What have you learnt today?


I have always believed that one must never stop learning and this post by Reactionary Tales drives home the point.

It is a given that education builds confidence and personality. Continuous learning keeps the mind sharp and focused, gives you the confidence to speak your mind and helps you make informed decisions. It opens up the doors to new avenues when least expected. 

There is a famous one liner where I come from – Knowledge is being given away everywhere, gather however much you can! I love that adage for a few reasons. It gives a refreshing perspective on learning, sheds light on the progressive attitude one should carry, stands as a good reminder that boredom is just a state of mind and gives one something to look forward to, by promising a hopeful future.

I personally try my best to keep my wheels turning. If I am not busy with the kids and household chores, I am either reading a book or writing a blog post. I like learning new words and using them in my posts so I can commit them to memory. I use a flash card app on my phone that keeps track of all the words I learnt. If I am not doing any of these things then I am coding. I am a programmer by profession, so I like a good coding challenge. I use websites like hacker rank or stack exchange to pacify the “IT guy” in me. At the end of the day, the feeling of achievement spikes my self esteem.

I believe that time is limited and any time spent on improving oneself is well invested. To quote the VP of my previous company, “Spending 15 minutes a day on a topic, will get you that much closer to being an expert in the subject!”

Ciao!

    The break

    No measure of time with you will be long enough, but we’ll start with forever. By Stephenie Meyer

    That pretty much sums up my thoughts when I gaze into the eyes of my 3 month old. 

    For someone that has been burned out by “too much” work, taking a break from the full time job and looking after this little nugget is the perfect catharsis.

    This break has come at the right time and has been something I had looked forward to, for several reasons. 

    First, the mommy guilt that had been gnawing at me from the time my first son was born needed the much needed recess. Second, this can be a good opportunity for a career change, as software has become painfully competitive for a new mom. Third, this could be the perfect time to explore the plethora of hobbies and interests that I have!

    Looking forward to some awesome times with my little champs!!

    Ciao!!!

    Shafi… the mystery man!


    Some people make a lasting impression in your life. No matter how many years pass, you just cannot forget them. One such person to our family is Shafi. 

    No, he was neither our relative nor our friend. He was nothing more than a mere acquaintance who used to live two blocks away from us in a cozy neighborhood. This was about 16 years ago in India. 

    This tall, well built man was in his 50s at that time. He was always in ragged clothes and his hair was always undone. We didn’t know much about him other than the fact that he was heir to millions and had a “mental disability” that is not congenital. 

    Our families never met. Nor did we have any common friends. The only reason we know he existed is because he used to take strolls around our house almost every day. Everytime he passed by us, he would smile and wave.

    One random weekend he knocked at our door and instructed my dad (in a friendly way) that he would like to eat breakfast at our house on the following Monday at 8.00 AM. My dad could not help but blindly comply. There was something about his personality and his commanding yet friendly voice that my dad couldn’t say no. As a matter of fact, all of us would willingly await his arrival. And as promised, he would show up on time and quietly nosh down the breakfast. Thank the host and be on his way. 

    This continued for some time. And as time went by, we have grown to admire him. Despite his mental situation, his mannerisms showed royalty. It was quite apparent that he may have been an important person at some point in time. We do not know what caused him to be in the situation that he was in. 

    We never had any small talk with him during these endeavors. It was strictly business! He would show up, enjoy the breakfast, thank the host and be on his way. 

    Eventually, we have stopped seeing him, not even on his usual walks. We learnt that he was not keeping well. And that was the last of him. 

    We still do not know what happened to him. We often wonder if he survived whatever it was he was suffering from. Nonetheless, he made such a huge impact in our lives that we still remember him in a nostalgic way. We still admire him and his charismatic and amicable personality.

    This post is dedicated to this noble man, who remained a mystery to this day!!

    Ciao!!!

    Pompeii

    I have always been fascinated by Pompeii. When I was 10, I happened to watch a documentary on how the city succumbed to the wrath of Mt.Vesuvius. And ever since I was awestruck by this macabre city. At that time, little did I know that I would visit it years later.


    Physically being there and witnessing the ruins gave me chills. The rich history of this ancient civilization and how well it was preserved despite such catastrophic events is undeniably mind boggling. I would revisit if I can.

    Ciao!

    Bird watching 


    It is 7.00 AM and I know it’s time to wake up my 3 year old. Like any toddler, he does not particularly like the idea of plopping out of the bed as the first order of business.

    But lately he is not all that fussy, thanks to our new ritual of bird watching! All I have to do is softly wake him up and nudge him in that direction. And like a flash, he wakes up, runs off to the couch next to the window and plonks himself on it. 

    This little practice with him the first thing in the morning is the perfect catharsis to the niggling mommy guilt. Especially when the feeling is more pronounced in the morning before rushing him off to daycare.


    He enjoys this time with me as much as I do. Pointing to the spot next to him with his tiny little hands, he goes, “Mommy mommy, come, sit sit sit!”. And we would spend a good chunk of time looking out the window. 

    He loves to observe the birds, their colors and the chemistry between them. He notices that while some are playful and chirpy, others are stoic and poignant. He observes how some outliers fly off leaving the flock behind. He makes up little stories around them and narrates them in his just-woken-up husky voice. 

    This little time spent with him in the morning, sets the tone for a perfect day! No amount of caffeine can give me that!!

    Ciao!!!

    Googling our way into wishful thinking!


    It is a given that Google is the champion of search engines. From information to images, from maps to getting directions to a nearby gas station, you name it, Google’s got it! It is a single tool with many uses and unquestionably it makes our lives easier. No matter what you type in the search bar, it can find about 20 pages of information. There are discussion forums on almost everything. 

    Despite its many uses, there are some inconspicuous shortcomings. From a psychological standpoint, there is a subliminal thought process involved that will eventually lead one down into the spiral of wishful thinking. How, you ask?

    Easy! You type “postpartum belly band” and google spits out a brouhaha of 30+ pages. There are 10 pages worth of content about how so and so celebrity lost the baby weight using the “said product”. Additionally, you get about a 100 or so images of how the new moms have regained their fitness levels. The images prove their point by showing a “before vs after”. 

    You see the drift? Where does all this lead us? Quite obviously, in favor of whatever it is we began the search for. 

    The point I am trying to make here is that unless we apply our critical thinking and choose the right keywords in our search, or sagaciously weigh the pros and cons about the information presented to us, we are in for a delusional ride.

    Ciao!

    Pondering over “prudent”…


    As I look outside the living room window, I see that it is cloudy, damp and drizzling. The trees are showing off their bare brown branches with beady droplets dangling on them. It is most certainly “sit by fireplace reading your favorite book” kind of day! The weather app on my smartphone surely knows what it is talking about.

    I just dropped off my (almost) 3 year old at the daycare and now I need to attend to my 3 month old little nugget who is gleefully playing in his playpen next to my recliner.

    While I take a break before moving onto the next task of the day, I unlock my phone to take a peek at the world outside my window. WhatsApp shows no new messages, Facebook isn’t promising either.

    The WordPress daily prompt prompts the word “prudent”. As I mull over it, nothing comes to mind except this vintage commercial for a toothpaste called prudent. It was roughly around late 80s or early 90s from my growing-up days back in India.

    Back then, our good old black and white television was a prized possession. We would sing along to the tunes of the commercials whose lyrics we learnt by rote. Or watch almost every animated show on air. 

    We would eagerly wait for the Sunday night movie – the only movie of the week. Those were the times when commercial breaks were just 1 or 2 over the entire length of the movie. There was only one channel, but the quality of the programs was on par. 

    I must admit, those were the simpler times!! 

    Pause…

    …is a beautiful thing!

    Leah hit the pause button on her iPod as it belted out Pink Floyd’s “hey you”, one of her all time favorites. She set the empty coffee mug on  her side table, her first one of the day and paused to glance out of the window. 

    The weather forecast said there is rain at about 2.00 pm, but the sun was shining so bright on this mid March afternoon that rain seemed like a far fetched idea. 

    As her eyes grazed the garden, she realized that the bird feeder was almost empty. She thought to herself, “Little Mr. Buttons finally showed up!”. And made a mental note to refill the bird feeder, lest Mr. Buttons goes without food.

    She opened her porch door and stepped out. As she walked past her herb garden, she realized that there is a little nip in the air, not unusual for this time of the year. She walked to the chrysanthemums that she painstakingly overwintered and kneeled down to sniff the fresh scent of these beauties.

    The scent reminded her of the Southern suburban climes where she spent most of her summers tending to her grandmothers garden. An instant feeling of warmth came over her. A feeling that she has almost lost touch with. A feeling that got her in touch with her inner child. 

    Just as she got up, she noticed that the neighborhood kids were playing hopscotch. They waved to her as she walked back inside. She smiled and waved back to them, opened the porch door and proceeded to the kitchen to get some fodder for Mr. Buttons. She walked back to the garden and refilled the bird feeder, hoping that he would show up today while she is around. 

    She returned to the kitchen and poured a second cup of coffee, walked to her mini bookshelf and picked up that book she bought at a local thrift store. Returned to her recliner and put her iPod back on and continued playing the Pink Floyd. She opened the book and started reading the first page, wondering to herself, pause is a beautiful thing!

    This is my entry for the wordpress Daily Prompt – Pause.

    Ciao!

    Later…(or now?)

    Here’s my first attempt at The Daily Prompt – Later.

    This reminds me of a couplet I read during my childhood, composed by Sant Kabir Das in Hindi:

    Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab; pal mein pralay hoyegi, bahuri karega kab!!

    It means, dont put off what needs to be done until later, do it right now, because now is the moment!!

    The poem rings so true in my case. I have been an on and off blogger since 2009. Ever since I can remember, I have had passion for words and writing. But I have never put my work out there because I am one of the biggest self imposed critics. I always made my peace by telling myself to put it off for another day. 

    But that has to end someday. So here I am, doing the needful! No more later! Its right now!!

    Ciao!!

    My little pick me ups

    Everyone needs a pick me up once in a while. I thought its not a bad idea to list mine. These are some of the things that instantly energize me. So, here we go:

    • Meditation 
    • A cup of steaming hot coffee 
    • A good book
    • Coddling my kids or singing to them 
    • Playing with my dog
    • A big bowl of tom yum soup 
    • Learning a new word 
    • Watching the raindrops graze the window