Ambal’s Blog – Start Here

Grandpa’s (also referred to as Thatha) stories and teachings:

On Unchaining Yourself and Breaking Free

On Giving your Word

Somebody’s Fruit

The Mindset to Enjoy the Little Things in Life

Seat of Speculation

Remembering Chandra Patti

How would You React to the Wrong Order Delivered?

Culture. Traditions. Immersion. New Beginnings.

On Finding Peace and Strength

On Death & Survival

The VibHuti – The story behind the white streak on my forehead

Live Near a Place of Worship

My Most Memorable Childhood Experiences are with Thatha

The Starfish Story

Writing:

When I Write

Why do you Write? Part 1 – Paying it Forward

Why do you Write? Part 2 – Finding Meaning

Writing is very Lonely Work

Writing to Heal and Open Up

To risk making a fool of yourself

What can you learn from some of the best writers in history?

Rainbow Stories:

Rainbow Days – On Waiting

Rainbow Days – Meeting the Vet

Rainbow Days – The Dog Ate My Homework

Rainbow Days – Who is walking Who?

Rainbow Days – The Dog Whisperer

Rainbow Days – Smile All Day

Rainbow Days –Unconditional Love

Rainbow Days – A Man is a Dog’s Best Friend?

Rainbow Days – Falling off the Morning Routine Bandwagon

Wonder:

On Flying

Today, I let Wonder Win

Symmetry in Nature – What a Wonder?

Life through a 8 year old’s eyes

The UnReality of Reality – Fascinating Digital Images

Wildy Chasing Wildflowers in Texas Hill Country

Keep Looking for What doesn’t Meet the Eye

Poems:

5 LIFE Changing Poems YOU Should Read

Let me Lead a Purposeful Life

Remember to Forget

Desiderata – Desired Things

Your children are Not Your Children

Dear Human: You’ve got it all Wrong

Yours is the Earth and Everything That’s in It

A time to be born, and a time to die

On Vanity of Human Toil

Time & Moments:

On Time

On Waiting

Embrace‬ ‪the‬ ‪Metaphysical‬

Look at the Sun Rays

All Kind of Miracles Happen. Don’t they?

Experience Moments, One by One

Warm water of the Atlantic Ocean. Met my feet.

The Mindset to Enjoy the Little Things in Life

I would have bet Bolt hands down!

On What you are seeking and How it is seeking you

Thoughts of a Weary Traveler

On Moments that become Meaningless

Right place at the Right time with the Right person

Nostalgia Reminds us that some Beautiful Moments are Past Us

Moments eventually come to an End

Mad Rush through the Grocery Store Aisles

Life:

On Life

When all of Life seems Ablaze

Thoughts of a Weary Traveler

Life through a 8 year old’s eyes

Let me Lead a Purposeful Life

Summer Camp – How to Handle LIFE as it Happens

We are all creatures of our Life Experiences

First Anniversary Celebration of Life

Every Day Life is very Interesting

True Freedom in Life

On Running for the Hills

The Simple Pleasures of Life – Hot Chai

Friends make our Life’s one way Journey Extra Sweet

The Simple Pleasures of Life – Warm Sand

In reality, to live a happy life we need to know and practice very few skills

Isn’t Life about Second Chances?

On walking away from my Chariot

I would have bet Bolt hands down!

Right place at the Right time with the Right person

On Not Forgetting

I tried to hold it together and stay strong at Iris’ memorial. But, I couldn’t. I broke down when her husband Jerry (man of few words) said to Iris -“Honey, Wherever you are, I want you to know I love you. I want you to know I’ll do my very best to take care of the boys and your parents”. Jerry urged us to not take any moment with our loved one for granted.

I brought home some forget-me-not seeds to plant in the backyard. I bet they’ll bloom beautiful in a few months.

Josh Groban’s “To Where You Are”

Who can say for certain
Maybe you’re still here
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You’re still an inspiration
Can it be
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn’t faith believing
All power can’t be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
‘Cause you are mine
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you’re there
A breath away’s not far

To where you are

I know you’re there
A breath away’s not far
To where you are

On Mortality

I am going to be heading out tomorrow afternoon to a friend’s memorial. Iris died of breast cancer. Iris loved my boys as if they were her own.

When Adi went on robotics tournaments, she was his second mom. She would text me pictures of score boards and Adi driving the robot. She was so proud of him. She cared for Ari in her after school center. She leaves behind her young boys, her loving husband and a whole bunch of people she cared genuinely for and who adore her.

As you can tell, death has wreaked havoc on my life (pun, intended) in the last few months.

To make sense of it all and share my thoughts and pain, I am going to be writing a rather morose series of posts on Life & Death. I’ll understand if you are unable to handle it and don’t want to read on.

If you can handle it, read on….

Ready for it? Ok.

Let us assume you and I found out you one of our loved ones is going to die 24 hours from now, what would we do?

We would drop everything.
Right?
We would rush to them.
We would hold their hand.
We wouldn’t even blink our eye.
We would tell them how much we love them.
We would move heaven and earth to stop, evade or slow the impending 24 hours deadline.

Now, think about it.

I gave a “fake” 24 hour deadline.
But, the truth of the matter is we don’t even know when the deadline is.
But, it is approaching us.

We all believe, falsely, that time is infinite.
How tragically beautiful that belief is?

Time isn’t infinite.
Time is ticking.

For you.
For me.
For our loved ones.
For all of us.

Hear that.

Tick.
Tick.
Tick.

We all know this.
Yet, we make plans.
We make dinner plans.
We make plans for tomorrow.
For next week.
For next month.
For next year.
It sounds ridiculous, does it not?

Well, it is called hope.
Humanity has thrived on hope.

I am not going to end this post, as I typically do, on a positive note.
I am not going to say – Make it all count.

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?

Are you turning Better or Bitter?

I usually don’t fall sick. When I sense the onslaught of a sickness, I use the power of my mind to fight it.
Perhaps, that is what is keeping this terrible cold that wants to torture me at bay. That combined with coat, socks, scarf and being dressed like an Eskimo inside the house.

Anyways, we are about a month away from the year to end. So, here are my reflective thoughts.

bitter-or-better-ambal-balakrishnan

Over the last few years, I have realized only 2 things happen to people as they grow up. They either become BITTER or they become BETTER. That is it. Those are the only 2 things that happened.

That is my hypothesis. You don’t have to agree with it. In fact, I much rather that you go through your own reflection and prove me wrong.

So, let me explain my thinking.

I went through a lot of hardships when I was my younger self.
I think those experiences have left me very resilient.
I laugh now more than I ever did .
I take on challenges with a rather playful attitude.
I have also had the fortune of meeting many cherished souls that despite so many hardships, have become better over the years.
They have seen tough times and have done the “Phoenix Rising” act many times over. I adore these people. I look up to them as my role models. I learn from them. They inspire me to get better as I age.

Sadly, that is not everybody. Several people become bitter over the years. It is very sad to see. But, that is the unfortunate truth.

I think not facing adversity in life during early years possibly has something to do with it. They might have not built the “I-have-digged-myself-out-of-deep-shit-and-can-do-it-all-over-again” muscle. But, here is the good news. It is never too late to build that muscle and turn out better.

I also think that not planning for one’s life in early years or placing importance on things that don’t actually matter…leaves one very susceptible to “issues” later on in life.

One of my favorite Tamil poets Vairamuthu says:
Chinna chinna tholvi ketten
Seekkiram aarum kaayam ketten

What it means is the following:
I ask for small failures.
I ask for wounds that will heal soon.

I recite this poem to the boys often.
I wish failure and wounds for them and myself.
I want them and myself to continue to build resilience.
I fight hard to control my motherly instinct.
I let them fight the good fight for themselves.
I step back more often than I should.
Trust me, it requires a lot of self control to step back.

My mother in law used to tell me “Ambal, only keep the good memories”. That is also something that I teach the boys.

Do yourself a favor. Find somebody that really knows you, cares for you and is a straight shooter.

Ask them, “Am I getting bitter or better?”

I hope I’ll only grow better.
I hope that you’ll only grow better.

Because, after this game ends, I would so want to see you on the other side in the Better Camp.

Alrighty?