Yo Austin – Give Them a Brake

Yo #Austin – Quit complaining about road construction on Mopac, 183 and on I-35.

Quit it. Right now.

Long time ago, Appa worked in a car company.
The company had imported German machines to do some modelling work to reduce the drag for the car hood.
Appa’s supervisor had picked him and one of his other buddies to be the only 2 chosen ones for that special work.

The German machines had to be confined within an air-conditined room.
Now, picture this. It is super hot in Chennai where the car company was located.
There was no air-conditining on company premises in those days.
If you are one of the chosen ones to do your work in an air-conditined room, can you imagine what an enviable spot you are in?

Not just that.
To optimize the usage of the machine, Appa’s supervisor decided to keep it running at all times with short breaks every 12 hours for the machine to cool down.
This meant, that Appa and his colleague had to take turns working day and night-shifts.

I clearly remember Appa eating dinner in the night and helping us get to bed.
He would don his muffler and work clothes and leave for the night shift.
He would come back in the morning and help Amma get us ready for school.

When I came back home, I would ask Amma if he got enough rest during the day time.

Of course, not. At the max, he would have gotten a 1 hour power nap.
He would have helped her. He would have helped out at the temple. He would have helped run some fundraiser. He would have run around all day.

Because, of his irregular work schedule, he got Mondays off.
So, guess what he did on those Mondays?
He would bring my sister and I lunch that was freshly cooked at home.
Some fresh made sambar, beans and potato.
Not just that. He would not take a bus.
He would bike about 7.5 miles to get to our school in 100F.
He would bring the food.
He would stay with us for lunch.
Then, he would wipe our mouth clean with a little towel.
He would say goodbye and then would ride the bike back again another 7.5 miles back home.

Let us fast forward now.

Yesterday night, I was driving back across Mopac Expressway from downtown.
I was rushing the kids back home to get them to bed.
Suddenly, the traffic comes to a screeching halt.
I was one of the fore-runners who saw how many police cars was trying to keep the construction workers safe.
I was one of the fortunate few who saw how the construction workers were using their cranes to lay down blocks and do construction to extend a lane on Mopac.

Y’all know how much of an impatient jerk I can be when kept waiting.
But, not yesterday evening.
I was very patient.
I drove cautiously to ensure the safety of the construction workers.
I wanted to role down my windows and say “Y’all are my heroes”.
But, I didn’t.
The only reason was I didn’t want to get another ticket from the cops for distracted driving and land in trouble with our very own Kumar who bails me out on every occasion.

These construction workers and cops are like Appa.
They are spending their nights away from their loved ones.
They are doing night shifts to enable humanity in their very own way.
They are putting our tax dollars to work.

So, please don’t complain about construction in and around Austin.

When you see them next time, on my behalf, blow them a kiss or give them a thumbs up and be thankful.

On Women’s Equality and Rights

At Austin Hindu Temple, hanging with the Goddess of Education, Goddess of Bravery, Goddess of Wealth alongside other Gods.

As you can tell, women’s equality and rights is in my heritage and possibly embedded in my genome.

Women’s equality is not a slogan that I need to yell in a crowd to prove anything to anybody.

It is not in a board that I have to hold up in any rally.

It is simply in the way that I think and live.

Nobody can fundamentally change who we are and what we believe in.

Nobody can take what rightfully belongs to us….unless we allow them to.

Kudos to all the men who support and adore womankind and kudos to all the women who support and adore mankind.

On What you are seeking and How it is seeking you

It has been almost 3 years since we moved to Austin.

Friends have been urging me to go see the beautiful peacocks that rove the Radha Madhav Dham grounds.

I went to Radha Madhav Dham a hand full times in the last few years. But, each time, I rushed in and out and couldn’t see the peacocks.

We had to make two visits to Radha Madhav Dham in the last week…last Monday and last Friday.

The boys told me they saw peacocks on Monday.

I still hadn’t see them.

Then, on Friday evening, I sat through an hour of traffic and finally managed to get to Radha Madhav Dham for a mini recital that my friend Anand-Ji had arranged.

It was late evening and my photo battery was ready to die. So, Arya found me a power outlet at the end of the main hall. I planted myself there and managed to click a few pictures.

One of my favorite Shiva songs – Bho Shambo – started playing. I was immersed in it and started having a mind conversation with my favorite dude of all times – Lord Shiva.

I truly adore him..for several reasons.
He is a maverick/non-conformist like me.
He doesn’t give a rat’s a** about whether people judge his looks or attitude.
Kumar says my quick temper and subsequent Rudra Thandavam matches Lord Shiva as well.

Anyways, on to my mind conversation – “Shiva, when can I come hang out with you on Mt. Kailash. When are you going to get me the ticket? It is high time. I have been waiting all my life. And, you of all people, know how impatient I get when kept waiting. So, get moving, my friend.”

That is right about the time Bho Shambo ended

Then, distractedly, I turn towards the glass door to look at the beautiful fountain on the Radha Madhav Dham grounds.

Guess what sought me out?

A bunch of peacocks and pea-hens. They were on the other side of the glass door……patiently staring right at me.

That is the right spot to end this story. So, I will.

What are you seeking?

What you seek is seeking you – Rumi.

The Story of Krishna and Sudama


The story goes like this – Sudama brought Lord Krishna some aval/pooha (beaten rice) who accepted both Sudama and the aval offering with all his heart.

I asked my resident Lil Krishna (who happens to share Rohini Nakashatra with Lord Krishna himself) what he wants for this 15th birthday lunch.

He said – “Can you make some aval upma Amma?”.

So, that is what I did.

And, just like Lord Krishna, Lil Krishna accepted it with all his heart.

While He is Away

It has been one heck of a week.
Between Kumar’s travel and mine, the boys schedule and my schedule, it truly has been one of those weeks that I am glad is over.

I knew what he must have done.
He must have rushed to the airport earlier today and cajoled the airline representative to put him on an earlier flight.
They most probably said “No”.
He possibly slumped back with disappointment on one of those uncomfortable airport seats and waited for his flight to board.

While this happened, I wrapped up my day and rushed to pick up the boys and to ensure Adi doesn’t wait outside anywhere in the cold after being dropped off by the bus.

I can almost here his foot step.
I can almost hear his voice – “Yenna da….Ammava padathaneengala”.
(Loose translation in English: Boys – Did you trouble your mom while I was away?)

The boys and I wait for our hero to show up at the door step.