letter to his son from a reknowned Hong Kong TV broadcaster and Child Psychologist.

The words are applicable to all of us, young or old, children or parents! This applies to daughters too. All parents can use this in their teachings to their children.

Dear Son,
I am writing this to you because of 3 reasons.

  1. Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long he lives. Some words are better said early.
  2. I am your father, and if I don’t tell you these, no one else will.
  3. What is written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of unnecessary heartaches. Remember the following as you go through life.
  1. Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I.
    To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and ALSO you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really likes you. You have to be careful, don’t hastily regard him as a real friend.
  2. No one is indispensable, nothing is in the world that you must possess.
    Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don’t want you anymore, or when you lose what/who you love the most.
  3. Life is short.
    When you waste your life today, tomorrow you would find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.
  4. Love is but a transient feeling, and this feeling would fade with time and with one’s mood. If your so called loved one leaves you, be patient, time will wash away your aches and sadness.
    Don’t over exaggerate the beauty and sweetness of love, and don’t over exaggerate the sadness of falling out of love.
  5. A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life.
    One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!
  6. I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old, neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.
  7. You honor your words, but don’t expect others to be so. You can be good to people, but don’t expect people to be good to you. If you don’t understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.
  8. I have bought lotteries for umpteen years, but I could never strike any prize. That shows if you want to be rich, you have to work hard! There is no free lunch!
  9. No matter how much time I have with you, let’s treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.

Your Dad

Parijatha

When I was thinking about a topic for today I saw my mom lace the flower to make a garland. This flower is called Parijatha in Sanskrit and Kannada, or night flowering coral jasmine in English.

When I was a kid we would visit my granny on Summer vacation. My granny’s house is located in a village near Teerthahalli and is very huge. In front of the house is a huge garden with various plants like different varieties of jasmine, hibiscus, henna plant and so on. Among them is this coral jasmine. It blooms every night and by morning all the flowers fall making a beautiful white flowery carpet on the ground.

As children we were assigned a job to collect all the flowers and bring it home. Later they would lace it using thread and needle into a beautiful garland to offer to God.

Currently in front of our house there is a coral jasmine tree. One of the daily activities of my mother is to collect them from the ground to make a small garland for her daily offerings to God.

Why I deleted my Facebook account?

Do you have Facebook account?

Me: No I don’t

Oh my God! You don’t have Facebook account!!!

Exclaimed my friend as if I am technologically backward. That’s when I went and created Facebook account which is like almost a decade ago. In the beginning Facebook was fun. I connected to many people whom I was out of touch. Friends from my primary school, high school, college etc. I was happy to get in touch with them again. Some had grown unrecognizable. I wondered how much they had changed in these years!!

Slowly Facebook sent a prompt for some game. I just played one or two games of Bejeweled. Everyday I played a little bit. I had just moved to America quitting my job, so had ample time. To kill time I played. This became a habit and then very soon I was addicted. I would sit and play for hours together. It totally wasted my time. I could have done so many fruitful things but there I was playing incessantly. I would even forget to have breakfast or take bath!!

Slowly I realized that some people just live on FB. Whether they sit, stand, laugh, fart they post on FB. I didn’t deserve to know all those information. Since checking FB everyday became addictive, whether I want or not I had to digest those unwanted posts by friends.

Then there were some friends who would ‘Like’ everybody else’s post except mine. Those who were once upon a time very close to me!!! It was my initial days on FB and I was slightly obsessed with how many Likes I would get. This would upset me. Needlessly I would worry on silly things!! I would spend hours together thinking why they didn’t ‘Like’ my post!!

Every morning I woke up, the first thing I would do even before coffee was to check FB on phone. Some posts would upset me. It is a breeding ground for political discussion. Certain news feed would spoil my day even before it started.

It is also an open platform for bullying. A group of people can discuss together and can target one person and post offensive pictures and posts or can have a sarcastic long discussions which is very unhealthy.

Then I started looking for job and I realized instead of preparing for interviews I was studying FB. That’s when for the first time I deactivated FB. No, I didn’t delete because I was addicted to it so much.

Then slowly life happened and depression sucked me in. When all is well in life, to have FB is not so bad, it’s a nice platform to get connected with friends and stay in touch. But when my life was fucked up, Facebook became intolerable. Everyday people would share their photos of their happiest times, of their recent vacation to dream country like Switzerland, some people would celebrate their birthday and other life events. Frankly speaking this bothered me. I felt like among my friends group I am the only one suffering, that I am the only one whose life got fucked up. They say you should not compare life with others – easier said than done.

Life went on. I couldn’t have a baby. I yearned for one. And everyday some or the other posts like – blessed with a baby girl, bundle of joy arrived, celebrating son’s first birthday, my daughter spoke her first words, my son pooped….. kind of posts bothered me. I became all the more depressed.

I thought I have had it. I clicked delete button. Now, I am not on any social media. This blog is the only space I have on internet. I hope I don’t have to delete this someday because I have deleted my other blogs before.

Star Gazing

Yesterday one of my walking friends was very excited over spotting Jupiter and Saturn in the sky. She had installed Sky Map app on her new phone and oriented to the Jupiter and was excited saying that this is some rare phenomena and occurs next only after 60 years. We saw Saturn Jupiter and Mars in night sky and satisfied that we saw, we returned home.

Growing up I loved to become an astronomer. The desire was further fueled by our neighbor Nagaraj uncle. He is no more today. He too was passionate about astronomy. He would help me detect many celestial object. He would wake up early like around 3 am and would sit in the terrace just to watch Leonid meteor shower.

Uncle subscribed to a magazine called Science Reporter. In that magazine there used to be a sky map or sky chart for the month. He would refer to that and regularly observed the sky.

Even I started to borrow Science Reporter and every weekend my hobby was to go to the terrace with a torch. I would align the sky chart with North South East West direction and try to spot the constellations, planets and other celestial objects.

It was a weird hobby for a teenager. Growing up I had no interest in girly stuff like nail polish, make up, buying sandals, dressing up myself etc. Since I was not so good looking in my teenage days, I hardly tried to look good. My interests were different. When I spotted a constellation I would excitedly share with my friends who showed no interest what-so-ever.

Star Gazing became my favorite hobby. I pursued until my college days, after which it gradually faded.

Somanathapura temple

I want to take a break from words today. Hence today’s post is all about pictures. These pictures are of Chennakeshava temple at Somanathapura we visited sometime in 2016. I had read about stone sculptures in Somanathapura temple but had never witnessed. I was mesmerized by the sculptures and appreciated our ancestors for their skill and brilliance. The carvings are so intricate, I wonder if anybody could do it today!! In those days without any technology I wonder how could they do such beautiful carvings!!! They basically depict our Hindu Gods and mythological stories from epics Ramayana , Mahabharatha and Bhagavata Purana.

Here are some photos we took.

Lord Vishnu

Lord Lakshmi Narasimha

Lord Krishna stealing butter

Picture Courtesy – myself and my husband

What do you want to become when you grow up?

When growing up I faced this common question from everybody – “What do you want to become when you grow up?”

I didn’t have a faintest idea about my future or about what it is to be a doctor, a lawyer, a fashion designer, a teacher etc..

I remember one dream – to open a bakery. I had that wish because I desired for bakery products when I was small. My parents who were very economical would buy me stuff like once in a blue moon. So it was my desire to open a bakery so I would get access to unlimited items.

But later on as I grew up I wished to become an astronaut. But I didn’t know what to study to become one. When I shared this with my friends they would tease me saying I don’t have the courage to sit in a roller coaster ride then how can I desire to be an astronaut. Fair enough!!

I asked this question to my husband after our marriage. His desire was to become a librarian. He is fond of books and reads a lot. He said that a librarian has access to wide range of books and can sit leisurely in a silent area reading as well performing the job.

Even till recently I had the desire to open a cafe. A cozy place where people come and relax like a Starbucks cafe, reading books or working, sipping coffee with a light music in the background.

But reality is always different. I ended up being an engineer. Did you guys have any such crazy dream while growing up?

Allergy

Yesterday the whole day I was down with allergic cold. I kept sneezing and sneezing. It happens to me once in a fortnight. Growing up I was allergic to pretty much everything. I couldn’t use some kinds of bathing soaps since I was sensitive to the strong scent of the soap. I could also not bear the smell of strong incense sticks which in my house they lighted after pooja. Also the seasoning while cooking. Typical South Indian seasoning is – heat 2-3 table spoon of oil and add a spoonful of mustard, when it splutters add a little chana dal and urad dal, then add cut green chilies. I could not tolerate the smell. The seasoning generates a strong aroma which tingles the nose and I start sneezing.

It’s not limited to soaps, incense sticks and seasoning but when somebody is dusting or sweeping it starts. When I open an old book in a shelf and start reading – I can’t take the dusty smell.

Whenever I visit my aunt she takes extra precaution and cleans her house thoroughly to make sure there’s no dust. She even takes a stool (not the medical stool) and cleans up the fan so when the fan is switched on I don’t sneeze. In spite of all her precaution, when I stayed at her place over night, she gave me a blanket which was new and unused. In the night I started sneezing because of the naphthalene balls smell. (In India we use naphthalene balls to keep away from cock roaches)

Once I start sneezing I use up to 5-6 handkerchiefs. Sometimes the Bangalore weather also plays part in my allergy. When it’s very chill, cloudy and about to rain my nose starts leaking. I continuously sneeze – back to back – non stop. I feel so much irritation in my nose that I feel like cutting it and throwing it away. May be this is the reason I have a long nose, since childhood I kept blowing it and dragging longer and longer – so my nose grew longer!!!!

But once I went to USA it completely vanished. The air is so pure there. Not even a single day I fell ill due to allergy. Even during the pollen season I was fine.

I thought my immunity has improved. But ever since I returned to my home town it’s back again. The day I get allergy my eyes starts watering and gets itchy, and my nose starts leaking profusely. I don’t feel like doing any work. I take 2-3 allergic tablets. Yesterday was one of those days.

It’s not just me, allergy runs in my family. My granny has and my cousins have. The other day I was mentioning this to my walking mates and several of them raised their hand saying even they are blessed with it!! It’s got something to do with Bangalore’s air.

I tried homeopathy medicines too but it didn’t work out, so I am back to English medicines.

When I get eye brows done in the parlor when they pluck my hair using thread, I sneeze. Throughout the threading I hold my nose tight with a hand kerchief and sneeze. So I hardly get eye brows for that reason.

I wish I could find a permanent solution for my allergy.

Carnatic Fusion

They say music heals mental wounds, that it’s very good for depression. Yesterday I felt like listening to ‘Rangapura Vihara’ by Ranjani Gayatri – one of my favorite singers. The song/kriti used to be my favorite. Earlier whenever I used to feel low I would practice music or listen to classical music for hours together.

Unfortunately over the last one year it has become a torture for me. I have written about it already in this blog. Yesterday when I started listening, my train of thoughts started from – Oh this sounds so beautiful – I used to practice this kriti so much – My teacher (in USA) always appreciated me for remembering the sangatis (variations) – We had sung this in Sunnyvale temple – How much had we practiced together for that performance – my husband loved this – Oh how I miss him – Why is fate playing this game with me – Why did my life get so complicated – when did I lose control on my life – why did that one accident happen – and then before I even realize in a couple of minutes my eyes were filled with tears!!

This is what is happening with me when I try to listen to any music. The only music I am listening to are peppy and rock music from Hindi movie songs which boosts my mood.

I had a bunch of some favorite English songs like:

Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies
Dead or Alive – You spin me around
Kansas – Dust In the Wind
Toto – Africa
Sade – Smooth Operator
Laura Branigan – Self Control
Pat Benatar – Love is A Battlefield
Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give you up
Tears for fears – Everybody wants to rule the world
America – A horse with no name
Bryan Ferry – Don’t Stop the dance
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing

I would listen to the above songs and would sit in the dining room next to the window overlooking the road and sketch for hours together. I loved that activity. I can’t even listen to the above songs for it reminds me of old things and I become emotional and it drives me low.

Yesterday after ‘Rangapura vihara’ I listened to
IndianRaga (https://www.youtube.com/user/indianragaproject) song ‘Samaja vara gamana’. It is a fusion of Carnatic classical and Western music. This song has Mahesh Raghavan (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv4sD5M4GkeuNY6HRlDxhGQ). I loved listening to Mahesh Raghavan with his iPad (Geoshred).

Some musicians like my teacher are purists. They cannot tolerate fusion or remixes on Classical piece. They would even condemn people who would listen to Carnatic Fusion. I who grew up listening to BoneyM, ABBA, klaus wunderlich and other western artists, secretly loved Fusion which means I am not a purist. Whether classical or western if the music is good – I love it. However I never admitted my love for Fusion to anybody especially to people like my music teacher and other purists.

I loved listening to this piece after a long time. It is in Raga – Hindola, one of my favorite raagas. If you have time listen to this Fusion and explore more of Indian Raga and Mahesh Raghavan – whose link I have provided above – for some treat for ears!

Go back and change a thing

If you could go back in your life and fix or change one thing what would it be?

I would probably go back to the day of my CET counselling and utter a different college name. I wish I joined a different engineering college so I wouldn’t have met some of the wrong people in my life.

I selected the college since it was close to my house and my dad bought me a two wheeler to commute. I was hell bent on taking Electronics and Communication as my subject of study. Today when I look back I had many top colleges which offered Computer Science. I would have taken it.

I was a top student in class but my engineering entrance test ranking went slightly higher than I expected. I went into depression for nearly an year. I would have gone back and sought a therapist. Instead I kept the sorrow to myself. Back then I hadn’t even heard what depression is!! I wish somebody educated us about depression in school.

If I get a chance to go back and change I would really choose a different college.

Deep Deepolge

Today is third and last day of Deepawali. My phone is filled with all kinds of festive greetings. My parents also have been sending and receiving greetings. Yesterday they received one forward on what’s app which made them very happy. That is this audio clipping:

It seems when they were growing up in my native village Deepawali celebration used to be very different and filled with lot of traditions. They would tie cloth to the end of a long wooden staff, dip it in oil and light fire. Then they would go about shouting ‘Deep Deepolge’ to the temple.

This audio clipping elaborately describes the way they celebrated. I don’t know if this tradition still followed in rural areas, but thought of sharing our old-forgotten traditions on Deepawali.