These videos and articles focus on things that fuel my energy- global experiences, loved ones, and life learnings.
The events of the last few weeks may have surprised and opened up the eyes of many, but for me it’s nothing new. I listened to Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey about how members of the royal family were concerned about the complexion of their son’s skin. While it was sad, it was unfortunately not surprising to me. It sounds like what I have experienced within the Indian community—it is called “colorism.” It’s essentially prejudice that favors people with lighter skin over those with darker skin, especially within a racial or ethnic group. This is something I experienced not just as a child but also in my adult years. While there have been great strides made, we still have a long way to go.
The attacks in Atlanta that killed 8 people and injured many more, with the majority of the victims being Asian- Americans. The police said the “shooter had a bad day.” How can that be said...
Happy International Women's Day to all women near and far! I also want to honor all the great men out there--we all rise up together. My daughters are so excited to be celebrated this month and every other month. I focused on two women to teach my children about in honor Women’s History Month- starting first with a personal story about my grandmother.
My grandmother’s legacy
I wanted to first start by sharing the story of my maternal grandmother. She turned 97 or 98 years old last month. We do not know her exact age since does not have her birth certificate, so we calculate her age based on how old she was when she had her first child. My grandmother and I are very close -- I am her last grandchild, the baby of the family. I have been able to visit her in India almost every year of my life. Here is a picture from 1998 (3 generations) and 2020 (4 generations) with my daughters.
I am so proud of her because she received an award this month for International...
As my daughter Shyla said, “Black history should not be a month, it should be every day, just like we learn about everything else.” What a great point! But since Black history is unfortunately overlooked in the standard US history classes, a dedicated month is needed and so valuable to truly learn about US history.
I have friends of various races, ethnic backgrounds, and faiths, and hence my girls know that some of their friends are Jewish, some are Christian, some are from South America, some are from Europe, some are from Jamaica, some are Black, some are Egyptian, some are Indian, etc. And many friends ask me how I talk to my children about race, because it can make some parents uncomfortable.
I get it- it may not feel right commenting on someone’s race. However, not commenting on race also is not the approach and can lead to ignorance and misconceptions. I always look at this way- I want my kids to learn about everything from...
Happy Lunar New Year aka Chinese New Year to everyone! The holiday lasts 16 days so we have time to enjoy!
While I didn’t grow up celebrating, I enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year while working in NYC. It was so wonderful to experience the decorations and festivities in Chinatown-- a welcoming experience. And now, I am learning more as a mother raising global citizens with the focus on how I can bring this cultural traditions to my home. It is an auspicious time… And the significance can be appreciated by all.
Here are some cool facts about Lunar New Year.
This inauguration was historic. Regardless of who you wanted in office, it was historic. It was a milestone of firsts BUT not the last! The FIRST Woman Vice President, The FIRST Black Woman, The FIRST Indian Woman, The FIRST Asian Woman, The FIRST Woman of Color.
Seeing pictures of Madam Vice President with her mother reminds me of mine. We are from the same part of India, speak Tamil, and eat dosa (South Indian crepe)!
I can relate when I hear stories about her mother, an immigrant who left all her family in India to come to the land of opportunity, the United States. The journey of immigrants is an integral part of America’s history which some people forget or choose to ignore. I was 4 years old when we arrived to the US with only a dream of seeing someone like me being elected as a leader in my lifetime. Madam Vice President Kamala Devi Harris represents that dream becoming a reality. Historic.
Reflecting on my two decades as a corporate executive, one thing that was constant are the insights gained on the journey. One of my life guiding principles which translated into my career and now motherhood-- "people make the world go round". I worked with multiple companies in various industries across countries which enabled me to collaborate with a diverse group of people. More than any skill or functional area I mastered, I feel that learned the most from people.
I always say no matter how advanced our technology becomes, at the end of the day, the world does not function without people. People read what we write, people buy products/services we sell, people make decisions, people fly on planes, people buy homes, people drive the growth/decline in numbers, people eat food, etc. I think you get the gist, no artificial intelligence or robots can do that!
Lakshmi's Learnings- How does that translate to how we can raise our...
Happy New Year to all my family, friends, and followers! Wishing everyone a new year of health, love, abundance, and happiness. I am grateful for your journey with Travel Plus Them and more to come!
While there are many thoughts on 2020, I just wanted to share a different perspective centered on hope and appreciation. Who were you with on New Year’s Eve?
I ended the year the way the same way I started the year… With my family. It does not matter where we were, but we are together. My immediate family- husband, parents, siblings, grandmothers, and all my children are still here on earth. Unfortunately, not everyone can say the same.
I am not saying that 2020 was without challenges and losses (and everyone had them in different ways), but please let’s not constantly say 2020 was a bad year!
Lakshmi's Learnings- Rather let’s grow from our challenges, show empathy to those who are suffering, lend a helping hand to those in need,...
I want to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and a wonderful new year!
The holiday season always brings back memories of my childhood. We arrived from India to the United States when I was almost four years old. I didn’t know much about the December holiday season but I absolutely loved seeing all the wonderful lights, decorations, happiness, and of course Santa too. Although I did not believe in Santa Claus traveling around the world giving gifts to everyone, I did appreciate how much joy Santa brought to so many of my classmates when talking about him.
And so, I asked my parents if we too can decorate a Christmas tree and exchange gifts. Those days even something small like a pencil had us focus on the concept of giving and receiving which made it special. As I got older, the holiday season was a part of our lives every December. I have friends who celebrated other holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa so I learned about them as...
We did it! We went on our first international trip during COVID to Costa Rica. To summarize it in one word-- "exhilarating."
While countries have various restrictions (many are closed to travelers from the US)- I have to say that I felt extremely safe and a lot of precautions were taken, even more than I experience in my home city.
My perspective- As I have shared before, I think that everyone has to do what they feel is right for them based on personal values and lifestyle choices. Even though we went on this trip with concerns (which can be uncomfortable), it did not stop us from living our best lives and reconnecting us with something we love.
Lakshmi's Learnings: Here was our experience in Costa Rica-
I wish everyone appreciation, reflection, and joy. A time to remember those we lost and a time to treasure those we can hold. While “Thanksgiving” means different things to different people... I think we can all agree on these two “g’s”- “gratitude and giving back” as universal forms of love that we should do everyday!
Part of Travel Plus Them is just that- the two “g’s”. Being a global citizen is not just experiencing the world... it’s also sharing all that you can with others. Thanks to our friends who make this an annual tradition, we too were able to experience this while on vacation!
Shyla and Shriya packed an entire suitcase of clothes, toys, and books and donated to the local orphanage in Costa Rica. Due to COVID- we were unable to go inside and play. While my girls were saddened by the tears they heard, they were overjoyed by the hands the kids held out through the gate to hug them!
To protect the...