Home Reflections What Made You Smile Recently?

What Made You Smile Recently?

by Vidya Sury February 24, 2014 40 comments
smile vidya sury

What made you smile this week?

That question is powerful, you know. I always find that even if I’ve had a so-so week, it makes me think of all the good parts – the happiness hotspots. I’ve been struggling with something the past two weeks and trying to pretend everything is okay. I’m trying to get on with routine stuff to help me adjust sooner than later. I’ll share it when I am comfortable.

In the meantime, I’ve been walking a lot – on my terrace and around my area. Our terrace is a lovely place and I’ve talked about it before. Somehow, these past two weeks, I’ve been noticing everything with new eyes. The crows, the pigeons, the kites, the parakeets all accompany me on my walk as we all enjoy the swaying trees in the evening breeze. Together, we watch the sun glide down to another part of the world, painting the skies pink, gold and blue as we experience those magical twilight moments. I can never get enough of those changing skies.

Smile guaranteed

smile vidya sury 2

smile vidya sury

Couldn’t help sharing this photo of a 4 year old Vidur – every time we went to the terrace back then, he’d insist on bringing back a bunch of gulmohar (flame of the forest) flowers and leaves. Yes, that’s my tshirt and slippers he’s wearing. That’s his art work on the door.

vidya sury smile

Can you blame me for smiling?

Another beautiful sight I’ve been seeing every day this week is this flowering tree. It spills its flowers on the ground and fills the air with fragrance. We call it the parijat flower – the night jasmine. In Tamil, my mother tongue, it is called “pavazha malli” which, roughly translated means coral jasmine.

This flower always brings back childhood memories of filling my flower basket with the flowers from our garden, for our prayer room. Later, we would string them into garlands and adorn our deities. In fact, this is the first flower I learned to string into a garland.

This beautiful flower with it’s pure white petals and red stalk is very special – it blooms at night and falls to the ground just before sunrise. Besides its medicinal value, we have plenty of stories associated with it. The tree has a solid place in Hindu Mythology.

Once upon a time, a princess whose name was Parijataka, was in love with the Sun. Sadly, it was unrequited love and she committed suicide. From her ashes, rose the Parijat tree. Legend has it that since it hurts her deeply to look at the sun during the day, she blossoms at night and sheds her flowers – as tears before the sun rises. The fragrance which lingers everywhere is testimony for her love, the Sun.

Yet another myth associated with this flower is with one other our playful god, Krishna. According to this one, the Parijat tree was planted in heaven, aka Indralok where Lord Indra, king of the gods resided. He received it as one of the gifts from the samudra manthan or the churning of the seas (now that’s another longish story – another post!). It was a divine tree, and couldn’t be found on earth.

So anyway, sage Narada, well known for his penchant for mischief, picked up some of the parijat flowers from Indra’s abode and gifted them to Lord Krishna. Now Lord Krishna lived with his two wives –Satyabhama and Rukmini. Narada wanted to see who got these flowers from Krishna. As it happened, Rukmini got them and sure enough, Narada rushed over to Satyabhama to rat on Krishna.

smile vidya sury

photo credit: lorises via photopin cc

Naturally Ms.Satyabhama was jealous. Narada was ready with a suggestion – why not ask Krishna to gift her the tree rather than a handful of the flowers? This sounded good to Satyabhama and when she saw Krishna she threw a tantrum and insisted on the tree for herself, or else.

Having done his duty here, Narada slipped away to Indra to tell him to beware, that his Parijat tree was likely to be stolen. So when Krishna helped himself to a branch from the tree and was about to be on his way home, Indra waylaid him and declared war. Bad decision on Indra’s part, as it turned out because he, Indra, lost. Cheesed off over this, he cursed the poor plant saying that it would never bear fruits even if it flowered.

Krishna triumphantly brought the flower back home where, not surprisingly, Rukmini coveted it. But Krishna, undaunted by the situation, cleverly planted the tree in Satyabhama’s garden near the fence that divided the two houses so that when it bloomed, the flowers landed in Rukmini’s garden, making both women happy.

Hmm. Who said the gods lead a boring life!

We grew up hearing a lot of stories about everything. And there was always a moral. I realize that in real life, we have quite a few “Naradas”. They do what is called pinching the child and then rocking the cradle and watching the fun.

So what made you smile last week? Please share in the comments!

smile vidya sury

Linking up with Sundays In My City hosted by the lovely Unknown Mami. We travel the world together!

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Kajal February 24, 2014 at 12:39 am

Another super story here…now about those flowers, I am hearing the story for the first time and its interesting- indeed the gods don’t lead a boring life.

What I did last week that made me happy was, I got to meet with an old friend (not the age but tenure) and that was great chatter. then my daughter plugged in a few dance performances for me during the lazy evenings…so its all good. I also got to watch a movie that I thoroughly loved (after a while, a Bolly film I enjoyed). Yup!
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Usha Menon February 24, 2014 at 8:05 am

Very interesting post. The early morning walk on the terrace is invigorating. The beauty of nature and a mild sweet scent of the flowers is really soul stirring. The incident from mythology added a flavour to the post.
Last week I also had a very cheerful and satisfying experience.My darling daughter celebrated her 25th wedding anniversary. It is a very unique and satisfying moment for the parents.
Usha Menon recently posted…55 words of fiction How I wished.

Beloo Mehra February 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

Happy post indeed! Parijat flowers are indeed so special. Reading your post brings to mind something I wrote recently on my blog about these very flowers…hope that too will make you smile 🙂 http://letbeautybeyourconstantideal.blogspot.in/2014/02/a-fragrant-lesson-in-patience.html
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Slowly, with Time

Psych Babbler February 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Such a beautiful sight from your terrace Vidya! I reckon walks/runs in the neighbourhood are the best to capture nature… 🙂

Not a big flower person but that’s a pretty flower…
Psych Babbler recently posted…Strawberry Fair Cafe and a walk along Cronulla beach

Kalpana Solsi February 24, 2014 at 6:56 pm

There is a parijat plant near my building and whenever we go for a post-dinner stroll the whole area is filled with its mild fragrance. My husband picks these flowers in the morn and i allow these flowers to float in the broad vase filled with waterand place on the centre-piece.Refreshed my memory with story of Narada trying to create a rift between the two wives of Lord Krishna.

Star Traci February 24, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Those flowers made me smile! And I love the quote — it is very true and I shall remember it as I pass through my day today!

Obsessivemom February 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Those stories are part of my childhood too. The other day I was telling the kids the Krishna story and they couldn’t believe that the God’s fought over a tree! Loved those sky pictures Vidya. As for what made me happy … Lots of things.. Been a happy week.
Obsessivemom recently posted…100 Happy Days – Week 7

Elle February 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Love your stories Vidya…so unusual for me knowing very little about Hindu mythology. There’s always so much to be happy and grateful for in life if we do as you do and be aware of what’s around us.
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Guilie Castillo February 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I love your posts, Vidya. They make me smile 🙂 And I love-love-loooove Hindu mythology. It’s hard to keep everyone straight, but I love the stories anyway, perhaps not in spite of but because of the confusion. The ever-multiplying cast of characters seems to illustrate the human version so very well.

My dogs make me smile all the time, hundreds of times a day. The way they play, the way they figure stuff out, the way they sleep, the way they ask for love, the way they interact with each other, and with me. Life isn’t perfect, there’s always a reason to worry, to frown. But there is always a reason to smile, too–it’s just a matter of looking 😉 One of the reasons I’ve so enjoyed meeting you, Vidya, is because you believe that, too.

Guilie @ Quiet Laughter
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Kathy February 24, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Fascinating stories about the flowers. Such pretty pictures too. No wonder you are smiling. Made me smile too! ♥
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PhenoMenon February 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Bright flowers always makes me smile and run for my camera 😀


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Carrie-Anne February 25, 2014 at 12:01 am

Happiness Hotspots. I love that!

What a great story about the flower/tree. Narada is definitely a mischievous one.

Thank you for telling this. I just wish there was a scratch n sniff button!
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Damaria Senne February 25, 2014 at 12:42 am

There’s a morning glory growing in the stone floor of my back courtyard, not far from the kitchen. Every time I see it, I smile because while I love gardening and grow a lot of things in my home, I did not plant that morning glory there. It self-planted. Even more interesting is that I didn’t even know there was a crack on the stone floor, or that the crack was enough for a seed to slide through, germinate and bring forth a huge plant that brings us joy. That plant is a miracle.

Silvia Villalobos February 25, 2014 at 2:16 am

Lots to smile for indeed. Beautiful pictures.
My son makes me smile just for being. I steal glances at him — when he does his homework, or just sits there, and especially when he’s asleep — and smile.
Lovely post and nice to have found it thought the A-Z Challenge.

GILLENA COX February 25, 2014 at 2:20 am

These flowers are so delightful, i can imagine them twirling in the wind

much love…
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Damyanti February 25, 2014 at 7:11 am

I called these flowers, Shiuli, and they were the harbingers of Autumn and festivities where I lived.

Your post brought me a smile, today, Vidya, and a lot of memories.
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Aditi February 25, 2014 at 9:44 am

You made my day! Absolutely wonderful post. The enchanting pictures of the sky and the stories of this flower (my fav too) made me smile 🙂 🙂
I hope whatever you are going through settles down well at the earliest. Love n hugs
Aditi recently posted…Act before it’s too late!!

Pratibha February 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

I loved the story of the flowers! There is so much to learn about the Hindu mythology. Every thing and every event has a story associated with it.
And these are the things that made me smile last week :
1. When one of the boys told me that when I gave him a tight hug, he loved it because he loved being so close to me.
2. When the other boy told me that I was the bestest cook and that he loved eating the food I cooked.
3. When another post got accepted for Elephant Journal 🙂
4. When I realised that I had met my money target for March
5. And I smile all the time I get a cuddle from the boys!
6. I was searching for a prayer book that seemed out of print and a friend who had come home to chant the prayers with just gave me her book because she found more copies of it

I realise that when you write down things that make you happy, your life is filled loads of gratitude. Sometimes when I start writing things down, I have such a long list that I eventually forget what I was angry or upset about. A practise I started a bit late in life, but no regrets! Better late than never!
Thank you for the lovely post!
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Corinne Rodrigues February 25, 2014 at 9:58 am

Ah we can always find a reason to smile, no matter what! That’s the beauty of life and having choices!
I loved the mythological tale – you should do more of them, I would never be bored! 😉
Pablo and his behaviour gave me lots to smile about last week – it’s like he’s suddenly realized that he’s 5 now and had to grow up! He was so good in Jose’s absence! 🙂
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Priya February 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

Wow!! What a lovely post to read first thing in the morning. Your post has made me smile. Thank you for that.
The one thing that made me smile and laugh my heart out last week was a singing, dancing performance by my 3 years old with her cardboard microphone I made for her.
I also smiled when I saw the plants on my balcony are sprouting new leaves and buds now that the winters are over.
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Pixie February 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

We have a Parijatha tree in our compound as well and dad’s morning routine is to pluck the flowers for the morning pooja… brought back such lovely memories of home 🙂

What made me smile?
This post, the wind in my face today.. eating gummy bears (candy) with my frn’s 3 yr old! 🙂

Roshan R February 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

It’s been a quiet week for me.. not many ‘yay’ moments. But I did smile today morning.. literally gush infact. A famous film star came by for shooting at the hospital. I had known he was coming by but still seeing him in person as he walked by was something else 😀
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Marie Abanga February 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Vidya, loved this post.

What made me smile, laugh, cry, jump and dance all at once this week was the publication of my book on the amazon : http://amzn.to/1eqsfvp

Vidya Sury February 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

WOW! Marie, that’s fantastic! Congratulations! What a wonderful achievement! I just requested the sample chapter from Amazon and can’t wait to read it. Looks interesting! 🙂 May you publish more! So happy you dropped by and shared your good news!

Jyothi Nair February 25, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hope whatever was troubling you has been sorted out. I too have realised that it is during such times that I begin to appreciate the beauty in this world.

What made me smile this week? Well! I happened to come across an old video of my children back when they were 4 and 2 years old. That definitely brought on a smile. 🙂
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Sulekha February 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm

The view from your terrace is lovely and so is the tale of the princess Parijataka, tragic but beautiful.

What made me smile this week-

When my husband remarked that the meal I had cooked in the cook’s absence was the tastiest and the best looking meal he had eaten in a while.

When my 24 year old daughter offered her cheek to be kissed while saying goodbye, on her way to the Supreme Court for work.

When my Sparky climbed into my lap on hearing the firecrackers bursting in the society.


Dagny February 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I have a WIP story on my harddisk called ‘Plant me in your garden’. It was a story based on the twin mythological legends about Parijat flowers. And here you are with both the stories… this made me smile today. 🙂

Eli February 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm

What a fascinating mythological story – I would love to read more of those:-) Also love the everyday happiness you are describing – just “being” in the moment, in the present and seeing …. the flowers, the smiles..My mantra also! Sorry you are struggling with something … hope all is ok, and sending warm hugs and thoughts your way:-)I smile of the thought of a good memory, of a comment my son just made and today I discovered a new green chili on my chili- bush – Cant wait for it to turn red:-)
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Michelle Liew February 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

There’s always a reason to smile!! And I think it was my dogs today!
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Shilpa Garg February 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

The view form your terrace is simply beautiful and lil Vidur is soooo cute!! The stories about Parijat are so interesting! Was not aware of them. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
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Talya Tate Boerner February 26, 2014 at 1:53 am

Your blog post just made me smile. Thank you! I’ve been a little down and you helped me today.
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Ruchira February 26, 2014 at 3:00 am

I loved your pix and the tale…and I smiled along while reading it 🙂

My kid made a bracelet for me and he gave it to me this morning…I saw the muscles around my lips stretch wide and since then have not been able to bring them to normal :))
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M. J. Joachim February 26, 2014 at 5:35 am

Ah, this is such a delightful and inspiring post. I love the pictures. Those clouds are beautiful, and I’ve never seen a flower quite like that before – just lovely! So is the little one wearing your shirt, and such fine artwork too 🙂

MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
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Shailaja V February 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm

I never knew the first story of the Parijata tree! How much we learn. Lovely, lovely post, as always Vidya. You never disappoint 🙂
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Proactive Indian February 27, 2014 at 10:07 pm

I remember that I smiled a number of times this week, though I don’t really remember why I smiled. For example, I smiled as I read this post. 🙂

Interesting story about the Parijat, involving 2 lovable characters, Narada and Krishna.
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Robyn Engel February 28, 2014 at 1:46 am

You always inspire warmth and beauty, Vidya. I’m smiling a lot this morning – from the blogfest acknowledgements, your and others’ words…blogland is precious and I’m deeply grateful for it.

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Rhi February 28, 2014 at 2:42 am

Great myths, it’s really interesting. I’ve had a hard week, but I had my ten year old nephew today and he is always guaranteed to make you smile.

Glori Surban February 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

Interesting legend, Vidya! 🙂

As for me, I started this week as so sick I had to rest in bed for a whole day. I’m actually still a little bit under the weather. But the first thing that made me smile was a slice of chocolate cake. Kinda lame but in our house, sick people get sweet benefits. Hehe…
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vishalbheeroo February 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Lovely view from your terrace, Vidya. I enjoy the legendary stories about Parijat. A feel good post:)
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Tree Website April 30, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Parijat tree is really a exceptional tree that offers a variety of medicinal benefits. There is a mysterious parijat in Uttar pradesh, India that you can read by clicking in my profile icon. In Hinduism, there is a great interesting story about the origin of this tree that how God found it during shaking the sea. Amazing, isn’t it?
Tree Website recently posted…You Will Never Believe These Bizarre Truth of Parijat Tree


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