The Starfish Story

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them further in they will die.”

“But, old man, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all, you can’t even save one-tenth of them. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea.

“It made a difference to that one.”

Rainbow Days – Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon

We all know that morning routines are the toughest.

After years of work, I got the boys “CRAZY” weekday morning routine tidied up.

The rule is simple. Most of the early morning work needs to be finished up the previous evening.

Snacks packed.
Water bottles packed.
Backpacks packed and left near the door.
Coats left in the coat stand.
Shoes near the door step.
Pants, shirts, socks etc..set out near the shower.
Car keys in a little box…so, we are not looking for it in the morning.

I even threatened some of us in the household with severe consequences (for example, “loss of wifi password”. I know, the chillls ran through your spine as you read those 4 words, did it not? Yep, I can be quite evil if I choose to!) if I ever catch them reading in the restrooms in the morning.

The 12 year old and the 6 year old are doing a phenomenal job of getting ready in the mornings.

Every other day, I catch the “other” grown-up kid falling off the bandwagon and not following the “military-like” routine. Playing with Rainbow. Rubbing her tummy.

Granted, he gets up earlier than me and gets the boys started on their morning routine. But, damn it! Can’t he get in row and follow the “military-like” routine?

If I catch him not following the routine, I am going to be my evil-self next week. If you see him, tell him “Consider yourself warned buddy. If I were you, I wouldn’t mess with her.”

Also, my “turning bad” next week might explain any whiny “I hate her” messages you might hear from him. If that happens, you already know whose side to take. Don’t you? Morning routines are the toughest and the ones that work hard to get the routine in place…need support (pun intended). Remember that when you take sides.

“Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.”
— Lloyd Biggle Jr.

And, in case you are wondering, how the story lines runs in the evenings…

Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon - 2 - Ambal Balakrishnan

Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon - 3 - Ambal Balakrishnan

P.S. I love him very much and it is very hard for me to be my evil-self with him. The post is meant to be a fun Friday post to help us all think about morning routines. So, chill. Happy Friday!

Why do I like this Fatalistic song that spells Despair?

Since the family has been together most of the holidays, I have been playing all my favorite playlists for the boys to hear.

I have also been subjected to more than my fair share of “Dynamite” and “What does the Fox Say?”

Here is one of my favorite songs that the boys have been listening to – “Ennakavi Padinalum”.

Given my die-hard optimist heart, upbeat persona and “the glass is always full” (half water + half air, right!) nature you might be very surprised that I like a fatalistic song like “Ennakavi Padinalum” that spells despair.

But, what is not to like about this masterpiece (said to be originally written by Annaiyampatti Adisesha Iyer a century ago).

Here are the reasons that is song is on my favorite list:

  1. I grew up with Daddy singing Murugan songs at all times. So, the song fits right into the “Murugan” portfolio that my brain might be hard wired to like. 
  1. The creative and innovative renderings by different artists over the years leave me spellbound every time that I listen to these songs.    
    Aditya Rao’s rendering
    Aruna Sairam’s rendering
    Madurai Somu’s rendering
  1. In Fall 2012, a young looking 70 year old walked into my living room for Golu and captured my heart and soul with his rendering of the song. Tears rolled down my eyes as I video-taped his calling out to Murugan. My friend Sarvanan’s dad Murugiah’s rendering. (please bear with the kids noise in the background)
  1. Another name for Murugan is Kumar. Like the Kumar that I have at home. “enna kavi padinalum undan ullam irangavillai” means (in the in-house Kumar context…not the Lord Murugan context) “Whatever I ask or tell you Kumar, you don’t seem to get it. Do you?!” 

In case you are wondering what the picture has to do with “Ennakavi padinalum”, here is the back story.

This summer, during our India trip, I took the boys to many temples. One of them is featured in the picture. You can see Ari, Adi and Daddy walking into the temple. The temple is Kumaran Kundram at Chromepet (where I grew up for the first 18 years of my life) in Chennai, India. Kumaran Kundram happens to be a Murugan temple that played non-stop Murugan songs over the temple loud speakers.

Life comes a full circle. Does it not?

Now, onto turning over the speakers to the boys to be subjected to  “Dynamite” and “What does the Fox Say?”

Those two songs have have grown on me thanks to the boys.

Beautiful Red Ornament

I hope you enjoy the serendipity and ephemeral beauty in this shot (much like our life!) as much as I did.

Here is the story behind the picture.

Adi was dressed in a red/black coat yesterday. It was chilly. So, I insisted he put gloves on. He obliged. Notice how the black gloves match the upper portion of his coat in this picture?

We decided to do a small hike near Lake Austin. The trail was decorated with Christmas ornaments.

Side note: It seems to be a common practice for volunteers to decorate road side and highway side trees during the month of December. What a great idea!

Due to the strong winds, a few of the Christmas ornaments had fallen down on the trail side. Adi and Ari tried to pick up the ornaments and put them back on the trees again.

As they were doing this, I was clicking some pictures of the beautiful Lake Austin.

Adi had his gloves closed as he ran up to me and said “Amma, looks what is in this clam shell.”

I said “What?”

He slowly opened up the clam likes gloves to reveal this beautiful red ornament.

Notice how the red color in his coat plays off with the red colored ornament and the black color in his coat plays off with the black colored clam-like gloves?!

I click a 1000 pictures. And, then I click a gem like this one.

Happy Holidays!