Thankful. Grateful. Blessed

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So, I was in a pretty disgruntled mood and having a dialogue with myself at how unfair life is and just then I saw Vidya’s message that her monthly #GratitudeCircle blog hop linky would be up and soon after I realised that if it is Thursday is has to be #ThankfulThursdays hosted by Amrita and Tina! And if all this thankfulness wasn’t enough, it is Thanksgiving too!:) And, I kid you not, my mood changed instantly! I deflated the dark thoughts of gloom hovering on my head for the last few days and jogged my memory to reach the beginning of November to list the things I am grateful for instead.

The human mind is selective, we think and retain only the thoughts we want to at any given time and smartly blur the ones we don’t want to. The same thing happened with me too. Just as I have been moping around thinking what a terrible month I had, all thanks to a few not so pleasant happenings, when I sat down to write this post I realized that despite it all I still have a lot to be grateful for.

For starters, I am Writing AGAIN! After 4 long years of being buried under a Writer’s block I am writing again! With November coming to a close I will be completing 2 daily writing challenges for 2 months in a row. And I am thrilled!

Not only am I thrilled to be writing, but my words are being appreciated as well. From the comments on my blogs to messages on Twitter to DM’s to Blogadda picking a post very close to my heart, for it’s weekly feature Tangy Tuesday Picks I am loving it!

I have also started a new series on my Blog called MayTivation, which is basically me writing and posting all that I say to my friends to motivate them. Since they conveniently forget all my wise words when they feel better I thought why not write it and save it for posterity and send then a link, instead of lending them my shoulder the next time they need a dose;)

This DeMonetization was a shock alright but it taught me some lessons and made me realize yet again of how blessed I am and how often we take little luxuries for granted. I take an Uber to the bank, stand in the queue and have enough money to draw out or change, I use my wi-fi to tweet or fb and grumble about the government and have freedom of speech and expression which allows me to do so. Blessings galore, I’d say!

I have some exciting things lined up for December and I am working towards transforming a few small dreams into reality, with ample help from a lot of people around me, which I am humbled and gratuitous for.

These Gratitude Diaries are a great idea, and linking mine to

#ThankfulThursdays by Amrita and Tina and Vidya’s #GratitudeCircle

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5 Things that bring a smile to my face! #WedShadow #Week3

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Everyone smiles in the same language 🙂

So here I am, happy to think of all the things that make me smile as Roms and Ruchie have given me a reason to do so and share it too, with their prompt , Write about 5 things what makes your happy and gets a smile on your face’ for their weekly prompt based linky party called #WedShadow

Books

A stack of books waiting to be read, even as I am in the midst of reading a book
Reading is one of my life’s greatest treasures and pleasures. With a book in hand I am never alone, and queues, waiting rooms and unpunctual people are quickly forgiven because of the book I have my nose in.

Making Mithais
Now this is a tricky one. I HATE cooking BUT I love making Mithai’s, at home, from scratch. You name the Mithai and I have probably made it. From Rasmalai to Rasgullas to Besan Ladoos to Milk Cake and Kalakand, and then some more. Yes, I am a proper Halwai!:)

Watching Movies
In the theatre, on the big screen. Everything and everyone around me melts away as the theatre is enveloped in darkness and the giant screen comes alive. And I am transported to a different place, time and amongst the characters on screen. I am the annoying person who hates talking during a film and ssshhhh’s people who talk too

Walking
My chosen mode of transport is almost always walking, as putting one step in front of the other lulls me into a sense of calm. While I walk, ideas and solutions come to me, my powers of observation are at their most acute and I file away characteristics and characters while I shamelessly people watch.

Traveling
I am an avid traveler and I can say I have changed a lot after my many travels. When I travel to a new place I am like a sponge, I observe and absorb everything around me. I love tasting local foods, going off the beaten path and waking up or staying awake at crazy hours to catch a sunset, or a Darshan at a Temple or whatever the speciality of that place is

Dowry Death: Team #InkMagic

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‘Dowry Death!’ exclaimed the front page of all major newspapers on a weekend morning.

 

‘Do these things still happen?’ wondered a reader.

‘Shameful to know people still ask for and give dowries’ tsk’ed another.

‘Imagine killing someone for money and materialistic things!’ discussed two of them.

 

As they read further reactions changed. Some looked smug, others stifled a smirk, many looked scared and a few were plain stunned.

 

For, the article informed, the ‘Dowry Death’ wasn’t a conventional one where yet another daughter-in-law was burnt at the stake of greed.

In this case, years of taunts, torture, demands, character assassination, maligning and creating misunderstandings galore had brought something alive in the daughter-in-law.

A monster, who murdered her in-laws when they tried to kill her.

Written for the prompt, ‘Dowry’ for BlogBuddy Team InkMagic

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Of Movies & Memories #TadkaTuesday

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This is a true story. No names or places have been changed to protect identities ;-D

‘Beta, what do you want to be when you grow up?’

‘I want to be a Kothewali’

A shocked face and complete silence greeted this revelation about my future plans till I elaborated further,

‘Like Rekha Aunty’

This is when my family rushed forward with explanations of how I had watched Umrao Jaan, on video, the day before.

Of course, I couldn’t remember the name of the film and all I remembered was actress Rekha looking absolutely stunning, dressed in exquisite clothes and jewellery and dancing away.

As a child I had no idea what a Kothewali (Courtesan) really was or did and purely on the fun Rekha seemed to behaving on screen, had happily decided to become one when I grew up.

I have been addicted to movies ever since I could understand them, and in the above case even when not, and TadkaTuesday, hosted every week by Deepa and Jaibala is going to be giving me plenty of opportunities to share my memories related to them.

This is written for the TadkaTuesday prompt, ‘Share with us your first movie memory’ .

My Parents and Me

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Friday Reflections, hosted by Sanch Vee and Corinne had a very intresting question, ‘Describe your relationship with your parents. Has it changed? For better or worse? ‘, as a prompt. The question took me down memory lane and here I share snippets of memory with you.

I grew up with Parents who were, and still are, as different from each other as Chalk is from Cheese. So, while my Mother advocated, ‘If someone slaps you, offer them the other cheek too’ my Father was most likely to ask ,‘Why the hell did you allow someone to slap you at all?’

Their differing views confused me, and being a quiet and sensitive child I kept my confusion to myself. After my Grandparents had passed away, my Parents had their hands full and their responsibilities were high, what with bringing up a huge family together. There was plenty of love to go around for me and my younger Sister, in the form of Uncles and Aunts and sundry and I never got around to connecting or having close chats with my Parents.

In my Teens I even began to think that they didn’t care for me at all, as there was no pressure from their side on me or my siblings. No pressure, about studies or life, no curfew as long as we told them where we were and zero expectations. It is only as I grew up and started looking at and interacting with friend’s families did I realize how truly lucky I was.

Things changed when I started traveling with my Father. Waits in airport lounges, and long flights turned into tete-a-tetes where we caught up on all the years we had lost out on. I shared with Dad what I had felt growing up and it was a revelation to him. He shared stories of his struggles and dreams and I realized that there was so much I didn’t know about my Father. Airports have always been special place for me since then. In between all the comings and goings and the transitions around us, Father and Daughter found ourselves.

Mom, Dad and I have been thick friends for the past many years now. We have big laughs, discuss family issues and gossip, I chide them, I argue with them I have massive rows with them. I sulk, Mom sulks, Dad never does and is the one to pacify us both. Dad still calls up to ask me my opinion before buying anything new. Mum waits for my trips to Bombay so she can refresh and upgrade her wardrobe by my choices.

As I grow older I realize the subtle reversal of roles, with me asking after them, worrying about them and taking care of them, just as they did when I was growing up.

They are not perfect, but they are to me. They are my friends, my Relationship Goals and I will forever be grateful that all that I know I learnt from watching them live gracefully, give generously and help as many people as they could.

It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.

~Joyce Maynard

BeYOUtiful

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We’ve all probably heard the saying, ‘You’re known by the company you keep’.

But how many of us realise that we eventually become the company we keep too?

Everyday relationships, friendships and even acquaintance-ships have the slow and silent power to rub off their effects and behavioural patterns onto you.

When you find yourself amongst people whom you dislike or find disturbing to be around with, take care to see that you don’t respond in kind.  Never lose the inner core of your wonderfulness, no matter how many unpleasant people and situations you may face.
Don’t defend yourself by emotionally by putting up walls either, for when you do that you not only trap your own energies, but prevent new energies from reaching out to you.

If you can’t distance yourself from such people and situations, try emotional distancing, by not allowing their words and actions to seep into your being.

And continue being the BeYOUtiful soul that you are.

To quote the famous author Maya Angelou, ‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them’

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Tarot #Misconceptions

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‘So, where is the crystal ball?’ he asked, his eyes scanning the room.

‘Why is your office so brightly lit? And why no incense fumes surrounding you?’ she wanted to know.

‘Ah! The Death Card! I am doomed!’ he explained, shoulders slumping.

‘Could you cast a spell on my Husband?’ she wanted to know.

‘Could you see to it that my mother in law gives me her Solitaire String Set and not to my *&^$%## sister-in-law?’ she earnestly asked.

Welcome people, to a day a few hours in the life of a professional Tarot Card Reader. Me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my profession! To teeny tiny bits and pieces! 12 years now and I can safely say that no two day’s hours are alike. And I have met so many different people and heard so many stories that my own existence and my problems seems miniscule in comparison.

When I started Tarot Reading these misconceptions people had about it used to annoy, even anger me, making me grit my teeth. But over the years wisdom, patience and the study of varied human behavior have got me to just smile at them and clear the misconceptions people come to me with to the best of my abilities.

So, no I don’t use, nor have I ever used a crystal ball. My office is very well ventilated and well lit as sunshine is the best thing to energize a room and cleanse it of energies not conducive to you. No. The Death Card does not mean ‘you are doomed’ The Death card stands for a transformation, not necessarily a smooth one though. In fact the reactions to The Death Card, usually depicting a skeleton riding a horse, in a spread are so scary that newer decks are changing the sketch and renaming it Transformation.

Cast a spell on your Husband? If I had that kind of power I think I would be ruling the world, instead of Tarot Reading or writing this piece that you are now reading:)

Tarot Reading is not an Occult Science nor am I a witch, btw. There is a system of Tarot which is Occult yes. And which does have Witches and Warlocks who are a part of a coven but I am not one of them and I have no idea where they are or what they do.
The reason why Tarot is often thought of as Occult is, since it was banned in the 14th century, in Italy where it was discovered, y people took to practicing Tarot behind closed doors and after dusk, giving it the impression of being Occult.
Tarot is a science that works on vibes. It looks into your past, connects it to your present to predict/give directions about your future, since all three are interconnected.

I have no special powers. I didn’t wake up one fine morning to discover that I have been blessed with the ‘gift’ of Reading Tarot Cards either. I learnt it under a professional, practiced, practiced and practiced some more before I decided to turn professional. Like anybody else, I cook, clean, travel, enjoy life, have to be force-fed Bhindi, Karela and Brinjals, and Tarot Reading is my profession.

And yes, if I could convince your Mom-in-law to part with her Solitaire String Set, I would keep it for myself! ;)))

 

This post is written for my Blogging Team #InkMagic for the prompt #Misconceptions

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Lessons #Demonetization taught me

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On the 8th of November at around 8 pm Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement stating that from midnight onwards on the same day currency notes of Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- denominations would be rendered redundant. They would lose their value as currency per se, but could be exchanged for newer currency over the next few weeks.

Even as his address was being relayed live the nation went into panic mode, and messages on Twitter and Whatsapp started flowing furiously. The emotions ruling that night were largely confusion and anger. I panicked too, as we were supposed to be traveling to Jaipur the day after for a wedding and the cash I had withdrawn for the same, from the ATM the previous day, was in Rs 500/- and Rs 1000/- denominations. Instead of paying attention to the PM’s address I was busy reading updates on Twitter and messages on Whatsapp that did nothing except unnerve me.

A few days into the change and I realized that I’ve learnt some lessons while others have just been reinforced, due to this move of Demonetization. And what’s more, these lessons I share apply to life as well;

Don’t Panic: When you see, hear or experience a thought, idea or visual that comes as a surprise, your first instinct is usually panic, which stops you from absorbing what is actually happening and most probably mess up. What works is to calmly let the new idea or thought settle as you wrap your mind around it, after which you can try to understand it in your own way and at your own pace.

Don’t believe everything you hear or see: So I concentrated more on updates on the social media rather than listening to the PM’S address which lead to unrequired panic. The media kept flashing images of huge queues snaking towards ATM’s and banks, people fighting for change and the likes. We debated about going to the bank the next day, but since we were traveling we had to, and the orderly queues and bank officials working at a furious pace surprised us.

Help others: My maids were completely unaware of the truth about this move. They had people feeding them wrong information and offering them to change their money for them for ‘a cut’, with plans of fleecing them no doubt, so I sat them down and told them exactly how the process works and the paperwork they would need to change their money. I even offered to accompany them to the bank and/or give them a day off so they could change currency.

You have all you need, question your wants: I realized that we haven’t spent a single extra rupee since the 9th of Nov. We traveled to another city, wandered in the market and came back only having spent Rs 50/- on a huge glass of Jaipur’s famous Lassi. Even the bill at the end of a trip to the supermarket once we got back home surprised me, thanks to sticking to the list of requirements and no extra purchases. Time to identify and differentiate between Want and Need.

Change is good: This move shook the nation but then a sudden change almost always does.  My limited knowledge about these things and what I read tells me that the timing though is just right to stop the circulation of black money. Yes, we will wait and watch but it is apparently a good change so far. It pays waiting for the big picture to appear rather than fretting over and coming to conclusions over small developments and details.

Don’t hoard: As much as we like keeping a little away for a rainy day, demonetization taught me that little should mean little as suddenly a bunch of currency saved for a rainy day is now redundant! This affects all walks of life, from land prices dropping, so on and so forth, showing that that what you think is precious may suddenly be rendered useless. See that you have enough, and just a little more than that. Enjoy what you have and use our trusted banks to save your money for you.

Be honest/No secrets: I had squirreled away a bit of money, from what I earn and from the monetary gifts I receive, to get myself new Tattoos and for The Husbands upcoming birthday and for a few other indulgences, without his knowledge. Even though I had done nothing wrong, when I had to tell him about the small amount of money I had stashed away I felt terribly guilty. Luckily, he laughed it off.

The most important lesson that was reinforced  is Wait and Watch: Don’t jump to conclusions about a new idea or move . Give it time, test it out as almost always everything happens for the best and for a reason.  So let us do our bit, to help our PM and our Nation, and work towards a brighter future.

 

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Vanity is my Sanity!

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So a bunch of us Girls were having a serious professional discussion when before we realized we were pouring our hearts out to each other (we are Girls, that’s how we roll!)

In the midst of this crazy, baring-our-souls-out, conversation one of us remarked that thankfully we don’t look like all that we’ve all gone through and I said something that we had a good guffaw over. My words were, ‘Vanity is my Sanity’ and long after the conversation was over the words lingered in my thoughts.

You know how we all go through up’s and down’s, some more than the others, some even more than those?  And how we let the world define us and make us feel? How we start looking at ourselves through the eyes of people who do not or should not matter to us?

Well, put a stop to that by chanting Vanity is my Sanity, every time time you feel a negative emotion bubbling up and driving you insane. For each time you frown, you deepen your chances of lines and wrinkles, each time you purse your lips you look mean (yes, you do!) Each time you narrow your eyes, those crow’s feet fanning them lodge in deeper and each time you do this all , you work towards looking harsh and in all probability older than you are. And then you get even more depressed!

And you what is the one single thing that helps undo it all?

A smile.

A true smile that comes from deep within your heart, travels through the starburst of your eyes and blooms on your lips (you are smiling as you read this aren’t you, as you imagine it’s journey?!)

And do you have any idea how expensive cosmetic treatments are these days? No? Then lucky you, as ignorance is bliss.

So, send up a prayer of Gratitude for all that life has brought you and taught you. And an extra special one for those who you think may have wronged you.

As;

The ones you didn’t stand by you, taught you to stand alone.

The ones who didn’t speak up for you, forced you to find your voice.

The ones who didn’t live up to your expectations made you realise what they were truly worth.

For people can give you only what they have, it is our folly that we expect what they can’t.

So whenever you think your problems are big, remind yourself that as long as you have a roof over your head, have not skipped your last meal, have more than 3 pairs of clothes and shoes to wear, wi-fi, and don’t owe anyone any money, you are one blessed soul.

Don’t let anyone underserving steal your happiness, rule your thoughts, make you frown and cry and give you wrinkles. Save up the money, you would later use to undo all the damage you did to yourself, and go on a holiday instead and smile, and repeat to yourself Vanity is my Sanity!