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!

Redesigning Life after Lockdown

It’s a restart for many of us, or let me say – majority of us. For some a mental restart, for some a physical restart, and for some both. However, this pandemic gave a lot of us a new perspective to life and an opportunity to start again.

Life is not the same for many of us. What we once took for granted; have now become our priority. Many bonds between people have been destroyed and many became stronger than before. A big change is noticed in many of our lives. Good or bad, the pandemic played it course and left a huge impact on us for many years to come. 

The Corona Virus claimed many live, and tackling loneliness among those left behind has made it worse, with some people more affected than others. More and more people worry something will happen to them and no one will notice. Those who have lost members of their family or close ones; feel the least able to cope with the after effects.

Besides Corona Virus, many are dying of heart attacks. Staying at home from the past 18 months, going out only for essential work, businesses closed, no socializing or physical contact like before and the fear of contracting the virus has left many people anxious about their present and future, which has lead to a sedentary life and increase in stress levels.

I am not immune to any of the above. The only difference is, I am living with a dog and that has helped me to stay positive most of the times and live an active life even in the lockdown. But my mental health too had gone for a toss. Some days I felt like I wouldn’t survive financially, and some days I would feel like life was not worth living after all. However, Junior being around at all times helped me not slip into depression and actually redesign my life, sort my priorities and be prepared for anything in the future.

My biggest realization in the lockdown was that life is beautiful and meaningful only with your loved ones and family around. There were times when I used to get irritated if my mother or father would call me often. But today, I value those calls. Sometimes I would get tired giving Junior continues attention. But now, there is nothing more important than spending as much time as I can with him. I have also realized that saved money is the actual treasure and wealth. YOLO (you only live once) is only a concept. The pandemic also taught me not to blindly run behind money, but balance life by paying attention to your health and also spending time with family.

Time and again, the quote “grass is not green on the other side” have been proved to be right. This hit me once again when I was talking to one of my cousins who live in a different so called modern and advanced country than mine; and she said “many countries claim to be advanced and modern than the other, and then in the first place, how did the virus enter their country? And if it did, then how come they took so long to mellow down the virus? And also, how lakhs of people died in their country? So stay where you are and value your country. The grass is not green on the other side.”

We have once again realized the importance of the basics like washing hands, covering our mouths, valuing relationships, exercising, eating healthy, and most importantly – being nice to one and other. Mental health is as important as physical health. And since the pandemic has increased the number of people getting depression and anxiety, not just in adults, but even in child, it is very important to redesign our lives and adopt more flexible and broad minded thinking. My vet told me, there has been a massive increase in the number of people and families adopting or buying cats and dogs during the lockdown. In a way, it is good as far as people consider them as family and do not abandon them once the countries open up.

It is very easy to change your life when there are restrictions. But what will happen once the lockdowns are lifted and life gets back to normal? This is where the actual challenge comes. Will we be consistent and disciplined? Will we stick to our redesigned life? Will we maintain our new behaviour and stick to the new routine?

Collectively, we can and we should use this pandemic as a rude wake-up call for all of us and help bring about a positive change in our habits and lives, and create and new and better normal.

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.

Bullies

I had taken a break last week from uploading a post. The reason for that was, I was fueled with anger. Today, in this post; I am writing everything from the heart and experience.

My country India is going through a tough time right now. We all are scared not just about the Corona Virus, but about our survival as well. Every single day we hear and read about deaths. All this has increased a lot of anxiety in majority of us. We are already living in fear, but there are some who add up to the stress.

Last week, some Anonymous had left a nasty comment on my page which said, “I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore, who’s own marriage is wrecked and now is wrecking others marriages.” I am not too sure if this comment was left by someone known or some anonymous who actually took the effort to read my posts and then leave a nasty comment like this. Besides this, someone else left a comment on my dog Junior that in such bad times, I have kept a dog and spending money on him instead of donating.

Let me start by saying, yes I am divorced and there were a lot of factors which lead to my divorce. How does that mean I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore? And by just being divorced, does that mean I am going to break others marriages? Even Bill Gates got divorced. Does that mean his wife is now going to break others marriages! What I don’t understand is, if you have so much guts to leave a disgusting comment like this, then why “Anonymous”, show your face and leave your name. I will be more than happy to clear your misunderstanding.

Regarding my dog, he is with me since 9 years, and I may not eat but see to it he has been fed rather than donating to people who can’t even follow basic protocols of wearing a mask on the nose and putting others life in danger. I do my piece of social work and I do not need anyone’s validation.

Fake WhatsApp messages, daily propaganda of news channels, irresponsible citizens, lack of support from the Government, etc. and then, there are internet bullies who are spineless, no work to do, no guts, but just leave assholic comments because they don’t have to face the person.

But this isn’t new. I know of someone, who would be so possessive about her boyfriend, that eventually her relationships turn toxic and she would end up being single all the time. She would always blame other women if her relationship turned sour. Something like, “she was his ex and now she is trying to get him”, or “I will not let my boyfriend meet this girl because she is divorced and want others husbands/boyfriends”. However, all her relationships failed because she was insecure within herself. And that insecurity she would display on others making even her friendships toxic. Constantly playing a victim card, not working on yourself, and always blaming others makes you a toxic person and a bully.

I have always been bold and open about my personal life. I try to spread as much positivity and encouragement as I can through my experience. In such tough times, if you can’t be good to yourself and other people, then atleast keep your mouth shut and don’t be a spineless bully.

Stress, depression and anxiety are already silent killers. I am a strong person and I can hit back. But many have committed suicide because of bullies. When the mindset is already in fear because of the pandemic, why create more chaos. When a marriage is breaking, why blame only the other woman? Your husband opened that space for the other woman. If he was true to the wife or happy in the marriage, he wouldn’t have opened that personal space. Correct your husband first. Or I must say, as I have mentioned before also, sometimes we too are toxic, for which our partners seek love outside. Being divorced doesn’t mean I am lonely, desperate and available. No one wants a divorce, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Let’s all be humble and fight this together. If you can’t be good, don’t be bad either. Keep quiet and mind your own business. Regarding dogs, we all pet parents are capable of doing anything for our pets to keep them healthy and safe. We all do our set of humanity gestures. Just because we do not post it, doesn’t mean we are not helping others. If you are frustrated with your own life, I have said before, seek professional help if nothing is helping you.

I can take criticism well, atleast show your identity. I have a fighting spirit and I am getting stronger every passing day, again through experience. I request all those who think about committing suicide because of bullies, that never for even a second think of giving up your life. You are strong, you are enough, you are wanted. These bullies display their insecurities, they need help. Not you. If I can do it, so can you.

Indian Food

This week I made majorly Indian food as we are in lockdown and essentials are open only till 11am.

Aloo Pyaaz ki Sabji
Curd Rice, Chole, Dal, Onions and Roti
Aloo Cheese Paratha and Ginger Tea
Aloo ke Kofte in White Creamy Gravy
Made a Tea Vendor in Sketch Pens. This is a very common sight for us of how tea is sold in India.
Trimmed for the week
I have a big rat 😁

My Maid – My New Inspiration

As we are in the middle of the second wave of Corona virus in India, which is much more intense, contagious, and dangerous than the first one, we are living in constant fear for our lives, as well as our livelihood. After a year of this virus, we have still not contained it, in fact it has got worse. Savings have been exhausted, no income because of imposed lockdown and the fear of falling sick.

In all this chaos, one thing I have seen constant is – my maid’s smile. I always wonder that I come from a relatively good financial background, yet I am so worried about surviving this pandemic, then how much trouble will the poor people be facing, especially laborer’s, maids and servants. So how does my maid manage to smile always?

One day, I sat her down and started taking about her history and present and in whatever way I could help her. I was shocked listening to her story. And more shocked when she denied any extra help from me besides not laying her off from work.

She narrated me her story, and it goes like this. When she was young, around 7-8 years old, she lost her mother. Her mother was murdered by some of their own community people for reasons not known to my maid. Her father was an alcoholic and she was the only child. She never shared a cordial relationship with her father. As she grew old, she finally found love in a man and wanted to marry him. Somehow, one of her relative got the information of her affair, and instead of knowing her background and helping her, that relative contacted her father with a marriage proposal of another man.

That relative convinced her father that the other man is very good and he should get my maid married to him right away. My maid was forced to marry the other man, and once again, she lost the love that she deserved. Later, her father passed away due to over drinking. Soon, she had a son and her happiness had no limits. But it didn’t last long. She had been noticing that all the money that she earned from working at others houses was vanishing. She had no idea at all where the money was going. As some more time passed, she made a dreadful discovery. Her husband had another family in another city, and all her money was going to that family through her husband without her knowledge.

She was devastated. Her child was young. She had no father figure or any elders that she could turn up to for advice. She took the matter in her hands and left her husband. She decided to live in dignity as a single mother rather than being with her cheating husband and sharing him. She worked hard and built a good foundation for her son. She saved so much money, that after some years, she finally bought her own house.

As her son grew older, she thought that finally he too will stand on his own feet and bring some income in the house. But one day, her son bought an expensive mobile from her card without her knowledge. My maid, being the dignified woman that she is, sold her jewellery to pay up the EMIs of the card and warned her son to never do it again. Somehow, seeing her selling her jewellery, it opened her son’s eyes. He apologized to her and found a job. And with his salary, he bought his mother some new jewellery.

Today, he is happily married, has a good job and also recently had a son. My maid is more than happy and content.

I asked her, how are you dealing with the pandemic then? And she said, “I work in two houses (me and my office) and the other source of income is my son’s, which is enough for the four of us to live happily and comfortably.” She also added that her wants are less, so she doesn’t require any other monetary benefits or help. As always, she wants to work and earn her money. Not to be looked upon in pity.

Wow! This hit home. Sometimes, you get inspiration from the most unexpected person. Also, the old saying of “Never judge a book by its cover” stands true here. She is always smiling and laughing. I would have never guessed what she has been through since childhood. I would have never guessed that only for once she found love, and that too was taken away from her because of some dirty family politics.

This is called true strength. She raised her child as a single mother. She brought him back to his senses when he went off track. She lost her mother at a very early age. Her father was good for nothing. She never got to marry the love of her life. And her husband cheated her and robbed her earnings for the other woman. But my maid, overcame all her problems, because she was determined. Because she was true to herself. Because she chose her self-respect and dignity.

Isn’t this such an inspiration! I was blown away after hearing all this. I know there are tough times going on. And my priority is to survive at the moment for myself and Junior. But after listening to my maid, I want to thrive and nothing less. If she could overcome so many problems, then even I can and you can too.