Old, Eerie Souls

Grey
Old
Eerie
Brimming with stories
If you look carefully, you can see forms, like wisps of smoke trying to enter the house like humans do.
But they can’t.
They can’t open a door.
They cannot be given warm hugs and invited home.
They just pass through the walls.
Unseen.
Unheard.
They’ve no bodies
To hug
To be hugged.
They’re just forms.
Mere wisps of smoke
Made of memories,
Your longing for them gives them life.
And they’ll live until forgotten
They’ll try to become human
Until they accept that they can’t.

And sometimes,
Just sometimes,
You’ll see them.
At 3AM.
A slight movement in the curtains
A shadow in the corner of your eyes
You’ll hear them,
The sudden, soft ticking sound,
That woke you up while you were alone,
The odd, stray sound coming from near you,
When the world is asleep
And you’re the only one awake.

It’s them.
Trying to talk,
Hoping you’ll hear them.

Making Your Own Happiness

Here’s a picture from my walk last week. One day I want to live in a house like this, with French windows and cascading greenery around. 🙂 It has been a wonderful week. My morning routine is coming along very well.

Last weekend, I had attended the Art of Living Happiness Program. The breathing techniques therein was very effective and I decided to practice it everyday. It became my motivation catalyst and I began to find ways to use it and more, to make my life #happier.

So this is how my morning looks like.
I wake up and get fresh.
Go for a walk.
Listen to podcast while I’m walking.
Get back, light the lamp (A habit that started when my grandmother came to Bangalore)
Do the #SudarshanKriya
Have tea and write in my #journal.

The podcast I’m currently listening to, is one called ‘Happier’ by Gretchen Rubin on @spotify. One episode is for about 20 minutes and gives practical tips on being happier.

All this is making a wonderful impact on my life and my mental health. It is indeed a beautiful world and I urge you all to do something to give your mind the ability to see and feel all of this.
You don’t need to travel.
You don’t need to spend money on shopping.
Just decide to research on happiness and it will explode from within you!

My Top 10 Something New Everyday Hits

Imagine your life changing positively in a month. Imagine you looking back at the end of a month and realising that you actually lived it! You did not just work, eat and exist, but you made progress in your personal life. That was November to me.

I had taken up the #SomethingNewEveryday Challenge on Instagram and that made my November very exciting and meaningful. It was an impulsive decision. I did something new on November first and decided to continue it everyday for 30 days. The result? I am not the same person I had been a month ago. I have become more productive, focused and reduced the bouts of overthinking I used to do.

The challenge involved doing something new everyday for 30 days of November. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t well planned but I am happy with the results. Here are my Top 10 Something New everyday hits:

  1. I Made The 100 Things in 1000 days list – A challenge within the challenge. I made a list of things I want to do within the next 1000 days. 🙂 My sister and I had been planning to make this list since the beginning of 2017. I finally made it only because I had to do something new that day and now I intend to see at least one-third of it materialise.
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  2. A New Piercing – Something I had been intending to do for about 3 years. My life was taking a new turn and it was now or never. I decided to get it done and that gold trinket on top of my ear is the result of a new piercing that I got done in November. Ain’t it pretty? o:)Capture7.PNG
  3. A Brand New Phone – Another biggie that I had been planning on buying forever. Here is a video of my brand new OnePlus 5 Slate Grey ❤ I have been using mediocre phones forever and this is the reminder of an achievement – Me clearing CA and getting a job. It is more than just a phone.

4. Moved to Bangalore – Well, that day’s something new was that I woke up in Bangalore. I was rooted to Kochi and this November Challenge made moving to Bangalore easier. I was all teary eyed and whiny in the beginning. But this challenge kept me occupied, excited and happy.

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5. Started Taking Morning Walks  – After I moved to Bangalore, I used the opportunity to change my lifestyle. The first step was to wake up earlier than usual to go for a morning walk. I thought an investment would make me more responsible and so I purchased a pair of shoes and jogger pants. I still am continuing my morning walks. 🙂

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6. Meditation – Another something I have been trying to work on. As though on the Universe’s cue, my sister introduced me to the app called ‘Meditation’. After my morning walks, I spend about 15 minutes in the park meditating.

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7. New Cuisine – For a couple of something new, I tried out new cuisines or delicacies. I went to Taco Bell and tried Tacos and Fajitas for the first time in my life. I also tried the Bombay Kulfi and Ice cream from Coldstone creamery, in spite of not being an ice cream person. Do you know what the Universe told me when I went to Taco Bell?

Said the Universe
Said the Universe

8. Walk in Art Class – I do not go anywhere without planning and most importantly without company. For the first time, I decided to check out the Cubbon Park, and the Pencil and Chai event that was going on there. I walked in, spoke to a bunch of strangers, sat and made a live sketch for the first time!

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9. Changed to Copper Bottle – I have been trying to reduce the usage of plastic and plastic covers. I have also been interested in using copper or clay vessels. As I went to a shop in search of a bottle, this copper bottle happened to me and as a result another something new. Sometimes, new things just happen effortlessly! 🙂

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10. Met a Blogger and Kept a Friend – Darshith from Smiles Here and Smiles There warmly welcomed me to Bangalore and ensured that I wouldn’t leave for another couple of years. I spent every minute I spent with him and as I left, I was sure that I had made a new friend. 🙂

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The best things that happened solely because of the challenge are the morning walk and meditation that I still continue. Many of the new things happened on their own accord. The challenge helped me realize them, acknowledge them and be grateful for them. If not for this challenge, I wouldn’t have looked at buying the copper bottle as a positive lifestyle change. I wouldn’t have gone to Cubbon park to experience something new.

The benefits of Something New Everyday did not end with November. Because of my sketching experience in Cubbon park, yesterday I went and purchased a drawing book and pencils. I now, intend to explore the artist in me. This November and the challenge have transformed me no matter how minuscule the change is. I am aware that I have not merely existed. So when life begins to get dull, I will take up this challenge again.

For those who are interested in this challenge and want to know more about it, I will be writing another post on the Dos’ and Donts’ of the challenge next week. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. It would help me with the next week’s post.

So would you like to take up this challenge?

PS – You can see all my #Somethingneweveryday challenge posts in Instagram @afew.handpickedthings. Do follow me to keep in touch. 🙂

 

Last Minute DIY Valentine’s Day Gift

Valentine’s Day is round the corner and glaring at your face. You really don’t have the time to order anything, online, that it would find your love in a day’s time. While A Few Handpicked Things frown upon you for being so late (just kidding, it happens :P), I have decided to help you prepare a much meaningful, last minute DIY Valentine’s Day gift for your love that he/she wouldn’t forget in a long long time. Besides, it will come in handy always. 🙂

You can also gift this to your siblings, friends or parents for their birthdays. I am including the pictures of the one I gifted my sister on her birthday. If you don’t have the time to make anything, you can look into this list for some inexpensive gifts too.

A Mason Jar with Everything Nice

Everything Nice:

  • Open when notes that they can open during certain circumstances.
  • ‘Reasons why I love you’ chits that they can pick up from once in a while and feel good about themselves
  • Toffees! We all need them  😀
  • Fairy lights, glitters and thermocol balls for some bling.

Points to be noted:

  1. You don’t have to be artistic to prepare this.
  2. It takes less than 3 hours.
  3. You don’t have to use everything in the list. You could skip a few for ease.

Things Required:

  1. A Jar (I used a 1150 ml storage jar.)
  2. Good quality color papers.
  3. Toffees (Colorful ones to add to the quirkiness)
  4. Multicolored Thermocol balls
  5. Tiny envelopes (Not mandatory)

Steps to prepare the DIY Valentine’s Day Gift:

1. Prepare a list of reasons why you love him/her. I made a gift like this for my sister on her 18th birthday. It was ’36 reasons why I love you. 18 for the number of years I have known you and 18 for the years you have known me.’ You could choose a number based on his/her age or maybe a definite number such as 50 or 100. Mind you! You should make a list of reasons you love them those many times. 😛

2. Make tiny chits from color papers, write down the reasons on each paper and roll/fold them. Here are a few I wrote:

Reasons Why I Love You chits
Reasons Why I Love You

 

3. Prepare a list of ‘Open When…’ notes. I made 7 of them. It went like this: Open when you are Angry, when you want some appreciation, when you are having a bad day, when you are hungry etc. In this, you could keep chits with things you’d tell them when they were in the respective situation. If this is for someone you love, you will definitely find the right words. It needn’t be lengthy. Something short would do.

Open When Notes - Gift for your loved ones
Open When Notes

4. Mix them all and fill the jar with these chits, notes, interspersed with toffees and tehrmocol balls. 😀

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice
Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice

5. To add the finishing touch, I made tiny tags on which I wrote about the contents of the jar. You could do that on a chart paper, cover it with cellophane (Cello/Sello) tape for that glossy look.

Tags for the Jar
Tags for the Jar clumsily made 😛

And voila! Our Jar of Joy and Happiness, The DIY Valentine’s Day Gift is ready!

Little joys of life captured in a jar
Little joys of life captured in a jar

Some Observations:

  •  I wanted to put rice lights in here too so that I could use it as a decor item. But the 1150 ml jar cannot accomodate more than 36 chits, 7 open when notes and some toffees. Don’t even think of rice lights! Use a bigger jar for more number of chits and rice lights.
  • Don’t use chart paper or ivory sheet. Use papers from craft books with thin sheets that are easier to roll. You can use white thick papers too. But normal note book papers get spoilt easily. So avoid that.
  • My sister found this very helpful when she was away from us. It helped her through many low times.
  • For ‘Open when notes’, I made the envelopes. You can make them, buy them or simply make bigger chits and leave them in the jar so you don’t have to spend time on envelopes.
  • Most importantly, gift this to people who appreciate handmade gifts, value your time, know how you mean every single word in those chits. In short, gift it to someone who’d treasure every bit of love you throw into it. 

The importance of gifts like this is, you actually convey what you feel about the person you love. They can resort to this Happy Jar when they are low. The nice things you write about them will help them feel better about themselves. It is always a solace to know that someone somewhere loves them so much!

Do let me know if you like them and definitely let me know if you make them. Include details of the recipient’s reaction too. I’d love to know! You can comment here, or send a mail to rangelzblog@gmail.com or inbox us on Facebook, Twitter or Insta. 😀

More posts on gifting –

19 Valentine’s Day Gifts for Men

Tips & Ideas for Inexpensive Gifting

 

 

My Bucketlist for 2017

A New Year has begun. Wishing all my friends here a wonderful 2017! Last year, I made a bucket list thinking I should do everything in it by the end of the year. 2016 just flew! I don’t remember any of the 12 months actually being there! The bucket list didn’t work out too well either. So, the same list will be continuing this year too.

1. Get a Job – Nop! Wrote my CA finals twice this year and looking for a job presently. So yeah! This year, job has become a priority for me. No matter what, I need to get one.

2. Write Better – “I have to improve my grammar, vocabulary, polish my language, use better ideas, write on better topics, reduce writing gibberish. I want to write posts that are more meaningful. What I am doing now is, just writing away.” is what I wrote last year and I haven’t changed even a bit. I did start a new theme though. ‘Grandma Tales’ and I intend to continue it. Also, I’d like to focus on a couple of new themes.

Grandma

3. Read More – I read To Kill a Mockingbird, A Song of Ice and Fire – first 2 and 3rd part one. This time, I have entered the Goodreads reading challenge and am planning to read 15 books. A very high target for me!

4. Focus on Music – I joined Smule App and sang around 10 songs. I want to sing more frequently and record more songs. Here is one song I recorded. We have sync issues on the app which is why you find some lag here and there:

https://www.smule.com/recording/shreya-ghosal-thode-badmaash/939915401_894491591/frame

5. Learn everything I have been intending to learn – I feel particularly proud when I type this. Last year, I had listed swimming, driving and dance under this. First two almost done. Now, dance is the only thing pending 🙂

6. Keep Spreading Happiness – I believe that little things can bring happiness and one need not do great things. It is good enough if one does a tiny deed of kindness. I want to do more of such deeds of kindness and spread smiles this year. Even if that means spreading smiles through my posts.

7. Quill More – This year I did! Next step is to start making quilled greetings. I could easily make one in a week right? Will keep a slot for the same. You can see the ones I made this year here

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8. Become a More Serious BloggerThe aim is one post a week and read 5 posts per day. Also, I have a new fashion blog. One post a week there too. Read more on blogging and improving writing skills. As mentioned earlier, focus on specific themes.

9. Learn a New Language – French is what I am thinking currently. Maybe because my sister was trying to learn it or because I saw Phoebe speaking French in Friends and it sounds super-sexy 😛 But more importantly because I love languages and the ring they have when spoken well.

10. Exercise, Meditate, Pray – Taking care of my mind and my body. I have been going for walks every evening and that is the first step to keeping my body healthy. Prayers and meditation give peace to the mind. It is a conversation with your own inner self and also some time to free your mind from all the turmoils.

11. Become a Better Person – I added this point a week after I wrote this post. There is a scope for improvement no matter what. In my case, there are lots. My first area of focus will be putting ideas into action. Reproduction of my bucketlist itself is an example. I want to make the Earth a better place. I do have ideas. I lack the funds and I am not organized enough to make time and plan things. This particular point should help me achieve all those other ten points. I need to act on this one. I will!

 

I listed pretty much the same stuff last year and I have reproduced the list again here. Except, I am going to make an execution plan this time. It will surely be better then I hope. So what are your goals for 2017? 😀

Fairy Dust Jewellery – The New Kid in Town

EDIT- The store has changed its name to Nathni Tales from fairy Dust.


Hola Peeps,

A lot has been brewing at my end including trying to bring some rhythm to my blogging. So, I will be hosting A Few Handpicked Things’ first ever giveaway in a week’s time! Yes! But this post is an introduction to the newest kid in town. The festive season is here, Christmas followed by New Year, and Fairy Dust and A Few Handpicked Things in Life are joining hands to throw some occasional surprises your way.

In this post, I’ll be introducing Fairy Dust to you. Hope you like what we have in store for you.

The Name

Fairy Dust is a substance with magical properties. This name was chosen because they say they have some fairies helping them out to flutter in search of some pretty happy pieces of jewellery. They add their magical touch to it & a tad bit of Fairy Dust that is sure to transform the wearer. The magical property of these trinkets are that, they bring out the beauty in the wearer.

Fairy Dust’s Motive

I, as a child, loved everything shiny, bright & colorful. But people kept telling me that Yellow was an ugly color and so was Magenta! But now, bright & neon colors are in vogue. They never really went out of fashion as I think of it.

Similarly, it is said that jewellery doesn’t suit too thin or fat people, bright colors do not suit dusky people and so on. I am sure fashionistas, students of fashion designing and owners of brands and fashion magazines know what they are saying. But the emotion behind Fairy Dust is that any type of person can wear jewellery. Provided you know how to style it. Whether to clutter it up or to go for minimalism is one’s own choice. But if you intend to draw eyes, all you need to do is to style it well.

The point is, wear what you love! Do you like bright or Neon colors? Do people tell you that jewellery doesn’t suit your body? Do you like those feathers and long hangings and heavy danglers?  Do people mock you for your choices? Wear what you like and smile at their comments. Wear again. Wear again and hold your head high. Their jokes won’t be funny for long. Fourth or fifth time, they won’t bother. You will be the person that loves her jewellery. The one who wears what he/she loves! 🙂

Psst! You don’t like something? Don’t force it on yourself.

Collections

Based in Cochin, Fairy Dust was formed with a view to bring some unique pieces of Afghani, Tribal & Boho jewellery apart from the funky junk jewellery to the South. Currently, they showcase a wide variety of Pompom Jewellery of myriad colors and designs. Pompom accessories have hit Central & Northern India quite hard, with almost everyone owning a pair of those bright colors of happiness. Similar is the case with Tribal accessories. These haven’t really found much light in the South especially in Kerala & Tamil Nadu. Fairy Dust aims at making available these beauties to the Southernmost tip. Be that as it may, the online store ships their magical trinkets to any part of the country.

Featuring some of the collections here:

1. ‘Fairy Lights’ Pompom Earrings
Price – INR 260
Buy Here – Pompom Earrings

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2. Wooden Neckpiece
Price – INR 110
Buy here – Wooden Square Bead Necklace

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3. Intricate Beautiful Clip on Nosepin
Price – INR 125
Buy Here – Peacock Nosepin

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4. Afghani Neckpiece
Price – INR 300
Edit: Currently Sold out. Might be available in future on demand.

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It is evident that most of the pieces are unique and one of a kind. You are sure to lure some eyes your way if you own these pieces. Also, if you are experienced in jewellery window shopping like me, you would have noticed that most of these pieces are at very affordable prices.

Here is a glimpse at the Pompom Earrings on meeee! I am sporting a layered multicolored Pompom Earring. Aaaand, that is how it looks on people.

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If you like Fairy Dust Collections, do follow them on Insta @nathni_tales and also like the Facebook Page @nathnitales. Also, watch this space for the Giveaway from Fairy Dust!

 

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A glimpse into the Insta page

 

Quilled Greeting Cards

I have been hoarding some Quilling papers and tools for a long while. Since my exams are over, I decided to make some quilled greeting cards since Christmas is round the corner. Nobody sends letters or greeting cards these days since the advent of e-mails and everything that followed. Wouldn’t it be really great when someone finds that they have a real paper greeting card this Christmas?

So, I started out with my quilling and suddenly I couldn’t stop myself. Apart from the Greeting cards, I made a picture which I call, ‘The Blue Haired Girl’.

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The Christmas Tree & the Presents
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An Angel
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All the angels & the decoration
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The Blue Haired Girl

I ran out of glue and so had to stop. Else, as I had threatened my Amma, the room would have been filled with quilled Greetings. 😀

So, do you like them?

 


 Linking this to  100 Happy Days – Day 92

 

The Lord’s Laments

Today, as I was browsing through Facebook, a series of satirical quotes caught my attention. The author portrays how certain religious beliefs scream irony so much so that even God is flabbergasted. But, we humans do not question them because come on! We go to hell if we do. And no! You don’t need to know where Hell is. One simply does not ask such questions.

The series were named ‘Daiva Vilapangal’ or God’s Laments by one Mr. Mahesh Haridas. Each one of them focusses on The Lord Almighty’s worries and how he must be lamenting about them.

All credits for the idea and images go to Mr. Mahesh Haridas. Those who know Malayalam, can check the post here. For the rest, I have given the translations below. I apologize in advance for my inability to give the exact translation.

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The Lord’s Lament 1

The Lord is in distress. He received crores of money in the form of offerings and the last date to pay his tax dues is fast approaching.

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Should The Lord pay taxes? But isn’t he the one who created us and the entire universe? Then why would he pay tax? Does it mean that he is dependent on the government and that he has to abide by the laws and regulations? So, the law makers are above God, right?

The Lord’s Lament – 2

 

The God of Death, Yama decided to give our Lord a treat for having helped him meet his targets. As usual, all the killings on Earth was in the name of God.

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I have my God and you all have to follow my God. No! Your God isn’t the real one. We protect our God and if you do anything to tarnish his image, you will be facing us.

And so we fight and die. Now, if we die, who will protect our God? He will perish without us. Oh dear!

The Lord’s Lament – 3

On a closer look at Earth, he saw that the walls were all covered with messages and quotes in his name and he wondered, When on Earth did I say all that?

“You shouldn’t love the same gender. Why do you think I created two genders? I would have created males alone or females alone if it was allowed. I decide whom you love. Alright?”

“Menstruating women shouldn’t enter certain places of worship. It infuriates me and my wrath will be upon you!”

“Are you a Hindu marrying a Christian? Henceforth, I do not want to see you. I prohibit your entry into my home.”

“Share my picture on Facebook. Else, you will hear a bad news in 2 hours and will have bad luck for the next 10 years.”

God – Whaaaaat!? Someone is impersonating me!

People – Oh shut up! You aren’t the real God. Real God says things like those. ^_^

 

The Lord’s Lament – 4

An arrest warrant for God. Due to the fireworks conducted to please The Lord, hundreds lost their lives.

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“Um… tell me how people died, again? Er… was I supposed to watch the fireworks? I was enjoying my Pizza.”

The Lord’s Lament – 5

The Lord was the judge and he gave away prizes to the committee members who played movie songs the loudest, to entertain him during the festival.

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“Hey! Can someone play that song from the latest Rajnikanth movie? I like that guy! 😀 ”

The Lord’s Lament – 6

The establishment made in the name of God, without his knowledge, was destroyed and in its place, another building was constructed again in the name of God. He looked at these humans and said, “(Damn!) I should have planted some plantains in their place.”

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Some of them are equally hilarious and disturbing. For instance, the last one. According to some, if one doesn’t belong to their religion, one is not religious at all. I personally know people who believe so.

Some of the comments on these posts said that festivals and fireworks weren’t for God’s entertainment but for ours. The question is, if certain entertainments cause trouble and nuisance, is it necessary in the name of religion? Will we lose anything by reducing some of the festivities? This is my opinion and I know you will have yours. I respect that. But the answer ‘This has been followed for years and this should continue’ is too vague and unsettling.

To believe or not to believe is up to people. But stereotyping the God you have never seen and expecting people to follow your version of it, manipulating religious practices as per your convenience, using fear as a tool to get things done in the name of God only depicts the crookedness of human minds.

Your God is your conscience. Your version of God need not tally with everyone else’s version. As long as your deeds do not hurt anyone physically or mentally, you are worshipping your God right.

How different, peaceful and beautiful the world would be if each one of us minded our own business, ensured that we did not hurt our fellow beings through words or deeds, and extended our hands when someone was in need?

Featured image courtesy: Favim.com

PS – I am not an athiest. I am religious in my own way yet, that doesn’t stop me from questioning certain beliefs. I do not have any grudge towards any religion. If the mention of any names hurt your sentiments, I apologize. It wasn’t intentional. Meanwhile, some of the sentences explicitly display my belief and I do not apologize for those. To know the difference, you may ask me. Thanks 🙂

The Seed Bookmark

100 Happy Days – Day 87

My uncle was showing us around Lawrence School, Lovedale where he gives guitar lessons to the students. After almost an hour of wandering around the huge, beautiful place, we decided to visit one last area and call it a day.

As we were descending the stairs, I came across these dried twigs with tiny tulip-shaped buds in the end. Something creative came to my mind and I grabbed a handful of those twigs. I wanted to collect more. But I wasn’t sure that I could carry them safely back home. They looked dried and brittle.

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After I reached home, I was dejected to find that many of those seeds had fallen off. Yet, I decided to go forward with my plan. After around an hour, I was too happy with myself. I made one set which I have kept aside for a certain purpose. I noticed another twig with just a bunch of seeds on the tips. I worked on that and voila! 😀

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I painted it with an intention to make myself a bookmark:

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It was later on I realized that, they were Eucalyptus seeds.

My Black Velvet Unicorn

To the world, I am invisible.
But in my eyes,
I have a world of my own.
Where right & wrong
aren’t the only options.
In my world,
there are in betweens & beyonds.
There is a right for everyone.
And the rights are all respected,
even if they’re disagreed upon.
In my world,
Infinity is just the beginning.
The difference is this.
You see me riding
The broken wooden horse,
While, in fact,
That
Is my black velvet Unicorn.

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In my world, fairy tales are real
And your world is fake.
But if you believe your world is real,
In our world,
We respect your belief.

 

My World.

 

Valentine’s Day – 9 Fun Ways For Couples & Singles

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There are lots of singles who turn all gloomy when February begins. They see the Valentine’s Day vibes everywhere. It begins with annoying people like me, writing posts on how to’s and what to’s for valentine’s day. No matter where the singles turn, there is love in the air. During those times when I forget that it is Valentine’s Day and ask someone,

‘Hey! What’s up?’

I get a sigh and a low voice that sadly mumbles, ‘What could be up for a single on a Valentine’s Day?’. The voice is so low that a-minute-ago-happy-me is pulled down into the abyss of depression!

If Valentine’s Day celebrates Love, who brought about and spread the notion that love happens among couples alone? Anyone can celebrate Valentine’s Day and no! It is not desperate. Let me show you 9 fun and thoughtful ways to celebrate it for both singles and couples. Bring a new meaning to Valentine’s Day:

1. Take Your Granpa(rents) Out On a Date – You have Valentine’s Day and the days before and after to spend with the love of your life. Most of our Grandparents are single now, thinking about the days with their better half. Give them a wonderful experience. Ask your Grandma to wear her best saree and jewelry that she hasn’t worn in ages. Ask your Grandpa to show some sunlight to that old exquisite suit of his. Take them for a movie and then a lovely dinner. Treat them like the King/Queen that they are.

A Sikh child pushes his grandfather on a swing in a park in the northern Indian city Chandigarh August 13, 2006. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore     (INDIA)
1. A Sikh child pushes his grandfather on a swing in a park in  Chandigarh August 13, 2006. REUTERS/Kamal Kishore (INDIA)

Psst! Grandparents are a bit tough. You might hear them saying in their bold voices, hoarse with age and experience, “We do not celebrate Love on one day lad! We celebrate it everyday. No date will match ours lad! Don’t trouble me with such stuff!” You’ll need to do quite a lot of coaxing. Kids, I tell you 😉

2. Send a Bouquet to Your Mom – Age no bar, women love flowers and bouquets. The only other person who can totally flatter them, apart from their husband, is their children. I once bought jasmine flowers for my mother. That was the first time I gave it to her – An instinctive buy when I saw them across the street. She looked at me teary eyed and said, “I love flowers. This is the first time someone’s gifting me jasmine flowers without my asking for it.” Well, let’s just say that my dad isn’t the expressive types.

If your mom loves to wear jasmine, buy her some or order a bouquet and have it delivered while you stand behind her at the door.  Or give it yourself telling her that she is your Valentine. You can send one for your dad too, if he loves flowers. 🙂

3. Visit an Old-age home – You cannot be a valentine to more than one person. Who said so? More than the money you spend on charity, the time you spend makes memories and brings smiles on their faces. The ones in the old-age homes were once like us, in the prime of their youth, with dreams in their eyes and laughter on their lips. Somewhere in their lives, they stopped receiving the love they deserved and were abandoned.

When the entire world celebrates love tomorrow, they will be longingly looking out the window, waiting for their children who may never come. Even worse, some of them wouldn’t even have any hopes of seeing their children.

4. Go Tripping – Plan ahead of time. Celebrate Valentine’s Day by going on a tour. Chalk off all those places you have wanted to visit. Plan with your friends/family or go alone. While the entire world celebrates Love, you will be celebrating lot more. It will be one of the most memorable days of your life. And when someone asks you what you did on 2016 Valentine’s Day, you could easily tell them how you went on a trip and enjoyed it to bits.

5. Love Yourself – Who is that one person who knows you in and out? Who is that one person who could get the whiff of every emotion you feel the moment it begins? Who is that one person who is capable of loving you more than anyone else? You. No matter how many people love you, you are the first one that should love yourself.

You know your wishlist. You crave for so many things. You know what Valentine’s Day means to you. Go grab what you want. Gift yourself that gadget, those books, that trip, those CDs, the dresses, shoes, food, lots and lots of food. Pamper yourself. It’s the day for Love!

6. Date With Fictional Characters – This George R. R. Martin quote says it all:

And reading is like breathing for the book lovers and it is more important to us than eating or sleeping. If you have gifted books to yourself, you need time to read it right? Just hole up in your Utopia and devour book after book all day. Book, words and literature are your love and so are the characters in them. Spend your day with them.

My Idea of a Fantastico Valentine’s Day: Books.Coffee.Chocolates.Window.Rain

7. Surprise Someone – Just about anyone. The old friend you haven’t called for a while, a relative, a neighbor or just about anyone who wouldn’t expect you. Buy some knick-knacks to eat, some drinks, take your favorite movies and songs in a pen drive and just crash land at your surprisee’s place. Drink, dance, crack jokes and have a fun-filled memorable day. Things to ensure:

a. That your surprisee doesn’t have plans
b. If your drinks include booze, no drunk dialing exes.

8. Nurture your Neglected Hobbies – Remember that blissful satisfaction after you created something? The awe and the pride you felt when you looked at your creation? Don’t you miss that?

I’ll just leave this here

A day you would have spent with a loved when if you weren’t single. Use the day to do something productive for yourself. What is that hobby you had that you never nurture these days? Try going back to it. Hobbies seldom leave you. They just lie buried beneath all those ‘Have to’s’.

9. Set a Goal for the next Valentine’s Day – What is that one thing you want to achieve this year? It could be anything expensive or time taking. A trip, a job, a gadget, a vehicle, an art, an ambition, whether it is making someone or something yours, mark this day and aim to achieve it by the next Valentine’s Day. Set the Goal and work towards it. Achieve something you love and you have always wanted. Lay the groundwork on Feb 14th, 2016.

For instance, if you intend to buy something, open a Recurring Deposit account and transfer a small amount to it every month. Do the planning on Feb 14th and open the account on the next working day itself.

So, what are you doing this Valentine’s Day?

Image Courtesies

  1. thegirlwhokeepsdreaming.tumblr.com/
  2. http://www.vivalasvegasweddings.com
  3. http://sonalidalal.blogspot.in/
  4. gomissing.in
  5. emimiranda.tumblr.com

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

7 Fantastico Makeover Tips for Your Room

Whenever I see the bedrooms in ads and movies, I am inspired to redo my room. But then, I find my books, laptop and put off the work to another day. Over time, I researched a lot about redoing rooms and came across some really wonderful ideas.

I haven’t done any of them due to my exams. The walls are covered with Accounting Standards, various sections in Corporate Law, Standards on Auditing & Strategic Financial Management formulae. To add to the misery, I have white patches where I pulled of the Sellotapes and the room looks like it needs some itch guard! I decided to compile a list of tips to redo your room.

Thermocol and cloth covering – This is quite simple to do. All you need is two or more cloths with different designs and compatible colors. Cut out the thermocol as per your requirement and cut enough cloth to cover each piece of thermocol. Arrange them as you wish and you have a fantastico wall art! You can have 3 huge pieces of thermocol coverings or nine small pieces. It all depends on your imagination and color sense.

Click here for the source of images above and for tips to prepare the coverings.

Tissue work – If given the right shade, preferably a metallic one, in the right side of the room and if supported with the right wall pieces, this artwork would look majestic! My neighbour has given a hot pink metallic shade on their tissue work and placed a  milky-white clock on it. Nothing else! Just the hot pink quirky background and the contrasting white. It gives a peppy look to the room.

Click here, for source of this image and tissue work tutorials.

Spray Painting – Another variant of Thermocol covering. You don’t have to be super talented or sturdy handed. The image below might look complicated. The work is actually easy-peasy! It simply involves use of leaves and flowers or any such designs with perforations to be used as stencils. Once you are done with the painting, frame them and hang them in the living room to give a chic & peppy look!

Nature Prints

Click here for image source and tutorial on how to make spray paint wall art.

Bottle Painting – Isn’t painting on bottles though painted bottles can be used to decorate your room. This is painting with bottles. A child’s play, you could involve the entire family in this work, specially the children. It not only beautifies the room, but it lets you interact with your family and make a memorable day out of it sans cell phones, laptops and any sort of gadgets. The room will be a memoir of your lovely times together.

Cherry Blossom Art Made with Soda Bottle | alphamom.com

Click here for image source and tutorial on how to paint with bottle.

Bottle & Lights – You must have come across this already and let me guess. You are already dying to have one of these in your homes. I have the bottles and the lights ready. I just need to get rid of my books that are everywhere. It is simple, elegant and beautiful. You can also paint the bottles and then fill the lights. What more can I say? Let the pictures do the talking.

winebottles

Click here for image source and tips on how to go about this.

Wall Decals – Here is a very simple method to beautify your room. I don’t have to write it down, yet I’m doing it in case someone has not thought of it. Paint your room or one side of your wall with your favorite color. Purchase these wall decals, you get online in almost every site and stick them. You get them at prices as low as INR 199. Before sticking them, you can find umpteen tutorials on youtube as to how to go about the work. You may refer them just to be sure.

Wall-Stickers-Wall-Decals-6201
Courtesy: ebay

 

Stencil Work – It was around a couple of years back that I realised that we get to buy wall stencils. Asian paints sent me some of them for a contest and I must say, they are adorable. You can easily place them on the walls and paint or even use a spray paint for the blurred effect.

Here is an image of a stencil. You can find them on Indian sites too. In the picture, you can see that a wall decal has been put up and the stencil work has been done around the same.

Courtesy: etsy.com

The list isn’t exhaustive. You can make light shades of your own, do acrylic paintings, easy ones directly on the wall and what not!? The possibilities are endless. There certain things to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the room doesn’t look dull after the makeover.
  • Ensure that the colors used are compatible with each other; whether it is between the background and the artwork or amongst adjacent walls.
  • The room shouldn’t give you a negative or crowded feeling in the end. The purpose is to make it pleasurable livable.

If you love these tips and plan to try them out, do leave a picture after the makeover. Also your suggestions, comments, feedback, opinions and criticism are welcome. 🙂

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

A Conversation Over A Cup of Coffee

Zahir walked up to Emma.

“Hey I am back! What’s up? When did you return?”, he noticed that A Cup of Coffee was placed between them.

Emma looked up and gave a faint smile.

“All good. I came yesterday.”, she said softly

“Hey! What’s wrong? You seem dull.”

“I’d rather not talk about it now. I feel so low.”

“Speak up. You might feel better. What is it?”

She paused and looked at Zahir, teary eyed.

“I was at Arya’s place.”

“Oh! I know. You were dying to go to her place right? What happened now?”

“The first day after I reached her place, she was reading. I was getting all cozy and comfortable. I could easily sync with her like no other when suddenly, we heard a crash. She stopped reading and went to check what was wrong. I heard some quarrel and it began to get nasty. I didn’t know what to do.”

She began to sob like a child and Zahir awkwardly put an arm around her.

“Shh… it’s okay. You need not say if it’s making you uncomfortable okay?”, he said in a soft voice.

She took some deep breaths and continued, “Her father dragged her and threw her into the room. He said something that sounded like no one speaks when he does and if they do, the consequences will be brutal. He locked the door from outside and walked away. After a few seconds, the quarrel resumed with intermittent sound of flesh on flesh.”

“Arya’s mother?”

“Yes. I saw her later. Swollen eyes, bleeding lips, her cheeks were red.”

“What did Arya do?”

“That is what hurt me the most. Nothing. She sat there listening to all the noise. She didn’t speak anything at all after that. Dropped me off here and left.”

Silent tears streamed down Emma’s face and she looked lost.

“It will turn out to be fine, Emma.”

“Perhaps, yes. But what happens to the child? By the sound of it, she has been going through this for a long while. I’ll will her to take me in again. I want to know what happens to them.”

Suddenly, Abhijit walked in and Zahir looked at him, with a twinkle in his eyes.

Emma watched him and said, “I know you want to go. Just go.”

“No. Not when you are in this state.”

“I’m alright. Just grieving for the girl. You should go. Remember, you choose him.”

He looked at Abhijit and then at Emma, “Alright! Listen to me. Next time, you pick Arya and get it over with it. Else, you won’t feel peaceful ever again.”

Saying so, Zahir closed his eyes and worked his magic. Soon enough Abhijit was by his side and the two left.

Hours and days flew by. Many people came and went. Emma didn’t bother. She was concerned about Arya.

She heard Brida whining at times, “I have been stalking Rahul. But nothing happens.”

The Host replied, “Oh! I think that is working. The other day I was in Vijay’s house. He is Rahul’s friend. I heard Rahul say that he kept bumping into you and he felt as though you both were meant to be. He was planning on meeting you soon.”

“Oh come on! You always make fun of me. I have been trying to find him for the last six months. There are more powerful, smart and attractive ones around, why would he even pick me?”

“I am not kidding. Just wait & you will know.”

Emma smiled. She used to stalk people like this once. But she now knew that there was more to a person than his smartness. She waited.


 

Vijay had opened a beer bottle. Rahul was rummaging through Vijay’s book stand.

“Hey! You have Brida! Fantastico! How is it?”, Rahul was flipping through the book.

“Didn’t read. Got it as a gift. Doesn’t interest me”

“I don’t know. This is the 6th time this week I am coming across this book at the unlikeliest of places. Once I saw a guy reading this at the urinal.”

“Urinal? Ugh!”

“The point is, I have heard that, the books choose us. May be it is a sign. A sign for me to read Brida next.

“Ghosh! You believe in this crap huh? You can take it if you want.”

“Really?”

“Oh! Wait, my cousin asked for it.”

“No problem. Pass me the beer now.”

On the bed, ‘The Host’ lay opened, face down, listening to every word they said.


 

Arya walked into the library and Emma felt it. She looked up at her and willed Arya to pick her. It wasn’t necessary. Arya was determined to finish her unfinished reading business. She kept Emma in her bag and left. On the way, her phone rang,

“Hellooo” it was someone she liked.

“Yes. I am leaving the library.”

“Oh is it? Alright. I’ll wait here.”

She cut the call. Emma waited with Arya. A few minutes passed and someone walked up to Arya.

Damn these leather bags. Emma thought to herself.

“Hey! Is everything fine?”, it was a male voice.

“Yes. My mother signed the divorce petition yesterday. ”

“Awesome! I am happy for you. You both in fact. You are going to be free!”

“Yes. Finally! By the way, I took the book. That day, after I saw it in your house, I again saw it in the bus. I felt you were right Rahul. The book choose us and so, I had to come back and get it.”

“In that case, I need to get one too. Wait here. I’ll be back soon.”

Emma smiled for the first time in many days. She had been in that library for two years and she spent her time with many readers. She never really tried to understand them much. Depending upon what other books said, she decided whom to choose next. Sometimes she decided based on the conversations readers had in the library. But never once she faced a situation like in Arya’s house. She felt that there was more to people than what met her eyes. This incident had made her wiser and she was ready to face anything that came her way.

“Hey! Let’s go!”, Rahul was back.

Emma wished she could see Brida’s happiness. One day, she would narrate this story to Zahir and also to A Cup of Coffee. 🙂

800px-melk_-_abbey_-_library

Courtesy: wikipedia

 

16 Tips to Make Your Year Productive II

Fed up of making resolutions and dropping midway? Then chuck resolutions and prepare a set of achievable and interesting goals. By goals I mean, all those one time things you have always wanted to do.

The list is not exhaustive. You can read the first part of the post here and after reading the rest, decide on how you wish to make a difference in your life this year.

8. Own a Pet – I know lots of pet lovers who have always wanted pets, but never really got to owning them. I love dogs. But due to certain personal reasons, I can’t have one right now. So I have decided on owning a fish once I get a job. It took me a while to realise that this was an option. And here I am telling you, if you can’t own a cat or dog, you have other options – birds, fishes, a beautiful flower bearing plant. I know that the last one isn’t a pet. But keeping one in your room, watering it and watching it bloom isn’t a bad idea after all. A friend of mine did it last year with a marigold. 🙂 You know what? You should so name the plant!
Guys name her Cameron Diaz and say, guess who is waiting for me 😉
Girls name him Dwayne Johnson and say, Oh! The Rock needs me. Gotta go.
I bet you, the Harry Potter fans will name the plant Mathhew Lewis (Neville) or Tom Felton (Draco) 😉
Or they could name him Dobby and whisper threateningly, “Dobby! Get out of my room, now!”

Er… I got carried away. Moving on…

9. Take up a Charitable Activity – There are many kind-hearted people who wish to do something charitable and make a difference. Some do not have the time, some forget, some fear that their hard earned money may be misused. I’d say that we cannot understand the joy of doing something that makes someone happy until we do it personally.Go to an orphanage and mingle with the children. Go to an old-age home and give those aged people your time. Instead of giving in cash, give gifts and most importantly love to the aged and they will see their son/daughter in you. If you feel up to it, add this to your goals list so that you feel a bit more happy at the end of the year.

10. Go Somewhere Alone – I barely do this and I want to do it. And so, I have reason to believe that there are others like me. If you really wish to try this out, start with a place nearby. Go and spend some alone time there and then try a new place the next time. If you still feel like experimenting, do it as many times as you want until you are convinced about yourself. You will learn that you either despise the alone time or that the alone time is growing on you. 🙂 This is how you know yourself.

Walk with Yourself
Walk with Yourself

11. Write Letters –  Have you experienced that surge of happiness when you find a hand written letter delivered to you? There are no intimations that say ‘typing…’, there are no blue ticks involved, no pressures to reply asap. You never know what or when or from whom you’d receive a letter. It is a piece of paper touched, held, and sealed by the writer personally. It carries his smell, the fingerprints, the imprint of pen & ink due to the pressure applied by him, and it is written earnestly since there is no hurry to reply asap. No blue ticks that urges him to write because the recipient knows that he has read the latter’s letter already. Write letters without forcing the recipient to reply fast. :)Sometimes, it will become a habit and this will be the year you began writing letters

IMG_20160114_231353

12. For Creators – Whether you are a painter, writer, musician or a creator in general, you will have plans to create more this year. But it is possible that after a while the urge wares off and then you leave it. Make it a point to create something every month. At the end of the year, you have twelve of your masterpieces.

Hang a planner in your room and decide on what you will create. Carry a notepad around and jot down the ideas as and when they appear in your head. When you have free time and lack ideas, refer the planner & the notepad and create something beautiful. Don’t let the moss drown your talents.

13. Invest in Something You have Always Dreamt of Owning – If you aren’t interested in traveling, reading or shopping, point 1 could be used here. Is there something really expensive you have always wanted? Expensive things take time to reach you. You might be waiting for ‘some day’ when you will have all the money to own it. Instead, start now. Be it your dream house, car, instrument or an expensive course, start saving for it now! Let the dream turn into reality starting 2016.

14. Experiment! Body Art, Piercing, Hair Highlighting, weird hair styles – We have our body to experiment on. As long as it isn’t anything harmful, experimenting is fun. I’d like some ink, purple hair highlights & a couple more of ear piercings. What about you?

I know many friends who want to get tattoos & hair colors but refrain from them due to pressure from home. The most common reason I get is, ‘What if the guy I’m to get married to doesn’t like it?’

Here is what I have to say. If you want a tattoo, get one. If you don’t want, don’t get one. If someone else wants, it’s their right, let them have it their way.

15. Waiting for Someone Else’s Happiness – All the while, I was talking about our own happiness. There are those wonderful moments when something lovely happens to someone else and we are as happy as they are; A friend finally getting married or committed, a sibling or friend becoming a parent, someone getting a new job or their first salary, sibling graduating and much more. If this is the year that brings happiness to someone special, make note of it. Look forward to it. By the end of the year, you will definitely have some wonderful things to look back to.

16. Finally, For Those Who Cannot Find Enough Time – This is for really busy folks. I suppose you can find some time twelve times a year. Make a minimal & practicable list of things you’d like to achieve. Preferably twelve of them. If you have reading a book, traveling, meeting a friend in your list, according to your schedule, allocate a month for each activity and make it a point to stick to them. Even if you change the order of the plan, ensure that you keep doing something different every month. You will have a memorable year in the end. 🙂 For those who cannot afford twelve things, you can settle for six goals to be achieved over two months each.

You can have goals for anything below the sun, above the Earth and beyond. There is no end. I have prepared a very tiny list that pretty much accommodates the most common goals. It is just to give you an idea. Hope 2016 brings with it a lot of experiences and memories. Hope you keep yourselves busy, peppy & productive throughout the year; And when you look back in the end, I hope you have most of the items ticked from your ‘To-do’ list.

So what are you waiting for? It is already 15th of Jan. Convert your resolutions to goals. If you have more vibrant items to be added to this list, please let me know in the comments. We have many more years to come and I could do with more ideas and goals. 🙂

16 Tips to Make Your Year Productive – I

Fed up of making resolutions and dropping them midway? Then chuck resolutions and prepare a set of achievable and interesting goals. By goals I mean, all those one-time-things you have always wanted to do. You can even do them side by side. Here is how.

The year glides by and before you know, it is December. In the end, you ask yourself, ‘What have I achieved this year?’ and you can’t think of anything much. Deep inside, you know that the year was just okay and you are in the same position you were, when the previous year ended. 365 days whooshed past and you have no clue what you did. To change that, I prepared a list of things I wanted to achieve this year. When I wrote My Bucketlist for 2016, it was well received by the few who read it. That inspired me to write this post.

Resolutions are mostly recurring, boring and general in nature. That is partly a reason for us to stop them midway. Most of us keep resolutions to make a difference in our lives and at the end of the year, we are back to square one. Isn’t it time to change the pattern? Yes! Prepare a list of achievable goals. Things you have wanted to do but never got to doing or fears you wish to overcome! Anything that would be a propulsive factor to you, something that does not require a forever routine.

Why Replace Resolutions with Goals?

Know the difference in this context 🙂

Let's drop the resolutions and pick up the goals
Let’s drop the resolutions and pick up the goals

 

  • The reputation – Most of us do not take up resolutions anymore because we know it is not going to happen!
  • The Recurring Routine Nature – Most of the resolutions have a routine nature and picking up routines isn’t easy. People get bored when they hit the gym on the tenth day or eat boring dietary food everyday. There is nothing interesting to pep it up.
  • No Defined Plans – To hit the gym regularly, to read more, to meditate, to diet, stop procrastinating are the regular items on the list until the list goes missing. No one defines what regularly means and how to achieve that, what more means in ‘read more’, how to meditate and what dieting means according to you. With no plans, they all vanish into thin air.

Here is an extensive, but not an exhaustive list of goals you could prepare:

1. A Bank Account to Enjoy Life – If you are earning, open a Recurring Deposit account, give a standing instruction so that a portion of your salary automatically goes into the RD account. This will be your account for enjoying life. I have seen many of my friends work a lot, spend carelessly and then struggle for money when they want something they have been dreaming for long.

Now, what is your passion? Is it traveling, reading, shopping or partying? If you transfer enough per month, you will have enough in the end, to go on that trip, buy all the books, go shopping or partying. Did I hear you say that you already have good investment plans? Even then, you need an account for splurging. It is an assurance that you can have fun at anytime! I saved a bit when I earned earlier and used it for a recent trip. Trust me! You won’t regret it. 🙂

2. For Book Lovers – Many of the book lovers do not manage to read as much as they used to. I, for instance, read barely 3-4 books last year. The books I intended to read in 2014 are still pending.
The best thing to do is, to prepare a list of books you intend to read. Keep going through the list and soon, you will find yourself remembering about your goals more often. Movie lovers can do the same with movies.In a year, there are so many moments we waste unknowingly. Always carry a book around so that you can read whenever you get a free time. In this manner, you won’t get bored and you will achieve your goals.

Prepare a list of books you want to read
Prepare a list of books you want to read

3. For Globetrotters and Bikers – Whether you are a Globetrotter or a crazy biker, prepare a list of places you wish to visit. I know that most of the guys prefer impulsive rides. You can have that. Preparing a list makes it easier to decide. But most importantly, like I mentioned earlier, looking at the list urges you to travel more.
When you get tied up with work or studies, you don’t realize that the year is coming to an end. It is in the end that you look back and regret that you didn’t do much that year. The list will be a reminder. When you look at the list, you’ll look at the calendar. The fact that you haven’t covered much of the items will make you go for an impulsive ride or trip.

4. Learn Something New – I decided to learn a new language. You can decide on anything you have an aptitude for. Here are some tips:

  • Martial arts
  • Music or musical instruments – Indian or western.
  • Dance
  • Knitting or stitching
  • Painting of any kind – Pots, Mural, Fabric, there are a hundred options.
  • Craft and DIY tricks
  • A degree in a subject that you are interested in – Fashion, Vedas and Sanskrit have been in my mind for quite some time. But not this year.
  • Sports – I am not listing anything here. You know it better.

    Pic courtesy: via Canva.com
    Pic courtesy: via Canva.com

5. Cook – Ladies and Gentlemen! Cook something new. Not Indian or Chinese! Something very very different whose name you can’t even pronounce! Be it Mtuzi Wa Samaki from Africa or Char Kway Teow from Singapore or Fiori di Zucca from Rome. I have no idea what these are, but you get the point. Later, if you feel up to it, you can prepare a four course dinner for a family or friend. Who else can you experiment on? 😉

Along with this, you may also take up learning actual cooking. It is a goal that will help you throughout your life. Eating is something we cannot stop. It is only natural to know how to cook. A bit of burnt curry a day is better than hotel food for an entire year. It is no rocket science; you’ll pick up with practice.

6. Meet a Friend You Haven’t Met for Many Years – Outside the city! I said that because, you can also check out a place from your travel list. Write down the name of that friend you haven’t met for years. Maybe more than one. Call them up, discuss your plan. Keep in touch with them and discuss your visit more often. By doing this, you have already done half the job. They will remind you, your goals list will remind you and the universe will conspire to make you both meet.

7. Face Your Fears – I am not the right one to say this. I have lots of fears and I am too skeptical to face them. This is for those people who are more daring and who will have the guts to put this down in their goals list. Pick up one of those fears; whether it is facing the public, heights, clients or anything else, decide to go for it and get it over with. Er… I shouldn’t dwell much on this. 😛

Read on to find the remaining 9 tips…