Voices from the Earth

It first happened in the year 2004; in December, about two weeks before the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami.     

It was in the late afternoon. I do not recall the exact date. I was at my desk top computer, absorbed in my work. All of a sudden, I heard a tapping sound on a shut window pane. I looked up in the direction of the sound, and saw a bird –the yellow vented bulbul, seated on the window sill, tapping the glass pane. I ignored it as I wanted to carry on with my work. The tapping did not stop. It continued fervently for some time. Then all of a sudden, I realised the tapping was directed at me – to draw my attention. This was the first time I was experiencing a bird trying to draw my attention. I called out to my husband.

 “Why is this bird repeatedly tapping the shut window pane?”

Kulenthran seated in the adjoining living room, called out “Perhaps it wants you to open the window”

Hmm, of course, I thought then to myself. I got up to open the window. As soon as I reached out for the window handle and began to open it, the bulbul flew off.

On December 26th 2004, the devastating tsunami struck across the Indian Ocean, crashing on the shores of Acheh, Penang, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India.  

But I did not at all think then, there was any connection between the bulbul tapping our window pane to draw my attention and that tsunami of 2004.

Well, not until I experienced another episode of a pair of bulbuls again calling out to me the following year….

Thaya Kulenthran (2013)

It is Earth Day today - 22nd April

Today, 22nd April, is the day we have internationally dedicated to remembering EARTH. We should really be remembering EARTH daily. However, with the life goals and lifestyles many of us have chosen for ourselves, for much of our lives, EARTH sadly does get forgotten.

This month, I have thus far focussed on our planet EARTH. Aspects of HER that I hope readers of my blog will begin to think about deeply, if they have not already done so.

Thaya Kulenthran

The DayAnidhi Earth Garden and Earth

When we work in our gardens, we dig, shovel, weed and plant. We are on our knees and bent head down. Indeed we are in a prayer.

As I worked in my garden, somehow there began a deep communion with the spirit and soul of the Earth. It became especially profound after I began to grow and nurture the Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera - that spiritually powerful plant of all plants!

Then, as the years rolled on and I began to work from home, I found myself wanting to sit quietly and alone by my garden. Just to feel its soothing vibrations. These vibrations were in effect, the vibrations of Earth - I believe reaching out to me. An inner overwhelming sense of gratitude and a deep love for this supreme ‘Being’ Earth awakened within me.

Thaya Kulenthran 

Note Images below are of The DayAnidhi Earth Garden.

Feeling the Spirit of the Earth

Is it actually possible to feel the spirit of the Earth? I think so.

I began to first feel the spirit of the Earth (and indirectly the Sun) when I was about 7 years of age - in the garden. Gardens are our very first connection to the spirit of the Earth.

I recall coming home from school, to run immediately and excitedly into the corner of the garden to see how my patch of red and purple zinnia plants were growing. As the years went by into my teen years, I planted and nurtured chrysanthemums, roses, orchids and sunflowers; flowers that need much sun. I spoke to my plants as a little girl and through my teenage years. When a recently planted rose branch was struggling to put out its first leaf, I spoke to it daily. And stroked the planted branch. It would respond; lo and behold with an emerging leaf bud! Mother would tell me “Go pick some ladies fingers from the garden” and I would rejoice; there was something out there in the garden that made me so happy. Throughout my growing years until I left home for university, the garden was the place I loved and enjoyed being in most.

Thaya Kulenthran

Feeling the Spirit of the Earth in the Garden (DayAnidhi Earth)

Feeling the Spirit of the Earth in the Garden (DayAnidhi Earth)

Earth is a Living Being

I believe the Earth is a Living Being, that SHE has a spirit and a soul like every-one of us. How else could she support life if she was not alive herself? Perhaps because what we see of her is primarily plants and rock, or sand, or soil mass, and water and sky. That for the most part are silent, immobile or with limited movement.  It is hard then to imagine the Earth being alive. Until of course we experience earthquakes and tsunamis and volcanic eruptions and storms. Then we are reminded that we don’t actually live upon an inanimate Being.

My belief of the Earth being alive, is based upon what I have just expressed above. And personal psychic intuitive experiences, I have had of HER. I cannot explain these experiences logically nor scientifically. But I am conscious of HER and it is of great comfort to me. I believe Earth, ordained by our Creator to be the only habitable planet in our solar system, communicates with me. Most people will find this difficult to accept and comprehend.  But there are others like me.           

"...Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related." Plato.

Thaya Kulenthran

EARTH -Do we know Her?

IS Earth merely the Big Blue Marble (an apt synonym) described by the National Geographic some time back in its website? OR is she more than the mass of rock with a molten nickel iron core? Upon which sit interlinked jigsaws of interconnected oceans, brown and green land masses, traversed by serpent spines and sunken cradles of fresh water. And within which live a spectrum of sessile and mobile life forms, both lower and higher including humans, totally dependent upon Earth for their existence? All enveloped by a thin veil – the atmosphere, as we know Earth today?

IS Earth perhaps more than just the only known habitable planet in our galaxy, or perhaps even in our cosmos? Since she supports LIFE, could she perhaps be another Living BEING herself? Vibrating with a certain frequency - of a very high order? And with a life force quite unknown to most of humanity, except to those whose souls and spirits in alignment with Earth?

Indigenous peoples, since time immemorial have been aware of the soul and spirit of the Earth. They lived in total harmony with Earth. Never taking more of her resources than was necessary. Always ensuring there was enough left behind for those who came after.  These ‘peoples of the Earth’ sense HER; know HER. Ancient agricultural communities too had a special reverence for the Earth. They felt gratitude to the Earth for the bounty she bestowed upon them through their harvests. This was evident through cultural festivities that accompanied the end of harvest.

There are too, some amongst the rest of us ordinary folks, born in more recent times, with a destiny to be especially conscious of the soul and spirit of Earth.  And who live in relative quiet, simplicity and stillness, seeking to be within Earth’s embrace and in alignment with Her vibrations.

Earth has Intelligence and Spirituality unknown perhaps to most of humanity. She seeks to communicate with some of us; directly or through other life forms. But to those that she does indeed communicate with, it is no trifle matter. She communicates to warn of calamities yet to come. She communicates to reveal Her sense of despair with humanity.     

She communicates to reveal when she is reassured. That some amongst us bring hope, light, love and compassion into the lives of those other Beings that she supports.

Perhaps there is more to Earth than we are aware of.

Thaya Kulenthran

Note: Image Source:- www.nasa.org

Image Source:- www.nasa.org

The Sun and The Earth

The Sun and the Earth represent the most beautiful partnership conceivable. Both the Sun and the Earth are interdependent upon each other; one provides the energy for the other to support life. The Sun would be a mere glowing body of hot gases - mainly hydrogen and helium, and nothing much more. If not for Earth, positioned at just the right distance from the Sun.  

Thaya Kulenthran

The Earth - as She Awakens

The Earth as she awakens

Is the most serene of women.

She touches your soul so delightfully

That you feel a sense of quiet joy and peace all in one

Light breaking on the horizon

What we call dawn,

Are her eyelids, as they gently flutter open

Revealing the quiet glow within her

 

Then, as she begins to stir from her deep slumber,

Stretching, quietly humming then singing,

The soft chirping of little birds, the whistle songs of the magpie robin, the calls of the oriole

Oh! Divine music Earth brings forth from her Being 

 

Which woman ever woke up like that?

….Only the Earth…  

 

And before you know it, she is fully awake

Smiling radiantly as the Sun rises

Because her lover, mate and partner, the Sun,

Is now gently smiling down at her.

Thaya Kulenthran (2008)

IMG_6409.JPG

From Full Time Mother to Research Assistant to Environmental Scientist

To have a Vision of Life makes life and living hopeful! There is then much to look forward to. That Vision however can and should change with the years. To be in harmony with our age and life experiences. 

I began to vision since I was a young woman. Of what I desired of Life. Some may call it having wishful dreams. Maybe. But to me it was real – I couldn’t help thinking of these visions. They were instinctive.

During my years as a full time mother and homemaker, I used to vision being in a job where I would be in the centre of things. Where I would coordinate a number of activities and people. I suppose I felt so alone and cut off from the main stream of life, for so long, that I wanted next to be in the thick of things! And boy oh boy did it happen!

From being a research assistant at the university for about a year and a half, I went on to a permanent job as an Environmental Scientist/Consultant at one of Malaysia’s premier engineering consulting firms. The job as a research assistant was only to get back into the main work force. To enable me (and my family), time to adjust to being a working mum.  A research assistant’s job is dependent upon grant funding; it is an insecure job. You cannot make commitments to buy a home nor save for your children’s higher education, based on such a job. I therefore began to look for a permanent job. I did briefly consider returning to teaching, thinking it was the only option I had.

However, universal forces had begun to conspire to come to my aid. While I was figuring out what my next job could be, the Managing Director of an engineering consulting firm, was thinking of starting an Environmental Impact Assessment Department in his firm. He was on the lookout for someone who had a good command of English, who loved writing, had a background in Science and would be keen to liaise with the engineers from the various departments in his firm. These were the job specifications for the person he had in mind. Now it happened, that I knew this gentleman over the years. But I was unaware of his position and his plans. It was a chance meeting, that led him to asking me, would I be interested in such a job. A job I had been visioning for some years! I was asked to come for an interview. I got the job! The post was Environmental Scientist.

The field trips with the engineers, the discussions, the readings I had to do, engineering terminology I had to learn, the writing and tendering of financial and technical proposals – the excitement around it, the meetings with government authorities, the private sector and the universities, oh it was all so exciting. I felt finally fulfilled!  I was no longer just a wife and mother.  

Thaya Kulenthran

Returning to Work...

Returning to work after being a full time mother for eight years, was daunting. How do you enter a work force that has moved along with the years, leaving you behind? So much would have happened out in the world. How do you prepare yourself to enter a working world that you had left eight years ago? How do you prepare your children and husband for a working mother and wife? The mindset of a working mother and wife is so different from that of a full time mother. It has to be. For a working mother to function optimally at work. These were my thoughts in my 7th year of being a full time mother. The world at home is a relatively protected one; cocooned in a way. But because I knew all along that I would return to work, I was determined to make it happen.

First prepare the children and husband, my mind said. How and when was the next thing to consider. My next concern was would I return to teaching or consider a totally different job. And why? What kind of new job would that be?

A full time mother and homemaker’s priorities are normally the well being of her children and husband; these take precedence over everything else in her life. But when a woman works - is gainfully employed, she has to begin to balance these priorities against that of her job demands. While she is at work she has to completely forget her home. She cannot be subconsciously nagged by matters regarding her home and children. Only then will she be able to focus on her job.

During the 8th year of my marriage and of being a homemaker, I began to attend part time classes in floral arrangement and patch work. One was a day class, the other a night class - once a week. For the sole reason, to learn to juggle and organise my time and prepare myself mentally between the needs of my children, husband and home and an external pursuit. That external pursuit was all about time for myself. It helped tremendously in preparing the children and husband for mother and wife not being around 24/7, in effect not at their beck and call.

Come the 9th year of my marriage, my son began school, my daughter was in her final year at kindergarten, and my husband a Senior Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist at University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. I returned to work! Not to teaching but to a new field altogether - as a Research Assistant at a Biochemistry laboratory in the University of Malaya. It helped though that my first degree was in Biology and Chemistry.

Thaya Kulenthran

Caught between Two Worlds.. continued

When I returned home to Malaysia with my husband Kulenthran, and 15 month old son, I expressed to Kulenthran that we should have our second child soon. That I wanted to raise that child too, until the children were ready for school. Fortunately, Kulenthran was agreeable to the suggestion. He loved children very much(still does) and was actually relieved with my suggestion. He would say, my staying home helped him focus on his work as an Obstetrician Gynaecologist. He hardly ever had to worry about the children if they were ill. Nor ever be involved in any carting of the children to and from kindergarten or school, nor in the children’s discipline, nor in the operational and the financial management of our home. I took charge of all the latter. It was a partnership. Of the needs of our, and any Home for that matter. Who was best placed to bring in the income to raise a family and run a home and who was best placed to do the actual raising of children and running of the home.

I had my daughter, our second child in University Hospital, where Kulenthran was attached to.  I was twenty nine years of age. This period of motherhood, was for me the most difficult of all my eight years of being a full time mother. An infant baby, a toddler and no or limited domestic help for significant lengths of time, with a doctor husband on call virtually every alternate day and the realities of living in Malaysia on a young government doctor’s salary, began to weigh down upon me. I began to wish I could return to work. But then again I didn’t have the heart to leave my baby daughter and toddler son to the care of maids or a nursery. So I just told myself, time will pass and all this will be behind me. But honestly it seemed to take ever so long. Well, eight years is a long time.

By the way, I had always wanted four children. I ended up with only two! Because I longed to return to work - to accomplish, like most of the women in Malaysia, of my generation. Furthermore, we had to also  commit to buying our own house. We had not been able to buy a house and pay a monthly mortgage on just a government doctor’s salary. While I stayed home to raise the children. It took Kulenthran and me ten years after marriage, after I returned to work, to buy a house - on a monthly mortgage.

Thaya Kulenthran

Caught between Two Worlds

TWO WORLDS - that of women staying home to raise their children; and the other of women leaving home to supplement their family income, and or to pursue a career.

I wanted to be in both these worlds. When I was a young mother in my late twenties. However life had its own plans for me.

I had wanted to achieve as much as I could academically, after I graduated with a basic degree, and an equivalent to a diploma in Education. I had hoped to become a university lecturer someday. But after working for three years as a teacher in a government school, I had got married. Then resigned from my teaching post, to accompany my husband to Scotland. I resigned, because I was not eligible for even no pay leave - so I was told. Although I was already confirmed in my job as a teacher - having passed the necessary government exams. Because I had been confirmed in my government job, I was eligible for the government housing loan. I lost this glorious benefit of being a government employee in being told to resign. If I wanted to accompany my husband overseas.

I became a mother in Aberdeen, Scotland when I was 26+ years of age. I was a full time mother. I was happy to be one then. Firstly, because I had always wanted to raise my own children. Secondly, I had witnessed the dangers babies and toddlers are exposed to, under the care of a domestic maid. I didn’t want that to happen to any of my children. Thirdly, I did not feel totally isolated being a full time mother in Scotland.

Back in the early to late 1980’s, in Scotland, many women stayed home to raise their children. They were the women who could put food on the table. Pay the basic bills on one income source - their husband’s salary. On that token, I was able to stay home too while we were living in Scotland. My husband’s salary was a comfortable one. My husband, a young doctor, had a two year job posting with the Highland Health Board.

Within a month of our marriage, my husband had to report for duty in Scotland - the offer had come a few months before our wedding. I took the choice to resign from my teaching post so I could in effect have a marriage.

I eventually became caught between two worlds - that of my mother’s and that of my own generation. My generation of women and those a generation before us went out to work, having had a full education. And also to achieve the best they could. And why not?

Thaya Kulenthran

The 2nd photo below of our little son with the Scotsmen, was taken at the Highland Games in Balmoral in 1982.

Much Ado about Women this March 2019

Dear Readers,

My focus this March 2019 (and at the end of February) are stories around Women - in line with the International Day of Women. I have begun with the very elderly - women in their 80’s and beyond. I will be moving on next to a personal story or two - my own journey when I was a young woman and then to issues surrounding most women. That impacts human society at large. Though some of the latter has been woven into my most recent posts - those of my mother.

I do hope you have enjoyed reading these blog posts thus far and will continue to do so. As much as I have enjoyed writing this blog. There has been a significant increase of late, of unique visitors, page views of my website and blog readers. Thank you to all of you.

Kind regards

Thaya Kulenthran.

Amma again; her sacrifice in having stopped schooling…

Following on from my earlier post on 15th March, of my 91+ year mother. As Amma and I had our afternoon tea together today, I probed further into her schooling. What didn’t quite make sense to me these past ten days, was the conclusion Amma and I had drawn. That she stopped school at twelve years old. If she had done Algebra in school, she couldn’t have stopped school at twelve years of age. I believe since she did algebra, she must have then at least studied till Form One or Form Two. Amma did do algebra as she used to mention scoring her A’s for algebra a few years earlier, when her memory was still very good.

I found out as my 91+year old mother talked today, raking her memory, that she did in fact return to school after World War 2. But it was not to KGV (King George the Fifth) but to the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (Seremban). For just a year and a half. Why the Convent and not back to KGV?

And why did she finally stop school?

It was because her mother had had a bad fall and fractured her ribs. My maternal grandma’s (Ammachi) whole rib cage was cast in plaster of paris for some months. Ammachi naturally needed help at home. It made sense for a mother to call upon her daughter to help with her toilet, body sponging and washing her lower torso. Amma was the only daughter around; my mother’s only other and elder sister had been married off. To think my mother gave up her whole schooling permanently with her mother’s fall! Honestly what a sacrifice that was! For an intelligent spirited young lass of about sixteen years of age! And to think I have been feeling wistful, that I had to put my life and work on hold. Only because I had chosen to be a caregiver (with my sister) for my very elderly parents for a mere 7+ years!! That too only since my late 50’s.

I couldn’t help but cry silently, as I tucked Amma into bed earlier, stroking her silvery crowning glory as she dozed off.

Thaya Kulenthran, 10.15pm; 17 March 2019

Aunty Shau Lan, an 84year old strikes a picture of dignity and grace...at the Central Market, Seremban

You just can’t miss her! With her crown of silvery hair and a stance that speaks of grace, dignity, and quiet strength. That is 84 year old Aunty Shau Lan. Who helps out at her son’s vegetable stall. Manning the weighing scale, jotting down the price of each vegetable lot after its weighed and receiving the cash for the vegetables sold. At the Seremban Central Market.

She is alert - her eyes tell you that. They are alive with purpose but with a nice quiet about them.

It was only by chance that I stumbled upon her…

I can’t help but wonder how many beautiful, intelligent and quiet, very elderly women are out there. Who would have led generally quiet lives in their youth and perhaps even in their middle age. But having contributed and continuing to contribute immensely to the community web that we each belong to. Unnoticed, perhaps unobserved and unattached about it all. Most importantly without any drama whatsoever about themselves and their contribution. Content to be just where they are.

Thaya Kulenthran.

Amma actually won 1st prize....and it was the Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan who gave away the prizes in those days!

Amma lay down to rest during her usual short mid morning break from her “studies”. I could affirm a number of things that she had talked about before. Amma doesn’t like being disturbed when she is at her word searches or reading. Seated on her bed, I began.

“ Ma, you were telling me the other day, you won a prize at your school sports.”

“ Yes, I won the first prize and the Yam Tuan himself gave the prize! And he came all the way from Kuala Pilah.”

“Wow, what an honour Ma to receive the first prize and that too from the Yam Tuan! But I think he had to come from Sri Menanti - the royal town.”

“Yes, it was grand to receive the prize from the Yam Tuan. And ok, he came from Sri Menanti - I have forgotten that” my 91+ year old Amma responded, slightly annoyed that she keeps forgetting this fact.

“For what event was it? The 100m or 200m race?” I kept on.

“Ayoh, I can’t remember that. I must have been in Std 4 or 5 then. It was before I attended age. That I know,” she replied confidently re the timing of her winning the sports prize and her onset of menstruation.

I continued to question her. I discovered that she only attended the English school - King George the V, primary, at the age of eight, to begin Std One. Only because she had been attending Tamil school in Singapore… from about the age of five years old. Working forwards and backwards, and knowing she stopped school due to World War 2, we came to the conclusion her schooling stopped when she was in Std 6, at twelve years old. She would have received her first prize for the sports event from the Yang Di Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, either in 1938 or 1939.

Thaya Kulenthran, 14 March 2019.

Celebrating Two Women in my life - International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019

It is International Women’s Day today. And I wish to celebrate two women with whom I have gone on an extremely long journey with. Covering close to 64 years; my dearest mother Saratha Devi, and my sister Ragini.

I come from a family of primarily women. Out of six of us, four are women. My mother, myself the eldest child and eldest daughter and two sisters. My late father and brother being the males in the family.

This year in particular, I wish to celebrate my 91+ year old mother and my sister Ragini. For the effort and determination they were both jointly engaged in as mother became mentally stimulated these past three years. Since July 2015, my sister Ragini and I have been the primary caregivers of my parents. (However from 2012, sister Ragini and I took over the management of our elderly parents home and their general well being. My brother focussed on their medical care).

Amma, my mother had been a full time mother and homemaker all her married life. She had to stop schooling during World War 2, but unfortunately did not return to school after the war; her parents, my grandparents had not seen the need. As such Amma, although very intelligent and spirited (she scored A’s in her algebra at school, was somewhat active in sports, even winning a prize, performed in dramas and studied some music) was soon relegated to housework and needlework, the usual preoccupation felt befitting of many girls and women in those days - the first half of the 20th century.

As I grew up, I remember Amma vividly telling, that I (and my sisters) must have an education, and go on to university and work! She would often say she had missed all that. i think she yearned to complete her education and to study further, but somehow it was not her lot in life to pursue that even after marriage. She was too devoted a mother, wife and daughter in law. Everyone else’s need was more important to her than hers!

Sister Ragini too, was aware of Amma’s deep wish to have studied. When we took over as primary care givers, one of the first things Ragini did for Amma, was to introduce her to word search, then to simple sudoko. The week that Ragini is on duty, she comes armed with sheets of word searches for Amma. Amma in turn looks forward to the different topics of the word searches. Amma gave up though on sudoko after a while, finding it difficult.

So at 88 years of age, Amma began to work at word searches and sudoko (for a while) as part of her daily morning and afternoon routine. Alternating that with reading and writing. And occasionally playing scrabble with my late father and me. Tasks that she never could make the time to do, only because she kept on daily serving others and enjoying it, well into her 80’s.

Today, Amma at 91years, looks forward to the dawn of each day, seated at her desk working diligently at these word searches. Challenged by some of them, breezing through others.

Two women - mother and daughter (my sister) each contributing to their karmic journey with and for each other.

Thaya Kulenthran

Amma wants to be reborn in her next life, into a poor family and be a teacher in a school in rural India.

The 4th photo in the gallery below is Amma in her early twenties.