A spring clean-up

It is time to clean up my life – I’m going on a severe decluttering spree – right from my journals at work, to the dusty shelves at home that have accumulated with many bits of infinitely useless things over the years. It is the time to clean it all up, in anticipation of a big arrival in a few months, which will require, and haughtily occupy all this space and more!

There is nothing I like better than spring cleaning! It gives that breath of fresh air to your whole life, and parallelly evokes a freshness in your thought, and a new perspective on things. Of course, I did feel terrible giving away bags and bags of books, but well – I need the space, and the library needs them more than I do.

I felt terrible having to give away perfectly good clothes too – but one ought to be rational! When we’ve consistently been putting on 9 kilograms over 3 months, we ought to realise that some clothes are simply never going to fit us again. And the iron akka’s daughter was going on vacation to her native village, to spend the summer there. She had a look of pure joy in her face when I gave her the clothes, that is unparalleled by anything else I’ve seen so far.

There is a lot more cleaning to do – I’ve only just started. The very thought puts a spring in my step! 🙂

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

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New beginnings!

It has been 5 months since I last wrote here, and my life has turned topsy-turvy in the meantime. Topsy-turvy in a good way, rest assured! Sometimes… well, most times, when life hands you something that you weren’t exactly planning or expecting at that point, it takes you a while to regain your balance, to come back to normal.

Well, there is no coming back to normal; in retrospect, you just find a new sense of balance – a new normal. And it has taken me all this while to find my new normal; what’s more, I know that in a few very short months, I’ll be going through this exact phase all over again! (hint: expect a hiatus from the blog then too). However, post that hiatus, you can expect a ton of posts here, as I will have a ton of new experiences to write about! 🙂

The one thing I did learn in such times, is to never lose yourself amidst the chaos. This realisation has dawned on me, upon suddenly realising that I have read exactly one book since the beginning of the year, and blogged zero posts.  Amidst my progressively busy life,  with new experiences almost every day,  I have also taken a resolution to steadfastly stick to the old! Always try your best to be and do what is closest to your heart, and you will survive practically anything. 🙂

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

 

It is that time again…

That time when  I am suddenly seized with a bout of reflection on how pathetically I am living my life. Bouts that come when I suddenly get enough time to actually reflect on my life. Bouts that come when I suddenly come across shared quotes on Facebook that talk about how you should live life to the fullest, and do what makes you happy.

Bouts that make me realise that I am not doing exactly that!

Yes, I am lazy like that.I somehow miraculously have time to check the Facebook newsfeed every day (and nowadays, I even manage to scroll through, and endlessly “heart” posts on Twitter), but I whine and whine inanely about not having time to blog, or pursue my passion for writing, like this mundane post.

Ah! I feel much better already; venting out in a public space is sometimes all you need. Okay, so I am going to stop now, and start doing something worthwhile, like revamping my life!

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

 

Milagu-Jeeraga Rasam

As some of us rejoice, and some of us lament this suddenly-relentlessly-pouring weather in Chennai, I have this ancient, but absolutely perfect recipe that all of you will definitely enjoy! Apart from being simply blissful to eat in this chilly weather, this concoction will cure any cold/cough or other rain-related ailments that you may have; just in case that doesn’t entice you, note this – Pepper burns fat! 😀

As I’m sure you’re hooked now, please find the recipe below:

Servings: 3

Prep/cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

Tamarind – Size of a small lemon, or a big amla

Curry leaves  – 10 to 15

Salt – as required

Ghee – 2 tsp

Water – 2 cups (400 ml)

Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

To grind:

Toor dal – 2 tbsp

Jeera (Cumin)- 1 tbsp

Pepper – 1 tsp (add slightly more if you want it spicy, retain just the 1 tsp if you’e giving it to kids)

Method:

  1. Soak the tamarind and salt (rock salt) in water for 15 mins, and then extract the essence.
  2. On the other hand, lightly roast the ingredients (to grind) with 1 tsp of ghee, and then grind them into paste by adding a little water.
  3. Add the turmeric powder to the tamarind water and boil it for a few minutes, until the raw tamarind smell goes off.
  4. Then add the paste to the boiling water, and let it boil for a few more minutes.
  5. Add 2-3 cups of water, to increase the quantity and let it boil for around 15 minutes.
  6. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves in 1 tsp of ghee, and add it to the rasam.

Note:

  1. Can add one tomato if required, to include Vitamin C.
  2. Can garnish with coriander leaves.
  3. Do NOT add asafoetida, as it may taste bitter with this rasam.

While I’m sure many of you already know how to make this one, there are a variety of ways to make this rasam. This one is my tried and tested best! Serve with a steaming cup of rice, or just drink it up! )

Toodles!

And I let go… :)

And miraculously, just like that, in an instant, I let go! I let go of something I’ve been desperately wanting for a long time now. If it is meant to be, it will be. And if it is not meant to be, well.. what is the point of pushing at a door that refuses to budge?!

I surprised myself tremendously! I didn’t think I had it in me to NOT go behind this.. but curiously, I did, and how! It just took me a long time to get there; for ages, I made myself believe that this should be my sole purpose in life, that I would be absolutely incomplete without it. Hence I went behind it with all my might; I tried everything in my power, I saw positive signs everywhere, I desperately willed my entire being into making this happen.

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But now that it didn’t, and it probably won’t.. I am fine! Amazingly, I am just the same, and I feel as whole as I ever did! Now when I look at people who have what I wanted, I feel no envy, no disappointment, no nothing in fact. All I get is this curiously vague sense of detachment, like I’m looking at them from the wrong end of a telescope, and they don’t really hold any interest for me.

Even more amazingly, I feel refreshed! All of a sudden, I realised that in place of this one goal, I can have a 100 new goals, and go behind each of them with a 100 times more zest. I have some wonderful things in my line of sight already, and I’m sure, many more such wonderful things to come.

The best part is that, letting go of things that weigh you down, releases you.. like a catapult! You go from being weighed down into a bottomless pit, to soaring high in the fields you’re best at! This one experience was like the universe’s sign to me that I’m finally.. finally on the right path! 🙂 And with that knowledge, there is just no going back!

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

Time for a turnaround!

The time has come.. when I’ve finally come to my good senses! It is time to let go of doors that are not opening for me (because let’s face it, they’re probably the wrong doors), and go after the right doors, or well, try some of the other doors that I have been wanting to. It is is time to look at life from a different perspective..it time for the turnaround! 🙂

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Toodles,

Writer on the rocks

Giving back..

Every single day, the first thing that I do when I wake up is.. thank God for everything that he has blessed me with! There is a saying that the more you thank life, the more life gives you to be thankful for. However, of late, I’ve realised that life is not just about getting things and being thankful for them; the best way to be really thankful for all your blessings is to give back!

If you haven’t already watched this video, I recommend you do so here:

It is a wonderful, eye-opening, life-changing video that shows a man who feeds thousands of birds everyday. When I started watching the video, I scoffed a little. “What’s the big deal?” – I asked. In all brahmin households, we feed the crows first before we have our meal. And by feed, I mean keep a handful of cooked rice (sometimes with a little til and curd). Squirrels in the neighbourhood assemble at our balcony at 12 noon, and get ready to nibble on whatever is left by the crows.

The catch is, we don’t do it because we want to feed the crows or squirrels; we do it because our scriptures dictate us to do so, along with a bunch of rules. We do it because we are afraid of the Gods’ wrath. We do it when we think we’re pure (physically, of course!) This unfortunately means that if I was in a hurry this morning and prepared the rice before I took my bath, my neighbourhood crows and squirrels will go hungry today!

However, by the time the above video ended, there were tears streaming down my eyes. The video impresses you by the sheer effort the man puts in to feeding the birds, twice a day. The difference is that, here the goal is to simply not let the birds go hungry! It is an absolutely selfless act of random kindness, but one that makes a huge difference. I also heard about a girl (who is younger than me, by the way); she takes a day out each month to plant trees! In comparison, it made me feel really small when I realised that I was freeing up some time and money to look at HD TVs, so that I can decide which one to buy for my house! 😦

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Another event that made an impact on me recently is a shoe and slipper drive organised by my employer, Elsevier. It is a deceptively simple, but brilliant idea! All we have to do is donate our shoes and slippers (even ones that require a little fixing-upping), for the benefit of the needy. As someone who owns at least 6 pairs of slippers currently, but wears only two of them regularly, this struck a huge chord with me.

I kid you not; I have a pair of sneakers (that I have worn exactly once), a pair of 3-inch Gladiators (that I wore once, and promptly decided that I’ll never wear high-heels again in my life) and a couple of other perfectly good pairs of shoes (I’m not a shoe-wearing person, you see). What I do wear, are two specific pairs of slippers – one for traditional clothes, and one for jeans and T-shirts. End of story. 😐

But why did I need so many pairs in the first place? God has indeed blessed me with a lot of things, especially financially. But as the famous saying goes, when we improve financially, we shouldn’t be improving our standard of living; but we should be improving our standard of giving. I’ve decided that I’ll indeed donate all my shoes/slippers, and retain only the two pairs that I actually wear.

These are just small examples; there is so much more that we can do, if we really look at the physical and financial capabilities we have to give back. I try too; I place a huge bowl of water in my balcony for the birds and squirrels everyday; I donate a sum to the CRY foundation every month. They make me feel good. At the end of the day, I feel happy that I’m donating; a corner of my mind nurses the hope that my next life will be much better than this birth (not that this life is bad at all; far from it, actually).

But I think we all need to wake up to the fact that we can, and should give back a lot more. My family donates an amount monthly to an old couple who don’t have kids, or a source of income. But I took up CRY – because that is the cause I truly believe in. All children, of all genders have a right to education and to have a decent life. Because when infertility is on the rise and so many couples go through rigorous treatments and spend lakhs to beget a child, there is also a huge community of abandoned children, and children who don’t have basic rights and facilities.

When it comes to giving back to the society, nothing is enough! We can all do much more physically, financially, and simply by contributing our time and effort. Now I would like to ask you –

What is the cause that you most identify with?

If you didn’t believe that you will be rewarded for it in an afterlife, would you still give back?

Something to ponder on..

Toodles,

Writer on the rocks.