2017 wrap up

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I find it therapeutic to take stock – of course the process of preparing for the stock taking exercise is a little stressful especially when it comes to expenses and accounting, but all the same, the end result justifies the effort. It’s always eye opening to know what went right/wrong and what one should do for correction.

So since the new year is here – I’ve taken stock of the past year (in terms of experiences & learnings) and I’m just quite pleased that it was a good year on all counts. I turned 41 in Sep 2017 – of course that wasn’t the good part. The good part was that it was a year great for business/ new relationships/ growing as a person/ taking time out for friends & family.

I lost a dear aunt in Jan 17, and it made me think more about how fickle life is/how it still goes on for the rest of the world but stops for the ones who have suffered the loss. How despite our best intentions, our efforts don’t measure up. But we must and should find a way to help/contribute and make a difference – whether by being there/volunteering to help/or monetarily. Dear ones who leave us will never come back, regret is of no value – instead make time for them. Make it a priority.

In April 17,I completed the Gokyo-ri 5300 mts and EBC 5350 mts treks back to back – which was tough without doubt. I proved to myself that at 40, I had it in me to take up a challenge and complete it. At those altitudes and temperatures, water would freeze overnight, altitude headache and muscle fatigue happens but I kept on. One of the nights was particularly tough as I puked all through it. I was worried about the trek next morning but after a hearty breakfast I felt fine – and we walked on. I never thought of quitting surprisingly. I guess it’s more in the mind that the body. My best friend took up the Everest mission and for me it was an anxious May. But he made me proud/ I learnt so much from him – his perseverance/ dedication. I learnt more about our friendship 🙂

At work – it was all good except for a small blip. I established new relationships with artisans/vendors and clients – all so fulfilling that I had my cup full and thanked GOD. Every business requires trustworthy suppliers – I was lucky to find some. I found newer artisans to work with & above all I’m thankful that I have repeat customers who come back to Advaita Handicrafts for business (bulk and retail) and that I have been able to maintain that level of trust and quality at work. I’m grateful for the love & affection of my customers who are now so close to me that I call them friends :). I could introduce a new line of Jewellery that did extremely well last year – and I’m now more confident of taking measured risks & working on these challenges.

I completed my photography course earlier in the year and was happy to get a chance to try my hand at it during my travels to Europe/Goa/Odisha/ Jaipur/Nashik and Nagpur/Nepal. Yes it was a wonderful year of travel. I undertook my first solo overseas vacation and I’m super proud of myself.

I gave more emphasis on my health – signed up with a sports dietician though I have no medical conditions or weight/health issues; just to get my eating & exercise right. Its been a great experience with her as well. Planning my menu and eating healthy has me excited through the week, week on week. 🙂

As I reflect on the year gone by, its been a blessed year with tikhat (chillis)/meet (salt)/sakhar (sugar) & Gud (jiggery) all in the right proportions resulting in a balanced fare. I’m grateful to God for all that I have.

I hope the coming year is still better – I hope to be a wiser person/more in control of my emotions/ I wish for more relationships & friendships in my life/ I wish for better health of my loved ones & myself/ I wish to start something a new – a step I have already taken – a new line of jewellery/ A new skill/ better productive business. And I wish you a great year ahead as well!

My Mantra for 2018 – Declutter/Donate more/ Buy less

 

 

 

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The first time

photo prompt

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Move aside or you’ll get hurt!

“That’s ok”, was the nonchalant response. 

Apologetic now the frightened voice said, ‘I’m helpless.”

The response, “We were up there ourselves but had to learn to let go – of our fears & our anchor. A time comes when we all have to take the plunge. As we lie here, we don’t know the future, but worrying helps not. So we’ll just go with the flow”

‘That, sounds dangerously close for comfort’, thought the icicle wryly as he dropped, knowing he’d melt and take them (leaves) with his flow.


Written for Friday Fictioneers, a weekly challenge set by Rochelle Wisoff Fields to write a story in 100 words or less in response to a photo prompt. You can find other stories here.

 

Friends you learn from

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Was typing out a blog on the bed late night with my daughter sleeping next to me. She was amazed at my typing speed and asked me how & where I’d learnt to type. And as I searched my memory I remembered that I had learnt this skill from a close friend of mine who goes back to me to my MBA days. I was fresh out of graduation college but he had prior work experience. Those were the days (in 2000) when computers & the internet had taken India by storm & which is how he had learnt it at work – for official communication. I remember still that he would draw out the keyboard on an A4 sheet and get me to practise on it. He would sit next to me patiently to ensure I did so at least for 15-20 mins at college everyday and then push me to practise later after college as well. He was a part of the TECH team back then and I would be given access to the computer lab to practise my skill – and lo – I owe such an important skill to him!

It’s amazing how friends add new dimensions to your life, new shades to your personality. I read somewhere that parts of us are born when we meet a friend – parts that we didn’t know lay dormant/in-channelled.

So many of my hobbies/interests have started due to friends – my love for trekking, my pursuit of good health & fitness, love for a different music genre, photography, books, poetry and fashion. So many of my biases have been questioned and thwarted (and rightly so) by my more balanced friends. Yes I know it’s difficult finding such friends – but once you have you’ll realise that they are indeed God’s greatest gift.

Find friends and give as much as you can – help them develop new skills, part with your knowledge and expertise, push them out of their comfort zones and you’ll see that you’ll receive far more in return. Your life will be full, varied and blessed.

My little love

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My daughter who’s recently turned 7 is a total firecracker! She has a mind of her own and does as she pleases. There’s no disciplining her. Not that she’s a naughty child – just that she refuses to accept anything unless it agrees with her sense of right/wrong. For a little girl that’s quite something. There’s  no cowing her down either – she rises and fights back – never giving up and she’s brave – always trying to overcome her fears and proving them wrong 🙂

So most times I’m at the end of my patience trying to get her to toe the line – follow rules and it’s exasperating! But every time I see her afresh, like when she’s back from school, or her play or up in the morning – my heart skips a beat. I feel this immense love for her. I don’t know where it came from, why I feel it so intensely and what’s my connection to her, but in the whole wide world if there’s one thing that I love dearly and truly without reason – it’s her. If this isn’t magic then what is?

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Written in response to the photo prompt challenge magic

The mystery of love

via Daily Prompt: Mystery

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The mystery of love –

You cry and promise you’ll never get back again,

and then you beg for forgiveness;

you cry your heart, holding out,

and then cry your heart out giving in;

you vow to avenge yourself, and yet after it all, you give in?

how insulting and humiliating it is to see your ego ground to dust

What of all that anger, threats, and helplessness you felt, that humiliation and hurt?

You throw it all away to smile again and be loved.

Love proves greater than resolve – why?

Because it’s sweet, it’s magical, it feels wonderful and warm when you’re in it.

Can anyone at all resist the lure of beauty of true love?

I can’t – oh I give in like a wilted flower wanting to blossom again, like a stale musty breeze captured in a room, wanting the waft of the morning cool breeze.

I can’t resist, I give in again and again – oh to the mystery of love!

 

Embrace the unknown – my feelings after a first solo trip overseas

IMG_9167Embrace the unknown alone,

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – the experiences you shall have, shall nourish you forever,

Feel and accept the aloneness – paradoxically it sets you free.

Our first experience alone is always liberating, mine certainly was. It was, because I had doubted myself – my confidence and the ability to go an unknown land & have unknown experiences alone; to embrace the unknown and look forward to it is not easy.

We all depend on one another for love and help. But sometimes it binds us from exploring, from finding more about ourselves/ reaching our full potential. We fear the unknown, doubt our capabilities and choose the warmth and comfort of the confines we’ve lived in so far. Sometimes we need to know and prove to ourselves that we can take care of ourselves, we can survive out there on our own. Of course one hopes that the day never comes or that if it does, its a result of our choices; but still if it does we will have the courage to embrace the unknown and go it SOLO! 🙂

Hence the sense of liberation comes after the experience – and I felt it. Right after I stepped out of my plane in Berlin (leaving Vienna behind – after my 4 night first solo trip) and into the confines of the airport where I knew I’d be re-united with my husband who would be joining me here in an hour. The exhilaration hit me as I settled down with a coffee to wait for him – wow! I’d finally done it. I had proven to myself that I was capable of being on my own in an unknown country for 4 whole days – mapping sightseeing routes, understanding the underground train lines and negotiating my way, befriending strangers, living everyday life in a city I had never set my sights on before, having lunch alone in a café and still enjoying it, watching an opera alone – activities I had always done with company hitherto.

I know now that I can live anywhere in the world and be ok. I can travel alone, shop and live alone and still manage. It reinforces, its a boost to your inner strength and courage. To many – it may seem like no big deal – but for a first timer – It is a BIG deal!

 

 

Love like Children

Children see positivity in everything. No emotion is coloured by negative thoughts nor is an action judged as motivated and questioned . It’s beautiful to witness this purity of thought. When one brings another a toy or a sweet; they accept it readily and lovingly. And then we grow up and there comes about a change. Where, when and how, I don’t know. Maybe we are taught at times to be wary of people, to not accept gifts from others without reason, not to be too trusting and loving – because we fear being hurt. But what love is that where you haven’t invested enough emotionally, so you aren’t scarred even a bit when things don’t work out?

We move away from home for higher education and then our jobs. How we forget those who once were essential to our existence. I know of people who don’t get to see their parents for years. It’s so easy to forget and be ungrateful. Then there are relatives we loved as children. We played with those uncles and aunts. Then comes a time when we drift apart. There are times when we meet briefly and when we do, we use our minds to judge them, we start looking for changes, we start questioning motives. We’re suspicious when people are nice to us! Why can’t our thoughts be pure. Why can’t we love them as we did when we were children? Let’s teach ourselves to be more trusting, loving and giving especially to the people who loved us once but are far away now.

I remember my maternal great grandmother who I loved as a child. She lived with us for a couple of years and went back to our native place later. She’d tell us magical stories, give us food and love. I even remember her piercing my ears and then attending to the wound until it healed. Didn’t see much of her later as I grew up. We’d go to our native place only for the summer vacation. Those couple of months were wonderful though and she’d shower us with affection. She passed away quite a few years back and I couldn’t see her before that. I had heard she’d become totally blind a couple of years before her death. I regret not having made the trip to see her. To have been around and near her. To have told her that I loved her and that she had made my childhood years special.