At peace with who you are

Being at peace with knowing who you are. Isn’t that the eternal human quest? The wanderlust mind wants to travel places, meet new people and keep learning and knowing about things that it was unaware of in the past. That is certainly a great way to live and has been accepted and known as the best way to grow your personality. It is true that inspirations created in random places and analogies drawn from weird experiences has created great music, art, books, discoveries etc. Globalization as they call it, enabled humans to be capable of innovations that has redefined the way we live today. It is indeed an achievement.

The more I do all these things which have been identified as ways to creativity, learning & doing new things that I of course enjoy, the more i see myself being firmly rooted to my past and longing for things that i probably did not value when i had complete access to it. This could just be a case of me personally being driven by simple things that i had access to early in life.

But it makes me wonder if that is what drives every human being? It makes me think if personalities are in reality defined and carved very early in life but the process of coming to terms who you really are as a person drives us to do things that are beyond who we think we are. The need to be someone else, our friends, parents, role models or the person who is socially accepted sometimes or  most times drives us being the person who we think we are.

I am not sure where i am going with this, but I am starting to see a lot of me that is in need of things I had in the past and makes me wonder if that is what we all wandering to get?

Just Smile

Every face has a story and every smile a reason. Sitting with a coffee on a chilly saturday evening outside a harvest fair in San Francisco I see smiles all around me. Some smile just to wear away the pain inside and others to make themselves feel good. Some smiles are just to make someone else feel good, a few blessed people just wear it as one of their ornaments. No matter the reason or the story a smile just means happy, the priceless expression at zero cost. A stranger on the road smiles for acknowledgement that says happy to see you, a selfless rewarding smile, the smile of meeting loved ones says I am so glad you are here. Some smile to themselves, remembering a person, moment or expression. Irrespective of whats going on in your mind doesnt matter if you have just gone through the worst time most people when stopped for a photograph want to smile. Thats how people want the world to remember them. Happy. The next time you see a stranger on the road who gives you an eye contact, Just Smile because its invaluable.

Conrad Beach!

Past 3 months has been a wonderful time in the magnificent city of San Francisco. This city can easily be overwhelming for someone who is moving in new. Even though the city limits are just 7 square miles, the distinct culture and contrasting neighbourhoods are just more than one can imagine and this difference can be vividly seen even within 2 blocks in some areas. The first neighbour hood that I could call home was this pretty pretty place called Glen Park where I found houseful of amazingly distinct people whom I can call housemates, ‘The Conrad Beach’.

Living in Conrad was not just a place to stay, it was an experience. Shopping in co-operative stores, cooking greens that grew in our backyard, Sunday morning farmers market delight and recycling / composting our food waste are just a few things to mention but beyond all that there was deeper sense to life, understanding the purpose of localizing goods, respecting people as they were and most of all music to fill my ears! Living in Conrad were a few fun days that I’ll remember forever.

The mad monkey mind

Desire to have and the need for fulfilment drives this greedy monkey mind. Secure, safe and selfish it wants to be and turns the even the sanest person to scream. There is no real reason for the change it needs, even if it meant hurting the ones your heart loves. The mad monkey mind is ruthless and wicked.The poor little heart screams out when you follow the evil mind, doesn’t matter how hard it tries, its  in vain. It wants to break the ritual and kill the damn cycle , but every time it tries its always an after thought.

When I sit back and think, why is there a malignant mind when there is a little heart that you can follow to divine? Then I realize, like how all worldly things are designed to have good and bad so is this human life cursed to see both in itself. If only the heart wins the mind that would be paradise where prayer and thoughtful minds can see the real sunshine.

My first ever 5 mile run

Even yesterday I wondered if am I doing the right thing by committing myself to a half-marathon? Its 13.1 miles and I haven’t even run 4 miles yet. I was just not sure yet.

 Saturday morning was just beautiful, I felt warm and nice in the sunlight coming down through the kitchen window and decided to go run in John Mclaren park. That run just was not happening for me. The roads were hilly, the winds were blowing as fast as it could get and the park was so quiet with no runners around. This was probably not the best place to run. That evening I was really questioning if I was a runner? Is this really something I surely want to do? But one thing I knew was I am going for the 5 mile run tomorrow.

It was a cold morning when I left home. I was really nervous about running 5 miles. I have never done this before bout I definitely wanted to try. The ASHA team started from Marina Blvd after a quick warm-up and stretching. I started slow and preserved my energy in the beginning. I knew I am going to need a lot of it. As I progressed towards end of mile and began my 2nd mile, I felt good my legs were strong, i dint feel out of breath or drained and to top it all it was just brilliant weather. I knew I could do this but at my own pace. Even though i was not running with other runners alongside I subconsciously felt that I was a part of a team and need to finish. I dint stop, infact I dint need to. At the end of 2 miles, I met the friendly ASHA volunteer who was so nice to spend her sunday morning cheering the runners and giving us water half way. I took about a minutes break after 2.5 miles but started soon after.

After about 3 miles when i felt tired, I tried to deviate my mind. I connected to my body, I started to feel my legs and gain a rythm with it. I paced down when my legs were tired so that they could regain the rythm, it was amazing. After 4 miles I felt i needed to stop but I could see my destination. Now I told my mind, not to stop until i reached the end. I was able to connect my mind and body to listen to me and I guess that was something I never have experienced in running before.

I finished strong and felt amazing!

Few things that i did right, stretching and warm up before running and hydrating myself with lots of water the day before running. It really worked this time!

Running Week 1

I have been running intermittently  for a few months now. I sometimes run for a cardio workout or other times just to feel nice about some fresh air on my face while running on the roads. I then started thinking if I have to bring a structure to my running, i need to be working towards  a goal. Something that motivates me to run, something to feel good about. It  surely is a great feeling when you push yourself to do better than before,but I wanted a reason to run that is more than just about me.

In the past few weeks, I have been having a lot going on in my plate. Taking up a new job, moving cities and finding a new place to live. Being an ASHA volunteer for almost 2 years now, i quickly checked ASHA SF page to see what they have going on there and then I saw the page for Team-ASHA SF. It just seemed perfect! Run to raise funds and I said Yes, I want to do this.

Week 1 of training : I started with short 1-mile runs during the week either in the treadmile or on the roads. Sunday I did about 2 miles. I am a slow runner so I dint bother much about my timing. What bothers me most is my ability to sustain and endure 2 miles without stopping. I can feel my calves killing me and I can feel my body saying stop now and I give in to it. Though i can do 2 miles I just am not able to endure long distance. Something I really want to work on.

Parenting bound by culture

It was just another boring lunch hour but I was hungry. I couldnt wait to get my roti and sabji out of the refrigerator. I usually spend the lunch hour reading a book while eating. These days that’s the only time I read a book. I am reading a history called ‘ The Empires of the Indus’. Though there are a lot of people in the lunch room with whom I could sit, I usually prefer to just be myself. After 4 hours of work, I really want to use a break to gain some energy back.

The setting around the lunch room remains the same almost every day. I always find the same groups of people who typically sit in the same corner of room everyday chatting up about different things.  It is a public sector culture here in the US. People have been around here for such a long time that they do the same things over and over, they hardly notice if there is anyone else in their surroundings.

There is no other option most times but to overhear some of their conversations. I usually ignore and just keep reading on my own with a periodic greeting when someone I know walks in. But this day, I couldn’t help but overhear this conversation. Not because it was gossip or interesting but only because I was actually shocked with the way this conversation was going. It all started when one of them in the group talked about how her daughter was at home this weekend and so she couldn’t make any fun plans. This slowly encouraged others to share stories about their kids and soon they were complaining to each other about how their sons and daughters who have graduated but not found a job yet and so havent moved out of their parents house.

This did not sound like friends cribbing to each other about their problems, they seriously meant their regret for having grown up kids at home. Coming from a culture where you are usually expected to stay with your parents when they get older, this conversation was a shocker.

I tried not to think too much and just leave it as one of such things i heard.

2 weeks later again, in the lunch room of course, there were 2 middle aged managers talking something about trust and daughters. Later I heard them say how they had to spy on their children just to make sure they are aware of what their kids are up to! and we are talking about kids who are 15 or 16!! . Later I realized this is something very common that parents do and there are professionals who would actually ‘spy’ on kids for parents.

What confuses me the most about this parenting strategy is that untill the kids are 18, there is big hue and cry about what kids should or should not know, where they go , what they do and who are the people with them. But once reached that age, they want them to be their own and live their own lives. For personal development, growth and exposure this could work out best. But today it has reached to the levels that its considered abnormal for kids to not move out and have their own lives.

This just seems a little strange for me to comprehend especially being in a family where all they could long for is to be able to live with their kids. Culture to a large extend determines how the social norms in a country are formed, but i dont know what made  think that parenting is universal and the way parents feel about their kids is beyond boundaries.