I Am Thankful For…

This Thanksgiving had all the makings of being a sad one since I was not celebrating it with my family – the first time in my life away from them during this time, but instead it turned into a wonderful few days! Wednesday, I completed a great week at the office. Thursday morning, I woke up at 6:22a and walked out before 8a, going on a three hour plus walk with Taylor, much of the time talking to him as well as journaling this post. Late morning upon returning, I FaceTimed with my folks, my brother and his wife. Afterwards, I primed several canvases, getting it ready for painting the next day. That afternoon, I drove down to San Jose to have dinner with my dear friends Tony, Shea, and her mom; Shea cooking a gorgeous meal for us. Friday, I spent the entire morning painting. That afternoon, yoga then a massage. In the evening, I went out in the Marina with my buddy Fergus, then met up with Tad who made a surprise visit from LA, and Brandon & Lasy at District then the Cat Club. Slept in yesterday. Later, I had tasty Indian food for lunch with a new friend, who was friends with old friends from high school. Then watched the miracle Auburn win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl, went home to paint, listen to music and watch movies. In between, I received an email from someone in my heart that I thought I had lost, its afterglow still enveloping me, walking its smile alongside me and Taylor yesterday evening. Today, I awoke to take Tay on a walk thru the woods, then church and now have been painting ever since.

And I still have one more day.

I am thankful for…

My family and my friends. What I’m most appreciative of is that I would pick many in my family to be my friends, of which some of whom are actually very close friends. And many of my friends are like family to me. Each day, I am in constant awe and admiration of them. I’ve recognized my true source of happiness comes from them and my dog…

The dogs in my life starting with our first dog when I was twelve, a German Shepherd named Tina to six years later a Chow Chow named Helix later renamed Jack then Jackyboy to an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Foster aka Fozzy to my brother’s dog Kalib, an Akita that moved in with me when my brother did, to his other dog, an American Bulldog named Lawrence to his brother and my current dog, another American Bulldog named Taylor. Not named, but definitely in my heart, are my other brother’s dogs – a Sharpei named Argyle and a Pitbull named Mason. We love dogs…

Our Dogs: Helix aka Jack aka Jackyboy, Kalib, Foster, Mason, Argyle, Lawrence and Taylor (Tina not pictured)

Getting run over by a car, because …it reminded me of how precious life truly is, …the nanosecond before being hit, flashed before me everyone I ever loved and everyone who ever loved me, …it was also the day my niece was born three years after, another reminder that the gift of life is truly that – a gift, a precious one at that…

Getting mugged and getting the shit beat out of me, almost choked out, and sent to the hospital, a reminder there are troubled people out there in need of our help…

My time in Chicago, while called the second city, in my heart, the first city and my first love, where and when I became a man. Twenty years I was there shaping me into the person I am now. I wrote an ode to it recently

My new home outside San Francisco, in Sausalito. So different from living in the city, Sausalito has a quiet and sleepy charm. When my cousin Julie got married here a few years ago, sitting along the harbor on a small bench by myself introspective one morning during that weekend, I promised myself I would someday move here. Someday then meant retirement; unaware that it actually meant a time significantly sooner. I’m thankful for its skies, bright blue during the day with pinks, reds and oranges at dawn and dusk. I am thankful for all of its trails that Taylor and I hike at least once a week. I’m thankful for its cute town center that reminds me of what a quaint European town would feel like. I’m thankful that it’s so close to San Francisco, and that I have to pass thru the majestic Golden Gate any time I go to and fro…

The Brooklyn Dodgers, whose baseball team taught me when I was but a seven year old boy trying to learn English the meaning of the word perseverance. Year after year, they would field a powerful team only to lose to the Yankees in the World Series. When I got to the year 1955 in the book, and we finally beat the Yankees, I realized what climbing to the mountaintop meant. To this day, I still equate learning English to the Dodgers…

Sports in general, but specifically 1988, the year when my favourite teams from different sports won their ultimate titles, the Los Angeles Dodgers the World Series in baseball, Notre Dame Fighting the National Championship in college football, and the San Francisco 49ers the Super Bowl in the NFL. The following year, the NINERS won again, Notre Dame came thisclose, though the Dodgers crash landed. Only 18, I didn’t realize then how rare that moment was for a fan. Special shout out to 2003, when the Chicago Cubs came within five outs of the World Series, the city so electric at that time that I could feel the energy underneath my skin; and was in the verge of tears should the Cubbies have won. And another special mention to the Iron Bowl yesterday when Auburn pulled out the most miraculous of wins, returning a 57 yard field goal attempt falling short 109 yards with one second remaining to win 34-28, going crazy at the bar not only cos of the outcome but cos I was thinking of my Auburn alumni, my dear friends, Derek, Ryan, Brian, Garrett and Andrea. That’s why sports is amazing…

Music and movies, both of whom are always playing in my home or in the car, and when I am away from either, playing in my head. They can be both uplifting and inspirational as well as sad and melancholy, giving me a soundtrack and movie reel to my life, trigger points to some of my most significant events. Whether it’s the Boss, Led Zeppelin, the Stones, the Who, the Beatles, the Doors, Pink Floyd in my youth to Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Guns n Roses, Blind Melon, the Beastie Boys, Stone Temple Pilots and Neil Young in my 20s to Radiohead, Oasis, NIN, U2, ELO, the Dire Straits in my 30s to Wilco, Muse, Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire in my 40s back to Pearl Jam and so many more…

Being from another country, especially India, which has given me perspective and appreciation for our differences, and the celebration of it, that accepting those makes us all better. It has helped me not label others, and not passing judgement. Along those veins, I love that I have traveled and experienced some amazing places (New Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, London, Leeds, Amsterdam, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lampur, Malawi, Johannesburg on the other side of the globe; and so many on this side), with many more still on the horizon.

My gift (talent?) for art – for being able to paint and draw. Not that I am particularly talented, what I love more than anything is that when I am on my balcony painting, I’ve got God’s beauty in front of me and Taylor laying at my feet. Every so often, he’ll lift his head to lick my calves. That love I feel from him those moments while I am in my own bliss painting, is unrivaled. That’s my idea of a perfect morning or afternoon…

…What are you thankful for?

My past, which I revere and hold onto like a newborn, but I don’t live in cos today and this moment is the only thing I can truly control, and even then not everything, but rather how I respond to those moments around me; and look forward to tomorrow, for me, always a beacon of hope…

…I am thankful for a great many things, just a small sample written above. I am also thankful for being an extrovert in body, action and personality but quite actually an introvert – introspective at heart.

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