Preserving Indian Culture

E2AFC4E0-77B6-4F3D-A60C-DE7D0BBA92EDAs we celebrate Diwali and even over the past few months, various Indian holidays… a few things have been coming to mind. Especially since a lot of times many Indians (peers as well as parents) constantly question my understanding of what’s going on, often times assuming I don’t know anything… and many times assuming that it must have been hard for my parents to maintain the Indian culture. However when I look around me… I find myself to be very Indian… sometimes more “Indian” than some Indians around me.  That’s when I realized… that either my idea of “preserving culture” is wrong… or theirs is.

So then I have to ask… what does preserving culture actually mean? What is Indian culture anyway?

(The following may be offensive to Indians unless they sit and think about what I’m asking before reacting. But after being on the receiving end of several offensive generalizations I feel like I have to respond on behalf of myself and my fellow ABCDs.)

Does preserving culture mean knowing how to celebrate each and every major or minor holiday and festival that comes along? Does it mean speaking the mother-tounge perfectly? Just because a person grew up in India… does that automatically mean they’re “cultured” and any POI/ABCD is automatically not?

Let me ask this next. When it’s not Ganesh Chaturthi, or Diwali… or even a birthday… how many “cultured” folk actually go to a temple just because? Not to ask for anything but just because they are grateful for whatever God has blessed them with. How many understand the concept of leading a God-centric, or if not religious, then a spiritually-centric life as opposed to a self-centric life?

Religiously speaking – How many have actually studied or at least read the Gita or upanishads or vedas?

Lifewise speaking – How many have actually refrained from smoking, drugs, alcohol, or premarital or promiscuous behaviors mommy and daddy tell you not to engage in?

How many have sat with their parents and uncles and aunties and participated in full blown discussion from a young age when guests were over instead of just sitting up in their bedroom… or choosing to just go out and stay out with friends?

Ch16 v. 21 of Gita states “Tri-vidham narakasyedham dvaaram naashanam aatmanah
kaamah krodhastatha lobhas thasmaad etat trayam tyajet“

So how many behave selflessly… act for the greater good? Refrain from greed, lust, jealousy, and other vices?

How many are faithful (physically or emotionally) to their marriage? Are you doing anything that would make your spouse or partner uncomfortable?

How many people think about how they behave or what they say to their spouse… And how those things may affect the relationship or their spouses feelings?

dharmam chara” – How many people at least attempt to follow the ‘right thing to do’ as opposed to the ‘easy thing to do’?

I could keep asking a lot of questions but that’s not the point.

I’m not perfect by any means. I’m not super Indian by any means though I try. I’ve made many, and I mean innumerable, mistakes. And honestly, I didn’t grow up in India so yes – there is a lot I also don’t know… and a lot of Indian culture (life wise) learned by living in India… is something I won’t ever have. But I’ve always tried to live and improve my life by self study and introspection. How many people truly understand the meaning of the Sanskrit word “swa-adhya” (self-study). Of thinking, understanding, and accepting their mistakes and learning from them?

Many people state that I’m very opinionated – and it’s true… it’s because I sit down and think about the concepts and meanings behind things in life. I don’t just mindlessly act without knowing why or why not I’m doing something. And therefore – I have an answer to my own question and I know (right or wrong) what preserving culture means to me.

I think whether someone is preserving a culture or not depends on how they choose to live their every day life. On a daily basis – Not only when festivals roll around.

So before pointing fingers at me or insulting my parents attempts to actually preserve Indian culture by raising me to behave a certain way on a daily basis – pay attention to your own daily behavior. Or your kid’s.

Cause honestly there’s an actual way and a superficial way to preserve your culture.

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Break – poetry

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Amidst some pretty stressful times for many people, including myself on all points in life… I just wanted to address that you don’t always know what’s going on with another person… things may not be as they seem. Life may seem perfect for an individual but that doesn’t mean it’s that way on the inside… even with the most loving and supportive people around you… sometimes your mind really is your worst enemy. Especially when you struggle with depression (either genetically or environmentally triggered) – environmental stress factors can eventually become really difficult to deal with. You don’t know what each person is hiding behind their smile.

Be kind to others because everyone is fighting their own private battle…

Just because someone is strong doesn’t mean they are unaffected or not struggling

—————-Poem————-

Smile, “Hello!”, Interaction

break.

Drive, Music, Jam

break.

Shop, Nice things, All mine

break.

Work, Success, Money

break.

Dance, Party, Enjoy

break.

Hugs, Kisses, Romance

break.

Smile, Laugh, I’m ok

break.

Friends, Family, Partner,

break.

All the things in the world, Life is perfect

break.

Yet stress, And loneliness

Overpoweringly break.

”What happened?”,  “Oh no!”

Nowwww everyone’s awake

My Hero

My Hero.

My hero is the personification of kindness. Of having a big heart. My hero loves with the passion and intensity that justifies the emotion. My hero cares about the things that matter to me. My hero protects me, stands up for me, shields me against the world. My hero is strong yet simultaneously gentle. My hero literally saved my life (cause my life is innately such a movie). He opened his heart to me amidst a difficult situation. He gave me the chance I deserved, without judgement. He saw me for who I was. He saw my soul, not my baggage. Most importantly… He fearlessly plunged into the swamp of fear, uncertainty, distrust and bitterness and retrieved the lively, bubbly, talkative, and vivacious version of me that existed 4 years prior.

In summary:

He listened. He loved. He protected. He saved.

He gave me back myself.

And he didn’t stop there. He worked on giving me the ability to trust again. He worked hard to coax me out from the darkness and into the sunlight.

Even his imperfections played a heroic role giving me the ability to finally exercise my own feminine nature – of nurturing, loving, caring, and guiding.

Maybe he’s just being normal… cause that’s what normal people do when they love someone. But to me he is extraordinary. He’s done all of these things that weren’t easy and crossed each obstacle… always victorious, always standing tall.

Always standing behind me with unwavering support.

Unwavering love.

How else do I describe a hero? I couldn’t until now… but now I have: He’s the person who leaves a constant smile on my face.

My Hero.

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Investigate

So now, especially now, I have to say that when you suspect someone of playing games, or being shady… your hunch is almost always right.

Therefore always investigate further.

No matter how much the other person complains and tries to make you the bad person for being “annoying”… always investigate why you suddenly have a bad feeling.

Who knows… your story’s antagonist may be committing an illegal crime against you right behind your back. And while all bad acts eventually get caught… wouldn’t it be nice if they could get caught sooner than later?

So yeah… life tip #739927373: investigate all doubts and (bad) hunches

 

Respecting Boundaries

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In this new phase of life (for me) – filled with happiness, laughter, no-reason smiles, and an overjoyed heart… I’ve actually had a lot of time to think about how I feel… and why I feel the way I feel. What makes present day so… content? So happy?

Well for one I purged my life of all negativity and filth. But that’s not enough to bring random unintentional smiles to one’s lips.

I realized that I mindlessly smile a lot these days because I chose to also only surround myself with people who truly want me to be happy, who thrive off of my happiness… not my tears, and not off of what they can benefit from me. From negative relatives to leech-like friendships, from “going out of my way” favors to being a resource for people who don’t respect or deserve it… I cut all of this out… leaving only the inner most layer of relationships that matter.

But the most important thing that has made a world of a difference is that I am in the company of an amazing, vivacious, dedicated and loving person who chooses to focus all of his attention, emotion on me… only me… and in turn automatically causes me to focus all of mine on him. And it is such a breath of fresh air! Suddenly no one else, nothing else matters. Suddenly “love” makes sense. Suddenly I realize what this “no one else matters” really means… what it feels like.

Comparing this interaction to what I see around our little bubble… I realize what is key is respecting boundaries. The two of us… we respect boundaries. We respect each other… and because of that we learn and know what line is not ever ok to cross.

With this Dear Partner, I am so so grateful for you 🙏🏻

Now comes the Vent that actually has nothing to do with me (other than making me realize how good I have it… lol) —

Recently, I realized half the population doesn’t know how to respect those boundaries rightfully set in place by a relationship. These disgusting people, men and women alike, infest the earth, trying to infiltrate  someone else’s “good thing”. Literally… between acquaintance’s Facebook statuses and people I personally know/know of… I’m shocked by how easy it is to be in a perfectly healthy relationship and still try to catch the eye of another. Try to flirt with another, an ex, or cheat with a stranger… physically or emotionally.

Yes, no relationship is perfect… but as long as it isn’t toxic, or abusive… as long as your spouse respects you and puts in the effort… how can one be so blatantly disrespectful of boundaries. How can relationships be such free for all’s? Why even get into a relationship if you want everyone’s eyes and hands on you? You wanna have fun? Do it! Just not at the cost of someone else’s trust and happiness. Cause let’s be honest… if a relationship was really that nasty then you’d just get out of it instead of working on it. And yes… trust me… I know and do believe in special cases where a person is so unhappy… stuff happens…things go wrong… but those are not the situations I’m discussing. I’m talking about the unforgivable ones.

I’ve truly come across cases where a person is perfectly comfortable in their marriage even… wants to be with their spouse but also wants attention from several other people simultaneously. And I truthfully do not get that. At all. Leaving your partner in the dark while you engage in all kinds of sick behavior behind their back… simultaneously lying to your partner making them feel like they’re all that matters. Playing games.

I’ve said this before – being loved by someone is a privilege. It’s not a right. So when a privileged person chooses to simultaneously engage in such behavior it’s called cheating. They’re cheaters. It’s utterly disrespectful to the person who loves you. It’s a complete lack of respect for boundaries.

Bottom line – It is disgusting. Cut it out. Or I genuinely hope your partner/spouse finds out.

✌🏼

 

Growing Old – Poetry

Everyone tells me that I look like I’m still in high school. Definitely a compliment as I approach 30 in just the next year and a half. Ugh that just sounds weird. But as I was looking at some old pictures from a decade ago… I realized that while I look exactly the same… something about me definitely looks different. I started wondering… what is it that’s making me look aged despite looking the exact same… On this “I have nothing better to do” Friday afternoon… I then start stalking pictures of my parents and my friends and noticed the same thing about their photos! And I wondered…

What makes us appear aged…
Is it maturity showing upon our face?
Is it the bags under our eyes…
Or is it this life’s fast pace?

Is it that our experiences
Have worn us down…
Or our loss of innocence
(Which makes us frown)

Each new line,
Heck… all the creases…
Split our face
Into several different pieces

We lose our baby fat
And our youthful skin…
Replaced with a roughness…
You just can’t win

The exhaustion shows…
And you can’t go back…
The insecurity grows…
And trust me it’s wack

But I guess it’s best
Not to compare to the past…
Because how I look today
Also isn’t going to last

I guess I shouldn’t call
My present look dirty…
Because 10 years from now
I’ll probably wish I looked 30

 

Sayli Natu 9/28/2018

A question about trusting life, and myself…

Often times we talk about trusting people, and the impact of losing trust in people. Not today! What I want to poke at today is losing trust in being carefree, in being able to believe… in the normal workflow of life.

Today, given life experiences paired with… well… growing up… I often find myself at various forks along the path of life. One path requires me to trust that everything will just automatically be okay, while the other path is the path of caution, doubt. And I can say that while before I took the first path, now I pretty much only take the latter. Do a majority of adults feel this way? It’s almost like being grown up is the most confusing thing in the world!

I find myself wanting various things so badly… but if those things involve any kind of commitment, then there’s like a million questions that pop up into my head first. Alternate options, how to cover any loopholes, safety plans built into the plan in case mission needs to be aborted, and escape plans in case things don’t work out… even though I know 110% things are going to be fine… I find myself creating “what if we did this instead” schemes that deviate from the normal flow of how things normally work in life.

In addition to trying to trust what’s going on… I also find myself having trust issues with myself. “Will I be able to cope if things don’t work out?” Or “Will I be able to cope with the same situation if it happens again?” Or “Will I be able to cope with a different situation that leaves me equally devastated?”.

Truthfully, most of the time I’m fine… because being surrounded by wonderful people, and having distracting activities… I’ve learned how to put a bandaid over the wound so that I can’t see it. Problem is, I haven’t figured out how to heal the wound itself. While on the outside I can function like a normal person… on the inside I find myself SO fearful of, SO doubtful of the most WONDERFUL and fail proof things and people in my life. And I know I’m doing it, and I know I shouldn’t… but how does one control those thoughts?? The more you push them out the more they push themselves in. And before where I might have spoken up, now each little conflict makes me want to lock myself up and cut off interaction with the world. Which of course I don’t do because I have to behave like a mature adult… but if I didn’t …

I mean I’m guessing everyone who has to be an adult has to felt this way at least once. But especially for any of you who’ve been in a situation where life throws the most unexpected curveballs… be it deception, be it a terrible illness… when do the above mentioned feelings stop?? When do we get to feel and think normally again? What helps??

Small Happinesses

It’s this phrase that’s near and dear to my heart.

Before life got…. complicated… I think I took a lot of things for granted. Not purposely… but I think pretty much everyone takes day to day things for granted. And it’s not wrong persay… it just happens.

But after experiencing rock bottom… I think I personally started noticing small trivial things and they started meaning a lot more to me… More than all the big amazing things that I obviously am also (knowingly) thankful for.

Every “I love you” and “I miss you” from family and friends … every small gesture that is literally so trivial and unnecessary but performed anyway because it would make my life better in ways I wouldn’t have noticed till it happened… like pushing the toothpaste to the top of an 80% finished tube… or being patient with my OCD as I check if I locked the door exactly 7 times or as I lock the car with exactly 6 beeps.

Tonight’s small happiness was a phone call made by someone currently on the east coast. 23:30 my time, meaning it was 2:30 there… I got a completely unexpected call just so that that person could say “I miss you!” before they went to bed. It wasn’t necessary and my life certainly wouldn’t have been worse off without the call… I wouldn’t have known what I was missing had the call not came. But because it did… it brought a smile and a few tears.

Small happinesses is where it’s at. Those unnecessary efforts taken anyway that touch the heart ❤️

Life plans…

375163E5-5B73-4840-AC8D-4E7D3751E091.jpegTonight, at nearly 9pm on a random Thursday night, I find myself sitting alone in my car in a parking lot watching places around me start to close for the night.

I just took myself out on a dinner date. I do that often these days… dinner dates, ice cream dates… and for the most part I’m happy. Actually no… I’m completely happy. I do me. I do what makes me happy… and I keep myself busy.

But I still know the journey… the road I took to get here… and truthfully never in a million years did I imagine this would be how my life would play out. At 18 I had a definite plan. And there was really no reason for life to stray from the path I had planned for myself. All around me there was so much normalness… I never expected my life to be the outlier.

In some sense, as I sit here alone… as the blanket of darkness settles on to us… I have a lot of feelings inside of me. I realize first and foremost… that I am alone. I still feel some sadness, but I feel a lot more relief. I feel wisdom. I feel a little bit confused, I feel some panic and uncertainty.

They say, “want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans”

Truthfully today, a decade later, at 28 I have no plan. I have no idea what to do next. And somehow that’s exacrly when everything is starting to make sense… to be right.

Life is so beyond confusing… with age came the realization that making a plan is a fools job… life is all about the unexpected…

The true anti-mental stress/burn out therapy

Warm bear hugs. Really.

It’s funny cause as we grow up we have to be more and more mature. Any slight deviation from mature behavior and suddenly it’s judgement central.

But I’m going to be honest for all of us. There are days where you’re so mentally strained, exhausted – sometimes due to work, sometimes due to your children or family – whatever may be the cause, that you too want to just sit down and cry for absolutely no reason other than it just feels good. Sometimes we all are so overworked and at the edge that we want someone to hold us, to rock us like our moms used to when we were babies as we weep into their shoulder.

Is something wrong? Nope. Life is good. But that doesn’t mean we don’t all reach that spot from time to time where we just need a mommy like really warm motherly hug. Especially when you’re living alone hundreds of miles away from family… trust me… it can definitely be exhausting to never have someone to lean on 😰

…and yet we lock all that inside and proceed through life with a feigned smile on our faces… now that’s hard work!

So if you’re lucky enough to live with mom, dad, siblings, friends, or significant others… love each other, hug each other for no reason often… definitely think it will subconsciously lower life stress levels… don’t you?