Sunday, December 28, 2014

It’s the funny,heart-to-heart conversations that make us happy

I asked my 8 year old son, “Frame 3 sentences quickly about your mother as a person.”

This was his answer:
1.     Amma is a good cooker.
2.    Amma is beautiful.
3.    Amma works at.....

Look at it from a language perspective and you know that the first sentence is not correctly framed. 

But you also know one thing: it is straight from the heart. He meant 'good cook' and I burst into laughter because 'Amma is a good cooker' reminds me of my 2015 resolution: eat less, exercise more!



Of the three sentences, the first one made me smile. 
                                                   
It’s no different in our interactions with others. It’s not the “perfect comments/conversations” we recall. It’s the flawed, funny, heart-to-heart ones that stick like glue to the heart. 

Like J Krishnamurti says: Happiness is not a remembrance, it is that state which comes into being  ever new, never continuous. Happiness is in transformation, not in acquisition. 

As the year comes to an end, I'd like to know: What made you happy? What made you smile?

Friday, December 26, 2014

You just reached a turning point in your life. So what?


In every individual’s life, there comes a stormy turning point. It leaves a mark on you forever. For me, that turning point came on 27th December 2007. I call it the ‘Year of Shivam.’ Shivam means “That which is indestructible.” Funny, it left an indestructible impact. That's what turning points are all about.

2007 is the year I experienced my first near-death experience at an astral level, followed by a series of out-of-body experiences.

You can laugh. But that was my first spiritual turning point. I was alone and I didn’t understand what had hit me then.

                                                      [Image: Unsplash]

Last year, I read books by writers  such as Khurshed Bhavnagari, Nan Umrigar, Ruzbeh N Bharucha. Then I understood that I wasn’t going crazy, turning stoned or hallucinating. I was actually having an astral experience and being guided to the Spirit World.

Another book I read is called A Journey of the Souls. A doctor documents the inner journeys and experiences of many individuals who had out-of-body experiences and were able to recall the exact details of their past lives as a result of their astral experience. It is the doctor's case diary with key observations about the out-of-body experiences of his patients and how it is directly linked to their  behavior, relationships and the choices that they make in real life.

What shocked me is this: the experiences are so similar to what I had gone through. There’s just one tiny difference. These folks had the courage and conviction to write about it. I didn’t.  So, here are some key takeaways:

1. When you face a turning point, face it with courage. 

2. Follow your heart. Do what you believe is right

3. Be aware that this is an important test from God. Don't run away.


5. Take a clear stand on what you strongly believe in. Stick to it and accept whatever is happening as an experience that will make you stronger.

My spiritual turning point taught me a powerful lesson: You have free will but  ultimately, only divine will manifests. 
 

We all go through seemingly illogical experiences at some point of time in life. The problem begins when we identify and get emotionally caught up with it instead of contemplating on it like a witness.

A turning point, particularly a spiritual one, has implications  in the real world. That’s why the test is so tough to pass. You have to put away your rosy glasses and face the reality with a big smile.


Thank you, Shivam. Losing you became the spiritual turning point in my life. You live forever in my heart. Rest in peace.       

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Prayer for Peshawar

When you send your kid to school, you don't expect a massacre to happen there. That's why it's so inhuman and horrifying! 

This has been a heartbreaking day for most of us who have heard about the massacre of innocent school children in Peshawar by terrorists. I sat at my desk, feeling the tears leap to my eyes. Over 100 students are reported to have been killed, shot at mostly in the face and head....I can't get over it.

This is SICK, BRUTAL and INHUMAN. 

Think of the mothers whose lives have snapped today. No mother can ever be or feel the same again when a part of her, more precious than her own life, is ripped out. 

It's not just the children who died today.

It's their mothers too.

Today, my prayer is for Peshawar: the innocent children who died and their families who have to find strength from within to accept this reality. 

Read these tweets. You will understand what I mean.




I pray to God for the well-being and peace of each and every mother in Peshawar, whose loss we cannot even begin to fathom. 

But we know their pain. We can feel it too.

Say a little prayer for the innocent souls as they journey on to another realm: Go in peace, little ones, we are all praying for you because that's the best we can do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How I made my first Kerala Fish Molee

I have something to confess! Are you ready?

I made my first fish curry. And here it is - Kerala Fish Molee.



The recipe is from the popular cookbook The Suriani Kitchen. The flavors came out so well and it was delicious! You must try this recipe at least once.




Monday, December 8, 2014

The Mother-in-Law: The Other Woman in your marriage

Every day, we read or hear horrific accounts of daughters-in-law being mentally or physically harassed. There are plenty of statistics on cases relating to bride burning, dowry harassment and domestic violence in Indian homes. As long as it does not happen to us, we don't give it any serious attention.

But this book will make you SIT UP and PAY ATTENTION.

Narrated factually and with a dash of wit, Veena Venugopal explores the lives of eleven Indian women and tells us shocking truths about their mothers-in-law. Each story has a lesson for every woman.

There is a mother-in-law who justifies her alcoholic son beating and raping the daughter-in-law, another mother-in-law who delights in taking her daughter-in-law for her check-ups because the latter is suffering from cancer and after each hospital visit, the mother-in-law uses it against her! The premise of this bold book is this: Your mother-in-law is NOT YOUR FRIEND.

                                        [Veena Venugopal, author of The Mother-in-law]

Why Mother-in-Law is "the Other Woman" 

This is from Veena Venugopal’s book and in her own words:
  • There is no fashion police stricter than the Indian mother-in-law.  All ‘Mummyjis’ assume they are in charge of their daughter-in-laws wardrobe.
  • Some rules by Indian mothers-in-law: Must wear mangal-sutra, blouses must have sleeves, salwar kameez must have dupatta, etc.
  • If appearance is the biggest area of conflict between the modern day Mummyji and her daughter-in-law, the second is work. In India, about 50% of women employees are reported to quit their jobs before they get into middle management jobs. Know why? Because of Mummyji!
  •  The problem begins early – and that’s the clincher. When the rules are first laid down, the daughter-in-law agrees to almost everything. That sets the foundation for the rest of her life.   

When I first began reading the book, my immediate thought was, How can this be true? How can one woman be so cruel to another woman who is part of her family?
                                                                                                          
In India, some things will never change. These are:

1.    By nature, women are territorial and sons are definitely their marked territory. How many times or how often do you hear of a father-in-law ill-treating the daughter-in-law or a brother-in-law ill-treating the sister-in-law?
2.     Women have pre-determined expectations about what their son’s wives should look like, speak and behave like. They also pre-determine how much their son’s wives should weigh!
3.    Through all the real life stories featured in this book, one thread is common and the author highlights it: the married sons, over whom the whole battle of the women is centred on, plays either neutral or pretends to be ignorant. And if push comes to shove, they stand with their mothers.

DON'T MISS: Being Single in India: Why so much fuss and prejudice? 

There are so many happy families where the mothers-in-law treat their daughters-in-law with  love. 

Wouldn't it be nice and inspiring to document some of those happy stories too? The book could have concluded on a positive note.

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