A Grand Farewell !!

Memories are what we create when we travel to new places , meet new people, eat different food, know new cultures and experience various life situations. And this is what Airforce has blessed us with. Dad had served his complete tenor with Airforce and got retired and led a graceful and independent life even after.

I remember the tag line of LIC which says “zindagi ke sath bhi aur zindagi ke baad bhi.” I don’t think dad ever took such policies but his loyalty towards his job and the integrity he lived his complete life with, has given him everything, rather more than one can think of. Along with his pension, he did have other benefits but the most important was the medical facilities for the retired that ECHS provides , which sure had taken a huge financial burden off his shoulders.

The highest honour came, When we were in deep shock by his sudden demise, Airforce association came forward informing us about the ritual. The protocol was to be followed, which we were unaware of.

When we were sadly preparing for his last rites, a bunch of Airforce personal arrived at our home in a big vehicle, carrying bouquets of flowers, a huge table, white bedsheet. These were Airmen and Officers, dressed in their ever graceful, impeccable service uniforms. They arranged the stage and Carefully placed Dad on it. The team decorated Dad with the most honourable tricoloured National Flag and offered flowers. Each of them saluted him.

We were dumbstruck, tears rolling uncontrollably. Mixed feelings, mixed emotions. In The most saddest moment we experienced utmost pride. Pride for the honour, for the respect they exhibited. The flag was Folded neatly and then handed over to Mom, along with a condolence letter signed by the highest authority and an envelop carrying some cash to cover expenses of the last rites. Unknowingly Mom saluted them and they saluted her back.

It was a grand farewell, a royal ending for the wars he participated in, for his loyalty.

Am sure DAD would have sure watched from the higher ups and would have felt extremely proud. Our respect for the Uniform Increased many folds that day.

Salute !!!

Lohri Sankranti and Uttarayan

Festive times … family and friends, laughter, cooking traditional dishes, buying new clothes, fun and frolic…

Specially Lohri in North India is an excellent time to get together, the bonfire, Mungphali, revaries, the popcorn and the chatting and sharing of warmth around the fire is an amazing feeling, like the whole universe is a big family. Fire is said to be purifying all our impurities and bless us with prosperity.

Traditions are more or less similar in North and south, sharing the same kind of festivals and food rituals.. even in south we have til laddoos and having a bonfire for ‘Bhogi’, preparing sweat pongal with the rice, dal and jaggery on Sankranti celebrating the harvest season. Also the Sun is changing its position and enters into Capricorn which is called Uttarayan, and it’s considered to be auspicious as in many parts of the country the harvesting season begins, hence people look up with hope and faith for prospering times.

Uttarayan is also important to remember the glorious and courageous tale of Bhishma Pitamaha and his contribution of Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam to the world. Bhishma Pitamah who was an unparalleled Archer and Warrior of Kuru Dynasty, but against his wish, had to fight from Kaurava’s side who were practicing Adharma, only because of his pledge to serve the Kuru King, who took the throne as his father’s heir. And in the battle of Kurukshetra, between Pandavas and Kauravas, Bhishma was hit by the arrows of Pandava prince Arjuna. Bhishma Pitamaha’s whole body from the back was hit with numerous arrows and he falls to ground on the bed of arrows. Then Pandava Prince Arjuna shoots three more arrows to the ground so as to be served as Bhishma’s headrest. Bhishma Pitamaha was a blessed soul, waited on the bed of arrows for 58 nights for the auspicious time of Uttarayan to be fit for leaving his body.

Sri Krishna insists the humble Pandava Prince Yudhisthira, (also known as Dharmaraja), to visit Bhishma Pitamaha and seek his valuable advice on statesmanship, righteous path of Dharma and the duties of a King. Yudhisthira asks Bhishma, ‘Who is the greatest Lord in the world?” “Which is the Dharma of all Dharmas?” “Which name chanting can proceed a creature beyond the bonds of karma?”

Bhishma from his death bed of arrows advices to follow dharma in all circumstances and gives discourse of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Stating that the mankind will be free by chanting “Vishnu sahasranamam”, 1000 names of Vishnu. This is mentioned in Anushasana Parva of The Mahabharata epic.

I see the rituals which we follow have so much of significance, the fire the food and the chanting of the lord’s name. The Uttarayan which has blessed us with much needed warmth, purity and purpose is to be treasured and the rituals to be handed over to the next generations.

May this holy period bless us all with well being and togetherness…

An ending is a new beginning

The year of teens ended … and We are now supposed to be more matured … I mean literally !!!

Everyone is happy, Happy not for the year that ended or because a new year is beginning. Happiness is just in the air… Happy for holidays, happy for the gatherings, happy for buying new things, happy for the celebration, happy to have new resolutions and happy that something new and better is about to come. Whats going to change in new year is a mystery but being happy for that unknown is so fulfilling, its is like looking from a colored glass and feeling good to be existing in a colorful world..

Meanwhile somewhere in the closed rooms, News papers, TV channels, media is churning loads of analysis … How was the gone by year for our country, economically, politically, stock market, share market, weather, global warming, crops, elections, the government and its schemes, the rising prices, innovations, the disasters, dealing with the neighboring states, the international ties, entertainment, sports, everything is under microscope.

Like Everyone is watching everyone.

And i guess most of us are getting superstitious as well now a days… Astrologers are predicting our horoscopes based on our birth star or month for the year to come… some might read these just for fun and some might be serious but, we all love them, if the prediction is good, we will feel happy and hopeful, and if anything is going wrong then we will follow the remedies and precautions for sure… The people who were successful last year, will be happy to repeat the same formula, the one’s who had a challenging one, will look forward for a miracle, like a magic wand, which might take them out of their current situation to a different wonderland, where everything is good and beautiful..

Something is sure going to change along with the date, month and year… Because change is the only constant and the rule of our existence.

Every beginning is born out of an ending and if we keep living in the past then, the present and some unknown future will get lost. The ending that has paved to the new beginning has to be respected. The respect for what is happening and what is about to happen, which can be named hope or faith but to go on, one has to pause at the ending, gather self again and look hope in the new beginning.

Hope is what makes us believe to have been alive. And feeding hope alone does not help, some small steps toward a positive tomorrow has to be ensured. To expect a better world, we have to first make this a better world. I believe even if we pledge one Resolution, to make ourselves into a genuinely good human being, that itself will make this earth a better place to live and generate enough hope for tomorrow.

Happy New Year to everyone !!!

The Solar Eclipse

Sun is a ball of fire, Sun is the biggest source of light and energy… the Solar system, the planets, revolving around the sun while spinning on their own axis, the Solar and the lunar eclipse, all these had always been fascinating. I remember reading and cramming in our childhood days… and later ensuring my kids had also learned this by heart.

Last few days the social media, the astrologers, the scientists, the ophthalmologists and everyone around had been gaga about the last eclipse of this year. Its for sure a miracle, an event happening rarely and watching this makes us feel wow. This might be a proven scientific phenomenon today but I wonder how our ancestors in older days, when there was no other means to calculate or had binoculars or satellites predicted such events and warned everyone on the do’s and don’ts.

Our age old traditions had followed lots of precautions during solar eclipse … there were lots of myth associated with eclipse at many places as not to be auspicious and hence lot of prior preparation was done, like all the cooked food was used up before this period, any left overs was covered and a tulalsi leaf or special dried long grass which is called “darbha” or “kusha” was put in water, milk and other eatables to keep it unaffected of the eclipse. A bath prior to the eclipse and some puja or chantings during the complete eclipse time was ensured. The temples were closed and were opened only after the eclipse was over. All the utensils, idols, homes and temples were washed and cleaned and a head bath was must before starting any normal routine ritual. Special care was taken of pregnant ladies and small babies, keeping them indoors. During this period mostly people used to fast and dedicated this special time to only pray. Many used to fear such events thinking some ill effect or a curse and were careful to follow all the said things deligantly.

Astrologers and numerologists claim that such changes and events bring lot of planetary changes in one’s horoscope and hence influencing our life as such.

Though today’s generation would not accept anything without logic, but i agree there would have been some scientific relevance to all … however the most relevant one as per me is to prevent watching the sun directly so as to avoid damaging of eyes. Even yesterday all the media and the doctors stressed upon protection of the eyes by putting UV protective glasses because the rays would damage the retina permanently.

While watching the live telecast on TV, I could not resist but to appreciate the accurate calculation of the date and time of the event.

Even more than the prediction I feel awe, believing that there is some super power, higher up somewhere controlling everything. And i feel like surrendering to his wishes because when he has plans and is guiding, then do we have any power to resist than to follow… like a magician performing his magic, like a puppeteer controlling his puppets …. we just move in the direction the thread is pulled without any resistance.

May our belief be the path and our ignorance be our strength to surrender.

Celebrations can have names

Christmas is mostly associated with lots of cheer and joy… irrespective of religion, state or country. In US and other countries which have Christianity as a religion is but natural to be happy to celebrate Lord Jesus’s birthday.

But in India we see every other family celebrating this festival. Specially when you have school going young kids…

There is a kind of festivity in the air… India being secular had always been accommodating and encouraging all festivals … and our young and happening generations who are ever ready to make every opportunity a celebration, wants to make the most of it. Our specialty had always been to be culturally united though being diverse.

The season is pepped up as kids have their winter break and which mostly starts from this time and is extended upto mid January… Its cold outside but the happiness and joy fills the body and mind with the much needed energy and warmth. The markets are all decorated and flooded with all the Christmas goodies.. There are red Santa caps, mufflers and sweaters, Christmas trees, decoration ornaments everywhere. Cakes and muffins are backed at most of the homes and every bakery is sparsely equipped with all varieties and flavors of cakes and cookies, enough stock to last the season. Every shop, street would have lots of Santas’ waiting for distributing sweets and candies to the little ones.

I remember watching lots of Santa movies during this season, which makes us all well aware, how to decorate the Christmas tree and get the food ready for Santa on the Christmas eve. The stocking, the carrot, the cup of milk, the cookies and the wishlist. All is set… just waiting for the Santa to come and fulfill our wishes.

When we were trying to be part of the process this year, one of our relative asked me, why so much of enthusiasm and excitement for someone else’s festival, following the ritual which was so alien for us being a Hindu.

I understand what they mean, kids have to be taught our culture, our age old traditions and values … but for me celebrating a festival is to be happy, eating, meeting and sharing. Kids to be involved and informed about all the cultures is our responsibility…

Celebrations can have different names but the moto and the end goal is mostly same…

To care and share…

Merry Christmas to all my friends… have a joyous time.

Seniority @ Sixty

Some say life span of human beings is increased, thanking the medical interventions and easy approach-ability , some debate that it’s decreased blaming on erratic life style and stress. What ever it is, one has to live and for living one has to work, and for working one has to go through all the ups and downs of life. Choosing to live happily in the given situations or complaining every moment for not having what was expected is individual’s own perception and point of view.

However, a person’s working age, say a start to work age or a retirement age is kind of defined, mostly in all working sectors. Am sure there are logic’s. At the joining one has to finish the studies, attain certain maturity to work and also to understand the responsibility and be accountable of the given job. To fulfill the requirements one has to be well prepared mentally and physically. The same way there is a defined age for retirement, which is at fifty five to sixty which is when a person is mostly through with all the responsibilities, like settle in life, kids education is done and in some places the marriages are also done and its understood that a retired life is to have a good family time when there is leisure and next generation to take care of the expenses and lucky if someone is a retired government or a defence personnel to have pension to take care of the expenses.

There was a time when after retirement one was left with no choice but to pass time reading news paper, taking grand kids to school or to just sit ideal. Retirement was a cause of worry, one bigger cause was that the income stops, and hence one has a feeling of being worthless and dependent, also there is no excitement left in life, no routine of going out and having personal space, as if life has ended and there is nothing to look forward to and be on mercy of others.

However times have changed now, in terms of approach to the jobs and the expectations from life as such. there’s no more a norm of sticking to one job till retirement, people keep hopping every two to three years and then there are other expectations than just settling in life or kid’s education and marriage. People look for life over and above all. Life to enjoy, to go places, to meet friends, have a hobby. Today retirement from a job means just like hopping from one option to the other. and now people also look forward to retire, so that, they can pursue the unfulfilled teenage dreams and hobbies. One gets into Music, dance, painting, writing, learning a sport or starting a business.

When yesterday my husband turned sixty and is retired, i know its just a number that has added …. he still has all the passion for life, wants to explore the world, take road trips, go places, party with friends, wants to play a sport, watch movies and also hopes to start a business. Whatever he decides to take up, today he has climbed one more step in life, where he will be called a senior citizen henceforth. And i think that would work wonders for him rather i see it as an advantage, because he is more matured and more informed than ever and the status of being called senior citizen would fit him even better….

Seniority is not just a status, its a state when one is matured enough to accept life “as it is” and ready to accommodate accordingly.

Retirement is to retire from stress and live life, a beautiful meaningful life…

Happy Second Innings !!!

Monday Blues

Monday Blues … a term which all of the working class is so familiar with or rather lived it most of their lives.

After a hectic working week, some might have a five day week or a six day week, but hectic is the common factor that is so common, not to be ignored at all. Now the term is equally applicable to our younger generation of all ages. Monday seems like a demon.

The term hectic starts from the time we wake up, rather at times, the fear of waking up early keeps us awake all night. Hurrying to catch up with chores, personal hygiene, dressing, travel to and fro and then the pending tasks, the unfinished homework or projects, meetings and what not… everyone is just catching up and hoping from one task to the other… rather eating and sleeping is also now safely considered as tasks. In this task of catching up or as we call the rat race in corporate world, we have ceased to be sensitive or attentive to what we are doing.

The weekend and a mid week holiday is like heaven.. a much needed break from the running Routine, we let our head down and try to be a little relaxed version of ourselves. However these holidays bring along late night Tv viewing, leisure breakfast, catching up with friends and family, washing and weekly cleaning, and the holiday or the weekend vanishes just like that. The cycle of our regular routine is all jinxed up and we are left all drained. The day ends late and then obviously its only the next day morning we realise that the one day’s relaxation has rather taken a tole on us. The quantity of holiday be it lesser or longer makes no difference, because the day we have to rejoin makes us all Blue and rather blur.

Life is like a race, the moment we want to relax and take a break, we have already got stagnant and the world has moved ahead. one has to keep oneself motivated enough to keep moving. A little break is needed to re-evaluate and rejuvenate but then that has to follow with much more vigor and thought. If the motivation to move is channeled well then the Monday blues are not to be worried for …

knowing our journey is like knowing our path and the movement of even one small step at a time brings us closer to be life.

To be alive is to move… move with grace.

A day at a time…

How i start my day is not planned any more, I mean since we have got relived from our jobs. Some days are like, having morning tea, fresh up, have breakfast, watch a movie, lunch, an easy afternoon nap, then go for a light walk in the evening and the late evenings we have a family movie with drinks and dinner. This is kind of luxury, because this is like a dream come true. By the way We did think of such a life, when we were actually working and used to have a very hectic work and travel schedules .

Unplanned and unrushed, this is like taking it light, having enough time for reading news papers, books, writing, cooking, humming some old songs, watching movies, walking, practicing yoga or playing badminton or just lying down and relaxing.

We human beings are so confused most of the time, when we have this, we want that and when we reach up to that, we want something else or weird to enjoy feeling nostalgic for the gone old days. Now being too relaxed gets us bored at times, pushing us to slide back to those busy times again, when we had no time for anything. There might be some plan for the future but now is the most relaxing time of our life.

What ever stage we are in, I guess that’s the best phase we can ever be in, if we can realize this fact, it can save a lot of pressure of our minds. Taking a day at a time, being present every moment for what’s happening makes it worth. We know time flys but can we actually fly with it, than living our share in the present moment.

I realize, gone will never come back and we can never live the future in the present so what we have now is the best.

Live it like its it !!!

Gather up

Some days you breathe in and you are alive and some days you breathe out with a sigh.. and then you gather yourself to stand up to show up again because you know, you are the best creation of God and can’t be scattered for long.

Happy Mother’s Day 💐

Mother’s Day is an occasion now to be celebrated with gifts, flowers, outings. The media is all out trying to highlight the emotional connect and the big brands are trying to lure us with huge discounts and irresistible offers… clothes to jewellery, special offers of luxury spas to the discounted lunch brunch and dinners.

The old generation mothers are all confused as to why so much of fuss for this and the new generation is actually trying to make up for the lost years, lost opportunities and also as a tribute to the difficult childhood days when they remember mothers sacrificing everything for the sake of their welfare.

For me this might just be a day when you do all the showering of love openly but this feeling of gratitude has to live through out the year, through out our lives.

The one who gave us birth, nurtured us with her milk and blessed us always to be happy and safe. Who cried with us, cried for us, who laughed with us and stood with us, prayed for us, all our lives. I specially believe our difficult times were smooth because of her being and her blessings.

And being a mother myself I feel blessed to experience the joy of motherhood and reminding every moment to be grateful for being myself a blessed being.

A gift from my kid quoted

“ Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a while, but their hearts forever.”

Happy Mother’s Day!!! ❣️

Pace up to phase up

Sometimes we confront similar situations, similar set of people, experience similar emotions, face similar crisis repeatedly … however ironically, life keeps moving on — age wise, responsibility wise or circumstances wise. It’s like déjà vo. Been there – seen that, as if being in a whirlpool of emotions and challenges, just going round and round the same situations repeatedly…. finding no way out. Life seems Like a puzzle or a kind of maze and we are left clueless to find our way out.

My take on it is , there are hidden messages in every situation and we might feel like stuck sometimes, but the fact is, till we have learned our lessons to be mentally and physically ready to face the next phase we have to repeatedly go through same experiences.

There is no other way than to Be there and experience the phase with 100% sincerity. It may be pain, sorrow or a challenge, see for the alternatives you can think of, which you would have never thought otherwise. Like you must have to pass through the exam to get in to the next higher class, similarly just gather the learning’s and prepare to pace up to phase up.

Let’s Learn to live and live to learn !!!