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 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.

Whatever Will Be, Will Be

These railroads are shrouded in fog in Austin all today.
Kind of mysterious.
Just like our future…..shrouded in mystery.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. –Albert Einstein

 

Let me Lead a Purposeful Life

Poets who touched our hearts….there are many, aren’t there?

I love Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Byron and Frost…they all live with us…..with the beautiful poetry that they shared with the world.

Every time I see yellow flowers…I think about Wordsworth and his swaying daffodils.

Every time I see snow…I think about Frost and how we described (so perfectly) what to our eyes is a mere mound of white.

One of my favorite poets is none other than the one that spoke in my mother-tongue.

Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subramanya_Bharathi

Here is one of my all time favorites of Bharathiyar. It it called Nallador Veenai.

Check this video out…even if you don’t understand the words you will understand the ethos in the song…because music is beyond language.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqZ6lQs8BZI

Here is the one line meaning of the poem:
Let me lead a purposeful life

The long meaning of the poem is as follows:
Nalladhor veenai seidhe….
—(I)made a noble veena

Adhai Nalamkeda Puzhidhiyil Yerivadhundo….
— Does it make sense to throw a well made Veena in garbage?

solladi sivasakthi. ennai suDar migum arivudan padaithu vittai….
—So tell me Shivasakthi, you made me with sparkling intelligence

vallamai thaaraayo – intha
maanilam payanura vaazhvatharke
—Wont you give me skill and brilliance to make
the society lead a purposeful life

solladi sivasakthi – nila
chumayena vaazhnthida puriguvayo ?
—Answer me oh Goddess
Why will you let me go a waste, an unnecessary burden to this Earth?

nasaiyuru manam ketten – nitham
navamena sudar tharum uyir kaetten
—Give me a untarnished mind – and a
life that would light up life

dasayinai thee chudinum
siva sakthiyai paadum nal agam kaeten
—Give me the drive to sing about
sivasakthi long after this body is burnt

asaivaru mathi kaetten – ivai
arulvathil unakkaethum thadaiyullatho ?
—And gimme an immovable confidence – Do you
have any problem in granting this?

Over to you: Who is the poet who touched your heart?