Monday, June 22, 2015

International Day of Yoga Celebrations in Austin TX

Some came because Narendra Modi, PM of India had called
Some came because Sri Sri Ravishankar called
Some came because it's adventurous
Some came because they were organizing it
Some came because it is probably the one and only event they were looking forward to (for personal reasons)
Some came for they were tasked with documenting the event
Nature said, I can't be left out and it rained and poured before and after the event

Yes, I am talking about the first ever International Day of Yoga celebration at our city Austin, TX. In case you missed it, it happened on Capitol grounds on Sunday June 21st at 10:30AM.

75 odd yogis from Art of Living, Bea Love Yoga and more importantly from Austin showed up to celebrate the very first ever International day of Yoga here at the lawns of the Capitol of Texas.  

We have a saying in Art of Living, “from chaos comes creativity” and this yoga event was no different. On Thursday before the yoga event scheduled for Sunday we were not 100% sure of the logistics and with rain in forecast didn’t have a plan B, to top it off nature wanted to do some rain dance for the event and on Sunday around 10:00am it started raining cats and dogs.  

But, when 70 odd yogis decide to do yoga on the first ever International Day of yoga, nature had to listen and give way for yoga. Come 10:30, the rain turned to drizzle and the lawns started to drain out just enough for us to get on with the yoga. The parking was free and plenty (I guess the rain turned some visitors away) and all other finer logistics, didn’t really matter. Can you imagine the state senator joining us at the yoga event.

The yoga was beautifully led by 3 senior yoga teachers from Bea Love Yoga. I have full respect and regards for Bea Love for if there was 1 person who was 100% sure they will be doing yoga that day, I would say it would be her. Once the yoga started, the event moved on with clinical precision, the teachers taking turns to lead the yoga and before we knew it was time to do the chanting of om and final resting. At which precise time, nature decided to join the party and started to drizzle and it poured again.

Later the party was moved indoors where folks from our own Art of Living band filled the rotunda with ancient chants and hymns.

It wouldn't be fair if I don't speak about the precursor to this event, it was called the sun never sets yoga which happened a week ago Saturday as a gearing up event for the international day of yoga, around 20 odd yogis gathered on the banks of town lake in the morning at 7:00AM and an hour long yoga was lead by our own graduate yogi Ritesh Seth.

All in all, a grand successful event for the Art of Living Austin. Kudos to the team for pulling this off in a very successful manner in true Art of Living style.

ps: yes, picture speaks 1000 words and yes I will be posting them soon 

pps: here are the pics 

Friday, June 19, 2015

With age does creativity . . . .

One of those blogs, that I am not sure of the content completely but still feel it is worth posting. This one is coming from my 4 odd years of interaction with Avni.

Off late I have concluded that structured education or molding the brain is to an extent detrimental to creativity. I have examples from my interactions and Avni's side to prove the same. In the end I am not advocating anarchy and a believer of structured education system.

Observing Avni, she doesn’t fret about color combinations, her approach is free spirited, a creative venture of mix and match of colors, in her own words, mixupitis is always fun. One can call it as festival of holi played on the paper. Can you imagine a princess face being painted tri color and still looking pretty.

From my side, an example is children books, specially the ones for the kids in range of 1-3 years old. They have large pictures and barely any texts and as parents we used to spend lots of time creating stories for those pictures and now as she is growing up we have graduated to more verbose books and end up reading what's printed rather than fitting creative stories.

I wonder if this is part of growing up. The free out of the box thinking that we as adults try to ignite in ourselves (every now and then) is already present in us as a child. If you are still not convinced, try convincing a child through logical statements (not arguments). One can argue that those solution are almost always impractical, but that's what being creative is, right?.

Last but not the least, the creative solutions moms come up to either feed their kids or to pacify them is clearly unique to every single mom. 

Monday, June 08, 2015

Future animals rights activist

It was a hot Sunday afternoon, Sandhya was trying to feed Avni. Both were sitting on the floor and as usual our pet Daisy wanted to be near  them and I was holding Daisy’s leash back and asking her to stay back. Suddenly,  Avni who was doing some art work stands up with an angry face and the following happens.

A: Manju, say sorry to daisy
M: why?
A: because you are mean to her
M: no I was not
A: not leaving the pets is mean
M: I was just trying to hold her back
A: not leaving Daisy near amma is mean, say sorry to her
M:sorry Daisy

Avni then comes near me and says “leave the leash now, do what I say”.

Her last statement was,

"Being nice is to let everyone to play"

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

No more PIO only OCI

Back in 2010, right around the time Avni was born, I started researching the options for her as she will be born in USA and the parents were Indian citizens. People had all different solutions, some were crazy as suggesting that she can pick her citizenship when she is 18 years and others that she can get Indian citizenship if registered right at birth.

Turned out all were wrong, since she would be born on US soil, by default she would be citizen of USA and also India does not support dual citizenship.  In the end she could become either a PIO (person of Indian origin) or an OCI (overseas citizen of India).

We the parents were Indian citizens and not foreign passport holders, she could only apply to be PIO. Even further, for some reasons un known,  being PIO had way more restrictions than being an OCI, few from top of my head are, it had to be renewed every 15 years and if the person had to stay for more than 180 days in India then they had to register with nearest police station. The only saving grace was that PIO was 1 step and OCI was a 2 step and longer process.

It always pinched me that the fact that we are citizens of India and my daughter had to be PIO but if we gave up our Indian citizenship then my daughter can be an OCI. To say in another way, government of India government rewarded non-Indian citizens better than Indian citizens. I was so annoyed with this that the last 3 times I took my daughter to India, I went with a visa for her.

Thanks to Modi and the new Indian government there is no more of PIO, only OCI and all PIO’s are being converted to OCI’s.

Great going, I am happy with this. I believe it is time to make Avni an OCI.