About shivam04

Unexplained phenomenon

A fluid mind

Lust for travel beckons. Urge to pack my bags, look up the cafes next to where we are staying. Look up the local markets and their hours. Tokyo comes to mind. London too. What about Copenhagen?

But first, India. Need to mend a broken promise. Desire to walk those dusty streets is too compelling.

Mom’s birthday today. 74th she said. May she live a long and happy and healthy life. May we enjoy many more memories together.

Short notes they seem. These are words from a fluid mind. Unrelenting cold at work.

Little things

Little things is back on Netflix. That show touches my heart strings. I am in Dhruv, I have lived Kavya’s childhood. I am a sum total of all that show touches upon. A sum total of the little things that make my past and future and present.

We have reasons to celebrate. Lots of happy promo outcomes in my current and ex team. My kids as I call them are all through with flying colors. So proud of them. And so happy for my peers who also achieved positive outcomes.

So we baked a delicious banana bread.

Bougie comes back

Hope looks like this

A whole year and a half of watering my Bougie and finally this morning it responded to my unconditional love for it. Blossom my friend, you make the world beautiful.

Note there is only flower on the entire bush, and with winder around the corner there is not a chance we will see another one.

But this is what hope feels like for reals. I am hopeful!

Nostalgia

वो चाई में कसे अदरक की मीठी सी जलन

और नीले आसमान में घने बादलों का गरजना

जाने कब दिल्ली की बारिश मिलेगी

जाने कब इस दिल की उदासी मिटेगी


अब तो बस आदत पढ़ गयी है यहाँ अकेले बैठे माँ के खाने को तरसना

Good old days!

Religion to me is an act of respecting a memory. A memory of my past. A happy memory to that. One that I want to recreate, and re-live, for myself and my family.

To that end, for us most religious festivals are celebrated on the weekends. It was Chaturthi a few days ago. But we are celebrating Gumpati bday tomorrow. We will make modaks, and offer some prayers and flowers to the vighan harta- Ganpati.

I know that the higher being that we all look up to, one who takes several forms, will not be offended by my delay in offering him our love. He has always accepted us with an open heart, and a warm embrace. And he will continue to do that.

Ganesh Chaturthi memories date all the way back to my college days. The vibrance of those days is etched in my memory. The joy and celebrations on the streets of Wardha. It was like Diwali in September. Good old days!

Me

So how many people walk into a farmers market humming to the beat of a song on their mind, thinking about their Dad who would’ve been pretty proud of the sequence of things that happened today…. And as you take a turn the live musician starts singing – “I wasn’t there the morning my father died, and I was not there to say the final good byes. But I know in spirit he is still watching me…” and you are not able to hear the rest because you have broken down behind that mask of yours and you rush out of the market, with teary eyes, heavy heart and a firm belief that your father was there with you at the market today.

🙋‍♀️ Me!

Sip chai

Sitting in my backyard, taking a break from a work day. Listening to screams and shrills from a school next to our house. Watching the birds and hearing them too. A maddening cacophony called life.

When you sit silent, and watch it all unfold from a third person lens, you enjoy the madness even more than you do as you live it. The rustling of tree leaves, the sounds of fall, the breeze of a summer ready to say goodbye, and sprinkles of sunshine under my maple tree.

To reflect is to breathe. To soak in with all your senses, is to be alive. To sway to the music you hear in your ears, when no one else around you hears it the same way reminds you of your individuality.

The world will tell you to dissolve it all. It will ask you to blend in. It will ask you to move fast in a rat race. It will throw temptations and tantrums at you. But you know what you want, and no one can take that knowledge away from you.

Listen to yourself. Reflect on your actions. Believe in the power of your mind. Trust your insights and spread love. Just that is enough!

A quiet moment in my backyard gave me the opportunity to think of all of the above and go back into a life I choose with a fresh and renewed perspective.

Take a break! Sip chai

Dil ki nazar se….

Mood is a bit somber today. So after dinner and back to school night we played some indoor games while the mommy played the jukebox.

I listened to this song after decades and fell in love with it, after so many years.

Something so simple, subtle, and beautiful about the lyrics, the tune and the style of singing.

Something about these songs transports me back to the times when these played on the stereo (that still exists and is in working condition) , and when we went about our days chores listening to them in the background. I can be anywhere in the world, and these songs in my ears send me off to my little town of Saharanpur.

Music has that strength. I wonder what songs will transport Tara back to home when she is older? Or will she have the same relationship with music that I have. Hmm.. I’d be so sad if she doesn’t.

Now if I don’t stop listening to this song I will go down a rabbit hole of nostalgia that will be tough to recoup from. I need to write perf today 😦 Ugh 😣 Ruined the mood. How do you go from these poetic verses to Perf?!

Kyo bekhabar yun khichi
Si chali jaa rahi mai
Ye kaunase bandhano
Me badhi jaa rahi mai

Ham kho chale chaand
Hai ya koi jaadugar hai
Yaa madabhari ye tumhaari
Nazar kaa asar hai

Akash me ho rahe
Hai ye kaise ishaare
Kya dekhakar aaj hai
Itane khush chaandtaare

Cheers 🥂 to music!

Jeena isi ka naam hai!

Sometimes I feel like Agam and I needed a kid to live our childhood desires. Like legos for him and shenanigans like cupcake after school and bubble tea after school for me.

I never received any pocket money. So we never had money to spend on after school gimmicks like the vendors outside the school gate or for that matter the famous Pepsi counter in the school. Canteen was also not for people like us.

I love to take Tara out after school. On Friday we like to go for cupcakes, Thursday we go the Farmers market and enjoy lemonade there. And randomly in the week we pick a day for a bubble tea. Like today.

We were listening to old Hindi songs in the car. And I stared singing this. So Tara wanted to know the meaning. And I helped with that. And then I was reminded of the few times my dad would drop us to school and we’d listen to the same songs in the car . He absolutely lived up to the life described in this song. I hope I do too.

My all time favorite lyrics are –
के मर के भी किसी को याद आयेंगे
किसी के आँसुओं में मुस्कुरायेंगे
कहेगा फूल हर कली से बार बार
जीना इसी का नाम है

When I was 22

I went to China for work. I wrote this note in 2014. And I still love this Ted talk.

Does democracy stifle economic growth?

Amongst the many sleepless nights that I spent in the suburban town of Hang Zhou from Spring to Winter of 2006, I can easily recall one. The remnants of this night have stayed with me till date and no matter how much I tried I had not been able to let go of it. But that was until I watched the Ted Talk by Yasheng Huang last night.

When I landed in Hang Zhou there was some screw up on the planning front and the cab that was scheduled to pick me up from the airport did not make it in time. (Or my flight was delayed and the cabbie left since he did not know the flight number to check on. Either ways I was stranded on a foreign soil for thirty minutes).

As I exited the airport, a very India like feeling descended upon me. It was as crowded, as humid and as dirty in some respects. There was just one additional problem. I did not speak the local language. And I did not have a cell phone to call anyone in case of an emergency. I had a lot of numbers I could call, but for that I needed to find a phone booth and decipher the instructions. This is China just before the Olympics and the signage at Beijing airport, which was my port of entry, was dismal.

As these fears clouded my mind, I knew that I had to give humanity a chance and take my risks. I wasn’t going to spend the night at the airport, and neither was I going to call my Chinese colleagues in the middle of the night to pick me up. I was twenty-two and had strong notions of self reliance embedded in me.

I looked up the hotel address and with the print-out in one hand and my wallet in the other, my eyes looked for a reliable cabbie. I was looking for someone a little bit older, may be with glasses and someone who could speak at least a little bit of English. My query criterion was dubious to begin with. But hey what the heck.. I already told you I was twenty-two at the time.

I scanned my surroundings and a lot of cabbies approached me but I kept nodding my head indicating a negative response. I figured all Asians can decipher nods. Just then, a rather oldie cabbie pulled up on the curb and an American passenger got out of his cab. That was a sign for me. Something told me I could trust this cabbie and I did. There were some more subtle signs too, like the glass wall between the cabbie and the passenger, the good condition of the car itself, the previous passenger had used a credit card to pay the cabbie and the cabbie had a cell phone.

I approached the cabbie after his previous transaction was complete and I showed him the print out. He knew the hotel and we were ready to transact. He did not open the trunk for me as they do in the US. When I asked him to do so he clicked it open from his seat. I picked up my luggage and put it in the trunk. Regardless, I had found a way to reach my destination and that is all that mattered to me at that point.

We speeded through the empty streets and reached the hotel. I was impressed with roads and the clean air. It was quite late in the night and HZ pollution was nowhere as bad as other bigger cities in China. I did not tip the cabbie but I did thank him and he shook his head in appreciation. (Nods work!) We did not exchange any words throughout the twenty minute journey.

The bell boys at the hotel picked up my luggage from the trunk and escorted me into the hotel. I had survived!

As I unpacked and prepared to hit the sack, I walked over to the side of the room where large curtains were drawn. I was not sure what was behind the curtains. I was curious. And so I walked over and opened them. The sight was no different from when an airplane descends over Mumbai airport, the slums of Dharavi come into focus and you fly over the dim dim lights scattered over a vast expanse of illegal housing alternatives. Although at first glance the scene was remarkably similar, on closer observation I found there was a pattern to the lights and the houses were made of cement, organized in a grid.

That night when I drew the curtains in the room and then the sheets over me, I asked myself a simple question — “Could I have taken a cab from the Delhi airport to my own home in India with the same level of confidence as I did at the HZ airport?” And although my heart kept saying — “Yes, of course.” My mind struggled to be convinced and this started an eight year long war in my mind about why was China where it was that day in 2006 and why was India not there yet?

Agam knows how much this question has haunted me for the last eight years. I bring it up in every forum where I think there is some opportunity for resolve. But finally, I found the answer in this Ted talk, thanks to his uber surfing skills.

I have applauded China for their disciplined regime and I have blamed the Indian democracy and it’s self fulfilling political agendas for many years now. This talk helped me answer some questions.

Enjoy!

Haiku #39

On Sunday morning I woke up early and headed out at 9 to hit the farmers market early. A good haul and then a trip to 1 oz for my Gibraltar. I finally got some me time. It’s weird. I feel like both Agam and Tara are going out and spending time with their cohorts. And here I am stuck at home. Either working or doing chores.

I spend most of my time with the same set of people day in and day out. And I am not taking the time out to do all the things I like doing.

All is not gloom and doom. Its just that don’t see this ending anytime soon. And I am getting concerned about it. And myself.

The soundtrack of Modern Love peps me up. Short lived high. Here comes the real high – a hug from Tara! Silly girl got an owie today and gave us a pink eye scare. She warms my heart like nothing can. Today we both rocked in our hammock together for a while after work. I wanted to tell her how I miss my old life. But then my old life did not have room for a hammock time with my Tara. So confusing!

Wrapped up my night calls and looked out the window. There it was – driving me nuts – looney moon and it’s glow!

The moon shines calmly /
reminding me of days I /
soaked in your warm glance

A long lost tribute to 148 Granada

अपनी छोटी सी दुनिया को चंद दब्बों में समेटने की जुर्रत्त की है
मंज़िलें जो भी हो, बुलंदी की दात तो बनती है
फ़ासला दूर नहीं, चार क़दम का ही है बस
लेकिन crockery को bubblewrap करने की ज़रूरत तो बनती है.

घर की हर चीज़ आवाज़ देती है
हमें ना भूलना. हमने साथ निभाया है तुम्हारा
ले चलो हमें भी..हम भी तुम्हारी नयी दुनिया सजाएँगे
वैसे भी, नई ख़रीदने के तुम्हारे पास अब पैसे कहाँ से आएँगे?

छोटा सा था लेकिन बड़ा ही प्यारा था ये घर
हर कमरे से कितनी यादें जुड़ी हैं जैसे
कभी नानी की लोरी और कभी दादू का नारा
और जैसे ही एक लम्बी आस भरो तो दौड़ के ऊधम मचाने आजाती हैं नन्ही सी तारा.

दीवारें वीरान हैं. अलमारियाँ ख़ाली हो गयी
देखते ही देखते यह गलियाँ बेगानी हो गयी
ख़ूब सारी यादें और भरपूर प्यार लिए
अपनी छोटी सी दुनिया को समेट, हम कहीं और चले

एक हाथ में wine और दूसरे मे iPhone लिए
अपनी छोटी सी दुनिया को समेट, हम कहीं और चले!

We moved to this house 5 years ago, and bid adieu to our first ever house 148 Granada. A house where all foundations were built, Tara was born. Found this in the memorabilia 😄