March 31, 2015

Looking back at March 2015

Phew ! March was a busy month. At the onset of 2015, LP and I hung up a monthly calendar on our living room wall to plan our days and most importantly record our appointments.

What started out looking pretty much empty during January now looks like a riot of pen colors (in red, blue, green and black) to indicate weekly engagements / weekend outings / doctor visits and more. Actually I have even forgotten which color indicates what ? :P

The dance class schedule, then weekly rehearsals for upcoming shows, catching up with friends over tea-time or dinners, battling the never-ending snow even on the first day of spring (Yeah ! What's up with that, Nature ?) and so much more that just happened to fill our days with activities.

Goes to say how much we enjoyed being busy (excluding clearing snow off the car - that's always a downer!). 

And the best part wasn't even all that. :)

A lot's happened on the blogging front too. Firstly, I am so happy to be blogging more often. *Gives a nice pat on the back for that.*

Then I joined 2 amazing blogging groups this month - Blog-A-Rhythm and Friday Reflections. The amount of inspiration and constant support these groups provide is so heart-warming. :)

For International Women's Day, I shared some of my thoughts on why I wish to be known as who I am and what I do.

I spruced up the blog a little and gave it the end-of-another-year makeover. 

Vidya Sury's post on Did I Smile Today? inspired me to write about my 30 things to smile about.

For my first post for Friday Reflections, I blogged about the most influential book I have read till date.

Another major blogging achievement was that I signed up for the A-Z April Challenge which starts tomorrow ! Last week I revealed the theme for the challenge. As a first-timer, I am super-excited to see how I fare. 

Yet another first time activity was to participate for the weekly Yeah Write Challenge where I enjoyed writing a microstory.

But this is just the beginning. With the April Blogging Challenge, more dance classes, rehearsals, shows and most importantly, meeting new people (both in real life and virtual world too), I look forward to an even more happening and busy month coming right up.

So how has your month been ? 

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March 28, 2015

Choosing a good life...

Picked as the "Featured Post" for Friday Reflections - Week 4.
Every fortnight we visit our local town library to pick out new books and return the old stock. As is the case, when I am at the library, I always lose track of time. When I walk through the fiction aisles glancing away at random titles, my mind does it's background job of scouring for the perfect author and book. Most of the times, I know which author/title I am looking to read thanks to the homework beforehand. But there is always space for an extra book or two. :)

The last time, however, my routine was a little haphazard. Thanks to the kids section of the library being closed, LP and Baby Girl decided to help join me in my book search. :)

This obviously meant cutting short my detailed search operation because I didn't want an over-excited and playful toddler decorating the quietness of the library with fun-filled baby talk. :) 

As I quickly made my way through the regular aisles to come over to the checkout counter, I was drawn towards the 'New Arrivals' section. I seldom pick any book from there due to the quick returning policy. But this time I gave in.

As we readied ourselves to head out, one particular title grabbed my attention. I didn't even have the time to read the synopsis at the back so I plainly trusted my instincts and brought the book home wondering what it was about.

'Choosing a Good Life' by Ali Berman

I recently finished reading the book and boy am I glad I picked it up in the first place! :)

Around this same time, I joined the weekly link-up for bloggers called 'Friday Reflections' -  hosted by Janine and Mackenzie which is a very interesting and inspirational place to link-up posts based on weekly prompts.

One of their weekly prompts for this week was - 

"What is the most influential book you have ever read?"

The timing couldn't be better since I just completed my book last week and I am ready with the answer for this prompt. :)

For me, reading this book has been an eye opener in every sense. We all experience ups and downs in life but the real question is how do people go on living their lives normally who still battle the endless problems on an on-going basis. 

The author, Ali Berman, has  beautifully showcased real world experiences of few chosen individuals. These people have not only found a better way to tackle their problems but also figured how to effectively respond to natural situations. Something she calls - a deep sense of balance.

The reason why the author found these people ideal for this book is very well-explained. I could relate a lot of experiences from my personal life with these individuals and also got to understand how they choose to stride with ease in every instance.

As I read through the life history of every individual in the book, I would step back at regular intervals and reflect on my life to see if I could have handled a particular point or phase of my life differently with the same kind of vision as the models of the book. 

But, I guess it's better late than never ! :)

I still get amazed thinking how things worked out such that I hurriedly picked this book at the very last moment only to appreciate the simplicity and greatness of the book in the end.

Would highly recommend this book to all my fellow bloggers and I hope, in the end, you find the same happiness that I did after reading it.

Leaving you with few of my favorite lines from the book - 

"If I have to learn something, I go ahead and learn it instead of worrying about it."

"I've learned so much more to live in the present moment because that's really where the power is."

"Every individual has exactly the same right to pursue happiness and the kind of life he dreams about."

"Let me be an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is anger, understanding;
Where there is fear, courage;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
(A prayer from Saint Francis of Assisi)"

Yours' truly,
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March 25, 2015

The Ephemeral Sunshine


As her innocent eyes look up for love and guidance, I am reminded of the dark truth.

One day she will know and never call me - ‘Mom’ again.

If only I had adopted her and not just snatched her from her family.

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March 23, 2015

A to Z April Challenge 2015 Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge

A couple of weeks ago, when I read about the A-Z April challenge on Vidya's blog - Going A-Musing, I had made up my mind. 

To not sign up ! :D

Here I was reading a great post describing the monthly challenge and how it works, whilst listening to a million thoughts scampering through my mind justifying why it isn't a good idea to sign up for it. Yeah, yeah, I know! The pessimist side of me does an excellent job of keeping me at bay. ;p

Yet, I was back on the same page the very next day trying to overrule the negativity and take up the challenge. The link for the sign up list kept staring at me like an irresistible dessert waiting to be pounced upon and so I finally caved.

I signed up for the A-Z April Challenge 2015.

So what's the big deal about it? Why the resistance to do another monthly blogging challenge, you ask?

Well, I have personally observed that when it comes to month-long blogging challenges - 

"I am terrible." 

Thanks to my earlier experiences.

1. For starters, I have never scheduled any of my posts in the past

Go on, you can leave out a gasp of shock or horror! 

I know it sounds totally foolish to not schedule posts and struggle with new topics on a regular basis. That's why I learnt it the hard way. On some days I would be swamped after a long day and still procrastinate to write. 

2. I have never planned what to blog about. 

Before late last year, I never used a blogging calendar to track what I would write about on which day. Although this gave me a chance to take each day as it comes and write about what I feel like, on truly hectic days, I scoured the internet during the last hour of the day looking for inspiration while the clock happily clicked away. Again big big mistake!

3. Burn out and want to give up halfway.

Isn't it obvious thanks to my poor planning? Also add to it the constant worries and questions popping up in my mind like - 

"What if I miss blogging for a day?"

"What if life comes in between?" Which it, invariably, does, every time. :)

"What if I have to move across the world in April? How will I survive the challenge then?"

You know, I seem to have lost track of why I am telling you all this. Makes me realize I am coming across in very bad light as a blogger. :(

But hold on! 

These are exactly the reasons why I wanted to take up the April blogging challenge. 

- I want to challenge and teach myself from my earlier mistakes.

- I want to plan better and prove myself wrong. 

- I look forward to all the blogging fun especially connecting with all you wonderful writers/bloggers out there. I have so much to learn from you !

The next big step - choosing a theme - wasn't a cake walk either. Being a first-timer in this challenge, the unmistakable pressure of blogging alongside a battalion of exceptional writers/bloggers was indeed frightening. 

So I thought hard and brainstormed even harder for a satisfying theme. But what I overlooked was how easy it is to just blog from the heart than work up myself. How easy it was to express the initial thoughts erupting in my mind.

That's when I decided to randomly choose words or phrases that first come to my mind based on the alphabet for each day and take my shot to express it through creative writing. 

So without any further delay, the theme I have picked to blog about during the A-Z April Challenge 2015 is...


"26 Days of Eloquent Writing"

So what can you expect to see ? 

A creative take on the chosen word/phrase for every alphabet during the month. The way I choose to write about the topic could be fictional, non-fictional, poetry, a short drabble or something random.

In addition, I also look forward to blogging on Sundays to make it a month-long blogging commitment. 

The A-Z April Challenge would be a new experience where I look forward to experimenting with my creativity and imagination using varied topics.

With incessant hopes in mind and a strong will to survive through the month scathe free, I wish for a happy and satisfying smile at the end of the month. :)

Tell me, are you taking part in the challenge? 

If you have participated in the A-Z challenges before, do you have any take-aways or learnings? 

Yours' truly,
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March 20, 2015

30 things to smile about...

Last week, I read a post by Vidya Sury - Did I smile today and I loved it. 

A simple list that made my day! :)

Just reading her list made me smile and realize how simple things in our lives have the ability to turn rough days into an absolute delight. It reminded me of how long it had been since I had made a similar list or even smiled looking at one.

I also noticed the blog hop from Janine's post on Friday Reflections.

So decided to write about it here even though the link is closed. 

Here are 30 things that make me smile : 

1. The scent of books
2. Dancing to perfection

3. When my parents and baby bro come to the airport to receive me with a bright smile and a bear hug.... Ok this one made me smile and miss them a lot :(

4. Being in a library all day

5. Waking up early after a good night's sleep

6. Waking up before baby girl so I can enjoy the "me" time :p

7. Blogging away without any apprehensions 
8. Lots of sunshine

9. Reading comments after a post is published

10. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Enough said ! :)

11. Playing with baby girl

12. When the sink is clean :D

13. Coffee

14. Green tea with honey, ginger and lemon
15. Seeing my little students at dance class

16. Cheesecake... Yum !

17. Stepping on the weighing scale to see how much I have lost weight

18. Compliments from LP ;)

19. Compliments from friends

20. Chatting with my close friends on the phone on every non-sensical topic

21. Completing a blog-a-thon

22. Long weekends with perfect weather

23. Dressing up my baby girl in cute outfits

24. Fall season
25. Catching up with friends after a long time

26. Puppies

27. Cats and more specifically kittens
28. Vacations

29. Gifts from loved ones

30. Baby Girl saying new words which have no meaning :)

I had fun writing this list.

Tell me, what are 30 things that make you smile ? :)

Yours' truly,

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March 18, 2015


Image Source

Seema regretted her decision. Actually she regretted her life. 

The year before had been a nightmare. First her parents passed away and now her husband. She was left with no one. Siblings were fine but they weren't going to compensate the need for a life partner. The need for a companion. The need for a life. 

It had been love at first sight for Seema and Suresh. Yet after 8 years of holy matrimony, here she was standing at the door; ready to leave. She had to change her life. Now or never.

Leaving her distraught in-laws in absolute misery, she went on to re-marry within a year. And not just anyone but Suresh’s best friend. A year later they had a son. Finally she was happily married and a mother. The gossip circles often buzzed with her news and opinions of how she got what she wanted. 

The only question lingering in a tiny corner of my mind was - “Was it the right thing to do in order to choose a life?”

So when I met her at a recent party, I confronted her - “Did you ever love Suresh?” With a heavy sigh, Seema replied - “Everyone is self-centered; it’s just the radius that differs.”

Yours' truly,

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March 12, 2015

Shadows of Silence

I gazed at the endless sky,
Pondered about it a while.
The evening sun had changed,
And so had the coast of the isle.

It was very long ago and forgotten,
For many it's moved into the past.
Then why is it that I dread to live,
It's a horrendous spell that one event had cast.

I hurt no one, I despised nobody,
I am just like any other girl, or so I thought.
Reality said you are a precious gem,
That every hideous man in this world sought.

He needed to have me, he wanted to grab me,
All he wanted was to tell me this.
You are nothing but an eye candy,
Now give me the right to bliss.

I hollered and ran to wherever I could,
But this vast world seemed so little.
He clenched my arms and hit me hard,
Retaliating made my bones look brittle.

While anguish and distress took me over,
I relented my fight for struggle.
My thoughts went blank although one stayed,
My mother and her affectionate snuggle.

It was over and I was too,
A moment of truth so easy to etch.
Never turning back he left forever,
Turning me into an unwanted wretch.

I never wished to come back,
That one night was enough.
But the universe thought otherwise,
And wished me a path so tough.

My voice left me forever,
A price so heavy I paid.
All I remember now are my screams that day,
Mere shadows of silence, they stayed.

Yours' truly,
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I am 'WOMAN' #MakeItHappen #womensday #womenslives

I have a big family on my paternal side. My dad has 4 brothers, 2 sisters and a lot of cousins.

While both of my aunts have sons, there's a coincidental pattern visible with almost all the brothers in the family. Three of the brothers (including my dad) have an elder daughter and then a son.

When my youngest uncle and his wife were expecting their second born, I had a funny notion that it would turn out to be a girl. And it did. :) When I happily announced it to my parents on how I always felt that they would have a girl, my mom smiled and said - "That's such a sweet thing. If only some other people would think so. Don't share this with your uncle and his family, sweety. Apparently, they were expecting a 'boy'. "

I didn't understand the real issue back then.

Years later, when I started working and became a financially independent adult in my family, a relative complimented my parents on how lucky they were to have not one but 2 sons. 

I beamed with pride at the comment. I felt proud and happy at myself. I felt ecstatic on being able to help my parents financially and being applauded for it. 

Today, when I think of that comment my relative made, I feel "disgusted" and "insulted".

Recently, a much-hyped and talked about documentary, portraying a rape incident of 2012, was released and aired all over the world except in India. I watched how some men, belonging to our country, conveyed opinions of how women need to "behave" in society. 

After seeing the documentary, I cried and ached not only for the rape victim but also for the numerous other girls and women who have been similar victims and still continue to be.

I felt anger and anguish on how these men shared such bold views on television with no remorse whatsoever. I even watched a couple of these men debate in a news programme thereafter to justify why they said those controversial statements and how all those statements are true even today. While the documentary just gave us a peek of the real issue there are hundred others who would gladly agree and share similar patriarchal views.

As a woman, all I want to say today is - I don't need a male counterpart to benchmark my achievements of life. I don't want any appreciations in comparison to how a male would do it.

I am a woman,
I am happy the way I do things, 
The way it is meant for me. 
My life is my own 
And not for others to judge. 

And least of all, it's definitely not for those who think a woman, who achieves bigger milestones in life, has magically acquired powers meant only for men and is therefore great.

Maybe that's the reason ever since I was a child, barely old enough to understand society and it's weird norms, I have wished and wanted to have a girl child of my own.

It's time we abolished all age old quotes praising males over females.

It's time we changed our primitive thinking to not always want a male child.

It's time we cherished our daughters for all their achievements and sacrifices in life.


Going forward, if a person ever judges a woman on why she can never be equal to a man, we just need to commend the person for having said the truth.

"Yes, a woman is never equal to a man because she is so much more than what a man is or will ever be. There is nothing a woman can't do that a man can and yet there is so much a man can't do that a woman can."

Yours' truly,
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March 7, 2015

A Reason to Celebrate...

The walk from work has been a mundane routine for me for the past many years. However, I trudged along the road cautiously today hoping to be able to predict where they would spring out from. Especially since Holi is just around the corner.

I noticed it was just another day, when I saw this little boy walking home from the bus stop dressed as a school kid. Or so I assumed. A group of teenage boys walked towards him from the other end carrying a heavy pail of water balloons. As they approached closer, two things were clear - the boy was panicking and the teenagers had a mission in mind. Just as he lowered his head and walked faster, hoping to ignore and walk past them, the balloons came pelting down one after the other, both drenching and hurting him at the same time. He ran home crying. 

A few houses down the line, I saw this teenage girl playing Holi with her little brother in the courtyard of her home. A group of men appeared out of thin air at the gates with excessively colored faces and hands. Still standing at the gates, they aimed the trash at the kids until they screamed and called out their mother. The horrified mother came to their rescue and mouthed quite an earful to the goons but they somehow thought it was humorous to aim yet another egg at the girl during the exchange of words. 

I observed these incidents as a passerby but the one thought that kept resonating back was how Holi - the festival of colors also meant showing a basic level of respect and civic sense towards all age groups.

A life full of colors is what everyone desires on Holi. 

And yet somehow, every year I witness the same rampant behavior of mature individuals ruining the fun for the vast majority. 

Lack of respect and civic sense turned a festive time into life-long nightmares for others.

Isn't Holi meant to be the same for everyone ? Isn't Holi a symbolization of togetherness and love for friends and family alike ? 

Then why does it instill this fear in me and the others ? Why does it bring along an unexplainable feeling of discomfort hoping for the festival to end soon and quickly ?  

Why do such disturbing events happen every year ? 

Yours' truly,
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**** This post is a creative take of true incidents witnessed and experienced by a close friend.****

****This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.****

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March 5, 2015

Looking back at February 2015

Hello there ! Can you believe it we are in March already ? It was New Years' eve just yesterday. 

Where did the months fly off?

But that's how it feels when life keeps you busy. You don't realize the time speeding away. The same thing happens when life throws unexpected surprises at you.

February was a month of new surprises for me. And not all of them were pleasant. It made me personally appreciate the fact that no matter what, your "health" is of utmost importance. We need to care for it every single moment if we wish to spend a long life with our loved ones. Ruining our health for a bunch of people (who don't care about us) is not worth it. 

Another key learning from last month was clarity. I got to truly understand and recognize few people in my relations which helped clear my vision about them. 

Bottom line : It's better to live for those who love & care about us rather than brood over why few others are hell-bent to exhibit newer levels of detachment.

By the way, this wasn't meant to be a rant-filled post or a philosophical take on relationships. ;)

In other news, baby girl continues to amaze me with her non-stop naughtiness. She's busy learning new words every day even though they don't make sense in any language. :P

Have been burning out a lot of calories - in spite of gym workouts being temporarily replaced with dancing. 

My reading almost fell back on track when at the end of the month I again decided to go cold-turkey and pile on the targeted 2 books over to the next month. My current target for March stands at 4 books. That's a lot of reading !

The month ended on a brilliant note with yet another dance performance in New Jersey. Overall, it was a great experience.

March looks very promising - thanks to the hectic schedule lined up. Lots of dancing, running around my toddler, reading, social meetings and what not.

Pssst.... I am also contemplating on joining the A-Z April challenge next month but the mere thought of blogging everyday scares me just as easily. 

Have you blogged for the A-Z April challenge before ? 
Tell me, how was it for you ? Any tips/advice for this first-timer ? 

Living my Imperfect Life

Yours' truly,
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March 4, 2015

Essential is Beautiful

Thought I knew what I wanted,
It’s hard to hold a wandering mind.
A designer dress or a branded purse,
A quest for an expensive find.

The eternal search ended soon after,
At a high-end mall miles away.
With scores of stores leering at me,
How easy it is to not sway.

Shopping is the answer to everything,
I told myself with a huge grin.
With so much to choose & purchase,
Futile holding the purse strings so thin.

An expensive watch, yes that’s my pick today,
There’s still so much to shop the next time.
Stepping out with a light heart,
To the sound of a chime.

And then there it was,
A gentle touch on my hand.
A moment’s contact and then lost,
Like a fistful of sand.

I turned and looked around,
Her innocent eyes locked me in.
She stood beside with a coy smile,
Pointing to her tummy and chin.

Her tug on my hand snapped somewhere,
A place so deep in my heart.
I felt sick, a pounding in my head,
Eventually guilt played its part. 

Where I was, standing tall and happy,
On achieving nothing with a heavy splurge.
There she appeared with just a childish smile,
That punished me with a nasty scourge.

All she wanted was a simple meal,
To kill her never-ending fast.
While depression surged through me,
I learnt my lesson at the very last.

Unnecessary and not as essential,
The watch wasn’t my need.
Suddenly she became my priority,
I wanted to help & make it a deed.

Yours' truly,
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