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DECEMBER 16, 2010
Kicking off the Karma Tiffin love in the South Bay, there were 3 tiffins delivered on Friday, December 3rd.  We had the pleasure of delivering meals prepared with love to the very folks who inspire and foster the type of generosity and kindness that brought the idea of Karma Tiffin to life!  Between Smita, Afreen and Viral, unfolded a conspiracy to tag Nipun, Guri, Dinesh uncle and Harshida Aunty on the  same day at the same time :-)  I imagine that the story of delivering tiffins in Berkeley to Nipun and Guri will unfold soon, and it was a pure joy to take the mom and dad of CF by surprise on an unsuspecting Friday afternoon.  Driving up to the home that hosts such wonderful gatherings as Wednesdays, I was careful to park my car right in front of the house and leave the engine on for a quick get-away.  I placed the tiffin at the doorstep, rung the bell and was back in my car in seconds.  There was a joyful nervousness about delivering a lunch in the style of pulling a prank ;-)  However, as it turns out my cover was somehow blown and a couple weeks later, on a visit for a wednesday meditation, Harshida aunty quietly whispered that she enjoyed the food.  Bringing the tiffin back home, I found a $20 bill inserted in one of the compartments.  Needless to say, I was not surprised but certainly filled with more enthusiasm to use this gift for yet another act of kindness... ninja style!

There were also two other tiffins delivered to a couple of lovely neighbors in Mountain View. 
1.  An elderly couple in our apartment complex who had been experiencing poor health in recent days enjoyed the south indian meal of upma, pulyogre rice, and fresh green salad with slivered almonds and tangy cranberries.  They were filled with gratitude and smiles, and Moira returned with a hand made oriental brush painting that now adorns our refrigerator :-)
2.  A busy mom of three who recently delivered an adorable baby boy, Yara enjoyed the meal and feels inspired to cook together and learn some of the recipes! 


What a pure delight it was to bring 2 tiffins to Community Health for Asian Americans (CHAA) this afternoon.  We felt honored to serve 2 people who are making a difference in this world by providing counseling services to underprivileged children in Richmond, California.  One of the men we served was so welcoming and delighted by our arrival.  He exuded much kindness, compassion, and warmth.  If you would like to experience his warm presence and spirit, you can check out his Sunday morning (10:30 - 11:45) Raja yoga class at Niroga Yoga Center in Berkeley.  He is also involved with AHIMSA Berkeley, a non-profit organization dedicated to peace and nonviolence.  In fact, he will be giving a talk presented by AHIMSA Berkeley on Tuesday, December 7th at 7:30pm at the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery.  The title of the talk is "Roots of Empathy and Nonviolence in Childhood."  


We realize it's been almost 4 months since our last blog entry!  There have been many things happening in the world of Karma Tiffin, and we'd like to share them here.  At last month's Charity Focus retreat, Rishi Oswal of Rishio Photography presented a beautiful vignette on Karma Tiffin.  Many retreat attendees were inspired by what they saw, and a few things happened from this.  First, a retreat participant who saw the vignette made a generous donation so that we could continue spreading the tiffin love!  Second, Afreen and Praveen (who also participated in the Charity Focus retreat) decided to start delivering tiffins in the South Bay!  And third, we heard rumors that Rahul might also start delivering Karma Tiffins in the Los Angeles area.  We're so excited that Karma Tiffin is spreading to kitchens all over California!

Our hope is that Karma Tiffin is making a difference in the way people see money and the exchange of goods and services.  And we're also finding that it's having an impact on how people see food.  About 6 weeks ago we delivered Karma Tiffins to the folks who work at Maestro Conference.  Just the other day we heard that one of the men we served at Maestro Conference rarely eats a purely vegetarian meal.  Most of his meals consist of a meat dish, and the day he received a Karma Tiffin was the first time he ate quinoa.  He expressed his surprise at how delicious and satisfying a vegetarian meal could actually be!  We love hearing stories like this; they inspire us to keep paying-it-forward!


WOW!  Karma Tiffin received the most amazing pay-it-forward gift today.  I went to the Metta Center to pick up the 8 tiffins I dropped off last Friday.  As I carried the boxes to the car, I noticed that they were more full than usual.  When I looked inside, I found 3 brand new tiffins, wrapped in plastic and tied with colorful bows!  I was almost in tears by the thoughtfulness of this gift.  Before this morning, Karma Tiffin had 8 tiffins, and now we have 11, meaning we can serve more people!  

There are 2 things that I want to share that make this gift especially meaningful.  When we decided to bring tiffins to the new group of Metta Mentees, we let them know that we would only be able to deliver 8 tiffins (even though they had a group of 11 people), but that we were confident there would be enough food for all 11 people.  So what did they do?!?  They filled the gap and now Karma Tiffin is equipped with 11 tiffins!  The second thing that is so remarkable to me is that they found the exact size tiffins that we have been using.  I've been on a quest to find that same size tiffin.  The store I normally buy tiffins from had run out of that size and they weren't expecting to get any more.  So my props go out to whoever was able to find that size!  

A BIG THANK YOU to the Metta Center and the Metta Mentees for this wonderful surprise!!!
FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

Today we brought 8 tiffins for the new group of mentees who will be working with various organizations in the Bay Area this summer through the Metta Mentors Nonviolence Immersion program.  This was our largest delivery to date.  And the reason we were able to do it is because we had help in the kitchen from a past Karma Tiffin recipient who wanted to pay the gift forward by helping to cook for others.  Together, we made the following:
- Potato and peas with coriander and cumin seasoning
- Red lentil daal
- Quinoa pulav

The mentees were so happy to receive lunch this afternoon.  We captured their smiles in this group shot.


A couple weeks ago we got an email from someone who requested a tiffin for her friend living in Berkeley.  The person who emailed us mentioned that her friend just had a loss in the family, and she wanted to do something to make her friend smile.  Yesterday I brought a tiffin to this friend and when I arrived, she gave me the biggest hug I had received all week!  When some people ask me why I don't charge money for these tiffins, this is exactly why!  Would I be received with such warmth, gratitude and excitement if I showed up with a bill?  Maybe, but not likely.  Seeing the joy in her face really made my day so much brighter.

The next day, when I went back to pick up the empty tiffin, she invited me in to her home for a cup of tea and we had a nice chat about our experiences in India with Manav Sadhna and InSPIRE.  I know that she is going to touch many lives in this lifetime, and I was happy to be able to serve her in this small way.  Thank you, my new friend, for sharing a little bit of your life with me.

TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010

Today we brought a tiffin to a very early supporter of Karma Tiffin.  She is part of the Berkeley Gift Circle that emerged about 2 months ago.  Collectively, the Berkeley Gift Circle has provided a solid foundation for Karma Tiffin and has contributed brilliant ideas for this project.  When we arrived at her home to leave the tiffin at her front door, we were surprised to find at the doorstep a cloth bag with a smile card attached to it.  On the smile card there was a handwritten note "for tiffin bringers."  What a treat!  It didn't even matter what was inside the bag...it was a delight just to see this note.  But what was inside the bag was wonderful too...Tibetan prayer flags!  We're so grateful for this beautiful gift.

Today's tiffin included the following:
- Gujarati "kadhi"
- Basmati rice with peas
- Potato and tomato medley with cumin and coriander seasoning

MONDAY, JUNE 14, 2010

At last week's Wednesday meditation in Santa Clara, Somik shared a story that inspired us here at Karma Tiffin.  Earlier last week Somik was in a minor accident causing the license plate on his car to fall off.  He decided to take the car to his favorite mechanic in Palo Alto to have the license plate put back on.  Since that was the only thing Somik needed done on his car, he asked them to also check a few other things on the car.  They noticed that the oil in his car was low, so they filled the oil.  When Somik asked how much he owed, the owner said he owed nothing!  Somik insisted on paying for the can of oil, at least, but they refused to take his money.  Somik then insisted on tipping the employees, but the owner responded "okay, but don't tip them too much...it'll ruin the culture here."  

Inspired by the generosity of these mechanics, we decided to drop off 6 tiffins to their shop in Palo Alto, which included the following:
- Vegetarian jambalaya with tofu sausage
- Vegan cornbread
- Mixed green salad

When I delivered the tiffins, the owner (an older Korean gentleman) looked in my eyes with gratitude and bowed to me!  And I thought, I should be the one bowing to him.  I responded by putting my hands together to gesture "namaste".  It was a brief interaction with few words, and yet so much was communicated.


Today we sent 2 tiffins to a couple who met last summer during the Metta Mentors program.  By the end of their summer together, they decided to get married!  They were living apart for the past several months because he went back to Pakistan to finish his studies.  They have both recently returned to Berkeley, and they were absolutely delighted to know that an "anonymous someone" nominated them to receive a Karma Tiffin as a "welcome back" surprise.  This "anonymous someone" thought this couple would be the perfect candidates to receive a tiffin since they have done so much to serve others.

Today's menu:
- Quinoa salad with mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, peas and corn
- Hummus wrap with avocado and mixed greens
- Red lentil daal

Thanks for the opportunity to serve you!

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2010

Today was the very first Karma Tiffin delivery!  We tagged the Hope Tank at the Metta Center for Nonviolence with 4 tiffins.  Each tiffin contained three hot items, all organic, vegan, and freshly made this morning.  The menu:
- Brown rice pulav with carrots and corn
- Moong daal with shitake mushrooms
- Potatoes and peas with cumin and coriander seasoning

Every step of this process has been so much fun--buying the tiffins, picking out the vegetables, cooking it all in the kitchen, and even washing the dishes!  Here are some photos to give you a better idea of what Karma Tiffin is all about.

A few hours after the delivery, when I went back to pick up the empty tiffins, I noticed in the box of tiffins a bunch of bright, colorful flowers tied together in a small bouquet.  What a wonderful surprise!  Thank you, Hope Tank.