Monday, December 31, 2012

My late Naani’s (Grandma’s – Mom’s Mom) home


My late Naani’s home in Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi is going to be demolished and rebuilt in January 2013!!!  I got this news from my Mom a couple of days ago. My maternal uncle who is living there now wanted everyone to have a last look at the old home and invited all the family living in New Delhi – my parents; my brother and his family; all my aunts; all my cousins and their kids. I understand that everyone had a great time, fondly looking at each nook and cranny of that home. It is a huge home and was built almost 60 years ago.

Sitting here, thousands of miles away, my heart filled with mixed emotions as the childhood memories of visiting my Naani’s home ran through my mind. Like in a time machine, I was transported to the years gone by. We used to live around eight to ten miles away from my Naani’s home. We would visit my Naani almost every weekend. My older brother and I were the first of the many-many grand children that home has seen. Being first, we were always doted by our grandparents and our four aunts and two uncles, yes it is a BIG family :-) I remember the atrium like open area, right in the middle of the home. I used to love to see the rain drops coming from the heavens on a rainy day or enjoy the bright sunshine on a cold winter day in that area. Gone are those days when I would climb up the huge guava trees in the compound and pluck those yummy and juicy fruits. I would eat them ripe and eat them green, sometimes till I got a tummy-ache! Where are those days when I would go to the terrace and fly kites the whole day long!! Play with colours and throw water balloons at passers by!!! Burst fireworks during Diwali or pre-Diwali days!!!!

That was the home which witnessed wedding of my uncles and aunts when it was decked up like a bride or groom itself. It witnessed the chapters of  our lives unfold, one after another, some were happy, some were sad – like when we first lost our Grandpa (NaanaJi) and then our Grandma (NaaniJi). It witnessed the birth of all my wonderful cousins and all of us growing up. It witnessed the whole family assembling every Raakhi day and every major festival. Now that home is going away, being brought to ground and a new one would be constructed at the same place.

The born optimist that I am is looking at it as the beginning of a new chapter. I am cherishing the fond memories I had of that home and wishing that the new building will make more happy memories. That is what life teaches us with going away of someone or something we loved – celebrate and remember the life of what has gone away and do not mourn the fact that it is no more there. Writing this, on this last day of year 2012, my heart fills with happiness and gratitude for what the life has taught me so far. There is nothing called perfection in this life and change is the only constant...

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Running my first full marathon and how life is like running a marathon


I know that it took me some time in capturing my thoughts and sharing with my friends but better late than never :-)The idea to run a full marathon struck me when I turned 45 in November, 2010… talk about midlife crisis!!!  I did a lot of online research and talked to some folks who have been long distance runners. I found a training schedule which would have prepared me for my full marathon around June, 2011. Soon I found that the big day would be June 12, 2011 at Lake Placid, NY. If you recall, winter of 2010-11 was one of the coldest ones in North East United States. As a result I did most of my training indoors on the treadmill, either at home or in hotel during my frequent business trips. Lucky for me, in early 2011, I started an engagement in Los Angeles where I started training outdoors in the warmer weather. The worst part of running long distance is that it is a very lonely sport. However, I found an engaging solution, i.e. listening to audio books on my smart phone while running. One is engaged in the plot and the characters and time flies away. It also helped me catch up on lots of reading, including the Stieg Larsson’s trilogy which started with “The Girl With Dragon Tattoo”. With every passing week I really liked spending time on long runs and started looking forward for the big day. As I came closer to the D-day, I started checking the weather forecast in Lake Placid during the weekend of my run. Sure enough, the whole weekend it was supposed to rain and especially heavy on the day of my run. Now, I have never practiced running in the rain. I again started researching online to see what I would need to do different to run 26.2 miles in rain and made some last minute changes. The week of my run, I took a red-eye flight from LA on late Thursday night, reached NJ on early Friday morning, left for a seven hours drive to Lake Placid on Saturday morning, stayed in the hotel overnight, and early Sunday morning woke up to join hundreds of fellow runners…phew, that was my week!!!  I finished the full marathon and enjoyed every 5.5 hours of it in pouring rain on a hilly terrain!!! I will share with you how this experience was like life itself. Before I do this, here, check it out, search for my name once you open this link, http://www.coolrunning.com/results/11/ny/Jun12_LakePl_set1.shtml

This experience really made me think that how our lives are also like running a marathon run. In marathon all the runners start together and as time passes some people go ahead and others fall behind. As more time passes, people who were pacing themselves well and were initially falling behind now go ahead of the pack. In the end, what is important is run “your own” race well and complete it with great satisfaction. Similarly, in life, all of us have experienced how we started together as siblings, friends, fellow students or even fellow workers. As time passes, some become more successful than others and some fall behind. As more time passes, these roles are sometimes reversed. In my opinion, one should lead one’s life with one’s own values, beliefs, and pride. If you are behind your peers, don’t lose your heart and more importantly; when you are ahead of them…don’t lose your head!!!