Feb 12, 2014

Love found

You see the concept of love was vague those days. Love in my simple mind then was all receiving. What would I get when I found love, was what I cared for.

First I would find love. Sure. Then would follow a huge teddy bear. An enormous card with the biggest paper heart. Dozens and dozens of red roses. Loads and loads of love letters.

Lots and lots of tears. Why? Because I would be dying and he would be crying. I would survive. Later he would be dying and I would be crying. He would survive. (see what effect some movies can have on us?) We would then live happily ever after.

Of course, with more teddy bears, roses and tons of other tokens of love to follow...

Sure found love at last! Then happened life! Child rearing, career building, house keeping and up keeping rolled in one after another and all over again! Love as I had imagined was nowhere to be found.

Teddy bears did come - when I had least expected them, when the children were born. They sat squarely in the middle of the living room for a while, later moved to the bed room, then to the kids rooms, but now lie forever forgotten in some closet corner.

Roses too arrived, but it took many years and some tears. When they came spontaneously though didn't know what to do with them. Just plop them in a vase and go about the days business. No time to ponder over, freeze them or preserve them. At least click a picture? Okay, click! Now move on! After a week or so toss them out and continue to move on... It fails to spark new excitement, you see. It mocks the shed tears and makes the younger me look silly for wanting them in the first place.

Loads and loads of love letters - now that is one thing that did happen and continues to happen (though in miniature post-it notes form), but with a twist - they are mostly from me!

About dying though we had discussed it once; when we were contemplating a Will. I offered my side of the family would care for the children if something ever happened to the both of us. He countered his side of the family would indeed. At that point we decided, we would both live - no matter what! So we live. we love. happily till now. hopefully for years to come.

The concept of love is somewhat clearer these days. Love in my simple mind now is not at all about what I receive; but what I give. Respect, love, forgiveness, a good meal, an encouragement, a good night's kiss, less nagging, more appreciation - simple things of course; but this is it! This is love! All giving! generous. selfless. expecting nothing in return. never. ever.

Love has been found. Not as imagined, better!

I am sure yours too. So why not, happy Valentines Day! Isn't it for everyday?!

Feb 1, 2014

Lost in the Woods

Just got back from the woods at Walden Pond where Thoreau spent nearly two years experimenting life at it's simplest form, in solitude, mostly at leisure, seasonal gardening, some reading and a lot of writing.

The year was 1845. Thoreau sets off to clear some woods around Walden pond, the land that belonged to his mentor Emerson, with a borrowed axe. After a few weeks of cutting and hewing and toiling alone he has made his house in the woods, built by his own hands just like the birds do. On July 4th, the Independence day, he moves into his new boarding, with his nearest neighbor a mile away.

This house at once invites you in. The simple living, the minimal furniture, the songs of birds, the frogs at the pond, his bean field, some reading material, visiting travelers, left behind notes, passing trains, walks to the village, concerned few, suspicious others, keep it lively.

Of all the people he mentions about there are two I wish I had met. They have such a resemblance to people I have met in my own childhood around Karinkal Grandma's neighborhood.

Here's to introduce them to you, in Thoreau's own words:
An elderly dame, too, dwells in my neighborhood, invisible to most persons, in whose odorous herb garden I love to stroll sometimes, gathering simples and listening to her fables; for she has a genius of unequal fertility, and her memory runs back further than mythology, and she can tell me the origin of every fable, and on what fact every one is founded, for the incidents occurred when she was young. A ruddy and lusty old dame, who delights in all weathers and seasons, and is likely to outlive all her children yet...
...To him Homer was a great writer, though what his writing was about he did not know. A more simple and natural man it would be hard to find. Vice and disease, which cast such somber moral hue over the world, seemed to have hardly any existence for him. He was about twenty eight years old, and had left Canada and his father's house a dozen years before to work in the States, and earn money to buy a farm with at last, perhaps in his native country.

He was a skillful chopper, and indulged in some flourishes and ornaments in his art. He cut his trees level and close to the ground, that the sprouts which came up afterward might be more vigorous and a sled might slide over the stumps; and instead of leaving a whole tree to support his corded wood, he would pare it away to a slender stake or splinter which you could break off with your hand at last.

He interested me because he was so quiet and solitary and so happy withal; a well of good humor and contentment which overflowed at his eyes. His mirth was without alloy.

I heard that a distinguished wise man and reformer asked him if he did not want the world to be changed; but he answered with a chuckle of surprise in his Canadian accent, not knowing that the question had ever been entertained before, "No, I like it well enough".

It would have suggested many things to a philosopher to have dealings with him. To a stranger he appeared to know nothing of things in general; yet I sometimes saw in him a man whom I had not seen before, and I did not know whether he was as wise as Shakespeare or as simply ignorant as a child, whether to suspect him of a fine poetic consciousness or of stupidity. A townsman told me that when he met him sauntering through the village in his small close-fitting cap, and whistling to himself, he reminded him of a prince in disguise.
I am sure now you are lost too, in Thoreau's Life in the Woods. It is a great place to be after all, for few minutes at a time, if not for the whole two years as tried by him. The best place to start I believe is right in our backyards.

Enjoy then! Have loads of fun! When you see the dame or the man though, please send in for me; I would love to greet.

Dec 12, 2013

Angel in the house

I wish I could take full responsibility for the negligence of this blogspace; but in reality I would blame it all on the Angel in the House.

Because it was the Angel in the House that stood between my pen and paper, rather the keyboard and my blog, slicing and dicing every single thought that came to my mind,  to the point it made no sense to share what was left over.

She appeared too suddenly, lurking in the corners and pouncing upon the thoughts even before they made it to print. Occasionally when they made it to the print, she would say I talk too much, sound childish, and am seeking attention, whereas only the opposite was true. I was talking less, growing up and reaching out.

"You don't really want to share that, do you?" she would ask; and quickly decide for herself I didn't want to. She would say things like, "that is silly", "this is boastful", "save it" or "no one wants to hear it".

She wouldn't take any protests. She talked a lot, listened less, and never sympathized. She didn't care for my cry stories she would say. She said ladies ought to behave certain way and she was teaching me that.

I had managed to write a nice letter once from an airplane during my business travel. Another I wrote from a train. She didn't want to hear any of it.

"Why do you want to tell them that?", she demanded. "Well, why not?", I countered. She didn't like that, not one bit. She simply scratched it off, tore it to pieces, hit delete and shut down.

She hardly smiles. Pretends to be all grown up; but I am sure she can't be a day older than me.

It is hard. I must say very hard; life under her powerful wings. 

I try to break free but to no avail.

Even this is an attempt to resurface from these depths. Can someone hear me? Please help me out!

Now, before she stalks me again, let me click publish!

Note: Virginia Wolf, however, had killed her Angel in the House. Her Professional Women is one of my favorite essays. Here's a link if you are interested. Please read if you can spare a few minutes...

Nov 1, 2013

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea talks about how Greg Mortenson, an American nurse, a former mountaineer, ended up building dozens of schools across rural Pakistan. It sure motivates one to do something.

Greg wrote 580 letters to famous people. One responded. That single response met all his needs for his very first school! $12,500 in the year 1993.

Few years ago I had envisioned tailoring schools and medical clinics in rural Tamil Nadu.

Kudankulam - Mom's native place, could definitely use a tailoring institute. Always there is a demand for tailors in India. Girls could be self employed with tailoring skills. Or may be even we could employ them to work on orders from local market.

Manjuvilai - Israel's native has no medical clinic. A baby had died in the recent years on the way to a doctor's office about an hour and a half away. This can't be. We must intervene. Can't we do something? Build a shed? Talk to friends who are doctors? Make them visit couple of hours a week? Can't we employ a doctor?

Tirunelveli Government Hospital is such a pity sight with metal beds, rusted equipment, dirty floors, cobwebbed ceiling. Can't we gather hands and paint the walls? Clean the halls? Something? Anything? To make it better?

I had reached out to most my friends. They rejected my plea. "Why bother? Take care of your kids. Indian Government has enough money. Let them do it", they said.

I felt so inadequate and helpless having found no one to share my vision. I began to doubt my intent. What was I after? Was I seeking my own fame? What really did I expect in return?

When the urge got stronger, I decided to do a simple test. I would reach out to a handpicked list of friends and family. If my initial need for ten sewing machines were met, I would be assured of my vision. If not, I would let it pass.

I sent out emails and waited. Weeks went by. No response. Neither good nor bad. It was like no one received my letter. Absolute silence. I was torn. I decided I had no true friends after all. If I did, wouldn't they have written back one way or another? Even if they didn't help couldn't they wish me luck?

On the verge of giving up, I received a single response to my hundreds of emails. 

A friend donated funds for all 10 new sewing machines! My call was confirmed. After all, it was not my own fame I was seeking. What a relief!

My sister came forward and offered for us to use our Grandma's house which she had inherited. Two family members also donated their used sewing machines. Surely I was at the height of joy.

My cousin did all the ground works. He renewed the house, repainted the walls, covered the well, made the announcements, hired the staff. With that we have started on our new adventure, in my Grandma's house in Kudankulam, in Grandma's name.

Sathiapoo Ammal Tailoring Institute opened on my birthday in August and that was the best gift ever in all my life. Because this time we were giving back!

Heart of hearts I do believe this is only the beginning...

Sep 19, 2013

You know what I would do?

You know what I would do?
I would first post the blog post I had written a week ago
Then what I would do...

I would start from the upstairs
My closet
Separate the clothes - clean vs dirty
Wash the dirty ones
Fold the clean ones
Put them away

Then what I would do..
I would quickly clean the master bath
Then Israel's closet
That would be a breeze

Then I would move on to the children's rooms
I would first make their beds with clean sets of sheets
I might even rearrange the furniture a bit
To give the rooms a fresh new look
They would love that, won't they?

I would quickly check their closets
Making sure things are in place
I would gather all the dirty clothes
Hiding under the bed, behind the doors, atop the beds
Wash them all
Fold them all
Put them away

Then I would quickly clean their bathroom
Empty the dust bins

Then what I would do...

I would come downstairs
Starting with the windows
Draw the curtains; all the way
Raise the windows
So fresh air and bright sun can come in

Remove the dead leaves from the plants
Water the plants
Tidy up the front rooms
Quickly wiping down the powder room

I would then take out the fish to thaw
Putting the lentils in the pressure cooker
Setting the rice cooker to delay cook in few hours
I would then empty the dish washer
And also reload the dish washer

Clear the counter tops
Of books, pencils, crumbs, comb, Bible,
What not?

Then what I would do?
I would make myself a nice cup of coffee
Sit back and relax
In my sparlkly clean home...

This is what I would do
If I had some time...

For now what I would do
I would sigh
Post this on the blog and
Just move on with this flow called life

What else could I do?

Jul 19, 2013

Ship Ahoy!

I have been sailing lately, hence my absence from the blog world.

Ever since I'd reluctantly picked up Richard Woodman's Wager - a tale of two racing ships, from China all the way to London carrying a cargo of tea in the mid 1800's, I haven't been able to get off the ocean. Like a current it pulls me in, making a "sailor" out of me.

I have gone ahead and purchased the complete maritime collection by Richard Woodman; thanks to ebay I got it for a fraction of it's original price. I highly recommend these books to anyone who is "land sick" and could use some ocean breeze.

Switching gears I had read Little Bee an escapade of an African refugee in England, Gifted Hands - an autobiography of Dr. Ben Carson, Pseudonymbous Bosh's The Name of this Book is a Secret, and lately To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee. Catcher in the Rye is lining up next.

These came at a time when I had feared I had lost interest in printed material altogether. I am so glad I have not. It is like opening the flood waters, my reading adventure, have been lost in their worlds completely. There are worlds to visit, oceans to sail, races to win, secrets to keep, growing up to do, among books.

I am sorry I have missed your posts. Tons to catch up I am sure and promise to visit you all soon. However, if the wind is right I might just start sailing again... You take care; I will be back!

Until next time,

~ NRIGirl

Jun 1, 2013

Hi there!

"I am no one famous. Know no one close. But I love my life. I guess that's enough reason to write my memoir..." I had just finished writing these lines when the bell rang. It took a minute or two to register it was the alarm that just went off. It was 5:38 AM.

"Either set it to 5:30 or 5:40, what is this at 5:38? I only like waking up to a round number..."; I had suggested rather annoyingly to Israel many times. He hadn't felt any rush to change it.

May be it wasn't a good enough reason to demand I only liked waking up to a round number. Or may be, just may be, he didn't like the tone of my voice. Or could be that he meant to say,
"... then you change it yourself".

So it was, 5:38 AM.

When I realized I was only writing in my dream, I quickly made a mental note to start my memoir with these exact lines - if ever I write one, and went about the day's business.

For the rest of the morning and well into early afternoon my mind had lingered on only one thing, "What would I name my memoir?" Finally settled for, "The Me I see" Author: NRIGirl. Perfect!

It was everywhere. The News channels were talking about it. Amazon had rated it in their Monthly Top Picks. Oprah's network was calling for a possible interview. My blog was exploding with traffic that Blogger couldn't handle it; they had to temporarily shut down the site...

The business I was trying out, suddenly picked up. It became a huge success with people calling for franchise offer from everywhere. It was a difficult decision - to franchise or not? Settled for, 'NOT'.

The mission outreach was tremendous too, with donations pouring in from all over, needs met all around the world...

I figured it was all a continuation of the dream, the dream that had woken me up this morning, but only that it is called daydreaming now, or even wishful thinking.

But then why does it seem so real - at an arm's length?

All I had to do was just reach, and it would be there.

Just wake up, and it would be mine.

I wonder if it is okay to dream at this hour?

At the dawn?

At the cusp of one's forties?

At 5:38 AM?

During the day?


Apr 12, 2013

A toast to Benin & Prayline

Dear friends, family members, guests, and the most revered members of the clergy, I greet you all in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! All glory and honour be to God, our Father. It is my pleasant privilege to introduce to you the two families of the bridal couple.

The bridegroom’s parents are my friends and the bride’s parents are my family members. Both the families are very dear and near to me. It is written in the Holy Bible that a friend who lives nearby is better than a brother who lives far away. Also it is written that a brother is born to help us in our day of trouble. Thus both the families are equally important to me and I stand here belonging to both the bridal families.

The bride, Prayline, is the only child to her parents. Her father Mr. Mohandhas is retired defense personnel and now he is working as Assistant Manager in Tamil Nadu Ex Servicemen Corporation at Chennai. Her mother Mrs.Hepsiba Berla Rani is a retired teacher. They live in Ambathoor, Chennai. Prayline has completed her Bachelors in Dentistry, BDS, and has worked as a dental surgeon in a private clinic at Chennai. The parents have brought up their only child in Christian faith with strict discipline inculcating in her good moral and ethical principles.

The bridegroom Benin Azariah’s father Dr. Stephen Azariah is a PhD degree holder and he is working as a senior PG assistant in St. John’s Hr. secondary School, Palayamkottai. Benin’s mother Mrs. Hana Stphen is working as a professor and head of the department of Mathematics in Sarah Tucker College, Palayamkottai. She has almost completed her doctoral thesis in Mathematics and shall obtain her doctorate degree in the near future.

Benin has a younger brother Benon Azariah, who is completing his graduate studies in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from PSG college of Engineering, Coimbatore and is already having a job at hand through campus interview. He is very much interested in studies and he would rather go for higher studies than accepting a job. The parents have brought up their two sons with a strong faith in God.

They both are musically talented and they play keyboard and violin. They both are in the Church choir along with their father. They were made to memorize and recite the golden verses every Sunday even from their early childhood up to the time they left for their higher studies. Their mother is an ardent lover of the Bible and she lives by the Word of God.

Benin Azariah did his graduate studies in Information Technology at Panimalar college of Engineering, Chennai and has completed his post graduate studies in Australia where he wishes to continue his career as an engineer. His wife Prayline accompanies him to Australia and there she will continue her career as a dental surgeon.

Though I am very close to both the families, this marriage proposal did not come through me. I am very sure that God Himself has united Benin and Prayline and their two families. What God has united, He is sure to bless. I wish the new couple all the best in life.

Dear Benin and Prayline, as you enter into your wedded life, here is a word of advice from me. There is a verse from the Bible which goes like; much is expected from him to whom much is given. Both of you are given much love, much affection by your parents and a few other people in your family.

Much sacrifices are made, much money is being spent by each of your parents. Much of their time and energy and strength have been spent on their knees for your sake. Much of their tears were poured out in God’s feet beseeching Him to bless you and your family life. You have received much from them.

Also you have received much from your God. Your loving parents, your relatives, your well wishers, your friends, your health , wealth and happiness, your joy of salvation, your faith, your peace that passes all understanding, and all other good things you have are gifts from God. There are many more blessings you are going to receive from Him.

You have received much and so in return much is expected of you. It is not that they did all these things expecting something from you. But it is a rule set by God. When you have received much, you are expected to pay back much. It is not only paying back to them from whom you have received, it is passing on what you have received for the benefit of others who need them. Always remember this.

May God bless you much.

Thank you all, have a good time!

P.S: My Mom Mrs. Yohapushpam Livingston's toast in Benin & Prayline's wedding today. Posted mainly for friends and family who are far away from related celebrations.

Mar 27, 2013

I am sorry

Waiting for my evening bus at Port Authority a couple of days ago, a lady walked up to me and asked if I could spare her a dollar; she was hungry. I instantly said, "I am sorry".

My reasoning was that I didn't have a $1 bill; but only a few $20's. I did not feel like extending a crisp $20 as I have done several times in the past out of a sudden emotion I had felt for the "needy", only to be fooled days later encountering the same few with different "needs".

I was being smart this time. They can't fool me again!

The lady moved on to the next person in the line, then to the next and so on. No body extended their hands. When she was at about the 5th person from me suddenly I began to panic.

What if she was really hungry? What if no one gave? So what if she might be a cheat. She looked hungry. The more I thought of her the more restless I felt.

I recalled all those coins I might be able to find in my bag - if I cared to look. Dropping my other belongings on the floor I frantically began to search. In a moment I had found a handful and was glad to spot a few quarters in it too.

I wasn't going to count, I would hand it all to her, I told my self.

When I looked up, she was gone!

I looked as far and wide as possible but she was nowhere to be seen.


I am sorry.

I truly am. :(

Mar 2, 2013

And the Liebster Award goes to...

Here's the deal.

To accept the Liebster Award Anil of Musings had passed on to me, I had to first answer his list of questions; then pick the bloggers to pass on the award to and also post 11 questions for them to answer.  (By the way, Liebster means dearest in German.)

So here we go...

Anil had asked...:

Q Are you proud of your country, if so why and if not why?
A I have a strong affinity; but proud, I am not too sure.

Q What have you given back to the world you live and or what do you intend to give in your life time?
A Grow some trees.

Q Are you afraid of death?
A Not mine; but others yes.

Q If you were to meet God in real life what would you do?
A Hug Him tight and kiss Him on the cheeks.

Q Would you want to make the future not mysterious?
A No.

Q Will you stand up for banning capital punishment, if not why?
A Yes.

Q What would you like to be if given a choice- King, an elected ruler or a fascist?
A Queen :)

Q Would you like to be like somebody? If so why and if not why?
A Not really. I perfectly like being me.

Q Do you think emotions are for weaklings? If not why?
A No. It takes courage to make known the real you.

Q What is in your opinion the reason for the misery in the world?
A Lack of love.

Q If there is another life what would you want to be a, Male or a Female?
A Dog; gender no bar.

And the award goes to...:

Take it away by answering the following questions:

Q How have you been?
Q What is one word that best describes you?
Q Are you in love with life?
Q What is your favorite color?
Q Are you famous?
Q Do you dream?
Q Tell me a joke?
Q What are you upto these days?
Q What is one book you would suggest I read?
Q If we were to run into each other would you smile and wave?
Q Any questions for me?

With that Anil I gladly accept my award! Thank you!

Feb 15, 2013

Ameen's Jordan

Ameen is from Jordan. He drives taxi in Boston. I had hired his cab to pick me up from South Station to my hotel enroute Costco in Everett as I needed some basic stuff I forgot to pack. The bridge was packed. The 5 miles trip took closer to 30 minutes one way which gave us ample time to converse. The following is what I hear of Jordan from Ameen.

Jordan is a beautiful place, mostly at peace with her neighbors. Amman is the most populated and everywhere else population is sparse. Jordan doesn't have oil or gold but agriculture thrives.

The Jordan river used to be huge but now too shallow that you could even cross over by foot in some parts. The river dumps into the Dead Sea where all the life it brings dies.

You actually float in the the Black Sea (or Dead Sea). The only thing to watch out for is your eyes as the water is so concentrated that if it gets into your eyes you can't see anything clearly. When you are done "swimming" in the sea you will take a shower in the hot water springs to remove the salt from your skin, if not you will look like a pillar of salt when you dry.

Amman is among seven hills where it snows. But river Jordan runs in the valley which is warm and sunny. It is roughly 25 miles from the hills down to the valley and most people go there for picnic - even on a daily basis. After work they grab some food, get their family and go down the river to spend a few hours of warmth.

Jordanians are closely knit families. Even though Ameen's Mom lives alone every morning his brothers visit her on their way to work and evenings they stop by on their way back home only to be back an hour or so later with their complete clan to spend more time.

Ameen's Mom visits him every now and then. She says American women are more modest than most women of Jordan in the present days. Even Ameen was shocked to see when he visited home few years ago that most expensive smoking houses were filled with women. Men always smoked, but for women it was considered a taboo.

Ameen's family has plenty of boys. They are 8 kids of which 7 brothers and one sister. And each of these brothers got 3 or 4 or more sons but every one has one daughter. Ameen himself is a father of 3 boys and a girl. He speaks proud of his daughter - how she always loves him more, awaits his return in the nights, receives him with a hug, etc.

Ameen's wife is from Jordan too. Cooks wonderful food. Buys meat, cleans it herself, processes it and packages it for the entire season. Everyday she cooks. She loves flowers too so she grows them, roses of red, yellow and pink, hydrangeas etc. She loves her little son a lot as they spend most of their time together. He is only 4.

Ameen had picked up a vase full of red roses for his wife for Valentine's Day from Costco. He seems a nice guy. So much in love with his family, his countries of both past and present.

At the end of my ride he drove cheerfully off thanking me for the wonderful conversation we just had. I assured him the pleasure was all mine.

Jan 11, 2013

Lordy Lordy Look who is Forty!

Almost there. This is the year.

I can vividly remember August 10th 2003. It was a Sunday. I was upset over turning 30. I thought it was an ugly number to begin with. Feared my life of fun was over. From then on, I had reasoned, I would only become ugly, unlikable and life would soon be over... It was suffocating. Worst of all my parents forgot to call and wish me!

After Church I called them - crying. Papa said, "We were just talking about you, looking at the clock waiting for you to return from Church so we could call. Happy Birthday Queenie makka*...". When they heard I was upset about the number 30, at first they laughed and then went on to explain what a beautiful number it was and how blessed I was to be turning 30.

Though I wasn't fully convinced I took it on me to be 30, one day at a time. Before long the year was over; I realized it wasn't bad after all. Rest of the years went by without further ado. Fast forward to now, here I am excited to be on the verge of the 30's series, looking forward to my 40's!

A lot has changed in me in the last decade. The child in me gave way to a more beautiful woman. Each day has been a refining process leading to clear thoughts, clearer conscience, increased confidence and more contentment.

I have forgiven people, forgotten their offenses and moved on. This happened almost overnight. Could a simple prayer do all that wonder?! All those arguments going back and forth in my mind about things of past were completely erased. Poof! Vanished!

At first I had tried to fight it back."Bring at once my Book of Records of all wrongs ever committed against Me the Great", ordered part of me. The HUGE cart holding the book was rolled in, the seal was broken, the book was opened. The pages were blank!

"Oh no! this can't be! Don't let go, don't cave in, don't forgive, no not them, not their words; now take a breather, recall everything, every little bits of it, put it back,  the records, the proof, proof of when you were right and they were wrong, proof of when you were right no matter what, everything, build your case bit by bit, nice and strong; easy, now seal it up, roll it safe!" the rest of me demanded.

But it was over. Done. Dealt with. Forgiven, myself including. The book had shrunk, disappeared, gone,  out of sight, never to be seen or heard of again since then. It is no more. It hurts no more. Surprising but true; my heart has healed!

I believe 40's will be more refining, making me, molding me, breaking me, fixing me, searching me, trying me, tuning me and turning out more rewarding.

I could spend it all up in one sitting; instead I have decided to take it slow - one day at a time.

So, here we go 2013! Bring it on!

* makka means child in colloquial Tamil

Related Posts with Thumbnails
HostGator promo code