5 November 2015

Where have you gone?

Dear readers, I have some times seen missing person reports on the TV with a mix of feelings. How and why do people go missing? How are their families and friends bearing up with it?

These are people of all age groups and ethnicities making it harder to figure out the possible causes.

An elderly friend of mine who lived not far from me has vanished without a trace. I pass her house on my way to drop and pick my little one from school. I was free to drop in whenever I felt like and wander around her herb garden with her chatting and listening to her wisdom.

A hello to her rescued cockatoo and then we would sit at her cosy kitchen table sipping tea/coffee/herbal concoction of the day, regaling each other with tales from our lives.

She has a herbal/kitchen based remedy for most things.
An oncoming cold/cough she told me could be handled by a spoonful of garlic jam every morning for a few days.
Garlic jam, the words made my eyes all but pop out. But being the sort who will give anything at least one try I went home and made it.
Take 1 pod of garlic, peel and give the cloves one sound pat with something heavy, so that they carck open but don't get mashed.
Put these into a small pan and cover with 2 tablespoons of honey or more.
Simmer until golden and then store.
Ayurveda does not agree with heating/boiling honey but I went ahead and tried it.
The resultant golden jam was delicious in a garlicky way. I ate and fed all and sundry 1 spoon of this on waking till all the cold bugs had been chaes away, steam inhalation and salty gargling aiding the process.

Coming back to my friend, one morning after doing the school run I parked my car outside her home and gave her a call to check if she was home. No answer. I rang the bell. No answer. I went around to peer into her garden and yelled myself hoarse. No answer.

I went home thinking to myself that she must be at the hospital tending to her daughter-in-law who was due to give birth any day.

Since then I have gone there twice a week to check if she's back and rung her phone innumerable times but to no avail.

One of these times a neighbour saw me and came over. She said that my friend hadn't been seen at all for many weeks by then and nobody had any idea about her whereabouts. My friend had gone missing.

I have hit a blank and for the first time ever experienced something like this. It's left me wondering and feeling a little empty every time I think of her.

I hope she is safe, healthy and happy wherever she is.

15 October 2015

Yoga retreat- Glenbarr Farmstay- Of Oms and Moo's

Yoga Retreat

To retreat generally means to me to take a step back from something.
So what would this mean when juxtaposed with Yoga dear readers?

Being a savvy lot I'm sure you already know what this is all about.
Retreating from a regular life, it's hustle-bustle just for a little while can be soothing, rejuvenating, joyful and even daunting to some.

I am hosting a weekend retreat from 23rd Oct to 25th Oct along with Jacqui Dobrilla, Charlton Lane- all of us are fully qualified and accredited Hatha Yoga Teachers.

Throughout the weekend you can enjoy guided asana (pose) practice, meditation, pranayama (breath work techniques), an evening of Kirtan (chanting), and delicious vegetarian meals all prepared for you to top up your post yoga bliss.

Cherise who will cook for us is herself a Yoga teacher and a magician with rustling up scrumptious, colourful and varied vegetarian meals.

I will do my best to gorge on the bliss-food and put on a kilo of Bliss-weight during the weekend alongside of teaching Asana, Pranayam and singing Bhajans by the bonfire.

It's green as green can be, the air is clean, surroundings old country style and bird-song is broken only by our chanting Oms and the cows Moo's.

There is a link in the end with all the information and registration forms etc.

I wish I could have you all at Glenbarr too :)


26 September 2015

Wholesome sleep- some tips

As the pace of life changes some of our most basic functions start to get affected. I have heard friends and acquaintances rue the fact that it's become hard to get regular unbroken beauty sleep. Everything starts to get affected and this has been a post I have been wanting to write for the last few months. I am sure dear reader that you know many or most of what I have put together. This post may serve as just a memory booster and you may be able to pick out something for your own use and benefit from it. Let me know what you think in the comments :)

1.Soon after waking up stay in bed for a minute, feeling thankful for every good thing you have in life and say a prayer/shloka if you like.

2.Do not get into soical media asap on waking up.

3.No caffiene at all. If you love your coffee and cannot do without it then if possible just 1 cup in the morning.

4.Develop a favourite ritual from one hour before bedtime. This could range from reading, writing, sitting with family and anything else that strikes your fancy and is calming.

5.Get rid of all electronic gadgets and lit up screens including phone(except for receiving calls) from 1 hour before bedtime.
The artificial blue light from televisions, computers, smart phones and tablets suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, making the body think it’s time to be active, instead of asleep.
Recommendation: Refrain from using electronics right before bed and especially in the middle of the night.
6.Eat a balanced and easy to digest meal which is almost digested when you go to bed. Never eat just before bedtime.

7.Sit silently for 5 mins before you sleep and do the alternate nostril breath- anulom vilom.

8. Associate the bed with sleep only, so try not to do anything else lounging on the bed during the day.

9.Have a warm cup of hot chocolate about an hour before bed.

10.Get lavender essential oil and put 1 drop on your pillow or use it in an essential oil burner.

11.In ancient Indian and Chinese cultures, it’s known that the proper orientation of your bed can enhance the quality of your sleep.
Recommendation: When possible, sleep with your head facing south. Keep the head of the bed a couple of inches from the wall and as far away from the entrance to the room as possible.

12.The body’s natural sleep cycle responds best to routines. Going to bed at the same time every night will trigger deep sleep much more often than maintaining an erratic schedule.
Recommendation: Go to bed around the same time every night.

13.Scan your body slowly from foot to head, letting go of any clenching you come across in any part of the body. Once this is done send out a prayer blessing every being in your own words or if you have a favourite shloka say it in your min.

14.Don't expect the quality of your sleep to improve dramatically overnight. Expecting it to do so may stress you out, and stress works against your interests.
Recommendation: Allow the quality of your sleep to slowly adjust to your new bedroom etiquette over a longer period of time

 Lucky last tip- Try to sleep around the same time everyday :)

I sign off with a prayer to the universe and a picture from the Elephanta caves- 'May every sentient being sleep blissfully and wake up joyfully

31 August 2015

Snail mail challenge- new connections from slowing down

When Shailaja of The Moving Quill blog http://shailajav.wordpress.com/- the erudite and wordily theatrical hostess of B-A-R (Blog-A-Rhythm, a bloggers group) announced a Snail mail challenge my heart leapt with joy and I signed up for it in breath.
         Nostalgia kicked in and took me down the remembered joy of holding onto pretty letter pads, envelopes and stickers to embellish my letters with. Numerous known and unknown (pen pals) people have been written to and received letters from about a decade and a half back with unparalleled excitement and relish.
        Writing was a joy and then posting the letter and waiting for the reply was an even greater one. Anticipation is such a positive feeling in this experience and the post man was a sight for sore eyes then :)
The mystery element in the challenge made it even more enticing. One didn't know who one was receiving the letter from.

I had to write to Inderpreet who blogs at Eloquent Articulation http://www.inderpreetkaur.blogspot.in/
The first thing to do was of course dig around and find an old old letter pad ( I knew I had one somewhere). I found it finally and began to write covering some things about me some things about Inder, which is what I have been calling her virtually and generally trying to forge a connection. Writing with pen and paper was interesting and my handwriting did not come out v nicely and there were scratched out letters and words here and there. However I prettified the end with a couple of stickers borrowed from my daughter who was very pleased to see me use stickers as blithely as her :)

I posted the letter and sat tight wondering and waiting.

Inder could not hold herself from posting a picture of the letter I sent, on the group as soon as she received it and her obvious excitement made me v happy :)
The sweet girl wrote me a reply which I loved reading through.

For the other part I saw an email from Shilpa Halwe/Gupte who blogs at http://shilpaview-ideas2.blogspot.com.au/ who had no other option but to reveal to me that she had written me a letter. Her husband had couriered it for her and the letter had reached Australia. The courier people however needed my phone number....After the initial email there was a flurry of mails and fb messages between us till ten days later the courier guy finally managed to make the delivery.

I read and re-read her letter savoring the tastes of the new connection. Shilpa and I did not know each other at all earlier and it was good getting to know a little about her life. We chatted on fb and exchanged some more information soon after :) I began to write a reply and am still sitting halfway with that. I will post it soon Shilpa :)

I am sure we will stay connected one way or the other and if not letters it will be nice even to write personal emails or fb messages in the future.

Slowing down is the essence of a happy life to me and the snail mail challenge was one more reminder of how much beauty there is when there is no instant gratification :) This brought me back memories and will help in making more memories. Both Inder and Shilpa came across as warm hearted, loving, lively ladies with a penchant for the written word. Looking forward to knowing you better and many other bloggers who are all a heartwarming bunch of thinking people <3 br="">

24 August 2015

Branding-gimmicks and Yoga

Let's plunge to the heart of the matter- Yoga is yoga. Period.
This has been a-brewing a long while in my being. 

It is a return to our essential simplicity.
Of what use is it to take one element out of it, blow it out of proportion and add a new prefix making it, Cold-yoga, Still-yoga, Hanging off something-yoga, Balancing on a surfboard-yoga, Sweaty-yoga, Less clothed-yoga, Cotton baggy pants wearing-yoga, Dance-yoga, Arty-yoga, Twist your limbs into a knot-yoga and so on....I'm sure you get the drift by now dear reader :) 
The only thing served by this gimmicky-ness to my simplistic mind is the ego of the person who started off the new name and of course material greed.
Advertising and promoting each new name as having been 'Discovered' by so and so, the new-age wellness businesses take advantage of the human mind's propensity for seemingly 'New' twists on anything.
Perfected thousands of years ago by sages such as one cannot even imagine existed, yoga is Unity. Unity of the body with the mind, the energies housed in the mind-body complex, the spirit, in such a way that just Be-ing becomes possible. That is all it is. That is all it needs to be. This one thing achieved everything else naturally falls in place.
In the meantime the world sitting atop the giant-wheel of materialism will swing round and round and round until who knows when.

Moving on to sweeter things, this is a pic clicked on my tab while biking from Bengaluru to Hessargatta. The route is pastoral, rustic and an absolute heart-healer. The cow was a bit surprised when she was given undivided attention for a few minutes :)

Being at one with nature

20 August 2015

Namo Matrubhoomi

Sculpted by Pia Basant

What is it that ties me to you
In an inextricable heart-knot
The umbilical chord that never
Ever severed

What makes me yearn to be with you
Despite the madness and the clamouring
Yearning constantly for the land
Fast covering up with concrete

The soul always intact
Your soul always shining forth
Through pollution and scams
Good people trying their best

The wicked hovering over every realm
The good building up their strength
 My every blessing to you and your's
Motherland- I love you.

29 June 2015

Zen and Zazen

Enso, Zen Circle of Enlightenment                                                        

For the last alphabet of my first ever blog challenge of any kind the only topic that came to mind was this. Happily saved from wondering for this post, let us dive into the post right away and take a peek at what Zen and Zazen is.

Zen is a school f Mahayana Buddhism that emerged in China about 15 centuries ago.

In China it is called "Ch'an" Buddhism. Ch'an is the Chinese rendering of the Sanskrit word dhyana, which we have discussed in an earlier post.

"Zen" is the Japanese rendering of Ch'an. Zen is called "Thien" in Vietnam and "Seon" in Korea. In any language, the name could be translated "Meditation Buddhism."

Zen began to emerge as a distinctive school of Mahayana Buddhism when the Indian sage Bodhidharma, taught at the Shaolin monastery of China. (Yes, it's a real place, and yes, there is a historic connection between kung fu and Zen.) To this day Bodhidharma is called the First Patriarch of Zen.

                                                        Purple Water Lily Stock Photo
 The meditation practice of Zen, called "zazen" in Japanese, is the heart of Zen. Daily zazen is the foundation of Zen practice.

It may start off seeming like mind training, which it is but that perception of it will change as one gets a feel for it.

The most difficult part of zazen for most people to comprehend is sitting with no goals or expectations, including an expectation of "getting enlightened" or feeling calmer or whatever subtle expectation we may have.

Most of us do sit with goals and expectations for months or years before the goals are exhausted and we "just sit." Along the way, one learns a lot about oneself.

If this has piqued your interest dear reader then I'm sure you will delve deeper by yourself. 
After all these are personal journeys of solitary Bliss.

With today's post we come to the end of a month long journey, but journeys never end, do they....                                               
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you who read my posts and left comments and inspired and encouraged me. The doors to my blog are always open. Let us keep this connection Between You and Me alive and kicking.
                                                           Purple Water Lily Or Lotus Stock Photo

10 June 2015

Ammamma, my maternal grandma- an epitome of gentle fortitude.

I am writing this for the World Elders Abuse Awareness day, June 15th. This is the first time I have heard of a special day set out for this, on something that is unbelievable, something that cuts very deep. To smack the hand that rocks one's own cradle is not human.

My grandmothers- maternal and paternal are the only grand-parents I had the opportunity of knowing, both grand-fathers having passed on quite early.

 On this occasion here is a nostalgic trip in remembrance of my maternal grandma. One in fond memory of my paternal grandma will follow, soon.

Ammamma is what we called our maternal gandma who was of a Telugu background. Landed gentry who had lost most of their material possessions except an ancestral home and some cattle through treachery and miscalculated decisions, ammamma had retained the sweet temperament she was born with. Interesting how some people turn hardened cynics while others mellow and enrich everyone around them.
        Ten children to bring up and the oldest the primary blessing in their bringing up had brought Ammamma across to a stage where she had more than a score grand children of every shape, size and ability. She had to cut the vegetable exactly as she liked in shapes meant to draw out the best taste. She had to wash her white cotton sari, under-skirt and blouse, crochet incessantly and was seen with one hindi novel or another tucked under her arm, usually detective ones written by one Col: Ranjit. I managed to read all of them and enjoyed the thrill immensely, of the detective novels and also of reading books which I had been forbidden. She would fondly turn a blind eye and let me get away with this.
         At a time when onions were priced on par with gold, well almost, she would pass me an onion from her share surreptitiously, as I was addicted to eating them with yogurt-rice, a typical last course to a south Indian meal. A small gesture but it is one of my lasting memories.
                 When Ammamma opened her 'Pitaara' (old hindi term for box), I would run to sit and watch the mysteries about to unfold. She had a number of small bags and boxes in her wardrobe, filled with goodies of all kind. Embroidered, beaded material, cards, old photos, laces, antique silverware-the bags contained within them a world of their own.
       Being playful and noisy at times, I had my share of being told off too. This was done so mildly by the gentle soul that it never had the desired effect. When I grew up I got to know she had head-aches then and could not handle the sound and boisterous playing. That did give me a pang but then children are children and can stay quiet only for so long.
                    Once she pulled away the ladder that we had used to climb to the terrace to play not realising that we probably sounded like a herd of creatures stomping away, overhead. We still managed to get off using cornices and window sills as foot-holds and went to question Ammamma cheekily about the ladder that had been taken away. All she did was smile her sweetest pink-lipped, toothless smile and that smile will warm my heart forever and ever.
I am sure you are still smiling that smile, wherever you are.

                                                             Blossom Orchid Flower Bouquet Isolated White Background Stock Photo