Tag Archives: Diwali

routine life

My granddad (dad’s dad) just celebrated his 83rd birthday during Diwali. I really admire him. For a good majority of his working career, he would ride his bicycle to and from work, and work at least 10 hour shifts 6 days a week. Talk about a “when I was your age” story. So, at 83 years old, I’m sure anyone can imagine, that someone is going to be pretty stuck in their ways and routines. The first few weeks I was here, I was really astonished at the fact that he would easily wake up at 4, 5 in the morning. Naturally, my grandma would yell at him and tell that’s entirely too early to be getting up and making a ruckus in the house. So, now of course, he wakes up at a little later…at 6:30 am (this is a struggle for me regardless).

His routine is pretty perfect and to the tee. He wakes up at 6:30. Makes a cup of tea for himself. Waits for the milkman (yes, a milkman still comes to the house to give you milk here). After the milkman has come, he sits on our swing and reads the paper (but only the headlines, because the other print is too small for him to read). Then, when everyone else wakes up around 7:30/8:00, it’s round 2 of tea. And by 9:00am, he’s showered, gotten ready for the day, morning prayers completed, and is sitting quietly on the swing. And that’s his routine. Every morning.

I began to think of my “morning route”, and realized it’s so willy nilly, and very dependent on what I have going on for the day. Whereas my gdad, no matter what’s going on, his routine is stable. If I have yoga, I wake up at maybe, 6:30, sometimes 6:55 (for my 7am class that is). If I don’t, hello 9:00am! Sometimes I eat breakfast, sometimes I don’t. Basically, it’s so irregular. And sometimes, I’m just too lazy where I don’t even do my morning prayers or make time for meditating. What’s wrong with me? Will it take me another 60 years to reach the same place my granddaddy is at? Why am I so situation-dependent?

I don’t have an answer to this question. But, I know it takes constant effort. I mean, seriously, how good are we at keeping our New Year’s Resolutions? (If you’ve figured out the secrets, share them here!) It’s really hard to live a stable life. But, I do know that some sort of routine is good for a healthy life. I mean, my gdad, he’s 83 with not a single health problem. He’s doin’ something right.

Do you have a daily routine that yo follow no matter what the situation is?

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blessed.

as i sit here thinking back to the past 5 days of diwali, i can’t help being drawn to the realization that i am so incredibly blessed. there is so much i have to be thankful for, and the question that looms in the back of my mind is, how can i show my gratefulness?

this was my very first diwali celebration in india, and it was such an incredible experience in itself, and the more i think about it, it included a lot of “firsts” for me. it was my first time doing rangoli (see picture), it was my first time doing fireworks by myself (i have a fear that they’ll blow up in my face before i can run away), it was my first time celebrating with family members besides my parents, it was the first time i felt a sense of community during such an auspicious time of year, and it was the first time where diwali wasn’t something i just came home to after a long day of school and classes.

the food was amazing, the decorations were spectacular, the clothes were beautiful. but more than anything, the time spent with my family and neighbors, the excited atmosphere, the smiles on everyone’s faces- that is what made these past 5 days worth it.

sometimes it’s really hard to look past the dazzle of this season. i’m guilty of it every year. this time of year is by far my favorite. i love christmas shopping and cookie baking, but i get so involved that i forget why i enjoy it so much. it’s not just to get presents for my loved ones, but the horrible traffic and long lines are worth it when you see that smile, that genuine expression on their faces that show how much they appreciate what you just did for them.

it’s about being the light in the darkness. there is more to just lighting a divo or stringing christmas lights outside your house. one small flame can brighten an entire room. one small act can change another person’s entire perspective/attitude. there is a mantra in the vedas “tamaso ma jyotir gamaya” which translates to “Lead me from darkness to light.” lead me from ignorance to knowledge. i want to seek the Truth, but when i can’t see clearly, when i’m lost in the dark, how is that journey possible? this path has been lit for me. how will i show my appreciation?

so, i think there is more to gratefulness than just a prayer of thanks. i can wake up every morning and tell God how thankful i am for every blessing i have in my life-family, friends, education, health, etc. but, sometimes just a genuine hug or smile is more than enough. i can be that light. after all, i am just an instrument of God, and my actions speak louder than my words.

first day divas on our balcony

me and my cousin working on our rangoli. safe to say my neck hurt a lot after it was done

final product of rangoli. so much time spent on this for real. not to mention my hands being 7 different colors because of the ink of the sand

decorations outside of our door in the hallway. each night we would light the divas with our neighbors

so many fireworks!

one that i set off. so proud!

fireworks

“Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya”

it’s finally that time of year

It’s safe to say that the holiday season is officially upon us across the world. Thanksgiving and family time is anticipated in the States. The arrival of St. Nicholas and the birth of Jesus Christ are in the air across the world. Here in India, Diwali, the biggest festival of our culture, starts tomorrow. And of course the celebration of the end of this year, and the ringing in of 2013 will be the perfect ending to what truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

I just want to take a minute to remind myself, more than anything, that past the lights, gifts, and feasts, there is something greater to these days, and that is family, love, happiness, and gratefulness.

As we enjoy the food and gifts this season, let’s remember to be grateful that we have even been given the opportunity. Love. Be happy. Be grateful.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”          –Brother David Steindl-Rast

it’s in our nature.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet today, because I have a lot of posts coming up this week since it’s the start of Diwali. But, I really wanted to talk about this. About a week and a half ago was Sharad Poornima. It’s the day of the full moon. Tradition is that you make dhood paak. Dhood paak is sweetened milk with dried rice flakes put in it. What you do, is you make it and then put it out at night, and the coolness of the moon cools the dhood paak.

One of my favorite things about the Indian culture is the close relationship with nature that it encourages. There is so much that we can learn about ourselves and how to live our life from the characteristics and qualities of the trees, sun, moon, etc. Yes, I know this sounds very Pocahontas-esque, can you paint with all the colors of the wind and all that. But there is a lot of truth behind it.

In our scriptures, there is a branch named Ishavasyam which tells about how God exists in every atom in this universe, and there is a whole part on what we, as humans, have to learn through various aspects of nature. Our relationship with nature is one of the most important ones. If we can have true reverence towards our environment (and I mean our true environment, the one that nourishes us, protects us, etc.) than our spiritual relationship with the divine can really increase exponentially.

We call the Earth, “Pruthvi Maata” or Mother Earth. We call the Sun, “Suraj Dada” which means Grandfather, and we call the Moon, “Chanda Mama” or Uncle. There is a reason we have such personal names for them, and we don’t just call them Sun or Moon. We come from the Earth, so She is our Mother.

Suraj Dada teaches us to be radiant and brilliant, tejasvita. Chanda Mama teaches us to be calm and to bring serenity into our lives. Pruthvi Maata teaches us to be firm and stable. There is so much we can learn from our relationships, if we choose to. God has given us all these great things for a reason, not just to utilize, but to truly learn from. How else can we truly instill Godly qualities, than to learn from God’s creations themselves. And it starts with having true respect.

One of my favorite verses I was taught from a young age is said when you wake up and before you step out of the bed. The meaning is you’re showing your respects to Mother Earth and asking for forgiveness as you walk on Her throughout the rest of the day. It’s really a beautiful concept.

The world around us is glowing, and they’re just waiting for us to go to them. We are given the opportunity every day, so take an hour break from technology, facebook, emails, and seriously be in peace with this universe we’ve been blessed with. The beauty of being Human is we are given the capability to be appreciative and show our gratefulness. I think we all owe it Mother Earth to sit with her for a bit, and maybe learn a thing or two from her.

This week: embrace your inner Pocahontas.

Mosquito Bite Count: 4 | Serious Craving: Queso

just the moon. pretty amazing. literally lit the entire night.

yum! dhood paak (in the bowl)

it was crazy how bright the moon was that day