Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ha ha hahaha :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

On my mind right now...

Are lots of different thoughts.....

I wonder "who" I am!

I live in the US. I like my life here. I do not miss India at all. Not even my family, not that much (that is yet another thought I will have to talk about...)

Yet, when it comes to news and issues and what not, I am more up to date about India than the US. I realized this during last week's Toastmasters meeting. There was no set agenda, so everyone was throwing in topics for people to talk about. A lot of them were about news making the rounds here (Letterman, some journalists, etc) and I had not heard of any of those bits of news! What's more, I was not even wondering why I didn't know any of that. Deep down it felt as if it did not relate to me at any level! So does this mean I don't really "belong" anywhere? Not here, not there?

I grew up in a small town called Ahmednagar, lived there for 14 years, and then we moved to Pune. I did not miss my home in Ahmednagar. Ever. I do not miss Pune. And I live here now, and this too doesn't feel like "home". "So then where do I belong? Do I HAVE to belong somewhere? I guess not. I like it like this.

Its just a thought, not something bothering me, so please, don't tell me "don't worry, its ok". Because I am not worrying, and I know its ok :)

[Comments saying "don't worry" will not be posted]

The other thought......
I was talking to someone the other day and they said, wow, 12 years in the US! Don't you miss India? I thought about it and said, nope, not one bit. Sometimes I want to see my Dad, but that's about it. Nothing else. Then I started wondering...have I EVER missed any place or person? Fact is: nope! Then I started wondering...hmmm...why would that be!

I realized that I never had any close friends. Ever. I had friends, but no one so close that I would miss them. I realized that I never did anything outside of the house, from people other than family (why? that's yet another thought :) So no place I miss hanging out at, no people I miss hanging out with. I realized that I was never very close to my sisters or my parents either. No one I would really talk to, you know? No one. Ever. I realized I was a loner! I never thought I was one. Because in spite of all this, I have also never been alone! Ever. So its weird, I cannot stand crowds, I cannot stand empty spaces. I need just the right mix.

I suppose this is good and bad. I can live happily wherever I go, with whoever it is that is around. I can readily talk to people, its not that I am completely aloof (I mean, come on, you are my friend, right?) Yet, I cannot truly create lasting relationships and friendships, no real bond. I will be a good friend, I will not disappoint, but yet, I will not miss anyone that's not around. You know what I mean? I wonder if most people are like this, or most people have at least one or two people they can absolutely not do without!?

Its just a thought, not something bothering me, so please, don't tell me "don't worry, its ok". Because I am not worrying, and I know its ok :)

[Comments saying "don't worry" will not be posted]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Life is good :)

Nothing special to say, except that I had a great day!

Work was quite productive, had good food for lunch (I made it, so HAS to be good, hehe), came home and spent two hours toiling in the yard, ended the hard work with half an hour in the new spa. All stress melted away :) I feel good as new!

Still have my crunches to do, and cooking to do, and cleaning to do, but right now...

am luvin' it :)

Life is goooooood!

PS: Life would be awesome if I have enough time to finally apply a new coat of nail polish :D

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Do What You Can!

Whew! So I finally presented my speech today! I was really nervous, but apparently no one noticed the tremor in my voice :) They all felt this was coming straight from the heart and loved it. A few people even came up to me to say they were quite inspired to do something!

Am feeling great :)

Here's the speech then...(WARNING: Its rather long!)

Today I am going to speak about a topic very close to my heart. I have written about it quite often on my blog, forwarded relevant links and emails to friends, but have never directly tried to share my thoughts with a group pf people way I am going to do today.
I want to persuade all of you to open up your hearts to the underprivileged people in the world.

To be honest, I had almost given up on this idea. Regardless of how I feel about it, how much I believe in it myself, I found it hard to convince others. Asking someone to give away their hard-earned money, or to spend time volunteering while they could very well be snorkeling in Hawaii, is hard. Then, a couple weeks ago, I came across an article about a 12-year old boy. This boy has raised more than $5 million and donated it all to help underprivileged children! Yes! He is 12 years old, and has raised $5 million for charity!!! He was 4 years old when he heard his parents talk about earthquake victims. They were talking about how a lot of money needs to be raised to help these people get back on their feet. He was eating an orange at the time, and he asked his parents if it was possible to raise money selling oranges? They were all for it, and he raised $350 in that first stint. He has not looked back since!

He started off by selling oranges, then sold hand-made crafts in the mall, at the train station in freezing winters, volunteered wherever he could, even went to Tanzania to volunteer, made speeches, and has also written a book! What this child has done is quite exceptional, not some thing everyone can do. Yet, his message is very simple. Do what you can! That is all. Do whatever you can! He says making a difference in someone’s life brings so much more joy than the latest gadget can ever bring.

He makes sense. I know it from experience. I have been sponsoring child education in India since the day I got my first paycheck. I have two kids right now, both growing up in very adverse conditions. One of them is studying for the same engineering degree that I have. The same degree that brought me here. I am proud that her grades are so much better than mine ever were! If I compare the joy of her some day leading a much better life than what she has today, to, lets say, my car, she wins hands down. If I compare the cost of educating her versus the cost of maintaining my car, she wins hands down again! I pay more for gas per month than I do for 6 months of her tuition.

There are many areas where we can help. There are many ways in which we can help! In fact, with so many choices, it is easy to get overwhelmed, confused and finally to give up on the idea!

So I am going to put forth some simple ways in which we can make a difference. The first one is to go to websites like All you need to do there is click! Yes, it is as simple as that. For each hit that the website gets, sponsors donate to fight hunger. Just one click is all you need to do. You can even sign up for a daily reminder via email to go click. They have made it so easy; there is no excuse to not do it ?

Another website I love is This one can actually help you find a word of the day for toastmaster meetings ? Play the word games, enhance your vocabulary, and for every word that you get right, donate some rice!

You can take it further a little bit by donating to charities. There are many prominent organizations doing excellent work in various fields like health care, education, women’s rights, animal rights, etc. There are some valid concerns that how do I know where my money is going? How do I know they are really doing the work they claim to be doing? The good news is that there are websites that help you research these organizations. The one I like to refer to They help you find organizations in a specific field, they rate organizations, they list the most popular ones, they list ones that are in the red for a long time. They have tips and guides for donors, questions to ask before donating, pointers on how to spot a scam. There is a lot of information out there. I would encourage you to explore the website. I am confident that even if you don’t have a specific cause in mind, you will find something you would like to support just by browsing through the information!

Now, there are people who say they don’t believe in giving away anything for free. There is a solution for them too! Microloans! Organizations like connect struggling entrepreneurs in third world countries with lenders who can lend small amounts like, say $25. This small amount goes a long way in changing the standard of living of these people, and some times even changing the economy of a small region. You may have a concern that these are inexperienced people, how would their business ever succeed, and I doubt I will ever get my money back. They succeed because their life depends upon it! For most people, it is a last chance to escape poverty, illness and illiteracy. They put in more efforts than the mucky-mucks in big companies to make it work! The average repayment rate is more than 98%. So most of the time, you get your money back. Even if you don’t, its just $25! Kiva does not pay any interest on these loans, but there are other organizations that do give out interest as well. If you go with one of those, then you save a family, and make money as well!

There are other options that are more time-consuming and take more effort such as volunteering, working full time at one of these organizations, or setting up subventions such as scholarships!

Bottom line is, there are millions of people out there who need help, gazillions of ways to offer it, and zero reasons to not do it! You can get a child off the streets, from a potential life of crime and put him in a school for less than the amount you spend on your daily shot of caffeine! You can help restore someone’s eyesight for less than the price of a t-shirt! You can make a big difference with very little effort!

Go click on a button, run a marathon, host a fundraiser. Do whatever you like, but, please, do something! More than anyone else, do it for yourself, it is good for your own soul!

This makes me want to laugh, and also makes me angry!

Just came across this piece of news that says an American passenger managed to get past the security systems at New Delhi Airport – and almost through Chennai on Thursday – before being caught with a gun and 35 rounds of ammunition in his baggage.

What makes me laugh is this:
He says he did not know the Indian laws about carrying fire arms on flights.
Hello? Are you dumb? Or do you think the people you are trying to sell this story to are dumb? This is almost like saying, I didn't know it was illegal to kill someone in India!

What makes me angry is this:
He got past the security systems at New Delhi Airport, and almost through Chennai. After the regular, almost monthly attacks all over the country, he could get past the security!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back by popular demand :)

Mia was missing me, so here to give an account of some little tid-bits from my life :)

Inneresting weekend. Wish I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow!
So what did I do...lets! Its been so packed I can't even remember what I did yesterday!!!!


-- We have new fences around our house. Lookin; good :)
-- We planted a whole bunch of different things by the spa. Lookin' good :)
-- We bought MORE plants! Will look good :)
-- While planting, I saw a fly chase and eat up a spider! Quite a fight the little guy put up! Lookin' ... never mind :)
-- We bought 150 pounds of salt. Go figure why :) Ha ha :)
-- I finally did some work for Project Why and am feelin' good :)
-- Dad's coming on the 4th of July, feelin' good :)
-- We have some 8-10 lilies blooming all at once, lookin' beeeyutiphool.
-- And the best one...I FINALLY inaugurated the spa! Half an hour in there, and feelin' great!!!