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.

Team Work Pays Off for the Boys

Boys: Big pumpkins.

Grandpa: No..small pumpkins.

Boys: We need BIG pumpkins.

Me: No. Only small pumpkins.

Boys run around the whole pumpkin patch. Then, they run back to Grandpa and me.

Boys: Amma. Please, please, please BIG pumpkins.

Me: Ok. (with a smirk) Here is the deal. I have a coupon. It says buy 1 pumpkin and get another pumpkin of same or lesser size FREE. Why don’t you guys work together? Pick as large a pumpkin as you can. Pick it up together. Carry it together. Put it on the check out stand together. Then, do the same with the second (FREE) pumpkin. No fighting. Everything together. Then, I’ll consider paying.

As I say this, I wink at Grandpa and give him a look that says NO WAY. Grandpa winks back with a look that says NO WAY.

Boys: OK….that is a deal.

For several minutes, the boys run around the whole pumpkin patch to pick the biggest pumpkin that they can carry together. Then, they realize that they can’t carry the REALLY big ones. Finally, they settle on a big pumpkin and strategize on how to carry it together. They carry it all the way to the check out stand.. victoriously and cheering each other on.

At this point, as you probably have guessed already, they have quite a “cheering” audience at the pumpkin patch.

Grandpa and me watch in total awe as they run back to get the second pumpkin.

I (rather sheepishly) pull out 10 bucks from my purse and Grandpa (brimming) pulls out 5 bucks from his purse.

We underestimated the boys.

What can I say? To the victor go the spoils.

I am confident that Grandpa is the proudest granddad that ever walked a pumpkin patch.

Chasing Marathoner Kumar – Primos Run in San Ramon

They say running a marathon is an experience that’s difficult to put into words.
I wouldn’t know about that. Because, I have never run.

However, I know how it feels to chase a marathoner.
I know how to meet him every few miles.
I know how much of navigating around roadblocks is required.
I know how it feels to hear thumping feet.
I know how it feels to cheer for strangers.
I know how my spirit soars as I watch the power of the human spirit from the sidelines.

I know how my heart skips a beat when I see him.
I know how tired he must be.
I know how he will always start sprinting when he sees me.
I know he will raise his hand to hi-fi my outreached hand.
I know he will be more proud of me (than I am of him) because I got there to cheer for him at almost every mile.

It is quite a experience. Chasing a marathoner is an experience that’s difficult to put into words.

The boys and I have been chasing runners at Primos Run since 7am today.

If an Asteroid ever does hit our Earth, I’ll Survive

If an asteroid ever does hit our earth, I’ll survive.

In the last decade, I have been in the “DUCK MOM, it is coming right at you!!” boot camp (with both indoor and outdoor training) held by 2 stalwarts.

I have ducked every damn thing possible – baseball bats, cricket bats, basket balls, soccer balls, books, pillows…even shoes.

What is that asteroid going to do to me?