10 Day ‘You’ Challenge : 7 Wants

 

#ALLABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE

7 WANTS

  1. Travel the world and explore fascinating places and have memorable adventures while doing so. On my bucket list are to visit the Northern Lights, the Amazon forests, Spain, Galapagos islands, Arusha in Tanzania, Leh-Ladakh to name just a few.
  2. To be a certified Scuba diver and to get innumerable opportunities to go diving.
  3. Experience the exhilaration of sky diving.
  4. To continue spinning magic with my words, and to never ever stop writing. To write that book soonest. And to get on with writing related work that I really enjoy doing.
  5. To live by the sea and in the lap of nature.
  6. To have a world free of bloodshed, poverty, anger, and hatred. Want to have a world that is ruled by love, love, and more love.
  7. To be fit and healthy always. Right now I really want to get back to exercising-cycling, boot camp. It’s been a long hiatus.

10 Day “You” Challenge: 8 Fears

#AllABOUTME #BLOGCHALLENGE

8 FEARS

I am the kind of person who prefers to look at her fears squarely and face them headlong. I believe fears are a figment of our imagination. When we give them too much importance they turn larger than life and stick their ugly head out. Yet that been said, we are all human and some way or the other even I do cave into my fears, despite having the above notion etched in my head.

  1. Fear of not completing a work project on time and doing a shoddy job. This fear has plagued me a few times so much so that it affects my work rhythm and frame of mind. I guess it stems from the fact that I’m a perfectionist in many ways.
  2. Fear of losing a loved one. Though spiritually inclined, I still have to come to terms with the cycle of life and death.
  3. Fear of using filthy washrooms and stinky toilets. That one is such a big bummer.
  4. Fear of unruly, accident-prone traffic, road-rage and bad drivers. They, unfortunately, form a major part of populace in North India.
  5. Fear of unending gloomy, foggy, cloudy and bitterly cold days. I like warm, sunny, toasty winters.
  6. Fear of not being able to pursue my passions; like writing and fitness. I stopped writing for a very long time. Call it writer’s block or just plain laziness. I don’t want to be in that space anymore. I want to be fit, active, exercising and healthy.
  7. Fear of Math and Hindi. Though that was more of a childhood fear, but I have learned to slowly but surely look at it in the face, while I teach my 8-year-old baby girl.
  8. Fear and concern over the fact that the world is besieged by so much terrorism, crime, hatred, and cruelty. And things aren’t really changing much. The videos from Aleppo break my heart and make me feel helpless.

10 DAY “YOU” CHALLENGE: 9 LOVES

#Allaboutme #blogchallenge

9 loves

  1. My Human and Dog Families and Friends
  2. Sunshine on my shoulder on a toasty winter morning.
  3. Cycling on early, nippy autumn and spring mornings into the verdant green and becoming one with the rising sun.
  4. Weaving together a medley of words that make for a fascinating read. Catharsis to the soul.
  5. My kind of food. And yes, my love for quite a few things sweet-cakes, caramel pudding, tiramisu, piping hot Gulab Jamuns, besan halwa to name just a few.
  6. Spirituality and practicing Buddhism and reading up Buddhist texts.
  7. Being one with nature, flora and fauna. Doing my bit to preserve and love them. And did you hear me say a big aye to the Sea? 🙂
  8. Travelling, traveling and more traveling.
  9. Life, for all the things precious that it has to offer.

 

(These are just a few of my Loves. There are a lot many, but since I got to stick to 9 Loves, I will leave the rest for yonder.)

 

 

 

Wordy Wednesday # 1

This Week: Word Prompts

Aspire

Always

Anyway

Arrive

Use any one or two or all the prompts in your posts.

Write a minimum of 100 words on the prompt.

I aspire for a world minus bloodshed and suffering.

I aspire to live a humble life wherein I continue to write each day. A life that is replete with adventure. A life that is a tapestry of challenges and joy, of touching lives and living in gratitude forever.

Aspire for more or aspire for less?
Aspire that which is just enough to create a balance in life. Aspire to enrich your life. Aspire to arrive at your life’s destinations and goals. Aspire in the midst of suffering to mend things. Aspire in joy. Aspire when bitter. Aspire anyway.

A life without aspirations is like an empty well; of no use. So aspire always.

This post is written for Wordy Wednesday #1– January 2017 #BARWoWe

Thanks http://www.sirimiri.in and http://www.novemberschild.com for the inspiration, I started to follow https://blogarhythmblog.wordpress.com.

10 Day ‘You’ Challenge: 10 Secrets

                                                 10 SecreTs

  1. My sweet cravings and food lust are the biggest debacle to my fitness plans. So when it comes to losing those extra inches, I end up faltering despite making unending resolutions each time.
  2. I love dogs more than humans.
  3. The best gift that you can give me is a genuine hug and a lovely hand written note. Ah! those good old days of letter writings.
  4. I balance my spiritual side pretty well with my crazy streak of madness.
  5. When George Michael crossed over last Christmas I spent hours watching his interviews on YouTube.
  6. I have a stationary fetish. I also have a fetish for well manicured and pedicured hands and feet.
  7. From being poker straight, my hair turned wavy after Aarshia was born, 8 years back.
  8. I dislike lying and people who lie.
  9. I would like learn Western vocals one day.
  10. I once sneaked in a day trip to Nainital with my friend, while my folks were away. I was in high school then.

I saw this on my friend Mayuri’s blog http://sirimiri.in and I knew I wanted to do it. Thanks May xoxo

 

Let’s Get It Started

2017 arrived without much ado and fanfare. We brought in a quiet New Year eve, in the cosy confines of our home. while the girls were away. Yes, all primed up, savouring some incredible Lamb Roast, Lebanese bread and salads while sipping on our glasses of cheer. New Year’s day breakfast was Nihari and bread. The meats were cooked with much meticulous detailing by the DH,

And yes homemade Mulled Wine had been the highlight of the season.

We discovered a new restaurant at Cross Point mall called Culture Cafe started by the Delhi Heights Manager and Chef. It had bits of Delhi Heights and DiGhent, all rolled into one. The food was decent. I quite enjoyed my Khousuey. Though Al thought the Chicken sizzler steak was average.

Another interesting start to the year has been, a few of my friends bringing home puppies. I have thereafter been rechristened, Dog Mom! Two of them are Shitzus and look like adorable Guinea Pigs. And one a dreamy Golden Retriever. I have spent the last two evenings with the dog parents, dispensing advice and feeling as excited as they are.

Another highlight was a very rewarding New Year Buddhism meeting yesterday, wherein I determined to strive harder not just in my practise but at each and everything I did in life. I also baked an orange cake for our mentor’s Birthday yesterday. Today I’m meeting my Prayer Group friends from Connect Ticket over lunch, at my favourite Burma-Burma, Cyber Hub.

This is also my first piece for the year. So there.

Let’s hope the momentum gathers further and the year keeps looking more promising.

So Long, Farewell, Adieu

The curtains are drawing close to 2016.

It has been a year of profound learnings, huge upheavals, surprises that were wonderful and not so wonderful, new beginnings, new journeys; all foisted together into a bunch memories. I’m carrying forward all those things that made me stronger, better and left me with a positive after taste. Rest I’m burying , far away from the deep recesses of my mind. Though I won’t forget to take along the precious life’s lessons that came with the turbulence. 2016 has been a medley of the bitter and sweet, the sour and the pungent. Yet, it’s been rewarding like any other year. For most of us it’s been a challenging year and we can’t wait for it to get over. The first nine months left me shaken but not stirred. The last three months have been thankfully good to me, or maybe I have chosen to turn the difficult debacles around and handle them positively. So I’m glad to sign off on a positive note.

The year started on a sombre note, with some jangling here and some jingling there. My older angel brat attended her school passing out ceremony which was a proud moment, celebrated with much fervour. She looked not just pretty, but stylish and super and then before we knew it “the boards” arrived and she had managed to score well. So much so that she got admission in one of the well know, prestigious universities. It was cause for much celebration. But  some of us in the family fought a battle with sickness, yet worked our way to emerge like the phoenix from the ashes. Alongside came a painful fallout too. But I endured all of this, sometimes faltering and sometimes bouncing back with determined spirit, to never give up, whatsoever. What took me through was the tenacious support of my family, a soul friend who stood rock solid and not to forget my Buddhist practise and comrades in faith.

In 2016 we lost some of the worlds most precious icons like David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Nancy Reagan, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Fidel Castro, E.R. Braithwaite, Debbie Reynolds; to name just a few. I was pretty much heartbroken when I heard about George Michael. Well, he was my teenage heart-throb, just the way he had been to so many others when we were growing up. Though I had stopped following his music for a while now, it left me and I’m sure many others with that empty feeling.

My birthday this year was really amazing, a surprise getaway, tucked in the wilderness of Gurugram. I felt pampered and joyous. We undertook some fascinating holidays too in 2016, which will stay etched in our minds forever. One to Kerela and the other in Karnataka with a drive down to Goa. Also a little getaway to Dalai Lama’s land. And my must-must-do-once-a-year trip to Bombay. I guess they were all instrumental in keeping me afloat too.

Another wonderful experience was taking the Soka Gakkai Buddhism Level 2 exam. I haven’t enjoyed studying so much as I do, when i study the Buddhist texts. Taking an exam had never been so much fun, as it was to take this one. I don’t know if I’ll pass or not, but one thing’s for sure that it imparted me some very valuable life’s lesson, which I am and will be carrying forward.

This year I also learnt that money can’t buy happiness. I was always conflicted by this thought, and I took up work, just so that I could earn those extra bucks. What really counts is doing something that makes one happy. Once this realisation dawned upon me I took to writing for myself, and writing what I enjoyed. Well. it hasn’t earned me moolah or followers but it gives me a sense of great pride to have my website and to write for myself and for people who would love to stop by. I had stopped writing for a long, long time. I felt vulnerable opening up my life to the world. But at some given point of time, I made peace with the fact and started writing. I owe it to a huge set of friends, acquaintances and family who believed in my writing and motivated me to keep writing. And yes, I also started to believing in my writings and myself too. Well. that’s the crux for most things to fall in place right.

I have always valued and loved nurturing my family but this year was a revelation of sorts. Family came first. Yes, there are some friends who will stick by, but family despite the differences will stand by you, come what may. So, I chose to dedicate my life to them, and that brought me so much closer to some very important people in my life. Again my Buddhist practise played a huge role in lending me this wisdom.

So it’s time to bid adieu to 2016, a Year of Debacles, A Year of Precious Life’s Lessons, A Year that Will Never Come Back. Yet a Year of Expansion.

I’m so ready to embrace 2017. A year when I intend to get fitter (oh! they all say so, but what the heck!) and to write a lot more and broaden my creative horizons. Also a year when I will love myself a little more, and a year when I will give more than I receive and read more than I ever have.

Bring it on 2017!

Hello 2017

When in God’s Own Country: Part 2

Kerela was proving to be more mystical, more magical than anticipated. We were enamoured by the riot of colours, the lush, verdant nature, the innumerable species of birds and insects, and the fresh crispy air that we inhaled. The DH and I love waking up early even on vacations. We feel the beauty of these pristine places can be savoured and experienced while everybody else sleeps. We love to go for our morning run or walk and unfailingly pack our workout gear.

The girls were fast asleep in their cottage. Al took off for his run while I chose to stick to my favourite activity, cycling. There were a whole bunch of cycles. I pedaled furiously around the property hoping to burn some of the calories I had gained over the last two days. But then our input outweighed the output. Well, we were on vacation so it was okay to take that leeway.

After having done with our rounds of workout, we sat at the patio and sipped into some soulful masala chai. The girls were awake by then and wanted to go pedal boating in the lake within the property. So we jumped into the boat and pedaled our way around the length and breadth of the serene, sensuous lake, where Kari meens surreptitiously swam away into unknown corners and hideouts. The morning breeze felt sublime and sweet. Once done we clamoured to the open restaurant for breakfast. A bevy of swans announced their arrival by making raucous sounds, begging for breakfast. The hotel staff gave us some bread to feed them. The little one was excited and forgot all about her breakfast and wandered around the swans feeding and cooing at them. The swans were not too friendly and when given a chance tried to peck back with guarded hostility.

Our day plans were as dreamy as the captivating land we were in. It was something we were eagerly anticipating a houseboat ride on the Vembanad lake. We arrived at the jetty well before time and our grandiose boat stood there anchored and steady. As we made our way into it, we were greeted by a lovely dine in area with a living room space with two open doors. There was an al fresco space where we could  sit and enjoy the balmy breeze and where the pilot or helmsman of the boat would be seated steering us through the huge expansive lake. There were also  two cosy bedrooms to boot.

Vembanad lake is so vast that it seems like a huge river. No wonder it is the longest lake in India. The houseboat had a chef and helper who served us our welcome drink and some munchies, while they got busy in the kitchen rustling up fresh Kerela cuisine of fish, chicken an array of vegetables. We savoured the beautiful lake and its wondrous view, as the breeze played with us coquettishly.

We passed various landmarks by the banks of the that were dotted by
the coconuts palms including an old, abandoned church which appeared eerie and haunted. We stopped by the bank to buy some toddy, the local drink which is extracted from the new buds of coconut palm. This drink is fermented and consumed and supposedly elixir to the local soul. We also stopped to buy some freshly netted tiger prawns.

Lunch was beyond sumptuous. We gorged on the various delicacies and smacked our lips in contentment when we were done. Our entire family, we realise is a fan of Malyali cuisine. The Tiger prawns were reserved for the evening snack.

Aarshia and I had another incredible experience of manoeuvering the boat, around the Vembanad lake. It was exhilarating to say the least. I felt unstoppable, as the breeze flirted with my hair and caressed my face.

Our Little Helmswoman

But then all good things have to come to an end. The sun was readying to go down and welcome the upcoming dusk and it was time to bid adieu to the Vembanad lake till the next time, whenever that would be. We docked back at the hotel jetty partially satiated to the soul and craving more adventure in God’s Own Country. Our next destination beckoned us, and the chances of visiting another more than surreal place seemed plausible and inviting.

Haunted? Abandoned?

Sepia Tinted Winters?

I abhorred winters. The idea of cold, dark, dreary, foggy days made me wince. My Bengali genes couldn’t handle the cold North Indian winters, despite having spent most of my life in this belt, along with a small stint at New Castle Upon Tyne where it snowed heavily. The onset of winters inundated a sense of melancholy. I couldn’t but wait for it to end and for the Spring and Summer to arrive.

Winters for me translated into layers of clothing. While most people would be fine with two layers on a very cold day, I would need at least 5. And to top it all a neck wrapped in a muffler or a polo neck, and ears covered with beanie, or a woollen cap; thankfully not a  monkey cap! My body clock also would shift in winters from the usual waking up time of 5 A.M. to 7 A.M. However hard I tried I could not get myself out of the warm, cosy confines of my quilt. This meant, less day hours, and giving up my early morning regime of working out. I would wriggle out of wedding invitations as I could not imagine myself wearing all the wedding finery minus any warm layers. That’s how morbid my fear was towards winters. You will be appalled to know I also backed out of a grand family reunion at Varanasi, towards November end, a few years back because I could not fathom myself being a part of that boat ride, on the Ganges, in the chilly evening. Imagine the scale of fun, laughter and bonhomie I missed out due to this irrational fear for the season, which some look forward to and cherish. Over the last few years the global warming has given way to less intense winters and slowly but surely my discomfort has abated. You will be surprised to know it has paved way for a sense of appreciation and fondness for  this season. A season that is replete with holiday cheer, celebrations, sun-kissed, sometimes sepia tinted days. I feel less maudlin, more happier.

This year has been especially different. I’m enjoying soaking in the glory of winters, as the foggy morning have been less frequent visitors. But then so far so good.

Toasting up by the sun is my favourite pass time along with an unputtownable book. The warm, golden glow of the glorious sun on my shoulder, as I sit on my bean bag punching these lines is indescribable.

The nights are replaced by a warm mug of hot chocolate, snuggled up in my warm and cosy velvety quilt. And the copious mugs of coffee during the day or the classic ginger-tulsi-honey tea. A hug in a mug, some would say.

The wide array of fresh food produce-fruits and vegetables in myriad hues and options makes food a fun experience and not to forget my favourite, healthy salads and soups for supper.

The bursting hues of Poinsettia, pansies, ice flowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, dahlias and others portend ample winter cheer.

Though I have been deprived off late of one of my favourite activities which is working out and cycling due to a back issue, I love the fact that winters allow us to work out any time of the day. It’s so much fun to go for a run even in the late afternoons or a spin on the cycle during the day.

And no I didn’t forget the distinct varieties of shoes and boots and the winter wear that add a whole new dimension to our style statement.

We are also able to grow such a variety of vegetables like rocket leaves, lettuce, kale, chard, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, celery, parsley, beet root, cabbage and so on so forth in our terrace garden, this time of the year. So it’s organic farming overload.

And have you bitten into a Chikki (Jaggery peanut candy) on a cold winter afternoon post lunch? I assure you it is bliss unlimited. Yes, sometimes it is ok to forgo the demonic thoughts about calories!

I was almost forgetting those lazy days of picnicking at the Lodhi gardens, or the nearby park. Just pack in a quick bite, grab the shades, throw in a mat and we are all set to make it a memorable day in the lap of nature. That too with our four-legged furry kids. Now that is fun unlimited really.

So, the perks of being in winter do outweigh being not. So while I’m in it, I’m going to welcome this season with open arms, and enjoy it moment by moment by moment. Who knows tomorrow might be a dark, gloomy day, but I will still be carrying that sunshine on my shoulder from today morning.

 

 

A Lesson from Nature

This morning as I walked back from pilate class I was greeted by my favourite flowers- Shiuli/Harsingaar/Night Jasmine. Each year they arrive precisely around the time autumn begins to set in and disappear with the onset of winters. So they are our fleeting guests for a month and a half. But it goes without saying that they leave an indelible mark in my heart and I look forward to their arrival with much anticipation. Many of you I’m guessing know this, from my earlier posts.I grew up welcoming the Shiuli every Pujo. Gathering them and thereafter threading garlands for Ma Durga. They not only make me nostalgic but give me a heady sense of happiness.
I could relate them to the Leonard Cohen song, “You fill up my senses.” Quite literally!
Today as I looked at them in awe like I always do, the Shiulis that lay strewn over the grass and cobbled path communicated something profound to me. Something I hadn’t imagined.
They were telling me, “We live for a short duration. We bloom in the darkness, intoxicating your senses. Next morning we fall to the grass along with the dew drops. We carpet the ground beneath us with our orange stems and pristine white petals, becoming one with nature and mankind. Sometimes people trample us by, yet we are glad that we arrived and made the best of this short-lived life, by spreading some fragrance in your lives.”
It got me thinking. Life has no guarantees and unlike the Night Jasmine we wont know when our end is near. So why don’t we just embrace and cherish each moment of life that has been bestowed upon us and continue to spread humanity and goodness?
We may be trampled and looked down upon, but continuing to live joyfully and strive ceaselessly, will make this life worthwhile.
Look inside, there is a Night Jasmine hiding within all of us.

5 October 2016

#AutumnAdvent #SpreadLoveNotWar
#GiveBackLove

 

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