Saturday, January 31, 2015

Three (more) Things I would do RIGHT NOW- A BlogAdda and MaxLife Insurance Initiative #SecondChance Activity

This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”.

Continuing my pointers from my previous post, I am glad that BlogAdda has offered two posts to be submitted for this activity. Though, as I said earlier, it is very difficult to narrow down the things you want to do NOW if given a #SecondChance into just "three things", it is in some way making all of us realize the importance of a certain few things than bother about EVERYTHING.

What is stopping us from taking forward our aspirations that we had moved aside? Why should we keep postponing it to the 'next' suitable time? Why can't we just let everything go and strive on to achieve what we had been postponing? You never know, being swift, prompt and on time, can land you somewhere sooner than you had imagined. Remember what Kabir said?
"Kaal Kare So Aaj Kar, Aaj Kare So Ab"  

So, these are the three (more) things that I would right away if given a #SecondChance:

1. Travel..and travel some more: I like to explore new places but I haven't really had the chance or got the opportunity to do so. Often, when I watch shows on TLC, Fox Traveller and the likes, I feel like transporting myself to that world that very moment. I envy those anchors, who get to travel extensively, that too as part of their WORK. [I don't deny that the grass is always greener on the other side but still it is fun to work and travel] So, while I was thinking about writing this post, and this point, I came across this- 13 Reasons Why You Should Travel More Often. So like they say, the universe conspires to get you what you desire, I feel this story has been published at the right moment ;-) basically, hinting me to pack my bags and head on to EXPLORE. Go and absorb the fresh air of countryside, immerse myself in nature's bounty, eat some mouthwatering delicacies, observe and interact with new people, write about them, capture some memories and most importantly simply enjoy the time being spent :-) So what if I have a baby? My baby can travel with me. It is difficult but definitely not IMPOSSIBLE. At least, my baby will have memories to cherish in the form of pictures which he can proudly show his friends and who knows revisit those memories :-) I am SURELY going to travel more often now.

2. Read more often..and continue doing so: I know it comes as a surprising thing that despite being a writer, I do not read often. Honestly, I hadn't been a voracious reader until few years back. Though I still do not consider me one, I feel I can do away with it now. I am home, looking after my child, doing some freelance assignments and blogging, so am sure I can take out the time to read. And, as a very dear friend of mine Sri of I am S(t)ri had posted a couple of days back on Facebook- "A book a day keeps negativity away"- Indeed, books are man's best friend, companion, soulmate and much more. With a lot among the hundreds of books in my bookshelf, lying untouched, it seems I have a long way to go before I finish reading every book that is being published daily. But starting with a book a day, isn't that bad at all. Keep reading till I can :-)

3. Be a bit more tolerant: Yes, I am extremely short tempered. I am glad that my friends and family have been able to put up with me like that. They have accepted me like I am. But it does hurt at times when I lose it in a flash of a second. It is then that I wonder, I wish, I had a bit more tolerance and was a bit more calm. But it is never too late. I do not want a #SecondChance, I want to practice it from the very moment. Though it will take some time before I learn to "tolerate" :-D

Do you guys have similar feelings? Do you too feel/wish/hope you get a #SecondChance to fulfill what is left unfulfilled? Then why are you waiting? Get yourself together and live in the moment.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Three Things I would do RIGHT NOW - A BlogAdda and MaxLife Insurance initiative #SecondChance activity

This post is a part of the #SecondChance activity at BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance”.

Often in life, we are faced with circumstances when we have to choose between our dreams and aspirations, and what others want from us. In our attempts to please the others, we set aside the aspirations for a while and keep setting (un)realistic goals to achieve them at some point in life later. Come to think of it, those aspirations remain either at the back of our mind or are forgotten like that old book gathering dust on our bookshelf. BlogAdda in association with MaxLife Insurance is giving us, bloggers, the chance to not just write about those things that we had set aside but also make sure by the end of the blogpost, we make it our aim to follow our passions. 

There are many things that I would like to correct now. There are many unfulfilled aspirations that I wish I could live now. There are not three but many things that I would do right away, if given a second chance. However, since the activity asks for only THREE things, let me take you all through them, one by one. 

1. Get back to music: I am a trained Hindustani classical music exponent, who has completed her fifth year under the Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad. However, since the time I have landed in Chennai, music has taken a back seat. I am left with one more year, which if completed, can earn me a degree of Sangeet Visharad.  But I don't remember the number of times that I have tried to get myself back into the world of music. It is not that my husband does not approve of it. In fact, every person who has known me, would want me to pursue music and make a name for myself. 

I fail to understand what has been that one thing that has been stopping me from plunging into the world, which I have always adored. A world, which has given me a sense of satisfaction that no book has ever given. A world, where once I enter, I submerge myself completely forgetting there exists another world beyond it. 

Music to me is what moon is to the sky. However, due to my own negligent attitude, my harmonium has been lying on a bunk gathering dust. Whenever I look at it, I feel a conversation ready to begin. It is as if the harmonium calls me to come and feel its keys, breathe in its tune, and sing along the songs that I have learnt all these years since 1996. I had plans of learning Carnatic Music. 

Being in Chennai, I thought it to be the best possible way in which I could stay connected to Music and learn a new form of singing too. All these have merely remained thoughts. But I hope this year, I would be able to live up to my long forgotten promises and who knows may even mark a comeback. Though I have miles to go before I sleep (in my case, nurture my voice back in tune). 

2. Study Further: If my parents read this, they are surely going to react- "didn't we tell you this long back?" But it seems the Hindi saying- Ab pachataye howat kya, jab chidiya chug gayi khet- (There is no point in crying over split milk)- holds very true for my situation. Tired of the underpaying full-time/part-time jobs, I feel its better to study more and be educated than slog like an ass in an MNC for peanuts. But studying further comes with its own set of difficulties. 

First things first, you have to zero down on a course that you would be interested in studying? Secondly, what will be the future prospects of the course? Third and most importantly, what line of career do I wish to choose after finishing studies? I guess my problem is all three. I am in a dilemma which does not look like it has a solution to it. I want a high paying job but at the same time prefer studying anything related to literature or writing than pursue an MBA (Since MBA grads are the most paid). I want to study more because I suddenly feel that more doors will be open for me if I enhance my education. I wish I had known this or ‘thought’ about this earlier. But I guess you are never too old for studying. 

Imagine what fun it would be to go back to college now that I am a mother and a wife J

3. Write more: This is my third blog post today. Unfortunately, I woke up late from my slumber. By the time I realized, the last day for submitting all the posts has almost arrived. Therefore, rather than keeping it pending for the last minute, I decided to finish it off at one go. And, here I am now, writing the third post for a BlogAdda activity. Well that is how I am. When I write, words keep flowing out. Then there would come days, when not a single word would flow out of my mind despite my serious attempts. But, I hope am able to change it now. I have already made an attempt towards it. I guess, if I continue to follow my heart, I would end up writing more often than I can imagine. J

Things that define me- A post for BlogAdda and Gillette Venus #UseYourAnd

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

“Sneha, what’s wrong with you sweetheart? You are not the one to be meek and coward. You are someone we have known as being bold, confident and strong. You have been brilliant in academics, you are happily married now and have a son; then what drives you to such stupid thoughts?,” said P, my school friend, when I confessed to my school friends’ group on WhatsApp one day that I was too low and felt suicidal. 

I know suicide sounds too big a word. I never thought I would be writing about this experience of mine on a public platform like this. But I guess that is the experience which has made me realize my inner strengths and the ‘things that define me’ as a woman.

It is not that I needed the thoughts of death to remind me how strong a woman I was or I am. It is just that at times, when you are down and out, you think about the situations worse than that. That is the moment, when you realize you should be grateful to whatever you have at present than crib about things which shouldn’t matter to you.

One such day, when I had that dreaded thought, I realized what I had been missing out on. I had forgotten how it felt like to be carefree, happy-go-lucky, and enjoy life as it is. What’s even more distressing is the fact that it took my friend P to make me realize how I was or how I should be. Amidst all the crankiness and emotional breakdowns, I was oblivious to my inner strength. I wasn’t focusing on filling the so-called ‘void’ that I had been feeling rather I was focusing more on widening the ‘void’.

Like they say, it needs a failure to remind us of the success that we should aim for; this one distressing thought on an otherwise eventful day made me realize the ‘things that define me’ and how I should concentrate only on that.

I am strong not just for the sake of it. Rather, I am strong enough to face any adversity that comes my way [though for once, I did act otherwise. I have learnt my lesson now]. I have learned to let things go especially when it is spoiling the positivity around me. I have to enjoy life as it comes, without worrying about the future. The present should not be spoilt in my worrying about the future. I have to discover the happy-go-lucky-me, who has friends spread across the country and age groups, who is loved by everyone despite her flaws and who can live life to the fullest, as she desires. I have to get back the boldness and confidence that went missing amidst the changing relationship equations. Most importantly, I have to be me- love friends, music, family- shout at the top of my voice on winning something, jump with joy on achieving my desires, laugh out loud at the drop of a hat and sing (not hum) when my favorite music is played.

These are the things that define me- SNEHA. Does it define you in any way too? Then, do not stop yourself from letting loose. Live, laugh, love with life as it comes. 

My Journey from 'or' to 'and'- a post for BlogAdda and Gillette Venus #UseYourAnd Initiative

This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.

Six years ago, when I started this blog in 2009, I wasn't sure whether I would be able to do justice to it. Six years since then, in 2015, I am now typing my 93rd post. Ideally, it should have been more than this. Six years ago, I heard a voice, my inner voice, which was guiding me towards something which I wasn't supposed to have thought about. My life was in a fix between this 'or' that but wasn't ready to exist together with this 'and' that. 

Three years later, in 2012, I made sure this 'and' that existed together. I was given many a choices but I chose what I 'felt' was correct. Though in following my heart out, I lost a lot in the process, but as the saying goes, all is well that ends well, holds true for the situation I came out of. I don't know if what I did then can be considered as an inspiration but the result has indeed been a beautiful one with its own set of ups and downs. 

In a country like ours, we come across many news stories of honor killings. A couple is murdered because what they did was bringing 'bad name' to their caste. Little does a couple know while falling for each other that their blossoming romance can lead to a 'dead' end! Does it really matter that when you fall in love with someone, you see which 'caste', 'religion', or 'state' he belongs to? Or does this matter that the 'man' you fall in love with should have a fat 'pay check' so that he can meet all your demands while you sit back home and relax on the couch in front of the idiot box? Honestly, for me, these things neither mattered then nor hold any importance now. When I look at a man [now that am already married, it doesn't matter ;-)], I see him as a person, who would be understanding me, who would be my pillar of strength, who would not see me as a mere flesh to please his sexual desires, who would see me as his equal, who would want me to grow as much as he wants himself to grow- professionally and personally; most importantly, when I look at a man, I see him as someone who would be respecting me as much as he expects me to reciprocate. A mutual understanding and trust factor are more important in a relationship than a fat pay check or the caste/state/religion he belongs to. 

I fell in love with a man, who did not belong to my caste, in my second year of college. Five years later, in 2012, we got married as per our rituals and customs in front of our entire family sitting happily to bless the couple. Months before, or even years before, I wasn’t sure whether our relationship would bloom further into how we want it to be or whether it would meet the same old fate of ‘parting mutually.’ But somehow, we stuck on with it and I am glad we did it, together. 

Problems were aplenty for us. Hardly a few months into relationship, my husband G, got a work opportunity outside of the city I lived in. So, while I was in Delhi finishing my graduation, G was down south in Chennai, working with a multi-national firm. Initially, it seemed, the relationship wouldn’t last long. My friends felt, it was foolish of me to continue in a long-distance relationship- ‘you can’t trust a guy after all.’ But my heart knew that G wasn’t ‘just another guy.’ He proved me right at every step. We continued dating each other sitting far across the land. Phone conversations, which lasted until the stroke of morning light, had become a regular affair. We met once in six months, that too for merely three-four days [because he had to visit his family]. In fact, there came a time, when we met after one and half years.

While G settled down with his work down south, I struggled here to cope up at my home when my parents found out about it and refused to let me continue with the relationship. I realized that it was all over now and there was no looking back. But yet again, G proved me wrong. He stuck on to the relationship like he would never let it go. So I went against the promises I made to my parents, and followed my heart. I lost a lot in this tussle between parents and love. I had to quit my ‘first’ job and come back home because my parents wanted me to pursue further studies when the reality was that they wanted me to be in front of their eyes. I took up yet another job in Delhi, but quit it six months down the line, because a battle line had been drawn in my house and I had to choose between G ‘or’ parents. I wanted G ‘and’ my parents both, so I gave up the job to work freelance.

It continued for a period of six months, when one fine day, my parents realized that I wouldn’t budge and that they should take a decision. I convinced them to meet G at least once and then decide for themselves whether my decision is good or bad. Little did I know that my parents had already given a nod in their heart even before they went to meet G. Thus was finalized the date of marriage, to my disbelief, within a few minutes of G and his siblings meeting my parents.

I was numb with happiness. But I was worried too, because I did not have a job at hand. It seemed as though the universe was opening its arms to me. I was offered a job with a leading daily in the same city as G, three months prior to our marriage. My happiness had reached a crescendo. I couldn’t have asked for more. I was getting married to the man I loved and now had a job in the very profession I chose to be in since the beginning.

It will be three years, this February, since G and I got married. I am glad that I took charge of my life then and did not compromise. When my friends say that I am an 'inspiration' to them, I feel humbled. I do not think I am an inspiration as such. There are girls who would have had situations worse than mine. I just did what my heart wanted to. It was a tough stand and came with its own set of emotional and mental breakdowns.

The birth of our son, in 2014, has made that relationship a level more stronger. Through these three years of marriage, we have been through many ups and downs just like we had been through in the eight years of courtship. But as each day passes, and I wake up seeing the two ‘men’ in my life, I thank god for having given me the strength to not choose between this ‘or’ that but rather co-exist with this (G) ‘and’ that (my parents). It was definitely a bed of roses but with its share of thorns at every step.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A 'click' that changed my life

#Disclaimer: This is simply my thought about how a platform to communicate with a large audience has changed my life. WOW has given me the initiative to pay an Ode to this platform. Thank You, BlogAdda. 

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

One fine evening in 2014, when I was bored of scrolling down my news feed on Facebook, I started clicking on links, shared by a couple of friends as their status. During one such click, I discovered something very interesting on the blog of a friend (P). Now P is a great writer, her creativity in putting down words and weaving them into a story is something I try but invariably fail to succeed. You ask me to talk to you all through this blog, I will. But weaving a story is something I generally do not try my hands at.

So, P had written a blog post, which was part of a contest organized by BlogAdda. Going by the flow of her writing, I thought I should try my hands at it. Thus, I began thinking about the "Five Zesty Things of My Life". While I was at that time preoccupied with the thoughts of my newborn baby, my husband, my parents, my home etc etc, I still gave it a chance. I made an all out effort in writing that post in a record time. More so, because it was the last day to submit the entry. Little did I know that a valid entry required you to be a registered member of BlogAdda.

When I clicked on the "Submit you Entry" button on the Sponsored Reviews page of the website, I realized that I had to register on the website in order to be able to submit my entry, I knew I wasn't going to win anything, yet  I wanted to post the blog that I had written. Therefore, after a lot of running around the house in the process of feeding my child, having my dinner, speaking to parents, answering my mom's innumerable questions about "what I was up to at this hour in the night"; I somehow managed to register my account on BlogAdda.

But, things weren't coming to me so soon and so easily. Though my account was created, I was not able to post the blog still, unless I filled their "Sponsored Reviews Program". If that wasn't enough, my profile wouldn't get  updated despite my repeated attempts at filling the Program form again and again. Finally, when I realized that the clock was going to strike 12 (the closing hours of the contest), I gave up. I left the system as it is. I did not delete the post and let that be as it is too.

The next morning, I wrote a mail to BlogAdda citing the difficulties in filling out their Review Programs forms (both Book reviews and Sponsored reviews). I forgot about the contest for which I had written the post in a hurry. I gathered myself in front of my laptop and started going through the BlogAdda website. Until that day, I had simply heard about BlogAdda but never tried registering or finding out more about them.

2014 was actually the year when I started blogging seriously too. I was on a break, a maternity break. I decided to utilize my sabbatical for a good cause. Blogging seemed to be the perfect good cause because it gave me the power to finally "think and write"; it gave me the power to let my thoughts flow as I want. While going through the BlogAdda website, I saw many segments that could be of interest to me, such as, the Book Reviews, Sponsored Reviews, Tangy Tuesdays, Spicy Saturdays etc.
Though I started with the Sponsored Review post (which I could not post), my stint with BlogAdda began technically with the Book Reviews. I was thrilled to receive my first book for review from them. Since then, I have never looked back. From taking part in the #CelebrateBlogging initiative, to their twitter chats, and other contests; BlogAdda made me hone my skills at blogging. Earlier it was always about simply pouring my heart out, now, it is not just about pouring it out but also sharing it with a vast audience. Moreover, the #CelebrateBlogging initiative turned me into not just a story weaver but also gave me a bunch of great friends, with whom I share my everyday happiness, grief and every other little joy of my life.

This is one 'click' that turned my life for good. I turned an avid blogger and writer, for whom, writing a small blog post is no longer a far fetched dream. Earlier, writing meant thinking, thinking and then some more thinking until the thinking became overboard and the words never came out the way I desired. Now, writing means anything and everything that I feel, see, dream, breathe, hear, like or dislike.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Use your actions every day to help create what you want

Image source:
If “thoughts” indeed became “things”; I would be dead by now. Startled with what I just wrote? Don’t be. This “thought” about “death” has been coming to me since I don’t know when. It reached a step further only now. People would categorize the problem that I am suffering from as “depression”, “loneliness”, and so on and so forth. But can you possibly be a “loner” even in a “crowd”? Can you be “depressed” even after you have poured your heart out to a friend/best friend/first friend/boyfriend/mom/dad? I suppose the answer cannot be a straight yes or no. It is a mix of both.

So, what has driven me to the extent that I am “thinking” about “death”? I guess I have this crazy fascination of thinking about how my life would be when I will be lying on the funeral pyre. Will the people, who had been around me for all those years, shed a drop or two of tears as I lay there ready to be burnt? Or will those, whom I have been very mean or rude to, be jumping with joy (of course, just in a phrase) on hearing about the news (after a couple of crocodile tears being shed)? Well, I hope the latter does not happen at all and as they say, death unites all- “those people”- too unite in my death.

Now, before you jump to thinking that I have either lost my mind or just took this post to shock the hell out of you guys by announcing “publicly” that I am considering or thinking about “death”; let me tell you, what happened moments before I got down to writing this post.

I have an uncanny habit of sharing my problems with my friends. Now, those friends (family too) are either too close to me or have been the guiding force for me when I needed them. Off late, I have (made to) realized that I not just share my problems with every close friend of mine but almost with everyone who has been close to me or has lend me their shoulders to cry on in times of need. The result as I see now is, a sudden realization about, how my life has played itself in front of my friends. Friends, who look up to me, for my “happy go lucky” nature; Friends, who consider me the always smiling and cheerful girl; Friends, who feel I am a “strong” woman and I can handle things with ease; All these friends, though have been very patiently and caringly hearing my sob stories, I have made a mockery of myself by letting go of things so personal that it could come back to haunt me, in future. I know, we ought to share our concerns/grief/plight with friends, who are genuinely, “friends in need.” But by burdening those friends, with your own personal troubles is injustice. (Don’t ask me to justify this now)

I have a fickle mind. My mind wanders from here to there, from one decision to other within a blink of an eye. At one moment, I say I want to eat out; the very next moment, I would sulk at having thought about going out when there was food cooked at home. I may have sulked in the earlier paragraph about how burdening my friends with my problems has had effects on me; I may, once I am done writing this, talking about something that’s bothering me to a friend on chat/What’s App. My latest fad is to write down a blog when I go through a troubled mind and then share it on FB. (Voila! I Nailed it in one go! Told some 500 and more odd friends or simply fb friends about my personal life on a public platform)

But you know what? That’s how I am. And, I am happy being so. If venting out is what I need, to keep thoughts about death, away from my mind, I do not mind writing 1000s of posts in a day or calling up that one or two friend(s), who lend an ear to me when I need them. Is it my fault that I have “thankfully” such friends (read, family too), who have known me in and out; who have known me through thick and thin; who have seen me transform from a school topper to a college girl to a good worker to a married woman and finally as a mother. Then there have been friends, whom I met on this journey, from college to work to a married woman and mother; they too have been kind enough to back me when I needed them despite their official or other commitments.

What triggered this blogpost?

“Your thoughts and feelings are ‘cause’ and what manifests is ‘effect’, so if you internalize what you are wanting you are completing all you have to do. As it is within, so it is without. As it is on the inside of you, so it is on the outside of you. Remember, inside you is the ‘cause’ and the outside world is the ‘effect.’”
“If an action in your life feels like it contradicts what you want, then use your imagination while you are doing the action. You can use your actions every day to help create what you want. You can change any action into a game of make-believe that is in line with what you want.” The Secret Daily Teachings

By writing this post, I feel I have relieved myself of the burden of thoughts that I had been carrying in my mind. 

By writing this post, I feel I have relieved myself of the emotional breakdown that I was causing myself to head into. 

By writing this post, I feel I have simply told myself that what I can’t do by talking, I can by writing. 

By writing this post, I am also aiming at holding back those tears for those who don't deserve it. 

By writing this post, I feel a stronger and determined person, who is willing to fight all the odds that are thrown her way. 

Thank You!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Adios 2014, Hola 2015!!!

They say what you do / what happens to you, on the first day of a new year, goes on for the entire year. I do not know how far that's true or could possible have anything to do; but there is no other better way (I guess) to start the new year with, than doing what you love the most. So, here I write the first post for this year wishing you all a very very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

I am sure what's gone has gone for the better and what's arrived has arrived to make your life best. The year that's gone by has surely had its own set of happiness and love, ups and downs, positives and negatives; let's hope this new year will bring in a serenity that you may have desired all through the past year. Here is something I wish to share with you all, which if you like, are most welcome to follow :-)

1. DO NOT make any resolutions. Live each day to its fullest. No need for short-term or long-term goals even. Simply let each day takes its own course.

2. Work, if you do, but spend time with family too. 

3. Make new friends, but don't forget the old ones. 

4. When in doubt, simply strike it out. Not happy with something? finding it hard to come out of it? Think. Think. And Think some more. But simply let it go if you have even an iota of a doubt about the result. 

5. Don't work too hard towards mending things that may not benefit you at all. Sometimes, we have to be selfish and take things in our own hands.

6. Live for yourself and for those who really matter to you and care for you. There is no point in banging your head against a wall. As a result, you get hurt the most while the wall stands tall.

7. Don't burn your heart out because of people, circumstances and situations. Mind you, you are a loner even in a crowd. "All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players." -Shakespeare

8. Learn to ignore especially those who have an uncanny habit of annoying you to the core. No need to bite a dog, if it bites you.

9. Feel blessed about all the gifts that the almighty has bestowed upon you. Even the air that you breathe, is a blessing. 

10. Be grateful to people who help you in need/distress. They were there beside you when the whole world turned their back on you. Be good to them. They will be with you forever. 

I do not know how far I will be able to do these things in person. But the very thought of writing it and sharing with you all makes me feel I have climbed one step towards achieving it. 

The past year brought with it the most memorable and most forgettable moments for me. I would definitely want to chuck the latter, for my good. However, it isn't as easy as it may sound. If not completely shunting it out, I can work towards "forgetting" the bad/worse of 2014. Let's hope I succeed in that. Let's hope even you all succeed in doing so. Stay Happy, Stay Blessed. 

Ending with a few quotes, which I loved and I hope you will too. 

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." Marcus Aurelius
"Pure gratitude is a state of giving. When you are in a state of heartfelt gratitude you are radiating a powerful electromagnetic field around you. The radiations from you are so pure and powerful that they touch all those you come into contact with. The effect on others who receive what you are radiating would be impossible to trace- the ripple effect from one person to another never ends." The Secret Daily Teachings