On Flying

When I was a little girl, I had this recurring dream.
I was a bird.
Sometimes, I flew over green and fields.
Sometimes, I flew over lakes and rivers.
I flew with a sense of freedom.

This uncanny sense of flying stayed with me for many years.
It also led me to dream of being a pilot or astronaut.
To fuel my dream, Appa encouraged me to write letters to ISRO (Indian Space Research Org) and explore opportunities.

On a beautiful Spring day in 2012, Adi, Kumar and I went parasailing together on 3 seater. Kumar was in the center. Adi and I were on either side of the parasailing seats to balance out the weight appropriately.

The boat took us out to the Pacific Ocean and we para sailed with for glee for a few minutes. That wonderful feeling of freedom I’m flying rushed back to my memory.

The rush of ocean wind on my face and my legs dangling free… the whole feeling of freedom…. the scent of salt water…. all of that was visceral.

To this day, when I take a flight, I am fascinated with the engineering and mechanics of what humanity has made possible.

What recurring dream did you have during childhood?

Somebody’s Fruit

When I was in middle school, I had the most fun and passionate English Teachers who taught poetry and prose. One of those poems was this: Somebody’s Mother

Speaking of mothers, Mommy told me a lot of stories of her childhood. One of them was about the fruit trees in her father’s (Grandpa TVS) fields. She described the low hanging mangoes and how she would lie down under the shaded trees and eat them. She also described the giant grapefruits that were too sour for her to eat.

Because of her stories, although I grew up in the outskirts of the city (concrete jungle) with dwindling vegetation, I grew up with growing love for fields, villages, shaded and fruit bearing trees. I found the whole concept of lying beneath a low hanging mangoe tree very exotic.

As I grew up, over the last two decades, wherever I went, I left a trail of plants and trees. That is not to say I have a green thumb. Far from it. I am a plant killer. But, I kept trying my best. I learnt from the best and kept getting better. Given that frugual is part of my DNA, I never (over-)spent on plants. I borrowed a cutting or got a sapling from fellow plant lovers and planted fruit trees and roses. Plant lovers were more than happy to drop by and show me the ropes and in many cases, handle my SOS “Hey…..run over….plant is drying out, yellowing out, tilting over” calls. One of those friends was an elderly gentlemen named Al who helped me plant peaches, pears etc during my Fremont (CA) days. Al even helped Kumar put in a sprinler system and drip irrigation, so I didn’t have to water the plants every day during summer. During my CA days, when the fruit harvest came in during Spring and Summer, I shared the labor of love with friends and colleagues.

But, as my life course changed, I moved around, and many a times, I didn’t get to enjoy my labor of love. I didn’t get to see the plants that I set in the ground mature…and bear fruit.

Such is life…is it not?

That brings me to today’s story.

For the last few weeks, I have been plucking persimmons and distributing them. I didn’t plant the persimmon trees in the backyard. My friend Thane tells me that persimmon trees are like the Indian version of tulasi (holy basil)…considered very auspicious for a family. The Chinese family who lived in our place must have planted them in the ground with much love and nurtured them. But, before they could enjoy the labor of their love, they moved away.

Leaving me to pluck these persimmons and distribute them with much love.

These persimmons. Somebody’s fruit.

End Note:

I bet Mommy is proud that she left her legacy of love for plants with me.

Leave a legacy. Plant something.

On a Fall Day

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. ”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”
― Yoko Ono

“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.”
― Joe L. Wheeler


On Time

I had one of those serendipitous moments today.
It didn’t come easy.
I struggled for many decades because I didn’t even know what were the right questions to ask.
It only came because, over the years, I had gotten better at seeding the right questions in my brain.

Over the last 3 decades…by reading about time management, by using every time management tool there is possible, by optimizing, by juggling, by prioritizing and by trying to run my life as a project…..I haven’t actually been doing what I thought I did – Managing time instead of letting time manage me.

Due to my eastern learning, fortunately, I also know that time itself is timeless.

With that context, here is the realization that dawned on me today.

Ready for it?

I actual haven’t been managing time or let time manage me.
Something more.
I have been trying to OUTRUN time.
Did you hear that?

How foolish?
How contrived?
How conceited?
How powerful?
And yet, how foolish and futile?!

In the picture, I am trying to outrun time and make it to Mt. Whitney 14,505 feet peak by noon.

Yes, I braved changing mountain conditions with a couple of hailstorms and indeed bagged Mt. Whitney one beautiful day in Summer 2010, by noon time, as I had willed it.

On Living Thru Hurricane Harvey

Thank you for all the concerned, thoughtful texts and messages asking if we are safe as #HurricaneHarvey passes through Austin.

Austin has been windy and rainy the last 24 hours. We have stayed indoors to avoid risk of driving through any flooded streets.

Hope everyone is safe and nature’s wrath will leave without causing too many damages.

The weather outside called for spicy mixture, hot samosa and yummy chai for the 3 boys who survived the hectic “first week back to school” routine.

As I stand on the verge of boundless non-existent time boundaries, I wonder what the next 2 decades will bring.