Life-The Amish Way

As I read more and more about Amish, the fascination and intrigue kept growing. Last week , finally I had a chance to travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania the Amish county to see the real people.

I had lots of information about Amish before I started my journey, a journey I never thought would come my way but life often gives surprises! So on a beautiful summer day in June,2017, I took Interstate 95 from New Jersey. As soon as the city ended, the beautiful green forests crept up by the highway. We had entered Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the landscape reminded me of my place, full of green foliage. The drive was about 2 and a half hours, needless to say, I didnt realize how the hours went by.

Amish are of Swiss-German ancestry who emigrated to Pennsylvania in early 18th century. They are known for simple living, plain dressing and do not use modern technology including electricity, automobiles and telephones. They value rural life, manual labor and humility, what they believe to be God’s word.They have their own one-room schools and discontinue formal education after 8th grade, at age 13 or 14. Until the children turn 16, they have vocational training from their parents, community, and the school teacher. Because they believe, education until 8th grade is enough to do what they do for a living i.e .farming, carpentry, household work and other related works within their community. The population (which doubles every 20 years) of Amish as of 2016 was 308,030.
I got to see some breathtaking views of the place , mostly Lancaster county. Taking a guided tour of a place called ,’The Amish Village’ where they have tried to show a glimpse of Amish life was amazing. Then we went into the country side entering into some of the real villages and watching Amish work in their daily routine like in the farms or just riding their bicycles to run errands. The people I saw wore their traditional dresses with women in white bonnets and men in black or straw hats. Then I visited some of the tourist shops to get some souvenirs, the place has been marketed for tourism from 20th century and I guess, it has also become a source of income for the Amish and other locals. The beauty and the integrity of the place and the people has been intact and we get to see how these people have managed to live life without the modern day technological advantages.

I enjoyed the whole day in nature’s lap and promised myself to return someday…

Here are some of the memorable pics from the Amish County.

 

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Valentines’ 2017

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It was a lonely Valentine this year as hubs was traveling but not very lonely because I got to spend it with my baby. Just me and him , and his naughty antics which would make me insane on any other given day. But I enjoyed it on this special day as I remembered the time when I carried him for those not-so-enjoyable days, but overwhelmingly emotional days, when each day I would pray for him to be safe, growing inside me.

A mother-son relationship is simple and straight. Its about love and nothing else.

So we enjoyed the day with a trip to the park, some cake and ice-cream in the evening. Because , sweets aint a regular thing at our place.

Hubs had been calling us since morning, not a usual stuff. I’m sure , he missed his valentine son too!

So, celebrating it over this weekend , we and our little bundle , who is otherwise called a devil….

Happy New Birthday

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Hubby sneaked in a cake to be lit at 12 am sharp. Son didn’t like it much, he just hated the color enough not to even taste it,discarding it at the first  sight! But he insisted on lighting the candles every time we got the cake out from the fridge , for next 2 days till it lasted!

Having a vacation courtesy husband’s off from work since Christmas. He is looking after the baby and I’m on a roll, doing my stuff!

Good beginning to the new year, hope it stays this way….all my life.

One of my friends husband wished me- Happy New Birthday…( happy new year+Happy Birthday) Lol

Wishing you all good luck and good health in 2017 and all your life.

Crush

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Because I was not allowed to have a boyfriend in school and college, I had quite an emotionally stable life. Come to think of it, not being in a relationship had been a bliss actually. But then, I had my share of crushes so to say. This guy, lets name him ‘M’ ,was in my class with same elective as mine so we almost attended all our classes together except the practicals. Even though , having an affair was a strict no-no from mom, I thought , having a crush was not a big deal as it did not have any strings and also mom would never come to know about it!

Slowly but steadily, the crush was getting harder and one of my closest friend decided to take some charge. She asked one of the other guys to ask M if he had a girlfriend and that I liked him. I was not very happy with this situation now because this was being forced on me and I was kinda happy in my cocoon and really didn’t want to know if M was interested in me or not. Also, M was quite oblivious of my feelings for him and I didn’t want to jeopardize , whatever minimum talking terms that we were on.

Anyways, the news reached me in a week , that M had a girlfriend already, back in his hometown and hence no further questions were asked. It would take quite a few days for me to come out of coma and I felt terribly guilty. Guilty of god knows what….! For the rest of the semesters, I chose not to tell any of my friends about anything personal and of course the equations with M changed for the rest of the years in the university. I avoided to look at M or talk to him anytime during the classes and non-class times that we classmates would get together.

About 12 years later I met almost all my school mates and college-mates on FB except M. It would take another 9 years for M to get into FB.

Just a couple of months back, one day I was looking through the probable friends FB suggests and when I found M’s profile in it, I found myself smiling. Since there were no pictures in the profile, I sent a message asking if he was the same guy that was in my college. In the reply , M just said yes and that he was roll number 54. Well, after a few weeks , he uploaded some pictures of him and his family on his account for all to see.

I was horrified to see what had become of a handsome lad in a span of 20 years. Here was a middle aged stout man with a beer belly ,his hair was all orange because of henna and I assumed it must have all gone grey and I was staring at a face which looked about 20 years more older than our age. I could not sleep that night…wondering about what must have gone through his life that he grew old so fast. Then I wondered , if I have also grown that old….then I also wondered why was I wondering about him. I had always maintained that age was just a number and its our attitude which actually matters but a look at M told me , may be it was not the case. I remember seeing him as a 20 year old guy and I saw him now 20 years later, I was ready to see some changes but not such drastic ones. I realized, if we abuse ourselves by smoking or drinking or by taking too much stress , it does take away years out of our lives. One has to keep fit and make sure we rally against nature by staying fit and happy.

M looked old to me that day and I felt as if I was looking at some ancient temple in Bali. In a flash, I was in the morning classes when I used to look at him during the first class of the day and felt cheerful for the rest of the week!! As I smiled and remembered the old times,I  took my jacket out for my evening 5 km walk.

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Bali- Google images

 

Clouds

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The most amazing things in the sky- Clouds of course after Sun, Moon and stars. But if sky was not there we would not be able to see Sun and the stars? Isn’t it? May be not because to us what seems like a container for sun, moon, stars and the clouds, is actually a void. But the beautiful way these are seen to us is all because of this nothing called sky.

So this post is about the amazing clouds which unlike Sun, stars and Moon change their shapes every moment They are different in every part of the world. There are cotton clouds in California where I lived for more than 2 years, almost clear skies in Mid west America and grey ones in Hawaii. In India, the clouds change as per the seasons. You would hardly find any during the heat wave in the northern part of India and its almost the same in western and southern India. The east however is different, the rain clouds come rushing every now and then barring in January.

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Having lived in the North India for most of my life, I have learned to look for clouds when the heat becomes unbearable! The Rainy seasons brings about water laden thick dark clouds which are also called as Cumulonimbus scientifically. That reminds me , I did have Meteorology in graduation in a few of my semesters!

I love the home clouds in Hyderabad too. For they are abundant through most of the year barring a few in summers. During rains like from May onward, thick clouds gather over the sky all day and night. Sometimes they move fast like a scene in a time lapse clip but what I like about the is the glow they have after dark. Its enough to lit up the balcony and makes it a dream like scene.

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The most awesome experience was the San Francisco evening cloud cover. everyday as the clock struck 4 in the evening, a thick cover of clouds would cover the city. The traffic lights and the headlights would have to be on to drive in this fog. The clouds would cover the ground and so was called fog cover also.

Clouds make an important part of my life really. On a gloomy mood, the grey sky gives me a break to come out and sit in the balcony and check out the moving clouds. Sometimes looking at the clouds I even try calculating the time they would take to make it over my balcony! I can feel that this fascination for clouds have transpired down to next generation. The first thing Riaan points out after rushing out to the balcony are the clouds!

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H- Happy

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To be happy is the most important quality required to live a content life. To be happy regardless of ups and downs in life.

How can I be happy when everything seems to be going wrong in my life…? I used to ponder but no one, no one could explain. I had to discover it on my own that no one is either bothered or can do anything if you choose to be unhappy. The secret was to find happiness in small things when bigger plans go wrong. How do you do that? obviously when big things are going wrong you are disappointed and all your energy is diverted to either reasoning it out or sulking over it as to why bad luck only targets you. Instead of that we must start focusing on smaller aspects of life which cannot go wrong.Like a cup of tea with a friend, some shopping time, or just go hiking with your camera and a packed sub, simply offering to baby sit a friend’s child, go for a movie, eat outside with a close group of friends or simply indulge in a big ice-cream!

It is better said than done, you may say. But trust me, its all about creating a habit of being in that state where you know that the next moment is under your control. We waste so much of time, energy and precious moments of life when we depend upon others/things to make us happy.

So, let it be US- the reason of happiness 🙂

Happy

D for deja Vu

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Its that eerie feeling you get where you know, you’ve lived that moment before, but logic defies you…!

Déjà Vu is an expression derived from the French, meaning “already seen”. When it occurs, it reminds us of a place, person or an activity we have already experienced before. At times, it feels as if its a moment from our past life and at others as if we have already seen that sequence in our dreams before. None of these theories have any backing though.

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To first understand how déjà vu might have something to do with our memory, we need to understand how our memory works.

I have read that our brain is thought to have two memory systems- Short term memory and Long term Memory. The former has a limited capacity and processes incoming sensory information from surroundings. Information in Short term memory is erased fast unless transferred to Long term memory for storage.

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Our new experiences are processed by Short-term memory and transferred into Long-term memory depending upon its importance and impact on our heart and mind. So it seems that our Long term memory has an infinite capacity for information and is used to store knowledge of events that shape our lives and can be recalled in detail later.

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Though not fully proven, it is believed that déjà vu is down to a communication issue between Short term and Long term memory, like a circuit break. This theory indicates that the mismatch between knowing an event is new, but it feeling familiar, is because of sensory surrounding information is going straight into long term memory.This explains why a new experience can feel familiar, but not as substantial as a fully recalled memory.

To me this theory seems most logical and puts an end to the bizarre feeling I get, while being deja vu’ed!

So folks enjoy the glitch in the Matrix of our brains…

After all its just a short circuit and not anything paranormal 🙂

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Denver- A city I visited

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It was fall of 2015 and my husband told me if I wanted to see Denver as he was travelling for a couple of weeks for work. I jumped up with a YES as usual. Baby was manageable at 8 months and I deserved a break from the monotony of life with a baby…!

So ,We hired a SUV and packed up stuff and there we were on the Dodge (US Route 6) for an almost 10 hour drive.

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The drive did not have much to expect as I knew it would be laden with mid-west farms. But yes it was different than all the drives that I ever took in my life. There were farms and farms machinery and cattle all along the horizon until the eyes could stretch. And the trucks that we would pass by were only transferring farm supplies.

It was almost dusk when we started to see the shades of Rockies! But soon enough it was dark and all we could see was the glow of the city in the sky.The long journey ended soon after we saw the Denver skyline. Funny but somehow I always related Denver with Madhuri Dixit! The first sight of Denver will always remain etched in my mind….the shades of blue Rocky mountains.

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The following week was going to be hectic for Ani and I was supposed to be on my own. As I ventured out in nearby areas, I hit upon a road which was leading to….mountains. On the next few days Me and Riaan would take our afternoon walk on this road.

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Some lovely cupcakes and sandwiches were the next few things that I relished while in Denver. The weekend would see snowstorm , the weather channel said and Ani will have to work from home for 2 days. The hotel staff welcomed all their guests with piping hot chocolate and marshmallows on the night before the snowstorm….I was thrilled. So was Ani as we were about to witness snowstorm for the first time!

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The next day dawn break was all white….it was awesome to see snowfall in US for the first time. It was more thrilling because it was a storm and it would not stop the whole night. Some 8 inches of snowfall was amazing to look at but I’m sure it was one hell of a task for the people who had to clear it up the following morning!

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That weekend was  spent watching snowfall and playing with snow. The next one was a trip to downtown and other beautiful places Denver has to offer.The church, the secretariat,  a walk through the downtown and the football stadium which is in a shape of a horse shoe. We also went for a trail which has the footprints of dinosaurs. The trail has fossil sites, interesting rock sites, and the scenic overlook provide hints to the prehistory of Colorado’s Front Range.

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To sum it all, Denver was an interesting 2 week vacation. A modern city with good infra-structure and a cold climate , thanks to the more than often snow storms! The people were friendly and the food was yummy especially the chicken wings I hogged on the last night at Finn McCool’s 🙂

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Will I like to visit Denver again….most likely for the snow and the chicken wings!

 

The Roseman Bridge

 

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It was after lunch and Francesca sat on the porch sipping iced tea.With Richard gone for more than a decade, thoughts about Robert came to her mind more frequently.As a usual chore,she got dressed up for her walk to the middle river across the Roseman bridge. After the walk she would pick vegetables from her garden and cook while listening to radio. Then she would read all the letters she wrote to Robert.
She stopped her car about a mile away from the bridge and started to walk. As the gravel road turned, the bridge started to appear.The memories of that sultry August afternoon started to flash in front of her eyes. It seemed just like yesterday, when she had come here with Robert .It was a good 15 miles from her home nevertheless she was glad she took the decision.
Today she saw a truck parked by the side of the road. Her eyes danced like butterflies all around.It would be stupid to look for Robert after so long, she thought. But she had kept his memories alive in her heart.She almost ran towards the bridge, when she saw a figure leaning over the railings, looking down at the River.She felt like this person had been standing there since eternity.Francesca called out his name and he looked back. He was an older, frailer version of her tall and husky Robert.
He smiled and looked for her hand. As she moved a step closer to hold him, he murmured,”I knew you would come” .Closing her eyes she hugged him tight and said.”Let’s go home Robert…”

Lunch on an August Noon

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“Why don’t you come over for a cup of Coffee?” he asked.
“May be sometime later…” she had said. She had been avoiding this rendezvous for more than a month now.He was new and alone in the city and had been looking for a friend to talk and spend sometimes. She too, was lonely in her life.They hadbeen talking on phone  all this while and he seemed to be a kind person to her.They would generally talk about their work, hobbies and life in general.
It was a Friday morning and she had been in a rather traumatic state of mind,thanks to an early morning fight with her husband.As he called her on work, he had quietly listened to her sobs and imagined the nasty weekend she was going to have.
He asked again, ” Come over for a cup of coffee, you will feel better”. This time, she had said yes to him. Around noon, she took a bus to meet him at his place. He kept calling her to ensure she does not lose her way. She got out of the station and called him on his cell phone. They could not find each other for about 10 minutes. She wondered if it was too good to be true. But then she saw him waiting under a tree just outside the station with an umbrella. It was a hot August afternoon and as they walked down ,he kept the umbrella up over her through the entire way.

She looked up at him and wondered what took him so long. He looked at her smiling and asked,”What will you have for lunch?”

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Those 7 years

A New Dawn

A New Dawn

He had pursued her for seven longs years and it was a fairy tale marriage. They were married in three different ceremonies and they believed to have found ultimate happiness.The trouble started brewing in the first year of marriage itself. Tempers ran high at the drop of a hat.There was no room for patience and respect, now that they were married. “Please”, “Sorry” and “I love you” were long forgotten words.

Her attitude, ego and immaturity turned every issue into arguments. More often than not,arguments turned into nasty fights. He seemed to have lost his most prized virtue , patience. Sometimes, he would not come back home and sleep at a friend’s place. To him, home never felt like a home at all. She would rage back to her parents after every little fight. The frustrations took over the fantasies of a happy life.
It seemed , the love had flown out of the window…literally. She stopped waiting for him and he started working extra hours.
Then one day he picked up his stuff and left for another city. She would not join him citing her studies.

Distances made them grow even more apart. She lived in denial of their failing marriage for next 2 years.
Meanwhile, he met another woman. One quiet lunch brought them together. Subsequent dates healed them to a great extent. She was bruised, abused and frail but her soul was alive. With her, he gained his hopes ,dreams and his life once again.

She promised to never take him for granted.
He promised to nurture her back with his love.

And they lived happily ever after.

Serendipity

Everyone has their serendipity moments. For some its food, results of an exam they took, sports event, stumbling upon a  buy-1-get-3-deal, bestie turning into a lover…

My serendipity moment has to be the way Ani came into my life. It was the summer of 2011 and my on-the rocks marriage had exasperated me to no end. I used be irritated, angry and upset all the time. My work was suffering and I had difficulty maintaining my all other relationships. Perhaps , the time had come to quit. After several attempts of online dating , I took a break as it was not at all a good feeling meeting awkward, funny, stupid and sometimes outrageous people.

I kept delaying meeting Ani and he kept asking me out for a coffee. After a month of chatting and talking on and off, I had finally agreed to see him for lunch. I had no hopes from this meeting, like I said, I was put off by the kind of people who were on the dating sites.

One meeting led to another and before I could realize we were seeing each other on every weekend.

But it was still a regular date and not a serious relationship. It could not be because I was not going to get into a serious relationship so soon. The scars of my abusive marriage were deep and I was simply taking time-out to re-organize my life. On the other hand Ani had left his wife of two years and was seeking a temporary relationship to spend his lonely weekends. So either way, we were just hanging out, giving ourselves some time and did not really want a relationship.

But before we could realize, we were thick into love and could not live without seeing each other. The temporary relation seemed to have done its first job- healing the scars. I felt that we were spending crazy amount of times together, hence I thought we needed to talk and give the relationship a direction. So, there we were discussing the possibility of a serious bond together just 6 months after we had met. Ani said ,he wanted to be with me , rest of his life but did not know how would we go ahead with so many complications around our lives. I admitted my feelings for him and told him,”Let’s go with the flow of time”.

Surprisingly, things got sorted out by themselves and both of us were divorced by the end of next one year.

My man is nice and kind by nature and that’s the most basic quality of a good human being. I could not have asked for more and we became man and wife soon.So a casual date turned into a pleasant relationship and then took an even more pleasant turn when we realized that we could not get a better spouse than each other.

So here is to unpredictable things, risk taking abilities, intuitive instincts, having fun, faith and loving life. Most important of all , is to give your best shot at all times and enjoy each moment of your life.

I would say, never forget to dream and things will work out for sure!!

Cheers!

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Dreams coming true…

A Name

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I was born to  soldier and his working wife. My dad met my mom when she had just joined Airforce in a civilian capacity. He was a Parachute Jumping Instructor and was posted at my mom’s city unit. He fell in love with this independent girl, working with the soldiers and proposed to marry her. All of 18, my mom directed him to her dads’. Marriage fixed in about 6 months time and they live happily ever after.

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Oh wait…I was born the following year after the marriage. Since mom returned to work after 3 months of maternity leave, I was taken care by many people while she worked. My granny, my aunt (mom’s sister), her cousin and one lady who was a neighbor. This lady had 3 teenaged sons and she happily proposed to look after me while my mom worked from 7 in the morning until 2 pm. She would feed me,change and tuck me in as and when needed. Her sons were grown up and she missed having a baby around, she said. Also she loved having a girl for herself ! My mom sometimes would leave me at my granny’s and my aunt would take care of me before she picked me up on Saturdays. In between some of these days mom decided to have me named but she wanted the lady who looked after me, to name me. She wanted to thank her in her own way. The lady called me “Rinku” and that was put in the records. Rinku is a common name from the state she belonged to- Bengal.

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I’m one of those people who didn’t like their name initially. But as I grew up and Mom told me this story of naming my name, I was filled with gratitude towards that lady and for my mom too. That lady for her unconditional love and Mom for being grateful to her and showing it in a unique way. As I grew up, started to like my name, short, sweet and crisp. It means ‘Sweet’ or ‘Sweet Thing”.

They say, a rose is a rose is a rose. Does not matter if it was not named as rose. But I’m glad that my name is a tribute to a good lady for her kindness and love. I have never met her or tried to find her ever but now it looks like I must.

Yes after writing this post , I’m going to call Mom.

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Grandpa’s House

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The other day I dreamed of my grandpa’s house. As kids we used to visit them every summer. Vacations meant grandpa’s house in the village in Assam , an eastern state in India.

The train journey back then used to be long, 3 days to be precise! But it was worth it…the bridges over the rivers, the towns, the villages and the fields on the way were beautiful. Me and my little brother would sing songs sitting by the train window and look forward for our annual vacation at Grandpa’s.

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It was a house made of bamboo, straws and some other organic material nonetheless it was big. We had like about 10 rooms in the house and a nice porch to sit out if it rained. There was a nice courtyard in front of the house and on the left the straw room for the cattle. On the right side of the house , my uncle had planted lots of fruits trees and we had plums and peaches in between some grape vines! There were wooden bird houses made for pigeons who would not fly away once they found this place with water and food all around!

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My granny used to cook wonderful meals for everyone and in those times food was cooked over wood and it tasted heavenly. When I saw this dream, I called up my dad and told him that I remember each and every room in that house and what fun times we had back then. As my uncle and aunts got married and moved out of the house, the house started to become empty. After Grandpa , my granny moved to my dad’s in town. There are times when I go back home, dad and me drive to the village just to look at the place that had this beautiful house and held together so many people of our family. Of course , the house is not there anymore but the memories of it is distinct. So much so that ,even now, I sometimes get a whiff of the house with everyone in it. If I had the time machine, I would go back and enjoy those childhood days in that house more than ever.

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I loved to move from one room to another looking at stuff placed in each room. Each member of the family had a room for themselves and there was a room at the back which housed the ducks and the pigeons in the night! There were two ponds , one in the front yard and other in the back yard and invariably we had ducks and swans swimming in it all through the day! The walk by the side of the house would take us to the rice fields and it was fun to run around barefoot, splashing into mud and water!! Playing with ducks, calves and eating raw mangoes, gooseberry and olives was so much fun!

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While taking showers in the bathroom that was made up of bamboo , one could have a look at the blue Naga hills at the border. The cranes at the rice fields would come to eat worms and tiny fishes. The cattle would come back home on their own at the dusk and get settled in their shed on their own. Life used to be so easy and fun back then. If I had a choice , I would surely go back to my grandpa’s house never to come back again. I’m happy that I can visit that house still , even though it is in my dreams now. The lesson is to enjoy the present for it never can be same again!

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Something we take for granted

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Being loved is the most precious thing in the world and I think we all take it for granted. The love by the parents, siblings and then by lovers is something we should be always grateful about. We usually never realise that parents love by our parents is like a gift from heaven and it never ceases comewhat may and hence we take it for granted all our lives. We realise when they are gone and then we repent rest of our lives. The sooner we realise the importance of parents love, its better. Because there is nothing like it and and we should enjoy each onet of it and try to give them the same selfless love.

Similarly , siblings, most of them love us unconditionally. Partners, lovers or spouses who love us like we were born in the same family and who nurture us are the best thing to happen after parents. One should consider himself lucky if they get such a life partner because in current times its rare. Once lost you will never get it back !!

Let’s vow never to take love for granted, never to demean it, never to be ungrateful, if we are lucky enough to have it. Let’s learn to appreciate and nurture the love that we have in our lives.

Love from parents, family and partners is to be rejoiced, respected and returned in the same intensity if not more.

Cheers!

Sunset @ Goa

Sunset @ Goa

Things about Summer

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Morning walks, evening walks, no winter clothes, frappes, icecreams , summer dresses, cool breeze ….

Wow, summer is my favorite time of the year…okay spring is the best one actually! Summers back in India are like scorching hot. But I still like them better than the cold of nothern India where I grew up. In Assam where I originally belong to, the summers are wet because the monsoon starts in April already! So the memories of rainy, breezy, and cloudy summers during my collge years are something that I fondly remember!

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Since we have moved to this part of the world, its been different and nice too. The winters are like bad but luckily I have not yet spent any winters here so this year its going to be my first. I dont like them…my husband always asks me what will happen to me if we were to move to mid-west or east of this country sometime!! I’m sure I will learn to enjoy the snowfall sooner than he fears!

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The onset of summer in California is marked with beautiful cherry blossoms and scores of other pretty flowers in the parks and on the streetsides.You know its summer when sunset is after 8pm and you have plenty of time to do your stuff. The feel of the cool breeze energises me while I take my evening walks now with my son and Ani joinning us on weekends. I can hear the birds chirping away at all times except in the noon when they too take a break and hide under the thick branches of the trees.

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Summers also reminds me of the onset of rains back in home. Back then , it used to be hot in Agra but childhood never feels it and we would eagerly wait for our school vacations during summers.

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I hope my affair with summer will carry on even if we have to move to a colder part of the country! Till then let me enjoy the summers of California which lasts almost throughout 8 months!

Last but not the least, a drive in the summers could let you see a lot more colors than anytime in the year!

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Favorite Physical Trait

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Well this one is tough…I do not want to judge people based on any of their physical traits. That would not be fair….

But when it comes to talk about the most important feature in our body , it has to be the physique. I like to keep fit and in shape. I have been using my size 28 jeans since 2 decades now. Okay I was size 26 then!

I have been walking like 3-4 kms five times a week since last about 15 – 20 years. That has kept my body and health in check. You really cannot do anything about other features that we have as per our genetics. Some people may complain about small eyes or thick lips, some may cry over fuzzy hair or a big nose.What can you do about it really? But physique can be altered as per your wish. You can put on decent weight if you are too skinny or reduce if you are on the heavier side. And then feel good about yourself!

I really detest people who are consistently overweight and feel no qualms about binging and being overweight. They do not realise that apart from being looking unpleasant and unpresentable , they also are in the process of harming their health. In due years, they would have numerous health issues. Fat and overweight people may be merrier or happier than their thinner cousins but are in immense health risk. They also are not able to inspire people to eat healthy. They really do not promote working towards good health.

So here we go….eat healthy, go for a walk and have a body to kill for ! You will inspire people, make some jealous , age slow and most importantly be happy in long run.

Cheers.

***I write this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Simple Things in Life

Simple-Things

Honestly, a few good friends and some good place to spend the lazy afternoons…thats what life’ s pleasures are all about.

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Life’s treasures lie in simples things indeed. Mom’s food, a simple cup of her tea,sitting in the porch sipping it watching rains, giving grains to sparrows and hens at home…

the-simple-things-jai-johnson

Watching a random flick on TV in the afternoon when alone, making that special cup of tea on weekends for both of us when Riaan is taking a nap, going for an evening walk and looking at the clouds and talking about future.

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Finding the phone number of an old friend and calling her and catching up with old times, wishing good day to a fellow jogger, smelling the rose on my morning walk, watching the clouds fly by in the evening sky, stopping by and talking to the old lady in the neighbourhood.

apple-pie

 

Truly, life’s treasures lie in simple things. The very fact that life is short but sweet makes it even more important to love its each moment.

Cheers!

friends

 

Father’s Day

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father’s Day

It was the first father’s day for Ani. This time it was special for me too, for I was glad that Ani was the father of my lucky baby.

Honest, fiercely loving, caring for both of us like none ever, makes him a very special person.

It  was celebrated twice, one a Pre-Father’s day and then again on THE day. Who could be the best father in this world than Ani as he brought me a lovely pair of crystal earrings even though it was his day!

Happy Father’s day….to all you wonderful dads!

Things I like about Spring

Cherry Blossoms  Caught & Shot- A&R

Cherry Blossoms
Caught & Shot- A&R

The pleasant weather, the sunny skies, the flowers, the butterflies, lush green trees, the breeze…

There are so many more things about spring! Well I think, it all begins with the festival of colors Holi. Somehow, in my mind I associate Holi with the onset of spring because after winters, that is the day when you can play with water and color.

Spring, back home in Assam, is sunny and breezy at the same time.  As pre- monsoon showers bid goodbye to winters and welcome rainy summers, spring brings the biggest festival of Assam, Bihu. People make merry, dance and shop and visit friends and relatives. Get-togethers are organised and in villages, the sounds of Dhol and flute mark the onset of spring.

This is my second spring in California.  Now the spring blooms can be seen everywhere and the temperature rises to even pleasant degrees. An occasional cloudy and breezy day alternates every second week or so. Its time for Barbeques, picnics, hikes and long drives on the weekends and people could be seen enjoying the season after a not-so-cold winter.

Spring is seen as a time of growth, renewal, of new life for both plants and animals being born. The term “Spring” is also used more generally as a metaphor for the start of better times.

Indeed, it is the spring of my life as we welcomed our newborn into this amazing world. Hope everyone receives their peace and joy in the spring of this year.

Cheers!

Bihu dance from Assam

Bihu dance from Assam

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

Someone Who Inspires Me

Be like Sunshine

Be like Sunshine

It has to be Tanmay. My General Manager from the company I worked for 7 years. He is a living proof that good people still exist in this world and that kindness, goodness, excellence and other super qualities can come in one package.

As a trainer whenever I used to train an experienced batch of executives or managers , I came across scores of  people who would swear by Tanmay’s name. Tanmay is a nice, warm person and does nothing which is loud or visible. His actions and his words were both in sync and the best part was that he also had pleasant looks! So while the girls would go ga-ga over his looks, I had the opportunity to work closely with him and realized he had a wonderful personality which was way beyond his good looks.

Tanmay was an inspiration to be good to all and be humble whatever stage or status of life or career you are in. He taught me to be honest at all cost, help people in trouble, inspire people to be good and treat all without any prejudices or pre-existing notions.One good quality in him was that he had all the time in the world for everyone who knocked his door. He never rushed through any conversations or tasks. I feel that’s a rare quality in today’s world.

Last time I spoke to him was on his birthday and he was busy making drinks for his guests. He sounded so happy to have received my call. He earnestly said he follows me with great interest on FB! It made me happy to just listen to what he had to say. I made sure, I told him that he was my ideal. He smiled and said , “Ab rulaoge kya…! ”

I strive to be like him, atleast bring in some qualities that makes Tanmay what he is.

Tanmay undoubtedly is one of the great persons of all times.

Be Good

Be Good

Ringing in 2015

Sunset by the lake Shot- A & R

Sunset by the lake
Shot- A & R

Its already late to write on this topic nonetheless…better late than never!

The new year eve which coincides with my birthday is usually spent dancing,shopping and ends with a dinner of my choice. Of course then a cake cutting session in the middle of the night! This was happening since last 3 years, thanks  to my sweetheart and this year I wanted it to be a quiet evening. Because I was expecting , I wanted less noise, less people around and a quiet dinner. So we decided , we shall go camp in our favorite hotel a previous day, spend the evening there and ring in my birthday and the new year from the quiet room overlooking the lake of the city.

With 2 bags , we drove into the hotel and took a room at 10th floor. Down from the window, the preparations for the New Year Eve’s party on the dance floor was on full swing. I just wanted to relax on the sofa and listen to some soothing music and watch the sun go down the lake. The year had been pretty hectic with lots of good things coming in. There were a few incidents which caused a bit of heartaches too. Nonetheless, I wanted to decompress and unwind and create a still better beginning for the coming year. Dinner was sumptuous -Palak Paneer, tandoori chicken and Rotis with a green salad and Ani disappeared from the room to hunt for a birthday cake! We went down and had a look at the hotel bakery. It was sensible to buy the cake from the hotel then driving down to another bakery through maddening traffic of people getting out to celebrate new year’s eve. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper , the parks were crowded, the hotels were brimming with people….my goodness, India is exploding with people!

I convinced Ani to get just a chocolate pastry as cake would have become too much for two of us.

The ceremonial cake was cut at the stroke of 12 midnight, as the people down the dance floor started hugging each other and the hotel sky was lit up with a string of firecrackers!  Three years of togetherness and much of bliss and peace. Next day was spent quietly lazying and taking stroll along the pool.2nd of January saw me doing some shopping for husband, baby and some essential items for the trip to US. And by evening we were at our home sweet home.

Im glad this new year was quiet with lot of time for introspection and retrospection. There should be days in our life when one can sit back , relax , do nothing, feel the life go by, moment by moment and just live in the moment. Life is short and we have lot of aspirations.If we do not sit back once in a while,we will not realize and life will zoom past us.

This one is for everyone to take a break from routine, if its on the birthday, its all the more great!

Chocolicious... Shot-  A & R

Chocolicious…
Shot- A & R

Something Someone Gave You- Week 5

Time is a Gift - by Ani

Gift of Time – by Ani

Giving is always a bliss. Receiving is a pleasure too. Long time back my brother told me to never go by the price of your gift. Gifts are bought for you with some thought, money and energy and that is what should be appreciated. I have always valued the gifts I have received and have treasured them all.

Friends , parents, colleagues always give you gifts with or without occasions. My sweet hubby has been showering me with gifts since we met and some of them are totally invaluable. The most precious would have to be the gift of my life that my parents gave to me. I would certainly thank them for having decided to get married and have me as their first born ! For its’ because of them that I’m able to see this beautiful world , live and love it in all senses.

One that I would never forget is a hand made birthday card my kids gave me when they were very young. It was for “The World’s Best Mom” with lots of scribbles and colors inside! I treasure that and keep it close to my heart always!

Gift of Love

Gift of Love

***I start this gratitude challenge following an inspiration by a fellow blogger Day-9 / week 1 – 52 Weeks of Gratitude | Me and My Random Thoughts by Bikram.

No Time to Waste

25

Life is too short to regret and hold grudges against people who have not been fair to you.Or blame the circumstances you have been in ever since.You are invariably the choices that you make. The key is to learn the lesson, pick yourself up and get going!

The story of my life is not an enchanting one nonetheless it makes me realize that I’m solely responsible for my happiness.

At the age of 20, fresh out of college I was married off to a guy who was 10 years older than me. For a long time, I struggled hard to know him. Sometime during those initial years I knew, this is not my place.

For every moment of those long years, I had a nagging, burning, agonizing feeling that he would never be the right one for me. Despite his honesty, he seemed to play games with my heart, handled his finances very poorly and, amidst all, was very insecure despite having lots of confidence for himself. I could never understand him. But I understood that his family had never prepared him for LIFE and MARRIAGE, and the poor decisions he had made as a younger man had him caught in a muddy hole, one he just couldn’t seem to dig himself out of.

As the years went by, he could give me less and less of what I needed. Two kids  arrived during these years,things became better for me but nasty between us. I was a terrible nag, and I can feel that now. There were too many things about him that I would nag him about. And I began to realize that I could never change him and shouldn’t have to. What ate away at me day and night, was getting away from my kids because I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without them. And being alone horrified me.

The time when I was comprehending walking out on him, I started making more friends and spending time with them so that it would be easier to handle the stress of a broken marriage later on and beat the loneliness.During this enduring time I read the book “The Secret” which is about the law of attraction. It inspired me and made me pick myself up from the trash that I was in. I realized that, I had not arranged my life in a way that allowed for all the things I desired. I also realized that I had to decide what I wanted in my future and start taking active steps towards attracting that future. I knew that life would be only be about constriction and battle if I do not break away from this marriage which was doomed from the first day.

The silver lining was ,I had already met my soul-mate during these struggling years. Just that we had not realized the purpose (in the larger context) of our chance meeting.I moved out and rented one small bedroom apartment for myself. The initial few weeks were heart wrenching without kids. I would not cook, eat ,sleep or do anything. I walked around like a zombie ,even to my office! Nothing would make up for the kids’ smile and their presence around me all these years. Ani , helped me as much as he could by keeping in contact and was by my side all the while. During these hard times, I realized, Ani was in my life for something much more than that.

My fate was destined to be with Ani long before we actually met.

Most love stories begin in very unpredictable ways. Every single moment leading up to the one in which you meet your soul-mate prepares you for that person you were fated for. Previous heartbreaks or sleepless nights can be essential in the grand plan of things—sometimes we need to know what something feels like when it’s wrong before we can ever really know it when another thing is RIGHT.

I remember , when I first saw Ani, I was charmed by his bright smile and vibrant eyes. Three years down the line, I’m in love with his smile and eyes even more! For him, it took a longer time,but we are at the same frequency now!

If I would not have had the courage to walk out , I would have never known this happiness. the happiness of being with the soul-mate, the support of the spouse, the freedom of spirit and the honest, pure and unconditional love!

Life is too short to be unhappy and to blame others for the choices we make. Get up and make decisions. Pull someone out of the rut. Foresee and attract your future. Its all in your hands.

Lets know the importance of each day and each moment that we are blessed with and make the most of it!

Cheers!

Togetherness Shot: A & R

Togetherness
Shot: A & R

Treasure

Nature Shot- A&R

Nature Shot- A & R

What’s my treasure….all of it is not material that’s for sure! In fact apart from some of my most prized stockings and lingerie, nothing material holds my treasure!

Yes, once upon a time, when I was lonely, emotionally bankrupt and had an insecure heart, I used to put emphasis on clothes, crockery, jeweler y and other such non-precious things.Living in a cold house with a selfish person made me hoard things. It used to be anything…I just used to blow my whole salary on good nothings and get pleasure out of it. Pleasure that would just disappear in following couple of days to abuse.

Copenhagen Bakery ( Burlingame) Shot: A& R

Copenhagen Bakery (Burlingame) Shot: A & R

Treasure in my terms is a genuine person, some lovely places that I have visited and in sometimes an item! Treasure is a day/night out with kids, Ani, family or a dear friend! Treasure is that chocolate shake in Mocha after a hearty meal. That meal which didn’t need to be planned as it was just a stone’s throw away from Maiden’s where we stayed for almost a year at Civil Lines. Treasure is, Ani making sure that all my wishes are met….the same day that I ask for them! It is the hugs and butterfly kisses I receive when I keep quiet instead of arguing with him! Treasure is the dimpled smile he unknowingly gives when he reads messages from his friends and also when he opens his beer can!

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Brownie Shot: A & R

Treasure is dad giving away some cash to me while I leave his house. Treasure is his pets all over the house who give him love and affection unconditionally. It is that talk I  have with my kids everyday and the points they prove, now that they have one always! Treasure is my help at home , who does not utter a word while working and does her job to a perfect T.

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Hiking @ San Bruno Shot : A& R

Treasure is the look of the valley when you reach the top after that long and tiring trek. It is playing with a child, making him happy by doing what he likes. It is opening the Facebook page and knowing that all my childhood and current friends are in touch with me sharing their joys and sorrows each day. Treasure is that evening walk by the park or the lakeside with Ani discussing mundane things!

Evening  walks with Ani Shot : A&R

Evening walks with Ani
Shot : A&R

Treasure is the everyday moments which keeps me happy and peaceful and those moments which have gone by, which remind me that I have done my bit for others. Treasure is the dreams and hopes of tomorrow. Treasure is the positive energy Ani supplies me on an everyday basis.

My treasure is my independence to do anything that I wish to. What is yours!

Photography Shot: A&R

Photography
Shot: A&R

Small Pleasures

Perfect Wildflowers  (Caught by - A & R)

Perfect Wildflowers
(Caught by – A & R)

When we carry on doing the day to day chores , some tasks become mundane while some retain our interests even on a daily basis. These tasks fill us up with energy and positive attitude for the days to come.

Somehow Ani  has a way to make everything turn into a task which is to be enjoyed. Smallest of the chores like moisturizing the body, washing hands, swiping the dinning table after a meal, going for a walk, washing the car on a Sunday etc are turned into an interesting task everyday. Realizing this is an amazing virtue as it has the capability of changing the general attitude towards one’s own life, I have slowly adapted to it. After all, what is life all about -its doing meaningful things every passing moment and enjoying it!

All these years of life that we have lived, most of us rush through everyday. Getting up, rushing through the breakfast, getting to work braving the traffic,meeting deadlines, rushing through those cups of coffees and teas while we work (and never really enjoying them!) hurriedly gulping packed lunches or missing them at all and then rushing back home to be with family for whatever is left of the day. We are losing precious moments of our lives by rushing through them. The years, days, nights, hours, moments have a count. We cannot afford to lose them never to get them back again in our lifetime.

The best gift I have got from life is Ani, who teaches me to enjoy life every moment. Do every task wholeheartedly as  can see him doing each day. He is a perfectionist too.. But now I realize, perfection comes on its own when you put your heart and soul into each chore that you perform everyday. The nature is perfect and does its job relentlessly even if we, human beings try to destroy its balance everyday.

Life is not static and so are the pleasures of it. Lets make it wonderful and contribute towards making it better by enjoying smallest of pleasures.Like feeding the sparrows in the morning, watering the plants, cleaning the everyday dust, enjoying a few minutes in the sun ,talking to random kids in the locality, cooking a hearty meal, enjoying that cup of tea at 5 every evening…..there is so much to enjoy!

Let us begin to relish the smallest of pleasures of our lives. Start today and make the most of your life!

A sumptuous meal  Caught by - A & R

A sumptuous meal
Caught by – A & R

 

 

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