The New House

Well, here are some pictures of the new house.

View from our backyard :


The kitchen :


The dining area :


Paintings to be put up :


Her highness’s room


Another view of Rhea’s room


The move had been tough. I have no idea how people move so often. The packing, unpacking, the new neighbors, new area.

Speaking of new area I like the fact that this place had a lot of hills. Hope to use them extensively in my running.


My daughter is into listening heartbeats quite a lot these days. This is the conversation I had with her recently as I come out of the shower :

Rhea : “Papa, I want to hear your heart beat”

Me : “Sure, Rhea. “

She places her hand on the left side of the chest. Trying to correct her, I said “no Rhea, place your hand a little towards the center”

Rhea : “You mean between your two boogies”!!

LOL!!! Things that kids pick up from god knows where……

Happy Diwali To You All

Diwali, the Hindu holiday of light falls today. It is the festival of lights as celebrated by most of India (and parts of Sri Lanka and Nepal) for differing reasons. Think of it as christmas for non-christians.

From wikipedia :

Hindus have several significant events associated with it:

Return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya

The Killing of Narakasura

Austerities of Shakti

Birth of Goddess Lakshmi

Krishna defeating Indra

In addition to Hindus, Sikhs celebrate diwali as well as Buddhists and Jains, basically, as I said before, the whole of India more or less celebrates diwali.

As a child I used to love Diwali. The lead up to the day was the best times I have had in my life. The whole world would be light up for a week before Diwali and there was a deep sense of joy everywhere, even in my dad’s acrimonious household in Nabha!! You could not escape the sheer force of Diwali no matter who you were, how much love you had for your family and what your place was in the Indian society. The big feature, of course, was the firecrackers on the evening of Diwali. Frankly I used to hate the firecrackers and would “enjoy” them from a distance. The whole festival was loud and pollution from the firecrackers was intense but I LOVED it. There was scrumptuous foods, assortment of sweets and deserts, and lots and lots of enjoyable company throughout the evening and deep into the night.

I remember the day would start with us taking a bath and wearing new clothes and then going off into the market to window shop for firecrackers. This would take us to afternoon and we would drive to my dad’s house in Nabha from Patiala, where we lived.

My grandmother would then take us kids to the small temple behind the house and makes us pray even though we would looking at the sky to see how soon the sun would set so that we could start partying. We would them go to the intersection near the house and place diyas (earthen lamps) in the middle of the intersection and soon, it would become a make shift round about. That image for some reason is burned into my memory. I loved the look of the lamps in the middle of the intersection in dusk, with all the foot and scooter/bicycle traffic avoiding the lamps carefully.

We would then proceed to our house for the main prayer of the evening where everyone was required to attend. I remember that my grandmother would lead the prayer and everyone would join in although after sometime, everyone would start joking and making fun of each other while my grandmother would try, in vain, to shush all of us. Then all of us, from the senoir most onwards, would dip their palm in flat plate with clay like solution and then place it on the freshly painted wall in the temple. Again, I have no idea of the significance of the ritual but again, it is something I re-live every diwali.The whole time our ears were rotating about like a radar to hear the first signs of firecrackers so that we could begin our whining to leave the prayer room.

And once the prayers were over, we kids were let loose. Out came the packets of firecrackers (or in my case, the ones that did not make a huge boom) and we went to the roof (which was the highest in the neighbourhood giving us a vantage point on who had the best fire display going) and then we proceeded to drown out neighbourhood with various types of bombs, rockets, strings of small crackers etc. My uncle was big into spending as much as possible on firecrackers and when questioned why, he said that it is auspicious to spend money in Diwali so that it will bring him good luck. I think he just wanted to show off!!

This would continue for an hour or so (yes, that’s how many firecrackers we had!!) and then it was time to ignore the mess and go instead for a movie or just relax around while the elders indulged in another auspicious activity – gambling. Yup, it is auspicious to gamble in Diwali. It is supposed to bring you luck!!

Before we went to sleep, everyone made sure that the doors were unlocked and most of the lights in the passage were switched on. This was done to welcome the goddess Lakshmi who would bring us luck and wealth (something like Santa Clause with intangible benefits).

Now, living Canada, the holiday is completely devoid of any joy. Sure, we get together with the family during Diwali but the boisterous nature of Diwali is missing in Canada. The low point of course is trying to explain to your kids what Diwali means. I tried the other day to explain what Diwali is to my daughter, Rhea, and the whole conversation fizzled when I tried to explain to Rhea that she is Hindu and Hindus celebrate Diwali. And she kept insisting the whole time that she is not Hindu but a little girl!!

I leave you with something I found on Hindu Blog and wish you all a very happy Diwali :

Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami on the Significance of Diwali:

The inner significance of Diwali is that it is a joyful celebration of the victory of good over evil, of our spiritual qualities dominating our basic instincts, intellect and ego. Light is a universal symbol of spirituality. Thus bringing more light into our homes and therefore our lives symbolizes each of us becoming a more spiritual person.

The light of the soul can transform our baser qualities of greed, distrust and hatred into selfless giving, trust and helpfulness. It can inspire us to be consistent in our efforts to progress on the path of spiritual unfoldment. And it can reveal to us our true identity as immortal souls living and growing in the great school of earthly experience.

A Great Moment Of Realisation In Rhea’s Life

Every once a while Rhea does something so profound and extraordinary that my chest swells with pride. Yesterday, she took off the steel bangle given to her by my mom-in-law (insisted on by my mom in India) shouting “this is not working” and threw it on the bed.

A little background……Indians, especially Hindus, by nature and because of religion (mixed with a heavy dose of mythology), are extremely superstitious people. Everything can be fixed by doing the most absurd thing. Got a cough? Tie a piece of thread on your wrist and you will be fine tomorrow. Got a bad temper? Wear a particular type of stone and over time, your anger will melt away. To ward off evil, hang a piece of lemon and some chillies on the door. Never cross the path of a black cat, it brings bad luck etc. etc. etc. etc.

So when my daughter suddenly developed a fear of monsters in the house, I did the only thing I knew, I tried to be extra patient, I would talk to her, go check the place where she thought she saw a monster. The problem is that the fear of monsters has come to the point where she will not sleep in her room at all and not let me out of her sight at night time even for a few seconds. It’s really annoying and yet endearing at the same time. She is absolutely fine as long I don’t leave the room. It is cumbersome to have her sleep (in her own cot) in my room but it is nothing that I cannot live without.
This is what I explained to my mom (who lives in India) when I spoke to her a few weeks ago. And upon hearing Rhea’s reactions, she immediately gave her solution to the problem : She must wear a steel bangle and always place a glass of water next to her bed before she goes to sleep. I immediately dismissed it however I did not count on her speaking to my mom-in-law who lives 10 KM from my house her in Ontario who looks after Rhea after her school until I come home to pick up Rhea. Since, my mom-in-law is doing quite a lot for me and my wife, I usually let her have her way with Rhea. And when she immediately put a steel bangle on Rhea, I kept my mouth shut.
Rhea loved her new bangle. She would show it off to her friends and to the neighbours. She would explain to anyone who would care to listen that it helps her from monsters. And I would always add that the bangle will not help her as there are no monsters to begin with but I guess that concept is a little difficult to comprehend for a 4 and 1/2 year old. So the bangle stayed on until last night.
While getting her ready for bed, Rhea heard a loud bang outside her bedroom window (my neighbours door slammed shut) and she suddenly went stiff, looking scared and I tried to calm her down and showed her what had actually happened. And then suddenly she noticed her bangle and said “this is not working anymore. I don’t want it” and pulled it off her wrist and threw it on the bed. And I just smiled at her wonderful way of arriving at the conclusion that a piece of metal will not help ward of frightening thoughts.