A free verse after a long time, inspired by my early morning walk in the neighbourhood park with a beautiful garden.
For those who love Nature, beauty is everywhere and although we humans are messing up with Mother Nature big time, there are moments when we all watch in awe the surreal and the ethereal happenings which the spectacles of Nature bring into our lives. Continue reading
“With a bound, the sun of a molten fiery red came above the horizon, and immediately thousands of little birds sang out for joy, and a soft chorus of mysterious, glad murmurs came forth from the earth; the low whispering wind left its’ hiding-place among the clefts and hollows of the hills, and wandered among the rustling herbs and trees, waking the flower-buds to the life of another day.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell
It’s in the small and the most insignificant moments in life that I’ve often been reminded of how important it is to not take anything for granted. And never has this been more apparent than over the last couple of months as I’ve found myself straddling between the care and the concerns for the family and the self, see myself struggling to cope with the overpowering sense of loss of things that have been very close to my heart and soul. Some losses have reminded me that life will never be the same again no matter how hard I’ve tried holding onto them. There’ve been times when I found myself holding back my thoughts for fear of finding myself more vulnerable than I’d be happy to admit. In short, plenty of setbacks have continued to rule our lives.
In the midst of all the upheaval, nagging health issues, illnesses in the family and uncertainties have come to haunt us over the past three months. One day, I forced myself to break the chain of thoughts and practice gratitude for the good things that came by. Being grateful made me more aware of myself and my emotions and especially my response to changing situations, that were mostly beyond my control. Gratitude made me happier and my heartfelt somewhat lighter. As I started to practice it more consciously, beginning my day with a short prayer for every little blessing that came my way, I began to see a marked change. Mindfulness has been a constant companion and has primarily aided me in clearing the mental clutter and getting rid of the baggage of pent-up negativity.
I am grateful that the past week has been kind to me in more ways than one—
- For that feeling of hope and a surge of positivity and my will to face every obstacle coming my way, right now, even when I know I’m not ready for it.
- Being able to bring the focus back to my professional goals, at a time when giving up seems so easy.
- Having food on the table, comfort on a difficult day and unconditional love from family while so many things still continue to cause worry.
- My home help who has been doing her bit so that I can focus on my well being too.
- Being able to express my thoughts and share them with Mom that lets me release my angst and feel a huge weight being lifted off the chest.
- The little gestures of love and hugs from sonny boy who tries to bring a smile back to my face every time he sees me worried.
- Seeing my efforts of growing a tiny ‘balcony kitchen garden’ taking shape. Harvesting my first crop of spinach and looking forward to the next one has brought me joy beyond measure. (See my Instagram feed for pics)
The secret to having it all, they say, is knowing you already do. This has become my mantra in life. I am choosing to focus on what I already have and that has changed my perspective. Trust me, the feeling of gratitude changes everything. I cannot imagine encountering a more powerful process that allows one to shift one’s energy and bring all that one desires back into life.
No matter how difficult the days ahead be, I’d like to stay thankful and grateful as it helps me experience and appreciate all my blessings in life. How else does one realize that one receives so much more than one gives? Gratitude always makes me feel rich— way richer than I imagine myself to be.
Try it and see for yourself.
That’s my story. Now, tell me. how do you practice gratitude? What are you grateful for, today?
Linking up with the #GratitudeCircle hosted by Vidya Sury and
#everydaygratitude hosted by Corinne, to share all that we are grateful for from the past week.
On the flowing backwater stretches of Kerala, nestled in captivating greenery, amidst lush paddy fields, stand these tall coconut trees, swaying gently to the winds as the cruise boats pass by one after another. I remember one such trip, Continue reading
As I mentioned in my previous post, the Sandakphu trek is perhaps one of the best and certainly the most popular of all the treks in Darjeeling for those having a limited time at their disposal. It offers the travellers an excellent view of the Kanchenjunga and the Everest group of mountain peaks in Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan.
The first part of the trek from Manebhanjyang to Tonglu is a steep 9 km uphill climb through a forest in the eastern Himalayas that leads one to a picturesque little settlement with a trekkers’ hut and solitude. On a clear day, one can get a fine view of the Nepalese valleys and of the plains of North Bengal with the snow-fed Teesta on the East, the Koshi on the West and a number of smaller rivers between them. Tonglu promises much and delivers for the most part.
The village is named after one of the higher peaks on the Singalila Ridge. It is located inside the Singalila National Park in the Darjeeling subdivision of the district, near the India-Nepal border.
Tonglu is also famous for The Trekkers Hut, which generally serves as a night halt for trekkers on their way to Sandakphu. Trekkers who usually reach here by evening, catch their breath from their day-long climb and sit by the hut, enjoying the magnificent views, as they are served Tongba, a fermented barley drink served in a bamboo container, to enjoy alongside. At 11,000 feet above the sea level, the peak and the surrounding areas are tranquil and there can be no better place than this, to soak in the peace and enjoy the beauty of the mighty mountains.
“How do you jump into the unknown?”- a question I’ve often asked myself.
Each time I’ve been at the crossroads, my instincts have come into play, nudging me to take the leap. Consequently, I’ve come to depend on them a great deal more as they have almost always guided me to the right outcomes. I’ve always thought through my choices and mulled over them in my own way. No rushing into, ever. That’s me.
That is also how my blog was born. Months of deliberation and then, one fine day, I was ready with my first piece of writing for the blog – a travel piece on Bylakuppe, a little known Tibetan settlement, close to Coorg in Karnataka. The joy of seeing it completed was indescribable. Over the next couple of weeks, I revelled in it with the excitement of a schoolgirl. Throughout the day, through all my chores, the one constant thought that kept me occupied was the blog. Every now and then, I sat down to tweak what I wrote. In the coming weeks, a few more pieces were ready.
I can clearly recall the thrill and excitement each time a post was published. The day I launched Soul Talk, it already had 11 posts! In time, I was already publishing at least twice a week and had few people with very encouraging comments telling me that they enjoyed going through the blog! Thus began my blogging journey one dull January morning in 2015.
Now, when I look back, in all honesty, I must admit that it hasn’t been without hiccups. With my blogging as much as life itself, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs over the past year. A high period, followed by a low and then a slump, followed by a weak revival and then, picking up pace – the journey to self-discovery has meant that I have grown as a person too!
A little more than a year into it now, I no longer feel the intense pressure of having to turn up a piece to publish. I struggle the most when I’m juggling time especially when a handful of things are screaming for my attention and I’ve missed a submission deadline. Of course, a number of times, I’ve also been caught in the throes of a writer’s block. On the whole, I’ve been able to stick to a writing schedule and it no longer feels like an unknown territory, but a safe, familiar one. My ultimate luxury has been having days when I’ve had the peace and quiet to work uninterrupted, tapping away at my keyboard, writing my heart out, through the best part of the day!
Being comfortable isn’t a bad thing at all. But, being too comfortable can end up leading us to creative stagnation. Not a nice idea to end up resting on our laurels and then withdrawing into the comforting confines of a predictable routine.
And, this is where I’m coming to – Time has come to invite a bit of danger in and put oneself outside the comfort zone. I wish to let the feeling and experiences of not knowing help me find new creative ideas. One way I like to put myself into the writing danger zone is to tackle some of my own inhibitions that may be holding me back creatively. By pushing myself out into the uncharted waters, I intend to grow – as a person and a writer.
My resolution for 2016 has been to fill the everyday moments with more laughter, more music and more of the wonderful experiences that I’ve often thought of but not really pursued. Whether it is getting over my fear of speaking in front of large crowds, trying out a new genre of writing, experimenting with different means of tapping into my creative juices or being a little less cautious in experiencing life as it comes, I’m hoping these risks will lead me on to something new and different, something that will also leave a lasting impact on my writing.
Will it be easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely!
What are your goals as a writer this year and how are you set to achieve it?
What is/are the most difficult thing(s) that you have been able to overcome recently in your journey as a writer/blogger?
I see the road ahead of me,
Going on forever
Like an endless stretch.
From my doorway, all the way
down the winding turns,
until it meets with other roads
that lead on from elsewhere.
I chase it down all the way
to reach there-
Where all the roads meet.
Will our paths cross?
Will there be time
To pause and reflect,
and find out really
Why things went that way?
Some questions are
perhaps, best left
for time to answer.
(Linking this post with Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings)
Sunshine peeping through the trees in my neighbourhood park.
The sun is finally shining and the bleakness has given way to an azure blue sky which makes me once again appreciate what a powerful force weather remains in our everyday existence. Of all the aspects of nature, perhaps the one that is the most intimately tied to our mood is sunshine.
Weather influences our psychology in a myriad ways. In fact, all those wonderful metaphors that describe our changeable minds can be ascribed to weather. Moods can be uplifting or sagging, dispositions could be bright and sometimes, even futures can come under a cloud while relationships can turn stormy. Like the weather, our emotions are capable of causing havoc in our lives by turning unstable, enveloping and uncontrollable. If you thought grey weather brings about sober, grey-flannelled thinking, you are probably right.
Over the past two weeks, I have felt this much more strongly than ever. While the mercury dipped and impatience reached an all-time high, I realised that the constant wet and humid weather did make me more tired and irritable. I couldn’t deny it had affected me rather badly. In spite of having lived through the chilly climes of some of the coldest cities of the world, I have never quite got used to it. This kind of weather affects me just the same and I find staying at home unbearable. I confess, I am one among the many who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) who report lower satisfaction with our lives, and there is never any getting used to, no matter where we are. We just need the sun, that’s it.
It is common knowledge that sunlight produces vitamin D, promoting the brain’s production of serotonin, which lifts our mood, and has been proven to be a very effective treatment for people affected with SAD. Studies show that beneficial effects of warm and sunny conditions on mood can best be felt if one spent more than 30 minutes outdoors that day. And a change in our mood almost always has a marked effect on our behaviour. When we are happy, we not only feel more favourably disposed to one another but more helpful as well. This is perhaps what prompted me to venture out this morning, to get some sunshine.
Sunlight has the power to boost positive moods, alleviate negative emotions and eliminate fatigue. But to reap in those wonderful benefits, one has to leave the confines of the four walls and go outside. Else, even good weather can have negative impacts on the mood, especially for those who are confined indoors, but perhaps gazing enviously outside at the fun they are missing out on.
Someone has wisely said: “If you wish to reap the psychological benefits of good weather, go outside.” It is now a little over an hour while I have been sitting and typing on my keyboard. I can’t wait to hit the publish button and breeze out again.
Do you, like me, feel that cold, wet and humid weather conditions make you depressed and low? How does one lift one’s mood and how does one cope? If you are reading this, please do leave a little note to share your thoughts and experiences. That sure will brighten up my day 🙂
Linking this to Write Tribe’s #MondayMusings