Category Archives: Story

Board Game Matches

Today I came accross an old board of Snakes and Ladders. This used to be my favorite in school days. There were days when me and my sister used to play this game with Papa and Mummy. We even used to maintain a score board for these board game matches. This was a good way to reduce screen time and spend quality time. Those were the golden summer vacations of school days.

Although the game seems easy, one does not win easily. There are so many times one slides down after encountering a snake. There were moments when me or my sister would start crying and almost give up. Our parents would then console us with stories of how people have risen from failures. A simple game would end up in a story session with a lesson. I think those were the ways our parents chose to teach us the virtues of patience, perseverence and sportsmanship. Whether we won or lost, mummy would cook some sweet or one of our favorite dishes. As I look at that board today, it reflects the struggles of life. We do not reach our goals easily. There are times when we feel we have almost reached but like the snake at 98, we may encounter something and end up a number of steps behind. Sometimes we are unable to proceed at all. But everytime we start we try to rebuild our strategy which means we learn to be careful. Life would be so boring if it were straight forward like accessing a channel in television. Just like the game, each up and down makes our life interesting. We remembered the good times and played a game of Snakes and Ladders. Although we are not kids anymore but this game managed to bring out the child in all of us.

Promise at 9

When I was told the story of the amazing speech by Swami Vivekananda at Chicago Conference of 1893, I had wanted to visit that hall, feel that moment. I have heard that speech but the wish to visit the hall was buried somewhere deep in my heart. Finally it was time to fulfil that wish. I went to The Art Institute of Chicago. Its a huge museum. I was unable to control my excitement. While booking ticket at the reception, I mentioned the Chicago Conference of 1893. The person at the counter realized my excitement and immediately mentioned Swami Vivekananda. He gave me directions to the hall. It is called the Fullerton hall. The hall was at the opposite end of the museum from the entrance I was at. I walked quickly at the other end. A huge image of Swami Vivekananda is placed there along with the immortal address of ‘Sisters and brothers of America’. One can enter the hall if it is not booked. I requested the museum person to let me enter the hall, as it was not booked that day. She accompanied me inside the hall. Once I entered, I was the 9 year old girl. My heart was beating so fast, I could imagine the sound of the applause in that hall. The museum person understood my condition, smiled and suggested I can walk the steps till the stage.

The Hall

The drive named after Swami Vivekananda

The museum has many beautiful artifacts from different parts of the world. Everyone in the museum knew about that conference. When I came out of the entrance near the hall, the street is named after Swami Vivekananda. It felt so great to see Swamiji has the same admiration here as in India. When we are kids, the heart makes certain wishes, which may not be fulfilled at that time. As we grow up, those wishes get buried somewhere underneath the daily grind. I just came to know, one of the ways to revive the child within is to fulfil those wishes. When one does that, one feels the happiness filled with innocence that the heart of child has. Let us look back into our childhood, find those wishes, fulfill them and revive the child within ourselves.

The Seven Confusion

digit7

Recently I came accross the number seven for a number of things. This reminded of an incident. I was travelling from Baroda to Mumbai in Shatabdi. I still remember my seat number was C1,40. My ticket was checked and approved a few minutes after I boarded the train. The train stops for 10 minutes in Surat which comes two hours after baroda. The snacks at Surat station are so popular that everyone gets down at the station. As surat came everyone sitting around me got down to serve their tastebuds. I returned to the seat quickly and was sitting almost alone in the bogie. At that time a mother-daughter pair came and started looking for their seat. I was a little confused at this action as the bogie (railway carriage) was full when I had boarded and everyone’s ticket was also checked. Suddently the daughter came upto me and said,

daughter: Can you get up from my seat.

I was shocked at this order and replied: I have a confirmed ticket for this seat.

daughter: I just now saw in the sheet outside. My seat has been confirmed from waiting list and its this seat.

Me: Well yours was waiting list, mine has been a confirmed one since the last 2 months.

daughter: Check your ticket, I have just verified from the list outside.

This annoyed me and I replied, “My ticket has been checked and approved by the TTE an hour ago”.

This argument continued for sometime where both of us didn’t move from our grounds. Ultimately the girl decided to verify again from outside. She asked her mother to sit on the neighboring seat. The guy on that seat had a confirmed ticket which too was verified by the TTE(Ticket Examiner).

After few minutes the guy returned and the same argument occured between the mother and the guy. Finally the TTE was called who checked the list and replied,

“I checked all the tickets here. Your seat is in C7 not C1”.

To which the girl replied “Oh is it seven? I thought it was one”. At this, the entire bogie started smilling.

The whole confusion occured because the girl had read seven as one. I don’t know about the girl but whenever I get anything with digit 7 or 1, I always doublecheck the digit. People try to avoid the seven star but I try to avoid the seven confusion.

A spiritual exploration

Last week a colleague of mine suggested that I should visit the Washington Kali Temple. I immidiately contacted my friend asking them if they are ready to visit that temple over the weekend. They agreed and so on Saturday morning, we all got ready by 10:00 am. The sun shone brightly and there was a cool breeze. It almost seemed as if the weather itself is taking us towards the temple. After a drive of 40 minutes we reached our destination.

The Washington Kali Temple

The Washington Kali Temple

Apple trees around the temple

Apple trees around the temple

Surrounding Greenery

Surrounding Greenery

As we reached there, we were greeted by beautiful apple trees. The temple stood amidst large green trees. It was so peaceful that one can meditate. As we entered the temple, we were greeted by this beautiful quote by Swami Vivekananda. This reminded me about the story of the Chicago Conference attended by Swami Vivekananda.

Beautiful words by Swami Vivekananda

Beautiful words by Swami Vivekananda

A part of temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva, another to Navagraha and the rest was to Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga. We refer to our Goddesses as Ma(mother). We even saw a mongoose eating peacefully in the temple compound and realized that everyone is welcome at the doors of the Ma. The photos of Ramakrishna Paramhans dev reminded me of my home. The compound had beautiful flowers. After a long time I had come across such a beautiful representation of co-existence of humans, animals and trees. It was so serene that we forgot all our worries and started praying.

A beautiful sight

A beautiful sight

Beautiful flowers around temple

Beautiful flowers around temple

We were told by the priest that its an auspicious day and there will be a small ceremony. We attended the ceremony and offered our prayers. Then we had the bhog. I almost felt at home, as if my mom had prepared lunch for me since I had returned after a long time. The peace and tranquillity of the temple continued with us all throughout the weekend. Thanks to my friends Ravi and Saritha for this trip. In our fast paced lives, we often forget the importance of small things like spending some time with ourselves, praying and appreciating everything around us. But once we do these, life becomes so much more beautiful. Don’t you think so?

Shocked by a honk on a lonely road

On the way to Buffalo

On the way to Buffalo


Part I:

Once when I was in Dallas, on a certain weekend, me and 5 of my friends planned a trip to washington and Buffalo. It was the month of July and climate was pretty hot. The iternary was to fly to washington, do sight seeing and then drive overnight to buffalo, explore the Niagra falls and fly back to Dallas from buffalo.

As planned, we completed all our work on friday and flew from Dallas on Friday night. We reached Washington on Friday night, stayed at a motel and started on saturday morning. We walked a lot and loved seeing all the buildings. Towards the evening we came close to Lincoln memorial. We climbed the steps and went inside. It was beautiful. As we came down from the steps, it started raining slowly. We thought we will wait till rain stops and then walk till our cars. But the rains had other plans and it started raining heavily. We again climbed the steps to the memorial. There we spent 2 hours. Finally the rains stopped and we started walking towards our cars. The rains had left a cool breeze and everyone seemed to enjoy the walk. We had dinner at one of the restaurants and then we started driving towards Buffalo.

We reached Buffalo in the morning. After a quick breakfast we thought we will freshen up in a motel and then go to visit the Niagra. We roamed and roamed but somehow we were unable to find a motel. The roads were also lonely so we were unable to ask any directions to anyone. Suddenly we heard a honk by a cop car. This left us shocked…