Why Traditional Romance Fails to Float My Boat

traditional romance

Flowers, candlelit dinners, sweet words whispered in a husky voice. Mushy stuff that makes romance novels and soap operas sell like hot cakes sometimes really leaves me uninspired.

I’m talking about romance yet again but sometimes I can’t help it. I recently celebrated my seventh wedding anniversary. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been together forever, especially since we dated for six years before getting married. We received a lot of phone calls from family and friends and most of them asked us what our plan was to celebrate the big occasion. If I told them we planned to cook dinner together, eat and then curl up on the couch in our pajamas watching an hour of Netflix they’d probably think we are boring people. Maybe we are and maybe we aren’t.

As I’ve probably said here before, we’ve had a very unconventional relationship and an unconventional marriage. The idea of traditional romance just doesn’t sit well with us. If tomorrow I’d come home and find a trail of roses leading to the bedroom with candles everywhere, a romantic song playing softly in the background and him on his knees with a big red heart shaped cutout in his hand, I’d burst out laughing. Knowing him, he would too if I ever pull a stunt like that.

I understand why people gift chocolates on Valentine’s. I’m definitely never one to complain if I receive a box of chocolates for any occasion. I love flowers too but I don’t like to receive bouquets. The thing is, I hate to see flowers die. I’d rather receive a potted plant I can water and watch it flourish than receive cut flowers that will wilt and die in the vase.

I have a problem with some of the romantic lines we’ve come to know all too well from movies and books. “You complete me.” I particularly have a problem with this line and I wouldn’t like it if someone said it to me. Saying that implies that I was somehow “incomplete” or “less than perfect” before I met you. It means that we can only be complete when we are with our partner. The fact is, we are all complete. We are all perfect just the way we are and we definitely don’t need to go find someone just to feel complete. When we do decide to be with someone it is only to share this sense of perfection with them, not to seek it out.

“What will I do without you?” “I’ll die if you ever leave me.”

Well, you’ll do exactly what you were doing before you met me. And no, you won’t die if I left you. You were alive and well before you met me and you’ll be just as well afterwards. Heartbreak can be difficult but only for a while. Time heals everything. There’s no point in saying things like these, regardless of how romantic they might sound, because they are essentially not true.

Even some of the things we say when involved in a fight make no sense. Take, for example, this very common statement- “You’ve changed!”

Yes, I have! So have you. We are all constantly changing at a micro and a macro level. We are morphing into a new version of ourselves at every moment. In a relationship, the combined energy of two people is like a third entity. This almost palpable energy is constantly changing too, fluidly changing from moment to moment in response to the changes of the two people in question. This change is rather refreshing and is to be celebrated instead of condemned.

I still think I’m a romantic at heart. It just isn’t what the movies tell me romance should be like. I find it incredibly romantic when he does the dishes without being asked to so I can put my feet up and relax. I think it is so romantic we can secretly and effortlessly converse just through eye contact when we’re around people. I think it is very cool that we can take one look at each other and guess what’s up. To us, it also makes sense to put our own happiness before the other person’s because we know that if we aren’t happy we can’t keep the other person happy. Conventional or unconventional, all that matters in the end is that it keeps things alive and leaves both wanting more rather than less of each other.

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Breaking The Silence

Silence

Silence

It has been close to two months since I last wrote and lately I’ve been feeling guilty, like neglecting a child or avoiding an important responsibility. What began first as a simple writer’s block developed into a full-fledged set of doubts. Like what I had to say was not important enough, wasn’t interesting enough or worth writing about. The longer I avoided writing, the stronger the feeling grew until my writing abilities got rusty. Like the ink drying up in a disused pen that was forgotten in a drawer that was rarely opened.

I’ve always struggled with expressing myself to others and one of the reasons why I started this blog was to write about things I found difficult to talk about. With this self-imposed silence, the struggle only became harder. All I wanted to do was to withdraw back into my cozy little corner of the world and never come out into the open again. This tendency to hide is old. It is familiar and therefore comforting. But comfortable old ways are not always good for you. This tendency to avoid anything new has always been the biggest challenge for me. I’ve fought against it time and again, some days I’ve won the battle and some days I’ve lost.

Even during these months when I was hiding from the world, I was doing other things that would keep me grounded to reality. I was experimenting with other ways of expressions like drawing and cooking. I found comfort in the art of doodling, the monochromatic black and white providing a sense of balance in the otherwise unbalanced world. I started with simple pieces and then moved on to larger pieces before trying pointillism.

Pointillism Flower

Pointillism Flower

Pointillism Leaf

Pointillism Leaf

Floral Doodle

Floral Doodle

When I wasn’t drawing, I was cooking up a storm and spending hours photographing it all. I was baking cookies and bagels and pizza from scratch while trying to make sense of my endless new obsessions and wondering why I couldn’t pick one out of all and just stick to it for life. I was beating myself up about it and then I was beating myself up about beating myself up when it wasn’t even necessary.

Bagels

Bagels

pizza

pizza

During those rare moments in between, I would realize that these are all the reasons I’m “me”. That I should be proud instead that I can do all of these things and do them all well. I should feel blessed because not everyone can write and draw and cook and photograph and do all that I can do. Even if my writing seems a little forced and awkward at the moment, in time I’ll be back in my form if I leave my apprehensions and self-doubt behind. At the moment I might not feel that I have something interesting to say but if I can just plough through this phase, the ideas will flow. As long as I refuse to give up hope, things will be fine. They always are.

 

2015- A Year That Almost Was

New Year

New Year

Now that 2015 is almost over, I find myself sitting down and taking stock of things like I always do at the end of each year. Like birthdays, the beginning of a new year is oddly depressing and exciting at the same time. On one hand we find ourselves disheartened by all the things that didn’t go our way through the year. On the other hand, there is a sense of hope and excitement that perhaps the new year will bring the change we so desperately need.

2015 has been an odd year for me. Usually, my life flows with a very predictable rhythm. There aren’t any major ups and downs but an almost steady line that represents my life. For many people a life like this would be boring but because I don’t handle change very well, this sort of life suits me just fine. 2015 wasn’t like the usual years at all. The line jumped all over the chart, up to the highest highs and down to the lowest lows throughout the year. No matter how hard I tried to tame the line back to its boring but comforting straight line pattern, it didn’t work.

Perhaps that was precisely what I needed. Perhaps my life really needed the upheaval to shake off what was unwanted and make room for new, better things. The year started with a serious questioning of my identification with a geographical location. I was stuck between two places, two different countries and unable to fully identify with either. I was unable to feel as if I’m truly home at either places. The process was painful but eye-opening. This year taught me that home can be anywhere and everywhere. It taught me that I didn’t FEEL at home anywhere because I wasn’t present in the moment anywhere. I was always thinking about some other place, always longing to be somewhere else.

Once I was able to put my roots down and finally call a place home, there were a few other challenges waiting for me. From career and family to unwanted personal traits and spirituality, this year forced me to think about each subject with a different perspective and make so many changes that it made my head reel. Even though the year is almost over, the changes are still ongoing.

More than anything else, I feel 2015 was a year that almost was. It almost was exciting, but not quite. It was almost life-changing and almost growth-inducing. This year gave me a lot of opportunities and new beginnings. Some I took full advantage of and some I missed. I started this blog, but towards the end of the year let it fall aside. I started a few projects in my head and almost put them into action but never did. I almost reinvented myself but somehow found myself falling back into the same old patterns. I almost changed, but not quite.

Life is always a work in progress. There’s always something that needs to be done, something that we could’ve done better, something we wished we never did and something we wished we did. I might’ve fallen short of my own expectations in 2015 in some areas but I haven’t given up hope that 2016 won’t almost be but truly BE what I want it to be.

One Simple Solution For All The Problems in The World

LoveFor years now I’ve purposely stayed away from reading newspapers or watching news on television because I want to stay away from the negativity. In this day and age, however, it is impossible to close your eyes and shut your ears to what is happening around the world. The intolerance debate in India, the Syrian crisis, the wars, the pitiable condition of our planet. This is all I read and hear about on a daily basis and there seems to be no solution in sight.

The reason why none of these situations seem to be resolving is because our society is treating them the way western medicine treats diseases. We are trying to manage the symptoms rather than dealing with the root cause. I am in no capacity an expert on the subject and my knowledge on these worldly issues is limited. However, I can see a pattern that runs through all these issues and I’ll try my best to provide, in my limited capacity, my humble solution for the same. Bear with me if this post turns out to be a long one but when we’re dealing with so many important issues we need enough words to ensure this makes sense.

The Problem

The underlying root cause for each of these issues is a serious deficiency of love in our world today. Let me clarify. I’m talking about love in its purest sense. Unconditional, non-judgmental love that is not swayed by outward conditions, race, religion, nationality or anyone’s personal choices in life.

If you’re of a scientific, logical bend of mind you’ll agree that our planet, human beings and every single thing we see around ourselves is made of atoms. This means that when we lose all the labels and identities we cling to, at our core we’re all the same. We’re all equal.

If you are religious, you’ll believe that all human beings, animals, flora, fauna and every single thing that ever existed, exists now or will exist in the future is made by God, the Creator or the Universal Life Force. If you believe in God you would also agree that everything in existence is a part of God and therefore the same.

The problem comes when we judge. To judge anything that exists or to find faults with it is finding fault with the Creator. To believe that one person was made better than the other is to believe in a biased God and why would anyone want to put their faith in or worship a biased God? If we’re all made of the same atoms and we are all equal, how can we believe that one is better than the other? To hate one is to hate yourself because everything that exists is one and the same. To blame one is to blame yourself and to hurt one is to hurt yourself.

On a micro level, consider a family unit. A man and a woman give birth to two children. Both of these children are therefore a part of the parents and the parents are a part of the children. All four of them are one and the same. Regardless of what horrible actions anyone in the family unit takes, they will always have a speck of love for one another in their hearts (if they’re really honest about it).

On a macro level there is a lack of understanding of this concept. There’s a lack of this love. We fail to understand that at our core we’re all identical. The same life force that runs through me also runs through you and how can there be anything but acceptance and love for all that exists? If I truly love myself, how can I not love you?

The Solution

Imagine a world where everyone views each other as equal. Imagine a society where this pure, unadulterated love is consciously cultivated in every living being. There wouldn’t be religion based wars, intolerances or forceful conversions because we would understand that all religions have the same goal. They’re just different paths to the same Creator.

When you consider all that exists as a part of you and you a part of everything that exists, separation is abolished. With no sense of separation, there is no room for anything else except for love. There is no reason to hurt, no reason to judge and no reason to hate.

With this kind of love, we learn to share and support and when we learn to give there is no room for hunger or poverty. When we feel ourselves connected to our planet we won’t be able to continue harming it. We will no longer be able to hurt animals without feeling the hurt ourselves.

I said I had a simple solution but I never said it would be easy. This, by the way, is not a solution I’ve invented. It has always been in existence, since the beginning of time, but we often forget the power of love. When one person learns to love this way, it transforms everyone he/she comes in contact with. The process is slow, one person at a time, until the whole world understands how we’re all inseparable from each other. It may take a year, maybe it will take a decade or perhaps even a century. Even if it fails, it won’t hurt to have more non-judgmental, loving people in this world. All that matters is that we try it since nothing else seems to be working right in the world at the moment.

 

The Six Questions Tag

A couple of days ago I saw this post by SA where she was tagged by someone else to answers six fun questions. She, in turn, tagged me to answer the same questions. I’ve never been tagged before for anything like this. In a way I think this is an incredible way to connect with other bloggers and get to know them on a more personal level. So here are my answers to those questions, hope you all enjoy them!

One beauty product you would recommend to your girlfriends:

I know I was asked for just one but I’m going to go a step further and provide a few of my favorites here. I have a weird relationship with makeup and beauty products. On most days I don’t put on any makeup at all. However, I do love makeup because of its creative and artistic value. I like playing around with makeup to see how a little this and a little that can completely transform a face. For the sake of fulfilling this part of my creative inquisitiveness, I do own a good amount of products.

The first one I absolutely recommend to anyone is Benetint from Benefit Cosmetics. This is a rose hued cheek and lip stain lasts for hours and is very sheer and natural on the cheeks. It provides a very sexy but innocent flush to the cheeks and was originally created in the 70s for an exotic dancer. It is my absolute favorite blush product because of how natural it looks. Here’s what it looks like:

benetint

Another one I highly recommend is Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. I’m not a foundation wearer except for special occasions but this is definitely the one I’d always wear whenever I have to. It is very lightweight and it feels like you’re wearing nothing on your skin at all. It gives the skin a natural, dewy finish and stays on for 16 hours or more. In fact, the longer you wear it, the more natural it looks as it blends in perfectly with your skin.

NARS

The last product that I’d absolutely recommend anyone is the Fair Trade Honey Shampoo by Lush. This shampoo is suitable for all hair types and is made up of 50% honey. It is very moisturizing and leaves the hair incredibly shiny and smooth. Not to mention the very unique, seductive fragrance!

LUSH
Three books everyone must read

I have too many favorite books but I’ll try and recommend three here:

Anne of Green Gables: This is a classic children’s book published in 1908. I fell in love with it as a child and I continue to read it even today. Set in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the book depicts the simple life that makes me wish I was born then. Anne Shirley is an imaginative, witty, talkative orphan who is adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla. It is at once funny and incredibly tender.

Odd Thomas: One of my favorite writers has to be Dean Koontz and his Odd Thomas series is my absolute favorite. Odd Thomas is a character anyone will fall in love with. He is indeed odd. He’s a young fry cook in a small town with a particular talent. He can see and talk to ghosts, which includes some famous personalities such as Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. While this book is about the supernatural and crime, there is something immensely cute and witty about it at the same time. It is one book that has to be read to be believed.

Dying To Be Me: On the non-fiction side, one of my recent favorites is this one by Anita Moorjani. It is her personal story of battling with cancer for four years and ultimately going into a coma when she was near death. Her near death experience provides some very good insights on the other realm and provides answers to life’s big questions such as life’s purpose and if there is life after death. Anita wakes from the coma and surprisingly her 4th stage cancer completely disappears from her body within 5 days!
Favorite online shopping site

Unfortunately I do not have much to say here because I don’t shop online. I did try it out once or twice about 5 years ago but somehow it never appealed to me. The only two websites I tried 5 years ago when I was in India were Fashion and You and GourmetCo.in for fancy cheeses and coffee.

Favorite phone app

Again, I hardly use my phone for anything other than calling and texting. The only two apps on my phone are Instagram and Pinterest. I do like Instagram and use it on a somewhat regular basis. Pinterest only comes in handy once in a while when I need some creative ideas.

One dish you are really good at making and its recipe

I do love baking and cooking and sometimes I spend too much time thinking about food, cooking food and then eating! Not that there’s anything wrong with it. The one recipe that I think I’m really good at is artisan bread. It is a very lengthy, involved recipe that takes about 30 hours but the results are absolutely amazing. In fact, for over 2 months now I’ve been baking my own bread. I do not buy it from the bakery anymore. So if any of you have some time to kill, do try out this bread recipe.
garlic bread2.jpg

Artisan Style Roasted Garlic and Herb Bread

Ingredients:

1 cup- Whole Wheat Flour

2 1/2 cups- all purpose flour

1/4th teaspoon- yeast

1 1/2 teaspoon- salt

1 teaspoon- mixed Italian herbs

2 cups- water

1 head of garlic

a drizzle of olive oil

Recipe:

1) Start by roasting the garlic. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C. Cut the head off an entire head of garlic without removing the skin to expose the individual pods. Place on an aluminum foil. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Bundle the aluminum foil to form a parcel, place it on a baking tray and bake it for 20-25 mins till the garlic is roasted, mushy and soft. Allow to cool.

2) In a large mixing bowl mix whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, herbs and yeast well. Remove the garlic from their pods and mix it in with the dry ingredients. You can also slightly mash the roasted garlic if you prefer. Pour in 2 cups of water and mix well to incorporate all the dry ingredients. If there’s still some dry flour in the bowl, pour a little water one tablespoon at a time and mix it all in. You should be left with a wet, sticky mess of a dough. Cover with cling film and leave it on the counter for 8 hours. The dough should more than double up in volume, you should be able to see air bubbles on it and it should be jiggly when you shake the mixing bowl slightly. Once that is done, place the whole bowl in the refrigerator overnight. You can keep the dough in the refrigerator for as long as 24 hours. I usually keep it for 16 hours to allow the flavors to develop.

3) The next morning remove your dough from the refrigerator. Generously flour your working surface and pour out your dough. It will be very stringy and still quite sticky at this point. With the help of a spatula, a scraper or a large knife, fold the dough over onto itself 4 to 5 times while sprinkling a little flour on it to stop it from sticking to form a rough ball. Place in a large bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave it to rise on the counter for another 2 hours.

4) Half an hour before you are ready to place the bread in the oven (about 1 and a 1/2 hours after you leave it to rise) preheat your oven at 450 degrees Celsius. Place two racks in the oven, one in the middle and one at the bottom. Fill a deep baking pan with water and place it on the lower rack. I used an oven safe soup pot to bake my bread in. You can also use a ceramic dutch oven with a lid or a very deep round baking tray instead. If you’re okay with not having a round shape you can use just about any shaped baking vessel as long as it is very deep. Place your chosen baking utensil on the middle rack when you switch on the oven.

5) After the dough has been rising for two hours, carefully remove the hot baking vessel from the oven. Pick up your dough carefully and drop it in the hot vessel. You can also just turn over the bowl to drop the dough in. Sprinkle additional herbs on top if preferred. Cover the vessel with aluminum foil or with an oven safe tight lid if you have it. Place it on the middle rack in the oven. The pan with the water on the bottom rack will be producing steam in the oven by this point.

6) Bake the bread covered for 20-25 mins. Remove the bread carefully from the oven and remove the foil or the lid and bake it uncovered for an additional 20-25 mins till the top is brown and hard to touch. When you tap the crust it should sound hollow. Remove the bread from the vessel. If the bottom of the bread is still not browned, place the bread back in the oven on a simple baking tray for 10 minutes and it will be browned evenly.

7) Allow the bread to cool for at least an hour before you slice it.

Favorite Movies:
Some of my favorite movies are Into The Wild, Mud, Aankhon Dekhi, Udaan and Dallas Buyers Club. I love Indie movies of all kinds and if it hasn’t made it to the theaters, I’d definitely watch it!

I don’t know many women bloggers who haven’t already been tagged for this but I would like to tag my friend Felicia to answer these questions in turn!

Holiday Nostalgia And Creating My Own Family Traditions

Diwali

Diwali

Tomorrow is Diwali and every year around this time I find myself in a nostalgic mood. There is a sense of loneliness, of missing the time long gone and wishing it was somehow different. I remember how exciting this day used to be when I was a child. Like every family, we had our own holiday traditions even though they were a little different from Diwali traditions in most families.

Diwali was the busiest time of the year for our family because business was at its peak. Unlike other families, we never made the sweets or the savories at home but ordered them for the festival. However, we did get to buy new clothes for Diwali and that was a treat I looked forward to all year. I usually got to buy two new dresses, one to wear on Diwali and the other for New Year’s the next day.

Every year we did the same thing on Diwali. My brother and I stayed at home, stuffing our faces with all the goodies while my mother was at work. By the time she closed up business for the day, it was usually night. She would come home and we would all go out to dinner. It was the same restaurant each year. We sat at the same table and ordered the same dishes each year. Eating out at restaurants was a rare occurrence those days and one that we really enjoyed. We were never too keen on lighting fireworks but after dinner my father would drive us around the town, feasting our eyes on all the beautiful decorations around and enjoying the festivities. The next day we would get on the train for our annual holiday up north to the mountains.

I moved out of home when I was 17 for college. Since then, I’ve never really celebrated Diwali, Holi, Navratri or any other festival. At 17, it felt good to get out of the home and make new friends instead of having to deal with family, relatives and traditions. I thought hanging out with friends at a party or hitting the highway for a drive at night with the music on was better. And it was, at the time.

Last year I was home with my family for Diwali and it brought back memories with such strong force it made me reel. I had never realized that our traditions have changed since then. The restaurant we had our Diwali dinner at every year had shut down years ago. Instead of the annual vacation in the mountains, the family now stays back to spend time with each other. Things had changed but somehow the new traditions are still comforting.

Now that I have my own home and my own family, I have this strange urge to create my own traditions for Diwali. I have a need to make the holidays as special as they used to be once. With just two people in the family, it isn’t always easy trying to figure out what traditions to create. But years later, I want my own family to look back and fondly remember Diwali. I want us to have our own memories of past holidays that we can hold close to our hearts and reminisce about when we are older.

 

Pink Furry Socks And A Slight Change of Perspective

Winter

Winter

When I first moved to Vancouver, I thought I was well-prepared. I had researched well, read a lot about the place and tried to learn everything I could about what to expect. There was one thing I hadn’t expected. The brutal winters.

Canadian winters are infamous and I knew Vancouver comparatively had mild weather. In fact, that was one of the reasons we had picked Vancouver. What I didn’t know was that they were probably worse. My first winter in the city I got a rude shock. Vancouver winters aren’t as cold but they are dull, dreary and grey. It rains almost constantly for months and for days on end there is no sun at all. The sky is a dull grey and the whole city looks lifeless.

For someone who comes from a tropical country, the hardest thing to cope with is the absence of sunlight. We tend to take the sun for granted and I never knew how difficult it can be to cope without it. I started noticing my moods were dependent on how sunny it was outside. I never knew there was such a thing as Seasonal Affective Disorder or Winter Depression but when I saw it all around me, I understood it is a real thing.

Since that first year, I’ve always dreaded Vancouver winters. I grumble a lot throughout the season, complain a lot and just barely manage to get through those difficult months. I hated the winters so much that I seriously looked into moving somewhere else.

It is fall here and winter is approaching very fast. The days are already grey and rainy. I realized I wasted too much of my time and effort complaining about something I could do nothing about. I can’t change the weather and right now I can’t escape to a sunny place for the winter. There was only one thing I could do. I went to the mall last weekend and bought myself a pair of ridiculously pink furry socks and a few other pairs that are equally cute to brighten up my mood.

I can’t escape the dreary days but I can put on the furry socks and be happy about how cozy and comfortable I am. I can’t make it any warmer but I can thank my lucky stars I don’t have to leave the comfort of my warm home. I can be thankful that I can stay indoors, have access to unlimited steaming cups of coffee and spend my time baking, painting, reading or writing instead of focusing on something I can’t control.

Isn’t it wonderful how much difference a slight change in perspective and a pair of pink furry socks can make?

The Lost Art of Imagination

Always Be A Dreamer

Always Be A Dreamer

“…Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”
― L.M. MontgomeryAnne of Green Gables

 

Of the hundreds of books I’ve read over the years, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery is my absolute favorite. I’ve read the book countless times over the years. When I couldn’t get enough of it, I bought a collector’s edition set of all eight books and I read them all once a year, if not more.

 

What I love about the book is the simple, good life people lived in the early 1900s as described in the book. What I love even more about the book is Anne’s imagination. She daydreams and weaves beautiful stories in her mind. The stories may never come true but nobody could rob her of the joy in imagining them.

 

As kids, we all have wonderful imagination. We thought up interesting stories, imagined what it would be like to be a grown up and our play time pretend games were always special. If we didn’t know the answer to a question, we would just think up an answer. The thought-up answer was always, without exception, more interesting than the actual answer.

 

For most kids, imagination is brought to a grinding halt in school. We were encouraged to stick to the facts, learn about a bunch of dry historic events and were punished for daydreaming in class. If we made up an interesting story about something we were called liars. Worse, we were called dreamers. As if being a dreamer is an insult rather than a quality to be proud of.

 

By the time we are adults, most of us have no imagination at all. The only thing we can see is what’s right in front of us and that’s all we think about. The ability to think beyond, imagine and then create a reality based on those imaginations is truly a lost art. We stick to boring facts, cling to them as if for life and never let go. We never imagine what it would be like if we could just let go of what we know and think about what it could be like.

 

Every time I wake up to see the snow silently falling upon a hushed, white world I pretend I’ve woken up to find I was the only person left on the planet. Overnight, everyone disappeared and it is up to me to find out what happened to them all. It might sound stupid but that’s what I do. I use my  imagination freely to think about countless what ifs’:

 

What if there are parallel universes and a “me” on every planet living out a different life on each of those planets?

 

What if I woke up tomorrow with a beautiful singing voice?

 

What if my whole life was actually a dream and I’d wake up tomorrow to find I have a completely different life?

 

What if I make an online friend, meet up with her at a cafe and find out she’s my doppelganger?

 

Our minds are wonderfully weird and amazingly entertaining if we give them a chance. A little imagination can make a boring day interesting and can open up doors to new ideas that could lead just about anywhere.

 

 

 

 

A Letter To My Sisters

Sisters

Sisters

Dear C & M,

This morning I got all nostalgic and was thinking about all the fun we had as kids. I was thinking about how lazy C and I were even back then. Remember how we used to only hide when we played hide and seek? I remember how all our neighbors’ always had their doors open for us, all the excitement of festivals and the joy we found in all the little things.

M, I have a confession to make. You probably already know this but C and I both found you very irritating back then. We couldn’t do enough to get rid of you. We used to hide on the terrace with our packets of chips so we never had to share any with you. We were the older ones so we were a bit snobbish. We thought it was embarrassing to hang out with younger kids. But all of that changed once you grew up. All your rough edges wore off and you slowly became a graceful, feminine woman who was easier to love.

I know there were a few years when we lost touch. I know that was nobody’s fault but my own. All those years when I moved away for college and then for work, I was caught up in my own little world. I should’ve kept in touch and I didn’t. When I wanted to, both of you had moved away and had lives of your own. I always regretted thinking that maybe the bond we had wasn’t strong enough to survive the years and the distance. I’m glad I was wrong.

C and I haven’t yet been able to spend a lot of time together in the last few years but we’ve once again managed to regain a part of that relationship. When we text I often feel that time has dissolved and disintegrated. I feel all these years never happened and we’re once again back home, back to that time when everyday was an adventure and everything was all right with the world.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was how my relationship with M has evolved. While I always loved you, I have to be honest and tell you I never thought you and I would ever be this close. Those few months we spent together recently changed a lot of things in my life and I’m sure in yours too. You were there with your laughter and your advice, your senseless gossip and your wisdom. For the first time in my life, I truly understood you and you understood me.

I think the three of us are very lucky.  Very few people in the world have the kind of relationship that we have. One that can be picked up where we left it, one that can never be dulled by time or distance. I think we’re lucky because we can talk to each other about anything at all without the fear of judgment. We’re lucky because we can’t find peace until we share every little piece of news with each other first. I know this is for life and I promise to do everything I can to make sure nothing changes that.

Lots of love,

Priyanka

Project Minimalism- Phase Two Of The Project And 6 Month Update

Bringing In Peace

Bringing In Peace

I started with my Project Minimalism at the beginning of April. I wrote about it only in July when I was confident that I was going to stick with this project for a considerable period of time. I also shared a detailed post about my savings with this project the same month. The last six months have brought a lot of changes to my life, perhaps more than several years’ worth combined. This project shook up my belief system and forced me to rethink about my previous concepts of life, happiness and contentment.

On the 6 month anniversary of this project, I decided to share a few updates about how this project has been progressing and what has changed along the way for me.

Project Updates

I’ve continued with this project happily and with honesty. In the last six months, other than groceries and basic everyday necessities I haven’t purchased anything. Here are a few more details:

  • The only new clothes I’ve bought have been two warm slacks and a sweater since I had zero clothes for winter. The total number of clothes in my wardrobe are still under 25.
  • It has been six months without a television in my home. I haven’t missed it one bit. When I did have a TV, I would often keep it on just so I wouldn’t have to deal with the uncomfortable silence. I find silence soothing now and look forward to quiet time with myself.
  • The few difficulties I had with this project during the initial months have quickly disappeared since then. I’ve grown used to and fallen in love with the simplistic life I’ve created for myself.
  • I’ve kept my work schedule just as minimalistic, spending no more than 2-3 hours on work each day. I’ve also had excellent results with this schedule. The quality of my work has improved immensely and this has made clients want to happily pay me a lot more than they normally do.

Phase Two of Project Minimalism

Phase one of Project Minimalism was all about applying minimalism to my outside world. With all the outward distractions gone from my life, I’ve had more time to think about the really important things in life. My focus has shifted from outside to inside and I realized it’s time to take this project to a new level.

Phase two of Project Minimalism is all about applying the principles of minimalism inside. Here are my goals for this next phase of the project:

  • A minimalist friends’ list. Focusing on quality, instead of quantity of people. I’m lucky to have a really wonderful family and some great friends. My goal is to cherish the good relationships and stop spending time on toxic relationships that are going nowhere.
  • A minimalist, simplified approach to food. I usually eat healthy but it’s time to improve my eating habits even further. Eat only what is necessary, only what makes nutritional sense. Plus a tiny bit of indulgence to satisfy the taste buds and not more.
  • A minimalist goal list. Instead of having a dozen different goals, have just two or three important goals. With less things to focus on, the effort will be intensified.
  • A minimalist to-do list. Rather than a full calendar, with this new phase I’ll try to do less but do things that really count. If it’s not really important, I won’t do it. Whatever I do, I’ll pour myself into it wholeheartedly.

Perhaps my biggest goal with phase two of this project is to have a minimalist mind. With the clutter from my outer world gone, it is time to declutter my mind. There’s only so much space available (in our homes and in our minds) and only by getting rid of the unnecessary can we make room for all that is necessary. My goal is to be selective with my thoughts. Out with the pessimism, fear, anger and hopelessness and in with the peace, happiness, love and hope.