Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Year that was 2015!

A very very long post alert! Summarizing my year 2015 is going to be a daunting task and it is by default going to be a long post. I did a recap of 2014 too, which was month wise. But for this year I thought, I will just jot down the major twists of my life. So bring a hot drink or even wine, sit back and get ready for a detailed report of my 2015.

Travel and Adventures
Year 2015 was characterized with some travel and some adventures. We started the year with a trip to Key West in early January this year. What was special about this trip was that I did parasailing! Those who know me, know how big a deal this was for me! It was a struggle with the mind and finally I did it!


 In March, we went to Texas to meet some old friends, my cousin and her super cute twins. It was supposed to be a family gathering and hence we did not do much sightseeing but just sat back and relaxed with friends and family. It was the first time I experienced snow in the US! It was a memorable trip!

That is my darling niece with our snowman

In June, we went to the Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami. We were just on the verge of moving towards a little north of Florida and thought this was the best time to cover all the South Florida spots on our wish list. The garden was beautiful and the best part I loved about this garden was their Butterfly Park.
Gorgeous Colors and Butterflies

In September, we traveled to Orlando to witness the live magic of soulful Arijit Singh songs. The concert was breathtaking and with each song he sang, my heart melted. It was a 3 hour drive one way and we did not mind that at all.

That soulful voice!

In October, we went to Smoky Mountains. And I think, this is my second best trip in US so far...first being the Niagara Falls. We traversed through 4-5 states and were overwhelmed with the beauty of the fall colors. It was my first time of witnessing the fall colors and I was in love with all the vibrant colors. However, what marked this trip as extra adventurous was my tryst with ziplining! It was kind of a revelation moment for me!

Don't ask all the drama I created!
That was the travel part this year. I believe in creating happiness via experiences and travel indeed allows me to make a bundle of memories to sustain happiness over the longer journey.

New Beginnings, New Friends
The biggest move of this year has to be our shift from Plantation to Palm Beach Gardens in June. I loved the new place since the day we shifted to our new home. It is a fountain facing apartment and I just cannot stop talking about the view I wake up to every single morning. 

Isn't it breathtaking?
I also made some new friends here and I love being here :) Neha and Gauri have been great friends till now and we are sure that our friendship will go past the hurdles of long distances, which tends to be the root of every friendship distancing. I have spent some memorable times in the second half of this year with these two buddies which will be there with me forever. I am trying to learn how to put make up and yet carry it the classy way from Gauri and I cannot even try listing all the things we learnt from Neha in this year. We have our imperfections and yet we gel in very well! New friendships which I will cherish forever! 

Ya ya, friends forever :)

I celebrated my birthday this year by coming out and cheering Sujoy at his football finals in one of the tourneys. It was a different way to celebrate the birthday. But if you know my husband, I think you will understand how much it would have meant to him that I came out and celebrated my birthday this way! Not to mention, his team won the finals and brought a trophy back home :)

That's my hero :)

We celebrated Diwali with a bang this year. I did all that my mother does during Diwali. It was a lovely festive time and I loved each bit of the Diwali fun. We also had our friends visiting us from Denver and it was a homely Diwali in true sense.

I even wore a saree!

Our Anniversary, we had a candle light dinner at one of the restaurants by the beach side (perks of staying in Florida). And while coming back home we saw some holiday lights in the vicinity. It has been 4 years since our marriage and 10 years since we know each other, and yet it feels we met just yesterday :)

Blessed to have him by my side!
His birthday, I baked a cake first time ever. I cooked his favorite food - macaroni for breakfast, bengali mutton curry and jeera rice for lunch! Dinner was outside. We spent some good times reminiscing all the years which are behind us.

That's the birthday celebrations!

Efforts for Personal Growth
This year I joined Toastmasters and my journey so far has been very rewarding. After 8 months, 10 speeches, 6 best speaker awards, 4 table topics awards, 1 win at the humorous speech contest and a lot of learning later I finally achieved the first level of competency in Toastmasters i.e. Competent Communicator. It was my personal goal to attain this level this year itself and with the help of my Club President I was able to do so. 

Yayy, yayy! That is the way it is done :)

My writing has grown in leaps and bounds this year. Apart from my blogs, I wrote a couple of guest posts at different bloggers' site and I continue to write for Women's Web. I also started as a Creative Writer at Stylewhack early this year. Over the months, today I am the Executive Editor and I am donning a lot of other hats at this start up. It keeps me pumped and helps me balance my career aspirations. Recently I was told that I have written 50 posts already on Stylewhack and it is a milestone for me :)

I have learnt quite a few new skills and did a lot of art and craft work this year, thanks to my girl's gang at the new place :) The best skill has to be undoubtedly 'crochet'. There was a time when I was hooked to it and completed a beanie, a scarf and I am still struggling with my jacket as yet. I cannot thank Neha enough for this! Apart from this; we did quilling, wind chimes, diwali lanterns and of course crochet

That beanie and scarf has been crocheted by me :)

I also tried my hands on swimming this year. Well technically I have not 'learnt' swimming as yet but my fear of water has at least reduced. It was a 4 sessions class and in those  sessions I got rid of my water fear. I also did some swimming in the Community with a few of my new friends, but ya I am still swimming with a board! :P

I am in the waters at least ;)

The Drastic Steps
This has to be my uber short bob cut I did in May this year. It was a BIG step as I have always maintained a certain length of my hair. But I wanted to take some risk and I went and did it! Though I have been told not to go for such a short cut again! The next on list would be a pixie cut ;)

That is the short bob cut. Not that bad, right?
The next has to be my tattoo. I have been wanting to have this since a year now and finally in December I did it. It is drastic as I am the first and till now the only one to have got a tattoo in my as well as Sujoy's family. But hey, I always have been a pioneer ;)

Inked in Gratitude!
The Worries
If you thought my year has been just about happy moments and fun, then you are wrong. The biggest worry which has troubled me the most is my mother in law's health. My MIL is a very energetic and always on the run kind of a woman. But this year, her health deteriorated and it has been troubling me ever since. She is doing better now, but she has lost her sheen :(

The second part is of course we not being able to go home due to unending visa procedures and hang ups. It has been quite a long while now that we haven't been home and it haunts us every single day. We are praying that next year at least we should be able to visit home and be with our loved ones.

So yes 2015 has been a tremendously fulfilling year, I did one new thing each week this year and I can't wait to start 2016. My word for this year was 'Gratitude' and I have lived every bit inculcating Gratitude. I am searching for a new word for next year and stay tuned to know more about it.

I hope you guys also had an eventful year and wish that 2016 is adventurous too! Happy New Year :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Being the Positive Angel!

She was the ultimate definition of optimism,
Just like the rainbow colors oozing out of a lighted prism.
Everyone around her looked up to her for motivation,
Always smiling, 'happiness' shouting from each of her fraction.

Then one day, the unthinkable struck on her,
To an accident, she lost her dear mother.
And yet she stood strong amongst them all,
Holding her family together and not letting them fall.

Her father held on to her for support,
For her little brother she was the strong fort.
They clinged to her like a child to a mother,
She held strong, giving hope to everyone around her.

All the while she proved to be everyone's positive angel,
Not understanding the chaos of emotions beneath her tangled.
She wanted to remove the 'facade' of being eternally at bliss,
She wanted someone to hug her and on her forehead place a kiss.

That night she saw her mother in her dreams,
Saying it is ok to cry sometimes and also to scream.
It is ok to break down sometimes and feel the pain,
It is ok not to look for a rainbow always in the rain.

She woke up and she cried, like a baby she cried,
She let out all the sorrow as her mother had died.
She told herself, "Let me cry, let me cry today for once and all"
Because from tomorrow I have to smile and again stand tall!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

3 Women Saving My Life Currently

They say women cannot be friends. They say when two women meet, they just bitch. They say women can't see other women rising up the ladder. They say women are jealous of other women's progress. They still say women cannot be friends!!!

I have 3 women in my life currently who have proved all the above as myths. Here is an ode to these women who are saving my life currently! The ironical part is I have not met either of them as yet and still they stand by me as a solid rock.

Image Source

The first woman I want to talk about is Deepti. Deepti is my husband's colleague's wife who also is in the field of Human Resources. She was in US when I arrived here and I got in touch with her to get guidance on one of the HR certifications which I planned to attempt. Deepti had already given that certification then. We spoke on phone some 2 years back and since then there is no stopping to our friendship. Both of us were frustrated with the 'dependent' visa status and did not want to waste our lives by watching soaps on television or gossiping with other women.  We wanted to do something worthwhile. So hence began the quest for doing meaningful things. We started with having a HR presentation every week where we took trending HR topics and presented the same to each other. We even joined Toastmasters at the same time and we recite our speeches to each other and take feedback. It is not just the personal development that we both indulge in. There are some things in my life, the pain of which only Deepti understands and does not ridicule me for that. She doesn't show sympathy, instead lends a compassionate ear to my grievings. There have been days when I have been completely bogged down, but a call to her makes all the difference in the world. These past 2 years, we have grown as human beings and so has our friendship. What connects us even stronger is our spiritual ideologies. 
I wish from the bottom of my heart that she gets all that she desires :)

The second woman I would like to mention is Shweta Chittrode. I met her in a FB group where she had mentioned that she was in search of writers for her website. We spoke and since then there is a trust that has been built between us. Technically she is my boss, but I find her to be a friend and a mentor. Shweta does not stop amazing me. Each single day she will pull off something, that will make me awestruck. I have never seen such a strong woman in my life who has guts to make her dream come true single handedly. We are involved with a start up called Stylewhack and trust me the energy and zeal with which Shweta works for this start up, pumps up energy in all of us. She does not sit idle, she is either networking or finding leads or working on articles or making our website better. There have been days when she has not slept for days and yet she shows up every single morning to work. People who are involved in start ups will understand the mammoth amount of hard work which is required to make a start up a success. And Shweta is doing double of that! A woman who went against the society norms, a woman who is creating opportunities for other women, a woman who just doesn't give up! Hats off to this strong woman! 
Have faith Shweta, together we will take Stylewhack to newer heights!

The third woman just brings a smile on my face. I 'met' Lily Dunn over her blog when one of my friends forwarded the link. I instantly connected with her writing and we shared a few emails. I even did a guest post for her on 'Gratitude', the word I have chosen for me this year. Lily's blogs keep me going and sometimes bring a wide smile on my face. She is funny, she is hilarious! Her CoT stories when she was in Korea entertained almost everyone. And now that she is back to the US, that place seems to have taken by her adorable cats. Her posts are witty and sure shot will brighten up anyone's day. Her guest series on 'Gratitude' is what has kept me going even during the dark times. When there was a storm in South Carolina recently where Lily stays, my hands automatically were folded in a prayer for her. Such strongly connected I feel towards her even though we haven't met in person. Her undying faith in God and her attitude of counting her blessings even during tough times inspires me to stay strong each single day. 
So Lily, whenever we meet next you have to give me eye make up tutorials :P

So yes, these 3 women are saving my life currently! I sometimes wonder how can people be so close when they have not even met! This makes my belief in God and destiny stronger. People who are supposed to 'meet' will meet in any circumstances!

Who is saving your life currently?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Where do we belong?

My parents hail from a beautiful beach place on the Goa - Karnataka border called Karwar. It is a divine place with very simple people and of course a lot of fish and coastal fruits. By this connection, my mother tongue is Konkani and I have that coastal spirit within me.

My father came to Pune for a better livelihood. My sister and me were born and brought up in Pune. Pune, a free spirited city which has its own rich cultural heritage and of course the rude businessman as many would say. As I was growing up in Pune, our foods started having a Maharashtrian tinge with sabudana khichdi, vegetables prepared with peanuts and usage of kala masala to some extent. We still had our fish curry and vegetables with coconut, but for our school lunch tiffins we essentially had poli bhaji (chapati and vegetable) which was so much influenced by Pune. It is how I picked up Marathi and there was one more language added to my kitty. 

For more than 25 odd years of my life, I thought I belonged to Pune. I thought the mandai vegetable market, the small town bazaar called tulshibaug, the hep F.C Road, the cosmopolitan Camp and my homely Kothrud area defined me. I thought the small scale vegetable vendors sitting on Paud Road is where I belonged, I thought the tiny mom and pop grocery store just outside my building is where I belonged, I thought the Ganesh Bhel which is a famous chatt centre line is where I belong. It was imbibed in me that I belonged here in Pune until....

I got married and was packed away to a Bengali family. This was a phase in my life where I started learning the Bengali language. I am not an expert in the language but I can converse today quite fluently with Bengalis. Also, I understand what they say even if sometimes I may not be able to reply to them in Bengali.  I started blending in the Bengali tinge with slowly and steadily liking the bland river fish and learning Bengali cuisine and rituals. Getting used to mustard pastes and mustard oil was what took a little longer. I have come so far today being a Bengali that it is me who reminds my husband about Bengali New Year and Durga Pujo dates. This was the first time I started questioning to myself "Where do I really belong?"

I was trying to find answer to this question and we shifted to Chennai for Sujoy's work and yet again I was caught in the dilemma. I hated Chennai to the core because of my inability to understand Tamil and the unavailability of authentic butter chicken. But somewhere inside, I thought I belonged to Chennai too. Mainly because of the beaches and the loving nature of the people around me. I got excellent folks at my work place who really welcomed me with open arms. It is very difficult to work in the Human Resource field if you do not know the local language. And yet I was there at Qualcomm Chennai making my mark and being loved and cared. Our landlord might have been a little bossy but he was a fatherly figure giving us advice and of course scolding us on our mistakes. As I was just trying to figure out about my belonging and then.....

The BIG transformation. We came to the US. The initial 6 months were a horrible nightmare and I was so sure that I didn't belong here. It took time for me to settle down and last 2 years have been very eventful and fruitful. And I now think I belong here to some extent. I belong to a culture where good work is appreciated and praised, I belong to the small circle of my good friends away from home, I belong to the Papa Johns and Pizza Huts, I belong to Chipotle, I belong to the library here, I belong to the vast horizons and clear blue skies, I belong to the evening walks I take without fail. 

But you know what? Over the past few days I realised that I was looking at the question in a wrong way till now. Why do I have to belong to a place? Why should a place define who I am? It will definitely influence my personality but will it really define my real self? 

I think I belong to myself!

I think the person that I have become today, I belong to myself. I belong to my positive nature, I belong to my spiritual side, I belong to my rooted to my family attitude, I belong to my open to new ideas perspective, I belong to my obsessive instructions to others compulsion, I belong to my fight against wrong sword, I belong to my self created by me over all these years! I simply belong to myself :)

So where do you belong?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Expectations Hurt!

Last 2 weeks have been a roller coaster ride for me with emotional turmoil and some very difficult unanswered questions. All of this converted into 2 days of emotional imbalance and today I am a little better and trying to put things in perspective. Trying to see if I can get answers atleast now.

The very foremost question is  - Are all of us so entangled in our lives that we do not get even 10 minutes to talk with people whom we call 'friends'? Distances might be vast, time zones might be varied but with technology everything has become so plausible. And even then, we just go on with our lives without taking out even 10 minutes to talk with our so called friends. If our friends call us, we do not answer and we do not even call back or drop a message conveying the reason for not being able to talk. I do not believe in having friends where there is no communication. Communication is important, it is the heart and soul of any relationship. Without which, the relation has little value. Talk it out is my mantra. But yet, some people do not have time for me in friendships. 
Expecting a 10 minutes talk from your dear friend hurts!

The second question - Is it so difficult for people to appreciate a good thing? Forget appreciating, people are jealous if you are doing good in life. They will try and bring you down. No one knows, what all a spouse on dependant visa goes through. Every day is a battle, waking up and thinking - what today? And yet, I keep myself sane with so many constructive activities. I could have wiled away my time watching stupid hindi soaps with girl friends. But no, I took a different path. I am not asking anyone to praise my perpetual struggle to do something meaningful in life. But atleast don't smirk and say, "What is the use of all of this, you anyways are not getting paid for it."
Expecting others to be sensitive hurts!

The third question - Is a small piece of information so expensive that you are unwilling to render it? I have experienced this time and again. No one wants to give any information because they think that this piece of information will help someone to progress in life. Minute information like a singing class whereabouts, an HR contact, a course detail or even for that matter a food recipe. Are we so narrow minded that we do not want to give a small piece of information due to our insecurities. I believe if a person is destined to know something, he/she will get that information from one channel or the other. Of course holding off information will delay the process, but never the less it will reach the destination. 
Expecting others to provide information hurts!

I am not saying I am flawless or perfect. I am not saying I do not err. I am not saying I am not guilty of a few things mentioned above. But today I atleast acknowledge my mistakes, I know what are my flaws and I am working towards improving them. I have learnt my life lessons. 

Amidst all the emotional chaos of unfulfilled expectations, deep inside I know this phase will pass too. It makes me realize the blessings in my life - the friends who are still with me, the strangers who helped and people who always motivate me.

The last question still haunts  - Is it so difficult to be a good human being?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reigniting Life’s Motor

The fountain in front of my apartment has stopped working and the water in the manmade lake is still and calm. As I look into my reflection in the steady water, I go back to those moments in my life where the motor of my life’s waterfall too was broken and it seemed life had come to a standstill.

I was probably 6 years old, sitting alone at my home and peeking through my window at my friends playing below. They were so engrossed in their play of hide and seek that no one even seemed to be missing me. And me, I could not go out to play because I had this stupid chicken pox and thus was grounded at home by Mother Nature. My mom was pacifying me from the kitchen reassuring me that I will be able to join my friends soon. I was not sad that I was not being able to play, but at that tender age too - I was hurt deep within that none of my friends even subtly hinted or expressed that they missed me. They were having a great time sans me. The chicken pox seemed to have opened my eyes and life seemed to have come at a standstill for a moment.
And yet, my chicken pox got cured and I forgave my friends for their betrayal and joined them to play the next game of hide and seek.

I was in the 6th grade maybe and there was a heinous crime committed in my locality. A family was butchered by thugs just to get some money and jewels. The kids in that family studied in my school though I did not know them personally. We had a few minutes silence during our school assembly that day praying for the deceased family. I came home that day and just started crying incoherently. I cried till tears dried and my eyes puffed. My father kept on asking me what is wrong and yet I just could not tell him what exactly was wrong. I skipped school for 3 days. Everything was dark around and life seemed to have come to a standstill for a moment.
And yet, on the 4th day I could not take the darkness anymore and went to school leaving behind the blood and ash memories of the incident.

I was in my Senior High School. The seniors had picked up a few juniors from the class and had asked them to make a queue. Unfortunately, I was one of them. The seniors were having some fun at our expenses. Just then one of them commented, "It seems this girl isn't being fed properly at home, look at her popping collar bones." I was thin then, I am thin now. With this comment hurting like a scorpion sting, I was made to eat a piece of cake without touching it with my hands. I closed my eyes in shame and the time seemed to have come to a standstill then.
And yet, I did not let those nasty comments on my thin frame lose my confidence nor did I eat the cake as per the seniors’ instructions. I rebelled instead.

I was newly married and was at my new home. There was a lot of chaos going on with regards to the rituals of welcoming the new bride into the family. I was overwhelmed with the plethora of instructions being thrown at me. And at one moment, I did a grave mistake by not abiding to one of the ritual rules. The chaos was making me cringe with elderly women crying foul based on their beliefs. ‘Something unholy will happen to my husband and me’, was being echoed in my ears. I somehow mentally blocked out all the commotion, the time seemed to have come to a standstill for me.
And yet, I politely told the elderly that my husband and I will face the unholy.

And yet, I realized it is ‘me’ who has to reignite the motor of my life’s waterfall to ensure that the standstill moments are left behind. It is ‘me’ who is responsible for bringing the swing and motion back to my life. It has to be 'me' and no one else.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Glorifying Failure!

As many of you might know that I am a Toastmaster and last month I took part in the Humorous Speech Contest and won at the Club level, even though I did not expect at all that I will win. It was a pleasant surprise. I went ahead to the Area Level today and guess what? 

Image Source

Or am I being too fast to come to a conclusion? All of us write about winning, but today I thought I will write about my failure, my losing. I am terrible at accepting failures and it does not come naturally to me. So here is a personal account of my brain musings when I realized I did not win.

I knew for sure that I was not going to win. Michael, a fellow contestant was stupendous and I knew he is going to win. He was terrific! So, I was mentally prepared to face the truth. When the results were announced, it did not come as a surprise that Michael won. And I should have felt a pang of sorrow and disappointment in my heart, but this time I did not. I was pleasantly surprised with my own self. So have I evolved as a human being and stopped feeling the obvious emotions in such a situation. Or was it that my brain was playing with me and that I was putting up a facade in front of the world, to come home later and break down. I had to wait to know this till I reached home.

But I was smiling all the time, I went out and congratulated the winners. Something I learnt at my earlier win at the Club, when the fellow contestants came out and congratulated me. My good wishes for the winner were genuine, Michael was great and he deserved to win. At this moment I thought, so is this still a facade or I have done the never done. I have finally learnt how to accept a failure? It was still too early to come to a conclusion.

When I was congratulating the winner and returning back to be with my husband and leave for home, a gentleman came up to me. In my introduction earlier, I had mentioned that I was a writer/blogger and joined Toastmasters because it was the best avenue to blend my writing and oratory skills. This gentleman said that he was looking for a blogger for his business and would I be interested? I was pleasantly surprised and said, "Why not?" I took his card and I have promised to get back. This might not culminate into a full fledged opportunity, it is too raw right now. 
But my brain secreted a wonderful something, which was nudging at me to forget about the earlier failure.

With that, I headed again towards my husband and I was greeted by an elderly gentleman. This gentleman has been a Toastmaster since 1989 and has a few Contest wins in his kitty. He is retired now, but his Toastmasters journey is still on. He told me that I was the best and that for him I was the winner. He even showed me the agenda where he had marked 1st place against my name, a little game he has been playing since long. Choosing his own winners before the real result is announced. Listening to him was such a humbling experience. He invited me to his Toastmasters Club to give a speech. 
At this point, my brain started acting more weird and there was a gush of positivity within me and some fluttering in my stomach.

I headed towards my original destination - my husband, when there was a group of Toasties who came up to me and greeted me and they were very supportive and encouraging. We shared nos. and email ids and decided to be in touch.
My brain now had completely forgotten about losing and there was a surge of motivation and bliss. I was sure I will not be breaking down after being in the solitude with my husband.

I finally made it to my husband, where many folks were telling Sujoy that his wife is funny (that is me btw). I went there, held my husband's hand and said "I get all the humor from him" :)

As I came out of the Contest Room and headed towards home, I was convinced that failure is elevating. Failure is fun. Failure is humbling! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Guest Post: Unexpected Sacred Spaces - Pure Hearts

I was over Meredith Bazzoli's blog this week, writing a guest post for her guest series on 'Unexpected Sacred Spaces'. I came to know about Meredith from another blogging friend Lily Dunn and I instantly connected with Meredith's very revealing secrets about her faith and approach towards life. Please do check out her blog to get some great insights on everyday life - Very Revealing.

One might expect to find sacredness in temples or churches, but sometimes you find sacred spaces unexpectedly at entirely surprising venues. Here is my story about such sacred encounter - 

Marriages are made in heaven or so they say. I started firmly believing in this quote when I witnessed my younger sister’s wedding. India is a diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and every regional place has its own sets of rituals and customs. My sister’s marriage was an alliance between 2 completely different cultures and hence it was a huge fun for both the families!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nurturing Growth!

Photo Credit: Gaurav Rasane

Today I mark a BIG milestone in my life journey, I complete 2 years in the land of opportunities i.e. USA. Being in the US has been an eye opener and has made me evolve as a person on a number of fronts. Today as I sit down and look back at these 2 years, I feel so jubilant as well as grateful for some really unforgettable moments and the drastic change in my outlook.

Flash back - when I first came here, it was a different story and the quietness of the place and no human interaction was driving me crazy. Slowly and steadily I got used to the massive lifestyle changes here and started enjoying my time here with my dear husband.

Fast forward it to today - if someone who has not seen me for years bumps into me today, they will be surprised at the transformation. Not just the physical transformation but me as a person. I have grown leaps and bounds in my character and attitude, I like to call this version of mine as Pradnya 2.0 :)

I have grown as a writer. When I read my earlier posts of 2013, I am a little embarrassed with what I wrote then. Given a choice I would like to delete my earlier posts, but then I will never be able to gauge my progress. This was my first post and this was my latest post. I myself feel astounded at times when I look at my earlier work and what I have been writing lately. I wrote less then, maybe a post per month and sometimes not even that. And today, I make it a point to write at least once a week. My writing canvas also has widened - it is not just my personal blog, but also on other avenues like Women's Web and Stylewhack. I even wrote a guest post on gratitude at Lily's blog and one post on Pink Pangea. These two posts by the way are favorite of mine till date. So yes, I have grown as a writer and that makes me immensely happy!

The second major change I inculcated in my life is that I stay away from negative people and negative thoughts. It is very difficult to self motivate yourself when you do not have a regular job and have the entire day to yourself. Every day when I wake up, I think - 'What today?'. To top it all, if you are surrounded by negative people then life becomes just impossible. I have stayed away from all the gossip and bitching. I have kept my circle small, but consisting of people who really matter and care. I stay away from people who easily comment, "You have the entire day to yourself and plus no kids. What tensions you have in life." Or people who assume that since I do not have a job I am available for them all the time. And people asking every time they meet, "So what do you do the entire day? Why don't you do baby sitting or something" without understanding that I cannot take money in any form on my current visa status. I stay away from all these people and all narrow mindsets. What it has done to me cannot be described in words. Trust me, if you want peace in your life just banish all the negative energies and you will be better off!

The next change is that I have grown immensely spiritually. By spirituality I do not mean visiting temples, chanting and praying in front of the idols. By spirituality, I mean my way of life. The giver is the God, but to accept his blessings and coming to a stage where you stand in front of Him and thank each day for blessing me with all the abundance - needs a whole new perspective. I do not have a job, but I have nourishing food 4 times a day. Isn't that more than enough? Maybe the initial loneliness pushed me closer to God. Today I enjoy this solitude and do not freak out on being alone. I have created my own little space in the tranquility and aloofness. Sometimes days are not great but I still thank God for the good things in that day. From cribbing and crying to life full of gratitude and acceptance. Make this change and you will experience the divine smiling at you too :)

My outlook has changed and I have become a little more open and dynamic person. I was not like this before, I was a very rigid person who had a set time table for everything in life. Thanks to my husband, I am learning to let go off that rigidity and bring in some spontaneity in life. I still struggle a little with impulsive plans but I am improving. I took life too seriously, but now I am loosening up for good. This entire year till now I have been doing something new each week, coming out of my comfort zone and trying to be a free spirit. When my school mates meet me today, they find it very difficult to believe I am the same Pradnya. Having said that, the day I will get up in front of people and dance with no pretensions, I think that day will mark my real freedom!

As they say, everything happens for a reason - so was it for me. The last two years have been the times of tremendous growth for me. I have been nurturing growth and nourishing my personality, my bonds with my family and my connection with God. I continue on this growth journey and maybe next year you can see the Pradnya version 3.0!

I am growing as a person to be a better human being. I am on a path of a revolution within myself...........

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Twisted World of Relationships!

A rolling stone gathers no moss! Can this be true for relationships too? If you take a relationship for granted and do not try to reinvent it, chances are the relationship becomes stagnant with a thick layer of moss. And there comes a point, when this moss forms a profuse dense web around your relationship and exiting this moss becomes next to impossible.

How will you explain, two people madly in love getting married and then getting divorced within a year? I fail to understand how two individuals can come to a stage where they just can't stand each other when at one point they were madly in love. Isn't love supposed to be enough to build your relationship palaces? Or does the mundane suck the love out of life? 

I spend more time at work with my colleague than at home with my husband. Is that an excuse to have an extra marital affair? Are we so weak that we get carried away so easily? Relationships have become so hollow today that finding that strong foundation is becoming a herculean task. 

And when relationships are falling apart, no one wants to be the bigger person and make things better. We are wrapped so much in our 'false sense' of individuality that we do not want to come upfront and say sorry. The blame games and the pointing fingers is what is left. 

My intention is not to point fingers at anyone, but in general our generation is facing huge problems with relationships. Relationships are deteriorating at every corner and it is treated as absolutely normal by all of us! Is this where we are heading to -  a place where bonds are not lifelong but temporary and flipping out of relationships is the new ritual?

So many stories of broken hearts I hear each passing day and it makes me question the sanctity of relationships today. 

Maybe we need to give an extra effort to relationships to create strong bonding and unwavering trust in our ties! Maybe we need to go the old fashioned way to talk it out to find a middle way! Maybe we need to sit and ponder how to rejuvenate stale relationships. Maybe we need to walk in parks holding each other's hands. Maybe we just need to fool around sometimes. Maybe we just need to keep aside our mobiles and talk. Maybe we just need to hug the other person and say you love them! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fighting My Own Demons!

I am a human and struggle with my own demons each passing day. Some days I succeed and on some days I succumb to these demons. 

I have come a long way from being a selfish prick to being the most helpful person. It is not just near and dear ones that I have helped but even strangers on airports! I remember once at a airport, we were checking in and the machine didn't print our boarding pass. We were waiting for some human help. There was this old couple beside me, technologically inadept struggling with the options to chose on their screen and I just inadvertently went to them and helped them with their boarding passes. We were still waiting for the customer executive to help us and I saw another lady trying to put a name tag to her suitcase but unable to do so as her hands were trembling. She was a little far off from me and I walked upto her and helped her with the tag. I was trying to tie the tag when I heard my husband calling out my name in a little irritated manner and I looked up to see the customer representative had finally arrived and was asking us for our IDs. I hastily tied the tag and ran towards the kiosk. I did not have to do it and still I went ahead and helped complete strangers.

Is it wrong to expect someone to help me back in my need? Is it wrong that my acts are not selfless and deep down I am expecting to be treated the same way I treat others? Religion says, do selfless acts and do not expect any fruit in return. Then isn't it wrong for me to expect that my kind gestures will be repaid?

I was alone when my SPHR certification results came out. My husband was on business tour and I came to know that I had missed the certification by merely 8 points. This was my first academic failure in life and I did not take it very well. I just had one friend on phone who was with me and consoled me. No one around me came to my home to give me a hug and say, "It is fine. This test doesn't determine your capability. Shit happens. Let it go."

Was  I wrong to expect someone to come to me and render a helping hand at this time? I fight with my demon every single time when I forward my hand to help someone, the demon screaming "You are not going to get anything out of helping that soul, then why do it?" And I still go ahead and render help anyways!

At work there is this colleague, lets call him/her 'Sam'. Sam does nothing, just attends meetings and put forths some 2 points and the Manager is super impressed with Sam. Post the meeting, Sam just enjoys and does not put even quarter of the effort the rest of the team puts in. And yet Sam is the star in the Manager's eye. 

One day, Manager calls Sam and says he needs special advice from Sam on a very important project which is to be executed by Sam alone. Sam is drenched in nervous sweat because Sam knows nothing and has no clue how to go about the project. 

And I, I just feel so happy within looking at Sam's state. Religion says never be glad at someone else's adversity and yet I feel satisfied and immensely happy at Sam's fate. The devil inside me inflates and I get a kick seeing Sam finally suffer.

Am I wrong in feeling this tinge of happiness at someone else's expense?

I am having my lunch and the phone rings. It is my very good friend. She jubilantly shouts in the mouth piece, "I got a work visa. I can start working in the US finally." I am thrilled at the news and then we discuss how life will change for her now with juggling between home and work and how incredibly great it would be to be financially independent again after 2 long years. 

I hang up the phone. My mind starts racing and I feel a pang of jealousy stabbing at my heart. I am indeed delighted for my friend and yet there is still a tiny thing inside me that nags me continuously. 

Is it wrong to feel this way, even if it is for a tiny winy second?

I think about the appreciation and love I get from my readers, though I do not have a paid job and I push that jealousy demon away and yet the demon comes back each time when someone goes a step ahead of me!
I fight with my demons every single day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

'Live' Gratitude

There are days in our lives when we wake up in the morning but do not feel like getting out of the bed at all! There are such days, when you do your daily chores only because you have to do it and there is no way out! There are days, when everything seems gloomy and nothing captures your interest. There are days, when you just want to sleep, doing nothing.

I had a week of such days a while back. In those times too, God blessed me and one of my favourite bloggers Lily Ellyn Dunn started a guest blogging series called Thankful Thursdays. Lily's words helped me get out of bed. 

I have always been a positive person with rare moments where I break down completely and surrender myself to God! One cannot be strong and happy all the time! All of us have our ups and downs - what matters is how quickly we come out of our down and restart!

It has been 2 years, I have been out of the job market. It haunts me sometimes. It has been a while, I am trying to focus on something and have not got 100% output. It makes me cry incoherently sometimes. It has been a year, I have not met my family back in India and currently I have no clarity when will I see them next. It makes me cringe in homesickness sometimes.

Yes, sometimes are bad and ugly for me. 

This time when these 'sometimes' hit me, I wrote this blog as a guest blogger in the Thankful Thursdays Series, to share with everyone how to be thankful in life even when the times seem tough!

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about practicing gratitude in the everyday rhythms of life. In that post, I also mentioned that I'd like to do a Thankful Thursdays guest series and invited other bloggers who were interested in writing a guest post to contact me. I was blown away by the response.

Photo Credit: Sujoy Datta

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sex: The Taboo

'Sex' the taboo word in our society! Right from the adolescence days, we are told nothing about it but however there is this 'air' about it that we should always refrain from sex as it is evil. It does ruin a lot of couples' early days of marriage when the bride struggles with this 'evil' absorbed in the mind and it takes a lot of effort to get that out of the system.

Sex as shown by Society:

Bollywood movies and hindi soaps are a BIG culprit which preach that pre-marital sex will always make you pregnant, you and only you will be blamed for this debacle as you could not control your evil desires. Never did I see, the other partner in crime (read as the male) being criticized in this situation. This inflicts a moral duty within the females - 'Sex is bad. I should never ever indulge in sex'.

Bollywood movies and especially the item numbers these days, paint a very glamorous and rowdy picture of sex.  Sex and women are objectified. This has a huge impact on the way we perceive sex. Today, the social media, especially youtube has become an easy medium for anybody to access the information instantly. 

Our parents are too shy to discuss this with us. All we knew about 'sex' was via girl talk and mostly it was gibberish. 


Slowly we start having an 'aversion' towards sex. The evilness of it was so profoundly pronounced in our minds that anything related to 'sex' is seen as sinful or immoral. Even when a guy handshakes, there is this fear that this might lead somewhere. Friendly hugs from the opposite sex are also not a very comfortable thing. 

We are so blinded with this notion that the first few days/months of marriage are a nightmare. Firstly, we do not know what will it be like to have sex. Secondly the sinful attached to sex keeps on nagging our mind.

For many it is a rather difficult time. Most of us start enjoying sex but with a guilt. There is a voice in our head which says, 'This is wrong. You cannot enjoy sex. This is immoral. You know who enjoys sex?' With the chaos in the head, it becomes a rather conflicting prerogative. What makes it worst is you do not share this with anyone and the hell in your mind starts creating havoc.

Slowly and steadily, you start being on terms with 'sex'. What you think is, 'No one has to know, I enjoy sex. This is my little dirty secret.'

Some of you, are bold enough and take a step forward. You start attempting to slowly shed off all the nonsense that was taught to you about sex. You start enjoying the goodness of sex, letting the evil fade out. You start believing 'sex' is a symbol of love and a very treasured way of expressing the same. You love your husband and feel this is the best way to connect and rejoice togetherness. 
You are the true winner! Not all of us are strong like you.

The Revolution:

We are all pass the phase now, but do not want our kids to go through the same. What can we do? Revolutionize the 'Sex Talk'. 

  • Stop isolating sex from relationships. Instead talk about having wholesome and healthy relationships with partners/spouse, of which sex is a small but important aspect. 
  • Start inculcating a holistic approach towards relationships in our kids so that they do not completely neglect sex or are over driven with it.
  • Times have changed, we are much more open to our kids than our parents. Continue that.
  • Let sex be an 'expression of love' and not an 'objectified desire'. This will even help in not showcasing women as 'objects' but 'human beings with feelings'.
  • We also need to educate ourselves much above the books of biology that we studied during our school days. Educating adolescents and adults in the right way is crucial. 
  • We need to understand that sex is one of the essential aspects of marriage. It is a way of feeling loved and connecting with your significant other. The awkwardness, the guilt, the taboo associated with the term is something that needs to be addressed. We need to educate ourselves on sex before we take the marital plunge.
  • If the channels of communications are always open between the parents and children, the parents can always serve as the first source of information for this subject as well, so that children are educated in the right way. 
We start today by taking small steps, slowly and steadily build a more responsible society which will nourish all of our minds in the right way and help us grow into responsible individuals.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Style Statement - 'Inclusive'

I never thought I will write on 'style' as I never really bothered to be stylish. I am just another girl who goes through different phases of life and her style changes eventually while growing up. I consider my style to be 'inclusive'.

What is my style?  A pair of rugged jeans and cool tank top. I am the most comfortable in it and it makes me accept the world as it is. You would ask, how come your clothes enable you to accept the world? It does, because if you are happy with yourself you are more welcoming and open.

A pair of jeans and a comfortable top epitomizes to me the woman who is out there making her own mark being an entrepreneur. It reminds me of the newly wed girl who is settling in her new home and yet is still having her own identity with her rugged old jeans. It symbolizes to me the woman walking in a park with her partner, breathing in fresh air and who is happy that her partner respects her. It exemplifies to me the mother who has chosen to be with her kids leaving behind a promising career and experience the joy of seeing her kids grow. It conveys to me the strength a single mom gathers to raise her kids all alone in a society where a woman's worth is judged on her marital status and how well she takes care of her husband and kids. It personifies to me the courage of a woman who decides not to have kids of her own and instead adopts a lost soul and gives it a home. It denotes to me the woman who is struggling with infertility, yet tries her level best not to let the inability to bear kids define her life and focuses on her life's dream. It conveys to me the responsibility taken up by a daughter of caring for her parents. It implies to me the audacity of a woman who decides to get out of an abusive relationship and standing on her own feet. It indicates to me the confidence of the woman who is a CEO of a Fortune 500 organisation. 

A pair of jeans and a top - epitomizes to me all that today's women stand for and are fighting for! Let us pull up our rugged jeans and include each one of us in our world without being judgmental and without scrutinizing through the conservative society lens. Let us include one and all in our world and respect each other's decisions and struggles!

What are you waiting for? Pull out that jeans lying in your wardrobe and say hello to an inclusive world! :)

Photo Credit:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cheers 2014!

So Rohini shared a blog with me the other day. And I loved it and hence dug up more blogs from this blogger and came across this blog. And this got me thinking and inspired me to scribble down my last year in words. Just like Elaine's comment on this blog I realised  - how every year life is little of new births, deaths, farewells, new friends, love, travel, learning new things, carrying on old habits, ups and downs. Indeed my year was nothing different from this!

January last year was primarily full of anxiety and tantrums as I was stuck with visa extension and waiting keenly for my visa papers to come as without which I would have been unable to travel to India to attend my only sister's wedding. It was year when USCIS had a huge backlog and it was taking months to get your H1/H4 visa to come. Traveling without a valid visa meant, I could not come back to US till my visa was approved and there was no fix date given as to when might this happen. So I had my troubled times, fighting with my sister and justifying how I may not be able to make it. But God's grace, my visa came by January end and I booked my tickets for India. It was a surprise visit, only my sister knowing about it.

February just before starting for India, we went to an island nearby known as the Sanibel Islands. We were a gang of 4 couples and a young gentleman. The island is a calm place, away from hustle bustle of the city and has some amazing water landscape. Waters are my weakness, and I just cannot help my self plunge in its calmness and sit and watch the sun set over its horizon. The trip was kind of a temporary farewell to me before I embarked on my 2 month vacation to India.

That insane moment when the firang photographer first asks, "Are all of you couples?"
In unison we replied, "Yessssss"
And then he said, "Please kiss your respective wives now"
And this is how we react!!!!!!!
February I landed in India and gave a surprise to my parents and in laws. The sheer joy on their face after seeing me was incredible. February was mainly spent in marriage preparations and dance practice for the Sangeet ceremony. I, who has never danced, danced in front of some 400 folks! The best was I relished and enjoyed each of the moment. Marriage is the time when I met with all of my relatives - all my kakis, kakas, mama, bunch of crazy cousins, kids of cousins! The one month spent at home with my sister before marriage will always be cherished by me, though my sister always kept on running to Vaishali to meet Karan (her would be) under the pretext of having coffee ;)
This was  the time when Shweta's friends became my friends too and all of us had some great time and bonding. Here is an exclusive narrate of the marriage!

Loved ones! :)
As I said February and March were all filled with catching up and meeting friends and family. My dearest buddy from MBA, Devayani had delivered a bundle of joy just a few months earlier and I as a proud aunt went to meet the mother and the baby. Motherhood changes a woman! The joy and the happiness on Devayani's face even after having sleepless nights in a row said it all! The little angel made noises as if she was singing and she had a huge fascination for the moving fan! The fan made her tickle big time :) Such small things make you giggle when you are that innocent! It was a great time catching up with my friend in person, as virtually we have been connected all the time! And we missed Rohini a lot that time. The three of us were inseparable during MBA and we still share a very close and special rapport.

Motherhood beckons Devayani! And look at that giggling angel :)
I attended the name keeping ceremony of Devayani's baby. And guess what? I met one of my estranged friends from Graduataion - Mandar. What a coincidence! He was there to cover the ceremony as a photographer along with his would be wife Sayali. We had not been talking for years over a small misunderstanding and this was the time when we cleared all the air and got my friend back! Sayali, is a very sweet girl and we connected instantly. So ya March brought old friend together! Cheers!
He is getting hitched soon, and though I may not be there for the marriage my blessings are always with him and Sayali :)

And I get my friend again and plus a bonus friend! :)
My closest buddy Marsha from Qualcomm (the job I had before moving to US) came to meet me specially from Bangalore and spent a weekend with us! We had loads to catch up which we did over shopping, vada pav, pani puri, dosas, idlis and mugs of coffee. We had a gala time raoming on FC  road, going through the sneaky lanes of Tulshibaug and gupshuping in various coffee places. We missed Deepa then, but she was expecting at that time and we could not force her to travel! 

Miss you! Come to meet me soon...
I met Sujoy' cousins - Debika and Tanushree. Debika dropped at our place to spend the night with us and we had good time listening to each other's stories. Tanushree who was recently married had come to spend Holi with us with her husband Partho. This was the first time when I met Partho and thought him to be a very easy going guy. The amount of food cooked for jamai raja by my MIL was phenomenal and I also pitched in with fish fry and prawns masala. 

The smiling divas!

The crazy gang!
I met my Aunt, my cousins and my niece in Mumbai when I had gone to the US Consulate for my visa stamping. 3 days filled with delicious food at 3 different homes and some catching up with my niece Shriya. Shriya is a jolly girl who can make you laugh over small things. She loves baking and we just saw a glimpse of it in a chocolate brownie! Yumm it was. Chatting with Mamata didi, Madhavi and Rajesh was nice! It is at such moments that you realise family gives you such positive vibes :)

The next master chef in the making! :)
March was the month when I coloured my hair and went for a different look with a new hairdo. I loved my hairdo for entire 2 full days before the setting went off, never the less it is one of my adored looks!

And I just became a teenager again!
After two months of joy, togetherness and laughter it was time to head back to US to be with my neglected husband ;) March was the month when I met all of my favourite people and it was overwhelming!

April I came back to my husband and our cozy little place in Florida! April was mostly spent in jet lag and telling unending India stories to Sujoy. April was spent missing folks back home and getting back to reading. I finished 3 books in April when I was not sleeping!

May was adventurous with our trip to Universal Studios. This trip had been pending since 4 months and we were awaiting for a good no crowd time to visit Universal studios in Orlando. I had sleepless nights before this trip as I am very non adventurous person and the rides over here just scare the hell out of me. We went to the two theme parks within Universal. 3D rides being my favourite. Folks with me had much more fun with unimaginable rides like the Hulk ride, Dragon challenge, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, The Minion Ride, The Simpsons Ride! 2 days we spent exploring this theme park and the parades!

May was the time when I  was all alone in US with Sujoy gone for an official trip to New York for 3 entire days. That was the time when my SPHR Certification results came and I missed the certification by mere 8 points. It was a time for me to introspect and choose what to do next. Deepti, my newest friend in US  was the one who was with me on phone to console me and was a huge support. This was my first ever academic failure! I had never experienced failure till now. I was sad, sulky, cribbing for 2 entire weeks. My eyes would tear up just like that thinking about it. And those 8 points made it even worse. Sujoy was the one who said, "You should have done engineering, failures would have been a part of your life then". He help me digest the failure and spring back again. This failure was important, as it brought me back to my senses and gave me a reality check.

June was the month when Deepa, my QC buddy delivered a healthy baby boy and Marsha and me were rejoiced at the new entry :)
Deepa and her happy lo. Eager to meet them!!
June was the month when I was overly sick and could not get out of the bed for 3 consecutive days. It was the time when Sujoy took care of me like a mother. Cooked food for me, gave me medicine in hand and sometimes even fed me. It was a time when I could have asked for anything and Sujoy would have given me that! Damn...I should have asked for that solitaire ;) Jokes apart, it was the time when I realised why they call a spouse the better half! I had some great neighbours and friends like Keerthana and Prachi, who kept a eye on my health and got food on some days :)

I recovered in a week and then we had our first over night guest at home! Sujoy's brother in law - Chiranjeeb was in town on official work and he spent a weekend with us. 3 days of crazy cooking for me! It was at that time that I realised that my kitchen doesn't have enough cookware if a third person comes home! 3 days of cooking involved prawns, fish, mutton, dal, bottle gourd, brinjal fry, sabudana khichdi, poha! Phew! Though our guest demanded just plain rice and dal, we could not have left him without letting him have a taste of konakni and bengali cuisine! The selfish motto behind it was he would go and praise my food to my in laws ;) Not really, I realised the satisfaction of feeding home cooked food to a guest is well beyond words! :)

The guest and the food spread :)
June I lost my grandmother and it was then I realised the pain of loss of a near one. Death is morbid. Death is an eye opener. She was old, she was bed ridden, she was not conscious and yet she had a life with her. And just like that she was gone! Death is the ultimate equalizer they say! And so what matters is how well we lived our life when we had a chance on it! I made a promise then to live each moment to the fullest as yes everyone has to die one day!

July we went exploring again and this time to Key West, another of the innumerable Florida islands. It was a one day trip and we came back the same night. The road to this trip is beautiful and has best of landscapes with endless waters and skies! Key West has an amazing treasure of coral life and beautiful waters. We did the glass bottom boat ride and saw the colourful life beneath those clear waters. Had some nice mahi mahi fish fry, went to the Southernmost Point of USA and headed back to our place. 

July we bid farewell to our neighbours and good friends - Keerthana and Balajee. Their stint in Florida was over and they were headed to Texas for their new venture. We had a potluck before they went and later had a nice dinner outside at Buca De Beppo! We miss Balajee's constant blabber and Keerthana's yummilicious dosas!

Till we meet again! :)

August was the time when we planned our New York trip for the next month. We were excited as this would be our first time when we would venture out of Florida and see a new state. Sujoy was the one who did all the research and and we were all set for the time of our lifetime!

September I think was by far the best month for me. I just loved our trip to New York and Niagara falls. I was awe struck with the hugeness of Niagara and just could not erase that image from my mind. I loved New York with the hustle bustle and it reminded me of Mumbai, a city that never sleeps. You can check out more about my adventures on this trip here - New York and Niagara Falls

October was the month when we bid adieu to another couple  - Savitha and Vishnu and their naughty boy Gagan. We went out to an Indian restaurant and had some nice spicy food! They are some 60 miles from here currently and we hope to meet them often!

October we also celebrated Durga Puja by decking up in traditional Indian wear and visiting a Hindu temple near us. Durga Puja is a big affair in bengalis all over and we missed the fun and fervor we used to have back home during these festival times!

October we also had Diwali and to get into the Diwali mode, I made small lanterns and stuck them on our door! Our neighbour commented that they felt festive after looking at those lanterns! So my lanterns brought a smile on some faces :)

November and December we spent amidst festivities as Thanksgiving and Christmas bring out the child in you! December is super special with our anniversary and Sujoy's birthday! The first half of November was spent learning how to drive with a lot of curses, fights and crying with Sujoy in the teacher's seat. November marks a big milestone for me as it gave me my first ever driving license, which is a BIG feat for a girl who has not driven anything (except has driven her husband crazy countless times) her entire life ;)

December was a month of fun! We celebrated our Anniversary with a cozy dinner at Olive Gardens! 

We celebrated Christmas the Indian way with our neighbours Prachi and Yatin - we had hot spicy vada made by Prachi and pav baked for the first time by me. The sheer joy of having Indian street food at your US home is incredible! 

The sumptuous vada pav
We made Sujoy watch a cartoon movie that night as it was his birthday the next day and we had plans for midnight cake cutting. We had to make him stay and what else can a wife do but innocently plead , "I want to watch a cartoon right now, so please sit with me and watch." And then the husband cannot say no in front of the friends ;) So at midnight we cut cake and came back to our place. The next day we celebrated his birthday with a quite walk on the beach, roaming on the streets full of festive lights and Christmas Trees and then having dinner outside!

December saw the entry of another little one - Rishaun, son of Partho and Tanushree! I am sure Tanushree is enjoying her motherhood :)

December was a milestone for my blog - It crossed 10,000 hits! And I was a happy child! My blog brought a lot of perspective to my thinking. It also brought pat on the back messages not just from the loved ones but also from strangers! Folks made special efforts to drop messages to me saying they love my blog and urged me to keep on writing. Constructive feedback from near ones made me grow as a writer and I still strive to give the best!

The entire year I have been reading, reading a lot! Cooking a lot - venturing and trying out new things altogether - some hits and some big flops. But my husband eats everything none the less ;) And most prominently I wrote. To sum up 2014 was difficult and while doing so, I relived all my precious moments yet again and realised "Phew, I did some kick ass stuff this year!" :)

And we said good bye to the year by watching the fireworks from favourite place - the water and the sands 'the beach' :)