Gratitude Journal Part 1

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Some days ago a friend tagged me on twitter/FB to do a 30 day gratitude journal. Just be thankful for something everyday. I think its bringing a lot of people in my life. 16 days down I thought it might be a good idea to collate of all those notes on the blog. Here are the first 15 days in Part 1

So Aparna Jain tagged/nudged me into doing a ‪#‎GratitudeJournal‬ For next 30 days I will be posting two things I was grateful about that day. I think it always helps to reflect back and pick on the small joys each day.

Day 1

1. Ojas who amazes me with the change of character and understanding he shows every time N is traveling. The fact that I am doing it all alone somehow makes him so much more calmer that it surprises me

2. Friends that move from being buddies to working partners so smoothly, yes I am looking at you Swati, we started working on the “Flavour Bombs 2014” today and I can’t tell you how excited how I am

Day 2 #GratitudeJournal1. the handsofindia exhibition currently running in Bangalore. Lovely handloom stuff, skirts, pallazo and tops. Smart fits (and in bigger sizes too) and good Indian fabrics and yes I bought a lovely orange pant from them. Go folks if you can
2. A lovely Friday evening spent. Great food and lots of conversation around food with the chef and a friend….Some Good wine, is there anything else one could ask for 

Day 3 #gratitudejournal1. I am grateful for technology which helps me to be connected with friends and family. Did a google hangout with my mad bunch of girl friends this morning, many counties and cities and yet it felt like we were together. Girls I am also grateful for you all. You help me maintain the balance in my own madness and sanity 
2. I am grateful for Saturday evenings, family, drink and some good music.

Day 4 #gratitudejournal
1. Friends who understand the joke sometimes before you have even said it
2. Good food and drinks
Today I am grateful for my support system at home, my mother in law, the househelp and the ofcourse the man himself. While I am sitting here in Hyderabad for work the child went to school, was fed, did homework and is already in bed. I couldn’t have been sitting here enjoying my work if I didn’t have that support, if I didn’t know he was well taken care of, yet my mind was in Bangalore all of evening  The needs of a working mum and the guilt of motherhood.. Bittersweet just like most moments parenthood has brought along

Day 6 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

Grateful for the plants in my garden which have survived even after being ignored for 4 years, I am yet to tend to the garden after I have come back to the house but every now and then a flower, a fruit pops up to make me smile. Some smiles I saw a couple of days ago

 

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Day 7 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

Grateful for books to read and the friends who reco them. Grateful for my kindle which helps me access books with ease and carry many at a time everywhere On an aside, I realised at about 9pm that I was wearing two different Jhumkis in my ears all day. So grateful for my ability to laugh at myself

Day 8 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬
I am grateful for blogging, it has given me a lot including opening doors to my current career but more than anything it has given me so many friendships. Brought so many people in my life. Today caught up with one too. Also grateful for red lipstick, there is something about wearing red on lips which is liberating, happy and sexy at the same time

Day 9 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

So I skipped posting yesterday, it was one of those days when I was feeling like nothing is right in my world, that everything is going wrong and there is nothing I want to be grateful about, and then this morning when I went for my morning walk and saw people sleeping on the road I realised that no whatever goes wrong in our lives, we still have a lot to be grateful about. So today I am grateful about what life has given me. Today I am grateful about life itself.

Day 10 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

Today I am grateful for FB, Twitter, whatsapp and other social media places which have made sharing my thoughts, moments and more so easy. Because of which I feel connected to many new and old friends. Be it the cousin miles apart, friends in the different continents be it fb messaging, the wall or a whatsapp group … Thank you social media

Day 11 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

Today I am grateful for cellphones and the ease of communication these days. Ojas has high fever since yesterday and I am thankful for the fact that I could be on the phone getting updates sitting so far away, that I could do a quick skype with him in the morning to calm myself. I can’t even imagine the time when we had one landline phone in all of the street while going up. Wonder how our parents used to cope up

Today I am grateful for the colors that Indian festivals have, the joy and the food. Can’t wait to get back home to do my bit

In the picture, utbt’s super awesome golu. I am almost tempted to keep one next time

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Day 13 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

Grateful for food books and the friends who gift them  Preethi Vemu you left yours behind

Siri Pulipaka thank you darling

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I realised I missed posting day 14 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬ and it was only because I was too busy absorbing in the love I was showered upon after the 10 day trip.. The child, the man and the dog.. Even the house help… So today I am grateful for the love in my life… It does keep me going

Day 15 ‪#‎gratitudeJournal‬

So the recovering child told me he wants to bake and I decided to keep the sulking aside He searched for what to bake in my books and then we sat and wrote recipe for some whole wheat almond and choco chip cupcakes… Totally yumm they are and then fluffy decided he is feeling totally left out and begged and emotionally blackmailed the brother into feeding him some muffins. Grateful for baking and having found what I love

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6. Letter to a stranger

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I will keep this short and sweet because thats what is on my mind today

Dear Housekeeping guy at the hotel,

Thank you for serving me a with a smile, thank you for the morning tea, the dinner and the number of requests I make to you.

Thank you for fetching me those biscuits when I told you I can’t have the morning tea empty stomach and thank you for doing this with a wide grin.

You make staying away from home a little easy

A grateful stranger

 

Day 5 : Letter to My Dreams

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Dear Dreams,

Well what do I write to you. The fact that most mornings when I wake up the first thing I do is try to remember what you showed me last night and this has been the habit since I was a kid when badi mummy told me that “sabko sapne aatein hain, subah uth ke sab log unke baare main bhool jaatein hain”. There are times when you put a huge smile on my face early morning, I love those and there are a few times when I have been grumpy all day because of you, please do reduce those kinds. In some you have taken me on a world tour collecting people from various stages of my life in one go and in some you have made me cook for people I hardly know.

In some you have shown me a future so bright and nice that I am scared to reach out to it zest it gets disturbed, in some you have shown me the love and care that I normally overlook when I am awake

In some you have also made me realise my mistakes and shown me a path that I should take instead

Dear dreams, you have been kind to me and I can’t wait to introduce my child to your world. Hopefully he will have the bond with you too, hopefully you will be kind to him too

With love and anticipation of many more dreamy nights

Mon

Day 4 : Letter to Siblings

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Dear P Didi,

I could have written this letter to A or I but from the first time when I read that I had to write a letter to sibling I knew I had to write this to you. My first ever sibling.

I know the world thinks that you were a cousin but you came in my life when I didn’t knew what a sister is. You came in my life when I was little and you became the elder sister I never had. You became to me what I can only dream to become for my younger sisters. A hope, a strength.

I know life wasn’t as fair to you, I know you didn’t get what you deserved. But you know what is amazing that in spite of it all you brought happiness to so many people. You touched so many life is with your kindness and your positive attitude that no one from the outset could tell that you are struggling with a terminal illness, that every doctor you see is more or less surprised on how you are walking. Your smile was always so wide that no one could tell that you are dealing with so many personal issues in the house.

I draw my strength from you, I draw my will to be happy in spite of it all from you, I draw my inspiration of life from you. Everytime I feel low in my life, I think of how you managed it all without cribbing, of course you cried to let those feelings out but you were smiling much more than you were crying and that is how I still remember. Rushing home to meet me the day I reach Delhi irrespective of how you are feeling and giving me the warmest of hugs.

We lost you two years ago to that dreaded illness that you fought for many many years. But didi you are still in our hearts, in thoughts smiling as ever. Hardly a week passes by when I don’t think of you. Every little happy news that I get, specially the wedding of your darling little sis A that you were so looking forward to, every little achievement I have I want to share with you and I do in my heart.

We love you, We miss you didi and I speak not just for myself but for all of us.

Stay peaceful wherever you are because more than anyone you deserved the peace

Yours little

Mona

Day 3 : Letter to Parents

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Dear Mum and Dad,

When I read the list of people I have to write the letters to I knew this one is gonna be one of the toughest ones to write. Also it’s funny because this is the first ever letter I am writing to you, stayed at home with you guys till I started working in Bangalore and by that time, cellphones and phones had made permanence in our lives.

As with every parent-child relationship, ours has gone through major ups and downs too. I have worshiped you guys, I have loved you guys, I have hated you guys too and now I am at a stage in life where I can say I understand you guys.

But today what I want to tell you is that I am scared of the role reversals which are happening. Two years ago when I had to rush to Delhi because both of you were not keeping too well it stuck me that you guys are finally ageing and will need care from our side. It’s not a happy thought, not because I don’t want to take care of you or not because I want to run away from my responsibility. I will stand to that but it’s not a happy thought from the point of view of emotions.

I want to always be the little girl that you take care of, the idea of me taking care of you instead is so heartbreaking. It means that I have to grow up, it means that I can’t be your baby forever. This isn’t fair I tell you. I love you guys and I want you guys to be healthy forever so that I can be a baby, I know I am being selfish here but then if I don’t be selfish you guys whom will I be selfish with.

So dear mom-dad, please take your medicines and vitamins regularly and let me the tantrum throwing baby around

Lots of love

Mona

Day 2 : Letter to my crush

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Dear senior in the school,

I still remember the first day I had set my eyes on you and I remember the teenage girl going weak in the knees, dreaming about thousand sweet nothings you would whisper in her ears. Dreaming about holding hands and walking down a beach with you.

I still remember the day when you asked me something in school assembly and I couldn’t errrr reply. Yes I was a girl like that at one point.

I still remember the day when you played that cricket match and I watched you doe eyed.

And now after years when I got a friend request from you on FB, I looked at you and thanked god that it was passing crush ;) yes I am evil like that

But on a serious note, you taught me a lot. By not talking to me you taught me that I really can’t have everything I wish. That I might be the queen of my house but in the outside world it doesn’t matter.

By going ahead and having another girlfriend, you taught me how to deal with heartbreak and that whatever happens life does move on

Dear first crush in life, you taught me the difference between crush and love and that my dear friend is a learning like no other

So here’s wishing you happiness for life and here’s wishing myself many crushes and stable love

Mon

Day 1 : Letter to my best Friend

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Dear Best Friend 

Should I start the letter by “Hello, hope you receive this letter in the best of health”. That’s how we were taught to write letters in school , the school both of us went to. 

Dear Best friend, We have grown up together. From the days of my childhood when I remember playing hide and seek with you and the others in the street and you saying “mujhe den banna nahin aata” (I don’t know how to become the den), to the days of teenage and discussing about our first crushes, moving on to the excitement of first boyfriends and kisses. The class stories and the scheming against parents. Those long evenings and nights where we pretended to study together and those 2 am poha and maggi. That spending the whole day together but still standing at the gate for 30 mins to continue talking. 

Listening to “Nothing gonna change my love for you” in endless loop and dreaming of our respective boys, those fights too. And then trying to behave as if it doesn’t matter where actually in the heart all we need is a good talk and then when the fight is solved, going on to talk like we haven’t met for ages irrespective of the fact that the fight never lasted more than a couple of hours. 

As I am writing this letter to you I realise how much I miss you, how much I miss the days of growing up. The days where I had someone always to turn to chatter away, just to be around. As life moved on, we did too and truth be told I have made many more friends. Many friends that I am close to, even friends that I share my secrets and feelings with but there is something about you that I miss. The hanging out, the carelessness, the love 

Just wanted to tell you that you are in my thoughts always, I may not always call you but I miss you and I know that whenever we meet we will just pick from where we left

Yours 

Mona 

 

10 books that left an impression on me

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This is going around as a tag in FB and atleast two people have tagged me on this. And I can avoid any tags but I usually don’t avoid the book tags :) But when I sat down to type this in my FB status, I felt that it probably I want to store this information somewhere. Somewhere I can go back to it later. Thought of a FB note but then it stuck me my why not the blog

So here it is 10 books that left an impression on me

  1. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott : Jo March I love her she is passionate, she is outspoken what is about her that one doesn’t love. I first read this book when I was in college and I think I have read it 10 times after that. Its one of the books I hate to part with even if someone wants to borrow it for a couple of days
  2. Pallace of illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni : The fact that the story of the great mahabharta has been told from the point of view of the most important woman of that tale, And I feel the book is deep and moving. There are many layers and a lot of grasp in the book. Also it really was the starting of,my love affair with Hindu mythology reading
  3. The Room by Emma Donoghue : It made me sleepless for days, Jack lingered in my mind for months and I think it told me a lot about being a mom. Read my review here
  4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak : I cried, I laughed and the book made me think. It made me think and it stayed with me for long after
  5. We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver : I still shudder when I think of this book. If you haven’t read it, do it now
  6. Midnights Children by Salman Rushdie : Its one of my favorite books of all time. My quest to know more about partition, more about my folks who have suffered through it
  7. Hitchhickers Guide to Galaxy by Douglas Adams : The answer to life’s most important question and a towel 
  8. One Cuckoo flew over the nest by Ken Kesey : Read it first way back in school, I don’t think I understood much of it but it still left an impact. I have read it many times post that and I think have learnt many a life lessons from it 
  9. Any Rand (Atlas Shrugged, FountainHead) : I was in college, I worshipped those books at that time
  10. Swami and his friends by R.K. Narayan : There is certain warmth and happiness around those books.

There are many many more books which have left an impression on me but here I chose the first 10 that came to my mind

So I tag anyone and everyone who reads this post and reads books ;)

Do a blog post or leave in comments what are the books that left an impression on you

 

 

The New Boss : A guest post

So last week I was having a discussion with a friend who said she has a new boss and she is so frustrated that she wants to vent out. I suggested writing and sending to me as a guest post. 

So here I hand it over to a dear friend who will talk to you about her new boss :) 

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After 4 years of working with a boss who is located at a remote location, one tends to get very efficient,you know. You learn to multi task between writing reports, slogging over excel sheets, reading blogs, commenting all over, reading the news, even operating twitter once in a while. Midst all this, you learn to take out time to even answer official emails from official email id. Gmail, of course is on all day. I mean, both mails are equally important eh?

Midst talks of having a local manager which have been going on for 3 years, you just tend to take the latest guy coming over to join as manager a bit lightly. I mean he comes to meet the ‘team’ and you are sure he will be like the others and wont join anyways. Until one morning, you get a THAT mail that he is indeed joining next week.

And then…

1. The guy comes and shows off his seniority. Joined yesterday and today tells you are over- utilising hours without knowing the head or tail of the project you are working on!

2. Or he tells you that the report you have been churning out foe years now with a decent readership lacks depth and is inattractive. You wonder if he even read that report!!! And inattractive? Errrr…okay…whatever!

3. Or has this horrible habit of sneaking behind you (mind you, he wears shoes which make No sound at all) and peering into the desktop screen of yours, ugh!

4. Or keeps taunting about the fact that you are the ‘oldest in the system’ and will know everything!!!

5. Or takes up a portion of your work, works on 1/5th of the portion and tells you to just ‘wrap it up quickly’

6.or asks you to gather information on something but then tells you NOT to share it with the lead office but just send it to him!

7. Or expects you to be his admin assistant plus do your usual work!

Its irritating, bugging and frustrating. And surprisingly after a couple of weeks of ‘constantly only working’ you realise that your productivity has actually dropped!!! If you worked on 10 reports a week in addition to surfing through the virtual world, you are able to do only 7 reports now.

Not done I tell ya! I am wondering whats a good way to tell the folks on other side of the sea, that I would prefer working without a local boss…especially a character who is as fake as they come!!!

10 on Tuesday written on a Friday

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Yes you may laugh at the title. But you know everyday I think I should write something here and everyday I come open the new post window and everyday I sit and think, what should I write. Its not that I don’t have topics to write about. I do I do infact many of them. The problem right now with me is of plenty. I have been away from this blog for soo long that I have a lot to write about and I don’t know where to start.

So I think a bullet point post, mentioning 10 things that have been on my mind and in my life would be a good way, before you see more of me here hopefully regularly enough.

So here is my  10 on Tuesday written on a Friday

  1. Life has been full of travel the past couple of months. From 7 months of no travel to the last 3 months full of travel, its hectic but its happy hectic. So in the next few days expect a lot of travelogues namely Kolavara Heritage in Shimoga, Raju Guest House in Tirthan, Ride Inn at Manali, Country Club trip to Kandaghat and then finally Goa. Have also done a lot of work travel to Hyderabad in between that has helped me explore the food scene there. More about that too on the food blog
  2. Ojas has joined a new school after a break of about 4 months and seems to be pretty happy with it. And while he was on the school vacation, he went off to my mum’s house in Delhi for about a month followed by my SIL’s house for about 2 weeks. So all in all we had some couple time to ourselves after about 6 years and I can’t tell you how different it felt. Good yes and empty yes too but all in very different and weird. I realised that I am always thinking in terms of three now, always thinking as a mom and to actually think as a couple I have to make an effort but I also found it very refreshing. Had forgotten what uninterrupted conversations felt like and what a delight it is to have them. Also what I learnt was that it really is difficult to adjust back to being a mum now ;) but I am trying I am trying :D
  3. Also like I mentioned in the earlier post, we moved back to the old new house. And one of the highlight for me moving back has been the studio in the house. Baking Studio, a working space for me. It has a desk corner, an island cooking corner, couple of racks for ovens etc. It is not a HUGE space but big enough to be called an office. I have already have had about three workshops there and they all felt nice and cosy. So excited to bake, teach and make videos out of the studio. One by One
  4. One of N’s closest cousins P, actually if you ask me they are more like brothers and he is one of the closest people to N, is getting married end of this month. He went and proposed to his girl in full Bollywood style and decided to get married 6 weeks from the date of the Bollywood proposal. As a result we all running around as headless chickens, trying to arrange everything and enjoying every bit of it. The madness, the shopping, designing the card, dresses to stitch, jewellery to match. So much fun. I missed part of this for my own sister’s wedding in October, one because I was so far and two because they pretty much did a very simple wedding. I am making up for that with this one :)
  5. Robin Williams passed away, leaving each one of us shocked and sad. Sad because there wasn’t anyone like him. We all loved him, We all loved to love him. Shocked because none of us imagined the person behind those laughs was suffering from depression and could commit suicide. I actually wanted to write a whole post on him but then somehow never got around doing it. Let me tell you this, most people who suffer from clinical depression try hard to hide that from the world and we are experts in doing that. I say we because yes I am one of them. I suffer from clinical depression, have been and will be on medications for a long time. And I bet people who read my blog or know me  can’t guess that till I tell them. So be sensitive to people around you. Read up on depression and mental health and please stop using sad and depressed in the same way. One day, one day may be I will be brave enough to share the whole story here. Till such time, I will do with hugs
  6. I set myself a 100 book reading challenge for this year. I have read about 36 till now. I know I am behind but the good thing which has happened this year is that most of the books that I have read have been really good. Will list my favorite ones soon. Till then tell me which are the books you have been reading? Which ones did you like? And which ones you hated?
  7. The child is growing up fast, he has already joined 1st standard and each time I think of it I wonder wasn’t the day of his birth just yesterday? With him are growing his questions, arguments and logics. This is a strange stage of parenting, I am enjoying it the most but it’s also bringing out the worst in me. Testing my limits, specially the limits of patience. I am loving watching him develop a personality of his own but I am getting scared of the fact that the personality is sometimes looking like a mirror image of me. I love seeing him becoming the independent big boy but each time he does something on his own without even looking at us once, the heart skips a beat and I wonder if the empty nest is not so far away after all. I love his witty answers but hate them when the same are used as smart A&^ replies. Such a strange and lovely stage of parenting this and I am absorbing it all as it comes.
  8. I have decided to give this blog a breath, a last hope of survival with the 30 days letter challenge, I saw it first when a friend shared it with me and then I saw Shail doing it and it’s something that excited me after so long. I am itching to write some of the letters, I just don’t want to write some of them. I know some will be intense and will evoke memories, but I have decided to it. Thought long and hard actually and realised some demons needed to be dealt with, some thoughts needed to be written. Hopefully some of them will be funny too :D So from Sep 1 for 30 days, hopefully you will have a letter each day to read here. A letter which holds a tiny part of my heart somewhere
  9. Some pictures you take make you happy. Make you so happy that you share them everywhere. They might not be the best of the pictures but you like them and they make you happy. The cat stories is one such set for me. I found those cats so so so irresistably adorable that I can’t tell and I am not even a cat person. Go see for yourself
  10. And I saved the best for the last, my tattoo :D Yes finally after years of planning and thinking and wondering I got a tattoo done. I got an excellent person who heard me out, designed my tattoo and inked it on my patiently. Check out her page here and I strongly reco her if you are in Bangalore. And here is what it looks like

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