Saturday, June 16, 2018


22 Nov 2016

One of the most striking things about me is how fast I walk. People who have struggled to catch up with me certainly know it. :)

I got it from my father. From a childhood of running behind him, struggling to catch up. He is 79 now. Yesterday I took him for a walk, while he was visiting us. And I noticed how easily I overtake him now. I had to consciously slow down to let him catch up.

I also noticed how he is still as curious and passionate and fascinated by everything. The world renews itself for him every day. He has lost none of his childlike curiosity or his enthusiasm for life, progress, action. He is struggling to find publishers for a book written by some obscure person in Palakkad 50 years ago. Every new thing I show him fascinates him. Today we got up early and drove 30 kms to look at an ancient tree.

Maybe that is the only blessing I should ask for too - to never lose my sense of wonder.

I also noticed how he's become quieter and more reflective, contemplative, for long hours. At peace with stillness. The man who walked and talked faster than anyone else. The man who fought tremendous obstacles in his younger days, but did not become bitter, hard, and closed.

Maybe that is the only gift I should ask for too - the gift of stillness.

I sense a new responsibility today. I am his waris, his inheritor. I must carry forth everything that is good in him. Maybe there isn't that much time left to learn....

Like he taught my brother and me on the first anniversary of his mother's death, which he celebrated with a simple lamp lit in front of her photo, and no religious ceremonies - "Be kind like her, carry forth her legacy of kindness and generosity. You don't have to do anything else."

17 June 2018

I have no waris, no inheritor. I will leave no mark. But the universe will go on, the wheel will turn. And there will be gifts passed on, in one form or the other, from one human being to another, related or not....for we are bound by our affection for the people we look up to, to carry forward what is best in them.

Because, as my friend Arvind Krishnan said:

"Not all of our ancestors are of our blood.
Neither are all of our descendants.

All of us have descendants we do not know."

And so my brother and I are not my father's only inheritors. His influence is huge, vast, and boundless, spread across all those who crossed his path across a life full of struggle, but which he also chose to fill with wonder...

Friday, May 11, 2018

“It’s a bad day, not a bad life”

from 'The Little Prince', Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“It’s a bad day, not a bad life”. That is a quote from Suicide Survivor Stories:

Look up from that phone and really look at the people around you. Watch for signs of depression, of loneliness. Reach out. Smile. Do something kind even if you don't have to. Especially for those who live alone, have no close family or friends, or are going through a rough patch.

We are a community. An interconnected web. We have a responsibility to look out for each other. We share the same planet, don't we? :)

Nelson Vinod Moses' best friend killed himself. And that prompted him to set up this foundation. He and his team have been nice enough to compile this list of doctors in multiple Indian cities. Share it.

Mental Health Professionals Directory:

This site also offers training on Suicide Prevention.

Suicide Prevention India Foundation

Please support Nelson in taking this forward:

Monday, April 30, 2018

I'll Be There

This. Sums up my whole philosophy of life.

The 'I'll Be There' Project
Video, 2.28 minutes

"I'll Be There is a movement to inspire ordinary people to get outside of themselves and connect with other human beings through an act of kindness. "

"Just simple intentional acts, moments of connection."

"To connect with another individual, to be seen, is so powerful - and you don't feel alone."

"My goal is to dissolve this illusion of otherness, and just, like ... love as much as possible. I just want to love people - as was done for me."

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

That one kind thing from our day

I am very conscious of the fact that sometimes a smile or a kind gesture from me is perhaps the only kind thing that someone may experience that entire day. And therefore the need to consciously make that difference, even if I am not feeling fantastic myself. I have had such dark days. I never forget this poem I wrote a very long time ago, when I nearly cried at the railway station counter because someone was nice to me, as I fumbled in my despair, even more clumsy than usual. I still remember her after decades. I am still repaying my debt to her, by passing on her kindness.


Friendly lady at the ticket counter,
Smiling as you explain my mistake
Did you wonder why my eyes filled
As I reached out for my change?

I did not tell you, I could not tell you
That yours was the only kindness
I received,
This long cruel merciless day. 

"How about we lie in bed and remember that one kind thing from our day. That one tender moment, beautiful accident, chance encounter, a look exchanged. The way a hand rests on the top of a dog's head, the fondling of a floppy ear. The sympathetic look someone gives you in a long line-up. The caring and funny email a friend writes you. The glass of wine poured for you at the end of a long day."

Wage Tenderness, Wage Peace
Shawna Lemay

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


"He was obedient to and at one with nature and the four seasons."
— Basho on Saigyo, quoted in Sam Hamill, introduction to 'Narrow Road to the Interior'

February. People falling ill, cancer striking closer and closer, bad news all around, a lot of time spent in hospitals, and more to come.


The rain trees are bare, the new leaves budding like hope at their fingertips. Against the sky, delicate filigree silhouettes, their branches flowing out like water frozen in motion. And on the ground, beautiful intricate shadows - the earth, and the sky, everything a canvas.

The Hongai leaves have turned golden, some trees have shed, others already shining in the sun, resplendent, their small translucent oily leaves as stunning as flowers, green and red.

The mahogany leaves are falling, their seed pods breaking to release the twirling twirling winged brown seeds scattered on our streets.

The yellow tabebuias have started blooming, quietly, quietly, filling up the bare branches, until one fine day they stop you in your tracks.

The pink tabebuias, slightly early, blooming on some streets already in bunches of ethereal softness.

The trees full of birds building nests, so that their babies are born in summer, rich with ripe fruits and insects.

The white-cheeked barbets can be heard loud and clear above the chattering parakeets this season.

The wind, that has come to help shake the dry leaves off the trees, ringing my chimes all day, ringing in peace.

And the migratory rosy starlings back at my window, chirping away in large flocks, adding their music to my mornings, and flying up in murmurations once in a while. They are early this year, but well, I am not complaining. :)

The universe throws beauty at us, lavishly, a thousand pearls of abundance, whatever is going on in our lives.

Oh, not to be swine, but to be take what is offered so generously, and to be glad, and to be consoled, even for a while.

Light, Light:



Friday, February 9, 2018

Eating Sun

And then there is the realization that perhaps all your life has just been a polishing of the lens, a passage through large patches of darkness so that you learn that the light of the most mundane of days is the biggest gift of all, and that anything bigger than that is to be received kneeling down, like bread and wine, His body and blood ......

“This light was not like the flow of water, but something more fleeting and numberless, for its source was everywhere. I liked seeing that the light came from nowhere in particular, but was an element just like air...Radiance multiplied, reflected itself from one window to the next, from a fragment of wall to cloud above. It entered into me, became part of me.

I was eating sun.”

'And There was Light' , Jacques Lusseyran, a French writer who went blind at the age of eight and later survived the Buchenwald concentration camp

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Magic Trick

Mary Oliver

On a really bad day, I start the morning by sending appreciation mails to people at work or outside. Just acknowledging something in them that I appreciate, but never bothered to tell them. It kind of balances me and connects me to the world - just to acknowledge that there are so many good people around, persevering to do their best, while fighting their own battles. And positivity is contagious both ways, you even get infected by yourself. :) :)

"If you can’t seem to make yourself happy, do little things to make other people happy. This is a very effective magic trick. Focus on others instead of yourself. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line (I do this a lot), compliment a stranger, volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a classroom on, buy a round of drinks for the line cooks and servers at your favorite restaurant, etc.

The little things have a big emotional payback, and guess what? Chances are, at least one person you make smile is on the front lines with you, quietly battling something nearly identical."

Tim Ferriss on How He Survived Suicidal Depression and His Tools for Warding Off the Darkness