My Mini Garden Tales

The pandemic hit us all hard and left us stuck at home with the same mundane routine of office work, incessant zoom calls and endless household chores (man,they never get over)..but if social media is any proof, it’s also given most of us some spare time to reconnect… reconnect with ourselves, reconnect with our old friends and also to reconnect with our hobbies and passions…I see endless posts from my friends/acquaintances putting up pictures of their culinary skills or fitness routines, or artwork or poetries…just like them, even I have discovered a new found love …for gardening 🌱🌿

I have written about my gardening experience in some earlier posts (read My Quest for a new β€˜Talent’, Spring for my Soul πŸŒ»πŸŒΌπŸ¦‹πŸŒΊ, The first bloom 🌷🌷 ). But my garden has grown since then and I thought I must share the latest updates with all my WP friends who might share a similar interest.

First of all, it’s been many months of lockdown here owing to the ravaging second wave. The nearest nursery from where I bought the plants has been closed forever. So it’s been about 5-6 months that I couldn’t buy any new plants. So to keep up the garden, I knew I had to take extra care of the pant babies already there and make sure that they continue to thrive. And to my utter joy, they did. Most of them anyway. 😊😍

Pink coloured Dianthus
Dual shaded Dianthus
Jasmine blossom
Do you know what’s this beauty called?
Polka dot plant
Hibiscus
Money plant /Pothos

However, despite my best efforts I failed to save 2 of my plant babies…I tried to water more, water less, repot, everything a novice like me knew or could think of. But they just gradually withered and slipped away. ☹️☹️

My little garden misses you babies 😘

But, Mother nature works in mysterious ways. While I couldn’t save 2 of the plants despite trying so hard, a few stems just sprang up out of nowhere and blossomed to full sized healthy plants… with zero effort from my side!! Talk about Circle of life. Funny thing, till now I am not even sure what these are called. If you guys have a clue, do let me know in the comments section. But they are beautiful and thriving. So name or not, I Ain’t complaining. πŸ’ŸπŸŒΏπŸ˜€

Surprise surprise 🀩πŸ₯°

A few weeks back I went down to get some groceries and on my way back I noticed some beautiful potted plants near the security guards’ room. I came to know that the owners were not living here currently so they were left to his care. So took his permission and cut out a few stems and used them to fill my empty pots. And with some nurturing and care, they have been doing pretty well so far. Welcome home babies πŸ’ŸπŸ’Ÿ

Rhoeo plant…they are so colourful 🀩
Aloe vera

Next up, I turned my attention to the kitchen. I did some research to see what veggies or greens can be grown easily and how to get started on them. For now, I used some pumpkin, papaya, lemon, chilly and coriander seeds and slowly they are coming out. Yet to get any fruits but it’s a joy seeing them come to life from a few dried seeds. I never realized how fun it is to see new stems popping out of the soil to form full grown plants. Here they are πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

My very own Chillies plant. Someday soon am hoping I can see chillies here 🌢️🌢️
Coriander
Pumpkin leaves
That’s lemon tree in the making…just sprouted a few days ago πŸ‹πŸ‹
I got greedy and planted quite a few pumpkin seeds and man, they grow fast
Papaya leaves

And like before (read Rebirth…), I planted some dried up leftover flowers into the soil and I can see new plants. Whether they bear flowers or not, we will have to wait and see.

From dried up flowers to new plants πŸ™‚

Well it’s been less than a year since I started working on my mini balcony garden. And I am still learning. Must say, being a plant parent is a lot of work. You gotta ensure you’re watering them right, make sure unwanted insects don’t eat up the leaves, get rid of them if need be, ensure they get adequate sunlight. But it’s also been a very enriching and fulfilling experience. It keeps me busy. It keeps me happy. And most importantly, it keeps me hopeful. Every time, a flower blossoms or a tiny little stem sprouts up from the soil, it’s just pure, unadulterated joy. And for that I thank my beautiful plant babies πŸ₯°πŸ˜.

Let’s buck up and heal the worldπŸŒ³πŸŒπŸ’šπŸŒ±

For decades, Man has caused massive destruction of nature,

Too ignorant to realize this will lead to his own doom, he is so darn immature.

Cut trees, destroyed forests, replaced them with concrete jungles.

Disregarded Nature’s disapprovals, begs, pleas and grumbles.

Man poached endangered animal species, selling to the rich who pay,

Only to put them up as trophies for shameful display.

Man set up factories emitting toxic gases, polluting the air.

Making the birds breathless and innocent fellow humans sick beyond repair.

Sometimes I wonder where the quarrel of sparrows went,

Are they living far away in the woods or are they dead?

When we set out for advancements in communication and technology, did we really assess what it meant,

For the plants, the animals, the diverse ecosystems and the environment?

For years, Mother nature has been tolerating Man’s idiocracy and greed.

Time to wake up and pay heed,

Let’s pull up our socks and get to action.

And help heal mother nature without any distraction.

Let’s plant more trees, burn less fossil fuel and pollute the air and seas less.

And hopefully we can survive few more centuries with god’s grace.


This poem was written to commemorate World Environment Day, which is the biggest awareness campaign launched by the United Nations in the early 70s which is celebrated across the world on June 5 every year to cherish the nature that’s around us. The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Ecosystem Restoration.’ This year will also mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.

A Birthday, a R.E.U.N.I.O.N and an Anniversary

So 3 things happened in the past few days, which I would consider to be fairly significant milestones in my life.

First I celebrated my 30-something birthday on the 26th of May, which was by the way, my 2ND Lockdown birthday…and probably as a birthday gift from the universe, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S R.E.U.N.I.O.N aired the very next day πŸ₯³πŸ₯³. And today, I completed a full year of starting this blog.πŸ“βœοΈ

Lockdown birthdays be like

Ok so first about the birthday..like I mentioned, this was my second lockdown birthday. Last year too we were under total lockdown. Even getting a cake was difficult. There was no going out, no dressing up, no meeting with friends, no party shenanigans. Fortunately my parents were with me, so they made up for it with their love and pampering, including a scrumptious lunch prepared by my mother including all things my favourite. πŸ₯°πŸ˜‹

Last year, I bought a nice dress, thinking of wearing it when we step out once this pandemic is behind us. Stupid me. Am sure the pandemic devil was silently chuckling. And yes, like you would imagine that dress is still waiting to be worn. There was a time (even until last year) when I was hooked on to online shopping, I just couldn’t get enough things to buy. But now, even buying a simple top or a new pair of jeans seems like a long term investment. Who knows when I can actually wear them πŸ™„πŸ€·. Seems like pyajamas are here to stay and slay. ☹️

This year’s birthday was just like any other day this year. Only difference, I took leave from work, which is about as exciting and happening as it can be when you’re under total lockdown. Parents not here with me this time, so cooked up my favourite things, ate lots of cake (thanks to husband for pre-ordering from my favourite patisserie), spoke to Friends and family and spent a considerable amount of time being lazy and doing nothing productive. Come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t the best birthday I’ve had, but a day spent lazying around and doing absolutely nothing, is actually a day well spent indeed πŸ˜πŸ’€.

Infact, probably first time ever, I couldn’t wait for my birthday to get over coz the very next day it was time for the FRIENDS REUNION. Now if you have read my earlier posts, you would know that am a huge, huge fan. I dedicated an entire post to the series (read My ode to F.R.I.E.N.D.S) and I keep referring to them in every other post. For me the series is like comfort food, each episode like a spoonful of chocolate icecream. Familiar and comforting. Just what I need to get through the hiccups of the day. So imagine my excitement when I say that I was gonna see my favourite 6 people together again. At the same place and at the same time. After 17 years!! Could I BE any happierπŸ˜„πŸ˜„

❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️❀️

When I heard of the team working on something, I was hoping they would take the story forward and we would see how their lives have shaped up after all these years. Did Joey ever fall in love and get married? Does Monica still laugh at chandler’s jokes? Are Ross and Rachel still together or are they again on a break? How many cats does Mike and Phoebe have at home? Is Janice still trying to woo chandler? Wouldn’t it be nice to know how these characters are doing after all these years. But I guess they thought it best to leave this to our imagination. And a reunion is what they planned for us fans.

And such a joy it was to see them all together again. I had goosebumps as I saw each of them walk into the same sets where they acted in all the 10 seasons. Watching them go down memory lane, reliving their character’s iconic moments, talk about their journey. It was just heart warming. And to know that Jen and David (Ross and Rachel) did actually have feelings for each other much like their onscreen characters….who knows maybe they could have been lobsters in real life too. Ok. I need to stop fantasizing. It was just a joy to see all of them come together and talk about and celebrate the greatest show ever (for me atleast). πŸ’—πŸ’—

My eyes my eyes πŸ’–πŸ’–

And lastly, today I completed 1 year of blogging. I opened this account to just vent and ramble on about things that bothered me, about things I wanted to discuss. I chose to go anonymous so that I could say things here that I refrain from sharing on other fancy social media platforms (read The half hearted smileβ€¦πŸ™‚πŸ™‚. ). I never thought anyone would read them,let alone like them. But, this past year has been so amazing. I have connected with some wonderful people here, who actually read and leave a comment on all my posts. I have had the opportunity to read so much here…. beautiful poetries, fictions, life experiences. It has been truly a fantastic experience and for that, I thank you all. I hope we can continue to inspire and motivate each other in the coming days. My love and gratitude to you all for the support and encouragement. πŸ’–πŸ€—

Would you like a DO-OVER?πŸ€”πŸ’­

Umm….I think I need both πŸ˜‚

Last night I was watching the new Netflix film ‘The woman in the window’, and while the movie was not that great (Amy Adams totally brilliant though), there was one scene that kind of stayed on with me….ok don’t wanna give out too much details in case you haven’t watched it and want to, but there is this one scene, where she records her thoughts on video..and she keeps saying that she wants to go back in time and do over things.

Got me thinking, don’t we all wish that we could go back in time and UNDO a few things…a few mistakes, a few bad decisions, few twists of fate. Wouldn’t it actually be wonderful to revisit these key moments in life and have a chance to RE-DO the same, but this time differently and see how that pans out.

As I started thinking about it, my mind was already making a list, and I sort of indulged it to live vicariously through this list. So these are the top things that made it to my make believe DO OVER list (in no particular order):

* I wish I could redo my childhood and had forced my parents for a sibling, so that they would have someone else to worry about and someone else to worry for them. πŸ˜…

* I wish I could undo the many months of pining over my first heartbreak…now in retrospect, it seems like such an epic waste of precious time crying over a guy and a relationship that really didn’t deserve so much fanfare from me…I could have used that time constructively to do so much more…like working on myself, learning new technology to enhance my career or maybe even casually dating some hot guys 😜

* I wish I could undo the terrible decision of leaving my first job. Had I stayed on even for a few months, I would have been settled abroad like the rest of my teammates. Talk about bad timing. πŸ™„

* I wish I got a chance to undo the twists of fate that ended up setting me off to a hospital so many times.

* I wish my body was not this unruly little pest doing whatever the hell it feels like, and that it behaved and stayed in its permissible limits and not cause so much drama. 😏

* I wish (and this I wish on behalf of everyone) that I could undo this scary pandemic that has taken over our lives and brought life to a standstill. Wish I could send it back to wherever the hell it came from and that we could have our old lives back. When I could go out, meet friends, travel, chill rather than staying at home, scared and paranoid. 😣

I know some of the above mentioned do-overs aren’t really in my control like the health issues, pandemic etc, but then so is the list…I can’t actually undo any of them. So why not list out the unpleasant events in my life and indulge in some wishful overthinking and fantasizing about the what ifs. πŸ’­πŸ’­

Now one might say that everything that happens in our lives, good or bad, makes us the person we are right now. True. But then, who’s to say this current version of me is the best version possible? Honestly, I think I would be much better off without some of these things happening. I could be happier, I could be more content, more successful, my life could be more fulfilling.

The only consolation- Maybe things are not as great as they could have been, but then, they could have been much much worse. And for that, I am grateful. πŸ™‚

All images from Google

What are some of the items in your DO-OVER List? Do mention it in the comments. Would love to read them all πŸ’•πŸ’•

Love thy Neighbour..or at least know them!!

The pandemic has affected different people in different ways.. but for most of us, I can say with some confidence , that it has made us homebodies. We have realized there’s a certain joy in working from home dressed in our old, worn out tee and PJs and we ain’t getting out of them any time soon…move over Gucci, Versace…the new fashion trend is here to S-L-A-Y πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

There was a time when home was where we returned to at night, after a hectic day at work, to sleep at night. Or the place where we spent our lazy weekends, just resting, rejuvenating. Charging up our batteries for the crazy work week ahead. The time when Monday blues was indeed a real thing..a real feeling. Thanks to Covid, the home is now our safety net. Our fortress that ensures the enemy stays outdoors (mostly). Initially, like many of you, I struggled to cope with this huge change in my life and daily routine. Always staying indoors. Getting used to living 24/7 in this confined space took a while. But now, a year later, there’s no place I’d rather be. ❀️🏠

These days, the very thought of going out, getting out of my PJs and looking at the wardrobe trying to remember all the clothing (heaps of it) I own itself is tiring. I do enjoy the walks in the terrace and the occasional grocery shopping (rest is all ordered online), but for the most parts, I have kind of found solace in this forced isolation. I have learnt new things, developed new hobbies, rekindled old passion with the paint brush (not the exπŸ€ͺ) . Long story short, I find ways to keep myself as engaged and occupied as possible.

This transition has been somewhat bearable due to the technology at our disposal primarily Internet, smartphones, social media…thanks to them, we can still be connected to our friends and family, get work done (lots of it) and have some semblance of normalcy in this unprecedented time in the history of the world..

But once a while, I too am stuck with pangs of loneliness. Wanting to actually sit and chat with someone. Get to know them. Share a cup of coffee. Chat. Have a hearty laugh. Those times I crib endlessly to my husband, who looks at me with disbelief, that I still feel the need to talk more, in addition to the endless chitchat I forcefully engage him in dailyπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

The other day, while on a quick grocery shopping spree, I bumped into my new neighbor. I had an important work call to get to, so the interaction was very brief, and I did not even pay much attention to what she said as I had to run back home to make it to the call. So I just said ‘nice to meet you, do drop by sometime’ and went my own way without much thought into it. And frankly, I just said it as a courtesy and did not expect to meet her unless we bumped into each other in the elevator once again some other time.

But it was a pleasant surprise when she came by to say ‘Hi’ with a box of cupcakes (how could I not invite her in with a big smile after that πŸ˜›)…and we started talking…turns out we are from the same city, about the same age, speak the same language, have similar crazy hectic work lives, both struggling to manage work and household chores…just so much to relate to. And this time I was so engrossed in the conversation that time just flew by and when she said she had to leave, I realized we were chatting for almost an hour!!

This sudden visit from my new neighbor left me with several realizations. Thing is, I had heard they moved in into a flat on the same floor a few weeks back. But never bothered to go meet them, introduce ourselves, you know.. be the good neighbors.Yeah that’s how busy, preoccupied and self serving we millennials are. πŸ™„πŸ™„ Even when I was cribbing about feeling lonely and craving company, I never thought of reaching out. I should have. Especially now more than ever, when going out to meet friends and cousins may not be wisest thing to do. But am glad she did. Before leaving, she asked me to visit her sometime. I said ‘Yes, definitely. I’d love to’. This time I meant it and fully intend to follow through.

I was looking for a friend and it was waiting right next door!! How wierd yet how wonderful. Here’s looking forward to a new friendship πŸ₯‚πŸ˜Š

Live in the present

She finally had a party to attend,
Excitedly She got dressed,
She put on her new dress and her favourite lipstick,
She remembered their old party days and did not want the fun times to end.

She was excited to meet her friends after so long,
Eagerly looking forward to the drinks and the endless banter,
The usual party shenanigans,
To enjoy the karaoke and to sing along.

But this time it was somehow different,
After all, they had ‘grown up’,
Vodka shots made way for wine,
Frivolous chatter made way for serious arguments.

Earlier they used to worry about paying rent,
Now they were discussing real estate and investment.
Earlier they were always in the party mood,
Now all they could talk about was house, car, politics, diapers and baby-food.

They were all busy making plans for the future,
As if things always go as per plan.
Little did they know, in a flash, it could all go for a toss.
And all they would be left with, would be debris of broken dreams and a nagging feeling of loss.

But she was different, life had made her wise,
So while her friends were busy planning,
She made a mental note of the one thing her heart was craving at that moment,
Turns out, it was ice cream- her favourite vice.

So she excused herself and left the party,
And went straight for the ice-cream that made her happy,
For she really knew what it meant,
To savour each moment and to fully enjoy living in the present.

Word.

My Quest for a new ‘Talent’

Ever since the earth completed another revolution and we moved into 2021, I have been doing some introspection…mainly pertaining to my ‘talents’…. probably coz I off late I have been seeing lot of people posting pictures proudly displaying their talents whether it’s singing or dancing , knitting, painting, fitness or even stand up comedy….so that got me thinking..what are my talents?? πŸ€”πŸ€”

Now whenever anyone asks me that, I very proudly and honestly tell them that my talents are sleeping, lazing around and binge watching Netflix..but then, come on, even I know they are not real talents these are not really talents.. certainly not ones I can display for the world to see and admire…so I go back to contemplate this basic question…what are my talents?

Can I dance? Well if you consider Chandler a good dancer, I guess am as good as him then πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

Can I sing? Well am definitely a bathroom singer…but then who doesn’t sing in the shower. And the point of that is no one’s listening. But in public though I guess I won’t be much better than Janice serenading Chandler (yes ok maybe I should stop giving F.R.I.E.N.D.S references) but I guess it suffices to say that singing in public is definitely not my thing..and won’t be yours too if you are Listening πŸ˜›πŸ˜›πŸ˜›

Am I funny for a stand up piece? Well I have seen people’s funny side come out when when they have downed a couple of tequillas…but am told that won’t work for me. My husband says am a sad drinker who whines and cribs and abuses the shit out of people. Not the kind of funny I imagine I wanna be…

Can I paint? Well sure. Ever since kindergarten, I have been painting a hut with fences and a tree and mountains in the background with a sun and some birds…but sadly I realize even my 7 year old nephew can draw that…it’s like the AbC of painting and clearly I haven’t progressed beyond that to reach XYZ.

Can I put up fitness videos to inspire others? Yeah why the hell not. All I have to do for it is to become fit. Piece of cake right?…rather no piece of cake. Watching fitness videos , promising to start working on them from ‘tomorrow’ while eating ice cream…hmm… probably not what one would expect in a fitness video. So that’ll have to wait. Not today. But Someday.

So, in desperate need of a real talent, I ponder hard ….and finally have decided..that if I don’t have any real talents then I am going to create them by trying out different things and then will see if I am any good..if I see some potential, I will work on it. If not, I have to find another. But I will try and try until I really find something I can claim to be a ‘talent’..

So for now, upon careful analysis and watching many many tutorial videos, I have shortlisted 3 talents that I am gonna try out.

First, I have decided to revamp my balcony mini garden…I decided it needed a dash of color and some glamor. So I added some new plants to the garden…welcome home babies ❀️❀️

Next up, I was really intrigued by glass painting. I am yet to start, even with the purchase of the paints. But it’s happening for sure.. For now, Motivating my husband to gulp some beer so that I can get the bottles to experiment on. Talk about an ideal wife.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Lastly, to my utter joy, I found out that if one wants to paint and play with colours, then thankfully you needn’t be a Van Gogh or da Vinci to pull it off. I came across these number by paint canvasses where all I need to do is apply colors on the canvas based on the numbers instructed. And in no time one can have a masterpiece to their credit. Genius.

Well that’s the plan for now. Let’s see how that goes. What about you? Have you ever gone looking around for a ‘talent’? Do tell. Waiting to steal your ideas incase mine falls flat. Just kidding. Or not. πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Introvert or Extrovert?? πŸ€”

Unless you’re living under a rock, am sure you all must be well acquainted with Facebook and the many varied quizzes that come up in your feed…what’s your spirit animal, which character of game of thrones are you, are you a hills or beach person, which character from Friends sitcom do you resemble the most, how good is your grammar, which celebrity will be your ideal partner (please let it be Ryan Gosling😍)… etc etc…I have done and enough and more of such stupid quizzes in the past for some time pass and these days I am done with them and skip right through them…after all they are just frivolous and hardly make sense. However last night, I came across a quiz ‘Are you an introvert or Extrovert?’ that piqued my interest and I decided to give it a go.

But this time I was in for a surprise. Each question was on the lines of ‘would you rather do this or that’, ‘do you prefer this over that’. And the options given were such that I just couldn’t make up my mind. And that’s wierd right..coz you are either this or that…you are either a very bubbly, talkative person who is a delightful social presence or just the idea of meeting so many people makes you feel sick in the stomach and you would rather just curl up in a blanket with a good book and a steaming cuppa coffee. But when I looked at the given options, I was like ‘damn I wanna do all those things, which one do I select??’ πŸ€”πŸ€”

It might sound funny, but for a few minutes, these questions baffled me so much and made me scratch my head and almost gave me an existential crisis…that if I couldn’t answer such a basic question about myself, of whether I am an introvert or Extrovert, then how do I answer the more serious questions like Who am I? What Am I? πŸ˜–πŸ˜£πŸ˜³πŸ˜¨

Because the thing is, that as an outsider, if you meet me you will definitely consider me an extrovert. And rightly so. I love talking. And like to engage in conversation. Which is why it sometimes infuriates me when 100 words out of me just invokes a ‘hmm’ or an ‘OK’ from my husband 🀬😣. It just kills my vibe and makes me scowl and fume. Anyways, coming back to the topic, whether it borders on office gossip or some family scandal or just any random discussion on politics, weather, life in general, I am always ready to chip in with my words of wisdom πŸ˜‡. And it really doesn’t matter if I know you from kindergarten or we just met 2 minutes ago…I am equally at ease (unless you’re some hottie trying to hit on my husband…then you get my scowl rather than my dazzling smile πŸ™„πŸ€¨πŸ˜•). I so look forward to the occasional nightouts with us pub hopping, dancing away till the wee hours (I am talking about pre covid times here). Now all these things are textbook definition of an extrovert, and that’s what I always considered myself to be.

However, there is also a less publicised side of me, that’s quieter, loves the solitude, spending time with just myself without talking to anyone, having important conversations in my head about the significant as well as the trivial. Soaking up the quietness, the peace and tranquility. Ideally, that’s what early mornings feel like (so am told, I have no idea πŸ˜›), but for me it’s the silence of the night when it’s past everyone’s bedtime. That’s my time to thrive. To read, to blog, to make imaginary travel plans, to think about life, career, family, Friends, myself. To reflect on the past, think of the present and contemplate the future. Sometimes, even during the day, I might be in such a mood where I would happily pass off an offer to check out the latest pub or cafe as I don’t feel like bantering away. And prefer a day out just with myself. Lazing around. Listening to my favourite songs. Just enjoying my own company to recharge and rejuvenate. Now isn’t that textbook definition of an introvert? πŸ€”πŸ€”

Hence, you can get an idea of the confusion in my mind when I had to pick between options like would you rather go on a vacation with friends (oh! Yes please) or spend a few days lazing around at home doing whatever the hell you want (this one sounds tempting too)…both choices I would pick happily but which one to select?

So my question is this? Are we strictly either an extrovert or an extrovert? Is a middle ground possible in this case? That one day I am an extrovert and an introvert on the other depending on my current mood? Isn’t branding myself to be one be an insult to the other , which is also as much a part of my personality?

So I resort to everyone’s favourite agony aunt- Google of course!! And I came to know this very reassuring fact.

So seems am not a wierdo and THERE IS a term that aptly describes my personality type…AMBIVERT.

Yayyyyyy πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ.

But Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these stupid quizzes weren’t so stupid and actually gave us a clearer picture like you are x% extrovert and y% introvert and avoided such confusion that makes me scratch my head at 3 AM? Is that too much to ask from a mere algorithm that’s basically just interested in footfall to count how many people opt to take the quiz, nevermind the authenticity of the results? Well, enough thought, enough said, enough done. I am not going to spend my precious time being caught up in this dilemma any longer. To these quizzes I say, ‘first you be more thorough in your analysis, be more accurate in your results, then you can expect me to take part in your quiz’. Until then, I will refrain from branding myself as either. Rather I will embrace both sides with equal joy. πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•

Christmas..A Season Of Celebration and Gratitude.

Whether we like it or not, we are running a rat race with super busy and hectic lives. Thankfully, Christmas is that time of the year to connect and reconnect with friends and family. This gives us an opportunity to catch up with those who we may not get an opportunity to talk to as frequently as we would like. And trust me, it’s really wonderful, reminiscing the good ol’ days or just making all kinds of plans to meet soon. Whether or not that materialises is a different matter altogether. But no harm in planning exotic vacations or a much needed reunion. And sometimes during such conversations, some things come up that really force you to think long and hard about things.

One such thing happened when last night I had a long chat with my cousin sister. She lives in San Jose, California. During the hour long call she gave me updates about how their skiing trip was cancelled due to the lockdown enforced in light of the second wave of the pandemic. How for the first time in a really long time, they are celebrating Christmas at home all by themselves. How my niece who was so excited about experiencing college life is now forced to do online classes and is so bored at home that she is picking up new hobbies everyday. How my little nephew is inventing new games to play all by himself. She also mentioned that every year they raise money and buy all kinds of supplies like groceries and blankets and take them personally to the nearby shelters for the poor and less fortunate ones. Over the years, it’s become like a Christmas tradition for them and they make sure their kids help out and in the process know and appreciate how blessed they are. But this year, she mentioned how things were so different.

This year there were far more people queueing up outside the shelter…some had walked for miles to reach the venue, some had been living on the streets for days as they couldn’t find beds in any of the nearby shelters. This time she saw far more homeless families than usual. And upon talking to them, they came to know that most of them were in such dire straits due to loss of employment as many shops/factories/businesses had shut down due to the pandemic and the lockdowns imposed thereafter. Their limited savings were spent, now they were unable to pay their bills, house rent, school fees and were thus on the streets. Homeless. At their wit’s end trying to figure out their next meal. The plight of these families was so overwhelming for my sister that she decided to cut down on their own Christmas budget and extend some more help to these families. Even while narrating the incident, I could hear her choke up.

As for me, well for one, I couldn’t be more proud of her, as her little act of generosity surely would have gone a long way in helping someone in need. But it also got me thinking, if things are as bad as this in the world’s largest economy, then the situation is bound to be much much worse elsewhere. I just couldn’t get the thought out of my mind, of all these families who are jobless, homeless, penniless, with nowhere to go, nobody to turn to. How helpless they must feel. How hopeless the world must seem.

It really made my problems seem silly and inconspicuous in comparison. Made me realize how, so very often, we take things for granted. How ungrateful we are for the things we have. How much we complain and crib about not getting things that we don’t even need.

Yes, this year has been different. It’s been a year like no other. Life has been hectic, chaotic. Life has been mundane, unpleasant. The world out there is unsafe. We are in the grips of an unknown, invisible enemy. We are all living in fear, uncertainty, anxiety. In short, in the past year, life has been difficult and not much has happened to be thankful for.

But we must remind ourselves, that if we have a roof over our head, food on our plate, a warm bed to sleep in, enough money to pay our bills and the love of our near and dear ones, then that’s enough and more reason to be grateful and thankful this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all πŸŽ…β˜ƒοΈπŸŽπŸŽ„β€οΈπŸ˜€

Christmas is forever,
Not for just one day.
For loving, sharing, giving,
Are not to put away.
Like bells and lights and tinsel,
in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others,
Is good you do yourself.

Norman W. Brooks

Life in the times of Corona…

Gone are the days when we could be happy and free,

Now home quarantined is all we can be,

Applying sanitizer, wearing face mask,

This is now the most important task.

Life was once so busy, commuting to work, all the traffic,

Now they seem like sweet memories, which once felt truly horrific.

Weekends were for socializing, to go out to wine and dine,

Now all days feel the same, sitting in front of the laptop pretending to be Miss sunshine.

But am not complaining,

Probably just reminiscing,

How different our lives used to be,

And how much it has changed, for our safety I agree.

But we must still be grateful,

For being healthy than sick is far more beautiful.

Thankful that we still have family and friends,

Whom we shall soon meet, once this pandemic ends.

Here’s hoping that day comes soon,

When we remember this time as a boon.

Until then, hang in there with some patience,

With the belief that our old normal will soon commence.

β€œI don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank

Rebirth…

The other day I got some beautiful marigolds for decorating the house…once the celebrations were done and the flowers had served their purpose (guess I’d like to believe that, rather than it actually being true)..the idea dawned upon me…rather than throwing it away in the garbage, why don’t I put it back where it came from…the soil…so I put these flowers in the mud inside a small glass pot and began my daily routine of watering and careful monitoring of the progress if any (as I honestly wasn’t too optimistic about my gardening skills)..

For the next few days, I was a keen observer…carefully assessing if there is any development. Any signs of change in the soil or the sight of a slender, young green shoot popping its way out of the soil. No luck. When this continued for almost a week or so, honestly I was quite disheartened. My first attempt at gardening (or rather creating a new plant from old flowers) seemed to be a very obvious failure. Searches on YouTube showed how things had to be done with some technicalities in mind, which obviously I didn’t do..so I guess my optimism was running out.

However, I kept watering the soil..just in case…And imagine my surprise, when suddenly, probably after 2 weeks or so after starting off on this experiment, I see tiny young stems making their way out of the soil…talk about little things giving immense joy…that never felt more true…I had not only become an ace gardener (ok, yes I know am really exaggerating, but what the heck..pat on my back nevertheless πŸ˜›πŸ˜›), but i also felt exhilarated that those dried up withered flowers (which I probably would have thrown away) were now going to blossom into beautiful flowers yet again…isn’t that what we call Rebirth…the miracle of nature?? 😊😊

This simple feat (yes I insist on calling it that) left me with several profound realisations… first being ‘Not to give up’..if I had stopped watering them midway seeing no progress, these little shoots would have literally never seen the light of day. That reamphasized the virtue of Patience (I tend to run out of it from time to time). It also reaffirmed my belief that its not always about being technically correct. Listening to your heart can also be equally fruitful. And most importantly, it gave me new sense of respect for the Cycle of life itself…we too are just like these flowers….we grow, we blossom, we thrive, we perish into the ground..only to be reborn again….just like these flowers, we too are eternal.

  • β€œSometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.” …

Now am just going to continue to shower my love and care (and of course other basics such as water and sunlight) to make sure these tiny leaves and shoots can grow stronger roots and eventually fill the pot with beautiful flowers. πŸ˜ŠπŸ’

Quarantine Learnings

Year 2020 will go down in history for a lot many things…but most significantly for the pandemic that has brought the entire world to a standstill and crippled us all with fear and anxiety. It has heralded a new way of life, which unfortunately, seems to be here to stay. But everything, good or bad, teaches us something new, something valuable. And this Corona situation is no different.

Firstly, it has added many words to my vocabulary..some new, some old, some seldomly used: to begin with the name of the nightmare itself- THE Corona virus/COVID-19, followed by other words which have come to be a part of our lingo these days, such as epidemic, pandemic (honestly I had never bothered to know the difference between the two words before..big mistake!!), lockdown, isolation, home quarantine, self quarantine, containment, isolation, PPE, co-morbidity, herd immunity, fatality rate, sanitization, community spread, symptomatic, asymptomatic, immunocompromised (which I amπŸ˜”)…and of course the word of the year perhaps… SOCIAL DISTANCING.

In addition to all these, there are several fun, new words doing the rounds on social media such as coronials or quaranteens (babies created during Corona times), quarantrends, quarantees, quarantech, quarantrolls….and my favourite so far…the COVIDIOTS (I often mumble this under my mask when I see ignorant blokes on the roads without masks).

The past six months have also taught me a whole lot of other things. Like I can bear to spend 24/7 for 6 months straight without killing my husband (and vice versa)…inspite of serious temptation on some occasions πŸ˜›πŸ˜›. On a serious note, it has increased my awareness and sense of responsibility. Even if I want, I cannot throw caution to the wind and take off without my mask and sanitizer coz I know it can be dangerous for my old ailing parents staying with me. So in a way it has reaffirmed the importance of loving my family, caring for their well being and being a support system to them. And I have to admit, these circumstances have actually given us the gift of time..to spend it with loved ones.

This lockdown phase has made me firmly believe that each of us are masters at multitasking. From working long hours in front of laptops to cooking, cleaning, spending time with family and also making time for ourselves…if we want, we can really do it all. Infact, I look at it as a blessing because it keeps me busy, my mind occupied and helps to keep up some semblance of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal time and world. And it finally forced me to do something that I always wanted but never quite got to doing… Blogging. And thus here I amπŸ€—.

Tune in to any TV channel or any social media platforms  and one can see the alarming situation in almost every country. People are dying, losing jobs, employment, livelihoods are at a risk. The healthcare systems are beginning to crumble due to the astounding number of patients and casualties. The economy plummeting to all time lows. It’s the same in almost every country. It’s all pretty disturbing and upsetting. And it really makes one wonder about how shallow we are that we worry about miniscule things when there is so much suffering and pain all around. Reminds me of the need to be grateful for what I have rather than crib about what I don’t. This whole pandemic situation has been humbling, to say the least.

If nothing else, quarantined life has definitely taught me the virtues of resilience, patience and hope. Resilience to stay put until this storm passes. To see the end of it(hopefully soon). Patience to endure these difficult times, to stay in the  safety of my home without yielding to the allure of the outside world which beckons to my outdoor-loving heart. With the hope that one day we will conquer this evil and world will be a safe place again. And when that happens, I hope I can step out into the new world as a better version of myself, thanks to all that I learnt during these past few months of quarantined life. Here’s wishing that day comes soon. πŸ™β˜ΊοΈ