August 7, 2016

Dear Best Friend...


I looked at your letters in my hand today and traveled back in time.

My memory stopped exactly 19 years ago. I can’t recollect how & when, but some quick encounters started our friendship and before we knew it, we became good friends.

I sailed through some of my best years of schooling life thanks to your support. You were always besides me no matter what. On good days and even the really bad ones. You always maintained you will never have a best friend in life since you thought it unfair to distinguish between friends. I never understood you on this but always wondered and wished that you would say I am your best friend. I would constantly prod you with my silly questions - 

“Whose your best friend ?”

“What if you could only choose one ?”

“Who would that one person be?”

“All are good friends of mine.” - was your forever reply when I tried my best to get my name out of your mouth. “You will always be my best friend.” - I boasted to you. But that’s how mature you were, even from a very young age.

I learnt a lot from you and still cherish the moments when you stood by me. You were the first one to teach me optimism and always encouraged me to think positively in life. I thought I was the only one with real-world problems until you showed what it means to look at the silver lining in every situation. 

When I had to leave your company and go away for higher studies, you promised to keep in touch and you always did. During one of the toughest phases of my life, the only relief I got was from your hand-written caring letters. I looked forward to the birthday cards you sent me and till this date, treasure them as good as gold. 

Reading all the olden letters and cards, makes me sad today but nevertheless feel grateful and blessed to have as my friend. I feel proud to have known you. Even when we reconnect now, I never experience a loss of connection & always manage to pick up from where we left the last time.

You showed me how friends can be family too. I wish all our life relationships were as caring and loving as ours. I wonder if I have been a good friend too. But I guess I am too quick to dismiss this thought knowing that I haven’t.

Because you made a promise and always stood by it. 

If you had to write a letter to your best friend, 
what would you say ?

**Linking with Day 7 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Yours' truly,
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August 6, 2016



“I want it to be perfect. It obviously has to be.” 

If any far-fetched soul ever thought about writing my autobiography, then this is what the title of the book would read.

I have literally chased perfection all my life. Well, at least 30 of them. Every time a new life-changing chapter begins or an occasion needs planning that’s just around the corner, I would go off on a trip of my own. I always had this constant urge to be the best. I enthralled at the thought of the meticulous arrangement of doing stuff and even dreamt of how it turned out in my head - ‘perfectly’. Every milestone had to be complete, as per me.

But life chose otherwise. No matter, how hard I tried, I would never be happy with how it turned out. My ‘perfect-in-my -head’ scenario would always finish as ‘not-so-perfect’. 

And then one day, I gave up and sat back. I tried not to make it look so hard. Why did I believe that ‘perfection meant everything’? What was with all this wishful thinking ?

Because you know what ? I loved how life turned out to be. Just the way it was. Beautiful, normal, and not-so-perfect.

I enjoyed the fact that life could be lived to its fullest with raw edges and bumpy roads too. In the end, it’s what your personal definition of perfection means. And that’s what really counts.

Is it just me or do we all initially crave for that satisfaction of a perfect wedding, perfect birthday, perfect home or just a perfect evening ? 

**Linking with Day 6 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Yours' truly,

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August 5, 2016

Outside my window

As my fingers type away with what’s on my mind, my heart quickly races back to the little boy running around in his tiny shoes. He runs on the empty ground nearby playing with his pet dog. I stop typing for a moment and get up to peer outside my kitchen window.

Moving to this place 3 years ago, made me feel sad. I purely went by the appearance of the locality and the layout of the apartment only to reject it in a blink of an eye. However, 3 years later, I feel cozy because life’s best memories have happened here.

A house once stood tall on the nearby empty ground. Old and abandoned, it looked like a shipwreck. A tattered gate prevented strangers from entering the plot. I would stand in my kitchen every morning preparing my coffee and occasionally crane my neck to see if I would be lucky enough to even catch a glimpse of a neighbor. 

At one point, I thought the house was haunted. In the late hours of the night, as I would tip-toe into my kitchen for a glass of water, I would force myself to not look outside the window terrified that I would find a ghost walking across the room with a candle in hand. But I never saw one.

I wondered why anyone would leave their home unattended. I imagined the kind of people who lived there, what lives they might have led and even made up mock memories in my head. A house-warming, birth of kids, graduation get-togethers, birthday parties, home renovations and what not.

And then one wintery morning, huge vehicles entered the premise and made the space their home for the next 5 days. Construction workers would hammer here and there to tear the roof apart, or pick up broken logs and lug them out. All the remains within the home were picked carelessly and thrown into garbage bags. 

Once the belongings in the house had been cleared, a huge bull-dozer brought the house down while constantly beeping away. I looked on as the pillars of the house fell, then the wooden roof and finally the walls of the rooms until there remained no proof of a house. 

Watching the sight of a broken house made me restless but I consoled myself with the thought that now a new family would come back to build their home right here. Soon, there would be good memories to reminisce about. This end only meant a new beginning. I waited and waited for months expecting and hoping that soon there would be another home.

But no one came. And there never was another home. 

Now, all the sights I find on the empty ground are kids playing during the holidays, people walking their dogs int the afternoons, squirrels chasing each other for hours and birds pecking away in the search for food.

Seasons change and so does this empty ground. It stands barren in the winters, and turns lush green in spring. The place has it’s own charm in the fall with multihued leaves strewn everywhere. 

My friends who stop-by never fail to take a view out this window and exclaim how peaceful it looks outside. But, every time I look out the window, I imagine the old home standing tall and ponder about the memories that lasted there.

What’s the view like outside your window ?

**Linking with Day 5 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016 
and Friday Reflections What can you see outside your window?**

Yours' truly,

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August 4, 2016

Charged as guilty


The first time, I lay my eyes on you, I knew we were meant to be together. 

I mean, who wouldn’t love you ? 

The first time I held you, was more challenging and unlike anything else I had done before.

I assured myself saying everybody feels weird the first time. 

As time passed, I took care of you - constantly checking on you, ensuring you aren’t extremely hot or cold, keeping you clean everyday, protecting you from every tiny scratch possible.

There were accidents intermittently but I learnt to take care eventually. 

Oh! How proud I felt to show you off to the entire world. The bright beaming look on my face and the happiness in my heart to say that - “You were mine!”

And then, one day, when I woke up, you were gone. I felt as though a sudden fear had engulfed me in it’s claws. Frantically, I searched for you all around the house. 

Then I wondered - “Did I lose you forever?”

But my fear was short-lived as you re-appeared within seconds.

Nestled in the soft hands of my two and half year-old daughter. 

She looked up at me with an understanding face and innocent eyes. She held you with both her hands carefully, just the way I did, and it showed on her face how much I loved you and cared for you.

Gradually, she walked towards me and looked into my eyes. I kneeled down trying to reject that ugly feeling deep down in my stomach which made me feel sick. As I lowered my head in shame, my eyes welled up. 

Lovingly, she extended her little arms towards me, she said - “Amma, here’s your phone. “

At that moment, it dawned upon me that my relationship with you, needed to change. I felt like a thief who was caught red-handed for a crime but wasn't punished.

I threw away my smartphone and wrapped my arms around my little one. As embarrassed as I was for ignoring quality time with my precious one, she saw how a small gadget had become a big part of me. I needed that wake-up call. I needed her to teach me this lesson.

Don’t stare down at your phone, people. Look up and notice the people standing there waiting to see your face. 

Did you ever have a hard-hitting experience which made you realize that - 
"Life is beautiful" ?

**Linking with Day 4 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Yours' truly,

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August 3, 2016

A simpler time

“Life is short so never hold back, forgive like you have amnesia, believe like a kid, love like crazy, and never regret anything that made you happy.” - Author Unknown.

As I flipped the monthly calendar to the new month, I looked back at the days gone by and realized I was getting old. There are those days, once in a while, when memories spring up in mind and remind me of a simpler time. Before technology took over. Before the world changed forever. Before we over-complicated our lives.

When the mobile phone first made an entrance into our household, as children, we helped our parents learn all about the new gadget. Up until then, every time we needed help with a problem (in school, in academics, in life, you name it) we turned to our parents. They seemed to know it all. Even without the help of Google. Our youngster, fresh minds were bubbling with energy and ready to take on the world. More importantly, we looked forward to adapt to any new challenge.

Fast forward to the present day and I reminisce about those simpler times often and yearn for it. On some days, I feel I am done with the new age traditions and wish someone could invent a time machine for me to go back and relive those memories again.

As we mature into older versions of ourselves, I find many of us don’t wish to over-complicate our lives anymore. Seriously, I don’t. I like having letters in my mailbox which I can read later as opposed to emails. I enjoy in a long walk on a warm evening accompanied by just by a bag and a book instead of a mobile, charger, headphones and a laptop. I realize that our fragile lives are caged temporarily in a man-made bubble which may pop anytime and leave us crippled if we don’t train our brains and heart to live without a mobile.

If I could, I would take away the technology that has tricked us into becoming it’s slave. If only, we would slow down our fast-paced world and take notice of the world around or even better, just look around and for once, be in the moment. 

Nowadays, I enjoy a simple game of ball with my baby girl. I relish a cup of coffee reading a book. I focus intently on what I am cooking so as to absorb the recipe and not just merely follow the online instructions. It’s a way to enjoy what I am doing and also stay in the present moment. 

Do you agree - what’s your ritual when it comes to relaxing our super fast lives?

Also please share, how do you like to detox technologically? 

Do share.

**Linking with Day 3 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Yours' truly,
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August 2, 2016

Don't judge me


You look me in the eye and have me all figured out. 
You feel you know me right from the day I was born.
You form an opinion and think it right to label me such. 
You boast to others of who you think I am and how you think I should be.
You don’t ask me to explain myself and look away when I resist.
You don’t care about my feelings and you will never.
You are a part of my life today and know that you matter to me.
You made me work hard and then pushed me to work harder some more,
You made me change myself,
You made me forget who I actually was before,


I am not what I seem and there is so much of what you don’t know,
I got to know you because I picked you,
I never got to show or tell you what I actually am,
I never got to defend your thoughts about me to others,
I kept quiet even when I was brought down emotionally,
I have been taunted by you and always dread for another instance,
I am a part of your life too and I matter to you as well,
I accepted the change until I chose to detest it openly,
I broke my limits and surged so far ahead I can never look back,
I wonder at myself and question - “Is this really me?”

I believe people come into our lives for a reason. Just as how I believe that everything happens for a reason. However, even though instances may or may not change us as an individual, there are people who bring out that change in us. Here’s to all such people who came into my life, who taught me important life lessons, who showed me how strong one needs to be, who proved that I need to be more compassionate but I should never expect the same and who finally left me as I stood confused for answers. 

Try as much as I can, I can never ignore the pain some of them brought along and even though there are a million reasons to look up on a particularly low day, my mind races back to that one day when I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. Time has definitely healed the pain and I have undoubtedly learnt to push away my hard feelings. They have taught me to keep my head up always in anticipation of a brand new day.

Nobody wants to carry along a grudge in their hearts, but do you ever wonder what if things could have gone better in certain relationships ?

Do share.

**Linking with Day 2 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Also linking with #MondayMusings. 

Yours' truly,

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August 1, 2016

There once lived a girl...


There once lived a girl, who felt as though, she was spending her life aboard an imaginary boat. Along with her among the passengers, were her near and dear ones - who loved her unconditionally and whom she loved as well. Or so she thought. She compared her life to the tranquil sea the boat seemed to be sailing on, which is constantly steered but is unaware of its final destination. 

There once lived a girl, who saw what her early life was made up of. She played with kids of her own kin and looked forward to meeting them often, confident of the fact that she would always stay in touch with them. She saw how they all got along together and how peacefully they traveled on the boat as a joint team. 

There once lived a girl, who saw that as the years passed by, the occasional thunderstorms and rapid waves rocked the boat occasionally but never let down the people onboard the vessel. Their respect and love for each other always made sure the boat restored its calm and returned to its original sway.

There once lived a girl, who saw how one fine day, the boat began to rock vehemently. She got all scared and looked around. But what she saw disturbed her. The other members of the boat had gotten into an argument and let their personal differences becomes the reason of the turmoil. They yelled at each other, they boycotted each other’s opinions and saw how no one actually respected the other in spite of the strong bond they once all shared.

There once lived a girl, who thought, it was considered best to keep quiet as an adult. In matters of the heart, in unavoidable circumstances, in family matters and important decisions. She played to her surroundings with utmost care so as to never disturb the equilibrium of the boat and her mind - both hers and those around her. All was well as long as she never rocked the boat on her own and quietly swayed to the whims and fancies of the sea. 

But it wasn’t an easy task. Stories she had only read about in books took place in her own life. No matter how hard she tried, she could never bring back the peace of her mind that she once carried as a child. Times had changed and so had relationships. Even though years had flown by, it had taken some relationships mere seconds to transform into a new entity. She realized how 'stranger than fiction' her life had become. 

There once lived a girl, who then realized that every story or real-life situation had 3 sides - her side of the story, their side of the story and the ‘truth’. And so she decided that it was best to remain calm and do her duty. If she felt it right, she would acknowledge the situation but never let it go out of control. If the situation made her uncomfortable, she decided to remain calm and let the storm pass by. No tears, no explanations and most importantly, no heartbreaks. 

Today the little girl has evolved into a young woman. One who left her world to make her own little world. She sails adrift on her own boat. The old boat has sailed out of vision, however, now she feels at peace. She couldn’t change who they were and so she decided to start afresh with a new perspective.”

It’s surprising to see how life transforms us. A moment of truth in this instant, doesn't stand true in the next. But I have realized that’s how life has to go on. A repenting heart forever stays but life goes on.  

Have you ever experienced a 'stranger than fiction' situation in real-life? 

How did you deal with it?

**Linking with Day 1 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016**

Yours' truly,
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July 8, 2016

Looking back at June 2016 #GratitudeCircle

Can you believe that half of 2016 has zoomed by ? Here I was in January, still reeling from the unexpected trip to India, packing & unpacking suitcases, figuring out things in life, when suddenly I realize it’s February - by the time we returned to the US and here we are now in July - waiting for the second half of the year to unwind. I am not going to bother saying the age-old cliched punch line of how quickly time has whizzed past us. Because before you know it, in a blink of an eye, it will be December and the holiday season will be upon us and then boom - ‘Happy New Year’ guys! :)

They say - ‘You never realize how quickly time flies when you’re busy having fun.’ Sure, I am having a lot of fun but I just can’t accept the fact that so much time has passed since. So  instead I am just going to look back at the past month - June 2016.

Quite a lot of activities kept me busy during the first half of 2016 and one major activity was prepping for few shows & performances that were staged whole of last week May. I had a troupe of people visiting from Mumbai, India who needed to be hosted and driven around New York & New Jersey. The busy schedule that began in February ended on June 1st and eventually the curtains were closed on this life-changing chapter. 

Needless to say, once our friends returned to India, we took a breather and chilled out the first weekend in June - catching up on much required sleep, lots of TV and little bit of shopping. Most part of the month went by without a fuss and I caught up on relaxing myself while still going about my other routines. As I look back, I can't help notice how easy-going the past month has been - 
  • Blogging - No matter how many excuses I make, I just can’t seem to escape the reasons why I was missing from the blogging world the past few months. So I am not even going to try. :) A major reason (read - not excuse) was when it came to finally sitting down to write, the right words wouldn't come out (whatever that means). I am sure I couldn’t label it as ‘Writer’s Block’ as I was able to elaborate on any given topic  in my mind but at the end of the day, I wouldn't be happy with what I had written on my laptop. I did mention about this funny state of mind to Sid (who blogs at 'I Wrote Those') and Parul (who blogs at 'Happiness & Food')  and they have been very supportive sharing tips on how to stay in touch with writing. Thanks guys ! Facing this mental fear was finally possible 2 weeks ago and apart from other fellow-bloggers’ support (that I always grateful for), I am also grateful to that unexplainable feeling that eventually made me clear my mind and just write.
  • Reading - As I sat back, relaxed and contemplated on my writing, I could find a million reasons that catered to it in the first place and one of them is that my reading has hit an all-time low. For starters, I didn’t set any reading goals for 2016. Last December, when I joined a reading challenge that I liked - ‘Book Challenge by Erin’, I ended up backing out at the last moment owing to the unannounced trip to India. Since the challenge required 10 books to be completed in 4 months, I knew I wouldn’t be allotting time so much as to read even 2 pages in a month, thanks to the crazy schedule and rigorous travels. This time around though, I am leaving no stone unturned to give my best shot. So, for a quite obvious item, I am sure grateful that books always feature on my gratitude list since they make me feel happy. Here’s to all the wonderful books in the world. I plan to post book reviews for each book that I finish reading & you can also follow me on Instagram for more updates regarding this book challenge. 
  • Support from friends and family - Even though the people who visited last month were my friends, my association with few of them goes back as long as 15 years. So they are now an integral part of my extended family. It never felt as guests were coming over but more like my own family visiting me.  I surely had a ball spending time with them as did the hubby and Baby Girl. At one point, they even made me forget my family back home in India. The silence of the house & the vacuum they had created, once the trip was over, was palpable. But it made me feel all the more grateful that I have such people & mentors in my life. On one hand, I had the company of such wonderful individuals while on the other hand, I had the unrelenting support of the darling hubby and my Baby Girl who never complained my intermittent absence (in between shows) and made sure I was 100% available to attend to my guests. As my friends complimented and as I experience everyday, I am grateful to have a caring & supportive hubby in this life. :)
  • Pleasant surprises - June came with it's own share of surprises. From attending a premier show of 'The Secret Life of Pets' at Times Square-New York, to hearing great appreciation for my work from unexpected corners, to dancing and performing at picturesque locales (like a waterfront to live audience), to getting an instant job offer (was offered one right after the performance by a biggie dance company), to eating great food, to receiving surprise gifts & things I love,  I had a wonderful time living all these experiences and feel grateful to the opportunities that come knocking at my door everyday. 
Enough about me, now you tell me how did June treat you ? :)

What events of June 2016 are you grateful for ? 

**Linking this post to Gratitude Circle Blog hop on Vidya's blog for June 2016.**

Yours' truly,
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June 27, 2016

Everyone needs a touch of magic #FridayReflections


I remember how, during my high school days, I eagerly looked forward to the first day of every new school week. Apart from spending quality time with friends, classroom fun with favorite teachers & subjects, or creative experiments during arts & craft, it also meant the class teacher would decide which student gets to write the ‘Quote of the Week’ on the blackboard. Every evening, I would flip & scour the school diary at home, skimming through the quotes printed on the bottom line of each page, looking for the perfect one to write.

But it wasn't just the thrill of being chosen to write on the blackboard that excited me. At certain times of the long school day, my eyes would drift from the teacher and her written white words to the quote written on one end of the backdrop. It made my mind wander off the teacher & stop focussing. As the words glistened on the blackboard, my mind silently read - ‘Honesty is the best policy’, ‘Silence is golden’, ‘Live and let live’ and what not. A stream of thoughts thus initiated as I struggled to make sense of it’s underlying relevance to life. Sure, it wasn’t difficult to understand the meaning. However, it still managed to keep me baffled about its importance in my life or anyone else’s.

One particular week, when my turn finally came up to do the honors, I went ahead promptly and wrote on the blackboard - 'Forgive and forget'. It took me under half a minute to write the words on the board that day. And, it’s taken me over 2 decades & countless experiences to unearth it’s true significance. To this day, I still question the quote - ‘Unpleasant emotional experiences can scar us for life. Even if we are able to forgive a thing of the past or a person or an experience, do we or more importantly, ‘can’ we ever really forget ?’

There have been instances where I have been answered back at, where people have - unknowingly or on purpose - hurt me and never repented their actions, times when everything seemed to fall apart in my mind, when I felt helpless and yet nothing I did helped me. During such times, the aforementioned quote always stood out in memory and made me ponder - Is this achievable in real life? 

We always share our deepest secrets, struggles & worries with our close friends and / or family members. Likewise I have had my close ones share their struggles with me. 

If I ever happen to have a magical touch, which can make impossible things happen, I would wave my magic wand instantly and... 

- help such a person get over the emotional hurdle / situation that he / she is facing and get rid of whatever it is that was bothering them in the first place. 

- get them to meet a close friend or family member who wholeheartedly supports them in contrast to people who have let them down. By doing so, I believe they would regain lost strength.

- help release any grudges or negative thoughts. I am sure once the negativity is taken care of, it would also naturally facilitate in forgetting the past and in particular, what has happened. 

- stop the person from overthinking, losing mental strength and from losing trust.

Long after such a chapter is closed, it still reels in some of our minds and ensures we place our next step with a careful deal of caution. And no matter how strong a person is, when such experiences take place, even an optimist can skip the silver lining.

Don't you think the world would be a much better place to live in, if everyone could just whiz past the bad experiences and start afresh at the whisk of a wand and a hint of magic ? 

Easier said than done. If only there was an straightforward way to achieve this. Being grateful, reading positive thoughts, and meeting positive people also helps but everyone needs just a tad bit of magic in their lives, at some point or another.

Tell me, what are your thoughts about learning life's lessons in a hard way ? 

Do you really forgive & forget ?

Yours' truly,

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