Saying Goodbye to India after Our Summer Trip

That is how the window looked as our flight pulled out from Chennai.

It was pouring.

Not just outside.

Inside too.

The boys and me cried a lot as the flight took off from Chennai.

We were so loved and so cared for by family and friends.

We received so many hugs and so many kisses.

We said so many joyful hellos and so many tearful goodbyes.

We ate so much food cooked out of love.

We traveled all over via bus, taxi, car, flights and trains.

We had family and friends waiting for us at road sides, train stations and bus stands.

We were picked up and dropped off with so much care.

We saw so much beauty in people’s hearts and in beautiful TamilNadu.

We had such a great time in India. Short. But incredibly sweet.

Thank you to all of our family and friends who made it such a great trip. I’ve already been looking at Cheap Flights so we can go back!

Exploring the Exploratorium

First things first. Familiarize yourself with 2 Tamil words.

Akkal – ஆக்கல்
Akkal means to create.

Azhikal – அழிகல்
Azhikal means to destroy.

I was at The Exploratorium in San Francisco yesterday. For the very first time.

I have been to many museums. As of yesterday, The Exploratorium tops the list.

It was huge. It had many hands-on exhibits.

I became a kid amongst the kids. Every child (and by that I mean all the adults who became children as well) touched the exhibits. They played with the exhibits.

I could literally see and hear the neurons making connections in the children’s brains. Snap. Snap.

I could see all the girls (god bless their hearts) exploring. My heart brimmed. These children are going to be the scientists of tomorrow.

These children are going to save the world tomorrow.

Here is a picture that struck me the most.

Exploring the Exploratorium - Ambal Balakrishnan

The Big Brother. Dr. Robert Oppenheimer.
Father of the atomic bomb.
Azhikal. அழிகல். To destroy.

The Little Brother. Dr. Frank Oppenheimer.
Founder of the Exploratorium.
Akkal. ஆக்கல். To create.

I closed my eyes for a second. I wondered how much creation happens in that museum?

I said “Thank you Dr. Oppenheimer. Wish I had met you in person”.

He said “You have. I am here with you. Aren’t I? In all these exhibits.”

Now let us come back to the Akkal and Azhikal story.

Don’t judge anybody by what their family did or does.
Don’t judge anybody. Period.

Go visit The Exploratorium. Tell Dr. Oppenheimer that Ambal sent you.

Every Act of Kindness Originates Deep in the Heart

Ari brought home a small booklet this week. As I browsed through it, my heart started brimming.

Here are a few pictures from the booklet. Check out what a bunch of thoughtful kindergartners had to say about their classmate.

Nobody owes you and me anything. Nobody.
Every act of kindness originates deep in the heart.
So, even the slightest good attribute,
even the smallest help,
even the littlest thoughtful act needs to be appreciated.
We all know this.
But, sometimes, a bunch of kindergartners can be the spark to rekindle our kindness and thoughtfulness.

Look somebody in the eye today.

Tell them “You are special to me because ….”.

Here goes..

You are special to me because I learn from your responses.
You are special to me because you share things that make me want to be a better person.
You are special. Thank you.

Equality in Education

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”
– Nelson Mandela

“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery”
– Horace Mann

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, states: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This post is in reference to Senate Constitutional Amendment No.5

I was asked to comment on SCA 5 and held off for many weeks due to my association with educational institutions. When the educational institutions themselves urged me to put my views out, I felt compelled to write this.

Note: These are my private views and don’t represent the views of any of the educational institutions that I represent.
Dear Beautiful California,

You do know how much I love you….don’t you?

I love thy gorgeous beaches.
I love thy never ending sunshine.
I love thy rolling hills.
I love thy high mountains.
I love thy snow covered peaks.
I love thy open culture.
I love thy never give up spirit.
I love thy diversity.

Are you not the state where people from many nations all live under the one powerful word Californian?

Do I not teach my boys to be free spirits…just like you?

Does not my throat choke up and tears well up every time I hear these words:
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

Don’t you know how much I adore you?
Don’t you know how much I respect you?

Don’t you know that I think “Heaven is on Earth and in California”?
Don’t you know how I feel every time I stand on thy lands and see the sun set on the Pacific Ocean?
Don’t you know how I feel about you dear California?

Are you not The State where dreams are made?
Are you not The State where dreams come true?
Are you not The State where trends are set?

Are you not meant to stand for higher values and bigger things? Are you not?

How dear California can I explain to my boys that my heart is broken today?
How dear California can I tell my boys that you don’t stand anymore for the values that you are a proponent of?

Don’t thy hold my heart strings?

It is alright. I understand.
We all make mistakes. We don’t intend to.
It happens.
I have made tons of mistakes.
I continue to make tons of them.
That said, it is never too late to make amends.
Please. Do the right thing. Stand for what you stand for.

I’ll tell my boys that the Golden State has a Golden Heart too.
I’ll tell my boys to grow up and dream the big Californian dream.

I’ll tell my boys “You don’t have to go West. You are already there my boys.”

I know you’ll do the right thing.
I trust you.

Footnote: California Friends – I am not advocating either side. Yes is right. No is right too. Read both sides of the story. Think. Do what YOU think is right.