Archive for the Category ◊ Personal ◊

• Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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• Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Let me share an interesting story which I came across from email forward by my cousin.

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agree that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on
opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land and he was able to eat it’s fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren!

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, there was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, again there was nothing!

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing!

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”
“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all un answered and so he does not deserve anything.”

“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”

“Tell me, O God,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”

“He prayed that all your prayers be answered.”

For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us.

This is too good not to share…

My prayer for you today is that all your prayers are answered. Be blessed.

“What you do for others is more important than what you do for yourself”

— End —

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• Friday, July 22nd, 2011

At a big ceremony organized by Houston Immigration dept and presided by Federal Judge,  I officially become US Citizen by taking oath along with 1400+ immigrants on Jul 20,2011. From just being an Alien, I sworn in as Citizen of America in just few minutes. From saying “Jai Hind“, I was asked to sing  “Proud to be an American” song . It was an unforgettable and emotional moment with mixed feelings ran in my mind. I was excited but at the same time bit mentally troubled when I thought about cutting the cords with my mother land India.

Hail from a small town called Kundrathur located near Chennai, India and born as the eldest son of a middle class couple, it has been a long way to get here and becoming a citizen of one of the biggest country in the world. It is a remarkable milestone to achieve when many millions of people wanting to come to this land of opportunity.  My wife said, it is a great accomplishment from where I am from and being a first generation degree holder to first generation Indian American in my whole family. She said, I should be proud of it.  I totally agree with her and proud of it. But I am unable to accept the fact that I need to delink myself from India, stop saying Indian and start being a American. It is not an easy change and difficult to transition immediately and anybody who loved their homeland and settling down in different country would agree with me on it.

I am a person who likes to remember the path travelled and believe that will help to keep myself balanced and drive me to do the right thing in future journey. India gave me everything from Life to live, Family to depend, Education to nurture, Religion to follow, Culture, Traditions, History to celebrate, Degree to start life, food to devour, Cricket to enjoy and so much more for almost 24 years. It molded me from being a child to an adult for the first leg of my life.

You might wonder why I become citizen of America if I am love my country so much! There is always a reason behind a decision. “Things sometimes happen for reason and God only knows it”. I am a big believer of that statement and like to follow that and my instincts most of the time.  Many indians think that people who go to US, stays in US because they like to earn more money and live the luxury life. That’s not true anymore. That is the thing of the past, nowadays people live in India experience the same luxury and has similar earning power. For example, Indian software professional earns more than American counterpart and has everything from house, car and fun stuffs. There is not a lot of difference compared to the life style but there are other strong reasons which makes their case to stay behind.

When I came to US in 1998 for short visit, I never thought I would come back again. I came back again in Feb 19th, 1999 and made USA my home since then for almost 12 years now. This country has gave me so much by transforming me from a young adult to a grownup Business man. It allowed me to venture out and find the real me, opened doors to adventure lot of things from learning to Swim, Ice skating, Skiing, accomplish higher things like running a Marathon (I could never imagine doing it in India)by challenging myself, experience the fun of ballroom dancing, starting my own business, passing CFP exam, practising as Realtor and more to come. It has been a long journey to reach this milestone which I never thought I would but I am happy to be here.

Being born from India, I was attracted to America especially because of the way of life, which is easy going. I was literaly buttered by the American mind set. It is not about spending more than you earn mentality. It is all about Freedom to do what you want and when you want it. Nobody is going to stop and nobody really bothers you whether you dress like joker or real men. Everyone live their own life to fullest without worrying about others and try to be happy. They are trust worthy people and don’t really pull down anybody leg do to go up in the career ladder. 

Individual privacy is very much respected. Another aspect, everything is easy and really process oriented.  That makes your daily life easier. Even paying high taxes doesn’t bother us because you get the facilities of good school and healthy school system without partiality. Finally, one doesn’t have to worry about corruption/bribing someone to get things done. It doesn’t affect us, ordinary person life in anyway. That’s the important thing. I sometimes feel guilty for get away from the trouble back in India and neglecting the mother land to settle in US. But that’s not true. I can speak for myself and every NRI around the world, being far away make us feel more closer than ever to our country and every one does something or other possible to help and develop the land which helped them grow.

Becoming a Naturalized Citizen of America might be a big deal but it doesn’t change a thing in my daily life. Being said that, it does comes with lot of perks which helps to shape our future. For example,  Social security benefits for family, allow us to create Living Trust to secure the asset, voting rights, free entry to many foreign nations and few more. Sometimes good stuff has side effects as well. It is going to be hard to get used things like getting a visa/entry pass to visit India, losing the privilege to vote in India and restricted access to purchase any land in India and few more. These process changes can be handled but emotional aspect while visiting India is going to be tough one and I hope time well help me to get over it. We also hope to go back to my mother land some day when I achieve and get to my goals and ready to retire but you never know time will only show us the path.

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• Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I usually get a daily dose of inspirational and motivational thought from “The Secret” author as The secret scroll in my inbox. Today I got something which was good and thought provoking. It is about “Change” in life.

We grib about changes in life and wonder why its happening to us. We never was an happy receipent of change because we don’t like it for many reasons. We either have to change ourselves to adjust to the change which we usually don’t want to do it. So we don’t invite change with open heart but if you understand that change is part and parcel of life and it has to happen in order for our survival. I am sure you will accept it open hands.

Here is the snapshot of the scroll,

When things change in our life, often we have resistance to the change. But if you understand the structure of the Universe, life, and creation, then you will understand that life is change, and nothing ever stands still. Everything is energy, and energy is in continual motion and change. If energy stood still you would be gone, and there would be no life.

Change is always happening for the good of you and for everyone. It is the evolution of life.

I hope you learnt something in this post about change which helps you to adapt for any change in life with some openness…

Let’s welcome change for good life…

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• Monday, March 14th, 2011

Continuing on the same topic about Goal setting, I recently came across few articles which landed in my inbox from some reputed newsletter sources. These articles again stresses the same basic idea about how to achieve something in your life by just going against them with dedication, persevarance and passion.

Article 1: Desire, Dedication & Persevarance
I subscribe to Rich Dad, Poor Dad education newsletter from their institute blog and they send some good topics every month covering Realestate, Stocks and common sense. This month I recieved one that focused on achieving the dreams by putting the desire with little bit of dedication and persevarance.

I liked the way the author quoted in one place about the people who lack the desire to achieve anything. He said, “A lack of desire for wealth, knowledge, notoriety, peace, or talent is foreign to the human condition. In fact, desire is so innately part of the human experience that we should have pity on those that have little to no desire for anything as they are scarcely human.”

Click here to read the full article

Article 2: Power of Thought

This one surprisingly came from a source that never talks about these kind of topics. They just want to try differently this time. There was video titled, “Thoughts Become Things!’ by Mike Dooley which was very inspiring and touches all the basic aspects of how to achieve something you dream.

I read a lot about visualization in the book “The secret” and this video touches the same idea and reaffirms the fact that you can reach your goals which you set sight on but you need to work hard, stay focus by visualizing your finish line.

Taking the message from the video, article author dwells in deeper by asking basic questions like, “What do you want? A certain lifestyle, a specific amount of money in your bank account … a Ferrari 458 Italia? These should never seem like unrealistic goals because people before you have achieved them.

What are your goals? What is the end result going to be? You have to ask this question, because if you do not, how are you to know what to do to achieve it and how are you ever to know that you have achieved it? If you do not know where you are going when you start out, how can you ever hope to get there.”

I would recommend to check out the full article to get the grip how vizualization can change things. Click here to read the full article.

Finally, don’t just read articles and forget about it. Try to put into practice and you will surely see the difference. Once you start practising, it gets inbuilt in your system and comes automatic. Try it out and let me know!!

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• Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Happy Newyear to everyone!!
May this year brings all happiness by achieving your goals both financially and personally. Please don’t prograsinate on important things in your life atleast starting this year.

Example, don’t just keep postponing on taking an insurance, writing a WILL, visiting your parents and similar things. These are must to do things depending on everyone’s situation which will surely help your loved ones if something happens to you. It won’t take that much time to do these things. But it will surely make things worse for your loved ones if you don’t have them.

Just small amount of time spent on right things will surely save time and money in the future for your loved ones You know what’s important for you and for your family. Just take a 10 minute break from your busy schedule and jot them down on diary or journal and make plans to do them depending on their priority.

Take action and make it happen atleast one or two things important so you can say at the end of this year, you have completed something good for you or for your family. To make this year good or bad it’s on your hands and this month would be month to start planning for it.

Have a happy and joyous new year…

Read more about goal setting at

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• Thursday, December 16th, 2010

These days we all work very hard because of peer pressure and work load due to layoffs and many other reasons. Because of that, many of us don’t really pay attention to what we eat. We just grab things on the go to satisfy our hunger and think about the future trouble it can cause us.  Obesity has grown to be a problem all over world in this new Internet era.  Internet and technology plays a big role in the growth spur of obesity.

Many health advocates advise people to atleast try to watch you eat and don’t just dump anything like your stomach as a trash can. Whether it’s regular meal or snacking in between meals, you better look out for food which has less fat and reasonble calories so you won’t over consume it. Snacking is a big problem in our daily life.  We eat anything and everything we can get hold off when we are hungry after work or at work. That’s really not a good thing.  I came across a very good video sent by Aetna(insurance carrier) which talks about healthy and Smart snacking.

Check out this video and try to eat right especially smart. One thing I am already doing to avoid snacking fatty stuff when I am hungry is to stack up my drawers and cabinets with healthy snacks. So when you are searching something to eat, you will only find healthy snacks. At costco or any other grocery stores like Walmart, Kroger you should able to find below items and you can try it out too.

Stacy Pita Chips 

Sunmaid dried Raisins 

Kashi Whole Grain Crackers

If you any similar tips and ideas smart snacking, just post your comments for others. Don’t just eat, eat smart.

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• Tuesday, March 25th, 2008
Parenting is an art involving tough act every moment.

I am sure many of you(parents) will agree to me 100%. Many of you know my Junior, Master Ashwin from previous blogs (Trick or Treat,PEEK-A-BOO:My Son, Me and Fun things…) He is closing in on his 2 year mark(3 more months). He is a busy Toddler and experimenting various tanturms upon us from his valise everyday. He is been handful especially to my wife. From the time he wakes up till he sleeps at night(except small nap in the afternoon), he is a busy bee keeping us in our toes all the time.

It made me to wonder how come our past generations (grandpa & grandma’s) manage to give birth to 7-8 kids and that too in a row and able to handle them. Just take my parents, I have 4 uncles & 2 aunts in my father side and 5 aunt & 3 uncle in mother side. Thats reasonably good example for a biggie size family.
That to most of uncle and aunts are pretty well settlement in their life. Thats a big accompliment by their parents.

It’s amazing and I salute my grandpa’s and grandma’s anytime. I know there are lot of reasons it could have been possible those days but still as a parent its a tough tackle both mentally and financially. Take the current similar example in America. Americans are either this extreme or the other extreme. Some couples don’t even kids till they die but some have 3-4 kids(one parent not talking about 2 parent). They just never bother to care about number of kids. Once its start, its just kept on coming. It doesn’t matter whether they are wealthy enough or not. Somehow they manage to make it work.

Being a parent for just one kid itself is like too much to ask. I know some might come with an argument that kids these days are pretty smarter then old generation(including our generation) in all aspects which obviously makes things worse. I would have to agree to that.
I guess its the gene.

As a parent (at works), we are learning everyday. Everyday something new pops up. I learnt that being a parent is a balance between being good, bad and ugly sometimes. You can’t always be good because they tend to take you for granted after sometime and try to test our testrones going beyond their limits.

With my son, we are seeing a big change for the past 6-8 months? He started walking when we were just worrying about it. After that, he never stops for second and we are now thinking when will he stop running. He picks up things like Parrot and catch us off guard all the time repeating some words we accidently quote.
He just tried to prounce his first word "THAQU" 3 months ago when I told him "Thank you" for bringing me back a ball. That was so cute and he just caught on it. Now he can speak lot more words pretty clear and everytime it makes us sparkle a smile. Thats all really good and cute until he take us to our extremes.

He now wants try playing my drums, work in my laptop like me, walk like me and talk like me. He is just a COPY CAT. Check out the video which I took like a month ago. He is the first to claim stairs before me and stands first to play drums everytime I go to do my practice. I have to wait until he is done for my turn. Otherwise there will be big tug of war starts. How is that?!

There is no more freedom of talk for us. I always have to think twice before I do anything or say anything. I am learning tips every day from the magazine "PARENTS" I subscribed just for this purpose to educate myself. I learnt that this is the age brain starts to develop and grasp things which will last untill they die. It’s between 2-4, what they learn things stick with them has habit sticks for longtime to come. So I want to be very careful in implanting any bad things.Lets say for example "Fear factor". I don’t want to teach him the fear of darkness by scaring or booing him to death. Thats what happened to me when I was kid and I still couldn’t get over it.

Also at this time when the memory is developing, they have very shortterm memory. You need to keep repeating things which will finally get into their brain and stay. They just grow as a person who need to be repeated constantly which is sometimes irritating but we got to do it to get to their head.

Blogger Ranjini, one of my best blog friend is also my best advocate on this parenting topic.Whatever you learn from books and friends, praticals is always tough than theory right?! When he starts crying by throwing his tantrums for silly things that where he frustrates especially in the public place. I really don’t know what to do. I understood, its might seem silly for us but for them its the way of getting things they wanted and desire to have as they can’t talk to express their feelings. I tried to use the Mantra I learn by deviating his attention to something else. Some works but not always.

At times no Mantra will work other than the hand work if it goes beyong my limit. I can’t stop other than hitting him which I don’t want to make it has an habit. Thats bad for me and him. I feel bad what else is the option. My wife really don’t like me spanking but she also don’t know any other way at these situations.

I know there is always school of thoughts. one "Adi othavramathri annan thambi othavamathan" (Hitting helps better than siblings" and other one, "Pat the back and get the work done". You know the 2nd rule doesn’t work all the time.

Here is another video with his act just taken lastweek. Trying to help me when I was working on my front garden.

As first time parent, we are experiencing this parenthood in a really mixed feeling. I am sure having lot of fun with my son but at the same whenever I get pushed to an extent by testing the patience and streching our nerves, its really hard to control our anger. We are trying out different methods like Time out (famous in US) by asking him sit alone and try to stop crying. He picked that up pretty quick and starts to obey it.

We know this is a stage and it has to pass on until that time we have to struggle as a parent and at the same time enjoy cute things without worrying much about the Tantrums but keep abrust with our Mantras which might come handy.

I always welcome any constructive critisium on this topic and happy to take any new techniques(mantras).

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• Wednesday, November 07th, 2007

Note: Don’t panic to see my new webpage look. You are still in Sulekha, Don’t leave.  I am a Select Beta tester helping Sulekha by testing their new interface.

I heard lot of crazy stories about westeners especially Americans. They do crazy things to have fun of any kind. I only get to see and experience when I got here. Especially, its true during the Halloween time.  Halloween is celebrated on the last day of Oct.  If you google it, you will be able to find out different versions of its history and how Halloween came into practice.
I am going to stay away from the history part of it. 

Basically, Halloween, or Hallowe’en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Its the time of the year that spookiness gets out of hand and people are licensed get to act and show their scary behaviors. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, Halloween festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses", carving jack-o-lanterns, and viewing horror films.

At end of Fall season around october time, fun of Halloween starts. Many residents decorate their lawn and entry ways in a spooky way like pics below,

Kids who came to my home for Trick or Treat.
Isn’t the Pooh looks so cute ?! I just boo’ed them and treat them with lot of candies.

After the trick or treat, kids just thrilled to research on different types of candies they got during the trick or treat. My son is getting trained here by his mommy,

Check out my Halloween album for some more pictures. I enjoy these kinda fun activites. Its always fun. My wife is one step up ahead. She already shopped for the next year costume in Halloween after sale.

Did you have fun reading this blog?



Trick or Treat

This is been a traditional activity during the Halloween night(Oct 31st). Kids and even adults dress up in costumes of various horror characters like vampires, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Recently some costumes are also based on themes other than traditional horror, such as those of characters from movies and other pop culture icons. Many people just take it to extremes with their imagination and dress up so wild to look so realistic spooky characters. I even dressed up like scare crow character from the all time famous family movie Wizard of Oz.  

After the dress up, kids with adults supervision go in groups door to door inside their neighboorhood asking for Trick or Treat. They are suppose to go to the house only that has have patio lights switched on welcoming trick or treaters. OK! What does it mean Trick or Treat? If the House owner has a horror trick, they can show and BOO the kids. If not, they have to treat them with chunks of candies. otherwise, they can expect some horror stuff happen to them.

My little boy started his first Halloween lastyear when he was just 4 months dressed up as little elephant(dumbo) and now his 16 months and can walk too. So why miss the fun ?! 

Here he goes dressed up in Pumpkin costume ready for his Trick or Treat, cute huh!!

Walking with his mommy for his Trick or Treat


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• Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

My Son, my sweet little son who turned one last week brightens up my morning everyday with his cute little smile. A smile which shows all of his 4 teeth’s on top and 2 teeth’s on bottom like a squirrel which is so adorable. He is no more a baby, he is a growing boy. Here in US they say, he is not a infant anymore. He is a toddler now. 

Toddler meaning a person who toddles, esp. a young child learning to walk. We are yet to see him walk. But he crawls so fast, we couldn’t catch him at times. He didn’t want to walk. We figured out from his laziness to put this steps forward when we tried to make him walk.

This is the right time to start walking doctors say but every kid is different. So we are just going to wait and watch to catch that moment. We did buy him a walker, hoping it will help him to use his legs and eventually he will try to walk. He enjoys his new ride in the walker which helps him to reach the untouchables and takes him to places.

As soon as he gets up in the morning, he unleashes himself and get ready for a big search like an archaeologist. He starts wandering all around the house from hall to kitchen to bedroom, making tireless trips back and forth to find every little things he can see thru his eyes and tries to pull him out and do a research on them like a scientist.

He has hordes of toys to play with but seldom touches it anymore. His interest are now diverted to search the house like a CBI to find something new every time, to poke around and play with it. He is such a Rat!!

Especially, when my wife is working at kitchen he just want to work with her like a another chef. He wants to know what she is doing. He also opens up all the cabinets and throws out the utensils from inside and tries to make his orchestra party playing and banging the spoons on the vessels. I spent my whole weekend putting up locks for the cabinets. He can no longer open it now, but he just waits for the nick of moment to get in as soon we open it to get something. He is that fast.
If he finds us going to the bedroom, he immediately follows like a security guard, opens up the dress chests and throws all clothes out. He then opens up drawer which he can reach and take out one thing at time to discover them slowly. He will try to open bottle lid if it has a lid with his strong teeth’s. 

If his eye notices anything under the bed, he immediately crawls inside squatting slowly entering at one end and coming out at the other. We didn’t even know that there was enough space under the bed to crawl. He does it with so much care without getting hurt on his head and gets out with the item like a soldier.

His most favorite things were electronic items especially he is crazy about my Laptop. He takes the cordless phone, TV remotes, calculator and tries to hit the buttons and also bang them real hard in the floor. They are still surviving so far including my laptop. As soon he find me opening my laptop, he just drops everything to get close to it. He slowly peeks his hand to get the feel of the keyboard and bangs on it. He tries out to see and looks at the monitor to see anything come up. I have to beg almost every time to take away the laptop from him to get some work done.
To stop all the mess, we put him on the Sofa or bed hoping he won’t be able to get down yet. He cries for a bit and then we won’t hear a sound. When we check him out after a few, we see him trying to get down carefully to start his act again. He knows to get down with ease from sofa and bed now.
He picks up every small thing on the floor like paper or thread and try to put them in his mouth. He does it without any sound. If we don’t hear his sound, we can immediately guess he is doing some wrong.

So when my wife just calls him "ASHWIN, Where are you?!" to find where he is now. 

He immediately throws everything in his hand and crawls away so fast, after hearing her voice. He somehow knows and remembers that we told him its wrong. He is so sharp.

Kids at this stage are like Parrots and my son is no different. They just try to repeat whatever we teach them. Right now he blabbers a lot and tries to call "AMMA", "MMMA", "THATA THATA", "No" "Nooooo". We are trying to teach him different words everyday so he can pick it up atleast few.

He is so crazy about watching the ad’s in the TV especially kids type ads because of their rhymes songs and colorful scenes. We have SUNTV and he is also an addict to some of the serial theme songs. He is so finicky and has his own favorite ones. He immediately gets infront of the TV as soon he hears them. He won’t even blink an eye while he watches them.

We found out that he likes to listen to music from his 2nd month. May be it the gene thing, since we both love music a lot. We use to put some good tamil songs and he sleeps without an hunch. His favorite was lastyear hit song from the Kamal movie " Vettaiyadu Vilaiyadu ", "Paartha muthal naale". Its like a magic song for us to put him to sleep.

It still continues today with the recent new songs including new release "Shivaji". I also try to put him to sleep with a bed time song which my mom always sang to us. My fav. being "Kannan varuvan kadai solluvaan, vannamara thotil kati thalathuvan…"

I try to play with him whenever I get a chance, almost all the time. As soon I get home from work and he hears my voice, he just wants me to pick him up and hold. It makes me feel that he is been waiting for me but not yet exactly at this stage. I know they just long for attention thats all.
I play Peek-A-Boo, Hide and Seek, Catch me if you can, Swing, Horse ride and more. His favorite being the Catch me if you can. He will be sitting on the floor on one end of the Kitchen and I just go close to him to catch him, he crawls fast smiling and laughing and goes to other end of it. I then try to go to the other end of the Kitchen to catch him, he immediately turns around goes the other end of the Kitchen and game continues.
We play a smaller version of Peek-A-Boo in our bed. I try to hide myself inside the bedsheet and keep shouting at him "Ashwin, where his Appa(dad)?" and he keep searching for the voice and before he finds I just surprise him saying "Peek-A-Boo". He smiles and . It is so much fun to play all these games with him.
Kids are God’s precious gift. Its tough to imagine a life without them. They are so innocent at this stage, same time sharp enough to grasp things faster. They make your worries fly away far enough with their cute smile and make your heart feel lighter.
I already hear somebody murmuring, "Wait till they grow older". Whatever it may be, they are wonderful.

These things are just a few sample of all he got going these days. My wife couldn’t able to handle during the day. So except many more to come… 

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