Shiva Murugan Temple in Concord, CA

It was Dec 1998. I was sitting down in the courtyard with my eyes shut. Tears poured down my eyes. These tears surprised me. My heart, that many of you say is made of steel, was melting. I realized they were tears of surrender rather than sadness or weakness. So, I let the tears flow.

I had entered the country (US) as a student in Sept 1997.

1.5 years had passed.
1.5 years of hard work… studying, working and researching without adequate rest or food.
1.5 years away from my home country, away from the love, care and warmth of family and friends.
1.5 years of uncertainty.

I had another 6 months ahead of me to graduate and find some stability..with a job, a home and some dollars.

That is where I found myself in Dec 1998. That winter, I had traveled across the country from cold West Lafayette, IN to warm Sacramento, CA. My best friends’ brother drove us to Concord, CA to see the Shiva Murugan Temple. I entered the temple, sat down in the courtyard, looked at our beloved Concord Murugan and let the tears flow.

I am not religious. However, that day, as I sat in the Concord temple courtyard, I found immense calm and incredible strength to tackle what lay ahead of me.

I think I might have said something that God really heard. Since that day in Dec 1999, I only found roads that lead ahead. I found ways to cross chasm. I found ways to open doors. I found the strength to climb mountains.

Many of you have told me that you love going to Concord Temple…because of friendly priests and serene atmosphere. I feel the same way.

My dear friends Solai Alagappan, Prabhu Venkatesh Subramanian, Uday Meyyappan, Sarav Narma, Palani Annamalai, Ganesh Sigamani have now started a big movement that will pave the way for a new temple in Concord which will be a place of gathering for generations to come.

As a way to start this BIG fundraising effort for temple construction, they are holding a fundraiser on Nov 18, 2012.

It is a fun fundraiser…a grand Diwali Light Music Concert.

Be a part of the Concord Temple movement. Buy tickets here.

What is your “special” Concord Temple story? What is your special place of worship? What are you doing to pass on your beliefs and culture to the next generation? What movement are you a part of?

What is that one life defining moment in a church, mosque, temple..or at an oceanside, seashore, hilltop…tell me when we meet next time.

I will see you at the Concord Temple fundraiser on Nov 18, 2012.

Trip to Canada and Seattle

Kumar and I hiked, biked and walked through Seattle and Canada(Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, Sooke and adjacent towns) in the last few days.

There are no words to capture all the natural beauty, the man made wonders and the rich cultural history through which we took a fast paced tour.

I will sum up the trip (as I always do after every trip) with the following words:

2 eyes and 1 lifetime is not enough to see all the beauty of this planet that we call home.

The camera doesn’t do justice at all to the wonder we felt. However, Kumar and I tried our best to capture all the wonder we felt through digital images.

I am sure you will enjoy viewing these pictures as much as we enjoyed clicking these pictures.

I will leave you with a few lines from a Tamil song –
Poovukkul Olinthirukkum Kanikkoottam Adhisayam,
Vannaththu Poochchigalinmael Oaviyangal Adhisayam,
Thulaisellum Kaatru Mellisaiyaadhal Adhisayam,
Gurunaadhar Illaadha Kuyil Paattu Adhisayam

Translated into English these lines mean the following:
Fruits hidden within flowers are a wonder,
Paintings on a butterfly wings are a wonder,
Music created by wind going through a small hole is a wonder,
Cuckoo(that has no music teacher)’s song is a wonder

Kids make the Cutest Things

Kids say the darndest things.
Kids do the funniest things.
Kids make the cutest things.

Ari made me this beautiful card for Mother’s Day.

The flower petals are made from color prints from his little finger tips.

I have no doubts. I am the luckiest girl on earth.