Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
It’s a thought that came to my mind this morning while I was about to mark a date in my diary to see my homeopath. Continue reading
“Keep Going. Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” -Roy T. Bennett.
When the going gets tough, I often ask myself, “Why is this happening to me?”. At times, I know I have the answers, mostly I don’t. Continue reading
Last year, it was around this time, that I first came across the #A-Z Challenge. I was busy taking my baby steps as a blogger then, hoping to get a grip on the writing schedule, which was such a herculean task. Obviously, therefore, the last thing on my mind would have been a daily blogging challenge. But, then I read a few posts and I found it rather interesting. As a matter of fact, I got lured by it, to the point that I quietly resolved to take it up, even if only to test the waters…and find out if it was as exciting as everyone made it out to be! I am so glad I did!
Overall, it was an experience that I truly enjoyed, even if it drove me insane at times and utterly breathless, as I juggled, home, work, a 11 year-old on vacation and elderly parents who needed attention and care all at the same time. To add to it, my home help was also away for almost a week leaving me wondering why I was so foolhardy not to have anticipated all this (How could I forget there’s Murphy’s Law always at work, at times like this!!!) But, I had signed up and had committed to the challenge and my resolve was not to be shaken so easily. I persisted. Thankfully, better sense prevailed and I stuck to it.
The month of April went by like a roller-coaster, with my thoughts and emotions taking me for a ride, and me, all the while, waiting for something exciting to show up. Since I had not scheduled many posts in advance, after the smooth sailing ended by the first week, I was only able to take my posts two at a time, occasionally posting a day later. Did I tell you, I absolutely loved my theme – Pins on the Map of my Memory, which was about places with a special connect taking me through my personal journeys. I loved recounting the incidents associated with each of the places, where I had once lived or had the opportunity to travel to. Going down memory lane, more like!
And for being able to do this, a huge credit goes out to my mom to whom I remain eternally grateful. Her unflinching support and help that came in handy throughout the month to ensure that I could tap into my keyboard, undisturbed, at a stretch to get those posts out on time. As always, a zillion things to be thankful for, where mom is concerned! She has always been my anchor and refuge in crises!
When I had initially set off at the beginning of April, I had no clue how I was going to keep up with so much reading and commenting every day for an entire month!!! But, that’s why this challenge was so interesting because it made me push my boundaries and re-prioritise my work schedule to make sure that deadlines were met and eventually, I came out of it alive!
As a final note, I must admit, that I had an amazing journey during this time discovering new blogger friends and their awesome blogs. I enjoyed the great time, followed on adventures, read many exciting and engaging stories, and, most of all, made many new friends. Not bad at all for a first-time experience. My only regret: I wish I had more time to read many more blogs! But, I am now catching up on my reading as I take a month-long break to attend to my offline duties and the growing demands of family.
Blogging is great but life is way bigger than that. This moment will pass by but the memories will egg me on…another year…and another challenge…I am ready for the next one 🙂
Known originally by the name ‘La Ville des Fleurs’ (The City of Flowers), Quatre Bornes is a town in Mauritius, located in the Plaines Wilhems District, that lies sandwiched between the towns of Beau-Bassin Rose-Hill and Vacoas-Phoenix. Its’ present name is derived from French, meaning “four boundaries”, referring to the boundary stones that marked the limits of four large sugar estates once situated there. Sugarcane is still produced in the surrounding areas as an important crop. Today, Quatre Bornes is a fast-growing, mainly middle-class residential and commercial centre linked to the capital city of Port Louis, that has emerged as an important hub of urban life in this island nation.
It is here that our journey began when we first landed in Mauritius, one Wednesday afternoon, in the middle of an anti-cyclone and torrential downpour, many years ago. After a brief meeting with a few senior folks at Jay’s new office in Moka at the foot of the Mountain Ory, we headed straight for a Chinese meal at King Dragon in Quatre Bornes! That was our first ever encounter with a town that was later to become the hub for most of our networking and social activities during the course of our stay in the island.
Before moving to Mauritius, we lived with Jay’s parents for a while, so, it was actually in Mauritius that we set up our home for the first time. How wonderfully exciting the whole task of doing up the place was, of buying household stuff together and my first experience of cooking three proper meals in a day(phew!!!). I had never shown the remotest inclination towards cooking or any other household chores or activities ever before, so I was also in serious disbelief seeing myself cook, wash and clean with a new-found zeal and finding in a whole new avatar! Legally not allowed to work, I was busy learning the ropes of effectively running the house and decided to join language classes at the Alliance Francaise in Port Louis and Oil Painting classes at Quatre Bornes to meet up with like-minded people and relieve myself of the monotony that comes with living in a new country. A decision that earned me some lasting friendships
Those days, Jay’s cousin who lived in Quatre Bornes used to invite us home every Friday evening for a little get-together. Besides, we also had a wonderful friend called Benita who lived a few steps away from her place. Quatre Bornes also reminds me of the Sunday Market, (more of a flea market) that we all loved going to! At the Indian Women’s Cultural Association (IWCA Office) I also briefly attended Yoga classes! Our favourite haunt for a Mexican meal was also in Quatre Bornes. So, you see how handy it was for us, living right next door in Rose Hill and hopping over to Quatre Bornes!
Today, memories come flooding by, as I recall those years. What wonderful times we all had then! The contrast of colours, cultures and tastes had made our stay in the island all the more charming. Those two years in Mauritius, were well and truly the best years of our lives. So much has changed in our lives since then. And, yet, some things never change because the human mind has a way of capturing the essence of the moments to flash it again years later in a very different context, to merit the question -‘…did all that really happen?’.
Today, my heart fills up with gratitude for the good times we shared, the friendships we built and the lasting memories that are left behind.
Sometimes I wonder about my writing. I keep on and on because I think things begin to make sense to me. And yet, I have miles to go before I can ever think of calling myself an accomplished writer. Why? Because my writing is still a work in progress.
When I think of my reasons to write, the first thought is that of an impulse, a force that wants to bring about small changes in the way we view things, even if the change were to be a minute one. To me, it means I achieved something. Someone has rightly said of writing, “At times, it feels like riding a roller coaster; other times, it’s like riding a donkey.” Personally speaking, writing pushes me to grow and discover more about myself. I couldn’t live any other way.
When I hear from my readers that my note/post has earned their appreciation, it validates my inner thoughts and fuels me to go on. But, even if it doesn’t grab someone’s attention, I would still continue to write, because, at the end of the day, I write for myself. Sharing a few good reasons that compels me to write:
My writing is my own road map – it shows me the way forward.
It lets me tell my stories and share my beliefs with the world at large.
When I write, I belong in the here and the now.
Writing helps me discover myself, my innermost world of thoughts that often lies trapped under the layers of duties, daily chores and responsibilities that sum up my day.
I write to connect with myself.
Writing is a way of clarifying my thoughts, reflections and beliefs to myself first and then, to the world.
Writing to me is about finding meaning and then sharing it with the world.
I write to be fully alive and free, to find contentment because I’ve always wanted to do so for a very long time, not knowing why.
Writing helps us make art out of everyday, ordinary moments.
I write because it allows me to create something through words and then, at the press of a button, gives me that indefinable joy of sharing it with others across the world.
We all go through experiences that teach us some difficult life lessons. I write because it pushes me beyond the barriers of everyday existence into a world of possibilities. The path may not always be smooth and predictable, but there are new horizons to explore always, which add to more adventure in life, away from the staid and the ordinary.
Writing makes one view life with a multi-coloured lens to be able to present the myriad hues of the human condition to the reader. Each moment of anticipation is full of excitement about what could happen in the next.
As I said earlier, my writing is still a work in progress. It is not about the destination, but all about the journey!
(Linking this with #Monday Musings on Everyday Gyaan)
Whenever I meet someone for the first time, sooner or later during the conversation, the question inevitably comes to where I belong. Now, I have an answer for that, which I often give to people, though I’m not sure they always understand what it means. I usually say, I belong to all the places that I’ve ever lived in, which includes about 8 different cities that at some point in time I called home. People then ask me, how do you belong to all these places? How is that possible? What makes that possible?
My answer is – my sense of belonging!
Well, what is this sense of belonging? It must be a common experience, one which connotes acceptance as a member or part. Apparently, a simple word but one with a huge significance. I think a sense of belonging is a human need, just like the need for food and shelter. Feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life and in coping with intensely painful emotions. Some find belonging in a community, in a religious group, some with friends, some with family, and some, as we often find these days, in social media.
In my case, I have found this sense of ‘belonging’ to different cities enriching my life in a myriad ways. As children, my brother and I travelled with parents, as my dad’s job necessitated it. In the beginning, I hated the move and the sudden change in the way we lived our day-to-day lives, with new friends, new school and a complete upheaval of an old, comfortable way of life. But, gradually, I began to enjoy this change. I carried friendships and happy memories with me each time we moved, and as I grew up, I learnt that this had not only earned me some very good friendships, but had also brought in a certain sense of adaptability within me, that made me want to experience new places and people even more.
In later years, travelling became an enormous adventure, but more than the excitement of charting new path and finding new places and seeing things, it has been an eye opener in helping me not only to adjust to, but also relate to very different things, that I’ve never experienced before – as in learning new ways of living, redefining my perspectives and understanding myself a little better. All these experiences, have shaped me and made me the way I am today. This possibly also explains why I feel that I belong as much to the undulating roads in the once-pristine hill town of Kohima, to the buzzing student city of Manchester, or the rolling hills of Cliftown Downs in the beautiful city of Bristol; as much at home in the bylanes of Jaipur and the markets of Quatre Bornes in Mauritius; at once being able to relate to the second-hand bookshops of Calcutta’s college street where I spent my college years to the swanky streets of the urban metropolis that is now Ahmedabad. Each time I visit these places, I find myself a part of it, as if I’m one among the many who belong there. And yet, if you ask me, I’m happy to admit that I absolutely love my current hometown – Bangalore, where I’ve been based for the last eight years. Warts and all, I love it all the same!
For some strange reason, I have been unable to single out one place or city as the place where I belong to. In the same breath, I must also admit that taking to new people and a new culture has not always been very smooth. I have encountered people at every stage who have had very different views though, that has clashed with my beliefs. Along the way, I have met many who have struggled to find a sense of belonging and their loneliness has been physically painful for them, as they have moved from one place to another in search of that one single place they can call home. At various times in life, I have also encountered people who have sought this sense of belonging through excluding others. Yes, I have been at the recieving end of such people too, but thankfully, none of them lasted long. I carried on nonetheless, moving, travelling, learning and making a handful of very good friends who accepted me as one of them.
Now, when I look back, I often feel that the more I have traveled, the more I have continued to carry some element of each place within me, that has enriched my life and my work and continues to do so, in a way that nothing else does! And every time I meet someone from any of these places, I feel good knowing that we have a shared history that makes our connection a little special. One such occasion was meeting a fellow Write-Triber/blogger Anamika, last month. We had a lovely time catching up. Meeting her four year old son Dhruv was like the icing on the cake.
I joined Write Tribe last summer. In the initial weeks/months when I was struggling to find my feet as a blogger, I recieved a tremendous amount of support from the group members. Today, months after those days of uncertainty, I can happily say I belong here with all of you my fellow bloggers, my fellow comrades, as much as I belong to all those wonderful places that makes me who I am!
If you asked me what this sense of belonging does to me on an everyday basis, I’d confess – to me it does a lot! A sense of belonging to a greater community improves my motivation, health, and happiness. When I see my connection to others, I get to know that we are in it together, through the good and the not-so-good times.
The fact is I’m not alone. Nothing could be more comforting than that 🙂