my thoughts expressed in words

Life lessons from a Pencil ✏️!!

The menace called whats app – this is what I penned couple of days back in Tamizh, expressing my anguish at how of late I find it a nuisance. The endless forwards and group additions and misinterpretations that comes along with it is annoying. But we are prolly at a stage, its inevitable too. As its always, the good side of it is one gets a good forward too at times.

One such forward was in Kannada and by Almighty’s grace I could understand 90% of it. Since the content was extremely motivating, I am making an attempt to translate it here in English and also in Tamizh.

These messages somehow find their way when you most need them. Is this called the cosmic message or the universe answering your queries ?

The speaker narrates it in the form a story- a conversation between two pencils. Yes, pencils ✏️

There is a small pencil, which is worn out and used inside a pencil box. There comes a new pencil, bright, fresh, sturdy and energetic. The old pencil welcomes the new one and says, I have a few tips for you. I am ready to share my two cents of life experiences with you.

First point is that, you are not capable of doing anything on your own. Only when somebody takes you in his hand you can do things.

Second point is much more important. That is , the lead inside is much more significant than the wood outside. It is the quality of lead which matters than the quality of wood.

Thirdly, they will sharpen you at regular intervals. When do they sharpen you? Every time you become blunt, you will be sharpened.

Fourth point is you will make mistakes. Don’t fret. There is a rubber at your end, use it to rub and rewrite. Every time you make a mistake, rub and rewrite.

These have a significant relation with our life too. We need to remember these points and the cause for all our worries and anxieties is only when we forget these points. ,

“I am not alone. Paramathma is with me “. HE in his benevolence, takes me in his hands and makes me do things. I am just an instrument in HIS hands. In chapter 11, verse 33, Krishna says, to Arjuna, that the opponents are already slain by HIM , and Arjuna is just an instrument to accomplish- ( nimitha maathram ) what HE had already decided – Hastinapura should be ruled by the righteous.

Once the war was over Aruja felt it is he who killed many of the rivals. Bheema felt it is he who killed more rivals than Arjuna. So Krishna takes them both to the battle field and seeing Ghatothgaja’s son Barbareeka there asks him, if he saw Arjuna’s arrows slaying rivals more or Bheema’s mace. He replies it was neither the arrows nor the mace but Krishna’s Chakra which he saw spinning all around the battle field slaying the rivals. Our life friends, is also similar. We need to remove the I factor from our life. It is HE who makes us do. We are an instrument in HIS HANDS. Rama nama or Shiva nama is chanted to remind us of this. To remind us that its HE is the one behind our actions.

Our sukha(happiness) – dukhkha(sadness)

Labha(gain) – nashta(loss)


Maana(fame) -apamanaana(disgrace)

All keeps happening according to HIS wishes. Then what is my role? I am HIS servant. HE is my Boss. If we remember this there is no place for Ahankaraa( Arrogance) and the absence of ahankara makes us humble. This is the first lesson.

nAnu nannadu yemba naraka dolage biddu
nEne gathi yendu nambida dAsana mEle

This is from a Purandara Dasa krithi that I have listened umpteen times in this week.Being in the US now, and having hours and hours of leisure time at my disposal, I spend them fruitfully in listen to upanyasams. One such by Dushyanth Sridhar, has a mention of this above krithi It conveys the same message.

Dasar says ” I have drowned myself in hell, by giving importance to I, ME etc, but you are my ultimate saviour, please have mercy on this dasa!!! ”

What powerful lyrics !!!

The second lesson talks about external and internal status. Its not what you wear, you eat and how much property and luxuries you posses in life, which determines you. Its your inner peace which is your identity. What is the use of all the wealth and fame and luxury if there is no peace within you. When will you get such peace? Only when you surrender. Even extensive rituals, lavish expenditures towards them will not guarantee peace. Money cannot buy peace. Money can buy medicines but not good health. Its only Sadhana(practise) of realizing the Omnipotent’s role in your life, which will make you realize peace. Your success is measured by your peace. You are a pauper if you are not peaceful at heart inspite of thw material wealth you possess.

The third lesson is you are tested at regular intervals. Be ready !!

WHY ME ? – The most frequent question in everyone’s lips.

You will fall sick

You will face losses

You will cry

“I am too good a person, I do this, I do that, How can I be tested , ” – one cannot ask this question.

Rama in HIS avatara had to go on exile

Krishna in HIS avatara was born in the prison

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, an exponent in spiritual life was afflicted with Cancer. No one soul is spared from dukha.

Only two people are spared from this – one who is yet to be born and the one who is already dead! As long the oceans and mountains and rivers are there sufferings will be there. What should we do? Just be ready. Sukha and dukha take turns and keep surfacing in our life. To be ready and face them is the solution. Swami Vivekananda was once encountered by bunch of aggressive monkeys in the streets of Kashi. He stared at them with determination in mind and no fear and they retraced their way. keep walking in life. There is no way to escape your Prarabhdha karma

Lastly, to err is human. Correct yourself. Forgive others. We feel strongly to be forgiven if we are wrong, but don’t easily forgive! Mistakes are bound to happen. Rub them off, correct yourself and keep going.

Dear friend, though the post is long, I have a satisfaction of sharing such valuable tips on life. May Krishna give you enormous strength to keep walking in life, with utmost peace.





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Kappal and sippal

At the outset, I wish to clarify that this is a small step / attempt I am making to translate my own tamizh blog post.

So it’s tamizh and not tamil.

Zha (ழ) a letter in tamizh is unique to the language and also to malayalam another wonderful south Indian language. One needs to take the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth and release the tongue to produce the sound. Looks complicated?. Not really.

Now going back to the title

Kappal – means a ship.

Sippal – means a plate which has perforations on one half . It was in olden days used to cover the pot in which rice was cooked. Once the rice is cooked, the excess water was drained through the perforations. It was also used to scoop out Small amount of rice from the bigger vessel to facilitate serving.

So, kappal is to personify the bigger volume and sippal is to personify the smaller volume.

This post is on a heavy subject. “Death”

I attempted to write on it, just to reassure my clan, that “this too shall pass”. A close buddy of mine lost her younger brother to cancer. But by the time I am translating my original tamizh post, I had so many people writing back to me how my words resonated with them, how they found solace in my words, how it served as a reminder, and how it helped them to understand that it happens to everyone and they are not alone in grieving the death of a kith.

Death was introduced to me by my parents when I was quite young. It is they who dropped me in the scene when someone in the family died and made me swim on my own.

My mom used to recollect how I had put up the questions of what they do when people die. She never brushed me aside. She once thought, I would not be able to comprehend and just said., “They take the dead person’s body and leave it in a place and come back home”

I seem to have negated her and explained that they ‘burn’ the body as I had read in Harischandra’s story in Amar Chitra Katha.

Shanthi Ramachandran , widely known in Instagram sent a message on that fateful day,

Buddy, my brother lost in his battle with cancer

My respectful homage to Mr. Rajamani🙏🏼🙏🏼

I wished I could hug her, but time and distance keeps us away at such times. I conveyed my condolences to her and gave her time, and called her a couple of days to have a word with her. She is shaken badly. Kept telling how his health deteriorated in the last twelve months. How fond he was to her being the youngest in the family. Her father is ninety three and mom must be in late eighties. Trust me this is not the age tosee your children die. Any age is bad. But to live up to this ripe old age and see your child die is too painful. Right from the Hindu mythological character Shantanu and Malaya who saw their son Shravan die to this day’s Shanti’s parents its misery to the core.

My father in law and my mother were/are very good in using quotes and metaphors and idioms and phrases as they speak.

So its imbibed in me and I was quickly seen using a few of them while speaking to shanthi. When I used to grieve at the death of some one young in age, my father in law uses this metaphor and says,

“Anu.. what can be done? Some souls carry with them in kappal and some in sippal. ”

They carry their karma in a kappal full load and sippal full load. The one that has more has to live, shed the karma and then leave whatever be the age. The ones that have carried a smaller load of karma lives and exhausts it soon and leaves early. How true it is isn’t it? There is nothing which can change the duration of our stay on this planet. But, good deeds and acquisition of good karma can determine whether you will be left with kappal or sippal loads in your next birth.

It is not at all easy to cope with the loss of your loved ones. I swear, you cannot imagine a life minus them. I was in college when my dad was diagnosed of throat cancer. While I was not a young child, I was so scared and probably my brain stopped working, that I thought he will die tomorrow or day after. I used to take a close look of his chest heaving after he slept to make sure he is alive and breathing. I used to ask myself,

“How can there be a life without appa, its unimaginable “

But now its twenty six years since he attained his heavenly abode, and my life is still going on. I have lived three decades without him against the two decades I lived with him. What stopped because of his absence? NOTHING AND NOTHING ALONE IS THE ANSWER. Actually nothing stops. We grieve, then the next dawn is there, there is an urge to have a cup of steaming hot coffee, stomach rumbles and you start searching for food, you have a bath, and continue. Slowly the routine comes back. When I left my mother after my father’s death and when I found it difficult to do that she said,

” As days pass by and food with salt gets absorbed in your system and with ever sip of water that is consumed you will feel better”

How true is that!

Time and time alone can heal us.

She was my embodiment of strength. After all she is the daughter of Janaki amma who is the super embodiment of mental strength. She is my ammamma. ( mother’s mother for a literal translation), my maternal grandmother. She lived upto a ripe old age of 103. Has seen the death of

Her husband

Her first born son

Her first born daughter(my mom)

Her sons in law ( my dad and aunt’s husband)

Yet never asked the “why me” question. She used to say, “Its their karma to suffer /die and its my karma to be a witness”

Is it as simple as that.? To me “yes”

When I found this is the ONLY answer to all those intriguing questions beyond our comprehending capacity, just know that this is the only answer. You may not be able to do it overnight but nothing stops us from being conscious about that and trying to stay calm. I have been seasoned to handle life with this formula. Life threw difficult, tough situations very early in life. But I chose to look around and learn. There are so many out there with tougher situations.

The famous lyricist kannadasan of Tamizh cinema, writes in one of his songs,

If all those who arrive, stay back on this planet, where will we have enough place?

Life is a business

Birth is an income and death is an expense.

The Rajus and Ramaswamys (shanti’s brother and my dad) cannot just stay back eternally. As Shanthi makes a hashtag ” thistooshallpass” we can remember them by deriving strength from their valour, their practicality

We need to learn to emotionally let go.

We need to derive strength from others.

We need to be empathetic towards fellow humans and be willing to lend a shoulder to cry and at the same time make them understand that


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Birthday countdown series I

Oct 1994
This brat was almost 3 years. Chirpy, active, fussy about food, could identify Bactrian camel from her big book of animals even an year before that, vaayaadi( talkative), loved shaking a leg to all tunes, had started nursery school. This corduroy pants and knitted sweater tops were a gift from my brother and his wife who came down for their marriage. Needless to say it was my favorite dress of hers. The pant was long, but folded at the bottom and made to wear. This pic was clicked by my brother at our aunt’s house. Look at the way she is holding my hand and leaning on me. I do it to her now. We then travelled by van to Guruvayoor for the wedding. Through out the journey she fussed so much to eat anything. Elders in the family were bringing their pressure on me about her starving and I was confused and clueless.
Little did we realize that she will grow up and earn degrees where she would be counseling people ‘to eat’ 😂
Me appa and shriya are your pillar of strength!

walkdownthememorylane #aishuanecdotes #ammavumaishuvum #aishualaparaigal😂

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Lunch box

Today as I pack this lunch for you, I smile with gratitude that I was able to nourish your body and soul all these years with my cooking. Though initially, when we got married, I only packed, in the last decade plus few years, I have been cooking and packing too. It was a fulfilling chore that I did on all days. I used to fee bad when on some days you used to return without having, and opted to eat out! But even on those days, you were kind enough to say that you will have the same food for dinner.

In all my ability I think I cooked food that you liked, and relished. It was a joyful activity planning and executing the dubba! And that eternal question by me and amma – Nalaikki dubba unda? 🤣🤣

We are winding up today one era of your career with truck loads of gratitude in heart towards Almighty.

May you realize all your goals, and stay healthy and happy and may I be blessed to join you in future and pack more and more nourishing lunches.

All the very best! Husband dearest

With pots of love !!! —anoo

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Blur – Blurred is our view many a times. We need to take and give space to people. What is the point in getting hurt if someone is unable to give their time due to certain situations/priorities in their life? Clean the glass in your mind’s eyes to see clearly.

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Balu mama

Always thumbs up to Life
The man who stood next to this mottai me for 52 years now
Siva pazham
Doting husband

What was planned to be a memoir scheduled for July 2021, now becomes an eulogy.
My maternal Uncle
KRISHNAMURTHY BALASUBRAMANIAM fondly known as Balu or Manian – Kbs Manian left us yesterday to rest at the lotus feet of Paramathma .
He will be 80 this July. Old by number but definitely not by heart. Not a single person who has been associated with him would have an unpleasant memory of him. Synonymous to cheerfulness he literally lived life King size. Life threw many many surprises at him. But must have got bored as he always hit a sixer with whatever was thrown at him.
He did with his last ball too. He didn’t trouble himself nor others for even 24 hours. Wrapped up and cleared field by 12 hours. He was an ardent cricket fan, tennis fan and carom connoisseur. He can get down to the level of 1,2,3 years old too. He would snatch the sweets in their hands and pop it up and make the kid cry but not feel bad about his act. May sound silly to some but he was a child by heart. Having him always a call or click away, from birth, his demise has created a huge void in my life. My ace photographer whom I am yet to come to terms at the sudden departure. Blessed to have had a chat just 24 hours before he breathed his last.
So what are you doing here instead of mourning you may ask. I am fondly remembering my mama wiping my blurry teary vision and penning down his memories. I am sure to have been mocked by him if I had been crying and sulking. A warmth of 52 years ( swipe to see him standing next to the mottai me) will now become a memory. I can smell the javvadhu when I hug him and punch his thoppai( stomach). He never allowed my daughters to address him as ‘mama thatha’ ( grand uncle) and they always called him mama along with me. He was a doting husband to my wonderful, elegant charming mami(aunt) whom I equally adore. The best friend in a father to my cousin my baby Anand,( who now is 40)the beat father in law to Yoge, the best son, brother, brother in law, friend, neighbor, and definitely the BEST MAMA to me and kumar my other cousin brother.
I am here to remind you a few points .

✨to erase that bitterness you had/have with some one who was very close to you once.

✨to pick up the phone and make a call to say that you left the bitterness in the past

✨to call that uncle /aunt /brother /sister /sister in law/ brother in law /friend to break the ice and say ‘a hello ‘with or without tears

✨it isn’t worth holding a grudge or ill feeling

✨I am not preaching but speaking out of experience. I did it couple of times in the past to wipe clean my mind of unpleasant incidents and words by people and now in good terms with them.

✨learn from the incident, let go for your own peace.

✨Trust me its BLISS not to have hatred or grudge






The Miracle called TIRUMALA…..

IMG_0165TIRUMALA … the abode of Balaji / Srinivasa perumal/ venkatesa / govinda as each one of us fondly address is up on the hills. While Tirupati is what we commonly refer, the temple up the hill is generally referred to as TIRUMALA.

While I have a few anecdotes of the past, this visit which happened on the 5th February , is what i am sharing with all here.

Before going into the details, one must remember a vow made is made when it comes to perumal especially here at tirumala. Whether you intentionally vow, or by chance say something (as me and my daughter did), it is to be fulfilled. Willingness to fulfill is alone at your disposal. Getting it done is in HIS hands. The time, the method, everything rests with HIM.

So back to the story, around three years back, when a friend said he is planning to walk up the hills of tirumala, I immediately announced, I shall join him when he goes and upon my saying my older one too said she will join too.

SO THE VOW WAS MADE ( I truly believe HE sits on your tongue to say this ) !!!

Days and months and years passed by and we visited tirumala three times but couldn’t plan out walking up the hill for various reasons.

And me being an easy going person, had enormous faith that it will happen one day at HIS will and hence did not feel guilty about not executing on those trips.

Recently i took up a japa marathon. Yes to chant a particular nama one lakh times.

GOVINDA GOVINDA GOVINDA is what i chanted . We have a metal wall hanging of bust size at home of venky(as we fondly call HIM) .. or ‘hasmukh ‘ as the idol has the most alluring smile !!! Sitting in the sofa and looking at the wall hanging i always used to chant the nama. For some strange reason, a yellow dress which i had new used to be in my visualization. Then i decided i will inaugurate that dress the day i walk up to tirumala.

Creative visualization is one that comes as easy as breathing to me. But without being aware of the term i have been practicing for ages I believe.

If you havent read The Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain please do. I resonated very well with the content. You may too.

again, back to the story, I visualized myself wearing that particular yellow dress and climbing with two of my most loving people, and shooting the video to speak to my instagram family. So we took off for tirupathi, and reached the foot of the hill at 8.30 and were still discussing which of the two paths to take. we were making calls to friends for suggestions, tips and advices. Least did I realize its all HIS will. By 9 we were summoned by Balaji at the Srivari Mettu which means Srivari Steps. It has only steps to climb. 2388 of them. Distance is 2.1 km.

So i was there near the board which gave the above details and did my video recording. Started climbing at 9am and reached up the hill at 11.30 chanting  Govinda Govinda all the way…(it came up to a total of 5K)IMG_0187

Enroute there are fruit vendors, sodas with lime juice, bhel walas and water taps to fill our bottles. Just that the public need to be more cautious about littering the place. Self discipline is at its low. When i was resting in one of the steps a teenager girl in front of me had something to eat and just threw the plastic cover behind her. I nodded in desperation and she noticed and said sorry and said “next time” . Don’t know what came upon her, the next minute  she got up and picked the plastic cover and threw in the nearby dustbin.

now it was my duty to thank her. Felt good in being a responsible citizen.

mid way of the two thousand odd steps they have a counter, where they take your thumb impression and issue a ticket for darshan, We got ours allotted at 7pm. we relaxed mentally and then slowly climbed the other half and took rest in the room that we had booked and then went for darshan.

IMG_0211we did it with ease by HIS grace.

MORAL OF THE STORY: As HE has said, HE is there to take care of us.

MAAM EKAM SHARANAM VRAJA  is what HE says… Hold on only to my feet and i shall protect.

I did, I do




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Beyond the new year personal wishes, forwards, GIFs, memes there is one thing that always lingers in the air even couple of days before the Gregorian year starts.


The commonest of one quote being

Resolutions -they are made to break!

Over the years I tried to make resolutions too and did fall prey to the breaking of it. Then I realized it does not work that way. We all have our own style of making and breaking resolutions. Some are disciplined to adhere.

So my 2019 resolution is to not make one and then feel bad about not being able to stick to it. But there are a few in my mind of which the world need not know.

2018 was fantastic. A mile stone year for me. Some best acquaintances made. Learning many things from the next generation which i consider is a blessing. Travel experiences were good. I became much more stronger and emotionally stable. Calm prevails on account of that.

Thanks to all who made my 2018 a good year.

Best wishes for a much more wonderful 2019.

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The lotus leaf trait

We all know that the lotus leaf is hydrophobic.

Its water repellent. The wax like substance that covers the leaf makes it so.

An incident occurred last night.. a very insignificant one may be, but strong enough to put me off for few hours and make my head bang at the middle of the night, and make me be up early in the morning. But i woke up with a determination to shake it off my mind by writing this post , ranting once and for all and then shut the doors on the issue.

This is the first step to achieve the lotus leaf state

Let someone else’s words or action which comes in contact with us roll off from us and in the process clear off some other dirt too along with it

My usual response at such times would be to chew and chew it endlessly and feel annoyed initially and then feel sympathetic to myself, then in the wake of it listen to a few audios or watch a few videos of BK Shivani, jaggi vasudev or for that matter anybody who speaks about how to remain calm when something unpleasant happens…

But not this time …

come on … its ME and ME ALONE who has the reigns to my mind. I don’t disrespect any of the above life coaches. They do coach, inspire but its in our hands to implement. Its time to do that. Having taken the essence of all those techniques we have heard and seen, there needs to be a day we start implementing. I did it effectively and efficiently today.

Had a nasty headache at the middle of the night due to resentment. Auto suggested to myself at that moment that its not going to be healthy for my mind soul and body. Shut the headache as well as the cause for the headache right away… yes right away… no ifs and buts …and chanted rama nama to catch up with the distorted sleep. Achieved it in no time. Woke up at 4.15. The headache was gone but the thought of what happened the last night lingered. It was time to drive it away. Sat on the bed and did all the morning spiritual rituals and reconditioned my mind that i am not going to give a damn about ‘that incident’

Yes its here that we have to give strict instructions to our mind not to dwell in self pity and think over it again and again.

Step 1: consciously stop thinking about it

Step2: Stop discussing it with anyone. My usual action is to call up my daughters and pour my heart out. This way i live in the incident that many number of times that i talk.

Step3: no harm in venting out once. Just once to some one very close and then wrap it up. Its ok in the initial stages till we achieve mastery and not to talk even to one person.

Just know that worrying and analyzing it over and over does not do any good to your soul and body

I am in the process of achieving the ‘ superhydrophobic effect’

I can do it

You can do it too…

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How many years to finish her studies?

How many daughters?

Will you be staying with her or going back ?

Whats their dad doing and if he is also traveling with you now?

“Uffffff…take a breath aunty ”

I wanted to say to that aunty who was waiting outside the loo in the aircraft. Just few minutes and we have people amongst us to dig all that is deep inside us. Shooting questions at jet speed

when will we stop intruding and poking our noses into strangers lives?

When will we learn its bad manners to shoot out so many questions when we don’t even know the person.

Everything is bad manners, questions, glaring looks, poking the person next to you to show something, repeatedly turning around and looking at some one, questioning like the above said aunty…

People need to remind themselves that they are not given the liberty to do all these.

Its bad manners in which ever part of the world you are.

Instead just smile and look away.

Tell your mind that is getting inquisitive that its none of your business to even look at a stranger from head to toe.

Behave well and spread joy and do not become a pain in the _____

Yes … for those who are wondering if i am angry.. yes i am for i am sick of these type of people