Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile…!

Today is not a day of ‘Remembrance Day’ or ‘Veteran’s Day’ or even ‘Poppy Day’, yet we all agree that for soldiers who are day and night on the borders protecting us and letting us live peacefully is something we forget to thank everyday!

Being raised in National Defense Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla Pune, I feel extremely proud for the people who willingly decide to join the forces because of patriotism and in this they lose their life too. Yet, the craziness of patriotism takes them beyond death or any such fear. I have huge respect for them and when I say this my heart and eyes fills with tears out of love for them and their families.

“Born to fight, Trained to kill, Prepared to die, but never will!”

I too have family members who are in army such as my late uncle Narayanan Nair and now his son my cousin Abhilash Nair who has been posted at difficult areas and when I say difficult it is at the borders of Siachen where it’s piled with snow and due to the huge mountains even getting any help such as food and other grocery materials is difficult and takes months to reach. Sometimes it’s the weather and at times the firing is taking place and it’s not safe for the army to deliver food and water to these forces who are at the border keeping us safe.

Siachen Glaciers

“Soldiers sacrifice their life for their nation. It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to live”

I know my cousin had to go through difficult times in life at this young age, when his dad was not well. One can only imagine how tough one has to be to focus at the border and not think of your ailing dad. He used to apply for leave and it used to get rejected because of the duty that he was in.
I am sure my cousin had gone through times when he must have felt like to leave the job and be at his father’s service but then there’s always that bigger service we end up with when it comes to your country and its people.

Kargil Area

It was tough for him when he used to get notified by his family that dad is at his last stage and then some miracle would happen and he would get discharged from hospital. He did take leave and come and spent time with his ailing dad. But in going through all this pain he didn’t lose his focus and dedication towards his work and he did a great job. He was returning back to work from his leave and only to hear that his Dad has left this world. It pained me as he was my uncle and I can only imagine what he must have been going through. That’s the life of a soldier no matter what happens at home your duty is to serve and he did a good job on that.

My Cousin Receiving ‘Best Soldier’ award

It was such a proud moment to hear that he was awarded “Best Soldier in Kargil Brigade“.
It’s not easy when one hears that they son or relatives or anyone to that matter is posted in Kargil specially after the 1999 Kargil War where lot of people died from both sides. It’s a sad feeling. Yet my cousin went there and did his job fearlessly with all dedication. I salute him !!!!

“Appreciation goes a long way as a motivator”

I am sure his dad is not here in this world but he is watching him from far and blessing him.

May my uncle rest in peace and my cousin keep rocking !!!

“Life is about creating your own happiness and before you know it, blessings of love will find their way into your heart” ~ Brigitte Nicole

Jai Hind!!!

~ Dawn

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Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters…!

Have you ever come across a moment where you are desperate and wish for things to work in your favor? Yes, I had that moment today.
And I would like to share one of the experience here with my readers.

This was in the 1997 year when I newly migrated in Toronto, Canada. As part of an immigrant I went through the initial struggle and that time I got a job of a Cashier in a Swiss Restaurant which was part time on minimum wage.
This is that time when I was struggling to meet the ends as the moment you land you have bills to pay for your stay, phone, grocery etc. I remember no matter what but I always made sure the rent money is secured and available in my bank account because I was worried about two things here, first insufficient funds fine those days was $25 and that insufficient could be .50 cents or a $1 but the fine is straight $25 out of your account. Second, if I am late on my rent I won’t have a roof on top of my head.
When you are alone in a country and nowhere to go then its really tough because you can’t even go to anyone asking for help in need.

“The trouble is, you think you have time” ~ Buddha

It was one of those moments when I was short of $5.00 in my account for the rent cheque to clear. And I was literally worried because I know the date when the rent would go from my account and there was no salary or deposit that was going to go into my bank account. I was literally panicking because something like this has never happened but this time I had to purchase the bus pass and $84.00 was used to for the monthly bus pass and probably that caused all this. But those days banking experience that I had in Canada was really different than what I used to have in India. I never had to pay a service charge to my bank for keeping my money. It was considered as a favor that I chose them to save my money. Hence $5.00 service charge was something that might have done this, but anyhow I was short of $5.00 for my rent cheque to clear and I was calling all kinds of Gods if they ever existed or I was begging the Time to be on my side and believe me I was asking for that help from my heart and without knowing who would understand my sad situation because I am praying and requesting in my mind and heart.

“If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you’ve forgotten you are one”

People do believe in miracle and yes, I also somehow believe in that. As I was stressing inside my heart and mind that ‘if there’s a God or supernatural powers then you should help me, look at my situation’!
And in few seconds or minutes I heard the mail slit on the door of apartments where postman slips in your mails, a sound came and I ran towards the door.

I saw an envelope near the door and quickly opened it to see and guess what? You won’t believe it because I couldn’t believe it either at that time. My ask for the Time was to help me with $5.00 as I am short of that and the envelope had a cheque for $10.00.

I don’t know about you, but I was on cloud nine. It’s unbelievable that you ask for $5 and you get $10? I couldn’t believe my eyes and hence I looked at the letter that was enclosed with the cheque and it said, this is the interest of your rent deposit.

Mind Blowing!  I said, Canada I love you! Because when I went to rent this place I forgot that I had to deposit the first and last month rent and this is part of their security as they don’t know if we will give them the rent every time and on time. And look at their decency, they give you interest on the amount that we have kept with them as deposit.

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you have lost it, you can never get it back.” ~ Harvey Mackay

It was winter time and hence I just grabbed my jacket, muffler and my winter boot and rushed to catch the bus as the monthly pass allows you to travel to and fro n number of times. I deposited this cheque into my bank account and with great relief came home and slept peacefully.

The rent cheque got cleared and my bank account was with $5.00 balance in it.

I do believe time do test us sometimes but yes, this time do work with us for us sometimes too 🙂

~ Dawn

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

Have you ever felt this way every? Where you have a lot to write and share about but when you sit to write, you are thinking which one to write first. Because there’s so much going around and mind is running at a speed to all those topics while the visuals are seen on the screen of your mind which stay for seconds and they pass on to the other.

“Absurdity is the ecstasy of intellectualism” ~ Criss Jami 

The fact is that everything is so fast and changing by seconds. We don’t even enjoy or reflect on something that has just happened to us or even experienced by us. What’s the fun in that if we don’t enjoy? If we don’t slow down to taste that feeling then what’s the worth of all our effort?


The other day I was thinking about how much I used to write letters, the handwritten Inland Letter. Yes, I remember writing letters to my aunt, my grandma, my cousins, authors, poets and my penpals. My inland letters to them used to fill in all sides meaning it has 3 pages and I remember almost every time I had more stuff to write and it used to go outside of my letter too and I used to use the space outside of sender’s address area :).
Yes, that’s how much I used to write and probably because I like to write and share my letters used to be such that everyone has expressed that they felt as if they are talking to me in person. The way I look at it today is that those days we used to reflect and think and then used to write which made lot of sense and when we think and reflect we have better ways of expressions.

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience” ~ John Dewey

I remember because of my letter writing habit and skill, my Mom used to ask me to write a letter to her best friend who was our neighbor for quite sometime and then later they moved to another state in India as part of job posting. All my Mom had to tell me was you need to write a letter to my friend, and then she might share one or two points that she might have received from her friend’s letter. Based on those 2-3 points entire story was created by me and then when I read out the letter loud to her she would beam with smile and happiness. She would say this is how exactly I wanted to write to my friend and you have very well expressed that closeness in this letter and she used to be so happy.
My Mom had a weakness, when it comes to letter writing she was very lazy. I remember she was lazy in writing letters to her Mom and Sisters, hence when I started writing letters everyone connected through my letter and got the updates from our side of everyone’s well being.

“To write is human, to receive a letter : Divine” ~ Susan Lendorth

I always felt letter writing is a gift in true sense. I used to spend hours and hours for the people whom I am writing and it shows my affection and closeness for them. When the other end receives my letter they get the exact feeling and warmth that I had packed for them in that letter through my words of affection, care and companionship. I walk with them through that letter sharing my journey and making sure they are also enjoying their journey which I used to get back in their replies.


These days it’s all about emails and hence the thoughtfulness and warmth is lost. It looks very formal and business like, where instead of bringing people close the distance is getting wider. I miss those days and hence, I have decided to take this letter writing seriously and believe me whoever leaves an address to me I will write a letter to them.

My gift to you – a hand written letter where you will find a human sharing stories.

“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene” ~ Arthur Christopher Benson

~ Dawn

Romancing my Moon!

mooneclipse
Picture Courtesy: Archana Singh

My craze for my moon, yes I can call him as ‘my moon’ because it’s been long time since I have been loving him. The journey started from the small window of the jeep, bus, truck, you name it and it was through eyes that we both used to glance at each other. In the beginning it felt as if we are trying to know each other and at times he made me feel that it’s only me who is there for him. Yes, it was him who made me feel that way otherwise, shouldn’t I shut the door and go to sleep at night like everyone else does?

 
After saying goodnight to him through my eyes when I used to go to my bed, through the window he would make sure I am tucked well and sleeping sound and he didn’t stop there. He slowly started walking into my dreams and look he has captured my heart fully. The days and nights that I used to think about him whether I was going to college in the bus or walking to the grocery store, a thought used to sneak in, ‘what if he just one day comes in front of me’?

“Love is when you look into someone’s eyes and see everything you need” 

The days have gone and years have passed but the passion and love has deep rooted inside that now I don’t feel that he is separate from me. He is mine and hence the closeness and my right on him. I think we have established that understanding between us because it’s our eye language through which we chat and express feelings to each other.
The night before eclipse, he was right in front of me as if just came up behind the mountain to see me. I was also fully excited to receive him with my eyes and started taking his picture. I told him I may not be getting up to watch you when you will be trying to please me in various ways. I didn’t even set an alarm. But whole night he kept me awake.

“If you have never lost your mind, then you have never followed your heart”

Like a zombie I was getting up each hour to see him and each time I saw him I took his picture. The whole night went by and early morning when I saw him filled with love in red I hugged him and slept in my bed. All that time I was whispering to him, about how he kept me follow him all night even though I didn’t plan to.
He was smiling and caressing me while saying that, this was all for you so how can you not be there when I am romancing you!

I believe he is there for me and one day I will see him 🙂

“Crazy love passes fast but the love of two crazies stays forever”

My love My Moon

~ Dawn

Stand Up for what is right, Even if you stand Alone…!

There’s a big controversy going on based on what actress Parvathy has said about Kasaba malayalam movie in which Mammootty is the main actor.

When this movie came out me and my husband tried to watch this and we couldn’t even go forward with it after 15 mins. It was disgusting and the only reaction I had was, how come the actor didn’t feel anything in doing such a film?

Well, time went by and then I saw Parvathy’s opinion about this movie in the film festival and to that I thought of writing a blog post and then I said to myself, ah! leave it!!
And then I started getting news about this everyday as Google has its way of feeding in based on what I read online.
I see there’s a lot going on because what Parvathy has said about the movie. I find it so useless that people forget the main point and start attacking the person without understanding what the person is trying to convey.

“Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology”

If anyone is watching that Kasaba movie, try to put yourself as a woman or your mom, sister and relative in that and try to understand how you will perceive for your own people. It’s that feel is what is expressed by Parvathy which is not respectful and should not be glorified by the hero of the movie because in India that is considered as the hero’s personal view even though he/she might be working on it based on the money they are receiving for acting in that movie.

Cinema is one of the medium which brings awareness and openness in the society. We all learn and sometimes we see what’s happening in the society is also shown through the movie. At the end of every story there is a moral and what message we are trying to convey is what matters and I am not sure if Kasaba has that moral at the end because I have not seen that movie.

Having said all that, I think Mammootty being a senior actor of the Malayalam film fraternity should stand up next to Parvathy and support her opinion as anyone in this world has a right to have their opinion and freedom of speech. Mammootty should show at least that much of maturity. I have more respect for his son Dulquer Salmaan – who is also an actor who supported Parvathy and not went wild with Mammootty fans.

“Maturity comes when you stop making excuses and start making changes.”

This is the time when one should stand together and show some respect for the industry that they work together, instead he is sitting quiet and people are taking a troll on this by harassing Parvathy and by using disrespectful words which again goes against women, against feminism and that shows the basic thinking of people how they are raised or being fed with such thoughts that they don’t respect women and their freedom of speech.

Sad, Mammootty is one guy who can stop all this nonsense that’s going around online. Show some respect towards your colleagues and members of your film fraternity!

“The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of the bad people, but because of the silence of good people”

~ Dawn

Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated…!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Born and raised in a country where more than 22 languages are spoken and at least 9 recognized religions are practiced, I was a privileged citizen of India.
I enjoyed every festival luckily only because I was raised in National Defence Academy Pune, where people from all around India live and share their culture, festivities, food and clothes. This is where I learned about humanity.

“The past makes us who we are, celebrate it”.

Twenty years ago when I decided to take off to an unknown journey to Toronto Canada, I had no idea where I would land up but here too I was lucky. I landed in the month of April and by the time Christmas came I had a family here in Canada. I call it luck because knowing people in a country where you have no idea about the people, culture, weather which you have never felt before and then the loneliness all surrounded with early darkness by shortening the day – this was all new to me specially when I have never stepped out of India to experience this.

“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know” ~ Pema Chodron

Meeting Carol on the phone while selling her a Visa card turned out to be a friendly gesture. I somehow felt the closeness or was I looking one for? No idea, but while talking to her she recognized me that I was not from here yet she loved that I speak British English and not the Canadian or American English. I spoke about India and she spoke about husband’s love for Saree. I decided to get her a saree as a christmas gift and she too took that seriously.

Before it was Christmas she came home with her husband to get Saree as her gift. More than the gift, it was her visit to make sure if there are such people who talk on the phone and make friends for real.
I helped her wearing the saree and gave some of the jewelry that will go with the outfit and makeup. She was so thrilled and to her husband Stuart I gave some roti (Indian bread) and potato sabzi along with Indian mango pickle as for early dinner.
Both of them were mesmerized by the Indian hospitality and the next question comes to me is enjoy your Christmas with family. When I heard family, it gave me the chills as my family is far away and how am I going to enjoy anything with them? Stuart, immediately guessed and invited me to his home in Milton, Ontario.

“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.” ~ Joanne Harris

I am coming to pick you on Christmas Eve morning and I will drop you back home on boxing day :), you are now part of our family. That day and then until Carol lived I celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas as part of Carol and Stuart’s family. It was good to be part of Canadian family as it taught me about the culture, food and festivities and the way of celebrations which is different. I consider myself to be lucky and today I have my own family in Niles, California and feels blessed.

A tradition, celebration and loads of memories that I am reflecting upon today and want to say live life with happiness and joy as at the end it’s these memories which will give you much happiness and peace in life.

“I have a handful of close friends, and I have my family, and I haven’t known life to be any happier” ~ Brad Pitt

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

~ Dawn

Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give…!

choice

These days we see so many incidents, messages, tweets, videos in social media talking about ‘stand up’!
Yes, I don’t want to mix this with the usual tech industry norms of ‘stand-up’ meeting.

Standing up for self and for others is basically asking defend and be strong. This is what I teach my kids because I always have this fact behind my mind that one day I will be gone and kids will have to face this world all by themselves.
We all know how this world is and it’s not easy to live in. My thinking used to be that as we move forward in life we will be more intelligent and will be more human but that’s not the reality.

“Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door” ~ Charles Dickens

My son is a big fan of Katy Perry the American songwriter and singer, since he was 5 years old. He loves her songs and he sings them as well. Since then he has been after me to go for Katy Perry’s concert and not only this but he would also check if she is performing anywhere. Years passed but he would come and tell she is performing in London or Costa Rica, can we go and I had to tell him it’s far and expensive to go for a concert in those places.
Finally, it happened and Katy Perry’s tour was announced on the 101.3 radio and I got excited about it only because I could imagine my son’s excitement if he would know about it.

I went ahead and booked the ticket even though it was way too early. His excitement and happiness had no limits and at the same time he thanked a million times for this opportunity to watch Katy Perry’s live concert.

He also requested if possible can we buy her t-shirt at the concert and I said sure!

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” ~ Plato

The concert was good, we all enjoyed it as by now we knew all the songs that Katy Perry has sung and more over those who have attended her concert know that she is a great performer and entertainer as well. We bought t-shirt and my son was so happy and excited that he was ready to wear the t-shirt to his school and let the world know that he finally did attend Katy Perry’s concert.

I was really happy for him being a music lover I know the excitement of attending the concerts as I do all the time.

He went to school wearing Katy Perry’s t-shirt and couple of kids teased him why he is wearing a t-shirt that has a girl on it. We got to know all this only when he returned that afternoon from school. What I saw was a strong person in my son. He clearly told them he is a big fan of Katy Perry and he likes her and hence he is wearing the t-shirt. He also said, I support her, don’t you support your mom and/or sister?
I was amazed at his stand! However, I didn’t like when I heard his friend was nagging about this as why he wore that t-shirt. I felt this should be reported to the office, because no one should tell anyone what they should do. It’s everyone’s individual choice.
I was reading few quotes to my son on the internet and I showed some of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes which spoke about standing up for self and for others. I told my son, today what you did is for self and I am proud of you.

“Our children have to be educated in the values of equality, freedom of choice and democracy” ~Ehud Barak

Couple weeks went by and as I was folding the clothes from the laundry wash, he sees the t-shirt is washed and the response comes, yay! I see my t-shirt seems got washed, nice and clean so I can wear this tomorrow to school!
I was surprised and happy too!
I was surprised because last time when he wore that t-shirt he had an incident at school and now he is again going to wear it and I was nervous again things will be different. So, I asked my son, ‘are you sure? You want to wear this even though you know what happened last time?’

stand-up-for-yourself-at-work-home-school-teachmama.com_

My son’s response was cute, ‘I don’t care what anyone says. I like Katy Perry and I will wear the t-shirt again.’

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

This made me feel very proud about my son. It could be a small thing but this is important step in life, to stand up for self. One should have the freedom to choose what they want and not others to choose for them.

His best friend asked again, why you are wearing that girl’s t-shirt and my son had an answer for him.
‘Would you support your mom, sister and your girl cats?’ If your answer is yes, then this is for Katy Perry and I support her!’

It is very important to have that freedom to choose for self. Today he stood for himself and I am sure he will stand for others too!

“There is no such thing as freedom of choice unless there is freedom to refuse” ~David Hume

~ Dawn