September 25, 2015

99 things I love #FridayReflections #GratitudeCircle

Unlike the times where I have to play a mental tug-of-war with my mind on one side and the words being typed on the other, I could just dive in this week and write out to my heart's content. Because it's a list I love, it's about all the things I love and there can be no end when it comes to picking out our favorites from this lifetime. Incidentally, this list also combines items that I am grateful for.

What I would love, even more than the list, is to find out how many of you amazing people have the same things on your list, if you had to write one now ? 

So what are we waiting for ? Let's share and find out. :)

  1. My birthday (ok! That seemed obvious. :p)
  2. Birthday cake (or any cake in general)
  3. Books, books and books - need I say any more
  4. Reading on my couch with a steaming hot cup of coffee in hand
  5. A comfy couch
  6. Watching the rains while listening to my favorite music
  7. Traveling to exotic places
  8. Food ! 
  9. Writing
  10. The 'Fall' season - how nature changes its colors and makes me 'fall' in love with it :)
  11. Watching the first snow of the season
  12. Shopping for Baby Girl (or myself :D)
  13. Watching romantic movies with LP
  14. A long shower (yes, that is indeed a privilege these days)
  15. Loitering around mindlessly in a book cafe
  16. The smell of new books
  17. Blogging community and all the wonderful friends I made in the past year
  18. Writing letters
  19. Poetry
  20. Dancing 
  21. The performing stage - it's where I want to die when its time 
  22. Going home to see my parents and baby bro
  23. Planning surprises for loved ones
  24. Driving on my own 
  25. Occasional solitude - lets me indulge in my thoughts
  26. My busy routine
  27. My dance studio - it's where I forget the outside world and sometimes even my family :D
  28. My iPhone - even though I hate how the invention has replaced 'almost' everything, I am used to it
  29. Doing nothing from time to time
  30. Chatting away with friends for hours
  31. Watching mom cook
  32. The appreciations after a good performance
  33. Watching my dance institute grow an inch every month
  34. Going away for the weekend
  35. Thanksgiving shopping - when good things are really cheap
  36. Holiday season 
  37. Sightseeing in NY - you never run out of places
  38. Walking around the neighborhoods of NY on a Saturday afternoon
  39. Spending some well-deserved alone time at a coffee shop
  40. Flipping through old photo albums
  41. Watching silly movies with my baby bro 
  42. Balloons
  43. Historical fiction 
  44. Mythology
  45. Indian classical music
  46. Soft toys
  47. My laptop
  48. Early mornings and its eerie silence. For the same reason I love late nights and the solitude it brings.
  49. Going for a long walk
  50. Long drives
  51. A clean home
  52. A cleaner sink :P
  53. The days when I have a lot of reasons to smile about
  54. Sleeping after a really long day
  55. Disney stores - I could keep gazing at the toys and the princess dresses forever
  56. Movies at the theatre with popcorn in my hand
  57. Feeling the cool breeze on a hot summer day
  58. Watching reruns of F. R. I. E. N. D. S.
  59. Creative thinking - irrespective of whether it's for dance, painting or writing
  60. Playing games with close friends
  61. Having a pot-luck dinner topped with hot debates, delicious desserts and late-night movies
  62. Opening gifts
  63. The accolades from childhood
  64. Long walks along the country side lanes in UK
  65. Visiting churches and temples to admire the intricate architecture
  66. Meditating
  67. Acts of kindness
  68. Quiet evenings
  69. Meeting my students every week
  70. New Years' Eve celebrations
  71. Snuggling into bed
  72. Flowers
  73. Chocolates 
  74. Shoes
  75. Reconnecting with school friends
  76. Being silly with my toddler
  77. Cartoon time - makes me reminisce my childhood days
  78. Photo shoots - personal, professional or plain candid
  79. Peeking from my blanket while watching a horror movie (Yeah, I do that a lot.)
  80. Singing in my car with the music on
  81. Planting sloppy kisses all over my kid
  82. Volleyball matches with friends
  83. Bowling
  84. A nice dinner at my favorite restaurant
  85. An empty calendar day
  86. Video chats with my family
  87. Ice cream
  88. Exploring best picks for furniture from IKEA 
  89. Silly dancing along with Baby Girl
  90. My morning free time before the pandemonium begins
  91. Puppies and kittens
  92. Visits to my library
  93. Clouds
  94. A nice hot bowl of soup on cold wintery nights
  95. Sunrise and sunsets (who wouldn't have these on their list)
  96. Vacations
  97. Fridays
  98. Memories
  99. Special moments of life
Go on, it's your turn now. :)

 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg

September 11, 2015

"Is there a letter for me?"

In today’s time and age, everyone seems to be in a constant race with their clocks. Prioritizing activities is highly essential in order to skip the countless other mundane chores staring from our never-ending ‘TO-DO’ lists. ‘Spare time’ seems like a luxury for those who don’t get a second’s space to calm down, breathe and smell the roses.

And it is this ‘rush’ of life that seems to have taken away the charm of doing simple things. Like having a conversation with a friend for hours, looking through photo albums, enjoying a cup of coffee with family or alone and many such pleasures. If you ask me, reaching out to a friend today means a lot of stress. Even though we have countless avenues to contact one another, we still yearn for that personal touch. For this reason, I cherish the memories of a telephone call from a friend, a hand-written letter or a greeting card from a loved one over a long email. 

Technology has given us a zillion options to stay in touch but somehow it always fails to express the emotion of the gesture. When the Blog-A-Rhythm group created the ‘Snail Mail Challenge’ about 3 months ago, wherein you get to send a hand-written letter to a fellow blogger and also receive one from another, I jumped at the opportunity. The catch of the challenge was that every blogger would be assigned at random, the name of the pen-pal, to whom they would write the letter. So I filled in my details, sent it across and waited patiently.

One fine day, when the Godmother’s (aka Shailaja’s) email sprung from my inbox, I knew it was time to bring out the pen and paper. :)

My excitement knew no bounds when I came to know that I get to send a letter to one of my favorite bloggers - Shilpa Garg. So much so that I ended up writing a 5-page letter to her. Not that there was a word or page limit, but once I started writing there was so much I wanted to share. I wrote to her about my recent vacation to Cincinnati, Ohio and the fun things that we got to do with our close friends.

In the end, as a surprise, I thought it would be a good idea to share my identity with her since pen-pal letters are meant to share our deepest feelings. So I sent her a photo of my family and my friends. 

Once I posted the letter off to it’s destination, I couldn't wait to know whose letter would reach me. I regularly checked my mailbox and pestered LP to search through the envelopes in the hope that one would be addressed to me.

A couple of weeks down the line, a private message popped up on Facebook and I knew who sent me the letter. The scanned pages of the letter lay in my inbox waiting to be opened and my first reaction was a confused look. I got so caught up in the expectation of an actual letter that I missed experiencing the joy of actually having received one from my partial namesake (as she calls it :) ) - Inderpreet Kaur from Eloquent Articulation. Turned out that, while providing the address details at the start of the challenge, I had checked the option which said - ‘I am moving and can’t receive a letter’.

So I went back to the letter and learnt how Inderpreet had recently moved cities and in the midst of the pandemonium she had to write to me for the Snail Mail Challenge. Having moved 3 times across 4 states during the initial 2 years of our stay in US, I know how hard it must have been to stick to the deadline. At least in my case, it was just LP and me moving places but with a child the definition of ‘moving’ tends to go out the window.

I got to know a little more about Inderpreet through the letter where she went on to talk about her work, her 6-year-old son, how she would find it interesting to blog under a pseudonym on some occasions and how she loves the art of letter writing but finds it almost dead in the current scenario.

Inderpreet was so sweet to mail the letter to my address even though she had scanned and sent across the content. That indeed was a surprise. I was so happy the day LP handed the envelope to me and said - ‘This one’s for you’. :)

Before ending her letter, I did find an extra page written in letter that wasn't part of the email that she had sent over earlier. It felt heartwarming to read Inderpreet express her feelings about the blogging world and how it has helped her make quicker friends. 

‘THANK YOU’ Inderpreet. We should definitely keep this association going on.

‘THANK YOU’ B-A-R for this wonderful challenge and helping me enjoy the art of letter writing again. The next time, I want to express my feelings with a loved one or a dear friend, I am going to write them a letter. 

Do you love writing letters? Do share, I would love to know :)

**Linking with the Snail-Mail Challenge hosted by Blog-A-Rhythm**

 photo Signature2016_zpshf23y4i0.jpg