Time flashes

Sudden unexpected perceptual …

Like flashes
Leaving you both pleasantly surprised and equally nostalgic.
That sweet smell of a rose bush
You encounter on your lunch walk
That big clear blue sunny summer sky
That takes you back to more than one
memory lane…
The smell of the muddy earth after the first monsoon drizzle on a dusty parched ground
Surrounding you instantly with fresh and revitalized lime and dark green
Livening everything to the brightest temperature and hue for you to witness
On your drive back home from your day’s sojourn
To encounter an elderly couple walking  hand in hand
Screaming tender love and care
Co-created only through the shared passage of time
That perfume, that deodorant,
That smell of home made pizza or paratha
That smell of you her or him
That lingering yet fading fragrance
From your dress or shirt from another day’s celebration
The musky smell and 80s pop music
As you enter a bowling alley
That out of the blue love song
Playing as you walk the grocery store isle
Slowing you down
Forcing you to linger
So you can listen n hum and go back to that high school era of 1994
An old photo of you looking casual clumsy and naive in your Facebook on this day x years ago feed, …
A letter
Put away unconsciously
A memorabilia of a past tale of love.
To fit into that sari blouse from 2003
And feel 14 years younger and older
A clash of time itself
A visit back to old favorites hangouts
From the younder days of dating, friendship, family, school and other mundane or extraordinary adventures.

To touch feel smell see and hear
Here today just like an old yesterday
Time flashes light,
Remnants of our past
Of moments shiny and dark
Warm and cold
Eager and mellow
Always
Short and sweet
Making you pause
And take heed

Its been too long since we last talked . I got your number on speed dial …

I woke up to my alarm like I do most week days. I think of Papi every day, several times each day. And then since he is my phone’s wallpaper it means I see him every time I reach out for my phone. In a way it becomes mundane not in a boring manner rather that the sting isn’t of the same sorts as it is when I reach out my phone to look for him. So in a day I’m reminded of you Papi on many instances and then there are instances I remember you and I look for you.

This morning however my very first waking thought as I saw you as I casually turned my alarm off was – “it’s been such a long time since we’ve spoken Papi”. Too long… and I’m oddly beginning to realize it’s only going to get longer and longer. I can’t articulate in words quite what I feel in my body. Perhaps there’s no real thought only feelings, physical feelings. So I began my day consciously aware of time and the concept of death in that Papi and I can’t speak ever again aside from when I talk out loud as I’m doing right now as I write this as though I’m having a conversation with you.

I was late getting to work so I had to quickly abandon any further thoughts to get on with my day. But the feelings never quite leave so suddenly or so easily and so they remained like white noise in my body’s cacophony of noises – thoughts and feelings all crammed in. And then just like that as I remained busy going through my day’s chores I found myself noticing today’s date on my calender at work. After a quick moment of pause I realized today exactly a year ago, May 16, 2016, pops was scheduled to undergo a lobectomy. It was today a year ago they were to cut him open and rid the part of his lung that was causing him grief. We knew he wasn’t well and we knew the range of possibilities but we werent prepared to learn he’d be diagnosed with stage 4 pulmonary adenocarcinoma and that at this stage surgery was not an option. So while they did cut through his rib cage they never did complete what they had intended to do. This morning when I woke up to this strange empty sad feeling I didn’t realize it marked the one year point of us finding out what was really happening inside Papi and the beginning of losing him to cancer. Since Papi’ s passing away there’s been endless anniversaries I’ve anticipated… and I’d even look back at photos from that day a year ago. I guess today almost slipped me thanks to the business of life. I’m almost more amazed about how easily and quickly I skipped out of the habit of keeping track and not letting him and thoughts about him pass me and again taken aback with how our bodies never forget even if our minds get carried away and distracted. I’m mad at my mind for its casualness and thankful to my body for its visceral reminders and abilities to help me feel what I felt today and on other days.

It’s got me thinking of how some relationships go way deeper and beyond our cognitive abilities. They lie so deep they become a part of you in a way you never could have perceived. Our emotional experiences get filed away to resurface automatically – no reminders needed. So here I am pondering upon this vacuum thought of never being able to talk to Papi again to the realization and gratitude I feel for my body for not letting me forget what today a year ago was about. And while today brought up all sorts of thoughts, memories and images the one image I want to end my day is the one of Papi smiling into the operating room, high on anesthesia…but the smile he had in that moment and as he danced his way into surgery is how I want to remember him. I miss you Papi, I miss you so much… it’s been too long since we’ve spoken. I’ve got so much to tell you. I’ll look for you Papi, come visit me …

I love you, Dad.

Setting (food) Intentions on Supermoon Wednesday 


It’s a supermoon Wednesday!
I’m told it’s a good time
To set intentions moving forward
Mine got set as I prepped my dinner!

For those that love food
Rather love good food
This might appeal to you
For those that share no passion
For good food:
1. You’ll not get the sentiment and its TOTALLY ok!
2. That said, I do feel really sorry for you!

Back to loving good food –
Good quality locally sourced
French bread (olivier’s)
It is so tasty and world’s apart
From just any ordinary store bought bread

Yes I acknowledge good bread isn’t cheap
I also acknowledge
My indulgent expensive bread talk
Outs my privileges !

On a heated pan
I place 2 slices of delicious
French whole wheat bread
Slice up a generous bit
Of grass fed butter
To layer onto my bread
It creates perfect buttery crispy mushy
toasted bread!
Add a thick layer of cheddar cheese
After a few heated moments,
Off the pan
Onto my plate
Sandwiched together                                   Between generous amounts of perfectly ripe avacado

Yes, these are the ingredients and steps
The makings of a delicious grilled cheese!

Only a lover of good food would know
The goodness in this sandwich
Out does any bad!

I’m setting my best intentions on this supermoon wednesday
To make and enjoy the yummiest of foods

Now the bigger question that looms is
What intentions will you set?

Love birds 

​These two love birds! 

Also here to take in the view

Of the ocean and the sunset sky

Showing their vulnerable sides

Not moving just standing 

Side by side 

In awe of each other… ❤❤

About Tonight’s Sky…

Nature was out today
Telling us a sublime tale
Of how brightness of the
Day made it’s way
Out of today
Handing over it’s everything
To the mystery
Of the nighttime shadows

What was happening was clear
What was happening suggested boundaries
An inevitable ritual
From day to night
Night to day
Every day.. .
Somedays sharp and clear
Like today
Perhaps more hazy and hesitant
on other days

It’s like the passing on
Of the baton
In a relay
Sometimes smooth
Sometimes clumsy

Or could it be
About the handing over
That a father does of his daughter in good faith 
As she weds
To join another?

It’s about letting go
Handing over
Letting in
Taking over
From high tide the other night
To low tide tonight

Where the sky and the water met
Where day left and night picked up
sharp but merged
Stark but stunning
Clear but soft

The Ritual of Cooking

It’s my very nature …

To have days of dancing around town,
Over-committing, stretching myself thin…
To the point my life feels crazy!
The groceries have run out, the apartment’s a mess, unfolded laundry, eating out cause whose got the time to cook and on and on and on…

Until the weekend, even a long weekend has come and gone.

There finally comes a point when the curtailing of the chaos – mental and physical feels imperative to begin a new day and week.. .

It’s time to catch up on all the chores and the unheard podcasts have been cued up and ready to go – This American Life, Onbeing, Modern Love, The Moth Radio Hour…

Two things I seem to do to reset life and my cyclical self imposed chaos: I sweep my floors n rugs frequently; I mean constantly. It’s cathartic in ways I’m unable to articulate; and then there is the ritual of cleaning the fridge and the tidying up of my kitchen in preparation of a lengthy cooking session.

My time in my kitchen is similar to time people spend on their couch watching tv. It spans 2-3 hours sometimes! Today felt like one of these : I need to ground and reset my life kind of days.

So after I had cleaned my fridge and tidied up my kitchen I began the ritual of cooking. Methi parathas were a favorite growing up. Mom made making parathas seem like such an easy quick affair. She’d whip them in no time. I spent 17 years of my life away from home really craving home made parathas but never festering the courage motivation or cooking sensibility to make them. Until my return from India December 2016. I decided I would cook to stay connected with dad. He was an incredible cook, mom is an incredible cook…i suppose I’ve decided I stand a high chance of being an incredible cook thanks to my gene pool?  🙂

I’ve made methi/ spinach parathas a few times now since January 2017 and feel I’ve gotten quite good at it. But more than the final outcome of 8-10 parathas that make for a great lunch 2-3 days the week ahead, making parathas is now my new mental reset activity. It’s meditative and holds all the qualities of a ritual. Let me explain:

Firstly, once I get my favorite podcast playing I have to focus my mind off everything else to the steps involved in my simple culinary excursion. Like any successful excursion I’ve discovered it’s most often enjoyable when engaged at a certain pace. Rushing changes the temperature/ mood and having the right temperature/ mood is critical to our perceptual experience and to what we create. It’s all we have afterall!

So I begin with pulling out the bundle of fresh spinach. I’m aware of the momentary thought flashing through my mind – “cleaning this is going take forever” and an urge to rush runs through my body. But I mindfully remind myself I’ve got all evening; besides the thought of muddy spinach sounds terrifying and so does the fear of a kidney stone nightmare! And so I begin my getting lost in the podcast on Putin, on forgetting, on not knowing, on giving birth to a child in Somalia, on liberalism etc etc as I pick every spinach leaf off it’s stem, rinse and chop finely; and then to the bunch of cilantro. I take my time and enjoy the fragrances of fresh greens and herbs. The cleaning and chopping is almost half the task. There’s also the fresh green chillies and the large onion also chopped up fine.

Then comes the part that activates my  salivary glands. You know that mouth watering sensation purely triggered by the aromas of food ingredients coming together? The concoction of fresh green chillies, onions, chopped garlic and cilantro does that to me. I add salt, carom seeds, crushed dried fenugreek leaves, red chilli powder, cumin powder and cilantro powder and a pinch of turmeric powder. Mix it all with a cup of whole wheat flour and a cup of gram flour. I feel no good Punjabi recipe is complete with a spoonful of ghee!

I’m now knee deep into my excursion. The second big segment is the kneading : combining the fresh chopped goodness, the spices and the flour to that perfect consistency that you learn to recognize only after a few previous disastrous attempts. While I’ve gotten much better at it, I still undergo many proportional changes  ( add more flour, then more water, mord flour, some oil and so on and on…) until i get the perfectly kneaded dough…!!

I quickly get my nonstick pan out on the stove that’s turned to a medium high. While also quickly rolling out my first paratha…as aesthetically circular as I can achieve! This begins the third and final segment of the excursion. It’s a bit more complex : requiring multi tasking! Rolling a paratha is an art that deserves much respect. A perfectly rolled paratha involves mastering the right amount of pressure with which you roll to achieve even thickness or thinness however you choose to focus and also to achieve circular symmetry! I can only hope that by the time i’ve rolled my first paratha the pan is heated and ready to go – not too hot or too cold, just perfect! So i place that first paratha on the pan and begin rolling the second… completing it in time to flip the one on the stove over. I add a spoonful of ghee and flip it over, some ghee to coat the other side and another flip!

With enough experience and instances of doing this, i also get organized better each time. I know some where in those steps to get the roti dabba out, lined with aluminium foil ready to go. Rolling the parathas to perfect circles, on the pan, flip, oil, flip, oil, flip and into the dabba until the dough is over!

And just like that I come full circle I.e. started with tidying up the kitchen and end with a major clean up…just like a good excursion better have gotten dirt collected in my shoes.. .my messy countertops and floor is a sign of busy tasty evening!

In the end, my kitchen is clean, my lunch for the next 3 days is set, there’s a fragrance of a home cooked meal occupying my space, the sensory experiences take me back to childhood days and fond food memories; my mind is decluttered, reset and relaxed!

While I don’t think it’s in my nature to be always and fully de-cluttered and relaxed; it’s inevitable that my cycles if clutter and chaos inevitably lead to an automatic reversion of declutter and grounding…and just like that I’ve discovered the ritual of cooking and the peace that accompanies it or rather comes up as a natural consequence.

If you’ve made it all the way here, I’m curious: what kind of food do you love to cook? Does it declutter your mind and bring you a mental reset? I would love to hear your story.

The Ritual of Running


And about Raymond…

For a few weeks now,
Coach Carly’s bin making note about Raymond and Manbeena!
…and then there’s the runner profile submission I never did turn in…
Rumor has it, there will be some humor 
Telling another tale about Manbeena!

So to help Editor Lynne with an extra bit of zing to her upcoming publication recipe 
And also to tell Coach Carly my story on Raymond
Here’s a few thoughts on running from me to you .

So back to Raymond, …
And for that matter Karen and Dorothy 
And all our lovely RunInn Pacers!

Every Thursday evening and Saturday morning 
I spend running …
Sometimes with you, beside you 
At times a few steps ahead 
At times a few steps behind
Always keeping one of you in close sight.
But on a day when one of you is away
I know right away!
It’s because 
I’ve come to expect you
Each and every one of you!

We run to stay fit
We run for fun
We run to catch rain and sun 
And many of us run so we can eat and play.

But there’s another important reason why I run
Because I want to connect with everyone!
And to me a Raymond, a Karen and a Dorothy
Are the touchstone of a running in community

New routes everyday 
Different moods each time 
Yet the ritual of running offers a guarenteed dose of calming

Many people run
And a few runners pace
To me a pacer is an anchor 
In an otherwise chaotic world 
Like a teacher each of you 
Brings special qualities 
Protective, inclusive, wise
Patient, steady…
You’re a human metronome..

So if it’s obvious 
I hold each of you in some sort of reverence

Its true, I do…

In a way, I’m a creature of habit…
So yes when you are away…
I notice and miss you!
Rather I miss the comfort of consistency and stability you represent 
To my life 2 times a week.

So a big thank you ,
To all you runners …
That make our running community!
And a thank you to coach Carly,
For planning our weekly running roundevous.
And a Big thank you,
To all our pacers…
For always showing up…
Showing us all the ropes 
Instilling hope…

Especially when there’s hills of dread ahead!

And a final note on community…
I’ll miss all your wonderful faces
Those of you running races
In faraway places…
While the rituals of running will continue
They will be different without each of you
I know you’ll all have a ton of fun in Vienna 
And we your community will be rooting for you 
Waiting patiently for your return.

Dark Chocolate Almonds

You, the sender of these…

You’ve managed to tug at my heartstrings!
Even though I know I had nudged you
I had NO clue, it came out of the blue!
You did you…
You took your time

Like you do every time…
and you did it right!
just like you had in mind?
I sure got my package

I know you’ve been wondering…

Amongst other things,
Trader Joe’s – 

“Sea Salt & Trubinado Sugar DARK CHOCOLATE ALMONDS”
It arrived on my happy day!
I imagine you had planned for it to be that way?

I’ve stayed quiet…
I know it’s so unlike me!
and because you know me…
you know I can’t hold,
a single surprise or thrill!
I’m all about the 

screaming joyful shrieks and shrills!
This belly will explode
Before it will quell
But to my surprise!
I’ve stayed quiet 

For a well over 24 hours!

What have I been doing?
I’ve been marinating…
Letting myself feel
every thought and feeling
that’s arising…
Through the day yesterday and overnight
I’ve been contemplating
This particular box of 

DARK CHOCOLATE ALMONDS.
You might be surprised – 

These happy day little bites
Did bring me joy and happy
I DO know how badly you wish that for me …

See, when I asked for these
I had no foresight
That the box held the key
to a whole lot of memory!
I should have realized.
I’ve held them close to my heart.
and because my heart still feels what it feels…
I keep it locked to prevent any excitement or shock

The minute I noticed the package
from you by my entryway
I knew right away what lies inside
and just like that
the flood gates opened.
These little blobs of yummy

YOU know how unordinary they can be

As they hold very particular memory
Of you and me.
DARK CHOCOLATE ALMONDS and berry scones
the imagery still evokes 

all the emotions the memory holds
Can’t seem to put in words
But I know well
you can tell this tale
Some memories won’t ever fade or fail

You see why I stayed quite ?

Telling you I got it 

would somehow bring an end
to such a fun visit down memory lane
I hadn’t visited there in a while
I thought I’d just stay another day
In joyful memory glee
for as long as you’d let me 

But looks like you’ve gotten weary

So before you begin to query

And my emotions get me a bit teary

I’ll lock up, fess up,

 and come back to here and now!

 

It’s now the day after my Happy Day

You were a part of it in your own way

Thank you Dear Dark Chocolate Almond Fairy

For visiting me on my Happy Day and today!


Dusk

Walking at dusk,

when light and dark

come out and play…

There’s a push and a pull ,

There’s an attraction .

The day’s energies are starting to lighten up;

and the night’s mysteriousness,

is starting to surface .

It’s an interplay,

Unique to this time of the day!

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