Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A – ARAKU VALLEY


I am Glad to participate in the A-Z April challenge 2015. Hope to meet and interact with many more bloggers and look forward to a lot of learning.

This year I decided to focus on the topic Travel, wherein I will share pictures of the places I visited to relive memorable moments of my life with gratitude; and also share my dream and hope to visit newer places in my life time. 
Steep point at Araku Valley-me, David &Dorothy
View from the Bus
My first post with letter A is Aaraku valley, located at 3,200 feet high in the midst of the Anantagiri hills, Andhra Pradesh, India.  This valley is beautiful with lush green landscape which I visited last summer with my family; I fell in love with the beauty of this place, calm, quiet and untouched and away from city life.  



Bus ride moving up Araku valley
The bus ride was exciting and adventurous as it takes you higher and higher uphill, bringing in thrill and fun, the places is covered with coffee plantations, wherein you will get a nice cup of coffee and the roadside sweet corn was a delight to taste.

Araku Valley
A nice place for a retreat, I love nature and greenery, this is very refreshing place even as I am posting, I am feeling so good and fresh, it’s worth visiting. I always loved travelling; and did travel as a single, after marriage I could not travel much.... am grateful to God for the opportunity to travel once again and enjoy the beauty around; also understand there is so much to learn, find and discover in this short span of life.




Happy blogging !!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Gratitude List for March, 2015

This post is written for Gratitude Circle for the month of March, 2015

I am glad for this exercise as it helps me to constantly focus on the positive aspects of my life and motivates me to remain constantly happy, healthy and fills me with gratitude.

Inaugural programme
Group Photo of participants

The month of March was a busy month, with my focus on co authoring a research presentation on a pilot programme implemented on violence against women by Young Women Association of India; it was a privilege for me to represent the YWCA at an International seminar held at American college, Madurai, Tamilnadu India.


I am very thankful for the opportunity given to me, to reflect and articulate the experience from a research angle and present it in the International seminar. I am happy to meet so many other participants and enjoyed listening to their presentations on various other issues related to women’s empowerment.

I am glad that our paper has been published in the international journal for  Human Rights… this is a useful exercise for me as I work in an academic institution, as it will add to my profile and will enhance my competency as a counselor.

PILLAR - Pallotine Institute of Lay Animation 
Open Meditation Hall
This opportunity led me to another place, which I had never been before and it was a refreshing break for me to stay at a quiet place, far away from home wherein I could just be myself doing nothing, meditating, enjoying the beauty of the mornings surrounded by hills, and a quiet place to sit and be by myself….. away from my kitchen and the daily routine work of cooking, cleaning, washing and rushing to work and rushing back home to continue what was left undone in the morning.

Meenakshi Temple
I visited the very popular and one of the oldest temples in Madurai, the Meenakshi temple for the second time in my life, and saw how much it has changed – a lot of shops have come up, and I picked up a few earrings for my daughter and also for my self. Madurai is also full of jasmine flowers, and one gets to see fresh flowers all the time, through out the day I found jasmines very fresh most of the women adorn their hair with jasmines, I was attracted to the  fresh jasmines, so bought and put it in my hair every day.
Kodaicanal, Madurai
 I visited kodaicanal and it was such a lovely feeling to be at this place, so well developed surrounded by natural beauty- hills, water falls, pleasant weather, and so much of carrots directly from the farm – I was happy to pick one bunch and brought it home, this place is also filled with boiled hot sweet corn to suit the cold weather, we went as a group enjoying the sweet corns, home made chocolates and hot cups of tea.

There are all types of food available, the north Indian thali, south Indian thali, Chinese Dominos pizzas and Tiffin centers with Dosa Idli Upma Pongal etc. we had lunch at a hotel, and ordered for the south Indian thali. I picked up two types tea leaves for David, as he loves tea.  I also picked up some spices and dry fruits from this place.

Kodaicanal Restaurant
South Indian meal
It was also very satisfying to renew some very old contacts, some of my friends whom I have not met for more than a decade, and another friend who has been a great companion to me for the last 3 decades… I enjoyed catching up with her and updated myself with what’s happening in her  life, and also sharing my own journey of what I have been involved with and how happy I was to meet her.

Me and my friend Theresa
I am happy and refreshed from these experiences and my gratitude level has remained high till date, despite a few challenging situations in the family – my husbands brother in law was diagnosed with bone cancer in the fourth stage and has been on treatment for the last 8 months.. he has become very sick and now the doctors have stopped all medication as it has affected his brain and it’s a sad situation for my sister in law who is looking after him at home and also managing her two year old child. we are regularly in touch with the family to offer prayer and encouragement.

We are having severe water problem in our apartment – but we are grateful to God for one of David’s friend person who brings in water for us on a regular basis and ensures that we have water for everything. So our day to day activities are not disturbed by shortage of water. We have enough to sustain ourselves daily.



My mother in law is now settled on her own; she has taken a place for rent and David has helped her with whatever she requires and ensures that she is lives a comfortable life.  . David visits her regularly and checks on any requirement, whether she requires grocery, snacks, milk & fruits.

My daughter has completed her exams and now she will be going to standard IX and now enjoying holidays for this month.  I am waiting for her results and also the books for the next class… I am happy that she has another two years to complete school.  She is independent in dealing with her own academic problems…. I only step in when she requires my help.

There's a lot more to write; I shall save it for a few more posts this month. 

Thanks to Vidya & Corinne for this Gratitude circle.  This has helped me focus  to write at least once a month.  I hope to improve and want to discipline myself to do a few more posts in a month… with next month A-Z blogging, am sure to connect with more bloggers and will be posting daily.

Be Blessed & Be Happy !

Friday, March 13, 2015

EVERY LIFE HAS A VALUE !

Emmanuel with his sister
Being a mother of a Down syndrome child has changed my perspectives towards children with special needs. Thanks to my son Emmanuel – who helped me understand that every life has a value. As he was the second child I did not know what to expect, despite knowing that he will be a special child.

My daughter was born very healthy and I did not even worry about her developmental stages; she did everything at the right time, and it was a joy to see her accomplish all the milestones.

Emmanuel was a different experience, as he had taken his own time to reach the milestone.  Living in a joint family has its advantages as well as its disadvantages; the advantage is the support one gets in taking care of kids. The biggest disadvantage is the tendency to compare children, and the expectations on the children that he/she has to reach the milestone as per the norm.

Me, my son  Emmanuel and my daughter Maria Dorothy
Being an optimist I always sang songs for Emmanuel and spoke to him in his ears that he is most beautiful, unique and a precious child, singing affirmations, believing in God and trusting in myself, to a large extent I managed to help Emmanuel, the first thing I got his IQ level checked, and then went on exploring how to help him in integrating him into the normal school. With my limited understanding, I started exploring schools for him and this was a tough job

My Son Emmanuel
This experience also reminded me of the challenges I faced in taking care of my son for seven years; Emmanuel was sick very often, and with delayed speech, schooling was a major problem; with limited options I struggled and always worried about his future; despite knowing well that he was my present and I need t focus in living in the now… it was not easy as I saw him progress slowly, I felt compelled to  ensure that he should have secure life, little did I realize that his time here on earth was limited; his life had a value of its own and he had a message for me and all those surrounded him, to love, laugh and spread cheer.. 

I feel grateful and happy to have made a positive choice to have a special child, despite all types of feedbacks and criticisms about Down syndrome kids, who are looked down as a mental health problem, an inconvenience and nuisance to be dealt with.



I am blessed and privileged to have had a Down syndrome son, who was brought so much of love and happiness in my life and in our family, his simplicity, innocence and the charming smile was enough for me to brighten my day.

I feel strongly that there is need to spread awareness on Down syndrome… I don’t know how and what needs to be done...  there is a desire in me to reach out and I felt optimistic when I met Mahesh, a down syndrome child in one of our family function, he surprised me by touching my feet and greeted me and my husband with folded hands, saying namaste with a smile.


I did not take my eyes of him, till the end of the family function, and it was such a pleasure to interact with him, and to know that he is going to school and doing well. I found his parents so loving and caring, treating him with so much kindness and warmth, that I could not forget him till today.


I am positive and hopeful that attitudes of people will change, and these children will be treated with respect. I do my bit on speaking about, and being sensitive and generous in dealing with children with special needs and spread awareness through whatever opportunity I get in my life. I am glad to dedicate this post to all the Down syndrome kids for making this world a beautiful place; and most important for giving lessons of unconditional love and redefining everything in life.


Be Happy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Inspiring women in my life ...


I want to dedicate this month for inspiring women in my life.  when I think of women -  a lot of them come to my mind, especially those with whom I closely interact and keep meeting them often, either because of my work that gives me the space or sometimes in a social gathering where in I come across women who are so courageous and at other times, I meet them in my own counselling centre, they  never fail to motivate and energize me.  I am grateful to all the women in my life; and specially those who have shown great courage to fight all odds and continue to live with hope and optimism.

In one of my usual visit, I observed saritha (name changed) who came to the centre for counselling; married at an early age and within one year, conceived and came to the PPTCT(Prevention of Parent to Child Testing) centre, for ANC (Antenatal Care) where she was sent for HIV testing. (HIV testing is mandatory for all pregnant women)

Saritha was found  HIV positive;  she was very angry, upset, and felt cheated by her husband.  When the husband was called for testing; he refused to come, instead fought with saritha; argued and blamed her for the status, stating that it’s her problem and she needs to deal with it;

Saritha was devastated and with great difficulty and courage fought with him and his family, but did not succeed; her husband left her to her fate and moved on with another women. She was thrown out of the house, because she was found HIV positive; and nobody was willing to take her even from her family side. Being an orphan and brought up by the aunt and uncle, she did not know what to do, as she loved children, she chose to continue her pregnancy till the ninth month, unfortunately saritha gave birth to a still born child.




The death of the child caused severe distress…. despite all these problems, she never gave up; she is full of optimism and cheerfulness and visits the ART regularly for medicines. (Anti retroviral Treatment), she visits the counsellor  regularly at the Government hospital.  The last time I saw her, she was full of enthusiasm saying that she wants to move ahead in life, and does not want to live in the past.

I salute saritha for her determination to fight facing discrimination and humiliation only because she is HIV positive, and that too which is not her fault. She works hard as a domestic help and makes a living; there are so many saritha’s who become victims without their faults. when I thought of this lady and the kind of problems she was facing, my problems appeared so small and insignificant.  I appreciated saritha for touching my life, showing me that no matter how broken we are; we can always start afresh, leaving the past behind and focussing on the present, and taking charge of our lives.... 

May this post  inspire you !
 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My gratitude list for February, 2015!

This post was written for Gratitude Circle for the month of February, 2015

Thanks to vidya& corinne for the image
 There are so many things I want to be grateful for this short month, but I want specifically to be thankful for the following:

  • I completed 4 years working as a psychological counselor in the University campus and am grateful for all the learning’s and every opportunity this place has offered me in the last few years. I love the ambience and the space that  I have to work; I feel good to give my best as there is so much of acknowledgement, affirmation and encouragement I get from my head and colleagues.

  • I had opportunity to visit the government Integrated Counseling Testing Centre’s and the Parent to Child Transmission centre’s for HIV/AIDS as part of my supportive supervision, wherein I interacted with women who came for pre test and post test counseling, and some of their stories brought tears to my eyes. (I will share in my next post a few of the cases that I witnessed) I am grateful for these field experiences that lets me enter the lives of simple women, who suffer innocently and the courage they display is very inspiring.

  • I am grateful for the opportunity to co author a Research paper on Prevention of Violence against women at an international seminar scheduled at Madurai in the coming month.  I am grateful for my companion Aparna for initiating this process to reflect back on the pilot programme implemented in our city.  I am thankful for YWCA for encouraging and supporting me to attend the seminar and represent the organization for this programme.

  • Training has always been my strength; and I am grateful to the University for sending me to take a few sessions at SICA (State Institute of Correctional Services) Telengana, on substance abuse and its impact on behavior, which made me do a lot of reading, understanding, and discuss with my team and evolve presentation to suit the target group.

  • I am grateful for my good health of body and mind.  My thyroid levels have come back normal and all the symptoms that was interfering me to function normally had disappeared.  I have resumed walking, yoga stretches, counting calories, eating healthy, drinking plenty of water and practicing gratitude every day.

  • I am thankful for my daughter who is full of life; and very motivating to explore new places for shopping and also helped me fight fear (I always avoided escalator due to fear and prefer to walk down the railing) this time she encouraged me to try taking the escalator, I succeeded but still have little fear, I am sure it will go, once I make it a habit. On the Valentine’s Day we went out together to Big Bazaar and picked up a few tops on discount, we enjoyed the window shopping.
    My daughter Maria Dorothy

  • I am also grateful for meeting an 11 year old child in a social gathering, who reminded me of my son Emmanuel; I could not take my eyes of him, for he was so charming and cute, very affectionate, cheerful and innocent.

  • I was very happy and felt as though I had visited my son for the second time in my life, on enquiry I found out that his name was Mahesh; he was Down syndrome kid, a year older to Emmanuel and goes to school. The rest of the day was a flash back of my son Emmanuel; its only 4 years that he is no more and I find him in all the simple things of life – smile, touch, hug, laughter, fun, togetherness, celebrations, children, flowers that I encounter almost daily reminding me that death can never be final, those we love, continue to live in us; and we can see them everywhere around us…
    Me and Mahesh

  • I am grateful for the Lenten season for it has helped us to bond as a family, wherein we could go for mass on ash Wednesday and also fast twice a week, David and Dorothy have been my inspiration for this lent, together they have made this season meaningful by fasting and praying – for me it’s a big U turn to practice rituals with a sincere heart, bringing in changes in attitude and desiring to become a better person.

  • I do appreciate the blogging community; who have been posting very motivating and inspiring post.  I am happy to read all their posts, especially the 1000 post for compassion was a good initiative, and I was glad to see so many of the bloggers coming together to share their valuable insights; I experienced a lot of positivity in the virtual space.. and I do appreciate the constant supply of energy that I get from reading these posts.

I desire to continue walking with gratitude; and spread awareness on the immense benefits of living with gratitude.


Thank you for reading this post !

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Call for Compassion

When I think of this word compassion; the person who comes to my mind is the Lord Jesus Christ, brought up in a catholic faith, I always marvel at this great personality, who was extremely compassionate to every one around him.

I remember the parables from the bible, wherein he had compassion for people because they remained with him for three days, having nothing to eat; at another instance he felt compassion for the people as they were like sheep without a shepherd, when he went to the shore, he saw a large crowd and had compassion for them and healed the sick, moved with compassion Jesus touched their eyes and they regained sight. 
He made the lame walk, raised the dead to life, healed the leper.  Every thing Jesus did was out of compassion; compassion to the extent of forgiving the enemies and praying for those who persecuted him.
Working as a psychological counsellor in the university campus – it is very important to be kind and compassionate; as the students who come to the counselling centre are broken in many ways, they are away from home and most of them come from the rural background with agriculture as the family occupation.  Their families are economically backward and they are financially stressed.

The common issues they face are  adjustments, fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, relationship failure, violence and low self confidence, poor communication skills, too much competition, insecurity leading to loneliness, and low motivation.

I feel honoured when they just open up their hearts and display the weaker aspects of their lives and the struggles they face in dealing with their own issues, I  accept with great reverence and treat it as something very sacred.

The more I listen to the sad real stories of life; the greater I feel is the call to be compassionate; in today's  context wherein there is so much of violence every where, the daily newspaper is full of stories covering suicide, murder, rape, too much of negativity in our thoughts, hurting one another in the name of ideology, religion – there is a definite need to be kind, compassionate.  


Let us join together to spread love, peace and harmony around. I am glad to be writing this post for the 1000 speak for compassion, and appreciate all those who have participated by writing some very beautiful and motivational post, which has inspired me to do this post today.

“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and
 the will to help others.” Albert Schweitzer

Be Blessed & Be Happy!

 

Friday, February 20, 2015

GRATEFUL FOR LENT!

This post comes with gratitude to  Robyn post http://essenceofafamily.weebly.com, which inspired me to write this post.


This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday, we got up early and went for mass; this year my daughter Maria Dorothy chose to come with us for morning mass, and even was ready to fast for the morning.  I am impressed with my daughter for the choice she has made, even though I always felt one must go beyond fasting and practising rituals.  Every year David is very particular about Lent and he will make sure that we fast, pray and take vegetarian food for all the forty days.

I have not been particular and over the last few  years, as I felt that Lent must be  an opportunity to become a better person, to give up all those qualities that hinders us from being loving and harmonious. I also realize that improving ourselves and becoming human is a lifelong process; and one must not just restrict it to only season of lent.

In a busy life, with too many activities and deadlines to meet, we may forget the need for reflection, to look within and explore to find whether we are happy; and living fulfilling lives. Lent is a blessing for us as Catholics, for it comes like speed breaker, and slows us down reminding us that we are all on a journey and our destination is the same, despite the fact that we may be in a different compartment, the journey is only one. 

There is no second journey on this rail track and the we are all moving, expected to be and do our best. In this little time here on earth, we are called to journey with happiness, while we watch our companions getting down at different stations as their time has come, we take the learning’s, and also share our learning’s in life, enabling those who find difficulty in this journey, extending our helping hands and giving them some comfort and space in our compartment and sharing what we have.

Last evening I was planning for the menu, as today is Friday again David will fast and not eat anything; so wanted to prepare breakfast for my daughter… and then my daughter tells me that its Friday, and she will not eat breakfast and she will only take light lunch; I got worried for her, as the distance she travels for the school is quite far and it’s a full day school, which means she will leave home by 7.45a.m. and come back by 5p.m.  I tried rationalizing with her that she must take lunch enough to sustain her till evening, but being adamant, she had her way and took idli’s for lunch.

This was the first time Dorothy has taken lent very seriously, thanks to her catechism and her friends she made her own choice; which made me reflect too and sometimes it’s ok to fast, with all my reasoning and understanding I too decided to join my daughter and husband to fast this lent twice a week. I felt a lot better and spent more time in praying for my students; and all those who are part of my life.  Fasting for a cause and spending time in prayer makes a lot of difference.

I hope to sustain myself for the next 38 days, and will also allow myself to be flexible in learning adapting myself to things that I did not do before…

Be Blessed & Be Happy! 
  

Recent Comments

Recent Comments Widget