Morning meditation, May 29th 2018

beach, sea, nature, outdoor, ocean, bird



On a green frayed old Ikea carpet,I’m lying like a stranded starfish on my porch which also houses my dog’s terrier hair. A brilliant blue morning sky stretches like the vast sea above me. The white noise of traffic on El Camino Real and the swishing of water of the carwash nearby comes and goes like waves. I watch motionless as the sea gulls fly across the sky; the sun smells like summer, warm and sweet. Now the breeze brings all kinds of memories of previous summers, mostly they are all feelings and scents with occasional pictures. A wayward plane succeeds in blending in with the white seagulls as it flies high above me with a faraway roar.

I have a few plants in pots, an overgrown rosemary, a bolting thyme and a sage plant, all of them look like they need water. I have three geraniums that are the oldest of the lot, they look too old and muscular to be in the pots they are now. I might do some pruning later. I also have a stubborn dwarf key lime that refuses to fruit, all it does is flower and drop, murdering my margarita dreams.

I definitely need bigger pots.

Then I have two stars of the show-my ‘Dalle’ chilly pepper plants-one is taking a lot of time to get taller and the taller one refuses to fruit.  I have a feeling I did not inherit my father’s green thumb. Everytime like magic, it seems like he can coax flowers out of the bare earth and they comply, as if they have a secret language they whisper in. I remember the white roses on the gate and the red poppies blooming in the little garden of our old home, almost as if it were yesterday. As clear as day, If  I close my eyes I can picture him making pots out of plastic or with his back hunched over among the poppy blooms. It’s easy to see where my love for nature comes.

As much as I love plants,I seem not yet able to understand what they need besides water and occasional organic fertilizer. Maybe I need to slow down and listen, to understand and gently nurture.

(I really must drop into the gardening store today.)

My to-do list is too long, so many half done projects that need attention and promises to keep. When overwhelmed at times; I tell myself that I am stronger than this and like my father toiling over his little garden, I promise to pay attention to my plot of earth in my soul. I will be kind to myself most importantly,and pull out the weeds of self doubt and insecurities so that I may have a garden as beautiful as the one my father made-inside of me.


My love~

He looks at me, eyes half closed.

Like a cat,

I see him sitting right on top of the stray couch,

where a little sunlight falls,

on his adorable butt,

he sighs at my touch

and sleeps even more deeply,

traveling into doggy dreams,

searching for lost bones,

like Indiana Jones

and playing with imaginary cats.




Observation exercise: Shoreline Lake



I sit facing the Shoreline lake, some Orange Earl Grey tea brewing in a paper cup. In the new breeze, the water ripples like an azure silk sheet. Folded ‘sunflower-yellow’ umbrellas sway gently above the checkered green-white plastic table-covers spread along community style tables. As I sip my tea, three Mallard ducks slowly glide by in a single file, effortlessly. Jazz music fills up this pretty cafe near the lake, occasionally you hear bangs and clinking of glass punctuated by cheerful voices from the kitchen; the employees preparing for business.

Fat little birds scurry along the floor outside where I am sitting, huddled over my laptop, the hood of my army green light jacket over my head, looking sinister. The fat birds looking for tidbits are not scared of me at all. Near a sign that says “Do not feed wildlife” an east Indian man sits and eats a croissant peacefully and feeds some crumbs to the birds, the sign is behind him- I smile at the irony. Now nine mallard ducks sun themselves while bobbing up and down like buoys on the ribbed water. Far away at the edge of the lake a group of people walk with backpacks and sun hats. I wonder if I should join a group like that, I imagine the sun on my back, the scent of the foliage dispersing in the air as the sunlight hits the herbs and bushes.They always smell better in the sun.

There are only old  white people  at the cafe having breakfast. I guess the rest of the younger folks are busy earning a living. I feel a little useless sitting here by the lake, sipping my earl grey and writing. I dismiss this feeling for now to deal with later. It feels good to be away from the house, from the same walls, flower pots, furniture, dog hair, chores, the same sounds, the same thoughts. More than the taste of the tea I like the way it smells. I like the chatter of people behind me working, the simple joy. I over hear discussions about wine and food among them, while some girls arrange and open up the sunflower colored umbrellas in front of the lake. There seems to be a private party later.


Far away, the last thing the eye can see on the horizon are I think the green Los Gatos hills. They remind me of Darjeeling and how in the rare October sunlight, the tin roofs used to sparkle like jewels.There are tiny white dots that are houses on that hill as well. Back at the cafe,  lots of surfboards are lined up near the shore, red, blue, orange, I make a mental reminder of getting some classes for JD, he had wanted to learn to windsurf but never got around to it.

A really brave bird keeps walking on my table looking for tidbits. On a mackerel blue sky a small white airplane flies.I’ve seen pictures like this on old Tintin comics. I picture the pilot in high spirits whistling, as if on cue to my thoughts, someone behind me starts softly whistling clashing  a bit with the saxophone. The jazz sound lends the place an old world charm, far away from the new world of dub-steps and autotunes. Someone croons words I cannot understand but it feels soothing. I can feel my breathing slowing down.Now there are five to six fat birds all around me I start to feel like Snow white in the song “A smile and a song.”


Two men on another table are really enjoying a conversation; there is a lot of animated gesticulating and smiling, I somehow feel happy. A group of six retired men on another table are talking about something important, they must be the veterans of silicon valley, they are all white haired and look like wizards. I try not to overhear their conversation so I concentrate on the jazz playing behind me until all becomes fuzzy and incomprehensible along with the tap tapping of my keyboard.I like the murmur better. I’m glad for the sound of laughter, it feels therapeutic.A black bird with crazy looking eyes goes kak kak kak! It has orange tipped wings that can only be seen when it flies.

I have to go now, I think I will walk towards the big colonial house in the property. Small White roses with a heavenly scent grow there. The scent takes me back to when I was eight; the same flowers grew on the rickety wooden gate of my parents old house. It is no longer there; the house or the roses. Only in memories they are always flowering, forever fresh and beautiful. We humans like salmon, always go back to where we were born where we started our journey, where it all began.No matter how far we may have walked away, all our memories ultimately lead us there. Right now my hometown is in a bad way politically but when peace will come around once more maybe, I will build a little wooden cottage beneath the pine trees, where the mornings will be filled with the scent of roses and chilly mountain air.




All night, the wind tossed trees aside like a salad in a bowl,I looked out from the double paned window and worried about the squirrels. Usually they look like a free circus as they waltz around the trees.
Eventually after much drama, it rained buckets and made all my pink geranium blooms wet and soggy. I think it will rain again, the day is overcast, but I quite like days like these, they remind me of days I’ve lived before and the memories are good. Periodically, a soft breeze blows that tastes of earth.Sheer cotton curtains, billow in gusts like a live thing.My dog tired from his walk, opens and closes his droopy eyes, ready to fade into a few moments of delicious restfulness. What a terror he is! He gobbled up a pretty yellow freesia I invited him to smell.Made me laugh,I live for moments like these.Now he smells like a spring flower and sleeps at the foot of my bed.I got other things to do beside musing…

Observation 2: Historic Murphy Avenue,Sunnyvale

I’m at  Sunnyvale downtown in a cafe called Coffee and More. I order a large decaf ice coffee with room for cream. I walk with my coffee, fill it with cream and seat myself on the long wooden community style table that seats six. I’m perched precariously on one of the far ends. My seat looks out from large bright windows that allow a lot of natural light into the small space, another woman sits perched on the other end.She seems to be working and getting lunch.

I look out from the windows to an old white two storied building with Portuguese style arches on the ground floor. They make lovely deep shadowy spaces from the sunlight.The wooden railings on the top floor spanning six doors and three windows on either side remind me of some old colonial style building in Kolkatta. It reads 111 West Evelyn Avenue in big bold black old Bookman style font. On the far right end under an arch that reads Hardy’s Bavaria, there is  a big wooden door.I wonder if its a good place to have a few drinks with my friends,I make a mental note to check it out.

If  I walk a few paces  towards the left from the white building,I know I will reach the Caltrain station in downtown Sunnyvale but I have never been there. I promise myself that one day I will take the Caltrain to King’s Street,San Francisco and get lost in the city for an entire day by myself. I think it takes about two hours to reach SFO by Caltrain from here. Snail’s pace!

The day is unexpectedly bright, the sky a spotless blue. Though I longed for these sunny days all throughout the winter, it’s starting to give me a headache now. I contemplate whether to wear my sunglasses.Sometimes it’s like looking at the world in high definition.

A girl in her twenties has a messy bun atop her head. She walks across the old white building from right to left. She is dressed in a bubblegum pink top and bubblegum pink stockings and carrying a Target plastic bag. She has a pair of dark wayfarer style glasses on and a dark skirt.She stands out like something bright and modern contrasting with the old arches across the street. The trees are still bare or barely sprouting new leaves; the world is waking up slowly this year.

I have come to this cafe before  a few times on a Saturday morning. It’s fresh bright and pleasant here then. There is a happy bustle of the farmer’s market, people walking with dogs and kids in tow.Music flowing through the corners, sometimes jazz, sometimes reggae, country, sometimes a lost sweet Mayan tune on a pan-flute. Once I met a petite nerdy looking french girl with a large beautiful voice that looked like it came from someone else.Once a blind lady with a Spanish dress and guitar filled the air so brilliantly,I had to buy her CD.

People enjoy the buying and selling of fresh farm produce. Some make kettle corn in a large vat big enough to fit one adult. He always wears huge plastic goggles and something that resembles a hazmat suit.Near the entrance, a middle aged man always sits talking to people. He owns several parakeets.Once I let one of them sit on my hand,I was scared the bird would take a bite.

Lunchtime smells waft throughout the cafe. I can smell the grilled cheese, fried fries, tomatoes, salads and coffees. I have no love or appetite for American food.

I think I am going to leave now and walk up to the parking lot. Won’t come here in the afternoon, the rank smell of oil is making my thoughts queasy and I’m starting to smell like cheese sandwich.

A Glass of love

Once we went to visit our grandparents at our ancestral house at the tea estate. Right next door lived a kindly middle-aged lady we all affectionately called aunt or Nini in Rai language. Whenever we visited our grandparents we were welcomed with such warmth by all the neighbors.
“Apuii kaile aayo?” when did you arrive? they asked with genuine happiness leaving their chores for a while. There was always an air of festivity, it warmed the heart, this warm acceptance and pure unselfish love.
For a kid, skipping in and out of the neighbors open styled tea-estate houses were considered normal. So one morning I woke up early and was running from one home to the other and eventually I went to Nini’s house. She was roasting some corn kernels over the open fire in a contraption that looked like a rickety guitar made with wood and wire netting.
“Come here” Nini gestured, I complied. She got up and filled a tall steel glass with some milk and shoved it in my face with gusto. It immediately smelled strongly of cow, smoke and the grass. It assaulted my over sensitive nose and made me want to throw up so bad I had tears in my eyes. Those days I was a weird kid and any animal product made me run a mile away.
“Drink up and be strong! “Nini suggested, grinning from ear to ear adjusting her lungi with a red dragon design and went back to roasting the corn kernels. I nodded meekly, not taking my eyes off the milk, which was thick and yellow with colostrum. The family cow had just given birth a few days ago. I looked up at Nini and then down at my heavy glass of milk that was getting heavier by the second. Me, a town girl had never seem milk like this, I was so used to drinking the watered down milk from Ramcharan, our Bihari milkman. He was known to refresh his milk with fresh mountain spring water diligently. Anyway, he was on top on my mother’s most hated list, erratic in his delivery but prompt for his monthly payment. He didn’t have many fans, naturally.
That being said, I was still standing very still holding the huge glass of milk afraid to spill it. I didn’t know whether to drink it or make an excuse to take it outside and toss in the flowerpot. I weighed my options; if I tossed it and Nini found out, she would be devastated! Maybe even a bit miffed at me. Even my ten-year-old brain understood that that was the best she could offer. She wasn’t rich and worked hard picking tea-leaves all day at the plantation as a laborer. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt her feelings. On the other hand, I had been holding my breath for a few minutes at a time trying to avoid the warm wafting animalic scents rising from the warm glass of milk. Nini was smiling encouragingly as she fed the chula mudstove with wood. I did what I had to do, held my breath and put the glass (which was bigger than my face) to my lips and bravely proceeded to drink the milk. To my astonishment, it was delicious! I could still smell the cow though so I quickly fished in my pockets and popped a hard jaggery candy in my mouth to camouflage the scents of nature. Nini smiled at me and taking the glass from me said, “Shyabash!” 
                “Well done!”
I felt fuzzy and proud.

Observation 1

The day is bright and sunny.I’m always amazed by how sunshine dispels all gloom but too much of it and I find myself slathering on greek yoghurt on my face as opposed to eating the sour vile thing. I’m doing random things on a Saturday with my SO like going to the gardening/hardware store and buying a tape measure. “Why a tape measure?” you may ask. I need to go buy a cheap couch as my dog literally ate it.I assume other peoples dogs have gone only as far as eating their homework. He started as a teething puppy seven months ago when we brought him home from the rescue centre. He worked his way with his vicious needle like puppy teeth from under the couch.By the time I had talked him into “No biting!” the middle of the couch sank, like my heart. Now we have a one cushion sized sinkhole where a seat used to be “I hope you had fun!” I want to say sarcastically but i don’t think he really understands because he just wags his tail, looks at me with puppy eyes surrounded with mounds of stuffing.He looks happy.
At the store, we finally find the tape measure. I’m tempted to buy a machete. I imagine I’m like Lara Croft slashing away at some tropical jungle full of snakes and whatnot. At the checkout counter in front of me is a little girl of about six. Her long strawberry blonde hair is done up in loose braids and rests on the back of her pale pink t-shirt. I envy her black pants that remind me of sparkly stars in the night sky. She holds a green plastic bird feeder in her hand,I hope for her sake, that the birds come and eat from it. I want to be six again just to wear those pants. The elderly woman at the checkout counter is so customer friendly,I feel I’m at the reception of some luxury hotel. I truly love people like that; the ability to make people feel good just by opening their mouth to speak. I wish I was like that, sweet and friendly like that lady. I have noticed I elicit either a blank stare, a dirty look, or a swift retort. I wish all of you could see my heart bleeding. I just got to admit, some people are just not born with “the gift of gab.” I suppose that why I write.
After having our egos stroked by the lovely lady’s kind words, we walk out of the store. Near the entrance, tables are lined up with cardboard, green paper, scissors and sticks of glue. A few kids are making some kind of lantern for St.Patricks Day which is next week I think. They look like little leprechauns.An employee is standing looking down at them, he looks like he has a massive hangover from Friday night. I recently discovered they have kegs with green beer here for St Patricks Day at Bevmo!I want to taste it just for the sake of curiosity. Anyway, it’s a bright spring day and now I’m headed to Ikea, where in my search for a cheap and sturdy couch,I will pray for my dog to develop other interests. I’m bracing myself for a battle with my SO when choosing the couch. Damn! I know I should’ve bought that machete!