Raising a citizen!

Ten year old daughter discussing her Geography with mother.

“Amma, what is AP?”

“Andhra Pradesh”

“What is UP?”

“Uttar Pradesh, MP is Madhya Pradesh”

“What is Telengana?”

“Oh that……You see dear, the state of Andhra Pradesh was divided into two states. The new state formed is Telengana.”

“Why did they split AP? Doesn’t India already have too many states? Don’t they all still speak the same language?”

“Yes, they speak same language of Telugu. But the dialects maybe different and also the state was split due to infighting for territory and thereby wealth.”

“But the Government has to agree, right?”

“Yes, it was done with the approval of the Government.”

“Really? Why would the Government agree to do this? Don’t they know that more states is more difficult to manage?”

Mother paused, stopped folding the laundry and started thinking about how to answer the question.

“You know what amma –  We need a good Government. That’s what we really need.”

Mother happy about the citizen with awareness that is growing up in front of her eyes and also of course that she didn’t have to answer many more such questions!!!!!




Random Indian thoughts – I

I have been away from my home country for around ten years now and I have gone back for visits almost eight times in this period of time. The tickets are expensive – you work hard year round just to make enough money to cover the tickets and other spending during the stay. When you are back to work, you start over from scratch again. But I have not regretted any of the trips we made so far.

When you look at it from a North American perspective, you save all your vacation days and use them for your India trip. Your North American friends are jealous that you get one month of Vacation to the exotic land of India! Many of my Indian friends feel that they are stressed when they are in India and it is not actually a vacation. I do agree to this thought and it is true for most of the times I visited home. When my friends come back from one of these trips they swear that they are not going back for say, another 5 years.

Most of the time, average IT Indian families plan their trips around some event that is happening back home – like brother’s wedding, dad’s Birthday, sister having a baby. On some unlucky situations, they go back home because one of the family members is seriously ill or someone passed away. When you combine these events with visits to relatives houses etc. you do not have much room to build in your own agenda of a trip to your favorite hill resort. How can you consider this a vacation if your agenda is dictated like this?

There is a lot of complaining after coming back – oh, we didnt get to do all the things that we wanted to, it was too hot, the relatives were whiny and bad to me, India has changed so much, it is too crowded, all the shops do not take credit cards…..it goes on. What I have found out in all these years is that, even though you do not get to plan your time off, and there are a million other things that you do not enjoy there, there is an undeniably STRONG relationship between you and your homeland. It just cannot be explained in words. You go back so that you can be YOURSELF.

The feeling of belonging and being ones own self is something we forget very easily and conveniently. The last time I went, I had a very stressful trip owing to the fact that it was my children’s first visit and they got sick way too often. But that does not stop me from thinking about my next trip and I am already looking forward to my next one in August. Again, this time it is my Dad’s 60th birthday event that is dictating the dates and places, but hey, I would still take it.

Do let me know how your visits to your home land are like, when is your next visit and what you are looking forward to do in that trip, your thoughts on  my musings………..

Oh, by the way it is not like I never complained anything about my trips and vacations to India. I did do that when I was younger, naive and did not have the big perspective on life and dwelled on immediate pleasures and rewards of life. I have learnt to think of the big picture of life through my own experiences as well as from others.

Yoga, Spirituality in South India Series – Part IV

Criss-Cross Applesauce……………………

When I was growing up, we always sat down on the floor to have our meals. We bought a dining table in the late 90’s in my home so that guests and my grandma who was unable to sit on the floor could have their meals a bit more comfortably. We would sit on the floor like you would for your meditation (Padmasanam). In the olden days, people used banana leaf for a plate. Banana leaves were available in abundance in the backyard and you could always get a fresh one. It was also believed that if you serve your guests in the leaf, you are honoring them. If you think of it, banana leaves are eco-friendly too.

Indians eat their food mostly with their hands, preferrably right hand. This allows you to touch it and enjoy the feel of the food you are eating. The taller you get, it will get tougher to eat in the sit down position because you need to bend more – to let your mouth meet the food in your hand mid-way since you are not allowed to spill the food on the floor.  In most of the houses, men will eat first and the women will have their food later on. And also, men are not allowed to serve the food by themselves. Women will wait on them and serve them as necessary. Women are not equal to men and so they are not allowed to sit down with the men and serve them. They will be standing and serving with their hip bent.  This is a rigourous exercise and the intensity will depend upon the number of men in your household.

Does this sound interesting and funny to you? You should try this at home and see how hard it is to serve people sitting down on the floor. We have hundreds of guests who turn up at weddings and other gatherings and they are all served their meal this way. To make it more interesting for the folks helping you with this exercise by sitting down, serve them soup on a banana leaf. South Indian meals consist of rice and curries that are runny and are fluids.

Now, you know that Criss-Cross Applesauce is the same as Padmasana. This posture is assumed when we do any kind of religious rituals including our Poojas and meditation. When you are meditating, you sit down criss-cross applesauce and keep your back straight. This helps your breath to travel easily and deeply. Your palms will rest on your knees and facing upwards. Keeping the palms open and facing upwards is symbolic of your readiness to recieve.

Times have changed and people do not sit down on the floor for their meals anymore. The middle class have gotten richer and everyone fancies classic furniture and style in their houses. More and more, people find it hard to sit down on the floor even for a special occasion let alone three times everyday for their meals.