Finding joy in the little things.

Finding joy in the little things.

HAPPINESS–the one elusive thing we are in pursuit of, all our lives. Funnily, we look for it in all the wrong places! We look for it in everything we work hard for and expect to work out for us. Little do we realise, that it is not the big things that hold the key to our happiness, but the tiny things in the here and the now that we are so oblivious to–things that are right in front of our eyes, but, which we fail to even acknowledge.

Last year, I wrote a post on 20 things that bring me happiness. Ironically, just after that post, Life took a U-turn and changed my world, completely. It felt like the Universe meant to make sure I practised what I preached:

“Look for happiness in the little things!” it told me.

And, I did!

I am grateful to the Universe for making me aware of the fickleness of Life. I have, since, learned to be truly happy for every thing that happens in Life. And, hence, this post.

Happiness means different things for different people. For me…

HAPPINESS COMES IN TINY PACKETS!

1. My winged babies who fill my world with their shrill whistles and adorable bird-speak, give me happiness.

2. Working from home makes me happy and feel good about myself.

3. Making art, especially Mandala and illustrations makes me happy and relieves my stress and anxiety.

4. Writing–in my diary, or a post/article. Sheer bliss!

5. Connecting with friends and sisters through phone calls is rejuvenating.

6. Soaking in the early morning sunshine in my kitchen window. Those few quiet moments of feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, the gentle caress of the cool, morning breeze, feeling one with the Universe, makes me feel blessed!

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Feeling the warmth of the early morning sun.

7. My workout sessions in the mornings and my walks in the evenings–without any company! How I love those silent moments, when all I hear is my breathing and my heartbeat.

8. Dancing to the tune of songs that lift my spirits and leave me feeling energised.

9. Humming a song, with Cookie on my shoulder, humming along in her own parrot-y way…is something I will cherish all my life!

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Cookie rules my world!

10. Realising how possessive Cookie is about me–I just can’t get over this one!

11. Realising how emotionally independent I have become in the past year, makes me feel empowered and liberated.

12. Counting my blessings and appreciating every little thing that worked out for me, and every little thing that did not. There are reasons why the things you wish for, don’t come your way. Be grateful for all your dreams that did not come true. There are better dreams waiting to become a reality!

13. Noticing the improvement in my overall health since I began working on myself–mentally, physically and emotionally. I realise every day how awesome I am!!!

14. Every little victory that comes my way–makes me understand what it is that I am doing right.

15. Watching my friends happy in their world, makes me truly happy.

16. Being showered with love and warmth by an aged neighbour–the way she hugs me, makes me feel like I am with mom (coincidently, her daughter’s name is Shilpa, too!)

17. The canine babies in my neighbourhood, when they leap at me in joy and go crazy demanding my attention, makes me feel special.

18. Hearing my babies learning to speak the words I teach them is a wonderful feeling (although, each time I try to record their chatter, they clam up!).

19. Solving puzzles at bedtime gives me happiness (much to hubby’s amusement!).

20. And, finally, connecting with you, dear readers, gives me unlimited joy! So, thank you for visiting me, here.

I keep counting all the little things that fill my world with happiness–some, I note down in my diary, and others, I store away in the ‘Happiness’ file, in my memory. And, each time I do so, I send a ‘Thank you’ to the Universe, which is doing its job brilliantly!

What are the little things that bring you joy? Do share with me, or in your blogs. I would love to know.

Love,

SHILPA…

Where do you look for happiness?

 

Where do you like to read?

Where do you like to read?

February is the Library Lover’s Month. I came across this information while surfing the net and felt that, actually, for a book lover, every month could be the Library Lovers’ Month, right? For so many of us bookworms, the library and the book shop are the most favourite places in the world!

I remember my college library, with its rows and rows of book stands, the peace and quiet of the place as everyone around busied themselves with a book. I wished I could spend my time at the library instead of the classroom, listening to those unexciting lectures. I would have learned a lot more at the library, no? 😜

And, entering a book shop makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland, with a hundred treasures waiting to be discovered. Picking up a book from the neatly arranged shelves, staring at its colourful cover, turning its crisp pages and taking in a lungful of their freshness and wondering what story they hold within them–how I wish I could live in that palace of books forever!

Anyway, coming back to the topic, I came across a post on Lydia Schoch’s blog about ‘What is the Perfect Reading Spot?” last year, and found it to be an interesting topic to write about. For, there are days when you want to give your mind a break from doing any research for your niche topic, and write something delightful and entertaining, instead.

So, as I asked, where do you like to read?
What’s your favourite reading spot?

For me, when I was a kid, it was a Gulmohar tree in my garden. I would climb on it and settle on one of its branches to enjoy a book during my summer vacations. It wasn’t a very tall tree, but its branches were pretty sturdy and held me perfectly well. The leaves would shade me from the sun and the breeze would sway the tree gently, making me feel overwhelmed by the experience.

My room was my other favourite reading spot and I would lose myself in the pages of one of my books and forget the world. Mom would keep calling out my name, asking me to come down for meals, or to help out with some chore. I would plead with her to give me “just five minutes more“, but, those five minutes would never end!

Now, I enjoy reading in the balcony of my house, sometimes. It faces an endless stretch of mangroves and is a very peaceful spot. So, in the evening, before going for my walk, I slip out there with my book and make myself comfortable on a low wooden stool and get busy reading.

I also like reading by the dining table that faces a big window and the mangrove stretch outside. Sitting on a chair, with my legs stretched out on another chair facing me, I sit for hours with my head buried in a book. My winged babies climb onto my shoulders to take a peep at what it is that has all my attention. They even try pecking at it out of jealousy!

Earlier, I used to read in bed. But, last year, after I began experiencing an unbearable backache, my doctor advised me to refrain from doing so. “Sit in a straight-backed chair to read; do not slouch, and DO NOT read in bed!” he said. So, I gave up that habit. On days when I feel like reading before sleeping, I do read in bed, but with a couple of pillows supporting my back. And, yes, I sit erect. No lying in bed to read!

Actually, if I have a book, I could read anywhere..even in a crowded mall, where hubby is busy window-shopping or looking at the cars on display at a car showroom. He is an auto buff and I am not. So, I prefer sitting with my book than torture my feet, standing and staring at those gleaming machines.

Come to think about it, my perfect reading spot would be at the beach. Just imagine….the wind, the surf, the soft, grainy sand, the sound of the waves, and I, with my book…and not a soul on the beach…just like in the image below.

Ah, bliss!

Hmmm….so, that’s it about me. What about you? What is your favourite reading spot?

Love,

SHILPA…

Celebrating the Library Lover's Month!

Live in the moment.

Live in the moment.


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

December is usually a month of reflections. Looking back to the year that was; pondering what went wrong and what we learned from it all. December is also a month for planning for the new year that will soon make an entry; making resolutions; charting the route to be taken to achieve goals and fulfil every wish to make the next year a happy one.

For me, personally, it’s a month of reflections; remembering in detail all that went wrong; all that changed me completely as a person; and all that I will not be doing in the new year. Yes, not doing, as in planning for the new year, making personal and career goals, resolving to do or undo certain things.

All that happened this year taught me one thing, which has now become my motto:

LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

I had plans galore last year, which all crumbled to dust this year and left me broken hearted. Broken hearted and wise. It taught me to live life in the moment–the present. And, that all that we plan need not come to fruition.

I will share with you something that strengthened my belief in living in the moment. Nothing serious, but something really minuscule, and yet, significant.

Yesterday, we–hubby and I–completed 21 years of married life. Family and friends showered us with anniversary wishes; some asked what plans I had for the day; how had we decided on celebrating? And, my only reply was that I had not made a single plan. At the risk of sounding unromantic, it’s just another day, and now it’s 21 long years! But, on a serious note, I don’t make plans because anything could happen and ruin those plans and leave me with a heartache and a bad mood.

And, you know what happened in the evening? Hubby’s car broke down, so it had to be towed to the service centre where it will stay for a few days; hubby wasn’t hungry as he had had a late lunch, and also, he had some work to tend to. So, that left me all alone on my wedding anniversary.

Did I feel bad? Nope. Did I wallow in self-pity? No way! Instead, I went and treated myself to my favourite pani puri at a nearby chaat centre, fed biscuits to my 12 canine friends, who were delighted to meet me, came back home happy and satiated, completed a pending article and then enjoyed a dinner with my feathered babies. And, to be frank, it felt awesome!

Being alone on my wedding anniversary did not dampen my spirits a bit, and that’s because I have conditioned myself to enjoy my own company–in short, be emotionally independent. Does that sound a tad snobbish? I hope not.

So, to sum it up, I was glad I hadn’t made any plans and enjoyed the moment, as it came.

And, that is going to be my goal for the future. To live in the moment; to live life as it comes and to learn from all that it brings for me.

Do you remember Katrina Kaif’s dialogue in the very famous movie, ‘ZIndagi na milegi dobara’? When asked what plans she had for her future, she said she hadn’t decided upon anything, instead wished for Life to surprise her at every turn; looked forward to new adventures and meeting new people and making new friends.

Isn’t that the perfect way to live? The ideal way to live?

Let Life bring for you what She has decided for you. You are sure to learn from the tough times and enjoy the beautiful ones. Like I have been doing since some time now.

I learned from all that went wrong.

Met new people–blogger friends whom I had met in the virtual world only–and loved every moment I spent with them.

Basked in the surprise Life brought my way by getting my entry shortlisted from amongst 1600 plus nominations for the Orange Flower Awards.

And, gained a new insight into how She functions! She, as in Life.

So, it is with this newfound knowledge that I wish to step into the new year..in fact, why just the new year, but every moment that comes my way! That’s sure to take a truckload off of the stress that one usually tends to carry on one’s shoulders–anxious about the future–isn’t it?

The future will be what it is destined to be. Why worry, plan, look forward to the moment that hasn’t come yet? Why not live this moment to its fullest, doing our bestest and letting go the fear of the morrow?

What do you think?

Taking your leave with this quote from a really beautiful book my friend, Sanch, gifted me – ‘The art of racing in the rain’. And, it is something that the dog in the story wonders:

“People are always worried about what’s happening next. They often find it difficult to stand still, to occupy the now without worrying about the future. People are not generally satisfied with what they have; they are very concerned with what they are going to have.”

Points to ponder, eh?

Smile, shine and take care…

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

What do you think about my logo?

And, the new look of my blog? 🙂

SHILPA…

 

Live every moment to its fullest. it might very well be your last!

 

 

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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Is it easy to change your old ways? Is it easy to change yourself?

 

 

 

 

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…

time is running out!