Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Yellow

It has been a while since I participated in Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

But that changes this week as Amanda splashes a pop of the happy yellow and encourages us to bring that to each other through this week’s prompt! This is a color very dear to my heart – uplifting, vivacious, hopeful…is that why we color the sun yellow?

Here are some from the archive and a couple of new ones!

 

At ‘Robert Is Here’, Florida. Way back in 2013

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Summer Tales

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Fall Memories

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Child’s Play

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Of sunsets

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Stories from life

 

 

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Kitchen chronicles

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There is one more picture that I would have liked to share…that of a ten or twelve year old me wearing a dress very similar to the quirky art studio photo shared by Amanda! That image evoked many fond memories not only of the dress, that was a favorite of mine, but reminded me also of the simplicity that is childhood. Growing up is overrated! My mom has been going through albums back in Kolkata, trying to find one of me in that ‘frock’ as we called it back home, and I will add that picture, when and if she finds it:) Moms are the best!

 

Thanks for stopping by and where ever you are, may you always have a pop of the bright yellow in your life!

Memories in March

There is a little corner in our bedroom that I have recently claimed as my ‘me spot’…. a corner of the couch, next to a window. Times are different and difficult and being at home is all that we do. When I get a wee bit of time, usually when the kids are taking their afternoon nap and the good man is busy with his office work, I sit there with the book I happen to be reading ( ‘Snow’ by Pamuk, at the moment) and my gaze drifts outside occasionally. Sometimes it does so to try to visualize the sights ‘ Ka’  sees in the story and sometimes I gaze to try to fathom what’s going on with our bruised world. I fail.

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Spring is here and, what would otherwise be a cheery time with kids running and neighbors hanging around for a quick chat, is eerily silent. Even the birds are quiet. Quieter. Have they taken notice of how the world is hurting? I wonder.

 

Cars don’t leave their parking spots. There is no movement. Only delivery trucks keep making their rounds, rushing to drop off the essentials people can’t seem to stop buying. I don’t blame them (not the hoarders though). There seems to be no end in sight, an end to the fear that has slowly crept deep into people’s souls. It is palpable and rising with each passing day.   Are those in charge taking notice? I hope so.

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I have stopped following the news. It isn’t helping. My motherland is in total lockdown and in a country with 1.3 billion people, that is anything but feasible. Yet it is happening. While it is extremely essential for a national lockdown since the virus, if it spread, would wreck havoc of un fathomable proportions from which the country would probably never recover, it is also not ideal. Not without a well thought out plan, at least. Or any plan. The lockdown has rendered hundreds and thousands of migrant workers in a state of limbo. With no work and no place to stay, they are returning to their native villages and towns. Many  by foot. National lockdown means no transportation in many places. Buses are being provided in some cases but the ratio of number of people needing help to the actual help in place, is massively disproportionate. Add to that,  the lack of or absence of food and water. The poor must suffer… always. And then there are celebrities who post videos of washing dishes… how hard it must be for them.

I am living my life almost exactly the way I used to before this crisis. It is a privilege and I recognize that. Yes, I don’t go out to the mall, my job hunting has taken a step back and my eyebrows could use some salon care. And yes, I am always thinking about, and when need be acting on,  how to keep the fridge and pantry well stocked so that my kids  remain well nourished. I have the privilege of cooking sumptuous lunch and dinner, baking cakes, reading books and taking photos. I am beyond grateful.  My husband’s work is letting him work from home and there has been no change, yet, in the benefits we receive like medical insurance. I am hoping it stays so but with the hit the economy is going to have to bear, it should not be a surprise if those benefits change. Provided he still has a job once this is all over. But we will cross that bridge when and if we come to that. One step at a time. Meanwhile our popcorns and movie nights, family games,  music time and being goofy together continues and the semblance of sanity prevails. Memories in March have been bittersweet.

 

The world is hurting and there is more to come. Uncertainty looms large. Careless acts of some people continue to put others in danger. Petty fights break out over trivial matters as emotions run high. And yet, the good shines through. Those in the frontline continue to fight for one and all.
I pause a little when posting pretty pictures while heartbreaking stories fill the newsfeed. To empathize and to continue with daily activities  is no longer uncomplicated.  I think about last spring when the now babbling baby girl was only a few months old and all of us were just getting to know each other better. It was beautiful, inside and outdoors.


The cherry blossoms outside the window try to put a smile on my face. I oblige. I see some kids drawing on the road. Their message is simple. I smile. I sip on my afternoon coffee and return to my book to travel with Ka.

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Thanks for stopping by. Let’s be patient, let’s be gentle and let’s be kind.

 

 

 

A Photo A Day: 30 days or so

Amidst all that is going topsy turvy, my phone let me keep clicking everyday…almost.

 

 

 


Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you all health and peace during these trying times. Wish our world heals fast and we learn to be better. Kids should not have to be kept from playing with each other, old people should not have to spend their precious days away from one another, families should not have to share happy moments through glass windows.

Dylan has been on my mind.

 

 

Life goes on…

It has been an eventful, to say the least, last couple of weeks around the world…wouldn’t you say? Personally, I never imagined that we would be witnessing something of such gigantic proportions in our lifetimes… and it’s kind of hard to know what to expect going forward. News feed has been depressing, scary and at times triggering the panic mode.  With small children at home, whose immune systems have not developed fully yet, the fear if pretty real.

With every passing hour, more and more grim reports flood the inbox. Schools are closed and here in New Jersey, starting today, there will be a curfew in place from 8pm through 5am for some time now. It is whole lot of unknown and with a crisis of such unprecedented nature, I can’t stop wondering when and how will this end? When will we get to return to our ‘normal’ lives or will this be the new normal?

I have been seeing a lot of posts on social media as to how people have been gifted the gift of Time’ to unwind, to slow down, to mediate, to pick up that book taht has been on the shelf for a while. I agree but I also feel this applies to the ‘privileged’- those who can work from home or have been asked to stay home, without worrying about pay cuts or losing their medical insurance. What about those who depend on their hourly wage to put food on the table? What about the kids who now run the risk of remaining hungry since schools are closed? What about small businesses who may have to close shop as recovering from the financial fallout of such proportions will be impossible?

Here in my blogging world, half baked thoughts, half written posts, unanswered messages await while deadlines of some of my favorite challenges keep passing by. Going to the grocery store feels like a challenge as the fear of contracting the virus does not seem to be an irrational one at this point in time. And worrying about parents and in laws and other loved ones, living on the other side of the world, does not let the mind be at ease, ever.

One evening, just a couple of days ago, as I was busy alternating between scrolling through Instagram and Google News, I heard the gentle music of guitar coming from the other room. I put down my phone and strained my ears to catch the lines. My son, oblivious of everything, including  the crazy thoughts in his mom’s head, was trying to sing “Ob la di- Ob la da” by the Beatles and the only lines he could were

“Ob la di Ob la da, Life goes on

La la, How life goes on”.

I couldn’t help but smile and think about the lines he was trying to hum without a care in the world.

I am letting the frightening thoughts in my mind take a break. They are clouding the present moments that I get to spend with my kids and husband, now that he is working from home.  I don’t want to miss out on the silliness that the little ones engage in or the faltering steps that baby girl has started taking because I am too busy thinking only about all that terrifying things. I don’t want to miss the signs that are clearly telling the Spring is slowly making her way in and I also don’t want to miss out on messages of hope that is carried by the soulful music filling deserted alleys.

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Wishing everyone, especially those in dire circumstances, who have loved ones in communities that have been hit hard, who have been directly affected by this terrible tragedy, strength and love to help through such difficult times. Hoping our world heals fast and we learn our lessons.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday Motivation

Sufi Saying-
“Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates.

At the first gate, ask yourself: ‘Is it TRUE’?

At the second gate ask: ‘Is it NECESSARY’?

At the third gate ask: ‘Is it KIND’?”

 

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Thanks for stopping by.

Monday Motivation

How often do we seek extraordinary moments of happiness and in trying to achieve  ‘perfect’ moments take extrinsic steps? Such moments, we perhaps don’t realize at many times, cannot be created or chased after. It is upto us to recognize that those are within us and around us. In the humdrum of daily life, challenges are many and we often find ourselves striving to gain back our mental space and the peace from negative energy,  untruthful people, deceiving situations. It takes a lot to alienate ourselves from all the chaos outside and an even greater effort to fight the war that rages inside.

Be still. Be calm. Be true. Be grateful. Be conscious.  It may take time but slowly we are certain to attain a clarity, that will help us acknowledge that in spite of all that has gone wrong or all that is going wrong, blessings are in abundance. Our mental space will no longer be for anyone to toy with and we will not give anyone the power to disrespect us, to make us think less of ourselves.

We will have arrived. It is easier said than done but at the same time it is within our reach to practice peace, practice humility, practice rising above pettiness, practice mindfulness.

 

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Thank you for stopping by. I am grateful for you and what you help me learn.

Monday Motivation

Although Monday is almost over here and the Tuesday morning sun has risen in many parts of the world, still  here I am!

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Be true and be you… be kind and be gentle…be kind and be patient. It is a much better place for you to be in and for others who are in your circle.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

A Photo A Day: Last 30 days or so

Time for the monthly a photo a day update! As I was scrolling through the phone for photos taken, I realized I wasn’t going out as much and also it being winter, the scene is a bit dismal. We also did not have a lot of snow this year (and I am not complaining even a tiny bit!) and so there isn’t a lot of pretty white stuff to capture as well. White and black, gloomy and bright, transient yet imperishable these were my moments during the last thirty days or so!

 

These were people moments and the best ones, obviously! The little guy turned five, did not cry at the dentist’s office, has been feeding his little sister and being all other kinds of awesome…being a superhero is just a small part of that:) And the little sister has been active a lot as well, coming up with ingenious ways of mischief  and running after her is easily making my Fitbit congratulate me for my 10,000 + steps! Brother-sister duo have been making their own memories as well as they play with each other for longer than before and ‘read’ books together:)

 

Celebrations and food have been a big part of the month gone by. On top of that, I had the rare opportunity to sit at the table, read a couple of pages of a very favorite book and have lunch….a surreal feeling almost 😉 Cook, Eat, Repeat started last month and I look forward to sharing more with you in the months to come!

 

Happiness on finding flower petals from a special occasion inside the pages of a book  and the ‘are-you-kidding-me’ feeling that comes when ‘unpaired’ socks come out of the the dryer, co- existed in harmony and I am grateful for that.

Just one foot in front of the other is okay. Along the way, our moments keep us company- moments that are silly; moments that make us question our faith in the bigger scheme of things; moments that hurt; moments that make us pause and soak it all in; moments that lift up the spirits and make us push a bit harder; moments where inspiring stories from around the world and this platform that I have come to love so dearly, make us look at things from a whole different perspective; moments where kindness and a friendly ‘hello’ make us smile; moments that don’t make sense and moments that are just perfect.

What have your moments been this past month? Would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by:)

 

Resolutions, or the lack thereof

We made it through the first month of the year, some holding fast to the resolutions made, some falling off sometimes but getting back up again and some still wondering if they should have made at least a few tangible goals. As I am trying to think if I was able to stick to my resolutions, I feel that I might not have made any! So, as you can tell I am that person in the third category;)

While I consciously, probably, did not make any goals, I have slowly started doing things I hadn’t done before, or you can say slowly adding things to my daily habits and making alterations to existing methods of doing things to adapt better to the increasing demands of daily life. I won’t say I have been absolutely following the new habits rigidly and am stopping a lot too, but it is getting better and I can sense small  palpable differences.

I have been doing five things that were not part of a conscious resolution- three of those I have modified to suit my current needs, and the fourth and fifth ones are new that I am trying to make a regular habit of.

Journal, Gratitude Journal, Sayings- are things that have been adapted from their older styles. Allow me to explain a bit.

The old ones- Journal:  I have had journals for quite sometime now and while I do not write regularly and had stopped altogether lately,  I now make it a point to note down just special moments- of joy and of sadness as well.  Gratitude Journal: I bought one of those pretty looking gratitude journal notebooks and have started listing 3 things that I was grateful for at the end of every day (I used to do a similar thing in my regular journal but this is better). Sayings: I have another notebook that I write down sayings or quotes of learned souls that affect me and this gives me clarity, joy and instills humbleness when I feel low.

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The new ones-Jar of Good and Everyday List

Jar of Good- I saw on a friend’s Instagram post that she had decided to start a jar of good (inspired by someone she follows), the idea of which was to keep a note, in a jar at the end of every week, jotting down just one good thing that had happened. And the jar is to be emptied and the notes read on December 31st to help us see that probably in spite of all that we complained about throughout the year, we also had pretty incredible, even if simple, moments. Moments that probably got lost in the shadow of the joy of a new promotion or taking the long awaited trip, though these are things that absolutely should be put on those notes too! Along with moments that are humble and pivotal to our mental health. I have been doing this and I can’t help but wonder how this is going to turn out!

 

Everyday List- I have recently picked up this habit (after seeing it on Marie Kondo’s Instagram post) of jotting down things to be done in as much detail as possible, either for the day or in the next 2-3 days -as I see fit- and use that as a guide for the day/s. I never had done this before as it wasn’t necessary but I am beginning to see that this helps better than just having things on the family calendar/ roster, simply because “think about 5 new lunch ideas for school” does not get a place on that roster! Good old bullet points have made a difference. Have you done something like this before or something similar maybe? Do you find it useful? Or are you ‘store it all in the mind’ kind of a person?

 

 

 

So, the lack of resolutions this year has helped me adapt my old habits better while also adding new things to help me navigate this crazy life. I usually do all of these things at the end of the day and to be honest, I cannot even do it everyday as I am ready to collapse on the bed. So my journal gets left out and some days my ‘sayings’ notebook doesn’t get picked up. But my ‘everyday list’ and ‘gratitude journal’ are doing much better! It may seem like a lot of work, that is superfluous as well. But it helps, at least me, to round up the day in a better way. There are days I don’t feel like doing this and I either just fall asleep or read a couple of pages of whichever book I happen to be reading or re reading at the time. And that’s okay! Something that brings us  joy, mindfulness, clarity, closure doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be restricting. The purpose then gets defeated. So, I am letting these grow on me slowly and enjoying this process!

Do you think we all have such habits that we stick to or adapt or let go or add on? How do you end your day? Is there something you wish you could do different? I would love to hear from you if you don’t mind sharing.

 

Thanks for stopping by and hope you get a reason to smile today!