Wednesday, July 29, 2015


We talk about stars and the sun and the moon and the planets and the universe and the solar system often enough. Yet it takes me actual sitting down and letting it sink in to internalize it all. Every single time. I haven’t internalized it the way I have my home, the streets around us, our city. Every time I focus explicitly on the Universe and everything that is a part of it, and everything that we don't know is a part of it, I get goose bumps. I shudder with awe and fear. I try to comprehend the actual vastness of this system. Not as I see in movies or read in books and articles. But in reality. Like I know my streets. I fail. I try to comprehend the life that is possibly out there. It is naive to think that we are the only ones to inhabit this Universe. It makes me wonder even more. What kind of life is out there? What kind of atmosphere do they thrive in? What stage of evolution are they in? What do they look like? What do they eat? What do they think? Do they have hands and legs? Do they have faces? You know. Normal everyday thoughts and questions. 

The more I think about the life that we don’t know about, the more I realize the magnitude of the life that we do know about. Life on our planet. It starts with me, my family, my dogs, people I grew up with, surroundings I grew up in, country I grew up in, food I ate growing up, the country I live in now, the people I know now, the religions I am exposed to now, the culture I am exposed to now, the food I eat now, the house I live in now, my friends, this city, this state, this continent, places I have traveled, people I have met there. It has no end. 

I have a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a husband, two kids. My family is not that big. With respect to this Universe, I mean. But each one of us is SO different. It is hard to fathom how we belong to the same gene pool. Our thoughts, our attitudes, our taste buds, our likings, our disliking, everything. We are very different people. Add to it my friends, we are different in every aspect imaginable. There are similarities too. Clearly. But differences are uncountable. Add to it our neighbors. Other acquaintances. People we run into. People we see on the streets. In the mall. On National Geographic. The bugs. The dogs. The snakes. The life. In general. 

It also makes me wonder about the time we spend mulling over our differences. Difference between plants and animals. Difference between black and white. Difference between tall and short. Difference between big eyes and small eyes. Difference between long hair and short hair. Difference between low income and high income. Difference between the IQ and the EQ. Difference between job and no job. Difference between a Honda and a Tesla. Difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual. Difference between a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian. Difference between a Hindu and a Muslim. Difference between Art and Engineering. Difference among our eating habits. Difference among our accents. Difference among our parenting styles. These differences seem so big to us that we choose who we want to spend time with, who we want to call friends, who we want to not hang out with based on these differences. 

But when I pause to reflect on the Universe and forget all about the human and life differences, I feel so petty. So small. Our differences seem so insignificant. I then tend to see only the similarities. I can’t help but wonder at the amount of time I waste thinking about differences on this planet, when we are teeny tiny part of an extremely ginormous and incomprehensible Universe. 

It kind of puts things in perspective a little bit. I don’t mean to undermine the differences. I acknowledge the differences. But to what effect? It is what we do with those differences that changes for me. Knowing that I am a small part of a vast entity makes my heart and mind open more. It makes me more accepting of the differences around me. It does not make me ignore those differences. It does not make me blind. It just makes me realize that there is so much more, so much different, so much unknown out there. It makes me realize that the differences I see around me are exactly that, different. Nothing more. Nothing less. It doesn’t change how I view the vessel that carries those differences. It makes the importance of differences diminish in my eyes. There is a not-so-fine line between acknowledging and accepting. It is in fact a very wide line. It is very easy to walk that line. And it is mostly in our minds. Acceptance is a mind game. It is about our perception. It talks more about us than it does about the person or entity that is different. 

And just that easily I slip into the unknown of this eternity. Trying to soak it in. Trying with all my might to make it more tangible. Yet I fail. But I don’t stop admiring it. I am forever in awe. Of this thing so large, so incomprehensible. No dictionary contains a word I could use to describe how I truly feel about it. So I will stop this rant by accepting that I don’t know most of what is out there, I know the differences around me seem larger than life when I see them in isolation, but they are utterly insignificant in this macro concept of life, and, I accept it with wide open arms and a grateful heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Chase

She looked at me with her innocent eyes
And asked me what I kept searching for
I looked around yet again searching for what lies
Behind a huge closed door

I tell myself happiness is right behind
I may have to follow it just a few more miles
I can’t help but notice what is always on my mind
It is to follow the happiness till it is mine

Sometimes it is getting an object or two 
Other times it is achieving a goal I may have set
But if I look inside to see if it is true
I find that it has nothing to do with what I will get

What if I got everything I had ever wished for
What if I had achieved every milestone and every target
What if I don't find happiness in spite of all the downpour
Of things and objects and materials I could ever get

What does it mean to have everything yet nothing
What does it mean to feel abundant yet empty
Does it amount all my desires to something
Or does it leave me with more wants and envy

It feels more natural to search outside in this endless sky
Than to take a peek within
This eternal chase to find happiness makes the time fly by
And I lose the sight that it is not about the win

It is about finding the spark inside of me
And not looking for the next big thing to achieve
It is about finding the small things that set me free
A tiny smile that makes me want to believe
A little gaze that is wider than the sea
It is about giving up the chase and time to receive 
The world of happiness that is inside me

I know now I am the key.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The balance

At first when Samaira was born, I went into a full blown over-protective mode. I wanted to save her from the world. Make this world better so I could remove obstacles from her course. But I learned rather quickly, or not so quickly, that she does not need that level of protection from me. Rehan does not need that level of protection from me. 

In fact, sometimes I feel like I need to protect others from them. We all know that the world knows no fury like the fury of a toddler whose wishes are not granted.

They may, and most likely will, face bullying in their lives. I want to be there to support them. To face it. To combat it. To be strong. To emerge winners out of a hopeless situation. In fact I have had the conversation in my head several times. People who bully are unhappy and insecure people. They try to find happiness in other people’s misery. They try to find easy targets to find their own happiness. When someone bullies you, they want you to be sad so that they can be happy. If someone bullies you, look them in their eyes and tell them “I feel sorry for you. I hope you will find a way to happy by not hurting someone one day.”  Definitely don't stand and watch if someone hurts you physically. Fight back. Protect yourself. But people who fight with words are deeply insecure people and don't let their words hurt you. Words hurt in that moment. But when you look someone in their eye, you will see beyond their words. And don’t ever let someone like that hurt you too much. Just a little bit, maybe. Nothing that cakes or good music or good company can’t fix. Obviously, easier said than done. But I have had this conversation so many times in my head. 

But a part of me is also worried about my kids hurting other people. I know it is all about parenting, but what if it is not. I will try my best to raise Samaira and Rehan as humble and empathetic individuals. But it is possible that they will not always be the victims. At some point in life I will have to stand by a victim and tell my kids that they made a mistake and that they need to fix it. I know I am willing to do that. But I am not quite sure what that conversation would look like. I don’t have to know it already. I am perfectly fine being spontaneous. But for an over thinker like me, I surprise myself that I am not able to concoct a conversation I have pictured a scenario for. 

But in the meantime I continue my journey to resolve Samaira and Rehan’s innumerable struggles for blocks, dolls, blankets, forks, plates, and so on. And dote on their evident display of affection, love and care. They balance their own actions and they balance each other out. I do believe that all kids are like that. They are all sweet angels, feisty monkeys, innocent charmers, naive thinkers, straight forward go-getters. They are capable of deeper thoughts than we expect of them, fighting over the most inconsequential things so much so that we have to pinch ourselves if it is for real, displaying the most loving gestures, and the most helpless temper-tantrums than this universe can comprehend. 

In all honesty I wish this world was a bed of roses. No one, including my kids, would ever be the victims or the bullies. We will just have a happy bouncy earth. In which everyone is good. Happy. Content. But that’s not life. I think and rethink. And as much as I love happy and bliss, what makes it so precious is the opposite of happy and bliss. I am not sure if I will appreciate the good in the same way in the absence of bad. For example, I appreciate good toddler behavior because I have seen really really bad toddler behavior. The very synonyms of life include love, hurt, heal, health, disaster, happy, sad, differences, kind, sad, lousy, hope, and, phoenix-like-something - unstoppable and eternal. It is that balance. We don’t always achieve it. 

But it keeps everything in perspective. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Rehan has found a new obsession. One among his many obsessions. Shadows. He looks at his shadow. He gets excited when he sees shadows. He chases his shadow in an effort to catch it. I remember when Sammy was obsessed with shadows. There is something very fascinating about seeing your own shadow. Even now I find my shadow fascinating. The tall and the short of it. The dark and the light of it. It looks nothing like me. Sometimes I find it hard to believe it is my shadow. But that is the very function of shadow. Shadow is my reflection, yet very different.

The thing about shadow is that it lets you see your reflection as another person. You see it for what it is. You don’t see it is as yourself. You see it as a slightly different entity. So it is easier to be objective about it. 

The thing about reflection is that when we reflect on our past, our actions, our words, our thoughts, it is not always possible to be objective. Not for me, anyway. I am biased for me. Even when I am trying to be objective. I am able to see my shadow as another object. But when I am reflecting on me, I can’t separate it from me. I have shades of gray. Not sure how many. Wink. No pun intended. The point is that I have positives and negatives. There are some people who have seen my good side and believe in my good side. There are some who have seen my bad side and believe in my bad side. Same is true for how I view other people. More often than not, I categorize people and things in “I like them” and “I don't like them” as opposed to “good” and “bad.” I understand that there might be huge overlap in all these quadrants if a venn diagram were to be made. But that makes the whole reflection and being-objective thing so tricky. Reflection is a recursive exercise with the self that never ends.

It is so much easier to see someone else yell or shout and think “Oh, what a jerk. I will never be that person. I will never behave that way with anyone.”  But the reality is that the actions we condone of others are the ones we do ourselves. Several times a day. We don’t judge ourselves the way we judge others. That is because we reflect poorly. It is difficult. I can’t truly reflect on my actions as long as I am seeing myself as me. I need some distance from myself if I want to reflect. This is the reason why I find it difficult to reflect objectively on my actions as they are happening. It is so difficult to distance us from the current. It takes us days, weeks, sometimes years to really understand what happened. What we did wrong.

That said, it is important to reflect. Reflecting is important to grow. As a person. As a human. It allows us to hope for a better tomorrow than today. It empowers us to not repeat our mistakes, or repeat them knowingly. It tries to fight ignorance of the self. There are different levels of ignorance and I think the ignorance of self is the most dangerous. Lack of reflection does not change the reality. And knowing the real you is important. You may or may not want to do anything once you have the knowledge of the real you. You may just want to embrace your positives and negatives in all their glory. But that awareness gives us the perspective to know that each one of us has various facets to our personality. There is no single good or bad. Your good could be my bad, and vice versa. It allows us to accept us for who we are. It gives us the chance to be a better version of us. If we want to be, of course. Or just skip to the next step if we don’t want to change.

The point of this super abstract thought process is, that reflection allows us to acknowledge and accept ourselves in the present. It allows us the opportunity to potentially be better. It allows people around us to learn and grow with us. It is one of the most important things I do in my subconscious mind. Obviously non-scientifically speaking.

I just wish I could view it like a shadow. Mine. But not quite me.

Kids reflect differently, I think.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


10 sounds like a lot. But it doesn't feel like a lot. In fact, it is shocking how big a number it sounds to how short the actual time period feels. Yesterday we celebrated 10 years of being together as a husband and wife. June 30th. One of the most important days of our lives. Siddharth and I are far from perfect. As far away as you can possibly imagine. As individuals. As a couple. As parents. As a lot of different things. Siddharth actually makes an effort to be a better person everyday. It is typically a non-goal for me. He talks a lot in terms of “that is the right thing to do” and “that is wrong on our part, we shouldn't do this.” I entertain my greed and selfish side plenty. The point is, we are not perfect. But we love each other that way. We prefer each other that way. In fact, we really like each other. I don't have a lot more to say or add to it. We are a team. A solid team. And I can’t imagine, not for one day, my life without him. 

We did celebrate our anniversary in Vegas this past weekend....sans kids...thanks to our super amazing friends!!