Reality Check

We all live in a myth that we all are the directors of our own life. The truth is, we are not. Life happens and we just adjust to the changes and keep moving. We come across many inspirational quotes about life every day, but how many of us actually understand them and follow through?

In the past two years, since the pandemic, many of us have had a harsh wake-up call and forced us to change our priorities, our way of living or thinking, our approach towards life in general. The more time passes, the more I realise that life is to be lived one day at a time. Sometimes, even thinking about the next 24 hours is too much, that time; live every moment. I have even perceived that happiness and fulfilment is in the little moments.

We are currently biting off more than what we can chew to embrace the new reality post Corona virus. For some, the worry, the sorrow, and the sadness associated with the death of their loved ones or feeling of isolation will last too long. For others, the impact this virus and isolation left on the mental health will linger even after all this is over. And for a few others, the realization of the importance of family turned out to be a blessing.

While there are a lot of motivational quotes, awareness and help available on the internet, there are many misguiding and wrongly provocative materials and articles also easily available. Unfortunately, many people feel that’s the reality and fall prey to it and regret later.

The virtual reality is starting to feel like real life. On a daily basis, on many social media sites I come across quotes like “you have to thrive, not survive”, “be the leader of your life”, “if you are not something, then you are nothing”, “hustle now, rest later”, “disappear for some years, and enjoy later”, “date only to marry”, “be a gangsta”, “the relationship broke because you deserve better”, “don’t give chance to others, be independent and spoil yourself”, etc.

I am not saying all the above quotes are completely wrong, but the meaning extracted from them by people these days is wrong.

Let’s get to reality:

  • You don’t always have to keep thriving; these days if you survived your day, you did a good job.
  • Our future is unpredictable. We all seen it in the past two years. Life happens, change is the only constant. Only control your thoughts, don’t try to control your life.
  • Others perspective of success is not necessarily your perspective of success. Same applies for having fun. Do what is suitable, convenient and comfortable for you.
  • Taking rest, having days off is extremely essential in today’s times. Don’t fall sick or drain yourself out in hustling all the time or showing the world how much you work.
  • Take accountability of your own bullshit. Sometimes, the relationship breaks because both the partners are not on the same page, or you were the toxic one, or your partner’s needs changed and opted out. Besides cheating and abuse, there is free will, and you and your partner are allowed to change your mind. No one owes you anything, and neither is your partner a bad person that you keep saying you deserve better.
  • You have no need to disappear to earn money and then enjoy or rest later. You can do everything simultaneously. Having fun, taking breaks, going on a vacation, or going out with friends and family, and most importantly, keeping in touch with your loved ones is very important for healthy living. You never know which moments become only memories or when you will see the person for the last time in your life. Make beautiful memories along with earning money.
  • Sometimes it is essential to ask for help. Everyone has the capacity to be independent, but asking for help is required sometimes.
  • No work is big or small. A man can choose a career in cooking and a woman can choose to be a carpenter. Do what you like, do what gives you peace.
  • Accept that you will die one day. Embrace it and don’t live life as per what internet tells you or shows you, or what you see others doing on their stories. Don’t compare and don’t judge a book by its cover. More than half of pictures and stories posted on the internet are fake.
  • Failure is necessary to grow. Failure and success are not opposites. They both are part of the whole.
  • Problems may be inevitable, but so is our approach towards it. If you can change anything, change it, if you cannot, leave it. It’s ok to quit sometimes.
  • Your energy is finite. Please use it wisely. Don’t let the artificial internet world be an energy vampire. Trust me. Majority of the stuff you see is bogus or fake.
  • Allow yourself to simply enjoy an experience with your partner. Be present. Not every person you date will be “the one”. If it’s meant to be, you will marry that person. Or else leave in dignity.

Waste time this year; go for long, rambling walks. Write poems or try a new recipe just because. Pray, paint, laugh at yourself or simply watch something on the TV. Take your dog to the beach or just sit by the shore and enjoy the winds and coffee. Our world is obsessed with being productivity all the time. We feel guilty of wasting our time even for an instance. But the reality is, our “unproductive” hours are the most soul-shaping parts of our lives. SLOW DOWN!

2021 in Retrospect

2021 was an incredibly hard year for many, including me, but I am hopeful that 2022 will be better.

This time last year I was enthusiast about the year 2021 as the entire world was suffering from Corona Virus, and was looking forward to hear the news that the pandemic is over. Who knew that 2021 turned out to be worse, and would shake up our lives? We seen the virus being less dangerous at times, but most of the times, it was still spreading fast. In India, we had a very unfortunate 2nd wave of Covid. Way too many people were critical and lost their lives, including a member of my family.

Gosh, who would have thought that we would face something like this? My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones or suffered from crisis financially and emotionally. It feels so surreal, yet, here we are, at the end of another year that many would just write-off and forget, including me.

As this year started, I was faced with an unexpected health issue which required an emergency surgery. As the year progressed, Junior had a surgery to get his tumour removed. Then we faced the deadly 2nd wave of Corona Virus, where a family member lost his life. As we were just recovering from the loss, my parents tested positive for Covid, in which my father’s health rapidly declined. During the same time, Junior too fell critically ill. The E. Coli bacteria had made a comeback and Junior had started urinating blood and throwing up.

In all this mess, I had to take care of myself and would get myself tested for Covid every week as I had to step out of the house for Junior’s treatment. My anxiety has broken all barriers this year. Besides stressing about the outcome and thinking about the worse case scenarios, I had developed a lot of physical symptoms which I have mentioned in my older post.

Well, it doesn’t end here. As my father and Junior were recovering, my mobile got stolen. When I asked the Universe “can this year get any worse?” I wasn’t challenging it………ha ha ha ha! But right before the year is about to end, I was robbed.

With the daily barrage of bad news from around the world and in my personal space, the only thing I knew was to keep myself busy and out of my head, if I was to maintain my sanity. Which to my surprise, I successfully did by finally overcoming my anxiety. All these unfortunate events gave me some time to self reflect and the first thing that came into my mind was “I cannot live like this and be a slave of my own mind and thoughts.”

This was the best thing that happened this year. I am not saying I have cured my anxiety, but now I very well know how to control it and not drown in it like I did all these years. I am still working on myself and learning about myself every day. By God’s grace, everyone is in good health now and fortunately, the year is ending on a good note.

In my endeavour to stay positive, I started to appreciate and find joy in small, everyday things. That’s the first thing you can do to start living a mentally healthy life.

I always thought that I had made a lot of positive changes in my life after my separation from my ex husband. But this year made me realise that I was not even half way there. The biggest change that I had to make was in my head, and I am proud to say that I came full circle. The hapless events were a blessing in disguise for me.

What this year really taught me was 1) focusing on the positive, no matter how small, 2) acceptance, which helped me in handling conflicts and uninvited events with a better prospective, 3) health is wealth, mentally and physically active life is the need of the hour, and 4) having a hobby, which can turn into a side income, as well as keep you busy in doing something you love.

So, in retrospect to 2021, it was an opportunity for me to take a step back, reflect and make some positive changes. Who knows what 2022 has in store for all of us? All I can wish for a better year and look forward to it in enthusiasm.

Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and A Successful New Year! Please stay Safe and Positive!

I cook, I eat, and I enjoy.

Dal and Potato Pancake
Spinach Noodles
Thread Paneer
Maggie Noodles and Ginger Tea
My Dad’s birthday celebration
Old age should look like this. When I paint 🎨
I am an annoying Mumma 😁
Oldies relaxing
He wants to have coffee 🤣

Anxiety

We all have heard and read about Anxiety a lot before, but do we really know what it is? As you all must have noticed that I haven’t posted any blog post in a month; it’s because my anxiety had worsened. What triggered my anxiety? Health!

This phrase “Health Is Wealth” is something we have been hearing since childhood. But exactly last month on this date I truly understood its meaning. My parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, inspite of being double vaccinated. What was worse, my mother recovered, but my father slipped into COVID complications. I thought, “How could this be happening? My parents are vaccinated. At the worse, they can have mild symptoms; it cannot flare up so much!” But it did happen. My father’s symptoms and post COVID recovery was terrible because he has some underlying disease. What opened my eyes was, if he was not vaccinated, he would have not survived. The vaccine actually saved my parents life. They were a breakthrough case, but somewhat mild.

Since I already suffer from anxiety since years; my mind made me think the worst case scenario. What made me insufferable was; Junior too falling ill at the same time. And not just sick, his health was grave. Junior got a UTI (E. Coli) which affected his Bladder and Kidneys, and he started urinating blood, vomiting and stopped eating.

I was in a fix, as I was in self isolation because I had met my parents’ everyday when they tested positive for Corona virus. I had no option. I got myself tested for Corona Virus, I tested negative and got out of the house on the 10th day of self isolation. I had to save Junior. Being a responsible human being, I informed my Vet about the same, maintained social distancing and wore a mask at all times even though I tested negative. I also retested myself on the 14th day and tested negative again. I was relieved. But my anxiety had already started playing its part.

For the first time in my life, I realised that Anxiety is not just a mental illness, but it also affects you physically. Besides being continuously anxious about my Dad’s and Junior’s health, following were my physical symptoms:

  1. Sweating a lot
  2. Breathlessness
  3. Short breaths
  4. Low oxygen (but recovered quickly)
  5. Fluctuating body temperature
  6. Sore throat
  7. Heavy head
  8. Panic attacks
  9. Fatigue
  10. Stomach cramps
  11. Severe acidity
  12. Blurry vision
  13. Less concentration
  14. Irritation
  15. Hot and cold flashes
  16. Racing heartbeats

I faced all of the above 24/7 for the entire month.

Aimlessly I kept looking for solutions on the Internet for a remedy to reduce my anxiety. I tried going to the gym, did yoga, did meditation, journaling, did breathing exercises, spoke to close ones, went for a walk, etc etc etc. Nothing helped for the long run. All these were temporary solutions. I stopped going to office for work, I stopped cooking, I stopped painting, I stopped answering phone calls, and many other things. My entire concentration was on my Father’s and Junior’s health. One thing good that I did was; I removed Google from my phone. Google only increased my fear and flared my anxiety.

What I have learnt from this dreaded experience is “HEALTH IS WEALTH”; whether it is physical or mental. Money, dating, house, cars, partying, etc. All of these come later. It also taught me to take care of my health (physical and mental) from now on so that when I am old, I do not face the consequences what my father faced. My mother is relatively healthy and had no side effects or dreaded symptoms because of the virus. She recovered in no time. But my father went through a tough time. This horrible time also showed me the true faces of people whom I called family and friends. However, some family members and friends stood by us rock solid and I am grateful to them.

Today my father and Junior both are out of the danger zone and on the road to recovery. So am I, from my anxiety. From now on, I am not just going to be physically healthy (which I already am), but will also work on a long term solution to manage my anxiety. This experience also made me change my priorities in life in a good way. I wish and pray for everyone’s good health and happy living.

We Went On A Vacation

So many things going on at the moment! Although it is difficult to balance it out and simplify life, but sometimes it is too much to handle. Junior is scheduled for his blood test before his stye and cataract surgery, my work is expanding which has increased my work load, all of a sudden my electrical gadgets are mutilating, my car broke down on the highway in heavy rains, etc. Knowing the person that I am, I can handle every punch thrown at me by life. But sometimes, it becomes overwhelming and I need to shut down or take a break for a few days to recharge myself.

And that’s exactly what I did! I left for a short trip with Junior and some cousin; not just to give myself a break, but also for Junior to have a little change. We had gone for only two days, but trust me when I say this; those two days were enough for both of us to recharge and come back fresh. It all mattered to the company we had and the place we went to. Junior was the center of attraction and he was playing and running around like a free bird. Seeing him being a happy dog made me so happy that I was automatically rejuvenated.

We went to a place called Deolali in Maharashtra. Deolali was a British Army camp 100 miles north-east of Mumbai (then called Bombay). It was the original location of the Army Staff College. Basically, it is an Army Camp in the Hills. However, now there are many civilian residents there and we have a home as well. So Junior was going from one home to another. The difference is, Junior had ample of open space to run around, the weather was good, we were in nature, we were in our private property where we didn’t have to wear our mask or fear the CoronaVirus and we were with our best people.

In this post, I won’t write much. I just want you all to see the beautiful place and how Junior had fun.

Besides our vacation, today is my elder son Casper’s birthday. Had he been living, he would have been 11 years old. Every passing year I miss him more. All I can do is, hold on to his memories until the time comes and I get to hug him Heaven.

Casper

Cook, eat, sleep, repeat……

Sevaiyan on Eid
Potato Carrot Rosti
Kung Fu Paneer
Sulemani Tea with Lemon
Khao Suey cooked by my sister
Rotis, Mango, Aloo Pyaar ki sabji, Dal and Handwa
Gujarati Dessert – Fada ka Sheera
Basen wali Bhindi Pyaaz Sabji
Breakfast on Mother’s Day – Samosa, Dhokla and Patra
Young soul departed too soul. Made this for a brother as a memory for his younger brother.
No concept of personal space
Yup!

Do you have your Dog inspired tattoo?

Tattoos hold a significant meaning for its bearers. While we all know that tattoos are permanent, there may be some concerns about which tattoo one wants to get embalmed on their body. Besides the designs, there are questions as to which part of the body the tattoo should be done.  

The idea of getting a tattoo done is not new. The art of tattooing has been a practice since the beginning of time. When I go to my village (Kutchh District in Gujarat), I still see a lot of old people; basically Rabari people and many other tribes who has traditional tattoos on them. They believe that tattoos, not prosperity or wealth, are the only substantive things that accompany them into the afterlife. There is also a proverb for it, “We may be deprived of all the things of this world, but nobody has the power to remove the tattoo marks.”

Well, nothing much has changed even now. Many of us get tattooed as we know they are permanent and will stay with us for all our life. Tattoo is also a form of body modification. But it is always a good idea to research about the tattoo one wants to do, which body part and from which artist. If you are getting inked for the first time, don’t get anything done in impulse and regret it later. Also make sure the artists equipment’s are sterile and has a clean work area.

Getting a tattoo done is a painful procedure. So be prepared, choose your design carefully, and make your artist aware if you have any illness or on any medications. Do not consume alcohol and eat well before getting inked. Also, keep an energy drink or a protein bar handy to consume incase you find the procedure unbearably painful and you feel nauseous.

My first tattoo was the names of Casper and my ex-husband. I had got it done on my left hand wrist and loved it too much. It was a simple tattoo but held a lot of meaning. I was even planning on getting another tattoo of Junior’s name. They were the names of the most loved ones in my life. Unfortunately, Casper passed away and I got divorced. Ever since, I find name tattoos jinxed.

I got a cover up done. Since the position of the original tattoo was a little difficult, I couldn’t get the tattoo that I wanted. However, I always wanted a memory of my dogs on me, so I got it covered up with a paw and dreamcatcher.

There are so many beautiful designs available on the internet for tattoos on pets, and one day I will pick a memorable one, modify it and get tattooed again. It’s amazing to see how we pet parents don’t even shy away from getting something permanent done on ourselves, and that too which is painful; for our pets. We consider our pets as our children and we would want them to be with us all our lives. Woefully, that’s not possible, so tattoo is the best way we can express our eternal love for them.

Though we have even faced some flake from people who considers dogs as just dogs and not even a family member. I have been told by someone not to spoil my body look by getting a pet tattoo done. But did I care – NO! I am not saying everyone should get a tattoo done. It’s a personal choice. But it’s so good to see people out there dedicating huge parts of their body to tattoo their pet’s portraits or anything which hold a memory of their pets.

Please feel free to share your pet tattoo pictures. I would love to see them and also get inspiration for my next dog tattoo.