Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Last month, a dear cousin flew down to India. We have been really close right since our childhood. So, as we caught up over the phone and swapped notes, she asked me how life was. When I told her my daily schedule, she got into the ‘sensible cousin mode’ and gave me a much-needed pep talk.

She knows what an introvert I am, who loves her own company, enjoys staying cooped up in her home and seldom approaches people for a conversation. So, she came up with a brilliant plan to revamp my lifestyle and add a pop of colour to it.

She advised me thus:

Get out of your house on the weekends. Visit a cafe and become a regular at the place. Carry a book, if you feel awkward, initially. Then, mingle with the other patrons, get friendly with the staff, have a few laughs and then come back home, feeling thrilled and upbeat!

My darling cousin has a reason. She feels if I do this one thing, then the anxiety and the gloom that looms large like an apparition and frightens the hell out of me, won’t bother me, ever again. The socialising will act as the best panacea as well as a stress buster!

Since some time now, I have been in the state of mind where I wish to go out, meet and socialise, but the mere thought of actually meeting people and conversing with them gives me the jitters! I am in such a dilemma that I’d rather stay put where I am–at home. I am too self-conscious and, at times, suffer from a low self-esteem. There, I admit it.

Chatting with strangers is not something I can imagine doing. It’s a different matter, altogether, meeting my blogger friends, even if for the first time. We all know our stories, where we come from, our likes, dislikes, pet peeves and passion, so even if we were to meet for the very first time, we would just be picking up from where we left in the virtual world, where we meet oftener.

Indulging in small talk with complete strangers is not my thing! What do I talk about? The weather? Fashion? Kids? Work? What???

So, when I asked my cousin what do I talk about with strangers, she giggled and told me to just talk whatever comes to my mind, but not get into anything serious–like talking about LIFE, for instance. She advised me to, “Keep it simple, silly!” and learn to chill.

Yes, CHILLIN’ is what I am supposed to be doin’ to bring about some vibrancy into my dull and boring life.

That reminds me, dull and boring is what an old friend thinks I am, which, as a matter of fact, is the fact. So, to get rid of this dullness, I need to get out of my comfort zone, which is my home, and learn to mingle.

Phew!

Oh, and, I also need to change my wardrobe, try out something that adds an element of zing to my life and watch myself bloom, all over again! Her words, again.

Now, introverts reading this post will, definitely, wonder how the hell am I going to attempt to do all of the above. I, too, wonder how I will manage it all. I mean, I am 45, and all my life I have been this wallflower who would rather stay on the periphery and watch all the fun than approach strangers and converse with them. Mingle with them.

Ahem…I feel like telling my darling sis, “I don’t mingle, lady..I prefer to stay single!” Hehe..Bad joke, I know, but that’s how I like it.

Oh, how am I supposed to do it, dear cousin? Pray, tell me!!

“Sweetie, you just need to step out of your comfort zone!” is what will be her witty retort!

Wish me luck, people! Will keep you posted!

Tell me, dear reader, have you ever tried stepping out of your comfort zone? Or, are you contemplating doing something like what I have been asked to do? If you have ventured out of your comfort zone, how has the experience been? Do share with me your story; it will be an inspiration for me!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Of beaks that kiss.

Of beaks that kiss.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Never in my life did I imagine getting friendly with animals. Like, having a pet dog, falling in love with him, crying over his death and then having a bird for a pet and then falling in love with it, too and then having that bird become possessive about me. Never. In fact, apart from the few sparrows that came to visit me in my balcony, I hardly even gave any credit to birds. I didn’t even know they could think. Dogs are smart. We all know that. But, birds? We hardly even consider birds to have any brains, at all!

Cookie, my parakeet, has been with us for a year and four months, to be precise. And, my two pet mountain parrots have been with us about six months. Cookie, having lived with us for longer, has bonded with me very well and we get along famously. So much so, that–and I don’t exaggerate–she has grown very possessive about me. Possessive and demanding of my attention.

Now, how could a bird become possessive, one might wonder. Let me give you an example. If you were to come to my place for a chat, Cookie would screech like crazy, hardly allowing us to talk. She wouldn’t enter her cage willingly, but would instead, fly over onto your head to try to attack you. In short, she would use every trick in her book to drive you away so that she could have me all to herself.

She doesn’t appreciate even Bholu or Chikki getting any attention from me. A couple days ago, as I sat on the floor watching TV, the two parrots were loitering around on the sofa behind me. Cookie was happily perched on my right shoulder. After a while, Chikki came over and climbed onto my left shoulder.

Cookie got off, walked over to Chikki and pecked at her until she got off my shoulder. No sooner did Chikki climb off, Cookie took over the now empty spot as I looked at her, stunned. She is a real bully, that girl, Cookie!

I was surprised beyond belief! Could a bird get that possessive about a human that she wouldn’t allow anybody to get close to them? I was astonished and thrilled. At least someone was possessive about me! How I wish I had video-taped it all to share with you.

Cookie doesn’t even approve of my kissing the other two birds. If the three are seated atop their cage and I try to talk to them, Cookie places herself between me and the two parrots and insists I kiss her. Each time I move from her towards one of the other birdies, she moves over and stands in front of my face, and gives me a look that asks, “Do I need to tell you, that you are supposed to kiss ME and me alone?”

Cookie loves to kiss, loves it when I shower her with kisses, especially on her tummy as she lies on her back, and loves to push her bum to my face and get kissed there, as well! She is an absolute darling. Oh, and she also loves snuggling under the bed covers! Yeah, it does feel strange reading all of this about a bird, but that’s how she is, and that’s how is our bond!

That tiny creature who measures no more than my palm, has a sharp brain which she uses very well to divert my attention from Bholu and Chikki. Or, even to remind me that I am supposed to share my food with her before I eat it, myself.

Bholu and Chikki have also begun to bond with me. Chikki only needs to see me sitting and she rushes up to me, climbs up my leg, onto my lap and from there, climbs up to my shoulder to play with my hair clip, or eat food from my plate. Be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s a battle the three fight, for my attention as well as for the food on my plate.

I have stopped using the term “birdbrained”, ever since these three kiddos began showing their antics, displaying their intelligence and quick-wittedness.

There is so much to write about these three monkeys I have at home, I could fill in an entire book, and some more.

Sharing here some of their pictures, today. I will try and shoot a video, too. I specially wish to shoot a video of Cookie sitting on my shoulder, humming along as I sing a song. She is the only one who loves my voice–my singing voice, to be specific! So, wait and watch!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Life with our pets is one full of unconditional love and happiness.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I opened today’s newspaper to find a headline that almost leapt out at me, as if trying to urge me to write something I had been putting off for a couple days now.

September happens to be the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I had mulled over the idea of writing a post on suicides since the beginning of this month, but kept putting it off. I just couldn’t find the right tone to express my thoughts on the matter. But, today’s news changed it all.

Syed Nasser Hussain, a resident of Deonar, Mumbai, was returning home from work from Vashi. When on the Vashi bridge, he spotted a girl trying to jump off the bridge into the creek below. Syed Hussain got off his scooter, hurried to the girl and pulled her back in the nick of time.

He then spent an hour counselling the girl, asking her what the matter was, why she had decided to take such a drastic step.

Hearing her story about a heartbreak, he then counselled her and took her to her home. On reaching her home, they found the house locked as her parents had gone to a hospital. Taking the keys from her neighbours, Syed left the girl inside, and asking the neighbours to keep an eye on her, left the place.

While driving back, though, he had this strong feeling that he should not have left the girl alone at home in this condition, and so, he turned around and drove back to her house. On reaching, when he tried to open the door, he found it locked from within. With the help of her neighbours, he broke open the door only to find his intuition right.

The girl had hung herself from the ceiling fan.

They untied her off the fan and rushed her to a hospital. Yesterday the doctors informed the newspaper reporter that the girl was out of danger.

The girl’s father thanked Syed Hussain profusely.

Syed Hussain was a stranger to the girl. Yet, when he felt something amiss, he decided to help her. And, in doing so, twice in a night, he had saved a life. A precious life which would have gotten wiped out had Syed not stopped his scooter that night; a death that would have left behind heartbroken parents with nothing but memories of their only child.

In our hectic lives, how often do we stop and pause to think about what someone said or did that felt abnormal; something that seemed to be a silent cry for help, but in not as many words?

Do we even give a moment’s thought about what the person might have implied?

Each of us faces hardships in life. And, let’s not even get started on the kind of hardships that we are subjected to. We fight right till the end, with every ounce of our strength we can muster. Sadly, there are some who are left with no willpower to continue fighting; no support from the world and no desire to even keep running towards the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Some just prefer to end it all rather than keep fighting and keep living a miserable life.

And, with the loneliness and the depression tormenting them night and day, and with no one to offer them the necessary support, they give it all up.

And, end up being just a statistic.

The Suicide Awareness Campaign might not find a better mascot than Syed Hussain, who went out of his way to save the life of a stranger. Not only did he save her once, but heeding his intuition, he reached out to her twice. He counselled her about not giving up because some idiot broke her heart.

To quote Syed Hussain, “I have had long conversations with her dad. She needs to be taken care of. I have told her he must support her to complete her education. She must grow into a confident woman who does not see unfaithfulness of a man as the end of the world.”

How many of us would leave aside our work, our busy schedules, if we were to spot someone trying to end their life? How many of us would even pay attention to what someone says in a moment of despair?

All the person needs is a patient ear; someone who holds their hand and asks what the matter really is. All they need is to talk their heart out to someone who will just hear them out, not judge them, or give unsolicited advice without knowing the entire story. Someone who will read the real meaning behind their sad smiles and their artificial laughter and their overeagerness to appear “normal”, when in reality, they are crumbling from within.

Do we have it in us to be that someone who listens, really listens, and doesn’t let go just because the person in front of us won’t open up about the pain they suffer?

it really takes very little time to help out people in distress. It takes just a few words to heal a sad, broken heart. And, it takes just a few moments to save a life from becoming a statistic.

All you need to do, is reach out.

Love,

SHILPA..

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Reach out, before they take the drastic step

 

Can you spend time alone?

Can you spend time alone?

Well, can you? Or, do the walls of your house seem to close in on you, leaving you feeling stifled? Or, do you find it absolutely thrilling being on your own?

If it’s the latter, well, you are, indeed, lucky! You can survive very well on your own. You can take pretty good care of yourself and your emotional needs. In fact, you can consider yourself emotionally independent!

However, if it’s the former, then, you so need to work on yourself, sweetie! Consider this a loner’s verdict, if you may, but, take it from me that it is the number one bitter fact of life that:

Everyone leaves. So, you need to learn to survive alone!

“Of course, our friends will be there with us”, some of you might argue. But, will they, really? They have lives to live, battles to fight, issues to solve. They will have time constraints; some will move to another city; and some others will drift away. Life comes in the way, you see! And, even if your friends do stay, will they be there for you, always? As in, every time you need them? As much as they would want to, they won’t be able to.

So, what will you do in such a scenario?

“Well, our partner will be there for us, and so will our kids!” I can almost hear some of you assert, vociferously. But, do they really stay for you, precisely when you are desperate for someone to just sit by your side and offer their quiet company? They don’t! After a point, they lose patience. What do you do then?

Shall I tell you?

You learn to get used to your own company. It is really not that easy, believe me. But, it isn’t impossible, either. Ahem, all this gyaan comes from experience, by the way. So, I know what I am saying.

So, learn to enjoy your own company.

If you feel suffocated indoors, step outdoors. Go for a walk. Better still, take yourself out on a date! I have done it, and trust me, it was the best date of my life! I dressed up, went to a mall, lazed around in a bookstore, indulged in some window-shopping, had lunch and desserts and simply sat on a bench in the mall, watching life around me. Observing people, wondering about their lives, trying to guess their stories from what I saw. And, after a few hours, when I returned home, I felt refreshed!

My next on the to-do list is to go watch a movie, alone.

And, the next is, to travel alone.

Apart from these activities, you could develop a hobby or, maybe, find a job–something that you had pushed aside all these years. And, whatever it may be, make sure you stay occupied, so much so, that you find not a single moment to wallow in self-pity or pamper your, “I feel so lonely!” mindset.

Just do not encourage these negative feelings, for they ruin your mental space, leaving you completely broken and dejected. And, that is not a very good feeling.

I am just glad I had my pet Chikoo, my blog, my art and books and now I have my winged babies–Cookie-Bholu-Chikki–to keep me occupied in between my busy schedule. I also found myself a job, where I can work from home. And, it feels fantastic! Touchwood.

But, I will be honest. This horrid I-am-lonely-and-miserable feeling does spring upon me, sometimes, catching me unawares. But, I push it out of my mind. It is akin to moving mountains, but, you gotta do what you gotta do, lest you lose your mind! Then, I replace those depressing thoughts with some good thoughts, like, what post to write, what do I do about my artwork, or read a good book, or watch a movie.

It won’t be an easy journey, this dealing with loneliness. But, all it needs is to get pally with yourself. Love yourself, trust in yourself and your judgements and believe that you are no longer scared of being alone. If people do join you, good, and if they don’t, fine, as well!

Work on becoming independent–EMOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT–and you won’t need a person by your side, ever. Okay, sometimes you will, but you will also manage pretty well if you don’t find anyone there.

Wish you the best!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

If you have had the worst experience being alone, if you dread those moments of solitude, talk things out, seek help, but don’t keep to yourself.

Take care,

Love,

SHILPA..

 

 

can you spend

If I were to leave this world tomorrow…

If I were to leave this world tomorrow…

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

My friend, Vinodini Iyer shared a post today about what she would do if she were to discover that today was the last day of her life. It got me thinking along the same lines. Of course, I know that some day will be my last day on this planet, and knowing how uncertain Life can be, it might just be tomorrow! Well, you never know, do you?

So, even though I have thought about what I would do if I were to discover that Life would be ending on a particular day, I haven’t put it down in as many words, yet. The thoughts have been saved and the plan’s all ready, up there, in my mind, but reading Vinodini’s post inspired me to put those thoughts down on my blog, not for any other reason than to remind myself every day that Life is nearing its end , so, lady, you need to change a few things about yourself and learn to chill…a bit!

So, here goes, my to-do list for the day I bid adieu:

  1. The very first thing I would do is call up my parents. God, just thinking about how they would react on reading this post gives me a fair idea of how they would react if…So, let me reword it: I would call up my family–every person of the entire family– and have a heart to heart chat with them all. Joke with my gang of cousins and share a few dirty jokes one last time so that I leave with a big smile on my face, and theirs, too.
  2. Next, I would call the few friends who matter to me, a lot. It will be one of those emotionally draining experiences, but it’s what I would want to do. We hardly get the time to talk to each other everyday as much as we would like to. And, they are well aware of it, but I still need to tell them how much I love them, how much they mean to me.
  3. There are a few things that I cherish–my jewellery, sarees, books,art supplies–and I have already decided what goes to whom. So, during those heart to heart chats I have with them, I will let them know about their little inheritance!😜 (My girls are going to kick me if they read this post, really!).
  4. My winged babies–Cookie, Bholu, Chikki–will be moved to their aunt’s home or my mom’s home. These are the two places where they will receive the most love and the best care.
  5. I wonder who will take care of hubby! (Oh, God! I really don’t want to go tomorrow! How will that guy survive alone?).
  6. I will remind hubby and sis-in-law about donating my organs so someone can live a better life. I have told them about it on multiple occasions, but this time they will have to take me seriously!
  7. My blog baby, Metanoia, will have one last post, to thank all those who visit here regularly and leave behind a piece of their heart.
  8. And, yes, for the last time, I would like to spend some happy moments with my stray furry friends–I so look forward to meeting them every day! They remind me of my Chikoo–the guy I will be meeting soon!

These are just some of the things I would want to do before I cross over. Although, I do wonder if the time I have left would be enough to fulfil these last wishes!

That’s the reason behind penning this post, you see? To be grateful for all that I have been blessed with and to remind myself, again, that Life is so very uncertain. And, the few, uncertain moments we have left, are best spent doing something worthwhile. That nothing here lasts forever and that love is all that really matters.

Have you ever thought what you would want to do if it was your last day today?

Love,

SHILPA…

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