Hello, Women’s Day!

Hello, women’s day! We meet again. It’s been a year since we celebrated you and declared how important you are in our lives and we have a made big circle around the sun. Today, we come back to you with eager expectations, grand achievements, deep expressions of gratitude, as well as silent protests, deeply wounded hearts and we come back with the souls of our sisters who have been stripped off of their lives, dignity and humanity.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is, “Be Bold for Change” – #beboldforchange. Pondering on the theme, it seeks men and women who are agents of pragmatic action and continue to call out injustice against the girls and women of our society. Be Bold – courageous words of empowerment that drives us to work harder for rights of a woman. It calls for people to be brave together in combating patriarchy and denouncing the evils of oppression. Change is constant. Change is necessary.

The last year, like the last decades and the last centuries, has seen the achievements of exceptional  women around the world in many aspects. With times changing economically and the world becoming more globalized and revolutionized, women, are still paid less, made to walk miles and miles to fetch water, discriminated for their gender, caste, race, womanhood and the list goes on. Yet, we don’t surrender and the struggles are real and they continue fiercely than ever before. I believe it is the sheer power and resilience of women that has brought the movement this far. Women around the world join hands in protest to all forms of oppression and injustices. Technology, hashtags and selfies are broadly used to propagate their exasperation and send clear messages to this world.

To me, the past year has been an amazingly meaningful journey as a woman and a young mother. Being in a society which is seemingly moving forward, it still has vile traces of hostility towards women who express their freedom. I have had the privilege of meeting some extra ordinary women this past year who work for gender justice and who lift each other up. It is my hope that we will focus on what is real, what has to be done, how we will work together to form an inclusive society. It is also my responsibility to raise my sons as feminists who will stand up for the rights of women.

Here’s a shout out to men and women celebrating women and saying NO to violence against women. Together, we can make this round around the sun, louder, passionate and successful!

Happy Women’s Day, sisters!

Happy 2, Rafu!

Happy birthday, my wild child!

You are two today!

May your life be filled with balloons and guitars and all things that bring joy to your heart. May there always be sunshine on cloudy days and rainbows when there’s rain. May you always have that sparkle in your eyes that ignites happiness to those that surround you. You are intelligent, creative, naughty, stubborn, a drama queen and so much more. We love you just the way you are (although, I don’t like your tantrums) and will be there to help you grow with faith, hope, love, humility, empathy and grace.

The whole universe is yours darling and may you explore every beach, climb every mountain, touch as many lives and never lose the naughtiness in your spirit.

We will always be there to hold you when you need comfort, pick you up and walk beside you every step but my darling, you will have to lead the way. Be independent and never let anyone hold you back.

Lots of love,

Amma

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Lessons from a little heart…

When our three-year old son Karthik, witnessed the passing away of his dear grandfather last week, he had several questions like any toddler would have. He knew that Jonathan thatha (his paternal grandfather) was no more and that he has gone forever. For a child to understand “gone forever” is both beautiful and important. Important because he would not live with the expectation of seeing his thatha tomorrow and beautiful because he hides wonderful memories in his little heart and he remembers the lessons that thatha had taught him in his sharp mind.

When Karthik saw his thatha lying peacefully in a cold freezer box, he asked us how thatha could go to God if we put him in a box. He was upset that we did not open the box to let him go. His question may be innocent but it helped me reflect on a very important issue in life. Sometimes, we find it hard to let go of our anger and hatred and we let our hearts turn icy and cold but we try to convince ourselves that we are free souls. But, how can we be liberated if we do not let go of feelings that hold us back from being peaceful? I am grateful that my son taught me this very important lesson on one of the saddest days of my life.

Later, when the wooden coffin arrived, he said, “Look, the boat has come to take thatha to God“.  To me, this is one of the most beautiful imagery about passing on. We sail across the mysterious ocean of life and we move on to the ocean of eternal life. We don’t know if the winds are going to be rough or smooth but what we know is that we all travel through the waters of life and love.

 

Break the chain: ONE BILLION RISING

 

One In Three Women On The Planet Will Be Raped Or Beaten In Her Lifetime.

One Billion Women Violated Is An Atrocity.

One Billion Women Dancing Is A Revolution.

We at the Ecumenical Centre will dance and rise on February 14 at 12.30 to break the chain of violence committed against women.

This is a call for our sisters and brothers to STRIKE, DANCE and RISE and prove that women’s rights are human rights!

Advent birthdays!

Advent birthdays are fun as it is a season of hope and I have big hopes for the coming year 🙂

Each year is a piece of puzzle that completes the picture of life and birthdays are a reminder of this life given to us. It is a time to celebrate our mothers and fathers and each person that has influenced our growth in the past years. So, with a heart brimming with gratitude, thank you amma and appa for this beautiful life and thank you Uday and Karthik for bringing meaning to life!

The past year for me has been a year of enormous growth, a year of faith, a year of change and a year of hope. This year I lost one of my grandfathers and I am thankful for his life and that he did not have to endure more pain. This year reminded me that our loved ones are not immortal and life sometimes has a serious sense of humour and lets us smile through the pain. Pain that makes us stronger and I learned that we have too little time on earth so it is important to love and to be peaceful. This year also helped me become a better friend and l have  to tell you that I have some amazing friends!

I believe that birthdays are a reason to smile at the year gone by and embrace the new year with an open heart. My hope is that I become a better person each day and that my faith grows with love.

Happy 12.12.12 friends! ❤

Magical Black Forest

It is always exciting to be in the middle of nowhere! Black Forest is the most beautiful, magical forest I have ever seen. The view of the incessant shadows of pine trees and the different hues of dark bottle green is simply breathtaking. Once you enter the protected area, it is quiet, calm, crisp, refreshing and we were with nature at its purest form. Suddenly, it just felt right. The stillness and the beauty around us brought a great level relaxation that we were in dire need of!

We drove past pretty little towns with sweet bakeries and tiny boutiques. After four hours on the road, we reached Schonach, Central Black Forest. We stayed in a house called “Haus Blindensee”. The house is named after the mystic lake, Lake Blindensee which s 0.3 kms from the chalet itself. It was a quaint little chalet with the most amazing view of the forest. We took it easy on the first day and went to the lake and enjoyed the enticing trails of the forest. We saw some colourful, wild mushrooms, gigantic trees that were uprooted and several wild plants.

On our second day, we visited the World’s largest Cuckoo Clocks in Schonach which was built by Josef Dold. The clock is built  into a small house in Schonach. Dimensions of the Clock mechanism: 3.60 m (12 feet) wide, 3.10 m (10 feet) high, 1 m (3 feet) deep. It was a great moment because I always thought Cuckoo clocks came from Switzerland! It is never too late to learn! We then visited the Triberg waterfall which is the highest waterfall in Germany. The smell of wet soil took me back to my childhood. Later on, we visited the Black Forest Open Air Museum. It carries out research projects and explores the cultural heritage and development of all rural areas in the Black Forest region. In addition, the museum collects and preserves for the future important cultural assets from the region to ensure that the people of the region and visitors can access and experience these collections. It was very interesting to see how people have lived and worked in Black Forest farmhouses over the last 400 years. We ended our day with a delicious slice of “black forest” cake and a warm cup of coffee.

We spent our weekend with our adorable little God daughter Indira and her parents, Rabi and Iris. When we discover new places with people we love and conversations are effortless, it is always a memorable trip. This was one such trip and we hope to have more experiences in the coming months.

 

Faith at the heart of healing…

Saturday started off well with a hot cup of coffee on a cold, rainy morning. Little did I know that there would be a small accident and I had hurt my knee. It was a rather deep cut through my artery and there was a lot of blood. I kept my calm not wanting to scare my son and dressed up the wound with my husband’s help and went to the doctor. Even as the doctor examined the cut and explained how deep it was and the number of stitches I needed, I did not panic. This attitude was very strange and un-Daphne like, as I used run a mile when I saw a needle as a child. Now, here I was lying in the emergency room, telling myself, this too shall pass.

While I was lying there, I was glad that this accident happened to me and not to my child. (Parents have this streak of freakish craziness about protecting their children from pain.) Then, I started thinking about all the people who go through pain caused and intensified by violence. Children that are so badly hurt…..How many people go through this experience, each day? Many. And, some of them don’t see the end of the day as they don’t have access to medical care.

Sometimes, it takes small accidents to feel the pain. It takes some moments at the emergency room to remember how many people suffer through this pain. It takes a little faith to not panic, and say this too shall pass but it takes a lot of strength to be mindful and pray for healing, both spiritual and physical. Not all wounds are bloody but they sure hurt. Scars are a constant reminder of struggle and strength and let us not become numb towards the pain around us.

Faith is at the heart of healing as it could be where the mystery of healing becomes real. “The expectations that we arouse in the process of healing have to take into account both, of God’s faithfulness to keep God’s promises and of the freedom in the way that God keeps them. To tell somebody that if they believe enough the healing that they seek is guaranteed, is to court disappointment if it does not happen, but even worse it is to misrepresent healing as a cause and effect process rather than a personal transaction. A prayer in which we let what concerns us pass from our hands into God’s and wait for an answer that we cannot control, but that we have good reason to believe will always be gracious even when it is not the one we were looking for.

We have to tread carefully on this delicate course between not encroaching on God’s freedom and at the same time firmly trusting in God’s promises. That is what we do in healing because that is what we do in all prayer.”