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On Being Thankful

I have always looked at holidays through the lens of the intention behind them. The food, the rituals, the gifts are all happy bonuses, but the underlying thoughts behind the holidays hold more meaning for me. Diwali- the triumph of good over evil; Navratri- revering the feminine aspects of the Divine; New Year’s eve- learning from the successes and missteps of the past year and letting go; Day of the Dead- keeping alive the memory of those who have passed on; Groundhog Day- imagine living the same day over and over again (not the point? what?..).

With this perspective, I love Thanksgiving. Appreciating what I already have never fails to make my heart feel full. Our minds are generally conditioned to notice what’s missing, and refocusing to see what is actually there shifts our perspective. Gratitude in my thoughts has always helped my actions be effective, and more powerful.

It isn’t the easiest time in human history to think positive, but evolution and progress aren’t always linear. Our own history, as a species and on a personal level, teach us that. What we can definitely do is think and act consciously. Being thankful is a start.

This year, I am particularly thankful for friends. I have friends who I can laugh with, friends who push me to be more. Friends who give me the honor of helping them in times of need, and friends who reach out when I need a hand. Friends who come by other names- husband, daughter, parent, boss. Friends who can tell when I’m not myself, and friends who like me even when I am myself. Friendly strangers who let my car pass, who say kind things, who give their time to make my life easier.

What are you thankful for?

-Sayali

Listen to Sayali on ‘Jhoom Barabar […]

By |November 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on On Being Thankful

On making a difference

Yesterday, a very good man passed away. He was not on Facebook, or Twitter, and his communication skills were unpolished at best. His hair was a thermostat of his mood, and his sense of style left much to be desired. And yet….those who knew him shed more than a few quiet tears when they heard the news; not just out of sadness, but gratitude for having known him.

We tend to think that making a difference in someone’s life involves magnificent gestures, large amounts of money or time. We all hear the starfish story and nod gravely, thinking yes, that is so true- it did make a difference to that one. Then we scroll through our social media feeds, turn on the news or watch some inane TV, etc. and so on, and we only have enough energy left to survive our own day, let alone make a difference in someone else’s.

Think back to the people who have made a difference in your own life, though. It could be a teacher, a parent, a relative. There will be more commoners in your list than celebrities, I can guarantee that. What do you remember about them? They did something with passion. They reached out in ways which seemed small, but were magnified by their authenticity and intention. They connected people to each other without any expectations. They did what they did because they followed their hearts, without thinking of practicality or propriety. These are the people who change the courses of our lives, these are the big hearts which help us find our way.

Don’t set out to change lives- just find a way to express what you love through action.

Don’t compare your actions to what others have […]

By |February 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on On making a difference

Guest Review “Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha”

A guest post by our listener Barkha, reviewing the play “Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha” by Rakesh Bedi.

“Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha” is a very realistic depiction of life of two individuals, who were deeply in love in their youth but were separated due to family pressures and are now meeting after 35 years and recounting their life experiences.

Everyone remembers their first love – that first time when the heart flutters and hopes and emotions soar to the sky with dreams of living your entire life with the person you love. However, in most cases, family pressures and the pressures of the society come in the way of the fulfillment of this dream. The two main characters of the play – Pritam Singh Copra and Hema Roy – were, similarly driven apart.

This is a subtle and complex play, yet beautifully portrays the entire range of human emotions – from happiness and disappointment to anger and compassion – that one experiences on this journey of life. And so we see, that two seemingly happy people tell the horrors of life as the outer layers of happiness come off one by one during the course of their conversations.

The story reveals betrayal by the very people – parents, husband, and children – we care for and who are supposed to guard our interest. We also see idealism get tempered by realism as the two young lovers have to make compromises to keep their parents, and later their spouse and children happy. After having dealt with wounds that life inflicts on Pritam and Hema, when they meet for the first time in 35 years, nostalgia takes over and the audience gets a glimpse of their entire life. We […]

By |August 17th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Guest Review “Mera Woh Matlab Nahi Tha”

On Veggie Burgers and Being Yourself

Contrary to popular belief, not all vegetarians like soy veggie burgers, this nacheez (no lacto-ovo pun intended) blog writer included. I had eaten them on occasions when nothing else was available, but I found myself removing the patty more often than not.

Ah, the soy veggie burger patty. Slightly greasy looking, usually brown or a related shade, with a few discolored peas or carrot pieces visible. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a kernel or two of yellowish corn. You’ll take the first bite and be greeted with a burst of…chewiness. That’s right, chewiness. Add some more special sauce of your choice to that and perhaps swallowing will be not so unpleasant.

To replicate the mouth feel of meat (and of course the hallowed protein content), soy is added to many veggie burger patties. Now, I don’t know any meat eaters who have ever been fooled by a soy patty- “oh yum, tastes just like beef!”, said no one ever. And anyone transitioning from a meat-eating lifestyle to the other side probably isn’t going to stay vegetarian because of those clever soy imposters. In fact, it would probably convince them to go back because heck, those burgers!

So it came as a pleasant surprise to me when I first tried a frozen burger patty which was just made of vegetables. A little bit of potato to bind together some beans, corn, mushroom, some seasoning, and voila!, a convenient and delicious filling for my sandwich. This wasn’t going to fool any meat- eaters, either, mind you, but at least we wouldn’t drive them away. And the new vegetarians might just stay and try out a new way of eating.

This evolution of the veggie burger got me thinking about authenticity. Why try […]

The Adventures of Sayali- Part 1

The original plan for this week’s post was a bold and far-reaching one. I was going to write every week about something new I had tried, whether it was a lifestyle change, a new-to-me product or recipe, or a risky endeavor (probably less of those).

Sayali proposes and virus disposes. I was knocked out by the flu and had to cancel everything. The worst thing about a bad case of the flu is how absolutely miserable it can make you feel.  Achiness, chills, fever, congestion…ugh. Zip lining and roller derbies would have to wait.

But with the flu came a surprise adventure. Being bedridden and with a foggy brain, I was hardly capable of taking care of myself, let alone my children and my home. Quietly, my husband took over- making simple, fresh meals for the kids, keeping the house functioning, and making sure I was as comfortable as possible, in addition to fighting e-fires at his own day job. For a couple of days, I was so weakened, I couldn’t even give my husband my regular “reminders” to do things (meaning how to do them my way). And yet, and yet…..everything got done just perfectly.

It was a tough pill to swallow, tougher than those Tamiflu monstrosities. I didn’t have to be in control in order for life to move forward? I didn’t have to remind my husband about every little thing? And if something did get skipped over, the world didn’t stop turning?

So there we have it, an adventure on the roller-coaster of my own mind. Letting someone else be in control- no, let me be fair, being forced to let someone else be in control- scary, but worth it. Give someone else the reins […]

By |March 17th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Adventures of Sayali- Part 1

Spring and Renewal

It finally looks like Winter is on his way out and Spring is arriving here in our part of the world. Who doesn’t look forward to Spring? There are beautiful flowers, mild temperatures, and days just sunny enough to make you happy but not burn your skin off.
There is a sense of refreshment and possibility in the air, and starting (or restarting) a project doesn’t seem as intimidating. Things seem to get accomplished quickly and suddenly, like the tulips and crocuses (crocii?) which just pop up without any notice.
Much can be said about the benefits of Winter, though- a time for rest, hibernation, and clear, dark nights. It seems unproductive and uncomfortable, but there is so much growth going on underneath the surface. All that unnoticeable growth serves to strengthen and fortify your resources. We are all like tulips, needing the cold and darkness to bloom at the right time.

You will notice a freshness in our programming, as well as this blog, after an eventful Winter. Many new shows have joined the lineup here at Radio Azad, and we encourage to check out our archives (in the “Podcasts” section of the website) to get a taste. We were proud to be media partners for great events like the Beauty Glam Makeup Party and the DFW South Asian Film Festival. Our minds are brimming with new ideas and we would love to hear your thoughts as well! So tune in, comment, and call us- nothing puts a spring in our step as much as hearing from you!

 

– Sayali

By |March 10th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Spring and Renewal

Monday Musings- On making life easier (part 1)

 

Happy end of Monday! And it’s almost the end of October…where does the time go? I would love to be clever and say something less clichéd, but nothings seems as fitting (there’s a reason clichés are clichés!).

I have recently been thinking a lot about simplifying. I did not jump on the minimalism train when it chugged by, and I thought voluntary simplicity was for childless hippies living in small yurts in the middle of nowhere (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now, buried under mountains of obligations (I purposefully obliged to at the time), commitments (I joyfully committed to at the time), and things (I happily purchased or accepted at the time), I am seriously reconsidering. A yurt is looking rreeeeeaaaaaal good right now.

Sidestepping the issues of materialism, “never-say-no” syndrome, and other reasons for this virtual burial, I want to concentrate on the effect it has on my life. Instead of filling my days with a feeling of purpose and ease, I feel sometimes that I have ended up making life difficult for myself, filling up my time and closets with trivialities.

So let’s tweak the Radio Azad tagline a bit for our own purposes- “Khud ke liye aasaaniyaan paide kijiye, rabb aapko dusron ke liye aasaaniyan paida karne denge”. Ok, so it needs some work, but my point is it’s ok to take a simpler route. It will allow you to help others with a clearer heart, and it will make you much less grumpy (talking to myself here).

One thing I’ve done to make my own life easier is implement a “cooking turn” with a dear friend who lives nearby. I cook for her family one day a week and she cooks for my family […]

By |October 27th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Monday Musings- On making life easier (part 1)

On Columbus Day

Today was Columbus Day here in the United States- a Federal Holiday celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Americas.

I am always perplexed by the importance this day is given. I would think it would be one of those weird holidays which we celebrate on ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’, not an actual bank holiday. Perhaps, though, this is proof that you never know what your destiny holds. Shri Columbus was a man with my sense of direction (=none); he “discovered” the Americas which he thought was India (I can just hear his GPS saying “Recalculating…..Recalculating…..”). By all accounts he was not a very nice man, but we will leave that for more honest and less sugar-coaty bloggers. I am still scratching my head over the day off my daughter had from school because one man lost his way. I get lost all the time. And I discover things (which other people already knew about) on the way to getting lost. Your grandkids will probably be celebrating “Sayali Day”.

All things considered, accidental discoveries can be fantastic. I accidentally discovered my husband in my mid-twenties even though we had lived in the same town for all our lives. I accidentally found a new career when I was laid off of my “actual” job. I accidentally found out I liked hearing the sound of my own voice when became an RJ for the most awesome radio station. I accidentally found my daughters’ lost Lego piece when I stepped on it. Scratch that, that wasn’t so fantastic.

So here’s to discoveries of all sorts, accidental or otherwise- may we all continue discovering new things about ourselves and our world.

-Sayali

Have you helped your friends discover Radio Azad yet?

By |October 13th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on On Columbus Day

On Being Delighted

When was the last time you experienced pure delight?

That feeling when amazement and joy bubble up out of your heart and your face can’t help but light up.

You see it on children’s faces all the time- at the sight of an airplane, or a bunny hopping across the yard, at the taste of grapes, at the sound of a squeaky toy.

We adults chase after delight but don’t know it. We keep looking for it in the latest gadget, in sweet or salty or spicy, in the next notification. We may even get that hit, but it doesn’t last long, and leaves us with the strange feeling that we just missed something. The feeling of discontent plagues us and colors our days with a grayish tinge, making everything seem pointless….until the next ping! on our phones, or the next time we swipe our charge cards.

You will recognize pure delight when you feel it by it’s sheer pointlessness. Something will make you glimpse a new world, and you will keep that feeling with you for a long time. Delight includes awe, but is not the same- it is brighter, lighter, more rainbow-hued sweetness, while awe can sometimes be deeper in tone.

As the parent of a toddler, I woke up to the power of delight when I realized that the little things I showed my daughter to make her laugh- the grasshopper making an insane leap from the window screen to the baby swing, the buckets of rain falling outside, the way a big kiss on her ears resounded in her head- made me happy, too, if I let them. I needed to let my “been there, done that” attitude fall aside, and see and feel the magnificence of what […]

By |September 18th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on On Being Delighted

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Today’s guest post is by Nanditaji- catch her show “Kitabon Mein Likha Hain” only on Radio Azad!

History was not my favorite subject in school. I found it confusing and boring. I remember learning about the early man living in caves learning to use fire and tools, about some great rulers like Ashoka  and the Guptas, The Mughal empire, The arrival of the English and the independence struggle.  In World history we learnt about the Greeks and Romans, the European renaissance, the French revolution and the World Wars. I saw small bits which were hard to correlate and form a picture.

This changed greatly when I came across the free online course “A Brief history of Humankind” on coursera (www.coursera.org) . This course gave me a totally different perspective of history. It was so interesting and entertaining that I gave up watching my favorite sitcoms. I was hooked to the video lectures of this course. I wrote about it on Facebook, recommended it to friends and family, used some insights to shape two of my radio show topics  – “Money and bitcoins”, “Power of story telling”.

Two days back,  I got a mail –

“I am delighted to share with you the first chapter of my book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, which will be published by Penguin Random House in September. This book covers most of subjects discussed in the Coursera online course and much more besides, including full-colour maps and illustrations.”

Yes, I knew immediately that an episode of “kitabon mein likha hai” was in the make. The book has already been published in Hebrew and has been a best seller in Israel. It has generated much interest both in the academic community and among the […]

By |July 14th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind