The bench


It is 5 pm in the evening, and I head out for a walk. The rain has spent itself, and puddles have formed everywhere. Silver water drops hang precariously on leaves and branches. Some droplets catch the evening sun and sparkle.

I walk down the trail, taking in the scents of flowers, rain-soaked leaves and wet soil. I can hear some birds calling out, but I can’t see them. There are beautiful flowers and buds. There is this group of mynas in front of me, their attention drawn to something in the bushes.

I click some pictures, trying to capture the beauty that I am experiencing. Ants on leaves, star jasmine flowers, buds filled with promise and hope, a flower that has fallen down on the trail – totally unmarred – and dried leaves that make squelching sounds when I walk through them.

It is an idyllic evening, and I stop frequently to observe the plants. And then, at about the midpoint of my walk, I see this – a beautiful wooden bench, surrounded by green foliage.

This bench is my pit stop. I sit and close my eyes, and focus on the sounds of the rustling leaves. I focus on my breath, I take long, deep breaths, and life seems perfect just the way it is.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow seems faraway. I am in the here and the now, and a feeling of peace envelopes me.

Sitting on this bench, I ponder over the mysteries of life and its purpose. I am grateful for this moment that is totally mine, to look within.

The birds are heading home, the plants are settling down for the day, and I leave this beautiful bench, totally rejuvenated.

Little brother, big brother


My little nephew, all of six, keeps his four older cousins on their toes, whenever the whole family meets up during the holidays.

It is fun to watch these four teenagers drop all their eye-rolling and headphone wearing behaviour to play games that my nephew wants. Games that mostly involve buses, cars, airplanes and a lot of role-playing and running around.

Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

He demands and gets their undivided attention, from the moment he is up everyday till he decides that he’s had enough.

And woe betide the cousin, who slinks away to do teen things. He goes after them and ensures that they get back to being drivers or pilots. But the older kids indulge their little brother every single time. They call him ‘their bundle of cuteness.’

When we all met up during the December holidays last year, my son and my nephew were engaged in playing games the entire morning. By lunch time, my son wanted a break. He pleaded with my nephew, who would not let go, and the boys ended up squabbling.

In just a few minutes, my son walked out and sat down on the couch, with a loud sigh.

My nephew came to me, clutching the right side of his chest and said, “Periamma, you know he (pointing at my son) punched me on my heart.”

My son jumped up to retaliate, “I did not” and then with his eyes narrowed my son said, “By the way your heart is on the left of your body, not the right, so this proves that I did no wrong.”

My nephew looked slightly taken aback, but was not going to back down. Very quickly he shifted his palm and placed it slightly below his right chest and said, “Ok, not my heart, but he punched my right lung.”

The entire household burst out laughing.

And very soon the two brothers made up and disappeared to play.

How quickly time flies.

And, just this week, my little nephew has a baby sister in his life. A tiny, pretty doll, whom he adores.

He has transitioned smoothly from being a little brother to being a big brother. He spends all his free time looking after her, cooing to her and generally showering her with love.

Time flies, kids grow, but our love only gets deeper for little, big brothers and their even tinier sisters.

Bliss is in the small things…


It is a stiflingly humid day. My husband, daughter and I are on a shopping marathon. We have a long list, and we walk down the bustling street, ticking off each item on the list.

My husband gives up after a while, and sits outside the mall, where there are long benches, placed there only for men like him, who do not enjoy shopping.

My daughter and I scour the aisles looking for what we want; and also quietly review things that we do not want, but can’t resist.

What is it with sales? Sigh..!

Anyway we trudge up steps, walk some more, and get into other malls.

We have been on the road for nearly five hours. We have accomplished quite a bit, but some of the items on the list have not been checked off.

At some point, we ‘collectively’ give up. Our car is parked nearly a kilometre away, and we start heading towards the carpark. We are now strolling.

A cool evening breeze filters through the trees. Hundreds of birds are chirping loudly and getting back to their nests at sundown. In fact, there are so many birds that their chirping drowns out the noise of traffic and people.

As we walk down, we stop at a stall that sells the famous wafer sandwich icecream. The stall itself is on a bicycle. We order our wafer icecreams – mango and peppermint.

Image courtesy – Wikipedia

The lady at the stall cuts out a perfect rectangular slab of ice cream, and places them between two wafers. She then deftly slides the whole ice cream sandwich into an easy to hold plastic pouch.

We take our ice cream sandwiches and settle down on one of the long benches. We watch people going about their day. Street performers and artists keep bystanders engaged.

As our feet cry out in relief, we sink our teeth into the ice cream sandwich. Heavenly…! We relish the experience in silence. Our eyes say it all.

A simple ice cream transformed our day. Truly, bliss is in the small things!

What’s cooking?


I am heading home from my evening walk. The sky is turning a deep blue. I see the silhouettes of birds flying back to their nests. Many birds are already home. There is a lot of chirping; the birds are obviously catching up with each other, after a long, tiring day.

As I enter our condominium, the street lights switch on. The lights in many homes are coming on too!

My muscles are tired from all that walking, and there is no more ‘brisk’ in my walk.

Picture courtesy – http://www.clipart-library.com

And as I cross from one building to another, the smells of dinner being cooked are everywhere! My stomach growls, my tongue waters.

Warm paranthas are being tossed on the tawa….yumm! Now, I smell cheese; now, mustard sputtering in oil. I can hear a pressure cooker letting off steam.

I make it home, both tired and famished. I only have one thought in my head – FOOD! I take a shower, and rush into the kitchen to warm my dinner.

The first mouthful is divine, and I savour it with eyes closed. I wolf down the rest. I am full. I stretch in contentment. Bliss!

What time is coffee time?


My love affair with coffee did not start until my final year of high school. In our home, it was ok to drink coffee occasionally, but I remember smelling the coffee cup sometimes in my early teens, and grimacing in disgust.

I do not remember when or  how I came to love coffee. But I know that there was no looking back.  After that, any time was coffee time.  Strangely, coffee has also become an indicator of how healthy I am feeling on any particular day.  If I wake up in the morning and do not crave coffee, I know for a fact that I am coming down with something. 

Picture courtesy – Clipart Panda

I can wax eloquent about coffee,  but just thought I would jot down a few of my favourite coffee moments.

Coffee time is when I get back home after a long, tiring day of work.

Coffee time is ‘me-time’ in the quiet hours of the morning when I look within.

Coffee time is when it’s raining non stop and I sit on the couch and dream of everything and nothing.

Coffee time is also those hurried sips between chores on a chaotic morning.

Coffee time is catching up with friends on a lazy afternoon.

Coffee time is sharing some quality time with my spouse.

Coffee time is that ‘salivating time’ of anticipation when my filter starts percolating and the heady smell of coffee reaches my nostrils.

Coffee time is when my head is pounding and I know that only coffee will work that magic.

Coffee time is also trying to convince my son to smell coffee and become a member of the coffee club (right now he grimaces)….I am still working on him. 

Coffee time is family reunion time, after a wedding or engagement, when we gather for what we popularly call in the South – sweet, kaaram (spicy snack) and kaapi (coffee).

Coffee time is during picnics with friends, sipping from disposable glasses having lots of fun.

Coffee time is marathon catch-up sessions with my sisters..that stretch late into the night.

Coffee time is catching up with my mom, when I visit her.

Coffee time is …pure bliss.

Soaring high


There is something so soothing about a green meadow – beautiful, green grass for miles around. Add to this combination a blue sky with cotton-puff clouds floating lazily, and you realize that nothing can be more beautiful.

I visited such a place this weekend. What a treat it was! Green, blue and white. This meadow is also a popular spot for kite enthusiasts, and between the green grass and the blue sky, were many, many kites soaring up into the sky. Bright red ones, yellow ones, white and pink ones, and even one shaped like an insect.

We sat down to watch. Each kite danced and fluttered, sometimes flirting with the clouds, sometimes seeking a higher purpose, connected by seemingly invisible threads to the person below.

I tried to find the owner of each kite, but gave up after a point, as I could only identify a few. Some clouds turned grey, as we watched. Some kites had soared quite high, gracefully swaying this way and that.

An afternoon of pure bliss. Sharing some pictures.

Coffee Corner


Coffee!

A word that needs to be spoken with reverence (all you coffee lovers out there, you should know what I mean).

The perfect cup of coffee in the morning is so many things – it deliciously kick-starts the day, it provides ample room for contemplation, it just lets you be yourself for those few moments.

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          Courtesy – en.wikipedia.org

Every coffee drinker has a ‘Coffee Corner’ or a ‘Coffee Ambience’.  A perfect corner in the house, where you are most comfortable; maybe sitting by the window and watching the trees or the road. Maybe sitting in your garden with nature’s magic exploding around you, and the fresh air of the morning invigorating you.

Maybe you share your ‘Coffee Ambience’ with your spouse, maybe you prepare breakfast and take delicious sips of your coffee in-between.

My Coffee Corner is by the balcony, on my easy chair, looking at the traffic and morning joggers, the orioles and the mynas, the green trees and my book shelf.

All is right with the world.

What’s your Coffee Corner or Coffee Ambience? Would love to know!

What is happiness?


What is happiness? Happiness is anything that gives you joy and peace. Happiness is inside each one of us and all around us in simple, everyday things…

To me, happiness is….

….watching a little puppy prancing around and greeting its mother

…..watching the ecstacy on a child’s face as his/her eyes track a bubble

……the bliss of that first gulp of water after a strenuous workout

…..that first spoon of a scoop of ice cream

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……the aroma and taste of that first sip of my morning coffee

….diving into the pool on a hot day

…..writing my name on a creamy white new notebook

…..that moment after piping hot food is served on my plate, and before I eat that first mouthful

….cuddling my children in the morning

…..sitting in companionable silence with my spouse, reading a book

…..laughing at a silly joke

…..coffee with one of my dear friends

….that unique smell when the first drops of rain meet parched earth

…..having lots of things to do

……having nothing to do

…..watching a great film, munching popcorn

…..going on a long walk on a bright, sunny day

…..tucking into a good book, with a cup of coffee, with rain lashing outside.

….writing my blog

….writing my first book

Happiness is in the simplest things.

What are the simple things that make you happy? Would love to know.

Power nap on a Sunday afternoon = Bliss


We all lead such busy lives, running from one appointment to the other, trying to tick-off items on that never-ending Things-to-do List, then kids and chores, and cooking and what not.

Sometimes, by Monday afternoon, I start wishing for the weekend, though if you ask me, those are crazier!

So, now and then, it is nice to have those few minutes of shut eye that happen involuntarily.

There are some great power nappers in my family, who can fall asleep while sitting on the couch. It is fun to watch them drop off as they read the newspaper or a book, their heads lolling slightly, as their mind takes them into nodland.

It’s also fun to watch people on the MRT, late in the evening, trying their best to keep awake and not fall on their neighbour’s shoulder.

My favourite such moments are on a Sunday afternoon, after a heavy lunch when I tuck into a lovely book. Five pages into it and my eyes seek closure, from the craziness of the week; they feel my need to forget the worries and stresses, and transport me to another world for 20 minutes.

It’s only when you wake up that you realize that you’ve been away, recharging your batteries.

I did that this afternoon, and what bliss it was, with a very funny dream thrown into the package.

‘A dream where I was the driver of a nursery school bus. My duties also involved standing at the door of the bus with a big steel tray. Each time a child had to board the bus, I had to ask the child to board the steel tray and only then put them on the bus.’

Totally crazy dream…but what a refreshing nap. I am ready to take on the week but before that…

“I need my coffee.”

Have a great week!