What’s in a Name?

29 September, 2005

This is tangentially related to yoga so I thought I’d blog about it: Here’s how we came up with Diya’s name. Raashi is the use of hindu astrology to determine an ‘auspicious’ name for a new child – the idea being that a certain sound will resonate or be more agreeable with people based on when they were born (and here, don’t ask me how a C-section or an induced birth changes this because I don’t know); That date and time determines the first letter of the name.

We didn’t use raashi for our first child as I was adamant on the name Dhara (roughly translatable from sanskrit as ‘river’s flow’, ‘waves’ or ‘current’). Still, we settled on Sonali (meaning: ‘of gold’) as her middle name based on raashi since my mother-in-law insisted.

This time we decided that we would use raashi (I’ve mellowed and I’m less of a skeptic regarding such matters – besides what difference does it make if you can still come up with a fine name?). Once Diya was born, we phoned our family ‘guruji’ with the exact time. He advised that the name should begin with ‘D’ or ‘Ch’. We immediately settled on two potential names, both
beginning with ‘D’ – Drishti and Diya. Neera was keener on Diya and I liked both but slightly preferred Drishti (as a tribute to the practice that ever continues to make me). We ‘tried out’ the names with friends and family and a clear consensus preferred Diya. So we settled on that.

Interestingly, several have come back to us say that Drishti has grown on them and that they now prefer it – including my wife Neera! But I’m having none of it. The dye is cast and Diya’s her name. To me she’s luminiscent so it fits; her name is a hindi word for ‘light’ or ‘lamp’ – in particular the one that’s lit for puja).

Back on the wagon

27 September, 2005

Well, I’ve now practiced 4 days straight so I’m clearly back on the wagon. I’m wondering which asana I’m going to suss earlier – Garba Pindasana or Yoga Mudra – ooh I’m so close; Garba Pindasana I would probably have if I kept at it long enough; it’s just a matter of getting those arms through. I can only manage to get them a third of the way up my forearm (maybe too much strength training’s made my arms to big?) As for Yoga Mudra, with my left limbs bound I can just about brush the tips of my right toe with with my right hand.

I’ve been thinking more about making my Mysore pilgrimage; I think it’ll happen within the next two years. I’ve been introspecting on why I haven’t gone yet – I have the money and with planning time off won’t be an issue (with my job I can take a sabbatical of up to 6 months). I think I just want to get my asanas up to a certain level of competency. But there are all kinds of details to figure out. For example, do Neera and the girls come with me? The other option that’s recently occurred to me is that I could keep work remotely – after all, I work from home most of the time anyway. I’d need quality high-speed internet and telephony but that could be had I’m sure at the top hotels (which if I kept working, I’d have no problems affording).

As for taking my family, Neera is a massive non-practicer so unless she picks up the habit soon she’ll probably find 3 months in Mysore a bore. She’s has it on her agenda to begin Yoga some day; She knows she should – she’s not a skeptic. She’s sold on the practice…it’s just a matter of getting her to commit the time. I’m probably going to have to push her a bit if that’s going to happen. I figure now’s a good time for her to pick it up – she’s got a year off from work. Sure the baby will keep her busy, but surely she’ll find 90 minutes. Then again if we both went, that’s two salaries we need to manage without. I think what will end up happening is we’ll travel through India for a month together and then I’ll go on to Mysore while she comes home. We’ll see.

When I do go, I’ve the perfect way to take my money over though. ICICI Bank has registered a charter to operate in Canada. So I can go to one of their several branches here in Toronto, open a rupee chequing account and dump Canadian dollars into it. Then I go to India armed my ATM Card and extract Indian rupees out of the same account using their 1500 machines/branches throughout India. No travellers cheques or money orders. I just need to carry a couple of hundred onto the plane with me. Pretty slick eh?

What else did I yesterday. Well, the fridge is fixed, so is the car. The carbon filter for the HEPA filter is ordered, so is the one for the range top fan. The ones for the RO Filter I installed last week. So I’m getting through my chores.

I was up all night. Diya sleeps right through the day and is up all night; I was taking her on walks through the house at 3 in the morning. We took her to the paediatrician today – she’s gaining weight very quickly and looks wonderful.

I spent the rest of the day with my other daughter since it was a day off from Kindergarten for her. We went to the library, played in the yard, and then in the evening we made these makit&bakit necklaces. The stuff Dads do these days eh?

New girl home again

26 September, 2005

I picked up Diya and Neera from the hospital today. Diya’s gaining weight and no wonder – she knows how to eat; the girl’s looking well. Even though I’ve been to the hospital everyday she suddenly looks so different from last Sunday when she was born. She’s alert, looks around the room and occasionally fixes her eyes right at you while you’re feeding her; I’m able to feed now as Neera’s expressing. So she’s getting more food at each sitting and consequently getting longer rests. She slept all afternoon.

Ever notice how you’re body waits until you’re free before getting sick? Like after a hectic 3 or 4 months at work, the project ends and you get a couple of days to catch your breath…except wham, all of a sudden you get the flu. It happens to me. Well, I’m not sick now but something similar’s happening. I’ve taken a couple of weeks off and all of a sudden stuff’s breaking down – the sink got’s clogged yesterday, the fridge water dispenser stopped working (and backs up to drip into the basement) a day before that, today the car’s brake sensors go on the blink and the ABS and Brake lights won’t go off. Last week was nuts with baby stuff. This week’s going to be as hectic with sorting all this out – and all the other chores I have lined up. I suppose it’s better that it happens now than while I’m working.

On the main subject. I practiced this morning. That’s two days in a row and I look to be getting back onto the wagon. My normal diet’s back – I found myself snacking on a plum and pear this afternoon (instead of bagels, cheese and chips).

The New Normal

24 September, 2005

The new normal in our household is a ruthless dictatorship run by a 6lb munchkin. It is an haphazard totalitarianism without schedules and it runs according to the whims of a little girl in a ‘onesy’.

I did escape her clutches briefly for the Paul Weller concert yesterday – battling traffic and the lashing rain to get downtown. I got there 15 minutes before the doors opened and the Modfather wasn’t due to play for another 1 1/2 hours. So at this general admission show (I don’t know why my ticket said ‘row 6 seat 20’) I parked myself front and centre. I worried a little that the crowd looked thin and wondered again why this genius is not granted the respect he’s due in North America. I needn’t have worried because by the time Weller took the stage, the place was jam (pun intended) packed. His fan base, in Toronto at least, is solid.

He came on looking, well, a bit camp actually – he had these casual brown trousers and comfortable looking black loafers with rubber moulded soles. On top he wore this cream-coloured long-sleeved T and around his neck he’d tied a chiffon scarf. But he wore it all well.

The show was outstanding of course. We should all be so lucky as to do whatever it is that we do with so much passion and commitment after so many years. He looked as though he was thoroughly enjoying himself. It was a long set and the energy was intense throughout and the camaraderie between the musicians genuine. Above all the man’s charisma was totally compelling.

I met some interesting folks. Among them a father (perhaps in his early 50s) originally from Boreham Wood in London (UK) and his son. The father recalled “I had him listen to a few tracks and he thought ‘what’s this Paul Weller crap’. Pretty soon he had the DVD nevermind all the CDs and he was well into it”. The Dad was once an Arsenal supporter but had lost track of their progress when he came to Canada 28 years ago. Now he’s a card-carrying citizen of what we in Toronto call ‘The Leaf Nation’. They took pictures at the show and I gave them my email address so if they ever get around to sending me any, I’ll be sure to post them on this blog.

Apart from that, Neera took our ‘Great and Beloved Leader’ to the pediatrician for a check-up. I had the show later so my Mother accompanied them in my stead while I took the opportunity to catch up on sleep. I did finally manage a practice earlier in the day; It was a tired affair with the vinyasas in particular out of form. But I wasn’t as stiff as I’d expected to be (perhaps because it was late morning and I’d been up for some time). Kurmasana was a bit painful but Supta Kurmasana was deep; I’m closer than ever to clinching that mythically shelled napper.

Today, there was no practice. I got home late from the show and was up all night listening to Diya. Tonight I will sleep soundly though and hope to practice in the morning (although I just noticed it’s past 2:00 am. Crap!); I took mother and child back to a hospital (this time one in Oakville since Milton’s cute little place doesn’t have the required facilities); Diya’s bloodwork showed some jaundice and they’re putting her under the lamp overnight. She’s looks perfect to me and I guess it’s precautionary – which I’m all in favour of. I should be picking them up tomorrow – hopefully after seeing Arsenal successfully take 3 points off West Ham. I better eat something and get some sleep.

Sleeping like a baby

22 September, 2005

…which is to say, hardly at all. Whoever came up with that phrase has a keen sense of irony. I don’t feel too tired though – I crawled out of our bedroom some time after two with my pillow and crashed out on the sofa. I’d had enough of staying up all night to provide moral support. Neera’s the one who has to feed so what’s the point of me staying up? It’s not like I can lend a hand (or anything else) in the feeding department. So I got sleep instead. But no asanas because I was just way too tired. It’s now five days without asanas; my longest break for a very long time. Let’s see if I can get a practice in tomorrow morning.

Those 5 days have also seen a general decline in habits. I’ve even drank coffee. I had maple walnut ice cream for lunch. At the hospital I twice made dinners out of large bags of Mrs Vickies potato chips. I’ve also developed a penchant for egg muffins and hashbrowns (those frozen rectangular patty ones) for breakfast – a fried egg, cheddar, a couple of slices of Yves’ veggie Canadian bacon in an english muffin, two of those hashbrowns with lashings of ketchup. I am light years away from sattva. I reckon it’s all the running around – I’m snatching at whatever yields the highest quantity of calories in the smallest packet…and I’m always hungry.

Our other daughter has been fantastic. You wouldn’t think that this child was saying goodbye to five years of exclusive attention getting. She has taken to her sister big style. I’m proud of her but not surprised; it’s true to form – she always been been a model child and she’s going to be a great example to the new kid.

Tomorrow I shall briefly escape domesticity – the Paul Weller concert. Becoming a Dad does put things into true perspective. If I hadn’t brought home a daughter this week I’d be hyperbolic about tomorrow – calling it one of the pivotal days of my life or something like that…when really it probably is not. Still, Weller is one the outstanding cultural icons of my life and tomorrow’s show will be right up there with seeing Arsenal at Highbury for (probably) the last time a year ago.

Well, this blog has been an indulgence for me tonight (but at least it’s one without trans fats). Thank you all for the kind wishes.

There’s nothing remotely like becoming a parent. It turns your world right side up.


20 September, 2005

Diya (a hindi word for ‘light’) was born in Milton, Ontario, Canada on Sunday afternoon – a typically sunny early fall day in Ontario. That’s why I haven’t blogged in days (I haven’t practiced my asanas since Friday either).

The water broke on Saturday morning. I came home with several hundred pounds of compost from the Waste Management Depot and asked my wife ‘how you doin’?’ as I walked into the house for breakfast. She told me. So I inhaled eggs, showered and shaved and then headed for the hospital. She spent the night there and I was there well into the night before coming home to sleep. The next morning I was there early; the contractions were on but not strong enough and it was now 24 hours since the water had broke so they added a little bit of oxytocin to the mix and that did the trick. She was born that afternoon – at 3:03 pm.

I don’t know where the last two days have gone. They’ve been a blur; running to and from the hospital, walking around the corridors of the Obs section with the Diya to give her Mum a chance to rest (and to stop her crying – she enjoys being carried and taken for walks already – and starts wailing as soon as you put her down); making runs to Tim Horton’s to pick up steeped tea and fresh fruit yogurts for the same. It’s all great. I’m tired but I’m having a fine time.

Mum and baby are home now and I’ve taken two weeks off work for the new girl and her older sister (who has really taken to her new protege). Asanas are the last thing on my mind but I’ll start practicing again tomorrow.

Pre-Moonday evening practice

17 September, 2005

Yesterday I was up at 4:00 am for an early morning practice before heading to the office. I dropped my wife off downtown right at the front door of her office – if she insisted on going to work I certainly wasn’t going to drop her off at the subway in her (8 1/2 months pregnant) state.

It was a short work day for me though because I was back in the city at noon, boarding a cruise ship at Queen’s Quay for a 5 hour cruise of Lake Ontario. We sailed through the Toronto islands and took in the views of the beautiful and ever-changing city. We were lucky with the weather though; either side of Thursday has been wet and cold but Thursday itself was a stunning day – hot with clear skies but not muggy and smoggy – an Ontario late summer classic. The cruise was a treat from work (2nd Quarter was good and 3rd is shaping up to be just as good) so 475 of us managed to drag ourselves away from our desks for one afternoon and enjoyed the beautiful day as well as the company, and food and beverage laid out for us – In the hot sun I stuck to Montclair; the funny thing about Montclair is that I might as well drink from my own well – the water is bottled a few kilometres up the road from our house and it comes from the same aquifer. Our water at home is beautiful as a result; none of us can drink water away from home – we carry bottles of our own wherever we go.

When I got off the boat, I still had some time to kill as Neera was staying a bit late wrapping up her last day at work, so I had a slow pint at a waterfront cafe with a couple of colleagues before meeting up with her for the trek home.

I slept some 10 hours last night. The sun on the boat must have exhausted me and it had been a long day. I skipped practice in the morning and got straight to work. It was late and I had decided on an evening practice before the pending moonday. I had that practice a couple of hour ago. Typical evening practice – flexible and light.

You know that phrase ‘One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’? It applies to me when it comes to compost. Twice a year, in the Spring and the Fall, Halton Region do a compost giveaway at their Waste Management Facility and we bag several hundred pounds of the stuff for our yard. They get the compost from all the yard waste they pick up through the year and the maintenance of public green spaces and trees; so that’s what I’m doing on my moonday morning – I’m bagging compost.

I have two composters at home and we process all our kitchen scraps and yard waste through it – and we get plenty of that from our vegetable patch. Even confidential documents – old credit card statements and the like; I shred them and add them to our compost. In warm months it’s dirt in six weeks. We’ve never let organic waste leave our property – it all stays to supplement the land.

I’m a bit mad – I even bring my apple cores, banana peels and other stuff home from the office for our composter; and I’ve even thought about taking other peoples yard waste from their – especially leaves – and building a large enclosure at the back of our property to process it all. The stuff is gold. It’s the perfect fertilizer – organic and perfectly balanced.

The Region’s running a pilot ‘green-box’ program to pick up organic waste and I’ve got mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it’s great to divert all this from the landfills but on the other hand, why can’t people take care of it themselves? It shouldn’t need taxpayers money. It’s not like it costs anything – we got our composters for $15 each. And I save a bundle in wastes fees (we live in the sticks and I have to take my own garbage to the depot and pay to dump it) and the compost is great for our property. With their garbage as with so many other things people are lazy, stupid, thoughtless, inconsiderate and short-sighted.