Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bits and Pieces

The first blog that I ever had, back in 2005 or so was entitled 'Bits and Pieces of Me.' It was fun to put up tiny posts about whatever I was reading or thinking about. This post reminds me of that.

Miracles: We are taught so much in such a matter of fact manner that we don't even stop for a second and simply be in awe. Like 'Photosynthesis'. Plants absorb light to produce food. Ho hum. Ok. Next lesson. But then, if you're lucky at some point of time, say 36 years into life, you'll be sitting down one day and it will just strike you and knock you down.  Light energy absorbed by plants, converted to chemical energy! By plants! Just light! Not heat being used to boil water, which causes steam, which runs a turbine, blah, blah. Just light taken in and synthesized. Wow.

Darkness: Past a point, a person isn't 'good' anymore, right? If I had superpowers, I wouldn't be a hero. I'd be a villain. I'd be punishing too many people; castrating rapists, leaving power-hungry leaders in the middle of deserts, feeding animal abusers slowly to beasts, ... basically, leaving suffering in my wake. I don't know if I'd have time to paint rainbows and fulfill wishes. I'm not even going to pretend to be good. But I would wear a cape, because I want to.

Linguistica: The Tamil word for wrist is 'Manikattu'- a combination of two words meaning watch and tie. 'Where you tie your watch.' Makes sense. Only, watches have only been around for two hundred years or so. So what was the original word for this bony body part? I asked people. I asked a 'celebrity' Tamil expert. He replied, 'Hahahahaha'. What's so funny?

Real funny: I tried to remember the last time I belly laughed. Like when you laugh so much, you can't breathe. It's different for different people. I usually fall to the floor, curl into the fetal position and leak tears from my eyes while my mouth is open in a seemingly soundless scream. People ask if they can help, or if I need to be euthanized.

So the last time that happened was in the car. My mom and sister were with me and we were showing this comedian around town. It was his first time in India and he was quite appreciative about the things that he was seeing as we drove around. At one point, he was amazed by the colors of our clothing. He was astute- he noticed it was mainly the women. "Look at them", he said as a group of laughing women in colorful saris walked past with flowers in their hair and glinting jewelry. "And look at the men!" he said in a sad tone.

Right at that moment, the car navigated a curve and at its apex, there stood a man. The Universe could not have chosen a worse representative. He was a middle aged, potbellied fellow who had apparently had a few drinks and spent the night on the road. His shirt was crumpled and stained, his waist cloth tied up like a short skirt was the same, his hair stuck out in three perpendicular directions and his gaze had just enough intelligence to let him pass for a human. In slow motion, we all had a good look at this specimen in complete silence. It took me about an hour to stop laughing.

Television: I really recommend the Spanish show 'Money Heist'. It's on Netflix. Two seasons so far with the next scheduled for 2019. But the story has been nicely finished at the end of season 2. I found it riveting. That's not a word I use often.

Counseling: Is there a career in making dog toys out of old, worn out clothing? I've been making them for the street dog pups in my house that are being adopted and it's really fun. Kids need to be given an 'obscure careers' brochure when they're of a certain age and 'Toy making' should be on it.

Life: I read this recently -"Your purpose in life is simply to demonstrate joy/love." For all the philosophy, psychology, spirituality and self-help that I've read, this statement has finally settled in me. I find it enough- I don't have to save the creatures of the world, I can just demonstrate to them that 'this is love, this is joy' and hope they live out their lives giving and receiving that. If they don't, then it is what it is. Life is learning to choose what feels better and the lesson isn't always kind. So finally, I've taken a step towards understanding what 'acceptance' is. Maybe I won't die a tortured soul after all.

And with that happy thought, I'm done for now.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Terrace Garden - Feb 2018

This is actually the second video I made this week. I discovered that in the first one, I did something weird with my voice- I think I subconsciously used a 'bedroom voice', which I do not have! :D

The garden is thriving and we're all so happy.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


It's funny that after such a long gap, I felt the need to write about being connected. I've been blissfully disconnected, warped in a world of simple joys: work, dogs, plants, art, cooking and TV. Or perhaps it's best to use the words 'otherwise connected'. 

There's a lot of talk in the current global culture about the fact that we're all connected. I don't doubt it for a second. But I do wish it was more tangible. Let me explain...
(Before I do, a Note: I tired quickly of searching for and using synonyms to refer to ancestors, so henceforth, I will use 'ggp' which stands for 'great^x grand-person' ;))

I asked my mom recently about who she misses the most from her past and she named two incredibly supportive teachers from her childhood. As she talked about them, I wished I could have met them. Then, it struck me - I could pass by one of the grand children of these teachers on the street and I wouldn't know. This amazing connection between two people simply passing by, unacknowledged and unknown. That's almost tragic. I've taken to thinking in this vein a lot of late. The people I walk past or ride with on the bus or train; they could be related to me, or we could be connected by a friendship or even a shared incident between our ggps. There are so many possibilities!

I wish we all had our own personal screen that pops up in our field of vision. Just like in the movies. As each person walks past, a descriptive line or two about what you share with them. You wouldn't have to stop and acknowledge each person or gush over your connection or share a forced conversation just because you think you ought to. But to simply know would be nice. To feel for real what being connected means. To be a witness to one's own history. To share more than genetic material with your ancestors. Wouldn't that be cool? To know that this guy walking past you is the great grandson of a man who once heroically saved the life of your great grandma? Or the woman selling bananas belongs to a family who used to own a large area of land, on which stands a tree one of your ggps planted? Or oooh, way back in the Stone Age, our ggps worked on a flint knife together? I think we'd all smile at each other in absolute delight.  

Of course, there'd be bad stuff too. Like seeing the progeny of someone who enslaved or abused one of your ggps. It would be a bit of a shock, I imagine, on either side. Maybe incite feelings of shame or anger? But in time, wouldn't we learn to be more accepting and forgiving of even these links? I don't know. It would be an interesting social experiment, for sure. 

Being prone to thinking things through thoroughly, I tried to imagine how this could come about. The vastness of the intelligence required to keep track of and constantly disseminate that kind of information to billions of people- if such a machine existed, wouldn't it be the equivalent of 'God'? Which leads me to contemplate- if God does exist, can you imagine such a creature? Billions of billions of billions of gigabytes of memory, processing speeds faster than the speed of light, inter-dimensional existence, an intelligence far beyond our imaginations....it boggles the mind. I'd like to be connected to that. Plug me in. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017


This is a guy for whom the term 'ball crusher' was probably invented. He makes me cringe a lot but when he's on point, he's on point. A brief debate on theism in which he nails it.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

After months of hard work, and a few glorious rainy days, the terrace garden has finally achieved the beauty I've long dreamed of. It also yields a lot of greens that are used on a daily basis. Happy me :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Honk honk!

The Earth travels on its orbit around the sun at a speed of 30 kilometers per second.

The Sun's orbital speed is 200 kilometers per second.

The Solar System itself is moving about the center of the galaxy at 230 kilometers per second.

Our galaxy, along with others, is moving towards a region of space called the Great Attractor at 1000 kilometers per second.

Kilometers per SECOND

And those are the speeds at which we are hurtling along in space.

Suddenly, I don't feel so smug no more.

Friday, August 11, 2017


I found myself mesmerized this week. It's a word I rarely use. Yet now, I have three instances that caused this adjective to come true,

First. Hayabusa-

This is a guided spacecraft released by the Japanese Space Agency JAXA. It's mission? To travel to asteroid Ryugu, collect samples and return to Earth. It's a six year journey. Launched in 2014, Hayabusa-2 is slated to return in the end of 2020.

Now for the interesting part! The geniuses in JAXA have created a website that shows the location of Hayabusa in space! I tell you, it's hypnotic. The numbers of the bottom of the screen show how far it is from Earth, how close to Ryugu and how long it's been since the launch. These are constantly changing numbers and as I stare at them against the backdrop of a twinkling map of space, I find myself hypnotized. I can imagine this craft hurtling through the blackness of space. Of space!!!  The numbers themselves are mind boggling (9 digits!) and make it all too real just how unbelievably vast these distances are. Growing up with a scaled down map of the solar system in text books and Picard shooting everywhere in seconds at warp speed, this is an eyeopener. I stare at the dot that is Hayabusa and I can almost imagine being there, on that lonely journey surrounded by a near perfect blackness.

Second. This Little Girl.

I can't help it. It's like some mental illness, watching this child. I can't stop if I start. Late last night, eyes burning, I watched Youtube videos of her for at least an hour. She goes from dish to dish, chomping away without a break, without judgement - all foods being equal to her. I don't know if I envy her or not. As a foodie, I want to eat like her, but as I watch, spellbound, I can't help wondering if she actually tastes it all. It's still fascinating. I feel like she's doing the right thing with her life. I want to too.

Xiaoman is her name and Paris Mina is the Youtube Channel posting her videos.

Third. This conversation.

Me: "So what kind of books do you like to read?"
Guy: "Fiction. And non-fiction."

Coming at the back of a long line of teeth-rattling conversations, this one answer (that I henceforth dub 'The Last Straw') did for me what I imagine a million tons of rocket fuel can not - it stripped my mind blank and launched me into a space so black, I think I'm catching up with Hayabusa.

My re-entry will be mesmerizing.