Category Archives: Life Philosophical Thought

When did it change?

We know it is just an art. Plain paper and ink, modified into a monkey with a mace and a man with bows and arrows, endowed with a very feminine face. A stone, sculpted to look like a female, holding a veena. For the guy who painted /sculpted, it was just yet another poster/stone and does not signify God. For others, it becomes irreverent. The morphing takes place somewhere in between.

We moved last week with all the photos of various deities(supposedly) in a cardboard box. When the time came for their settlement in the new house, a new bookcase was bought, just to fit them all in, especially the newly gifted Gold plated ones. The gold makes them even more good looking and pious, I assume. While being arranged by MIL, you could see the gold was in the forefront and others taking a slight back seat. It is not just the gold, it is the fancy of the new. Like when we get a new dress. I am sure my Hanuman was feeling bad till I saved the day for him, by requesting him to be brought to the forefront. And once morphed into these photos of deities, it is tough to throw them out. I have age old calendars with deity photos and ‘n’ number of Ganesha idols, that can never be thrown into the garbage.

I have never been able to read the “Kandha Sashti” ( a tamil shloka on Lord subramania) without laughing out loud and yet I read the Hanuman Chalisa whenever I can. When I visited Shirdi, after all the hustling and jostling, I got to see baba’s statue and felt very foolish. It is the same marble sculpture as the one in Santa Clara, except that Shirdi was where he died. I felt even more so, when I bought some prasad in one of the stores there. My instincts did not let me eat them. It was just some sugar cubes, the way I look at it.

We can believe in a super natural power or not. I call God’s grace the thread of hope by which we hang during moments of helplessness. And we are conditioned for that from childhood.My shirdi baba, hanuman, raghavendra,ganapathy and all the multitudes of photos will still be worshipped once a week,despite knowing that they are only photos. And I will continue wearing the red thread on my wrist.Confused? Yes. Agnostic? No.


Posted by on June 14, 2010 in Life Philosophical Thought



Over the weekend, we attended a Tamil light music concert by a local bay area troupe.It was a tribute to Ilayaraja, so quite a few songs were from the 80s. Melodious, awesome ones. We were humming for most of the songs and singing quite a few of them too. When they sang “Nila Adhu Vanatha Mele“( A song from the movie Nayakan), both Suresh and I were singing the whole song, not missing even one single line. I don’t remember many details from my school days, but I remember every single lyric of that song. I was in 8th grade when the movie was released and remember singing that song day in and day out.

Isn’t it interesting how the brain/mind works? It is what we perceive as a teenager that stays in our mind. Most of us think that the songs from our teenage era are the best ones. No wonder people were criticizing the latest “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”. We didn’t have much options then and whatever we heard, sounded really good including mile sur mera tumhara in various languages, and everyone sang all the lines in bengali, malayalam, kannada ,tamil ,hindi without even understanding maybe. The present day youngsters have too many options, songs , channels to watch and I am not sure if the “Phir Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” will ever stay in their mind. If it does, I assume they might actually like watching Vikram and Surya over Kamal and Deepika Padukone over Sharmila Tagore.

Madhavan, the actor is currently touring here, visiting various states for different events helping charity organizations. When he visited the bay area, I dragged Suresh into attending the “Coffee with Madhavan” event and was thrilled to sit in the front seat. The program was very good with my only grouse being that I couldn’t take a photo with him. My envy was kindled on seeing my dear friend K doing the same when she was not even a Madhavan fan and didn’t care one way or other, though it has waned now as I see facebook full of girls hugging Madhavan. 🙂 On mentioning this to a volunteer friend of mine, she was flabbergasted at my reaction. She knows I don’t usually care much for any celebrity unless he/she is a big time philanthropist or genuinely helps charities.And I said, “It is a teenage crush thing .A tiny flame is still lingering.” The one that makes you like any good looking guy in television including Maddy in Banegi Apni Baat,Sharukh in Faugi and Arvind Swamy in the Leo Coffee AD.


Posted by on February 15, 2010 in Life Philosophical Thought


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To tell or not to tell

“I have seen cancer at close quarters. Even my dad was treated at the Institute, when I was at the tender age of 17. You know something…. for someone to go through chemo is very painful. I know everything about cancer.”

An excerpt of the conversation that Suresh and I had with an acquaintance , one of my fellow volunteers for the Cancer Institute Foundation. He was reminiscing about his father’s struggle and we felt sorry for him. I could sense that Suresh was trying to steer the conversation away from the topic and successfully did too the moment he got a chance. You could see a small genie on either side of my head , one asking me to share my C saga and the other shouting “Shush..Not now..” .

I think this is a question everyone faces , depending on the circumstance , whether it be their health,monetary or emotional struggle. Sharing it with someone may either make it better or worse. There have been times when I have shared my health history , just to pep up someone, so that they would not feel bad about their situation. Once, when I was helping a friend , explaining about one of my surgeries, just because she needed help and asked me,only to encounter a face filled with horror. Seriously, not something I expected and I certainly don’t enjoy talking about my past.I did it because she asked and really wanted to know.

Sometimes, you encounter people who are not empathetic though they might be sympathetic. And again, there are others who feel disgusted or depressing.Anyway, five years into remission and I am still not comfortable talking about it to normal people . I really admire celebrities like Lisa Ray who are able to share their struggle with the world, especially after reading some of the comments where people talk nonsense. Some people even post about Lisa in their blogs, not understanding what pain it really takes. It is very different to talk about it than experience and feel it, IMHO.

“To tell or not to tell” ! Sigh ! But YEAH ! Five Years !


Posted by on December 19, 2009 in Life Philosophical Thought


Past Presented -II

Some more thoughts from my perusal of my great-grand father’s biography.

1800s- Early 1900s:

    There was no concept of money then. People always traded things between each other. My rice for your milk.. My wheat for your oil…It was almost considered a sin to sell milk, food etc..You just donated it to the needy if you have in excess. A simple life, if I may say so. Yes, there was definitely a caste distinction, may be more so, but that didn’t hinder people from helping each other out.

    Students had an unique identity in the society. They had a concept ,”Varanna” where poor students visited a designated house every day of the week for food. Apparently, my GGDad learnt a great deal by visiting various houses. “Varanna” means Vara – Weekly & Anna- Food. Kind of a mobile hostel when you are away from home for studies. Some households helped them with just lodging too. Lots of give and take , a totally different India.

Middle 1900s:

    People believed in families and friends and sent their children out of state to stay with them , for studies. The concept of nuclear family formed. Money started speaking and became the crux of many a family discussions, fights etc. Both my grandmothers were known for their generosity . The house was always open for visitors and guests despite not being able to cater to even their own needs. Everyone was invited for food though sometimes the inmates did not have enough for themselves. A sad fact…I think the ladies went more hardships and managed the household at the cost of their mental and physical health.

Late 1900s:

    All the daughters from our family studied out of state and stayed in hostels. None of us know the concept of a joint family. And yes, we all earn and money is still a major part of our life, though not the main. We don’t feel comfortable just barging into a friend’s house, without informing them first. It still goes on in the previous generation and I know of people who just drop in our house at Banglore, on the way to a wedding or a grocery shop. That is, a few.


    I guess with lot of technology advancement, life became all the more complicated though we might claim otherwise. We would rather text someone than visit.OK,…guilty..I don’t text.. And money is almost a backbone of our society.Everything revolves around it. Life seems to have been very simple a century ago..All one had to worry about was to stay away from plague, means to feed oneself and family, education if need be or if passionate. For this era,I can take myself as an example.I constantly think about swineflu ( OK, that was a stretch ;-)), how to progress in my career, my parents health,my health,when to be on my own( I mean my own business), if the gas is switched off( happens if you have OCD) get the gist..
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Posted by on September 9, 2009 in General, Life Philosophical Thought



Past presented

I am reading the biography of my great-grand father. He became a sanyasi, a staunch follower of Shankara , believing in Advaita , has ashrams , the works…. He started sanyasa at age 68, after finishing all his duties/responsibilities as a father.I am definitely proud of him and will post a blog once I finish reading the book. I want to capture a few thoughts in various posts…

Late 1800s:

    When reading about his lineage, it stated that he was one of 16 kids born to his parents. Sixteen !!!!? Yes, you heard it right.The book says,”Nanjundiah ( my great-great-grand dad) was very unhappy that many of his children were dying and so had 16 kids , out of which eight survived and Subbaraya( my great grand dad) was the sixth.” In those days, there were no medicines to treat the various diseases including plague, malaria etc. It was taken for granted that at least a few would die and so , the main argument between parents was on deciding how many to procreate and when to stop.Also, I suppose that is the only recreation they had, all at the cost of the mother’s health. The kids that survived were definitely the stronger ones with lot of genetic immunity.My great-grand dad died at the age of 95.

1900s ( First half of the century):

    In the 1900s, apparently no Cs and people were still bent upon increasing the population and I am sure India would have felt like a vast nation then. My GGdad , not being too interested in Samsara and losing his wife at an early age had a total of only four surviving children,one of which is Sukanya, my grandmother. Even when she was born, not all diseases were treatable , but the genes were strong and believe me, she was one of the most resourceful ladies I have ever seen with tremendous stamina, though very small built.
    My grand mother gave birth to umpteen kids, out of which eight survived with one of them being my mother, all hale and healthy. By then, bacterial infections were treatable and most of them survived. Not accounting the miscarriages.Again, all at the cost of my grandma’s health.These eight kids( my uncles and aunts) have reasonable genetic immunity and are going strong. My grandmother died at the age of 80.

Second half of 1900s:

    Procreation was still in full swing in my Granny’s generation. In fact, my mom’s youngest sister(my aunt) is a few days younger than my cousin( the eldest’s daughter). Imagine both the mother and daughter being pregnant at the same time. Yes, it happened a lot and people went about it, without batting an eyelid. My mother is a strong woman too and her immune system is actually far better than any of her daughters. She has had two miscarriages and given birth to three daughters.She will be 65 this year.

Late 1900s:

    By then, India’s population was on the brink of explosion and so the daughters decided to limit it. My eldest sister has two, second one has one and I don’t have any.Lot of improvements in technology where you could cure almost everything despite a plethora of new diseases. My sisters have small health issues cropping up. With all my issues,I will be in cloud nine if I can live up to 50.


My take out… We all started with very healthy genes from our ancestors, which seems to have got diluted over the generations ….. maybe, we should stop procreating,live healthy and save the world.


Posted by on September 5, 2009 in Life Philosophical Thought



Life goes on

Yesterday, one of my online friends from my support blog passed away. It came as a shock to all the blog members as she was the most cheerful, optimistic of all. I was in shock for a couple of minutes, but then got diverted by the various tasks at work. Will most probably forget that feeling in a couple of days…….People die, but life goes on elsewhere, all around us………


Posted by on August 26, 2009 in Life Philosophical Thought


Back home from “Back Home”

Human beings feel secure following a routine. At least, I do.After 6 weeks of sabbatical spent in India, I am back home. It feels good to get up in the morning, go to work, gym , cook dinner and sleep. Yeah, a typical routine followed in every household.

Kids born to Indian parents in the USA are called ABCDs, American Born Confused Desis. Apparently, they get confused because of the Indian culture being forced on them.They are not sure if they should be American, Indian American or Indian. I agree, it does get confusing when every Indian kid is forced to become a musician or a dancer from an young age.Who cares if they are interested or not? Poor things, I have seen quite a few of them singing with a frown in my Music class. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about the kids now. That’s reserved for a separate blog.

I am a resident of USA and consider CAL as my home. I was very happy when my plane landed and was jumping with joy , just to enter my house, my kitchen and my bedroom. But, when I talk to my colleagues about India, my sentences always start with…
“Back Home, we……..”
“Back Home, we get really juicy mangoes.”
“Back Home, these issues would have been frowned upon.”
You get the gist…

Aren’t we confused either? Why blame th e kids alone?Having spent the first 24 years of my life in India, it is definitely still home. But, the nuclear life that is formed in the US makes me feel more secure. I get homesick after a couple of years. When I visit India, I get homesick after a couple of weeks. Confused ?? I would think so….

All said and done, a wonderful relaxing trip, a well deserved break and now to the grinding routine. Hmmmm… It does feel good to be back home from “Back Home”.


Posted by on August 19, 2009 in General, Life Philosophical Thought