Takeaways from 10% happier by Dan Harris

Recently Sriram got this book as a gift and I devoured it! The book that I borrowed from our local library, RLS' Treasure Island, Sriram is devouring it - tit-for-tat I suppose!!

In this book 10% happier, Dan Harris mainly writes about meditation. The book is about how a skeptical TV newsman embarks on an evolving journey of exploring meditation. For me however it was also about getting a peek into the insanely intense and the intensely competitive field of TV journalism.

I never knew these anchormen & women wrote their own stories. I always thought someone else did all the grunt work for them and all they had to do was look good and read from the teleprompter. It was a revelation for me that these people, even bigwigs like Barbara Walters wrote and edited their stories. I now have a newfound respect for what they do! And also a new found appreciation for how crazily intense and competitive this profession is. The amount of travelling, scripting, editing and all the leg work that is required to produce a single segment seems to be equivalent to producing a full blown movie in the time span of a single week! and this is done week after week!! that is how crazy this business is. To make things even more insane, there is this non-stop competition for air time. Apparently every day, for every show, these anchors have to pitch their stories. Every day they battle it out to get their stories selected and aired on TV. What exactly are these people made of - those that can thrive in a job so brutal?

In any case, the book is about meditation. So back to meditation...


War Story of Another Kind

The earliest available photo of Esther
This is the story of Esther, my friend's grandmother. As a mom of two who is constantly preoccupied with safeguarding our kids from danger and also safeguarding our own selves just so that we can take proper care of our kids, I found her story very compelling and worth sharing with the world. So here it is...

Esther was born in early 1936 in the city of Babrujsk in Belarus. When World War II began, Esther's Dad went to fight in the war. Other than that Esther has no memory of him. Mom Taiba, fled the war-torn country with 5 year old Esther & her 1 year old younger brother Alek. The little girl travelled eastward for about 60 kms by foot, holding on to her mom's skirt, to reach the city of Rahachow. Her mom carried baby Alek all the way. At Rahachow they boarded a cargo train bound for Kattakurgan in the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan.

Mapping the journey from Babrujsk to Rahachow to Kattakurgan. Source: google maps


Bike Lessons...Life Lessons

This summer, my 7 year old daughter & I have been riding our bikes a lot. A good number of these trips were not just recreational. We have been using the bike as a legitimate commute option. Most of our trips have been about 3 miles long. Our little girl has been bravely riding alongside regular commuter & speed cyclists during those trips.  While she was hoping to ride alongside me and have a fun chat, I was constantly barking out road rules at her. She was trying to be my buddy and I was unsuccessful at getting out of my mom hat!!

To give you an idea, our conversation would go something like this:

N - mommy, you know, we can make a hovercraft.

Me - don't look at me. look ahead.
N - mommy, I can show you how to make a hovercraft
Me - let's take a break, sit at the lawn & talk.
N - no no. Let's go. I don't want a break.
Me - But I don't want you talking to me. I want you to focus on the road. Safety first.
N - okay okay!
....and then she would start pedaling really fast and go way ahead of me :-(
watching kayaks on Hudson during one such trip