There is no certainty; there is only adventure ;)

happy traveler waiting for the flight in airport

While growing up I never thought I will leave the place which I call as home and hence the thought of blind date with the world is something not even came in my dream.

But as I started going to college and started reading things the curiosity bug bit me too. I often thought of just going to some place and keep traveling because at the end of the day what do you need – something to eat, a safe place to sleep and stay and then keep moving.

“The biggest  adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams” ~ Oprah Winfrey

I had many times discussed this with my school friends about dreaming of living in a place in a small hut where in the backside of the hut we have some vegetable garden with veggies and in front of the house are the hot springs where we cook most of our food and eat and sleep under the sky gazing stars and my Moon.

I know dreams are so beautiful and when someone says go live your dream – that’s really an action which once taken then you’re on your own.

I also took such a blind date with the world and it was in the year of 1997 when I took a one-way ticket to Toronto, Canada. I had gone through the process of immigration where I got my Permanent Residential visa and I headed to this blind date with Canada where I have no friends and/or family. I will share the journey which now I look back and feel good about taking that blind date with Canada because it changes my whole perspective about how I look at world now.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru

I remember I had only clothes in my suitcase as I had heard its very cold in Canada and so I landed in the month of April assuming it will be spring and may not be cold. Surprisingly, it was still snowing that year and I had my mixed feelings towards that. It’s beautiful how nature itself deals with all these seasonal changes and how people adapt to it too.

traveling

My journey was a struggle in the beginning because when you land at any place which is not your home, you start your bill from that moment. Not only that, there’s a strangeness in the beginning and also cultural shocks which makes you to be more cautious. I somehow made use of the newspaper ads which helped me to get the rental basement space for me even though the job was still far from me. I have met many people during this struggle time and to be frank only Indians took advantage of my situation. Others, they offered help without expecting anything in return. I am not sure if I should call that out but that’s one of the experiences which happened not once but number of times.

People tried to convert me to Christianity, so they can get money from their institution and to me they suggested we will help you with the job, which was totally incorrect, and I am glad I didn’t fall for it. One thing I knew that there are no free lunches so some of the proverbs that I learnt in school did actually help me from not making mistakes.

“Life is an adventure, it’s not a package tour.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

But then in all this, you tend to find yourself safe in the custody of your race and people and that’s what lead me to suffer. The moment I freed my mind from that, I felt a relief and freedom from all tie-ups, taboos and everything. It’s all about your mind believe me. I decided to move out of renting in someone’s house and went to rent a one-bedroom apartment where I had my freedom and independence to live. It not only gave me my space, but it also taught me how to not look to lean all the time.

I found a small job as a part-time cashier with minimum wage, but again it was the mind which said this is not what you came here for and so I decided in 4 months I need to move on from here. And believe me sometimes you go to make your decision from your mind and not heart, because only then you can do things that your heart wants.

One after the other jobs and finally I ended up in a Bank and it completely changed my life, from an HR field to technology field the merge was amazing, and the transition was such that I figured out my actual interest which is people and technology that enables people to do things. I guess the blend of this helped me to move from one company to the other and one place to the other, and now I am in California, USA.

I think we should all blind date with the world, so we understand people and life better. Sitting in a comfort zone can make anyone do anything that they feel is right but actual life is in traveling and understanding the life of different people. So, I love this blind date which made me to marry to traveling :).

It’s true that blind date is not always about happy ending, because many ups and downs are there which occurred in my life too because of meeting wrong people at the wrong time and place but the better lesson you learn and move out from there. Because life always gives you another chance and that’s up to us to see and grab it.

“Life experience is what defines our character, even if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to. You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important.” ~ Nev Schulman

As I was getting comfortable with my date in Toronto, I decided to do another blind date with San Francisco, in California USA. Let me tell you, it was not a very happy one. I feel when there is a change, it does bring some turbulence, but one got to hold on to it and stay strong that’s what I did. Initial days I didn’t like US. It was something like I started comparing between Canada and USA. Everything I related it that way, whether its people, place, behavior or even the process in banking etc. I realized I was missing Canada very much because it was my first blind date with whom I fell in love, so the first love is always there as special in my heart. I guess no one will understand that because that journey I had taken alone and every corner of the place, city, people have made an impact on me. It is difficult to not be connected with a place where I started from scratch and built my home finally.

Over the period, I went back to visit and be at every place that I lived in, walked around and worked around and after that when I came back to California it was kind of be at peace.

“Life would be pretty boring if I didn’t explore. It’s about letting my ears take me on an adventure to soak in everything I can.” ~ Trombone Shorty

I would like to go for another blind date and I am just going to go for that soon!

~ Dawn

Advertisements

Swamiye Sharamanamaiyyappa !!!

This blog is based on the verdict of what Supreme Court has declared on Sabarimala, where they are allowing women of all age to enter the Sabarimala temple.

 

Those who don’t know Sabarimala can read here and understand about the story of Ayappan and his devotees and believers.

I have a personal connection with Ayyappa and the whole nine yards because I used to go with my Dad to all puja’s and temple visits during those 42 days… ! I remember singing bhajans of Ayyappa during those puja’s such as – Thedi varum kannugalil – which even my North India school teacher’s were fan of and I have sang those during my school assembly as well!!!

So, I have a story too and its very close to my heart. When I say heart, its because it involves my Dad who is a big Ayyappan bhakt and I can vouch how deeply he is spiritual with Ayyappan. My dad Meladathe Chandrasekhan Nair who started worshiping Lord Ayyappan at the age of 12 – very young and today he is 83 years old but he went to Sabarimala for 42 years and walked the sabarimala 42 years from Erumelli to see his Lord Ayyappan’s darshanam (visit). Imagine when he started this at the age of 12, being his daughter how I am connected to all of this. Every devotee who completes 18 years of visit to temple will plant a coconut tree there at Sabarimala and my Dad has planted two of them.

Even before my birth my Dad named me Usha -Ushas and I can see all this is related to Ayyappan because he used to often talk about Usha (Dawn) puja, Uccha (afternoon) puja and Vaighuneram (evening) puja.
Every year my Dad used to take leave/PTO from his work to go to Sabarimala after completing his 42 days strict vritham, when he was bachelor I am sure he could and after his marriage still he did follow and went every year. I remember as a kid I used to see my Mom used to go and stay at my friend’s house and after that she used to come when her menstrual cycle was completed. But my Dad never shy away from his social responsibilities even though he was a Guru swamy who used to take lot of kanni swamies with him to Sabarimala. Being a husband and father of his two children he fully did his duties. He used to take four times bath but he used to make sure he dropped his wife to her office while she was in her menstrual phase and he took care of dropping his daughter to school and rest besides doing puja’s in the Ayyappan temple in Uttamnagar, Pune India. He is a devotee and he would do anything in the name of Lord Ayyappa. He earned things to build a temple for Ayyappan in Uttamnagar, Pune Maharashtra instead of building a house for his family. A very true and faithful human being, I am not saying because he is my father but that’s how I have known him from outside people.

There were landlords/sarpanch’s who have given free land to my Dad to build house but my Dad used that land to build Ayyappan temple. His philosophy is if there’s a will there’s a way and so if there’s a way for his family to have their house they will have. He never believed in things that he got as a gift or bribe, belongs to him – he always said this is not hard earned by my effort so it will not stay with me for long so he used to donate that money which they used to get from their boss to the worker’s canteen and every worker used to enjoy the samosa and tea that day.

An honest man, a believer and family man. I am very proud of my Dad for who he is, a very logical and rationale.

In fact I have been to Sabarimala at the age of 9 when I was in 4th grade. I went to Sabarimala by keeping the vritham (42 days) and then went with my maternal Grandma and cousins. I will tell you I still remember it was a hardship being myself a sports person it was touch climbing those mountains and walking continuously before it gets dark and finally rest in a tent that night. Early morning 4 am you get up to take shower in the Pampa river and then walk to the path of darshan of Lord Ayyappa.
I have been there and done that and after that I have more respect for my Dad because it is hardship and only a true dedicated person would take that effort.

My Dad went till he was 79 and then we as kids being selfish stopped him because we don’t want him to be pushed around during stampede and he probably understood our love and dilemma. But what I want to say is religion, belief is all about individuality and personal choices.
I know my Dad, who is very strict about Ayyappan and the vritham that one must follow. I remember there was one Shekharan uncle who was in Military and came to Dad to go to Sabarimala and my Dad did the puja and he wore the mala to go to Sabarimala but guess what he did drink in between those 42 days of vritham when he was not supposed to. He lied to my Dad but somehow some guilt that it came out and he apologized to my Dad. I remember there were many such stories and it was real not a myth.
Many Maharashtrians have faith and they did follow the rules and went with my Dad to Sabarimala and they came back and been to a Ayyappa bhakt in Uttamnagar.
All this is good, and now we hear about the verdict where Supreme court says women can go to Sabarimala irrespective of what age they are. I hear many debates on this who are in favor of this verdict and those who are not.

I am a believer and I feel that one should have freedom to do what they want that doesn’t hurt anyone. I never was religious and I know even today I have my sentiments because of my parents. I will respect what they believe in but over the period of my personal experience I am an agnostic and strong believer in humanity as my religion.

People should have freedom to worship or not to worship. It should be their personal choice.

After this verdict was out, I was listening and reading about this but I had my Dad behind my mind all the time. As I see lot of debates and arguments and discussions on the social media. All this and then I thought of my Dad.

Whenever I felt a doubt, I have always gone to my Dad to ask because I think he is a person who thinks rationally and would give his unbiased response after that he won’t tell me what I should do.
So today, I asked my Dad what is his thoughts on the verdict.

His response: “I don’t agree supreme court’s decision about women’s entry to sabarimala temple. Those who believe in sabarimala ayyappa swami they will not enter the temple when they are in the age-group of 10 – 50.”

I responded back to him with love saying, Swami Sharanam and he responded back – Ayyappa Saranam,!
I totally agree, its all about one’s belief system.

If you really believe in God which ever God you will have your faith in that and hence you will follow the rules as supposed to those who don’t believe will not take the effort to do anything.

It’s all in the belief system. Now those who don’t believe and still want to prove something will go and visit ….? Not sure what they are trying to prove!!!

I know that in other parts of the world wherever Ayyappa temple is there women go and worship and there is no restriction so what is this all about?

Is this specific about Sabarimala? Then women who are okay to take that hike during their menstrual period is totally their personal discretion I believe unless there is a separate agenda.

Still, I believe this should not cause any issues to those who believe in Ayyappa dharma sashtav.

Because at the end its about one’s own belief. Those who believe will follow the rules and those who won’t will not take the effort to do anything.

Being an agnostic, I will say let’s live and let others live peacefully, as long as you don’t discriminate between human being all is well and peaceful!

Swamiye Saranamayyiappa !

~ Dawn

You know my name, not my story. You have heard what I have done, not what I have been through!

These days I am in a conflict with mind and heart. Yes, heart would like to talk a lot with the paper which means, I would love to express my thoughts and emotions but then mind tries to manipulate – Why, unnecessarily? Let it be…keep it with you!!!

My heart, which started writing as kid because I felt my pen as my heart was spelling and sharing my views with the pages of the diary that my Dad gave it to me. That was my way to open my heart which gave me the satisfaction of expressing everything and anything and yet I have the feeling of keeping it private from everyone.

Time changed and I started blogging. One should change with time isn’t it? Moreover the way I groomed myself as a kid of 7-8 years old is by writing down everything which made my heart and mind feel very relieved, it is a way for me to relax and be calming.

I remember I used to tell my friends, ‘not to take tension but give it to others’, as a joke!

Few things that came to my mind which I felt I should write so that I get the feel that I shared it and it is out of my system!

1. Judging a person does not define who they are… It defines who you are!

If someone wants to do something for others, it’s their emotions and feelings that they share with – no one has a right to call that out by names. Because every individual has different ways to express their love and respect so be mindful when you pass your judgemental remarks. It let others to think who you are!!! Never discourage others what they want to do if they share it with you that’s because they consider you as a friend and trust you. Don’t discourage them by judging them it tells about you and not them.

2. Everyone is a Moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody!

People sometimes due to overconfidence behave in certain way and go too far but when they find themselves in trouble and unable to cope-up with they ask for help. Now, helping is good and when you do that with all good intentions and still if things doesn’t work out or help other to understand then it is better to show them the mirror. The person who actually came asking you for help changes immediately when they feel they’re exposed and makes the helper a fool in front of others and moves on as a hero. The helper looks like a fool!
When the helper confronts the one who came asking for help at the first place, they say he was my childhood friend and I didn’t want to lose his friendship! That’s the justification they give for their act.

One can imagine what they would do to get away with their ego and false image! Here they did this because they know the childhood friend will stop talking and will spread the rumor among all the common friends and the helper will always be there as they will not lose them – a false assumption!
I think the helper should have left them alone to deal with their problem instead of getting involved because the helper is a stranger to the childhood friend and company! One should live life on their on terms and not get involved in other’s because at the end everyone is an individual let them lead it.

3.  It’s funny how most people become who they promised they would never be!

When people desire something in life, they make all kinds of promises that they are the best and they are this and that and you trust them and get into the contract which binds you with them and establishes a relationship. Through out you have found that they are not what they promised they are instead they only act in front of you that way.
When Kamala made a mistake and she was caught it became a life-long reminder for her and hence even when she wants to say anything she is restricted because she will be pointed out of her mistakes. But I believe this doesn’t allow other party to keep making mistakes. Whether you smoke or drink is not the question. The question is did you not promise not to and still you continue as hide-and-seek and finally you come out saying this is how it is – the person can’t do anything other than thinking let them do what they want to do, why you want to attach yourself to get hurt?
Lesson is not to trust anyone with anything after all you’re human and with time you will change and you will get tired of wearing a mask all the time! You will have to come out one day so might as well be now than later!!!

4. It takes guts and humility to admit the mistakes. Admitting we’re wrong is courage, not weakness!

I believe we are human and hence we do make mistakes and that is okay. Even when you read the Indian mythological stories in Ramayana, there also Ram is portrayed as the best human being still he behaves disrespectfully with his wife Sita based on what he over heard from his laundry guy, who was hitting his wife saying I am not like our King Ram who accepted his wife even though she was living captivity with another king Ravan. Ram could have set things straight by supporting his wife and by bringing awareness to his people that being captured doesn’t mean you disown your people but he didn’t do that, instead he did what he felt his people in the kingdom would appreciate – the question is, if it was Ram and Sita had to decide will she even think of disowning him? I doubt because women are raised always with the thought that Men can do anything and it’s okay but Women are like a white cloth even a little stain would make it look ugly and hence throw it away!
Mistakes are okay and accepting the mistakes saying, yes I cheated and that is wrong on my part and I am ready to accept any punishment for that. It’s humbling and learning experience for anyone though it is hurtful in heart forever for everyone. Similarly, if other person has done a mistake in indulging with something and dealing with until it became a problem for them to handle then at least one should have the guts to accept that they did that mistake. In fact, they call out other people’s wrong deed and shine themselves. A little sunshine in your eyes can blind your eyesight for a moment, watch out everyone doesn’t have to be that high and famous all time, even the Sun who is so powerful with its heat and light has to set at the end of the day – you’re human and be the one that you preach to all!

This time the trip to India gave some time to read some useful books which enlightens your thought process through mythological stories. And relating it with the present situations, stories and scenarios it helped to understand that, life is simple and one need to keep it light and simple!

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

~ Dawn

They should tell you when you’re born: have a suitcase heart, be ready to travel…

WE_Empty_Nest_(5534080907)

This morning I read Shweta Nanda’s article on empty nest. I applaud her to acknowledge something like this and not shy away because of the celebrity status quo.

Some of her call outs in the article made me think that may be for homemakers sometimes it’s more difficult than the women who have career outside. Homemakers focus, and dedication is all around the home and associated with it and hence when kids go away the void is bigger than what the working women can feel and that is because working women share some space with outside world whether it be with work and with colleagues and friends.

“You will never achieve what you are capable of if you’re too attached to things you’re supposed to let go of.”

Homemakers have to start from the scratch and that itself is a change which could be challenging, one can feel that more in the article.

I also read in her article about “life is flawed, there is no such thing as a soulmate and nothing lasts forever is so empowering.”

This statement made me a bit sad or should I say I still want to believe there is something called soulmate and yes when nest is empty one can plan life with their soulmate, it could be traveling, a peaceful walk/hike or even spending time together doing similar tastes of hobbies. But given that kids have gone and now your partner is also not there then definitely its individual choice that one needs to make and for a working woman she may have many options by choosing a job which gives more travel opportunity or travel to different country and work there as long as you want to stay there and move on to next and so on.

But yes, when you hear nothing lasts forever that kind of gives you freedom and hence it is empowering.

“We have nothing that is really our own; we hold everything as a loan.” ~ Nicolas Poussin

All this tells me is process for detachment and this doesn’t have to be until the kids leaves the nest. It can start early by teaching your kids to be independent early enough to manage their own things with parental guidance.

I often think of those moments where kids will go away, and my heart should not cry or depend on them. Of course, as a mother you will always care for the well-being of your children but when children have left then we should allow them to lead their life the way they want as by now we have raised an adult who will make the decision that is appropriate for them at least.

Basically, it ends up with a task completion of raising kids and let them fly and we move on with another task which should be nourish yourself that gives more happiness and contentment in life.

“If you depend on others to make your dream come true, it may not ever happen.” ~ Dawn

~ Dawn

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone…!

It’s amazing to do reflection and I used to do this as a kid sitting on my study table. The table was a huge one and those days it was made of teak wood the expensive one. In front of the table was a window and I always used to get carried away by nature, sometimes clouds, sun rays, birds chirping or even the cat who is looking for its prey.

“We don’t learn by doing, we learn by reflecting on what we have done.”

The mind has no limitation and so does the heart, I always felt we are only guiding this body in one or the other way as if this mind and heart as a huge responsibility to carry them to their destination.
In this world if I relate then I feel we take them until they leave this body here and move to next journey after catching the flight called death ;).

Life should have changes, should have ripple effects or else it’s boring. That’s how I have felt. If there is nothing new then its not fun and probably that’s the reason when everything was good in India with my job, I felt that I need to take that one way ticket to an unknown destination. Today I feel good about that decision because that one step helped me to take many more such steps in life to keep going.

“Life is about trusting your feelings, taking chances, finding happiness, learning from the past, and realizing everything changes.”

We are responsible for our actions and I do believe if your heart agrees with your decision then its matter of mind to make sure things work as per the heart. I guess that’s what is my guiding principle. When heart is not happy then what the hell mind is going to do? The monotonous routine and I get bored with that.

“Change is the only constant in life ” ~ Heraclitus

Today as I am coming back after a farewell meet, I asked myself – do you feel that you took a quick decision to leave? do you think you had a smooth job and a continuation and you just dropped it? My heart without taking any time to think spontaneously said, I am happy that I have something new to look forward to. I did my best what I can give and if I don’t have anything more to give then it’s better to move on to somewhere else.

I need change and only I can bring that to myself hence a very timely decision I feel. No matter how old one gets its the craving for learning is what keeps you young and heck yeah I want to learn more and be young too :). As I said, mind and heart are the ones who don’t age. It’s the body that these heart and mind are carrying.

Time for a new journey with new sightseeing and adding new stories to life. I welcome this change in my life and embrace it with love.

“Making a big life change is pretty scary. But, know what’s even scarier? Regret.”

As I embark on my new journey, I am taking lot of lessons learned from my previous journey and going to miss the people to whom I touched and who have touched me as well.
This journey has taught me about so many things, about people, their emotions, their reactions, sometimes how people mix profession and personal life, and sometimes you just learn how things work and how things doesn’t work because we don’t think from heart.

I talk to my heart at times
It’s good to be happy and nice
But then there’s a place and time
When it hits the peak of love
You know it’s time to say goodbye
You good until you’re welcomed
Or else you get kicked sometimes

I think change is good, it brings happiness, new beginnings and hence it keeps it exciting.

Should all acquaintance be forgotten and never brought to mind?

“You can’t truly understand something until it happens to you. The meaning of life is discovered in the experience.”

~ Dawn

Even I can fly..!

20110911_df1_20110723_1021_018-022 mistle thrush taking off from wire along bridleway to north 1-5 of 5 (montage @7fps)(r+mb id@1024)

Before budding,

and during flowering,

Many transitions,

phases and emotions

processing through.

After flowering,

while withering,

petals falling with,

 fear of heights,

many emotions,

wrapped in mind,

gulping humiliation,

mental torture,

fear of ambiguity,

the discomfort coats

of life.

The time came,

from kneeling I stood up

threw away the coat,

of fear and discomfort,

didn’t let worry to reside in,

yet the freedom is far away,

but the very thought of it,

brings the sight of joy,

and feel the pain of kayak,

yet at the end of it,

Even I can fly,

Spreading my wings high.

~ Dawn

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