On Grabbing Opportunities – A Wonderful Takeaway from Gilmore Girls

I have been watching Gilmore Girls for a while now and I have been falling in love with the show, with every episode. While people rave about Dark, Money Heist, Friends or Game of Thrones, I have been wondering why this series haven’t gotten the attention it deserves. It teaches you a lot about family and relationship. The characters in it are perhaps an exaggerated version of real life, but nevertheless, it shows you how you can deal with the good, bad and the in between in your life.

What made me write this post was a simple conversation about opportunity. Would you grab an opportunity if it were presented before you out of someone’s guilt or as a favor?

Rory Gilmore who’s one of main characters of the show, is dating Logan Huntzburger, whom she met at Yale. Logan has played the field when it comes to women, but never taken a girl friend before. Unable to let go of Rory, he decides to commit for the first time in his life and takes her to a family dinner. The Gilmores and the Huntzbergers belong to the elite class and ideally families like these would be thrilled to have their children finding the right alliances on their own.

Gilmore Girls" creator opens up about the psychology behind WHY Rory dated  Logan in college | HelloGiggles

But that night at the dinner table, the Huntzbergers seem displeased with Logan’s choice of girlfriend. Rory is an ambitious, driven woman while they need a woman who wouldn’t work, but who’d support the family and Logan, when he takes over the family business. The fact that she’s a Gilmore doesn’t get her any brownie points. Logan, equally appalled by the treatment vetted out to Rory, leaves the house with her. His father who wasn’t present during the dinner table conversation walks in puzzled as they leave the house with no explanation.

Next morning, Mr. Mitchum Huntzberger walks into the Yale Daily News office of which Rory is a part. He apologises to her for the way his family behaved to her the previous night. Mr Huntzberger is the CEO of a News Conglomerate and he offers Rory an internship in his newly acquired newspaper, The Stanford Eagle Gazette and Rory turns down the offer.

Mr. Huntzberger is slightly puzzled by Rory’s response.

“May I be so bold as to enquire why the hell no?”, he asks her.

“Because, I have a feeling that the only reason you are doing this is because you feel guilty about what happened the other night at dinner and, it is very nice, but very unnecessary.”

“So what? Say the only reason I offered this to you is because my family behaved badly and I want to make up for it. Say I have no interest in furthering your career. This is still an opportunity. Who cares why you got this opportunity? It’s here and life is about making the most of everything you’re handed. This is being handed to you. Now! What are you gonna do about it?

I have seen many situations like this wherein people refuse to take up an opportunity just because it didn’t present itself in a conventional manner. The world is built for opportunists. Survival of the fittest is true for humans as well. You work hard, you work smart and you grab opportunities when handed to you. You do not cheat, stab, snatch or bad mouth other people. I had a moment like this many years ago. I got an opportunity. A wonderful one at that. I grabbed it and later I got to know that it was someone else’s guilt that resulted in the opportunity. I spent years brooding over how I did not get it out of my own merit while I had absolutely no control over the situation.

I have always felt that sometimes some of us have a weirdly strong sense of ethics which borders ego. We think we are being ethical/moral while we are simply being egoistic/stupid. But the truth is, the world is made for the opportunists and the go getters and unless we realize this truth, we will be stuck in the prison of our own making.

If this post inspired you and you liked the vibe of the show, Gilmore Girls, you should try watching the series. It is a no-brainer, heart warming series that helps you understand relationships better.

32 Things I Learnt in 32 Years

I have always wanted to write this list post and I intended to do it when I turned 30. But 2018 was one of the years I was least active on my blog. I turned 32 yesterday and I know that now is the right time for this post. So here goes, 32 things I learnt in 32 years; some serious, some unnecessary and some in between. I hope they inspire you and that you enjoy reading them.

  1. On the note of now is the right time, there is no other right time to start something new. Take the plunge! Nobody learnt swimming, standing by the water.
  2. Be more vocal with your loved ones about your feelings, both good and bad. It is the best way to healthy relationships.
  3. Learning comes from the most unlikeliest of places; also from almost everywhere.
  4. You don’t owe favours. You give favours. Which means, you always have the option to say NO.
  5. It is okay to not work for passion, but for money.
  6. It is okay to not make a vocation out of your passion. It can always be your go to safe space.
  7. I once judged a girl who hadn’t waxed her legs. Till date she has no clue that I did because she was least bothered. It’s okay to go out with unwaxed legs and unkempt eyebrows if you’re comfortable with them. You know that others are judging you only when you’re actively looking around for them.
  8. If you are doing something nice for someone you Love, ensure that you’re doing what they like rather than what you think they like.
  9. You owe it to yourself to not work on weekends.
  10. When you base your decisions on what XYZ wants, remember that you might have to live with some of those decisions all your life, even after XYZ ceases to exist. The Blatant truth!
  11. Cooking is not a gender role. It is a life skill.
  12. Breathe through your mouth while chopping onions.
  13. There is a strange peace that comes with cleaning, de-cluttering and clean bed sheets. It is symbolic of de-cluttering your mind.
  14. You always turn into your parents. But you can choose the traits you want to keep.
  15. Fat people are fat. Dark complexioned people are dark. It is when you add the cringe-worthy tone and expression to these facts as though they are bad that it becomes wrong.
  16. It is okay to genuinely accept the changes in your beliefs. That is not hypocrisy. That is growth.
  17. You share traits with the people you spend more time with. Ensure that you are around people who add value to you.
  18. Do not grind hot things in a mixer. Things will hit the fan! Quite literally!
  19. Reply ‘People have it worse’ with ‘That doesn’t discount what I am going through’ because no one has the right to normalise your suffering.
  20. Don’t yell at the service center personnel because the product is faulty. They didn’t make the product. Learn to direct your anger and frustration rightly.
  21. You don’t ever grow up! There is always a child in everyone. Don’t lose that child.
  22. Nobody has the right to make you feel guilty about the things you buy for yourself. Go get that yacht to adorn your lawn!
  23. There is nothing called too many clothes.
  24. You always count your gifts on your birthday. The more the merrier. You have just been in denial (FYI I got 10 this time of which four were from my sister :P).
  25. You are born kind and the people around you shape your kindness. Look within for the kindness that you possess and you’ll know that you don’t have to cause a ruckus over a tiny accidental scratch on your car.
  26. Spend more time cloud gazing, star gazing, nature gazing and soul gazing.
  27. Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. Don’t look at junk food on Zomato when you are hungry. You always tend to go for junk food. Instead always plan a junk food meal so that you never overeat them.
  28. You can follow the trend. But you can create your style as well if you are confident enough. I thought that a top and a bottom went well. But my fashion designer friend said that it wasn’t the right styling technique. Yet I wore them the way I liked and was told by many that it was a beautiful pairing.
  29. If you want a change of job, apply anywhere and everywhere; ten times a day. Know your worth and do not compromise on it. Work on your communication, learn from failed interviews and aim for the Sky. You’ll only achieve what you aim for!
  30. It is okay to quit and stop looking at ‘quitting’ like it is a bad thing.
  31. Train your thoughts by replacing negative with positive. Instead of, ‘I hate Mondays. I have to work!’ think ‘It’s Monday and I’ll learn new things, solve new problems and I love it!’ You will feel like it eventually.
  32. Take lots of videos of your loved ones’ crazy side. Make videos of them laughing, singing out of pitch, saying weird things, cracking really bad jokes and watch them when you feel blue. Not sitcoms could give you the joy you get when you see a loved one being goofy. Trust me on this! ❤
Here are some of the gifts I received

Let me end with this bonus realization that I had yesterday. I received lots of gifts and like anyone else, I love getting gifts. But the best moments were when the whole family sat together and had food while the focus was on my birthday, we cut the cake, I had a video call with my bestie, went out to meet another bestie and when one came home with a Dairy milk silk like he does every year on my birthday. Having been away from home for the last two years, I value the contact with my loved ones more than anything else. I don’t want a big fat party. I just want a tiny cosy gathering of my loved ones.

I think there are some really valuable life lessons in here because I found them extremely useful. If you enjoyed reading them, please comment your favorites. Also please share this post because as a writer, I write to speak to the world as much as I do it for myself.

The Key to Building Habits

Starting a new habit or lifestyle, sticking to it for a few days, then slacking and finally giving up is a familiar experience for all of us. I remember not making New Year Resolutions for a couple of years because I wasn’t going to stick to them anyway. But the thing about wanting to improve in life is that, our belief systems keep changing. So did mine! And now, I am back to doing half-yearly resolutions too. I still don’t stick to them beyond 2 months, but I have made progress. So what is the Key to Building Habits?

It has been 3 years since I have been constantly struggling to form habits and I always felt that I reached nowhere. But recently, I realized that it’s not true. I am in a much better place now than I was 3 years ago. The progress has been slow. But there has been progress.

As a part of my daily routine, I so badly wanted to exercise and write daily. But I wasn’t committed enough to keep at them because after the initial novelty faded, they all got boring. This is where I stopped. This is where we all stop. And once we stop, it is difficult to start again. But do you know what our mistake is? We fixate on the ‘once we stop’ part. Once we stop, we feel dejected. We decide that this isn’t our cup of tea and not think of the habit again for a long long time. What is necessary is a shift in focus. If you look for it, you’ll find many other areas of habit building that you can focus on instead. Here are a few that has been helping me:

Making Starting Again Your Strength

I wasn’t strong enough to keep at it consistently, but I was strong enough to get back to my habit building. I’d start practicing Yoga, keep at it for 4-7 days, get lazy, stop, and within a few months, I’d resume again. You have no idea the number of times I have done the ‘Day 1 of Yoga’ in the last 3 years. But there always has been a Day 1. You stopped working out? It doesn’t matter. Start again! And make that your strength.

Getting Rid of Mindblocks

This has been my biggest enemy. For me, working out has always been about waking up early, working out for around half an hour, giving 100% for it throughout the session, and doing it every single day without fail. Which means, if I did not wake up early, if I were on my periods, if I didn’t find my work-out clothes, if I couldn’t give my 100%, if I worked out only for 15 minutes the previous day, or if I missed one day, there is a 95% chance that I’d stop working out completely. These were the mind blocks that always stopped me from working out.

But now, if I wake up late, I try working out during the day (thanks to work from home) or in the evening. If I can’t, I just work out the next day. I try not to let one day’s workout affect the other. Yesterday I walked 5000 steps. But today I got tired after 2000. So I pushed myself until I covered 3000 steps and stopped. You just need to write down all the silly reasons you’d quote to not work-out and then work around these reasons.

Experimenting New Ways to Keep at Your Habit

Once I started the habit, the next problem was keeping at it. One alternative to this is, going to a gym or a Yoga class and finding a mentor. But you already know that! I didn’t want to enroll for a class. At least not right now as I’ll have to go back to Bangalore any time. So I started trying out different methods. For instance, I started working out only during the weekends, I tried different types of Yoga, different Apps, Youtube channels etc to see what suited me better, I alternated between Yoga and walking, I spoke to other people who were constantly working out, I spoke to my family since they are all actively trying to work out more frequently, and I was on a quest to find what suited me. Granted, there never came a point where I continuously worked out for months. I always ended up slacking and having gaps in my work out. But I never got fed up of trying new methods

Getting Back to Your Habits at a Faster Pace After Each Set Back

The bright side of it was that, each time I stopped working out, I got back to it faster than the last time. If it took me 3 months to get back to working out in 2018, now it takes only a week. For instance, last month, I was doing Yoga every weekend. But I missed last weekend. So I started doing Zumba since Tuesday (11-08-2020). I missed Zumba yesterday. So I walked 5000 steps yesterday evening. While I was busy counting the number of times I gave up, I was getting back to working out more and that matters the most! If this isn’t improvement, then what is?

With respect to writing, I used to blog frequently in 2013 through 2017. But once I got my job, I barely wrote. Throughout 2018 and 2019, I’d publish one blogpost, promise myself that I’d write a post every week and then not come back for months. But the important thing is, I did come back. And every time I did, I decided not to give up and that was the important bit – not giving up. I did this so many times that now, in 2020, this is my second month of blogging every week.

The most important thing to understand is that there is no secret recipe. Everything you need to know about habit building is a google search away. There aren’t really many new mantras. But you definitely can search for people (youtube channels, books, blogs and podcasts) who put it in better ways for you. Some people have the ability to give you a better perspective. This is the key to building new habits. Finding different perspectives, choosing the ones you like and tweaking them to fit your needs, and forming a practice that helps you get back to your habits. When you get back to your habits long enough, you’ll be getting back to them every day. Isn’t that our end goal?

If you think my blog-post helped you see a new perspective, please leave a comment and do share it with at least 2 people who you think need to read it.

Featured Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

The Power of Kindness and Practicing it at Home

Can you imagine a world where all of us are kind to each other? What else would we need? Money? No. The ones who have, will give the ones who don’t. Happiness? The ones who are happy will never let others be sad. Good Health? The healthy will help the unhealthy. If this is the power of kindness, then why is it so underrated? Why isn’t it taught in schools and universities? I believe that Kindness is the most valuable skillset a human needs. Let me tell you why.

A few years back, a friend dropped off a newly joined colleague and me at a junction after work. It was a familiar place for the new guy, as his house was nearby, but I had to take a bus home. The new guy, whom I had recently met, started walking with me. In spite of assuring him that I could find my way, he insisted on showing me to the bus stop, ensured that I got onto the right bus, and then walked back to his home which was in the exact opposite direction. We weren’t even good friends, and he didn’t have to do that. But he did. After 6 years, we are still friends and it is because of this one act of kindness. I have always been attracted to people who are effortlessly kind. The power of kindness is that you’ll never NEVER forget someone who was kind to you and the impact of it will make you kind in a similar situation. This is what makes Kindness the most valuable skillset.

The Power of Kindness and Practicing it at Home

Would you call yourself a kind person? I am not referring to helping out in orphanages or donating a thousand rupees to charity. I am referring to being kind in your day to day, mundane activities.

When someone in your family prepares food, do you appreciate them? Do you tell them that you loved the flavour, that it has been cooked to perfection? What is better than one appreciation? Two! The ones who are stingy with appreciation, do you repeatedly appreciate the people you love? There is nothing wrong in saying the same thing twice or more as long as it is good. I am starting with something this mundane because we need to understand that kindness begins at home; with the people close to us.

How can we Practice Kindness at/from Home and make that gradually reflect everywhere in our lives?

My sister and I are home due to the pandemic and I have been seeing Amma struggle with her work and the chores at home. I do help her whenever I can, but after I changed my jobs, I sometimes work till 10 PM and I barely take any breaks due to the sheer volume of work and the learning curve. My father has been taking care of a lot of chores and he has been trying his hands at cooking as well. But since Amma is more experienced in the kitchen, she has had to come home and prepare dinner.

This was bothering me a lot and we changed things since last week. We decided to take turns to prepare dinner which meant that dinner for 4 nights were sorted. On the 5th night, we’d order in and this will cover the weekdays. We could always help out during the weekends. We tried this out for a week and I felt at peace. Amma could relax on 4 out of 5 days after work. I am extremely grateful that we as a family realized this and acted accordingly. To understand that one person is doing all the heavy lifting, and consciously trying to avoid his/her pain is kindness.

There are many seemingly insignificant moments at home where we can practice kindness. We know that our grandmother doesn’t like eating alone. So whenever we see her having her meals alone, we go sit next to her and talk. When she sings ‘Uttara swayamvaram…’ I know that she’s missing her brother and so I go spend some time with her. When my sister feels a bit under the weather, I get her some green tea and annoy her. If you observe carefully, you’ll see that you can always do something to make people’s days better or lives easier without much of an effort. And that is kindness! The more we practice it at home, the more we’ll learn to practice it outside. After all, what is the point of donating thousands to charity when your own mother is struggling everyday with problems you can easily resolve?

Does this post remind you of someone at home who could use some kindness? What are some other ways we could practice kindness at home? Let me know in the comments. If you like my post, please share it with your friends. That is kindness too 😛

Did you know that a lot of your innate kindness got quashed by the behaviour of your family and friends in your childhood? My next post will be on this and to get it delivered to your mail, subscribe to my blog. : )

Let’s Spread A Few Handpicked Kindness

Image Courtesy: Clay Banks on Unsplash

Featured Image by Adam Niklewicz

Things I Learnt From My Little Sister – A Sister’s Day Note

First Sunday of August is Sister’s Day. I have written a lot about my baby sister over the years and they have all been about our childhood and the love we shared. But this post is about a rough space our relationship traversed through during Covid-19.

The happiest day in my life was the day my baby sister was born. We are 9 years apart and growing up, I was almost a second mother to her; one she could also play with. Our bond has been so strong! But it doesn’t mean that the path was smooth.

That is us – My Sister and I

As we grew, there came a point where she outgrew me in all aspects. I was now looking up at her, she wasn’t the tiny pup I could hug tight and protect, and she couldn’t ask Math doubts to me anymore because our streams were different. It was time for her to pave her own path, away from us and she did a wonderful job at it. But the one who returned to us was much different from my baby sister.

It took a while for us to wrap our heads around the changes my sister had gone through. While the Coronavirus Pandemic stretched on and on, we went through a roller-coaster ride of quarrels, emotions, conversation and growth and here are five things that I learnt from my Little Sister:

  1. People change. So Will The Little Munchkins in Your Family and You Should be Prepared for it

    Change is always greeted with resistance at first. Our response to someone’s change always is ‘Hey! Why aren’t you that anymore?’ instead of asking to ourselves if the change is a positive one and why their change is bothering us.
    My sister was constantly trying to learn and grow. She was bringing on changes in diet, her character, the way she handled emotions, her work life etc. Basically she was experimenting on every aspect about her, but we kept searching for our little girl who had gotten lost in the transformations. At times, her pressure on herself and our questioning made her snap and some days weren’t the brightest in our house. But it made me understand that every individual has to choose his/her path and that we have to let them figure things out. It doesn’t mean that I have completely accepted this, but I am on my path to understanding it.
  2. If You are Behaving the Way You Did Ten Years Ago, Chances Are That You Haven’t Grown.

    Some of us have the habit of not communicating when we are angry. Our faces swell, we take faster heavier breaths with flared nostrils, and we keep to ourselves. When the subject of our wrath enters the room, we shoot a pointed glance in their direction. This is where they should know that we are angry and ask us or guess why we are angry. This isn’t something we do on purpose. It is now that I am realizing that I do it.In reality, I’m trying to cool off a bit before talking. Because angry me is a mess!

    My sister started taking the initiative to come talk to me when she realized that I was upset about something. It didn’t always go well, but it always ended well. Whether she was wrong or I was wrong, we told each other what our problems where, yelled at each other, split up, introspected and tried to better ourselves. She made me realize that this is a family trait and it is high time I change it.

3. Every Platform is a Source to Learn From if You know Where to Look

Learning doesn’t have to be from an academic viewpoint or by means of reading alone. You can learn even from entertainment apps such as Tiktok. When I was trying to bake a cake, my sister who has never baked one in her life gave me tips and told me why we used some of the ingredients. She learnt it from TikTok videos. If we really want to learn new things, even entertainment mediums such as Tiktok and Instagram have some brilliant resources. We end up consuming information that is given to us rather than going in search of quality content.
She consumes a lot of information in the form of videos and articles because of which she knows so many things. Whether they are important or not, she can hold any kind of conversation because of all these resources. I find that impressive though that isn’t something I want. My point being, you need to actively look for learning material if you want to learn.

4. Speak Your Mind

Over the last few months, I have seen my sister speak her mind more than the rest of us put together did. Speaking your mind need not necessarily mean you get your way. It means you put it out there for discussion and a decision could be made together.

But more often than not, when one person speaks his mind, the other agrees with him to avoid conflicts or because he’s hesitant to speak his mind due to fear of rejection. Years of conflicts induce the habit of suppressing our thoughts so much so that when the other person voices an opinion, we think it is a command and that we do not have a say in it.

This also opened my eyes to the fact that this habit reflected in my workplace too. When someone said something that I did not like, I silently endured it while my insides boiled. But recently, I have been voicing my thoughts when I disapproved of something and the freedom that standing up for yourself brings is liberating.

But it is important to know the thin line between speaking your mind and being rude. Also, it is important to know your audience before you do it.

5. You have a lot to learn from people Younger Than You

‘You need to respect your elders. You should never retort to your elders or question their decisions because they know what is best for you.’, we Indians are brought up on this Mantra. But one fine day, when someone younger than you tells you that you have been wrong all along, that your method is outdated, you feel offended. You think they are defying and disrespecting you. There’s the ego that grew with you; you respected your elders without question and when it was your turn to be respected, you were denied it. This mindset can be changed with conscious effort.

I was caught up in this mesh too. But now I know that there are things I could learn from my sister and there is nothing wrong with that. If anything, it helps me grow and growth is what life is all about.

It is all about understanding that learning could come from anywhere. We need to find a balance in everything. When elders realize that sometimes it is important to listen to the younger ones, the latter shouldn’t let it get to their heads (just an indirect message to my sister) 😝. In any case, I’m happy to learn from the little one in the house and to know that no matter how much we quarrel, not a day will go by without me hugging her and planting a kiss on her cheek.

Will you try to incorporate any of these lessons in your life? What are some things you learnt from your siblings? Did you have resistance when your sibling changed over the years? Do let me know through the comments.

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Featured Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Why You Should Consider an Instagram (Social Media) Detox

With the TikTok ban in India, many youngsters who were simply binging on TikTok content have all of a sudden been presented with lots of time. If they were watching videos that added no value to them all this while, I hope at least a few realize that they wasted an awful lot of time with absolutely no results to show. This brings us to the important question; which social media ban would leave you with more time? For me, it would be Instagram.

Let me clarify two things. Firstly, entertainment can just be a medium for relaxation. It doesn’t have to add value all the time. But binging on anything frequently takes away valuable time; time that you could use to improve your life physically and mentally. Secondly, you don’t always HAVE to be productive. But you should know your options. The world has so much to offer and you have a lifetime to experience them, to learn and to grow. You should know that you have an option to be better at something than you are today and the joy you get from that kind of self-improvement is immense. Do you want to let go of that joy without even trying? On the other hand, if learning or creating doesn’t give you any joy, but you are happy with the way your life is right now, that’s perfect too.

After I cleared my CA exams in 2017, I stopped updating my blog frequently. But since I wanted to keep my writing alive, I decided to write on my Instagram account, afew.handpickedthings, on a daily basis. I used to post the pictures I captured and write captions on them. Through this, I kept my writing habit alive during the last couple of years while I slacked on my blogging. It worked well until recently. After I changed my job, finding time to write daily was getting difficult. I gradually began to beat myself up for not posting frequently on Instagram. It became a tedious work as opposed to something I should have enjoyed doing.

Why You Should Consider a Social Media Detox Like Me

To add to this, the lockdown had me trying so many new things; baking cakes, trying new dishes, painting more often, exploring new art forms, singing and recording videos. But the underlying purpose of creating had shifted for me. When I prepared a food, I was always thinking of getting the right pictures for the grid. The painting and the song had to be perfect for Instagram. I noticed how I wasn’t deriving enough joy from creating as I used to, because I was focusing on putting up everything on Instagram, from where I wasn’t getting any value!

I obsessed over the order in which I posted on Instagram, the caption I would give and these decisions took away an unnecessary amount of time. One fine morning it dawned on me that I was using too much of my decision making abilities, my time and sacrificing my joys of creating, all for Instagram. So I decided to go on an Instagram detox. Last week, I uninstalled the App. The aim was two-fold; to create for the joy of creating (and not for posting) and to figure out how I could use the App to add value to myself and others without losing myself to it.

Living without Instagram has been difficult. It was my go to App when I wanted an escape and the urge to share my creations on the grid for some instant gratification is strong. During this period, I clicked a beautiful picture of the sky, made a couple of drawings, prepared pancakes and I have been thinking of putting them up on Instagram when I get back. This thought process is what I need to break. I want to put something up on Instagram because I created it and not the other way round. But here is the best part. I have read more, taken some classes on skillshare and created more during the last one week because I am not wasting my time on Instagram consuming information I don’t need.

The truth is, you can do the same thing for different purposes. But you need to understand which purpose gives you the most joy. It is absolutely alright to create for social media as long as you enjoy the whole process. But ask yourself these questions. Are you enjoying the process of creating? Would you create if not for social media? If you wouldn’t, then is the burden of creating, worth the few comments and likes?

It isn’t about social media alone. If you are spending too much time on an App without getting any value from it, it is high time that you ask if it is really worth your time. If it isn’t, take a ten day detox and evaluate how you could spend your time more productively.

So tell me if a social media ban would give you more time to be productive, which social media ban would do it? Also, do you think you’ll be going on a Instagram/Social Media detox soon?

Little Ways of Finding Happiness and Achieving Goals

What makes you happy?

The other day, I met a random stranger at a plant shop. We got to talking and since I was new to handling plants, she gave me some plant related tips. Later, I would go to the ATM to withdraw cash and meet her there again. We started walking from there and then she tells me that she is from Kerala. The conversation has already gotten happier when she tells me that she is a full time blogger! What are the chances of meeting an established blogger from your place, right when you have decided not to blog anymore? She tells me not to quit and gives me solid reasons for the same.


I have been doing A Happiness Challenge – A Few Handpicked Happiness – on Instagram during the month of May 2019. Today happens to be the 22nd day and I can’t emphasize enough as to how much has changed between the me, 22 days ago and the me, today. In fact, I am writing this blog post because I got that message from the Universe, asking me not to quit blogging.

What is A Few Handpicked Challenge all About?

It started out as a 31 Day Challenge wherein I decided I would put up posts on:

• Things that made me happy,
• Things I am grateful for and,
• New things/habits that I have been wanting to do.

Why is it a ‘Challenge’?

Try doing it daily and then you will know.

Should We Do it Daily?

We are trying to make a pattern in our happiness, constantly finding the blessings in our lives, and looking at the brighter side of things. We are trying to form habits and without maintaining a rhythm, these things won’t happen. So yes, you need to look for happy things in your mundane life on a daily basis.


A Really good chat place that I found
A Really good chat place that I found

What are Your Goals with This Challenge?

Apart from finding happiness and counting my blessings, I am strongly focusing on the new habits/ things part. For instance, I started with going to the gym. I decided that if I go to the gym, it will be in the mornings so that I can tackle my waking up late issues. I badly wanted to wake up early and so I coupled the two habits.

Since it has only been 2 weeks since I started gym, I wanted the pains to subside before I started my next routine which will be meditation. The moment I get back from the gym, I’ll meditate for 15 minutes. Once that becomes a routine, my next aim is to add writing to it. With this I would have taken care of my time management, my body, my mind and my passion. What a beautiful way to start a day!


How Does this Challenge Help?

    • It helps only if you decide that you need help and are determined to see it through for One month.
  • Unlike a New Year’s Resolution, the thought that you need to do this for the rest of your life, doesn’t weigh you down.
  • I have a clearer picture of my goals and I am focusing on drawing a route map for them. The base of this route map is, making changes to the routine.

I started waking up early, going to the gym, I have new plants in my room and I feel more at home and happy. All this because, I decided that these things should be a part of my life and decided to work for them for 30 days straigIf I need to write a book, I need to sit and write daily. I need to make it a routine and this is where the challenge is helping me.


Should We Take This up on Social Media?

Not necessarily. But you must keep a note of it at least in your journal or on your phone. The benefits of social media are manifold:

  • What you do could inspire someone else.
  • They could encourage you and push you with the challenge, and
  • You could have other people join you. Groups make these things more fun.

I have a few friends joining me in the challenge, my colleagues ask me why I haven’t put up the Day’s post yet and some even tell me that they could relate to it. References to the challenge help you and push you further.

So if you liked the idea of this challenge, I urge you to start this right away or in the beginning of next month. I assure you it will not disappoint you.

My sister’s scribblings in her cupboard that I found

Is there anything else you do for happiness and achieving goals? Do you think you’ll take this up?

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!

Forget the World and Look

If you look carefully, you’ll see that even a garbage dump will have something beautiful.
Ignored, but Beautiful.

If you look carefully, even your worst day will have a blessing in disguise.

I say this because when I have a horrible day, I realize that I have hit rock bottom. Which means I can as well sit there and take my time to be by myself.

Forget the world.

If you look carefully, the ones who seem silent and timid might have the most beautiful things to say.

The ones who seem brash and rude might have beautiful hearts after all.

If you look carefully, things and people may not be what they seem to be at first.

If you look at this image, it is just a ramp to a Car servicing center. But if you look closely, you’ll see a flower or two smiling at you from inside the drainage.

Conversations From Late Nights

Last night was a night of conversations that wouldn’t have ever happened if not for last night.

A jarring bit that stood out because of some words that slapped me awake was this.

Your past might have torn you down,
your past will be a part of you.
But do not become a victim of your past.
Do not stay there.

Because during nights like these, your past will seep in from the windows,
gaps and the crevices
From around you,
mix with the air you breathe
and enter your lungs,
suffocate your heart
And poison your brains.
Well, reminders of your past are all around you.
And there is a certain point
beyond which you can never go back.
There’s no delete button or reverse button.
There’s only forward.

Let it blur
Let it fade
Let it become a fleeting memory,
The kind that you remember
a moment before wakefulness,
And forget.
Let it stay in that doorway
where the subconscious opens to the conscious.
You cannot stay there.
You can only flicker past it.

Some conversations

Are meant to stay,

So was this.


Enough of books, poems and stories.

Can I bury myself inside the creases of my bedsheet, go into hibernation as the spring blankets all that was once dull and dry?

Let me stay asleep for days, weeks and when the first leaf begins to burn in the scorching heat of the sun, the sky will shed a tear. As the tear soothes the dry leaf, and brings solace to everything that’s been touched by the fury of the sun, I’d have germinated from where I’ve buried myself.

Sometimes that’s all you need. When the world seems overwhelming and you have too much to put up with, bury yourself where no one will find you. You’ll see that you already have enough and more within you for the germination to happen.

You’ll see that the one you buried wouldn’t be the same as the one that emerged later.

This post is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z challenge

Aina – The Mirror

When you look into the mirror, what do you see?

I sometimes see this absolutely flawless, independent human. At other times, the dark complexion, the grey strands of hair, the specs, the marks, discoloration and freckles are visible at full saturation level, completely highlighted! I could almost hear those grey hairs sing!

I am not asking you to look into the mirror and see a flawless, celestially beautiful, strong and independent person throughout the year. Nobody sees that. Not even your motivational speakers, no matter how strongly they emphasize that you see it.

I am asking you to feel really good about yourself when you do. Enjoy that feeling. Let it grow. And during those days when you notice the so called flaws, accept that they are a part of you, and then distract yourself. Because the more you brood on your flaws, the bigger they’ll seem to you until they take away your sleep. No good could come out of it.

I am dark complexioned. Sometimes, just sometimes that bothers me. Very rarely though. I have accepted that this is my color and when it begins to bother me, I distract myself. It works like a charm. Trust me! It does! 🙂

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z

A Bucket-list For a Better Lifestyle in 2019

I am surprised and equally glad that I am here in 2019 with my second post, continuing my blogging. It’s a small step on my part to make 2019 worthwhile. To start with, let me assure you one thing. Making a bucket-list and trying to stick to it, has its benefits. Because I made 9 trips in 2018 as opposed to zero in most of the years before that, all because of the bucket-list I had prepared.


Since my earlier bucket-list sort of worked, here I am creating another one for 2019.

Why a Bucket-list?

Most of us grovel under the weight of the things that we have to do, and want to do. But often, we neglect the important things and don’t realize that we are wasting away valuable time. Sometimes, I even forget that there were a dozen things I had to do. A bucket-list is a road map of sorts,

  • Giving you an idea of things you can do.
  • Reminding you the things you want to do and,
  • Giving you the push.

The goal isn’t to finish all the milestones. But to strive and complete at least a few in place of doing nothing at all.

If you aimed at reading 12 books but finished 8 books, instead of fretting over the 4 unread ones, you should be happy that you kept a goal in the first place. Without the goal, you might have read only 2 or 3!

My Bucketlist 2019

  1. Volunteer at an Old age Home – This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time, but never got to doing. I have always wanted to make a difference; be the reason for someone’s happiness and be the source of someone’s inspiration. This year, I need to constantly remind myself to make it happen. I want to give back to the Universe.
  2. Read 12 books. Read Everyday – I always keep this goal in my list but never really get to finishing it. Cell phones have reduced our attention span. I cannot finish reading a page without checking my phone in between – A perfect example of low productivity and lack of focus due to cell phones. I want to get back to reading as well as improve my concentration. A book a month is achievable.

    The Books ready to be read
    The Books ready to be read
  3. Write a blog post a week – This post is a part of the one post a week plan. The important part is to keep this going. This time I intend to focus more on the topics that I choose. I want my blog to become more useful. I want people to find happiness and help in my blog.
  4. Gratitude Journaling – I am just conjuring this up in my head. Just today, I thought I should write down the things I am grateful for. Either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. So I’ll either write a post at the end of every month or write in my diary at the end of every week as to the things I am grateful for. That means, I just missed 2 weeks!
  5. Travel – I have decided to make 2 long trips this year and 4 to 6 short trips. This means I will be exploring North or North East India for the first time. It scares the hell out of me, but also, I am excited!
    Did you know that I haven’t been to any of the mainstream places such as Goa, Pondicherry, Gokarna or Hampi? Well, so one or more of those will be covered as well, I hope.
  6. Listen to Myself and My Needs – As I grew, at some point or the other, I began to move things around to suit everyone else’s lives. When I listen to music I am always wondering if I am disturbing others. If I am switching on the fan, I am looking around and seeing if anyone else has a problem. And these questions keep resurfacing in my head. Instead of being in my own element I am always wondering if everyone else is happy. This is a habit I need to stop – obsessing over others’ comfort and ignoring mine!
  7. Eat Responsibly – Staying in a PG has its cons. The biggest of all is the lack of nutritious food. I need to try to include some nutrition in my diet. Oats, sprouts and boiled eggs are a few to start with. I am also trying hard to eat my food on time so that I do not compromise my health.

This is a rough list and I intend to come back and make changes or additions so that I improve for the better by the end of 2019. It is always a great thing to start. So I am starting by putting this out in the Universe.

So far I have gone on one trip and am reading a book that I had started last year. I have bought Oats, eggs and green grams but haven’t started using them. The first baby steps have begun. It is up to me to be consistent.

Do you have a bucket-list? What do you want to achieve by the end of 2019?


11 Stark Truths that Will Make Adulting Easier

How many of us have watched Bollywood and thought that Love was what they showed in movies? How many times have you been told not to voice your opinions because the other person may not like it? How many times have you seen body-shaming being normalized?

As we grow, there are some cues that we pick from the way society is. We think we need to put up with the shit because everyone is doing so. But that is not the case. We have every right to change the way things are. Here are some stark truths that will change the way you see life.

1. Somethings From Your Past Stay in the Past

There are somethings you never get back, some places you never go back to and some people you cannot be with after a certain point. You can always try. Try hard. But stop trying the moment you realize and accept that some things from your past belong there.

2. It is Alright to Let Go

Image result for let go

Holding onto anything negative beyond a certain point gives you no peace of mind. It will eat you from within and suck your happiness. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t eat that food. Don’t be with that person. Don’t continue in that company. You will realize that you are more peaceful after you let go of negativity in your life.

3. You have never used the ‘What if I need it’ things that you put away for years –

Stop collecting or keeping useless things that consume a lot of space. Give away those shoes and clothes that you don’t wear. Throw away those tools and machinery that you know you won’t use but have kept simply because they was purchased. Most importantly, keep away those people who don’t add value to you in any manner.

4. Your Regrets Will Die Only when You Die.

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With respect to an important decision in your life, if you make a choice based on family pressure, when things go wrong, you will suffer alone. Let’s face it! Your ties with people in this life end when they die and anything you did for their happiness wouldn’t matter in the long run.  Eventually, you will be alone with your regrets for company. If you follow your heart, your family might disapprove at first but eventually they’ll come around.

5. Stop waiting for the sign.

This will hit you. You will wait for years for things to happen to you and then you’ll realize that you need to act upon an idea to make something happen. Want to paint? Go get those canvases and paints. Want to write? Start writing. Want to start a vine? Start making videos on your phone. Nobody started out from excellence! People started out from nothing, made mistakes, changed their methods and grew gradually.

If you keep waiting, next year this time you will regret that you did not start this year.

6. It is Okay to Quit

Imagine holding onto something for years, working hard for it, eventually losing interest in it and still holding on because you started and came this far? I have been there. That is when I decided to quit. Holding onto something that takes the life out of you is worse than quitting.

Image result for it is okay to quit

It is difficult at first. So think of a Plan B. Once you figure out a plan B that is satisfactory to you, tell yourself that it is okay to quit because Plan B seems more interesting than holding onto what you may not have. Repeat this affirmation and with time, you’ll learn to accept it.

7. Book and Movies Have Over-Romanticized Love

Movies have romanticized love to such an extent that people try so hard to please their loved ones. Get rid of the templates for love that movies have installed in your head. Understand the person before you and love a little like you want to love and love a little like he/she wants to be loved. Give your time. Voice your thoughts. Speak out your frustrations. Fight it out. Love again.

Love is unique not when you copy movies. It is unique when you love the way you do. Because you are unique to him/her.

8. Accept that every theory or principle can be challenged.

When someone brings a new idea that seems outrageous to you, it is normal for your brain to reject it. But once you get over the initial shock, try to think if there is even a remote possibility that he is right.


Try to have a conversation with him NOT to prove him wrong, but to understand where his idea is coming from and how that could add value to you. This is how you grow. There will always be new theories to disprove the old ones.

9. Embrace the So Called ‘Flaws’

Most of the people are body shamed. The ‘flaws’ in the eyes of other people will always be flaws. You cannot change that. Instead, when someone body shames you, let them know that you are aware of how others think you have a flaw but that doesn’t affect your core. That it doesn’t make any difference in your daily life with respect to your health or performance. Show them that you’ve embraced those ‘flaws’. Say it. Say it loudly, clearly and confidently.

10. Know the difference between being bulky/skinny and unhealthy.

Don’t hit the gym because someone called you fat. Hit the gym because you want to feel (I didn’t use the term look) healthy and fit. I have been struggling for years to exercise regularly. I recently realized that I was tiring faster, my days were sleepy and I was getting lethargic. I started Yoga again and I see the difference in my productivity.

Read up more on working out, follow pages and instagram accounts that focus on workouts. Pester your mind so much so that it gets restless and forces you to workout (or go to gym) regularly.

11. You Will Find People You Don’t Like Everywhere You Go

There might be people in your life whom you don’t like. And when you have to see them everyday, it’s difficult to keep them out of your life. During such situations, instead of focusing on the things you don’t like, try to find something in them that can help you. Make them into something useful to you so that being around them wouldn’t be all that negative. You will be tolerating them in exchange for a value addition. That’s nice!

These are some of the things no one tells us. We may or may not figure them out while we suck at adult-ing. But the earlier we realize these things, life will be much easier. So which of these caught your attention and which of these you think will be useful to you?

This post is a part of #MyFriendAlexa by Blogchatter

When Strangers Surprise You

6th September 2018:

Today I am yearning to write. After a long long time. Today something heartwarming and beautiful happened. Today I was in a fix and a random stranger helped me out.

After work, Chin and I decided to go Specs shopping. Not that I was desperate to spend on spectacles, but my eye power thinks that it needs a hike whenever I get a salary hike. After some serious specs speculations, some window shopping and dinner, we were on our way back in my bike.

Bangalore. 11PM. The fuel in my bike got over.

We stood beside my bike contemplating on the next step. We needed a bottle, we needed to spot the nearest fuel pump and we had to find a way to commute. We decided to ask an eatery near us named Charcoal Express for a bottle. We went over and explained our predicament. The guy went inside and after a while came out with an empty vinegar bottle. I sniffed it and realised that it had just been emptied. It also had remnants of vinegar which made it unfit for filling petrol. Disappointed, we walked back to my bike and contemplated some more.

We decided to walk to the nearest fuel pump and ask if they had a bottle. As we began walking at a rapid pace, a bike approached us from behind.

‘Excuse me!’.

Both of us were baffled even before we took a look at the owner of the voice. A man on a bike trying to get your attention at night has never been a good sign. We turned and to our astonishment the guy from Charcoal Express asked us, ‘Aapko petrol chahiye kya?’

We answered ‘yes’, the astonishment evident on our faces.

‘Please give me the bottle’

‘It has vinegar in it. That bottle can’t be used.’ we said.

‘It’s okay. Please give the bottle.’ came his reply.

We walked back, handed him the bottle and he rode off. As we waited for the guy, we just had two things in mind; It was so sweet of him to help and that he should hopefully get another bottle. It took a lot of time for the astonishment to wear off. There is no necessity for a random stranger to take his bike and venture out to help us. And yet, he did.

In about 10 minutes, he was back with the fuel. He had a metal bottle in hand and a make-shift funnel cut out from a plastic bottle. As he emptied the bottle into the fuel tank, I thanked him and asked him how much it cost him.

‘Koi baat nahi’ came the reply as he got onto his two wheeler.

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I had to ask about half a dozen times before he answered. This was followed by me forcing him to take the money. Finally I placed it in his pocket and he took off. As I started my bike, Chin told me, ‘The people in Charcoal Express are smiling.’ They had been watching us the entire time and were smiling as we thanked the guy. As we left, I looked at them and gave a broad thank you smile which they returned.

‘That was one of the sweetest things that happened to me recently. I will be writing about this.’, I declared.

I dropped off Chin, and was on my way when she called out, ‘Don’t forget to write about him!’

And I just did.

A simple act of kindness could make someone extremely happy.

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