Sunday, 10 August 2014

Walking the Talk

Today as we were getting ready to go to a birthday party, Eva was watching me put on three different kinds of product just on my eyes. Suddenly she says, "I wish there was makeup for kids too." So I cautiously (and with a sinking feeling) reply, "Why darling? Kids don't need makeup." "But we want be pretty too!" came the innocent reply that haunted me all day as a big parenting FAIL!

In the four short years of my daughter's life, I've tried hard to teach her what I think are the important things in life. To be a good person; to be respectful, kind and generous; to value and respect herself as a person. But now she's old enough to learn from what she sees and, without really realizing it, I am showing her that you can only be and feel beautiful by painting your face and nails with expensive colours and dressing in fancy clothes and shoes.

So, now it's time for me to walk the talk and show her that being beautiful and respecting yourself doesn't mean covering up with 5 layers of colours and trying out 3 different outfits and shoes every time one leaves the house! I hope the time I save everyday from not having to deal with all that will not just ease my day but, more importantly, show my daughter that looking and feeling pretty has nothing to do with the things we put on our face or bodies everyday. Instead it is in the joy of loving yourself - perfection, imperfections and all!

PS: Hubby, I should have listened all those years ago when you kept telling me I looked better without any makeup! :)


Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Price We Pay for Cheap Food


Everywhere I go these days I am assaulted by advertisements for cheap food at prices that “won’t be beat!” But as I pick up garlic from China at a dollar a dozen and strawberries from Mexico in December, I wonder what this is really costing me, my children and their children. As I spot a whole chicken for $4, I wonder if it has ever seen the meadows or pastures that were probably just outside its cage, somewhere far away (and judging from the amount of fat that had to be drained when it was cooked, I’m gonna say it never learned to walk at all!). As I go past the seafood counters, I think of all the dead Olive Ridley turtles I saw washed up on the beaches in Madras, drowned and then thrown out by the fishing trawlers clearing the sea beds of all living things.

Disturbing images and thoughts that make me think hard about the price we pay for our “cheap food.” The long term cost of these foods is being conveniently ignored to make us feel good about having to takeout fewer bills from our wallets at the supermarket. The impact of consuming this not particularly nutritious produce on our health and our environment seems of little concern to anyone. No one seems to want to mention the fact that paying two or three dollars less for my produce every week here in Toronto is probably adding to the food crisis in Africa and Asia. The pennies I’m saving on prices that “won’t be beat” may have something to do with the huge gym and medical bills my kids and grand-kids will probably have to foot.

I don’t understand why a farmer has to harvest his produce before it is ready and sell it for less than it cost him to grow, so that it can be shipped off to some faraway place, when there is a need for that same produce in his local market! Maybe I’ll do another blog post when I finally figure that out. But for now, I’m going to spend an extra couple of dollars and buy from my local farmers’ market as much as I can and hope that starting with the woman in the mirror will help change the world. If you would like to as well, you can find a market closest to you thanks to the Toronto Farmers’ Market Network at http://tfmn.ca/?page_id=2

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Human Spirit

As much peace as I find in the soul stirring stillness of the Silent Valley, and bask on the warm beaches of the marina, marvelling at my own insignificance before the Bay of Bengal, I can't help but stand on Yonge Street in Toronto and be amazed by the amazing transformation that has been brought about, not by some supreme being that is dressed in purple robes, but mere humans!

As much as the pristine Himalayas soothed my soul and made me feel one with the universe, the CN tower and magnificent city lights energize my mind and renew my spirit. I am constantly astounded by the sheer force of will and nimbleness of mind that has allowed the human race to build, generation upon generation, some of the most awe inspiring structures ever.

Sure we probably destroyed the planet along the way and future generations are probably doomed to living in oxygen free, concrete jungles. But, why do we under estimate our kids so much? If we could build these majestic cities, that were probably inconceivable to people 80 or 100 years ago, why are we so sure that our kids, and theirs, won’t find a way to make things better? After all, the human spirit is the only thing that has endured through all these generations.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Two Weeks in Toronto

Exactly two weeks since I landed in Toronto. The most that has changed in my life? I've lost 8 pounds!! :D Trivialities aside, moving out of my beloved, but definitely small pond has made me quite a minuscule fish in the huge big ocean that is Toronto.

Living in a city with so many different cultures and ethnicities, and best of all, seeing each and everyone of them consciously acknowledged and respected is quite novel indeed. You would expect that coming from Madras, it shouldn't be too different and I should be able to fit right in. But the subtle difference here is the extremely conscious manner in which everyone accommodates the differences in culture and try their best to communicate very carefully, with respect being top most on their minds.

Life here seems to be very laid-back and calm, with almost everyone getting where they want to on time, in the most polite and orderly manner. But get into the flow of things and you realize that it is more like a flock of ducks in pond - Serenely floating around on the outside but furiously paddling with all their might just under the surface.

I've got the furious paddling down. Now all I have to do is work on the calm surface. :)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

These are a few of my favourite things...

There are very few things that will perk up my week like watching a movie at a theater! I guess there's a reason why I knew the ticket counter guys at Satyam so well, that I could get them to sell me tickets to the best seats in the house when the board outside read 'Houseful'!

After years of being bogged down with supposedly better things to do in life, my bestest friend in all the world took me for a movie aptly titled "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara". This happened to be a couple of days after he tried to convince me that I couldn't fit 68 hours of work into a 24 hour day.

Anyway, with Eva perched on my lap with her favourite blanket securely in hand, we sat down for the most fun we've had in awhile. Eva bounced and fist pumped to every song in-spite of it being 11 pm and even B was caught laughing at times (regional languages are not his first choice). It totally got me to realize that at the end of the day, a goofy movie can be a lot more satisfying than ticking off just a couple more item on an endless ToDo list!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Reminiscings and New Beginnings

Stumbled upon my own blog after so long today. Was pleasantly surprised at the myriad things that piqued my as well as my (tiny band of devout) readers' interest for the past 5 years. From auto drivers to city administration and turtles, we seem to have quite an eclectic taste, this motley bunch of us (if I may say so myself ;)).

And now, as I prepare to leave behind the beloved cities of my youth, friends and family (whose brave faces can't veil the anxiety in their voices), I feel a strong need to revive this blog, with the anticipation of interesting adventures to experience and write about.

My one visit to Toronto 10 months ago gave me such good vibes, that I'll be setting off again - this time as a student for a year! I do intend to explore the city with as much curiosity as I did Madras and hope to record these trysts here. Let's see what comes of it...

So here's to old friends and new adventures!


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Mithran Uncle

You taught me to spell hippopotamus when I was a little child

And gave me dire warnings when I grew up and went wild.

You took me in, in the middle of the night - no questions asked,

Let me cool off and come to terms with the world,

While discreetly making sure that my family knew I was fine.

You introduced me to people who’ve become friends for life,

And showed me how just one man

Can make a difference to so many lives.

You amazed me with your calm when I was hysterical with panic

And made me realize, more can be achieved without being hassled.

You always remembered to call around my birthday

And transformed a crumbling old church, just for my wedding day

You showed me every day that the only way to live

Was by giving it your all and going that extra mile.

I could go on and on, as could many others I’m sure

But all that’s really left to say is

Miss you Mithran uncle and thank you for having been part of my life.