Who am I?

Continuing on one of the threads in the previous post – I’m very taken with James Clear’s behaviour change by changing your what you believe is true about you instead of setting a goal/deadline and berating yourself.  I can’t find the link, so will have to update later.  It has really gotten me thinking.

From the previous post: I love writing and teasing my thoughts out on paper.  I am a person who thinks better when I write.  Writing is a form of meditation for me.  And very importantly, I cherish this connection with my earlier self.  This is my identity.  To cultivate this, I’m going to write once a week, no more than 3 times.

I am very grateful for my teachers’ time and attention.  I am a student of vibrant lifer JV (yes! happened last year).  I will practice 3 times a week, maximum of 6 times to make the best use of her time.


Hello 2017!

So, this time taking inspiration from James Clear.  His point about changing identity to ensure behaviour change occurs makes sense.  So what identity do I believe is core?  I love writing and teasing my thoughts out on paper.  I am a person who thinks better when I write.  Writing is a form of meditation for me.  This is my identity.  To cultivate this, I’m going to write once a week, no more than 3 times.  (Hey James, this upper bound thing is so not my style :(, but sticking to it because you say it works better.  OK, that last line was based on setting only the upper bound as once a week.  Way more doable with setting lower bound).

2017 is off to a good start.  DH has a new job offer, 40% more pay (is that right?) than his current one, seems excited about it.  Hope the universe plans to have his be here for a while, the guy has been flitting a bit.

DS also has a job offer!  I should record the events.  Around Jan 16, he wanted to come over to CA on Feb 10 for a job fair.  I was hemming even for that, but gave in.  Then, Jan 23rd, he tells me about this job he wants to apply for in Santa Clara.  I reviewed his resume and cover letter (no one can say I’m not supportive!).  Sends it off Jan 26, expects to wait weeks to hear back.  They call him on the 28th and ask him to come for an interview.  Interview is on Feb 3.  Price is ~$950 for the flight.  But what are you gonna do but pay.  I pick up some groceries on Thu and decide to return Mami’s call.  She tells me to do maavilakku maavu on Friday.  Ok, a bit tight on time, but ok.  DH lands here Thu night.  Next day, gets haircut and then eats the world record for slowest lunch.  Interview is at 12:15, guy’s still munching away at 11:30.  I stop him, get him on his way.  And am in the swami room, feeling so anxious.  Looking out of the window,  I spot the hummingbird feeder.  I hadn’t seen any hbs for a while and wished I could see one as confirmaiton that everything will go well.  And instantly, I was rationalizing, there’s no way it can happen, I can’t demand these from the universe.  And just at that moment, a hb comes swooping down like lightning and then swoops away right away.  What a lovely affirmation.  DS sent me a text, he was worried there were others before him.  I told him to relax.  He then logged into Facebook (!!) and reads a quote posted in the Babaji group – When you feel worried, it is just your mind talking.  Instantly relaxes.  I took all my books I wanted to read, sat with Bhagavan, promptly fell asleep and woke up when DS called me.  The interview lasted for 30 minutes.  I thought that meant they were not interested, but he said it seemed to go well.  Heads back to TX and in a couple of days, gets a call with the job offer.  Good for him.   The offer letter came yesterday.  I didn’t want to open it, one I was scared what my reaction would be and how it would color his.  So sent it off by FedEx – $45!! for speedy delivery – he’ll get it on Monday.  Now the worry is that it be a good starting salary – I’m hoping 70K.  Let’s see.

DN (dear niece) also got a job offer in Trichy.  High time!  I was wondering how to bring up DS getting a job while she was still unemployed.  I know DS (dear sister) has never reacted with envy and she loves DS, but I calibrate based on my own personality.  So happy I don’t have to wonder anymore.

Ok, that’s my minimum for the week of Feb 5.

It’s always a pleasure to read what I wrote earlier.  Honestly, Joan Didion has it so right, I like to be friends with the person I was at the time of writing.

So it’s my 25th year reunion from college.  I swear I graduated just a couple of years ago, the hurts are all so close to the surface.  Of course I’m not going, but am part of the whatsapp group that was created to generate the me-too coalitions.  Half the people I don’t remember.  Here’s a question – does everyone other than me have kids going to name brand schools and are super successful?  One of the people I was closer to – I’ll call her PG – is a CTO(!!) – at a company in Boston, she used to run the technology for Fidelity before.  And her daughter – CS at Carnegie Mellon.  She came here for a visit and collected folks to visit.  I was so doubtful, but went anyway.  I met others from my batch – JP, R, and then the usual actors.  PG was so sweet, still amazed at her success.  The usual actors showed up, hung out in their exclusive group, were so happy in their authoritative clarity.  It confirmed things – I don’t belong with them.

Then this past Friday night – I was at the srr temple for the beginning of the maha rudram.   I was in two minds whether to go and asked Bhagavan.  He said Go and I went fine.  I went to the deities to do namaskaram with my daughter and walked around this woman in a pink saree, judging it and the wearer – it was stiff and hung separately from the woman.  I get up and she looks at me and says “Hey Y!”  I’m as usual, blank, but decided she must be the person who was Chicago cousin’s friend and tell her she has a great memory.  She knew I thought she was someone else and said “Of course, it’s been 25 years.  I don’t think you remember me, I am S”.  One of the least likely to succeed members of my class, total hausfrau, completely traditional – all judgements I’d had then and remembered instantly.  I said OMG, of course you are, invited her to sit with me.  Instantly comfortable – because of course I consider myself superior to her.  We talk abt kids, her daughter is in SD, doing bio engg.  OK.  First strike to ego.  DD is with me, I say she’s headed to Riverside.  Puja gets over and we’re parting ways.  I take her number and say – For sure, you have to come over to my place.  I have no hesitation making the invitation because I don’t imagine in a million years it will be rejected.  She says I’ll call you for Golu, but I’m very busy otherwise.  The surprise in my face is super clear.  And then she explains herself – what with my son being Intel Finalist, I have to take him around everywhere and I have other things going on.  Body blow to ego.  WTF!  Completely unexpected rejection, and raising a %(#& finalist.  Maybe the secret to having genius children is to have known me?  I did the I’m a lousy mother, my genes are the weak link, and the Bhagavan queries – why not me and why put me in this situation.  Tried to remember to be grateful and breathe and be present – challenge!  But the why put me in this situation is a good question.  I can see that it is to root out my judgemental nature.  Or maybe this feeling of superiority that I carry around that has no basis for its existence.  Bhagavan – is there a gentler way to get this task done?  I’m reeling. I always used to think the cheer in cheerai azhitthu nirvanamai cheidu meant money and you were going to make me a pauper.  Perhaps one aspect of cheer is ego?  I’m reeling Muruga.  But it turns me to thinking of you.  I feel my carefully constructed cover being ripped and I’m exposed.  So part 1 of the verse is working well, just make sure part 2 is also simultaneous!


Disjointed thoughts:

How can I be thirsty after drinking a 16 ounces of water?  Does hot water make you more thirsty?  And what’s the point if it feels like it goes right through you?

I scared myself today.  I was at Macy’s.  A Middle Eastern family walked by, the little boy was maybe 7 years old.  Very fair with a shock of black hair and extra bright black eyes.  I first thought how cute and then my thoughts were this kid is going to be profiled soon because of his eyes.   A few minutes later, a woman in a hijab in the shoe section, scowling in a bad mood.  She was in the shoe section, anyone would be in a bad mood.  And I thought, gosh, she looks scary.  Both times the T word popped into my head.  They are not any more foreign than me and I am suspicious of random strangers.  Will I have the courage to do the right thing if it’s called for from me?  After today, I’m not so sure.  I am scared of my own budding bigotry.  What’s the solution?  Stay away from newspapers?

Am trying to go on a diet, but have no will power.  It’s draining to constantly be aware of thinking of food.

Which is why I’m so grateful to have found Cabin Pressure.  Many thanks to DD for introducing me to it!  ROTFLOL! and still laughing over some of the gags.  fishfree-oboecheck.  Wonder if I’ll remember and it’ll still be funny the next time I read this.

Dream – Amma in dream last night.  I was in a dining hall, seated on the floor, BFFU sitting next to me, two men sitting kitty corner to me, all of us had a leaf plate in front of us with food served.  Amma comes into the room, my LA cousin is accompanying her, she has a basket in her hand or fills the basket with things from the loft (bear with me, this part not so clear).   She hands some trinkets to the men in front.  I’m watching wondering if I’ll get anything.  She turns around, says “Yamuna!” and perhaps “nanna irukkiya”  And hands me a saree from her basket.  It was yellow with embroidery, folded so I know it was not a new saree.  And I think she gave one to BFFU too.  She walks away and I turn to BFFU and say – wow! she knows my name!  And BFFU says, Yeah, or maybe someone told her you were Yamuna?  I was thinking about ways that it could have happened without my noticing, couldn’t figure out how and wondering if LA cousin might have told her.  At the end, decided it didn’t matter.  And the dream dispersed.   I don’t get dreams too often nowadays and have given up hoping for my Gurus to show.  But this am, I got up and my first question to myself was – Hmm, who showed up in my dream yesterday?


A tale of three movies, last to first.

I saw Inside Out, a Pixar movie, an animated movie.  And in a first afaik, was weeping.  The movie is about emotions and memories.  Just like Monsters Inc, they have a mechanism all laid out on how emotions take charge and how memories are stored.  Movie going along, I’m slightly irritated by Joy, the perkiness gets annoying.  Looking at her green dress and wondering why she isn’t in tights which is more appropriate for the kid whom Joy runs.  And then they come to the imaginary friend, Bing Bong.  Initially starts off by being neurotic, but there is ths truck that kid used to ride around with BingBong.  They sing a song and rainbows shoot out of the wagon and it flies.  So taken with this image.  By the time the story begins, kid’s already forgotten BingBong, he’s in the long term memory storage.  Which is sad in itself.  Joy says she’ll bring him back when she gets back to HQ, but things go way south and they fall into the abyss where memories disintegrate.  I couldn’t help thinking of people who suffer from dementia.  It’s as good an explanation as any of what happens to their memories.  And joy tries to escape the abyss with BingBong and the truck’s help while singing their song with increasingly forced cheer and they can’t get out – that’s got to be us trying desperately to claw our way back to even keel but keep sliding back to hopelessness.  And then the last try, BingBong gives the head start and then jumps out of the trunk so that he’s not pulling down the escape vehicle.  Even now, recollecting the scene wrenches my heart.  DD was asking if it had anything to do with her imaginary friend Amo.  I don’t think my sadness is vicarious.  Did I have an imaginary friend who’s lost and forgotten and BingBong triggers my sadness for the loss, but not the actual memory?  Or it just might be inspired storytelling.  And funnily enough, the character I cared about the most was Sadness.  The catharsis, the reflection, the stepping into adulthood, all of them have to do with Sadness.  The movie is not sweet, not a riot like TS or MI, but unforgettable for completely different reasons.

Movie #2 – Star Wars, the minority edition.  A girl pilot, a black storm trooper, a white villain and a Middle Eastern (?) daredevil.

Movie #3 – Spectre, am saving my vitriol for the last.  Argh!  The stupid theme song was the beginning.  I thought it was a girl singing.  And the romancing is just silly this time around.  The widow is just rescued and Bond’s slobbering over her, or she him, I can’t tell.  The worst was the love interest.  He’s disarming nuclear weapons and is confused on how to handle a woman?  The assasin Mr White has his children’s photograph in the same room where he keeps his torture tapes?  They narrowly escape death, destroying a train car in the process and at the end of it, they maul each other instead of getting out of explaining the destruction?  He’s off to save the world and she’s breaking up with him?!  Oh, the villain chooses a life of crime because his father took Bond hunting?  And at the end, love conquers hate with Bond walking away to his gf as the villain looks at him.  Corny!!  Verper Lynd – that’s the best portrayal, by far!


My DD turned 17 yessterday.  I still remember with clarity the day she was born, how I was uncomfortable and decided to sleep on the floor, felt my water break and thought I’d just let it happen and then decided to go to the bathroom because I didn’t want to mess up the new comforter (yes, I know, priorities!).  Happily hung around for a while and then called the doc who said hang around for a while longer.  When I told DH, he became a nut.  Wore his shirt backside front in his haste to get me out the door and into the hospital.  Drove to SF, stayed in the waiting room for a while and finally got to the delivery room.  The doctor had a nice voice, gravelly.  I had more pain with the injections they were trying to give me for the pain than the birth itself.  I remember looking at her when the doctor held her by the Apgar table, thinking she looked like my sister and wondering how our relationship would be like.  She latched on to nurse like that, I was so surprised.  And every year, I’m more in love with her than ever.  I can see and sense the strong attachment, it’s scary because I’ve seen the dark side of such a love.  Hopefully, I’ll know to relinquish when the time comes.  But am thoroughly enjoying the present.  She is that – my present.

Part II – I’ve spent so much time thinking about this, it’s got to stop.  Putting it into words, I’m hoping, will be the key for that. I called BFFP last Wed to ask if she could take DD to school for the band practice.  DH and I were stuck at work.  She said no (didn’t give a reason), I said fine.  She asked what would DD do, I said she’d have to bike.  Few minutes later, I get this text – I’m in a very disturbed mental state right now, don’t want to take responsibility for driving anyone.  Called you in the morning, but you didn’t pick up the phone as usual.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t affect our relationship.  I need to be by myself for a bit, but I still love you.  I was royally pissed – a mixture of disappointment, anger and outrage.  I’d assumed she needed to be elsewhere, but to find out it was because of a “mental state” still makes me mad.  Disappointed is such a shallow word for how this feels – betrayed is more like it.  Betrayed because I expected more from a person who calls herself my bf, whom I expect to have my back and who would know I call for assistance as a last resort and so it needs to be important enough to get over yourself.  Anger because I’m tallying up all the times I’ve gone out of my way to support her pickup/dropoff logistics with her son and mother.  Here’s my question – if she hadn’t said anything, I’d have assumed she had to be someplace else and made my peace with it.  She could have easily used a white lie, instead she told me her truth and it’s making me livid.  Should she have just kept up the lie?  For sure, it would have saved me heartburn.

Then the second part – what the heck is the action expected from me when I receive this text?  Am I supposed to inquire into the nature of the mental state or honor the taking of time to oneself?  Is the expectation that I remain waiting until she decides she’s had enough time and is ready to mingle with the proletariat?  Am I to check in periodically to see if the mental state is still turbulent?  There’s this aspect of being taken for granted – when I climb down from my perch, she’ll be ready and eager to continue where we left off – that’s also irking me.  Hah – wrote that twice, so it must be bothering me a lot.  How would it end?  A summons via text, come join me for tea?  A dropin on my doorstep to show vedalam has left murungai maram?  Here’s the part I’m really sure of – it will affect the way I interact with her.  Got to go to bed, will continue tmrw.


I met Shri Kamakshi Swamigal this afternoon.  The history here is interesting.  A couple of years ago, I was talking to Ranjini’s mil about my brother and our sadness that they don’t have children yet.  As I was leaving their house, Mami told me about Kamakshi Swamigal and told me to go see him when I went to India or ask parents etc.  She gave me a small envelope that had his picture and phone number.  I didn’t have plans to go.  I was worried about asking my parents.  So I asked DBro if he wanted to ask his in-laws to go visit Swamiji.  He politely declined.  I then kept begging DH to go when he visited India, but never worked out.  I even asked DSis to go, but she couldn’t either.  The photo kept going around with me in my wallet.  I took it out sometime last year and placed it next to Babaji.  I offer him naivedyam when I offer to Babaji and Hanuman.  And then last Saturday, there was a music concert by one of the school kids in Woodside (why would they choose this far off venue?!).  It was a choice between going there or going to the Kamakoti Peetam prathishtapanai on Walsh Ave.  I went to the latter – was too tired to drive 35 mins to Woodside, DD was super tired.  Puja gets done, am in line waiting for the food dist.  Mami is standing next to me and this woman ( I still emember her odd necklace which had some kind of while stone (diamonds?) but was high enough up on her neck that it looked like it was choking her) comes up and asks Mami if she’ll join a Lalitha Sahasranamam chanting program.  Mami says fine and walks away.  I was disengaged thinking why would I want to go to her house to chant LS.  After talking to Mami, she turns to me and says, how about you, could you join us?  I was trying to come up with a polite decline when she said Kamakshi Swamigal will be presiding.  I went “Kamakshi Swamigal?  I thought he only went to Dallas?”  She said it was his first visit to the Bay Area.  I told her I’d be there.  Checked with Mami, she was equally surprised, but told me to not miss this opportunity.  I got the email that evening, her house is in Los Gatos.  It felt Ambal said “Fine, Mountain will go to Mohammed” and sent him here.

I have to add details later, need to get to bed.