The road to a better life passes through books. #WATWB

The road to a better life passes through books. #WATWB

Ludhiana, the industrial centre of Punjab, India, has some really large-hearted labourers, whose sole dream is to entice their children to read. With the only desire to see their children educated, the migrant labourers of Ludhiana, themselves earning no more than Rs. 10,000/ per month, have contributed towards creating a library.

The library is just a small room where a total of 30 children can be accommodated at a time. Not only is this a library, but also a place where they learn to read Hindi and Punjabi.

WIth parents, most of who haven’t studied past the VIII grade, these children have found a haven in this little library. The labourers, who contributed Rs. 100 to Rs. 5000 towards building this place, have received no help from the Government.

Belonging to the low income group didn’t deter their spirits and they came together for their children . The library is active between 4 pm to  7 pm and has a volunteer teacher coming over to help the children learn to read. An effort that has not gone waste as the children love going there and making new friends as well as learning to read.

Do read the entire story here.

We Are The World Blogfest

This is the 19th post of the ‘We Are The World Blogfest’, where we bring for you heartwarming stories about real-life heroes from around the world;  stories that show love, humanity and brotherhood in a world that can often seem full of negativity and hatred.

The co-hosts this month are:

Damyanti Biswas,  

Shilpa Garg

Eric Lahti

Inderpreet Uppal

Peter Nena

Do join in with such human news stories that  you may come across and help spread hope and positivity  on social media using the WATWB hashtag. 

 

5 posts I loved this month. June’18

5 posts I loved this month. June’18

This month onwards, I am introducing another segment at Metanoia, where I will share  posts I read that moved me, struck a chord, or even urged me to look at Life from a new perspective. It’s good, isn’t it, to have something ‘new’ in Life, every now and then? So, apart from From my bookshelf’, there’s going to be,‘Most loved posts of the month’.

That does not mean the rest of the posts I read aren’t enjoyable, or inspiring enough. But there are posts that really make me sit up as I reread the words that stir me the way  certain words do.  And, hence this post on some special posts!

So, without further ado, let’s get going, shall we?

1. The month began with a post from one of my favourite bloggers, and also a very dear friend, Shailaja Vishwanath. Yes, she finds umpteen mentions at Metanoia! Shailaja, do take a bow if you are reading this, my dear!

So, she published a post that grabbed me, instantly. Why? Because the feelings she described in the post mirrored mine.

That feeling of being insignificant, a ‘loser’ and being jealous of the world around as it gallops ahead, successfully; surpasses you as you trudge along, despite all the effort you put in. That feeling of being left behind in the race, and being too consumed with jealousy as you watch all the others succeeding in every venture they undertake.

However, this feeling was not what the post was all about. It was all about a little word that I came across, that changed the way I treated this very feeling. A word that made me realise I needed to give my thinking a much-needed makeover!

FIRGUN. A Hebrew word…umm…well, let me share with you the link so you can learn all about it, yourself!

Firgun: A beautiful quality

Every word this woman chooses is akin to a jeweller choosing the perfect gems to create an exquisite ornament! Okay, let me not spoil it for you with my metaphors! Do go, read it. I am sure you will change the way you think and feel, not just about Life, but also about success and failure.

2. The next post comes from another dear friend of mine, Sunita Rajwade .It came during the week that brought with it a lot of sadness for many a soul amidst us. The passing of two celebrities: Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. The news of their suicides shocked the world, leaving many broken hearted. That week, when the spotlight was on SUICIDE, and, what makes people take the extreme step.

It’s a post in memory of her dear friend who succumbed to depression–the demon that swallows up a person, leaving him helpless and without a thread of hope to hold on to.

When recent celebrity suicides trigger deep seated dark memories

Sunita’s posts are also very well articulated. The way she expresses her mind, her thoughts..makes me wish I could write like she does! Classy is the word that I would use to describe her writing.

3. The next post I liked is from Suzie, of Suzie Speaks.  It’s a post all of us bloggers will find extremely useful. Why? Because it teaches us how to create images with pictures clicked at our home, with simple props that we could buy at our local market, or even find at home!

A post that will help us give that personal touch to our images and a shine to our posts!

How to create flat lay images using basic props

Do visit her. I am sure you will love her blog, as well as the posts she brings for her readers!

4. I am all for motivational quotes. Metanoia is primarily a health and wellness blog, but Inspirational-Motivational is its second most important segment.

It’s the words in a quote that can add sunshine to your world. We wake up each day, thinking, planning, or even dreading the moments that lie before us, for each of us goes through stuff that has the potential to leave us either overwhelmed or completely broken.

And, it’s at the period when we are at our lowest that we need words to lift our morale, put a smile on our face and a little hope in our heart. Hope, that all’s not over!

Soumya Prasad begins her day with a motivational quote on her Instagram account. Do visit her.  I visit her just for the quotes she shares, for many a time it’s her quotes that put back the faith in my heart and the confidence in my spirits. And, I am quite in awe of her for being candid about her feelings and her opinions about the world and its citizens, too! 😛

Why daily motivation helps.

Do visit her. I am sure you will love the way she expresses her thoughts–fearlessly! I so wish I could be even 30% like her!

5. And, the last post that is also very inspirational in nature comes from another dear friend of mine-Esha Mookerjee Dutta.

Esha is a Literature student and her writing is like poetry for the soul! Oh god, I get blown away each time I read her words! Another blogger I wish to emulate, Esha’s post comes from the experiences Life gave her…is giving her. And, the topic is something that so resonated with me. Having been through some tough times and emerging strand saner, we both learned quite a lot.

It’s only during the tough phases that we learn some very useful lessons, isn’t it? There’s no other way God would ever teach us stuff about Life, would He?

What adversity has taught me

Do visit her, too. I am sure you will come back enlightened!

I mean every word, Esha! ❤

 

So, that’s my list of awesome posts from June. I hope you all like these. Not just like, but also find them inspiring, moving and informative, too! Do leave your views in the comments section. Would love to hear from you!

 

Love,

SHILPA..

 

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Posts that inspire

From my bookshelf, June’18 – Inspirational & Slice of Life books.

From my bookshelf, June’18 – Inspirational & Slice of Life books.

I hadn’t been reading for quite some time the way I was last year. Stuff got in the way and my books got sidelined. So, to get things in motion, I thought of starting this monthly feature at Metanoia–From my bookshelf’–wherein I share a short review of the books I read. This way, I will have to be on my toes and keep up with my reading. I hope you enjoy reading about the books as much as I enjoy writing about them, and take away words or thoughts that stay on with you, as much as they do with me.

This month, I read two brilliantly written books:

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

Let’s begin with ‘Big Magic‘.

But, first of all, I would like to thank my dear dear friend, Shailaja Vishwanath, for gifting me this precious gem. It’s now my Bible, for Life; for everything that I decide to do in my Life, be it writing, art, or just living. Thank you, my darling!

A quote on the back cover perfectly describes the author as someone to be considered as  “One’s personal life coach.” For, that’s just how I felt as I pored over every word in the book–as if it had been written just for me. As if Ms. Gilbert knew the story of my Life and wanted to reach out to me and share with me pearls of wisdom full of empathy, warmth and humour that came from her own experience, and from people she looked up to.

This book is for each one of us “creative people”, as in, not just writers, artists, singers, et al, but every person who lives on this planet. According to Ms. Gilbert, each one of us is a creative person, for living life is being creative, isn’t it?

But, often times, it’s the fear of living life to its fullest that holds us back. Our self-doubt, self-disgust, self-judgement and our crushing sense of self-protection keeps us from creative living. Unless and until we don’t believe that we are entitled to at least try, we will not be able to create anything interesting out of our Life.  And, these are her words.

I could as well quote the entire book in this review. Such is the power of, and truth in, her words. I am aware, as are you,  of the fear, the failure, the rejection, our ego, all of which stand in our way, hindering our progress.

Will we succeed? Will our work be appreciated by others? Will we find satisfaction from what we do? A hundred doubts crowd our mind, getting into our way even before we begin on the journey. And, this is where Big Magic helps us in learning to focus on enjoying the journey more than meditating upon the rewards. It’s just this message that Ms. Gilbert has attempted to send across through this book.

I would recommend this book to each one of you. And, to read it well. It not only inspires you to create, it inspires you to live, the way we are supposed to.

I have marked quite a many quote and passage in every chapter in the book, with the intention of returning to it each time I falter. How I wish I could share all of those, here. But, then one post wouldn’t be enough for it! So, I will share just some of those before I end this ‘book-talk’.

Learning how to endure your disappointment and frustration is part of the job of a creative person. Handling your frustration is a fundamental aspect of the work. Frustration is not an interruption of your process; frustration is the process.

“If you dare to create something and put it out there, after all, it may accidentally stir up a response. That’s the natural order of Life: the eternal inhale and exhale of action and reaction. But, you are definitely not in charge of the reaction–even when that reaction is flat-out bizarre.”

Whatever it is you are pursuing, whatever it is you are seeking, whatever it is you are creating, be careful not to quit too soon.”

Keep moving, keep going. Whatever you do, try not to dwell too long on your failures. You don’t need to conduct autopsies on your disasters. You don’t need to know what anything means.”

I hope these quotes spoke to you, the way they did to me; motivated you to keep going on the path you have chosen for yourself, rekindling in you the fire that threatens to die down each time the ghost of fear rears its ugly head.

Do pick up the book. I know you won’t part ways with it, ever.

 

The Help.

This is a story about the African Americans working in white households during the early 1960s. It’s set in Jackson, Mississippi, but has a Universal appeal. It could very well belong to India, where every other household employs a domestic help, who comes from the lower strata of our society.

Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson and Skeeter (Eugenia Phelan) are the narrators, each with her own unique Life story.

Aibileen Clark is the maid who cares for a little one belonging to the Leefolt family. Minny is another maid, and a friend of Aibileen, who speaks her mind, fearlessly, which results in her losing her jobs. And, Skeeter is the daughter of a white family who owns a cotton farm outside Jackson, and someone who had been very close to her maid, Constantine.

It’s the story of Skeeter befriending the coloured maids in an attempt to investigate the disappearance of her own maid, Constantine. And, it’s during their conversations, that she comes up with an idea. She gets them to share their stories with the world and let the world have a glimpse of the life they live, serving the white households.

The maids care for the children, cook, clean and almost give their entire lives to their white employers, but fail to gain their trust and respect. Going through the pages of this book is like being shown the mirror. Do we trust and respect our domestic help? Do we treat them like family for all they do for us?

Many of us may, but most of us would think twice before trusting them with our house keys, or even allowing them to use our washrooms, isn’t it? Of course, there’s the trust issue when it comes to handing them our house keys, but feeding them, or helping them in their personal crisis is, I believe, something we can do…but rarely do so!

It’s the story of how we all could use a little more kindness when dealing with people who give up their all to serve the privileged ones. A little more understanding of their situation and dealing humanely with those who have been dealt a rough hand in Life, and yet strive to live with dignity and honesty.

Every character comes to life from the very first page. Aibileen, Minny, their employers and the little children in their care. The narration is crisp and the characters so true to life, you feel like a part of the cast, as if the story unfolds right in front of your eyes and you wish you could speak up on behalf of the coloured community!

Do pick up this book, as well. It’s one of those unputdownable books you wish could go on, forever!

Affiliate disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you click on the image below and use it to make a purchase. 

 

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Books to be read

Why do you write? #writebravely

Why do you write? #writebravely

I began blogging four years ago. Then, I was unsure about not just my writing capabilities, but also about what I would write about. Being a homemaker who did not socialize, at all, or step out to study the world as it went about its day, I was at a loss for ideas for my posts. But, I realised that although I could not personally step outdoors much,  my mind could definitely travel the world, nay, the entire Universe, so I would surely have much to write about!

Over the years, writing became a hobby. Sharing thoughts that people could relate to felt exhilarating. But, there was something that kept getting in the way of my writing transforming from being just a hobby to becoming my passion. Eventually, it did, though.  For, now I write because it is not just a way to give release to my creativity, but to make me feel alive.  It’s a gratifying experience, actually.  Maybe, moving to, ‘Metanoia’, did the trick!

The blogosphere feels like a Wonderland, really. You come up with a topic to write about;  stringing together words that  best express your thoughts, you work on your post with a passion and obsession that you find invigorating. Then,  after careful consideration and a whole lot of editing, you hit Publish. And, out goes your post, into the world for all to read. And, just when you aren’t thinking much about it, you receive a comment from an unknown reader, where they talk about how much they could relate to your post.

How they, too, felt the same in a situation you found yourself in, and how they emerged out of a difficult period that left them overwhelmed, just the way you did. And,  at that moment,  those words get imprinted in your heart and you feel you did something right! That’s when you realise, with a new-found confidence, that you are going in the right direction.

I admit, there are moments when I yearn to find myself rubbing shoulders with award-winning bloggers; have  hundreds of followers craving to lap up the words I type here, on my blog, and leave behind flattering remarks on my posts. But, I stop myself and divert my mind to the happiness it receives from just writing, and I am back on terra firma.

My mind no longer in the clouds, I realise what joy there is in simply writing. A cathartic experience coupled with a release for my creative urge is what I gain from this exercise. Why then should I even wish for something else, something so superficial, it is only going to give me happiness but for a few moments? Awards are definitely going to encourage me and my morale, but the rewards I receive from the act of writing are far more precious to me.

And, therefore I write.

Why do you write?

Love,

SHILPA..

                                         

Image source: PIXABAY

*********************

The Writetribe Problogger Blogging Challenge has been a great experience. Being a twice-a-week writing  challenge, it was not only doable, but also inspirational. In that, I not just worked on my writing, but also could visit some really brilliant bloggers I haven’t read, up until now. There were fiction as well as non-fiction posts that left their impression on me and taught me so much!

Thank you, Corinne, for this opportunity! Looking forward to the next blogging challenge! 🙂

Linking this post to The Writetribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

#writebravely       #writetribeproblogger

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What inspires you? How do you inspire yourself? #writebravely

What inspires you? How do you inspire yourself? #writebravely

 

I have been participating in an Ink drawing Challenge called, Inktober  since the beginning of this month. Here, just as in the ProBlogger Blogging Challenge,  we have prompts for each day. I haven’t used many prompts as such because I have so much to inspire me that is all around me:  nature, my pet, the festive season, life! The prompts do come in handy when the mind goes on a strike. But, otherwise, I prefer looking around me for inspiration.

Be it artists or writers or any creative people, the  inspiration we need is all around us, at our beck and call. Be it the greenery that surrounds us, the birds, the bees, the dragonflies that make the sky so much livelier, our pets, the beaches, people who pass us  by on the street, the entire Universe!  Our Creator has provided us with ample inspiration to work on, and yet we grumble about the lack of any. Maybe we are too lazy to look around, I mean, really look around.

How present are we in our surroundings, in the moment we live in? Hardly, to be frank. We visit a park, or the beach, or even the mall, and all we do is click selfies, or take pictures to be shared on the social media for its intoxicating adulation. Are we  even present  when we  click those pictures? How often do we  think of using the world around us as a muse for our artwork, or our writing, or any creative activity we indulge in? Sorry, I digress. Or, do I?

So, we were talking about inspiration.  I  look for it in the world I see when I peep out of my window, or view when I step outdoors, or even when I leave my thoughts aside and focus on the world around me, on the life around me. That’s really where we find a thousand stories waiting to be told. That’s where we find our muse waiting to be used to create a work of art.

The ink drawing challenge helps immensely in learning to focus on our surroundings. The dried leaf fallen off a tree/the little stray pup happily  romping in the mud/the snail that trails about in slow-mo/ that woman we pass by on our way to work, who invariably sports a large bindi on her forehead and adorns her wrists with a  hundred bangles in varied hues/that friend of ours with a sexy voice/that child whose giggles we find so contagious…the list is endless.

All we need to do is FOCUS, on the outside – look, look carefully for things we may otherwise not notice. And, FOCUS on the inside – on our mind and learn to divert its attention from the useless worries that occupy so much space,  and bring it to the moment we live in. It is really very easy, and yet, very difficult! For, it’s not always that we will make use of the inspiration that meets the eye. Our mood may not agree with us. Heck, life may not  agree with us.

But, that’s where the challenge lies, isn’t it? Shooing the lousy mood away, shutting the bad thoughts out and simply concentrating on creating…as if our life depended on it.  Because, trust me, at times it does! Life, for us artists, depends on our creativity; our sanity depends on our creativity. It’s just that we need to learn to inspire ourselves. Guide those immobile fingers and the mind in the right direction despite not knowing the destination and create just because!

So, go ahead and create. Look around, there’s inspiration in abundance out there. Just pick any and create – for yourself, for your happiness and your contentment.

 

So, what inspires you? And, how do you inspire yourself?

 

Linking this post with The WriteTribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge.

#writebravely   #writetribeproblogger

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