Category Archives: Happiness

The Beautiful Things In Life

There are many ways to look at life. A day, a moment, an event, even conversations can turn around how you feel about life. Life, unlike what we think, isn’t a retrospective reel. It’s the current moment. It’s the memories and it’s perspective.

My favorite thing I read was something to the effect of – was it a bad day or a bad moment that you thought about all day?  The first time I read it, I promptly forgot it. The second time though I heard it when my dad reminded me of it as I stormed into my parent’s room, complaining about a tough day.

Since then, I’ve kept a secret list (not so secret after this post) of all the seemingly tiny things that make my life beautiful. I highly recommend that you do the same.

  1. Puppies
  2. The books my parents get for me
  3. Finding a chocolate I didn’t expect to find
  4. Finding my lost pair of earrings
  5. Television
  6. Facebook Video Call
  7. My Dreams and Aspirations
  8. My Secret Award Acceptance Speeches
  9. My Stuff toys
  10. Kind People
  11. Smart People
  12. Delhi Streets lined with trees
  13. Ice cream runs at night
  14. Gol Gappas with my dad
  15. A friend who encourages me to run
  16. A friend who makes time for me even though she’s at the other end of the globe
  17. Another friend who is busy being a vet and still worrying about me
  18. My job
  19. My blog
  20. People who read my blog and comment on it
  21. EARRINGS
  22. Pretty Bookmarks
  23. Happy people
  24. Origami
  25. Dancing
  26. Shah Rukh Khan
  27. Cupcakes
  28. Homemade food
  29. Family Dinners
  30. Poetry
  31. Photographs
  32. Phone calls to my grandparents
  33. Comfortable clothes

That’s all for now. But there are so many things I don’t know what to keep and what to remove.

Try it. But you have to keep it secret for at least a month before you reveal it to anyone! And if you do try it, let me know in the comments below. I’m positive it’ll make you as happy as Leonardo *finally* winning his Oscar.

Another thing that made me happy –

Dreams

P.s All my poetry is on Instagram if you want to read it here.

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Running Like An Elephant

There isn’t a single thing in this world that you are the first to do or the last to do.  Writing, running, singing, whatever. But for you, there will be a lot of firsts and lasts. Running is a first for me. I ran as a child (didn’t we all?) and then I stopped. Recently, I started again. Armed with neon green Nike shoes which I borrowed from my best friend and eventually made my own, and a very flimsy spirit to run, I began running. I didn’t do it alone. Good god no. A friend of mine,  a very kind friend of mine told me, “run when you’re ready and you want to.” A spectacular runner and a thorough gentle soul, she is on fire at 5:30 am in her running gear. Her Instagram is enough motivation to get even the laziest walker (a.k.a me) up and running at 6:00am.  So, when it felt right, I went for it.

This August, my birthday month, I took up running. I rang in my 23rd year with a long, panting run with my friend, who I’ll call M. While M was busy enjoying the birds chirping and the dogs running, I was panting for breath and life, wondering why anyone in their sane mind would run.

Now, to be perfectly honest (if there were ever such a thing) I started running to prove a point to myself. I had quit on so many things in my teens (exercise being one of them) that now I wanted to stop quitting. I was back at writing. At poetry. At dancing. So far so good. But running was getting hard. Add in pollen allergies and early onset of Asthma, and I had enough problems to start and run an Ekta Kapoor serial for seven years.

Still, I couldn’t quit. Not for my sanity. So I went. I panted, howled, joked, and low key thought I’d die. But here’s the thing – no one died while running. Not that I know of anyway. So I jogged. I walked. I panted.

One day, a week after my miraculous 10k, I ran for 0.5miles alone. While the 10k had been a fait accompli and an unknown 10k that my phenomenal running group (introduced to me by M, of course)  encouraged me through, this 0.5miles was conscious and for the first time, I felt a surge of happiness from within. Where the time went, when I started enjoying it, I don’t know. But that happiness came so quickly and lasted so long that suddenly running wasn’t so bad.

I haven’t been able to run since because Delhi pollution and pollen struck, so this story has a short, short ending as of now. But the good thing is, after one month of disliking, panting, and even cursing running, it’s begun to feel like writing or poetry. It feels like I belong in that deafening rush of my heart and feet, where every second my body is torn between loving it and grudging it. Where at some point, my feet begin to understand the ground as if I was dancing, and take on the joy that dancing brings to me.

I will obviously not stop running. That much I’ve understood. But learning to run with the group has been so far the biggest highlight of my birthday month.

I’ll update you as and when I run something blog worthy, but till then, be content knowing that when I run, I look like an underweight agitated elephant throwing a tantrum. A little like this:

giphy

On Tattoos and Hijabs

Whenever I imagine calling all my close friends for a party and putting all my friends under the same roof, in the same room, my mind goes into overdrive. Plagued with an overactive imagination, my life plays out like an elaborate broadway show or a high budget Karan Johar movie, and this one scenario seems like the plausible climax beyond which I’m not really sure how the movie will go.

Some friends would be indifferent, some shy. Some overbearing, some withdrawn. Some would be the life of the party and some would prefer to go home to a book or a drink. Together all my friends would make for a very interesting, albeit emotionally charged party.

I’m not one to hang out in big, gregarious crowds. I prefer small, intimate groups. I’m picky about my friends and pickier still about my close friends. From becoming dancers to scientists, to supporting Trump, my friends have been there, done that. I don’t know how I know so many different kinds of people,  but I know why – because, without them, I would be stuck in my tiny version of reality.

Our reality is limited. We extend our reality only to what we think we know and can understand. It’s a catch 22 really. What we don’t understand we don’t know and what we don’t know, we don’t understand. So where do we begin to break out of our tiny realities?

I hear a lot of discussions regarding “learning moments” and every time I hear the phrase I cringe. The notion that we have to seek out learning moments is as absurd as that of women being a weaker sex.

Learning moments isn’t a physics classroom wherein you only learn physics. Learning moments happen when you open your eyes and mind to two notions –

  1. I don’t know everything
  2. I can always learn something new

Both of these realities have been shunned in our MBA driven society where one has to know everything. While many people may know a lot of things, many of them don’t comprehend or analyze or understand these things.

To truly learn, one simply needs to make more friends, to make different friends, to make yourself uncomfortable and vulnerable, to be wrong, to be correct, to feel safe, and to feel challenged. A learning moment can come from a YouTube video or an Albert Camus book. A learning moment can come in the kitchen or at an IPL game.

Often, a learning moment comes when you least expect it, from someone you least expect. Make friends who are different from you, physically and emotionally. Meet more than one person of a ‘type’ and you’ll see that there is no such thing as a ‘type’. Tattoos, hijabs, miniskirts. They don’t make the difference, you make the difference in your head. Meet at least three people of a ‘type’. Then four, then five. You may like only one, but you may not like the first one.

Don’t let an earring or a tattoo or a hijab stop you. Move beyond them.

The Best Way to Escape

I was recently introduced to Quora by a close friend of mine who one day in the middle of a conversation, stared at me for good ten seconds and then said, “I don’t know why I didn’t think of this, but you HAVE TO TRY QUORA YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE IT!” And this guy is usually quite calm and composed, so this obviously caught me off guard. But he was so excited and animated, I knew I had to at least sign up for Quora.

And I did. And I loved it! So much so that I wrote 43 answers in two weeks and counting. It was when I was browsing through my Quora today that I realized at least 26% of my answers, involve words related to Reading.

The situation (questions) vary greatly, but the outcome of any answer that has reading involved is almost always one that brings a sense of peace, belonging, and calm.

Reading, and I don’t want to sound like your parents, is one of the best gifts you can gift yourself. The habit of losing yourself in a new story, in a different world, is one that cannot be replicated in any other action. Reading provides the soul with imagination and an instant escape, both of which are necessary for a happy, healthy life.

lacie-slezak-128106

Now, there is no one who exists who doesn’t like to read. Seriously. I know it’s a MASSIVE generalization, but it’s true. If you don’t like reading, then you simply haven’t found your kind of books. No matter what kind of books you enjoy, don’t be ashamed.

People tend to give too much importance to “serious” works. You ignore it. I can read anything from a Murakami to Gladwell to even Mills and Boon all of which I enjoy with as much fervor and excitement (okay maybe, Mills and Boon provide a little extra excitement than the rest)  but the bottom line is that you ought to read whatever makes your heart tick. I can pick up a Camus with as much excitement as I pick up a Pinker. And yet, sometimes I get stared at for crying in romantic novels. Whatever the case, if people judge or they don’t, pick up a new book and read it. Don’t like it? Pick up a different book.

Books introduce you to new minds, similar minds, and scary minds. They, in short, introduce you to the world one tiny page at a time. They make you realize that there’s a huge world out there just waiting to be discovered. They remind you of how small your problems can be and how common they are.

So do yourself a favor and pick up a book. Any book, and read.

 

 

 

A Reminder for the Days After Women’s Day

Women 2016

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This is What Home Means

Home has always been a constant for me, but which house I lived in, has never been a constant. Coming from an Army background I have traveled all my life. Between cities, between countries. Most places I’ve lived and some I’ve just visited. My recent trip to Doha to meet my cousin sister and her family. When I was there, it felt like I was home and that’s the reason I was prompted to write about what it means to be home.

At some point, we all leave home for a long period of time. Be it for college or a job or anything really. And when we do, we begin to miss home. We begin to miss the routines that we are brought up in. We know what mum will say when you tell her something, how papa will react or how your sibling will pounce on you if you even dared to touch their Maggi.

But what does it mean to be home? I understood this time in Doha. To be home is to be familiar. To be home is to be in a place where you’re welcome the way you are. Where you hear the words your loved ones use, the language, the culture.

While many believe that any place can be made a home, a lot of us who have traveled and lived all over the world, know how difficult it actually is. The theory is simple but realizing it is so difficult.

Home comes from a feeling of being comfortable. Where you don’t have to explain yourself constantly, where you’re always welcome.

Sometimes brick rooms feel like home, sometimes human souls, sometimes our furry friends. Home is a concept. It’s where your heart is the happiest, safest.

Home is where you can shed your fears and conquer your dreams.

That’s it. It’s quite simple really. Home feels right.

What do you think? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

Image by Cameron Kirby

On Creating Oneself

Being who you, are is easy in a way. We don’t have to change or nudge ourselves to be different. But what happens when we want to change? When the urge of being who you are isn’t enough to carry you forward?

What happens when you want to create yourself? To take one step back and two forward?

Well, you get confused. You get upset. You won’t know where to begin and where to end, but here’s the thing – that’s completely okay.

To create one needs a canvas and if the canvas is full, you need longer to first figure it out and then work on it. To create, one needs to begin. One needs to slowly find the faults and repair them.

To create oneself, one needs to learn to be okay with the unknown. One must find what they want in life and one must finally begin to work on it. Today.

Working on creating yourself will require active effort. It will require you to challenge yourself and read more.

People talk about reading all the time, the reason is simple – the more you read, the more you can learn. The more you learn, the more you know even for yourself.

In order to create yourself, learn about yourself, and then learn about others. Learn from them. Dr. Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset, says that our change is a function of our mindsets. That if we decide in our minds that change is possible and work towards it, it will be possible.

Think of yourself as a dynamic changing being that is constantly in progress.

So it’s okay to make mistakes, to be unsure, to not know. the important thing is, to keep moving forward.

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How to Write/Form a Resolution

2017 is finally here. After an interesting 2016, 2017 comes in like a much-needed vacation after the vacation. You know what I’m talking about, right? A break after a break? The tiny break we need after the big break we had? Anyway, now that 2017 is here, the best thing to do is make a resolution.
Yes, that is the best thing to do, regardless of what Facebook memes tell you. If you’ve always wanted to do something, or if you’ve had a dream you’ve been putting off, what better way to get back at it (or start it), when everything is new?

Resolutions often don’t work because we do it wrong. We make goals we can’t achieve and set the bar so high that often we don’t even see it. What we forget is the process. We forget to make a blueprint. So, if you want to form a resolution, break it down into tiny tasks.

Break down the main goal into tangible daily routines. By doing so, your goals will be more manageable and your resolutions are more likely to succeed. Example –

Goal – Run a marathon

Resolution – Run a little every week

Goal –  Publish a book

Resolution – Write for two hours every week

 

Goal – Be less angry

Resolution – Count for three seconds before responding in a tense situation

It’s very difficult to change the way one has been. So, a drastic resolution is likely to fail. If you want to actually make any change it has to be tiny enough for your brain to be excited yet convenient enough for your body to work towards it.

So make your list, 2017 is going to be a great year!

 

 

My Perfect Day

I’ve often been asked what my perfect day looks like. Well,  a perfect day for me is one where I’m surrounded by family. It’s a day when I read, clean, cook and surround myself with people I love. I’ve been told many times, that as a feminist I shouldn’t like to cook. And that got me thinking of all the pressures of any term. You know, we have a certain mold for what we think  a feminist should look like and while that mold helps us organize life in general, I think more often it restricts us. A feminist may choose his or her life path and choices, isn’t that the basic idea? Be it cooking, cleaning, sky diving, writing, or anything for that matter. My perfect day is for me to decide. Same goes for you. Your perfect day is only for you. So do it your way.

Think about it.

Choosing Yourself

NaNoWriMo is happening. That’s the National Novel Writing Month. In November every year, writers world over decide to try and write a novel of a minimum 50,000 words. Why NaNoWriMo is in November and not any other month, I couldn’t tell you, but what I can tell you is this- if you decide to do it, do it for the joy of writing.

And the same rule applies to all your hobbies. Every passion today seems to be shared by a million people, at least. Writing, sky diving, rafting, mountaineering, knitting – you name it, there are at least a thousand  people doing it and many who are way better at it than you are.  Hence, whatever you do, there will be someone better and regardless of your goal (to keep it to yourself or become a pro at it), it can be intimidating or demotivating to do something that so many people are doing or that so many people are already good at.

The best reason to do anything is to do it for yourself because you enjoy it.

Life is too short to not have personal goals and hobbies. Constraints will always be there, but if you pick and choose what you will do and what you won’t do, you can squeeze in time for things you love. Doing what you love, will definitely make you happier and if philosophers are to be believed, happiness is the ultimate purpose of one’s life. Within your life constraints, try to do one thing that makes you happy. Every day choose yourself for at least a little while. So, for all of you NaNoWriMo fans, do it, if you love it.