My parents tell a story about a debate around my birth.
They were newly married and had moved to the US for my father’s medical training. They had arrived in this country with $8, but through hard work and determination, were building a life together. They believed in the American dream.
The fact was that it was expensive to deliver me in the US, and it would be less expensive for my mother to fly back to India and have me there, surrounded by her parents and in-laws. My grandparents could then buy the ticket for her to return here with me.
Last night, my 13-year old daughter asked me what was the latest in Syria. In our family, we regularly talk about world events — whether it is the circus of the US pre-election cycle (during the first Republican debate, they gasped when Donald Trump reference Rosie O’donnell as a “fat pig, slob, dog”), the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the numerous incidents related to it, the situation in the Middle East, or the latest research on the importance of sleep (truly, I talk to my kids often about this as I want them to understand how important it is!)
I was telling the girls (Leela, my younger daughter is 11) about the refugee crisis in Europe, and how the image of the 3-year old little Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while the boat his family was escaping on capsized, moved hearts in a way that shifted inaction, not just of governments, but of everyday people as well. The girls asked what image… So I pulled it up, warning them it was difficult to see. Tara hesitated a moment before looking, anticipating that perhaps indeed this was something she didn’t want to see. But, I watched as she looked with determination.Continue reading →
For these last two weeks of summer, I have been in major organizing mode.
School supplies and uniforms, after-school activities, work strategy and planning, setting up speaking engagements and travel (which means coordination with my husband and mom!), cleaning closets, organizing finances, logistics galore of managing work, home, and getting my kids where they need to be from now through February!
I was laughing this morning as I read a Facebook post by my friend, Dani Modisett, author of Take My Spouse Please, about how her 2-day trip to NYC required a thesis of detailed instructions for her sitter. It’s so true! The only way for me to function sanely, while trying to work and professionally/intellectually keep growing, is to be super-organized and plan ahead.
I’ll admit my meditation practice these last two weeks has been sporadic, but when I am meditating one word seems to be popping up over and over again:Continue reading →
When I left a screening of the movie, The Prophet, two weeks ago in Los Angeles, my first wish was that I had taken my daughters to watch it with me. I was inspired by the lyricism of the film, and as thoughtful as ever about the contemplations that the book had stimulated for me during my many readings.Continue reading →
At breakfast this morning, my family was reflecting on our summer. “The highlight of summer so far,” my elder daughter, Tara (13 years old), said, “was attending the World Games for the Special Olympics.”
My family is incredibly blessed, and our summer has included concerts, Broadway shows, world travel, lots of good food, relaxation, Disneyland and many other highlights. As my younger daughter, Leela (11 years old), nodded enthusiastically, I was moved by what an extraordinary statement they were making.
We attended the Opening Ceremony of the World Games for Special Olympics last weekend. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities that provides year-round training and competition for 4.4 Million athletes in 170 countries.
A few weeks ago while in Washington D.C. with my father, I attended a private dinner with Tim Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics. Tim was passionate and articulate about the event, as well as dispelling some of the assumptions even we had about people with intellectual disabilities. Tim is truly a humble champion for people with intellectual disabilities, and the Shriver family must be applauded for taking an event that his mother, Eunice Shriver, started over 40 years ago and making it into a global social movement that it is today. As written about in this NY Times piece, Special Olympics and The Burden of Happiness, there is a long way still to go. The World Games truly felt like a Utopian world, and the stark reality for many of these people is very different and one is reminded of the need to champion human rights for all. Continue reading →
Many people ask me if I am in a better place after writing the book. I can categorically say yes! I am happy and healthy and feeling fulfilled – a good place to be. I made some major changes in my lifestyle that, while still inconsistent at times, have become part of my daily habits. Meditation has been more regular. Exercise and sugar, well, lets say the journey remains messy.
This morning, my last day of being 43, I had to go to the DMV to renew my license. In my sleep last night, I remembered that I had got a notice two months ago that I had to go before July 24th when it expired, and take an eye test, give my fingerprints, and take a new photo.I had an hour waiting with nothing to do so started scribbling notes for my intents this year.
I have always associated “Mothers Day” as a Hallmark holiday, and thus have truly resented it. And in recent years, its also become a time when I am inundated with requests to write articles.
As someone who runs my own editorial calendar for www.intentblog.com , I know there is higher search, sponsorship opportunities, and popularity on this theme so strategically it’s a good idea for a media platform to honor moms this week.
The devastation from the earthquake in Nepal is beginning to settle in now that the panic of the momentous quake and aftershocks, the search for loved ones, and the reality that over 4000 lives (and counting) have been lost. In my conversations with Caryl Stern, the President of the US Fund for UNICEF, and reading her book, I Believe In Zero, I began to understand more about the different phases of emergency relief, particularly the critical time frame of the first response systems, and then the long term needs to help people survive disease, hunger, and lack of resources that follow such a tragedy.
Many countries immediately offered aid and relief efforts to Nepal. Similarly, organizations like UNICEF, the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and other organizations are set up operationally to get into the country quickly. Here is a list from the NY Times of such organizations:
I have a memory of a family lunch at a famous seafood restaurant in Boston. I was 14 years old and my brother, Gotham, was 11. After ordering our food, members of the Boston Celtics basketball team marched through the entrance, scattering themselves among tables near us. Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, Danny Ainge, Robert Parish – they were all there. Gotham stopped breathing. Not because he had choked on a piece of swordfish – but because he could not contain his excitement. His eyes went wide with disbelief. He literally could not speak.
My father was appalled. “These are just kids who can throw a ball in a hoop,” he chastised Gotham. “Doctors, scientists, humanitarians, these are the heroes you should be worshipping!” Gotham ignored my dad. He was in a sacred place, and nothing could take away his joy. The fact was my brother’s Religion was Sports, and these were his gods. Continue reading →