Saturday, April 18, 2015

Birthday wish for someone special!

So, yesterday was my dear blog's birthday and today my dear mom's!

So, before I am off to bed, I would like to write a wish for my mom on her birthday.

My amma (Picture courtesy: 84 mm studio)
A mother is always special for every child. And every child feels their mother is the most beautiful and wonderful person they have ever met. So is it for me. I just love my mom (and dad of course!). Having grown up in India, I have lived with my parents till my marriage and moved out to the US with my hubby. As my achan was always working and busy, my amma was the person who was around for most of our (my brother and I) everyday needs. Now, even after over 3 1/2 years of marriage,  and calling K-town my home, I miss the "home" where my parents live.  Yes, thanks to technology, I do talk to them everyday but it is still not the same given the different time zones and work hours. However, one beautiful thing is that with time and now the distance, I connect to my amma more than ever.

What do I miss other than that ? Well, of course, the food. The delicious food (made with love :)) which was always  there when I was back from school or from college or from work. Specially packed lunch and the best tea ever ( I love my mom's masala chai).

As much as I love my hubby and love my life here with him (I am a super romantic person;)), I miss my parents and my brother. Probably it is because you can be the same dearest daughter irrespective of whatever you do :)  whether you yell at them or are upset with them or just hug them!  Just like every daughter-mommy fight, we have had our share of arguments and fights (we still do :P) but they are momentary and do not last for a long time. I think I have that similar relationship with A, my hubby - does not matter whether I fight with him or am angry or am happy (**knock on wood). It all dissolves and it is all fine and important for that relationship.

My mom is my best friend and I am really glad to be her daughter. I have always been in awe of her wonderful creativity. She is extremely creative and capable. She is dextrous and extremely talented in organizing things. She is a beautiful mom, great mother-in-law (I am sure my sis-in-law and my hubby will agree), a lovely wife and I am sure a good sister and sister-in-law.

So here is a birthday wish for my mom. Happy Happy birthday to the lady, without whom I will not be the person I am today! By the way, I will write something better soon by Mother's day weekend.

Good night !

Friday, April 17, 2015

9 years of joy- A very happy birthday for my blog with "The Buddha"

This day, 9 years ago, I created my first blog page. This one. It has been a great journey looking at how this blog has shaped my way of expressing my thoughts, painting my mind. I have evolved better as a person and as a writer (long way to go, I agree!).

Here is a small poem I wrote recently titled "The Buddha". I dedicate it for my dear blog's 9th birthday.

The Seated Buddha (Picture Courtesy: Meena Arvind, 2014 December, Bangkok)

The Buddha

Do you think the world sees me for who I am ?
Or does it only see my contour in this big wide world?
It does not really matter if the world likes me or not. 
Nor does it matter if anyone respects me or not.
When I sit still and let my consciousness run deep, 
I realize this beautiful truth. 

The "I" in your "you" and the "you" in your "I" are all just one and the same. 
After all, we are parts of the same universe.

Thank you my dear friends for reading my page and I really look forward for many more comments and encouragement! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On a Snowy Day

It is mid Feb or rather just 10 more days for the new month to begin. I sit at home, trying to read some materials for my comps. As I sit on my couch in the living room, I look outside through the blinds to see the 'chaotic dance' of snow. It may be chaotic, but surely one with a rhythm.

Something as sweet and peaceful as the white sheet of snow can inspire writing... well, so here is one from me!

On a Snowy Day

Falling down from up above the sky,
beautiful elegant snow-fairies,
I watch them as they descend to the ground
and spray an even coat of white.

Oh! For sure it does look serene and lovely,
watching little kids have all the fun.
They try to sledge down the little hill,
in their purple puffer coats and bright blue mitts.

As the snow-fairies waltz around
they do their lovely dance. 
An average mind sees the chaos,
but it's a dreamy and rhythmic dance
for the whimsical few around.

I love to sit and watch,
of course, from the cozy inside,
feeling warm and protected,
from the brazen cold outside.

I don't know what makes me smile,
is it the placid coat of white ?
Or, is it the waltz of the snow-fairies?
Is it the chirpy little children sledging down for fun ?
Or, the fact that I have a cozy place to cuddle and watch from my den?

I wonder...

-Copyright ©2015 Meena Arvind. All rights reserved.

Note: I have changed the title of my blog page ! Thought it is time for some change :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Maple Tree

Photo courtesy: Meena Arvind ©2014

There stood a maple tree, right outside my door.
It adorned our front yard by standing tall,
and concealed our windows by guarding us all.
I used to sit by my table hoping to work,
but there were times when I was lost,
watching my maple's magnificent charm. 

Little birds flew by and made it their home.
Some just sat there and chirped all along,
while a few others, pecked at the bark.
I could recognize a few, like, one I was sure
was the American Goldfinch which was all yellow and light.
Then there was this little red bird,
that reminded me of the ones from "angry birds".

I did watch the branches sway gently,
And the leaves waving to the rhythm of the wind.
I could hear the rustles when the wind blew,
Making my mind sway in it's happy sweet tune. 

Seasons changed and so did the tree.
Spring looked lovely and fresh,
with green leaves and blooming buds.
Branches looking all ready to hold the new leaves
and welcome new birdies.

Then came the summer rains that lashed the ground,
Watering and washing the green around.
Warm summer evenings called for music from the trees,
Well, I wonder was it the crickets calling for their mates or
Was it the raspy sounds of the katydids?
I was never sure. 

But of course, I did know that
it was not the singing pests, cicadas,
for, these began their songs only at twilight.

Months passed and now it is fall,
The season of harvest, pumpkins and all.
The autumn foliage looks bright and nice,
With shades of yellow, red and green.
Sometimes with a dash of orange,
the season looks very bright, yet cold inside.

Withered leaves falling on the ground,
Changing colors and colder eves,
Even when they crumple and descend down,
there is a rhythmic dance to watch it fall.

As I watch my strong maple tree,
shed its leaves, colored and not,
I wonder, how does "it" feel,
with winter approaching fast.
In a few months, it will be all bare,
Just standing tall.

Or is it, yet standing tall?

© Copyright Meena Arvind 2014.

Watching the beautiful K-town paint itself in lovely colors of Fall and smelling pumpkin spice and watching pumpkin carvings and lovely Halloween costumes, I thought I will try penning something about my favorite maple tree.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A verse for one of my "maash"!
Thank you image using Google Images
As I post this my thoughts are with a person who was (still is)  like a guru to me. Or should I say is my guru. He was a mentor and a wonderful guiding force. For some reason, I somehow lost all contacts with him. The last time I emailed or heard from him was when I invited him for my wedding. I post this poem thanking him for being a great teacher. He is Ravi, a corporate trainer. I called him Ravi maash (as that is how i used to address him. maash is the malayalam word for a male teacher).

A small verse  from one of my poems I wrote long back. It was titled as "NEP- Never Ending Poem". The plan was to write it as long as possible on a topic as generic as: Life. Anyways, I am not too keen on posting the poem that I have written so far as I think it is still incomplete and the end for it has a long way to go. This is just a small part of that poem. Part of the poem had verses penned by my teacher, this sir. Of course, the verse posted here is from my part.

I had planned on writing a post this Teacher's day. However, as always I had stopped my writing half-way through and hence, the writing sits on my drafts. That is when I realized I had written a paragraph dedicating to this person and thanking him for being a wonderful teacher.  He is a multifaceted person who was also a trainer by profession. He was talented in music, debating, speeches, writing great ad copy. He has experience in training, advertising and management. Always with a positive outlook and spirit in life, he has been responsible in teaching me many valuable things that I still remember every time I work or look at a problem. There are only a few people in life whom you will respect and learn from and he was one such person. He introduced my writing abilities to a music director, who had initially only known me for my music. That gave me my first break and chance to write an ad jingle for which this composer was composing music. When his friend (a director and DOP who made short films and documentaries) needed someone to write a script for a documentary, he gave me a chance to try my hand at it. It was for a documentary on information technology and differently-abled (Blind NGO story).  Even though that did not go really well and I was not of much use for them (except partially) the knowledge and experience I gained from this interaction was and is great.

If I were to think of a teacher I respect and equate that person to be wonderful teacher and human being, it has always been and will be my DAD. Ravi maash changed that and made me appreciate and respect him just the way I respected my dad.  Of course, with my higher ed here in the US, i have now met many more wonderful professors (specifically my advisor).

Anyways, I thought that even if I missed writing a Teacher's Day wish, it is better to be late than never, so here is my special thanks to this great man who has been a wonderful trainer. Wherever he is now, I wish him and his family a wonderful time!

This post is for Ravi maash.

Gratitude is the soul of a life, truly lived
Belief is the lantern that treads one safe,
With a pillar as faith that can shape us right!
These are the ones, which sail us through
The waves of life, 
where the tides of shark lurch towards us, 
making us shiver in fright.
The three good ways will show us our path
To come out of the waves, unhurt and brave! 
-Copyright © 2013 Meena Arvind 

See you all tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Bye- Bye September and Hello October !

Pic courtesy: Google images
As i wrote last month (or was it August?? ;)) about how i will use this page to keep writing about my preps and motivate myself for that, here goes my start for the month of Oct. Well, it is already a day over in October! Woah! How fast! Isn't it? So, bye bye September and hello October!

As a new month begins, new hope blooms and everything feels positive. The fear, of course is that the time is on a roller coaster ride. It is just zooming past at the blink of an eye. I am still working on my proposal and trying to figure my niche and interest. It seems like a long journey. Some days are hard, and most others are harder!

In the meantime, if i have to update about what is happening the past few weeks, then I should talk about the events we organized in Knoxville for our Indian Student Organization-Manthan. Even though I could not spend all my time at the events, I enjoyed whatever little I did. I am glad to be a part of such a vibrant, positive, sweet and in short- an awesome team. We participated in two back-to-back events. Asian Festival (the first of its kind in Knoxville) and also the International Festival (a usual one that we have at our school/university). We had a great event turnout and also did get a decent profit! Of course, we won the award for 2nd best stall at our International festival. So, in short- I just love being a part of Manthan 2014-15! The perils of being a married (hoping to make it sound responsible :D) grad student is that, I miss out on a lot of fun that I could have had if I were single (Arvind, take note :P).

We designed a t-shirt for this group and it has been well appreciated. We also hope we make pretty good profit by selling these :). We are selling it for $10 as a fundraiser for our organization. The next big one that we are waiting for is Diwali (Nov 2nd celebration). And yeah, when I talk of Diwali, afterall, "Dhwani"- the music group might get back for Knoxville Diwali special! Hopefully my musician hubby might perform too!

Manthan T-Shirt for $10. :) Pic Courtesy : Meena Arvind
And hey, how can I forget to mention that it is almost the 8th day of Navratri! Can you believe it? It is super fast. Even though I wanted to keep kolu (Koluveipu), two reasons stopped me from doing so. One was the fact that my maternal aunt (valiamma/periamma) passed away a few weeks ago. She was a wonderful woman and one of my favorite aunts. God bless her soul! Anyways,  since the start of Navratri was the 3rd day of her death, decided to not to keep it this year.

The other reason was of course, simply the obvious: lack of dolls (Indian bommais - idols of gods). Anyways,  I wish "someone" could ship a few dolls for me so that next time i could start with this fav festival :) (hopefully that someone knows whom I am talking about!). Tomorrow is Gandhi Jayanthi, Lal Bahadur Sashrti ji's birth day and of course Saraswathi poojai/Adachu pooja/Durga ashtami as we wish to call it! I will write more about it tomorrow (Oh yeah, i have to get in to the habit of writing something everyday :D).

So, good night and have a blessed night!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Dhwani" of Life.

Semester has begun again. New semester, new classrooms, new students and of course, new perspective. Why else would one look forward going to school or work everyday unless they get something new :) I have titled this topic as "Dhwani" of life. Well, "Dhwani" means sound or the "echo". Everything we do in life teaches us back something, it is like a new music that we learn to sing  or dance as we please. I titled this topic because of a couple of reasons. The first one is about an article I read yesterday.

It is about a 99 year old lady named Lillian Weber. It was such an inspiring article. She, at the age of 99, stitches and makes one dress/clothing a day for children in need. This is for a project called Little dresses for Africa. She starts her morning stitching a new dress for a child and completes it by afternoon. What was beautiful about it is that, the lady wants to complete 1000 dresses and she has now done 800 odd dresses. I was also surprised and inspired to see that a group of women all aged over 80 started doing this in 2011. What a soul! Her life's "dhwani" is that she gives back something to her society even at an age, that most of us would wonder - how can we fend even oneself ? I wish I can contribute something like that as long as I live and help echo my music in a positive way to the world.

Why else have I titled this as "Dhwani"? It is because I finally participated in the local India Fest, that is usually organized by the Knoxville Indian community. This was my first time. When a friend (Manasi) suggested that we sing and perform for a group song, I agreed. Of course, the idea was to get a chance to interact and meet more often and also not miss an opportunity to sing on a stage once again (It has been a while). The meetings, the differences, the similarities, the text messages, emails, the food, laughter and of course, the hard work paid off yesterday. We got some great compliments by the "generous" and kind audience. I wished my hubby was home and in town yesterday, for he would have also performed something and yeah, been there to hear us live. This would not have been possible without the help from our partners (three of us in our team are married) - 2 A's and a B, along with the help of few  of our friends who helped us find the karaoke tracks.  We sang the patriotic medley of Telugu song, Tamil and a hindi song. We sang, "Sreelu pongina" from "Leader" Telugu movie which was followed by the pallavi and charanam of "Ninnai Charanadainthaein", a song from Bharathi movie composed by the great Isaignani Illayaraja sir and written by Bharathiyar :). The last song was the charanam from the "Maa tujhe salaam" version composed by all time special favorite ARR ji. I have to thank my team mates-  Manasi, Keerthana, and Preethi for being a great team and making "Dhwani" a success. Yes, "Dhwani" was our team name! That name aptly suits the idea of our group- music. It was nice to be a part of this, as I got to meet some new friends  and learn something too.

Dhwani-Posing for the picture after the performance. © Copyright Meena Arvind 2014. Picture courtesy Preethi Aravind

This event made me realize how much we cherish our past and the heritage when we are away. Things that seem very trivial are appreciated and celebrated. The joy of small things :) With changing times and burgeoning technology, the borders erode, people unite, we come closer but the culture prevails. Sometimes it is the old one and sometimes the new. Nobody wants to leave their culture behind. They continue it and cherish it. If they leave theirs, then they choose to adopt another. It is sometimes like a melange of colors. When an artist paints, the wall brightens up with colors that form a new image, a new idea, a new thought, and sometimes a new paradigm.

The event also helped me realize how much I missed my friends and family every time I turned around. Just like those colors on an wall, every friend adds a dimension to your life. It is not just give- and- take but it is more like a bond that never breaks (or never should break). Why am I saying this now? Well, I remembered every close friend of mine, whom I have met so far when I walked around the event grounds. I smiled when I realized that the new ones I meet today are already forming bonds that will last for a long time to come (hopefully and at least for me). I really missed my hubby and also missed one of my dear friend (Ramya) who left Knoxville last year and moved to a much bigger city (Houston). I wished she were here today and may be she would have been a part of some dance show too! I was also glad that a couple of my friends at university - LaVerne and Ivonne decided to come in and spend some time too. I should have emailed a lot of them but was busy and missed it!

And about the event, even though, I did not stay back for long as our performance was during the first part of the first slot - 4:00-5:15, I enjoyed the ones that I watched before our performance. Also met fellow Knoxvillian and Indian, Gayatri Mahadevan who creatively choreographed a very simple but excellent kids dance that showed the diversity and the unity of India (I loved her enthusiasm and spirit!). She runs a dance school in Knoxville (Nrithya Masala). There was also a Bharathnatyam performance by Nupura dance school (I presume) students.  It was beautiful to watch these little ones enjoy their performance as much as we enjoyed theirs.

These beautify the sense of community and collective ability of people to create wonders. Despite all the differences, ego, attitudes, challenges and all things that are complex, life teaches us the simplest truth that collective unity is much stronger than anything. Of course, an individual can be the reason why something starts, but then that individual would need a group who follows and help make him/her a success.

Just like how each one of you who read my blog and comment and encourage me to continue, help this blog remain alive and make it special and wonderful for me to write more often! And on that note, I sign off with a promise that I will be more regular on this page and hopefully use this page as a pad to work during my qualifiers preparation. Good night!