Friday, November 26, 2010

South African Frustration!

With regards to Aloka's visa to South Africa...

Embassy official: You have stated here that you are divorced.
Me: Yes
Embassy official: Do you have custody of the child?
Me: Err....I was divorced in 2000, and my daughter was born in 2007.
Embassy official: Yes, yes. But can you prove that you have custody?
Me: Why is that needed? She was born 7 years after I got divorced!
Embassy official: Huh! You have to prove that you have the right to take her out of the country. So please bring your divorce papers.
Me: I don't think you understand. I adopted my daughter while I was single. So what has my ex-husband got to do with it?
Embassy official: In that case, can you show me the adoption papers?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Sanyasi and the Buddhist

It takes a special person to commit himself to the search for truth, set aside all worldly pleasures, and live a life of abstinence and meditation, surrounded by like minded evolved people. I know one such person, a sanyasi, and respect him tremendously.

But it takes a different type of person to commit her/him self to the search for truth, and continue to live in the real world, embracing all the pleasures and pains of an earthly existence- finding truth despite them and within them.

I read and think a lot about the principles of Buddhism. It is absolutely elevating and inspiring to think about how each one of us is a Buddha, how there is no God outside of us, how we have the power to change our karma, how the environment is a reflection of our own lives, and how there is abundance in the universe, waiting for us to tap into it. I often go into a trance, pondering over the beauty of this truth.

But I have a bigger task ahead, beyond the trance. As a Buddhist, I have to bring this view into my daily life, deal with issues like the effect of recession on the business, a hard-to-please customer, disgruntled employees, people who I have disappointed and people who disappoint me, my failures as a leader and my challenges as a mother.

Applying the Buddhist principles to these issues is way harder than contemplating upon them in meditation. Whereas the trance was magical, the application of these principles is scary. It requires courage to face up to my problems and to challenge each with conviction of one's own Buddhahood and faith. Each day I am faced with my weaknesses and doubts. Each day I have to counter negative defeatist thoughts and remind myself that I have the power to be whatever I desire to be regardless of who else is in my life. Each day I have to stop blaming others and take responsibility of my situation. Each day I have to stop myself from falling into my habitual escapism. Each day I have to reflect on my motives and correct them. Each day, I have to test the limits of my faith and commitment.

Who requires more courage, guts and faith- A sanyasi or a Buddhist?

Monday, November 22, 2010

No Regrets

At some stage in my life, I decided not to have any regrets. It meant not just not saying "I wish I had done that instead of this or I wish this is how it had been", but actually living it. It meant finding something of value in everything I have ever done in my life, including what others may consider "mistakes" or "problems". Here are some of them.

1. I don't regret being sick with asthma most of my life. Because I have been sick, I have empathy for others who are sick.
2. I don't regret that I married young. Because I married young, I had stability, which was much needed for a drifter like me.
3. I don't regret spending the best years of my life with a man who didn't value me. Because he didn't value me, I had the desire and drive to become worthy of other people's respect and love.
4. I don't regret leaving a cushy job for a shaky start up. Because I took that risk, I have learned many skills and had countless opportunities.
5. I don't regret going through the hell of divorce. Because I went through that hell, I discovered the beauty of Buddhism.
6. I don't regret being single for the last 10 years. Because I was single, I had the opportunity of becoming close to Atreya and having his companionship.

7. I don't regret being a child who always craved for more love and attention. Because I felt that way, I had the determination to bring Aloka into our lives and to envelop her with boundless love.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Password Revelations!

Since 2000, when I moved with Atreya to Singapore, all my passwords have the word Atreya included in them in some combination or another. It is representative of the central place he had/has in my life.

But I didn't expect any similar behavior in return from him because he is a teenager with lots happening in his life. So I was delighted when I found out that his cycle lock opens with 9823, which is part of my phone number. My phone number, not his own, not a girl's!

And the latest revelation really floored me. I wanted to use his laptop because I had left mine at office. The password to log in....Aloka!

Scissors Paper Stone!