Ambal’s Work Life

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On Being Happy

For more than a decade we have been sending the boys to Tamil school on weekends.
As part of that, there is weekly homework and monthly tests.
Getting the boys to finish homework and preparing for tests is a chore. 
Somebody has got to do it.
Typically, it used to be one of the grand parent’s weekend work.

Since, we have been living the last several years without grandparents support, that extra work of helping boys with Tamil has fallen to Kumar or me.
Kumar thinks I do a lousy job of it and teach kids all the Tamil slang and bad words.
So, he has prohibited me from teaching kids Tamil.
Anyways Kumar has been down with the flu. So, helping Ari with this month’s Tamil test has been added to my long list of to-dos for this week.

I start doing the chore….just as all we do chores….dragging my feet. Then, on page 2, I hit upon a very special dictation word – Magizchi (happiness).

I stopped going over the dictation words, and showed Ari some cool videos of Thalaivar saying Magizchi with great style.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7p-lKY-vkg

 We put some Thalaivar songs and started dancing like crazy.

Adi (aka the reasonable and responsible one) yelled at me and reminded me to quit having fun with Ari because we hadn’t gone through all the material for the monthly material. He said “He is going to fail the test and Appa is going to yell at Ari and you. Save yourselves. Focus.”

So, Ari and I had to stop goofing off. We had to continue to do prep work for the monthly test.

After a long week of work, kids, commute, carpool, curve balls, traffic, meetings, deadlines and utter craziness…after all that….seeing that one single word on a dictation sheet…electrified and energized me.

It is very difficult to explain to somebody what that one single word uttered by Thalaivar means to a die hard fan like me.
Well, unless you are a fan yourself. Then, you will just get it.

Wherever you are….whatever you are doing…be happy.

#Magizchi

 

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On Times with the Boys

There are times that I adore the boys so much because they take such good care of me.
Case in point: picture on the top left.
Everyday in the morning, before I wake up, tooth paste is neatly placed on my tooth brush by one of my favorite boys (can’t say who, just guess who) so that I don’t even have to do that work in my morning rush.

Then, there are times that I don’t like the boys  because they drive me nuts.
Case in point: picture in the top right
No comments. The picture says it all.

Overall, mostly, there are times that I roll with the boys because they make me laugh my head off.
Case in point: pictures in the bottom
No comments. The picture says it all.

Families keep us going. Don’t they?!

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On Pain

“chinnach chinna thoalvigaL kaettaen
seekkiram aaRum kaayam kaettaen”

I asked for small failures.
I asked for wounds that heal fast.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. – Khalil Gibran

Pain is not a bad thing.
Emotional pain.
Physical pain.
None of that is bad.

For life to be birthed, there is pain involved.
For muscle to be built, there is pain involved.
For us to work through loss, there is pain involved.

We all go through life with moments when our hearts swells.
We also go through moments that break our heart.
We pull through that because we finds ways to cope through that pain.

We all deal with sadness in our one way.
Some of us seek company.
Some of us seek solitude.

Some of us mask our pain.
Some of us wear it like a badge of honor.

Some of us shed tears.
Some of us smile through it all.

Whatever method we choose, we cope through sadness and pain.

Pain gets a bad wrap. But, it is beautiful.
Pain is part of life.

Pain is what gets us through the tough challenges in life and make us stronger……physically and emotionally.

Pain always makes us to do the Phoenix Rising from the Ashes act…over and over again.

So, here is to pain.
Embrace it. And, allow it to heal you.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. – Walter Anderson

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave. – Mary Tyler Moore

The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t, life controls you. – Tony Robbins

There is no birth of consciousness without pain. – Carl Jung

Turn your wounds into wisdom. – Oprah Winfrey

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On Nirvana – It is not a place. It is a moment.

Nirvana (in Buddhism) is a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.

I have been chasing Nirvana for many years now.
Did you notice the inherent problem with that stupid statement I made?
Nirvana is an indescribable state.
Nirvana can’t be chased.
It has to be attained.

I have been reading everything there is in books on science, philishophy and religion to understand and attain Nirvana.
I have to tried to read everything there is on the science of the brain, breathing, stillness, meditation and have implemented all those ideas and tried to hack myself into the Nirvana state.

Alas…it has been in vain.
I do find some quiteness here and there.
I do put myself in the violet mediation zone at the drop of a hat.
I do do that.

But, Nirvana evades me.
It plays hard to get.

That said, in the last few days, I got a taste of how Nirvana feels though.
I walked on beaches and stared at the waves.
I didn’t know where the blue sky ended and the blue ocean started.
I quietened my body, my mind and my soul.
As I stared at the ocean waves, I found the same feeling that I do when I climb mountains.

I found calmness come over me as I marveled at the grandeur of where I am placed  on this planet. Of how huge this planet and cosmos is…and how small of a speck I am.
As I contemplated on that, and I stared at the waves, I got a taste of Nirvana.

I hear you asking – “Ambal – So, how was it? What was Nirvana like?”

I would do such a poor job of describing that Nirvana state to you.
So, I am not even going to try. But, I will tell you this much.

I was “in the moment” without a thought in my head as I stared at the endless blue ocean and blue sky.

And, I think that “being in the moment” made all the difference.

You go ahead. Be brave. Find your Nirvana.

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I am just surprised with you, Oh Life!

Hindi Lyrics:
Tujhse Naaraaz Nahiin Zindagi
Hairaan Hoon Main O Hairaan Huun Main

English Translation:
I am not unhappy (or angry or upset) with you, Oh Life.
I am just surprised (or astonished) with you, Oh Life.

Poet Gulzar’s “Tujhse Naraz Nahi Zindagi” lyrics are philosophical, delicately capture the complexity of life and tug at your heart.
As I find myself at crossroads and at bridges that need to crossed, I find solace and strength in Gulzar’s words.

I hope you hear it too and find solace and strength to work through the current phase of your life.

 

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