Remembering Nanima One Year On

Sunday 9th May 2010 marks one year since my grandmother (mum’s mum) passed away.

She was a woman of strength and substance, someone who would fight on to do the right thing, and someone who consistently encouraged kindness, mindfulness and care.

I had the fortune of capturing a recording of her singing a hymn from the timeless Jain tradition called “Janaru Jaay Chhe Jivan”, which I’d like to share with you today:

[mp3player config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml height=”80″ file=http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6530076/Nanima-Stavan-Janaru2.mp3]

Lyrics: Janaru Jaay Chhe Jivan

Janaru jaay chhe jivan, jara jinavar ne jap to ja
Ridai ma raakhi jinavarne, purana paap dhoto ja………Janaru

Banelo paap thi bhaare, vadi paapo kare shid ne
Sadagati holi hayyani, aare jalim! Bhujato ja……… Janaru

Daya saagar Prabhu Paaras, Uchaade gyanani chodo
Utaari Vaasna vastro, aare paamar tu naato ja………Janaru

Jigarma dankhta dukho thaya paape pichanine
Jinandarvara dhyanani masti vade ene udato ja………Janaru

Aare, aatambani shaano bataavi shaanpan taru
Hataavi juthi jagmaaya chetan jyoti jagaato ja………Janaru

Khilya je fulada aaje, jarur te kaal karmaase
Akhand aatam kamal labdhi tani laye dil lagaato ja………Janaru

(source of lyrics: http://67.252.77.106/~webadmin/lyrics.html#Janaru Jaay Chhe)

If you know the meaning of these lyrics, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

If there are thoughts you’d like to share about your grandma, I’d love to read them in the comments too.

5 Articles That Illustrate Heena’s Character

As it’s my lady’s birthday today, I want to point your attention towards the issues that matter most to her.

Heena writes passionately on her blog at www.HeenaModi.com, and actively communicates these issues on Twitter and Facebook.  Her blog posts are also regularly featured on YouReportTV.

Today I share with you 5 articles from Heena’s blog that illustrates her character.

Heena Cares About Education

As a primary school teacher, Heena cares deeply about children’s education.  She is also the National Union of Teachers (NUT) representative for her school in South Harrow, to ensure that teachers are supported well in their careers.

In The best thing you can do for a child is encourage them to be independent, Heena outlines areas of focus to set the foundations for your children to gradually grow into responsible young adults.

Read the article at: http://www.heenamodi.com/2009/02/26/the-best-thing-you-can-do-for-a-child-is-encourage-them-to-be-independent/

Heena Cares About The Environment

Forever running around after me turning off light switches, Heena pushes hard to share ways in which to raise more awareness about the impact we are having on the environment, and what we can do to lighten our footprint.

In Everything is Disposable, Heena give practical suggestions on shifting from the ‘dispose everything’ mentality, into thinking how we can encourage more ways to ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’.

Read the article at: http://www.heenamodi.com/2010/02/05/everything-is-disposable/

Heena Cares About Animal Welfare

For a number of years, Heena has rescued abandoned cats by adopting them from animal shelters. A couple of years ago, she recognised the amount of violence that is involved in the dairy industry. As a result, she became vegan. To support other vegans, Heena regularly contacts food manufacturers to check whether everyday products are vegan-friendly, and then publishes the response on her blog.

In When your diet affects others. What do you do?, Heena explores some of the social considerations of following a vegan diet and how to overcome some of the challenges when dining with family and friends.

Read the article at: http://www.heenamodi.com/2008/10/09/when-your-diet-affects-others-what-do-you-do/

Heena Cares About The Local Community

Over the years, Heena has regularly participated in support groups that look out for the local community. She has served on the committee of a residents association and worked closely with local police on the Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

In Do you know your neighbours? What are the benefits of saying hello?, Heena opens our eyes to some of the shocking situations that are experienced by those living next door to us, and reminds us of our duty to ‘Love Thy Neighbour’.

Read the article at: http://www.heenamodi.com/2008/10/21/do-you-know-your-neighbours-what-are-the-benefits-of-saying-hello/

Heena Cares About Spiritual Growth

Having been brought up in a Jain family, Heena has taken a deep interest in her spiritual growth and progress for those around her.

In Jain Bhavnas / Reflections, Heena introduces twelve incredibly powerful contemplations from the timeless Jain tradition that cultivate equanimity through detachment.

Read the article at: http://www.heenamodi.com/2009/08/07/up-and-coming-posts-about-the-jain-bhavnasreflections/

Wish Heena a Happy Birthday!

To wish Heena a very happy birthday, tweet her @HeenaModi, message her on Facebook or drop her a note via the contact form at http://www.heenamodi.com/contact/.

Better still, read one of the recommended blog posts and leave a thoughtful comment on her site.

Never Forget Your Parents

parents

In the Indian culture, there is a traditional hymn that highlights the impact a parent has on their child’s life. It’s titled “mata pitane bhulso nahi” which means “never forget your parents”.

This hymn is typically sung during the prayer meeting after someone has passed away, often reminding everyone else to recollect what their parents have done for them, and if they are still alive, to look after them, the way they looked after you.

Mother’s Day is approaching – please take a moment to watch the video and read the words below, and do what is required right now to reconnect with those who have given you shelter.

Forget Everything Else, But Do Not Forget Your Parents

Bhulo Bhale Beeju Badhu Maa Baap ne Bhulosho Nahin
You can forget everything else, but do not forget your parents

Aganeet Che Upkaar Enaa, Eha Visarsho Nahin.
Their favors are countless, never forget that.

Patthar Pujya Pruthvi Tanaa,tyare Dithu Tama Mukhdu,
They prayed to many gods on earth, to see your face

Punit Jana Naa Kaadjaa, Patthar bani chundsho nahin.
Do not become rocks and crush the hearts of those saintly people.

Kaadhi Mukhethi Kodiaa, Monmaa dai motaa karyaa,
They fed morsels from their own mouth to raise you

Amrut tanaa denaar saame, Zher ugadsho nahin.
Do not spit poison on the ones who gave you nectar

Laakho ladaavya laad tamane, Kodh sau poora karyaa,
Those who loved you immensely and fulfilled all your desires

E Kodh naa purnaar naa, kodh purvaa bhulsho nahin.
Do not forget to fulfill the desires of those who fulfilled your desires

Laakho kamaataa ho bhale, maa baap jethi naa tharyaa,
You could earn millions, but if your parents are not happy at heart,

laakh nahin pan raakh che, E maanvu bhulsho nahin.
Always remember, those millions are ashes.

Santaan thi seva chaaho, santaan cho seva karo,
Expect service from your children, and serve being a child yourself,

Jevu karo tevu bharo, E bhavnaa bhulsho nahin.
Remember the teaching, as you sow so shall you reap.

Bhine sui potee ane, sooke suvdaavya aapne,
They slept in wet areas but made sure you were on dry land,

E amimay aankhne, bhuline bhinjavsho nahin.
Do not let tears come to those loving eyes.

Pushpo bichaavyaa prem thi, jene tamaaraa raah par,
They spread flowers in your path with love

E rahbar naa raah par, kantak kadi bansho nahin.
Do not spread thorns in the path of those path makers.

Dhan kharachtaa madshe badhu, Mata Pitaa madshe nahin,
You will get everything by spending money, but not Mother and father.

Pal Pal paavan E charan ni, chaahnaa bhulsho nahin.
Do not forget every loving moment of those auspicious feet.

(source: Never Forget Your Parents)

Marrakech with the Missus

At the tail end of December 2009, Heena and I spent 5 days and 4 nights in Marrakech (Morocco) celebrating our 1 year anniversary.

It was much needed time in the sunshine. The days were sunny and warm, but the nights were very cold, although not as freezing as London.

Here’s what we did: we spent time absorbing the sights sounds and scents (+ sometimes yucky smells) of the Souks, which are the markets and small shops throughout the alleyways of the Medina.

We also did the touristy things such as visiting some ancient buildings but didn’t fully understand what they are as my French needs brushing up and we don’t understand Arabic.  I’m hoping Heena will write a post about it with researched detail soon on her blog so I can link to it.

[update: Heena has written a wonderful post with more details about our time in Marrakech – published on Valentines Day 2010]

We took an excursion into the Atlas mountains where we climbed up to check out the Ourika waterfalls.

The magic of the trip was the quality time we spent playing cards, board games, and some singing and dancing 🙂

Some tips and resources if you are considering a short vacation to Marrakech:

  • We stayed at the Dellarosa Hotel, about a 15-20 minute walk to the Medina
  • Our vegan meal at Earth Cafe was delicious – possibly the only vegetarian restaurant in Marrakech
  • We needed to get a taxi from the airport to the hotel.  The first taxi driver we met tried to screw us over for price.  Lucky I had called up the hotel the night before – they said it would cost 150 Dhirams.  The first taxi driver tried to take us for 300!  Lesson: always check with the hotel how much the taxi should cost.
  • The climb up the mountain to the waterfall could have been fatal if it wasn’t for my shoes which had some grip – I almost slipped a few times right off the slippery mountain rocks!  Pack sensible walking shoes with good grip!
  • Devise a strategy when walking through the narrow alleyways of the Souks – all the shopkeepers will attempt to lure you in to buy something.  We had a strategy – I would hold Heena’s hand and charge straight ahead with rhino-like focus while Heena would smile at them with a look of “I’m sorry but he won’t let me stop” – kept it polite whilst successfully getting from point A to point B in the shortest possible time.
  • We drank loads of mint tea, loaded with plenty of sugar – BEWARE: I’ve now become addicted to sugar in less than 5 days and have to start weaning myself off it in my hot drinks.

No trip’s complete without some holiday snaps:

May 2009 – a personal update – celebrations, bereavements, career & preparation

Dear family and friends,

The month of May has so far been one of celebration, bereavement, remembrance, family closeness, career progress and preparing for this summer’s events.

In the early May bank holiday weekend, Heena and I spent 3 days in Brighton to celebrate her birthday, where we feasted at several of Brighton’s many vegetarian / vegan restaurants. If you’re going to Brighton, I highly recommended the vegetarian restaurant Terre à Terre.

We held bhakti (devotional prayers) on Saturday 16th May in memory of Heena’s father who passed away 9 years ago and in memory of Heena’s kaka (father’s brother) who passed away 6 years ago, and a sadadi /prathna sabha (prayer meeting) on Saturday 23rd May for our dear nanima (my mum’s mum) who passed away in Nairobi earlier this month.

On Monday 25th May, a few of the family got together to write kankotris / invitations for my brother Sawan’s wedding which is taking place in August. It was a productive day, and with the recent bereavements in the family, it was wonderful to have the warmth of the family come together.

Preparation is coming along well for the session titled “Revealing the Gremlins” which I’ll be presenting at the Young Jains International Convention this July. It’s about recognising the barriers we face when working towards our goals, and explores what karma is really about. If you want to know more about this, you can read an introduction to the session ‘Revealing the Gremlins’ .

The convention is taking place on the weekend of 17th to 19th July in London, and is open to all ages (aimed mostly at age 16 to 35 and beyond, although there’s a special kids convention taking place alongside it). Do register to attend if it sounds interesting – the cost is heavily subsidised, and registration includes delicious Jain vegan meals! Let me know if you’d like to know more, or see www.youngjains.org.uk/convention for details.

Public speaking is also becoming an important element in my career, where last week I was invited to a conference to speak about digital marketing strategies to a room full of university marketing and communications professionals. This is really important for me because my role at Chameleon Net focuses on building relationships with existing clients and attracting more clients from the higher education sector. I received some very constructive feedback from the session I presented, which will help to make me a better public speaker over time.

Next month, Heena and I will be celebrating six months being married (and incidentally a year since I proposed to her). It’ll consist of more preparation towards the Young Jains Convention in July and Sawan’s wedding in August. Of course, June is also the month in which I’ll be growing a year older / wiser!

As you can see, the next few months will be quite action-packed, so thanks to all who have been patient with me about arranging to spend some quality one-on-one time together – this will happen September 2009 onwards…

With love,
Suraj