It’s been quite some time since I had the time to write a few words. Of course, motherhood has been blissfully kicking my ass these last 6 months and Samiyah has slowly been teaching me the virtues of patience. Though not a surprise, everything else in life seems insignificant compared to the well-being of my baby girl. Still, I wasn’t fully prepared for how much of my life I would quickly change to accommodate this angel. Lack of sleep, quiet time, alone time, time with my instruments, time with my friends…these past 6 months have tested every fiber in my being about the Ego. Can I let it all go for something much larger then myself? I have come to learn that this larger gift is the experience of unconditional love.
Life is beginning to just now resettle into a new rhythm that has space again for other joys. We’ve moved and in our new space comes a dedicated music studio. I look forward to stealing moments there again now that we’ve managed to get Mia to sleep through the nights. Of all the promises I’ve made to myself, nothing seems more important than the one I made when she was born – to commit my life to her in every way I can, including teaching her what it means to have passion and to dedicate yourself to something, to fight for the time to soak yourself in it.
I want Mia to know that anything worth anything in life is the thing that takes a lifetime of pursuit and exploration, the path you’re willing to spend quiet, intimate time with late at night while the rest of the world is sleeping so you can understand just a little bit more about it and your place on it.
So this is Next…balance again where music, love, motherhood, art, creativity, joy, friendship, family, inspiration all have their place in my heart and my day-to-day life for myself and for Mia.
This will be a quick note just to let you all know that I delivered Samiyah Rumi Sadhal on August 4, 2010 at 7:17pm after 22 hours of labor – and yup, I did it without a lick of drugs. Samiyah came out healthy, screaming and completely wide-eyed. It was amazing and of course, a miracle.
Being a new mom has me in a different world of only her and her needs first, but she’s down for a nap now and I’m taking a moment to just let you know that writing songs waits for when I can find a few hours of quiet time. They say that may happen in 18 years!
I’ve spent the last month immersed in nesting here at the house. For the moms out there, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that bizarre time during pregnancy when you frantically run around the house cleaning, organizing, tidying, and stocking up before your baby arrives. For me, I’ve got about 10 weeks left. And about 40 books to read, the latest of which is about maintaining an organic food pregnancy.
Over the years, I’ve been slowly learning more and more about nutrition and swapping out the items in our cupboard and fridge for organic and whole foods. But then, as I read more in this book, the debate came up about whether it was better to eat organic if it got shipped in from around the world or was it better to eat non-organic from a local farm? How much gas and energy and water did it take to get me an organic peach? How organic is that overall? If an item is local and not organic, is it because it’s not certified organic but is still grown without pesticides and driven in that day to the farmers market?
The last time I hit Trader Joes, I started to read the labels on the top that says where the food came from. Product of Chile. Product of New Zealand. I didn’t pick up the peaches. Nothing against Chile or New Zealand, but it was hard to buy something that expended that many natural resources and feel good about feeding it to my family.
So I started to investigate other options. This book tipped me off to a website about CSA farms. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, I as a consumer can opt to help pitch in financially to a local farm or a local farm collective, and in exchange, I’ll get a basket of produce every week or every month – whatever I opt for. That sounded like a great idea.
With a baby on the way and life full of career and family demands, I don’t always have the time to spend at the local farmer’s market and shop at leisure – as much as I love the community and meeting the farmers. So this is an idea I’m seriously considering – joining a CSA farm and having my produce brought to me locally. What I get in my basket will dictate what we eat for the week, but that sounds like fun and a bit of a culinary adventure.
Nesting has me thinking not only about my home but my baby’s world. In all that I do everyday to try to make this a better place for her to live, can’t help but to think that this will only enhance her life too. Simplify life. Bring things back to local community. Be aware of the impact we have in every way possible.
Also wanted to tip you off to the idea if you haven’t considered it yet. Partly it’s selfish. The more people I can get to join in on this adventure, the better it is for all of us, including me and my family – cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaner food. Thanks for indulging my little bit of activism for the day!
Not long ago, I sat down with DJ Mason of Below Zero Beats to chat about music, life and things that move us. Mason played the interview on the show last month, but was kind enough to send me the file so I could share it again with all of you. So here we are. Me, Mason and Music.
I was raised an Indian Muslim in a small suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Like many, I have faced ignorant racism. At age 7, a woman and her elderly mother shouted at my and my mother, “Go back to your own fucking country.” Even then I knew she needed medication. At age 25, I was in San Francisco when 9/11 happened and similar yelling and harassment became a common occurence in my life. I do not shy away from hatred. I stare it down. In my lifetime, I never thought I would witness my President addressing the 1 billion Muslims in the world. But it has happened. And I feel heard.
I sit here staring blankly at a blank piece of paper, but for the faded blue lines that help me write straight across the page. My task is simple – to come up with 8 lines which when all said and done will make up 2 versus of a song. This canvas stares back at me pushing me to find poetry in explaining one word: Truth.
Word association games leave me with new words: fear, danger, strength, courage, compassion. Are these not some of the most complex human emotions? And what I have is 8 lines. I will massage the words and hopefully find poetry.
Arabian…thank you for your patience.
To Mumbai and all my Mumbaikars, my heart goes out to you. A Chennaikar by right, but a Mumbaikar by choice, no words suffice. My humble prayers are with you.
How you raised me to love India and its people with your joy and chaos, laughter and love for life. You allowed me to step beyond the boundaries of my parents’ India to find my own home away from home. You welcomed my music, my curiousity and my tukda Hindi with open arms. I am forever yours and send loving prayers of peace and healing while you rechannel your anger and confusion to effect incredible change. We are with you – though we are thousands of miles away.
I leave you with a few words I use to console myself in troubled times.
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall.. think of it, always.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Like all birthdays, I want to feel like this year my life will have some awe-inspiring purpose and wonder that even I cannot deny (or mess up)! The sign from God. The moment of truth. (I know…no pressure or anything.)
When my dear friend and fellow actor, Carey Embry, told me that Amma, commonly known as the ‘Hugging Saint’, was in town and giving Darshan on my birthday, I thought, if this is not a sign from God… Carey is an Amma devotee and his enthusiasm for our day is rivaled by none. Not even me, and I even received lovely birthday blessings from Amma.
You can’t help but to smile when you see her. She exudes pure love and joy, though she is surrounded by so much pain that we all carry around with us like dead weight. Saint she is. With ease and patience, Amma lifts us all up. Truly she and her work are holy.
But I will let Carey tell you more about our “fantastic” day…
My Revolution is much more than music. I want us all to be about love, compassion and joy. If we could all give the way Amma does, this world would be heaven. I am the first to say I have work to do.
So you can see what lovely gifts Amma gave me….we came and took a picture before we cut the apple and fed my moms, me, Carey, Harpal, my dad and saved some for YL dad. It’s prasadam..we ate it as the way to accept Amma’s blessing.
May you all continue to be blessed…
A new friend of mine recently challenged me with a single question, “Do you have a plan for yourself?” I just stared at her for about 2 minutes and then answered, “Clearly, I don’t.” It’s been my experience that plans never work out the way you envisioned and so I told her that about 5 years ago, I decided to stop making plans and to just go with the flow. Projecting way out in the future is a futile endeavor, I feel. It sets you up for incredible disappointment. Life happens, and not in any way you imagined.
My friend spends her days helping people define who they are and what they want to be in the world. Nebulous job description I know, but useful nonetheless. She explained to me that long-term goals are dangerous but invaluable. Interesting paradox. She went on to say that plans help you work out what you want to do with your days; today, this week, this month. They help bring forward short-term objectives.
I am still grappling with this conversation. What is the point of working hard every single day on short-term objectives you hope gets you to a goal that you will most likely never get to? Why not just go with the flow and let life happen to you?
I explained to her that for nearly 5 years, I’ve been a gypsy. She said, “I’d go so far as to say that you’ve been a nomad. It’s time to come home.”
Fascinating. All this time, I thought I was on a path. Turns out my path has been to not be on a path. The ultimate goal-less goal. Even I am getting dizzy thinking about this.
Yoga has taught me to be in life’s current. My friend inviting me to use life’s current to take me where I want to go. She asked me to think about what I want to be known for in 10 years. For the first time in my life, I am definitely aware of the fact that I have no idea. What type of legacy do you want to leave? Have you thought about that lately?
a couple of weeks ago, harpal bought tickets to a bowling charity event for a place called home. so off we went to support our friend roger and of course, the kids who benefit from a place called home. except, the thing is, i’m about the worst bowler around town. and what made me think i could hurl a 12 lb. ball down a oiled lane is beyond me…but somehow a couple of beers and fun with friends got my confidence up. it seems i was over-ambitious and have tweaked my knee, to the point that i have to ice it! my friend, mita, is a physical therapist and was happy to know that i’ve been icing it. i’m a dancer…ice is definitely a dear friend of mine.
so while i spend this time letting my knee heal up, i have some time to think about the shifts happening in my life. mostly i notice how some friends have become almost strangers to me while others have become like family and if you had asked me a year ago how it all might turn out, i’d have picked all wrong. in that way, i guess it’s best to let the Universe show you who’s real and really there for you through time. at the end of the day, every friendship is only as good as its conflict resolution abilities and the sticking power of people being willing to work through all that life has to offer. honest, conscious friendships are really hard to come by, but i don’t mind. when they’re here, they’re unbelievably amazing.
shifts are good. it keeps us growing and moving and open to new experiences that are better suited for our life in the present moment. my mom says i have a tendency to trust and love to easily. she says i don’t have to turn everyone into close family right away. she’s right.
i love being informal and close with people i meet, but i think life has recently taught me that informality and closeness is something that must be cultivated with great care and respect – otherwise there is no appreciation for it. not to say i hold back or that i’m cautious or mistrusting. just to say that now i take my time with people. there is no rush.
perhaps that is why my knee is sore…as a reminder to slow way down and be present and honest about what is true in my life right now. so maybe drunk bowling isn’t that bad afterall…