Friday, July 1, 2016

New Web Address!

Hello Followers,

I have shifted to Wordpress and you can catch up with me at

Hope to see you there friend :)


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Curious Case of the Mother Tongue

My mother tongue is konkani but being born and brought up in Pune, my first language somehow became marathi and konkani was sidelined. Marathi has become so integral that my sister and me converse in marathi while with my parents it is a blend of konkani and marathi, they speaking in konkani and we replying back in marathi. The kind of situation most of the NRI kids have, common term of communication being english. 

27 years in Maharashtra and then suddenly I am sent off to Chennai and the language barrier almost killed me. I was always cribbing and complaining that Chennaites can't speak english or hindi and are adamant that they will speak tamil only. But then I looked back at Maharashtra, what different are we doing? We are also hell bent that you speak marathi with us. Maybe the little brighter side was broken hindi can be used as a means of communication in Maharashtra. That was just a little respite. But the problem remained the same. I used to be pissed off that even in office meetings people used to converse in Tamil. But it was the same case in Pune, many meetings happened in marathi.

Then it dawned on me, an outsider will always feel that he/she is not treated fairly and that the localites have a upper hand as they know the local language, which is true even if a bengali goes to Chennai or a tamilian travels to Maharashtra. We are so self centred that we view our problems as huge without taking a holistic perspective of the situation.
After coming to the US, the rife between languages increased with same language speaking people geling more than as an entire Indian community. When we go to get togethers, all of us (mind you all of us and not just Telugu or Tamil folks as we keep on complaining all the time) make groups and start conversing. It is natural, we are comfortable in our mother tongue and but obvious will be more at ease in a similar group. This is fine when we have people from all languages in a gathering. But what happens when majority are of one language and just one person is an outsider? That is where the problem arises. The majority is happily yapping in their language while the outsider is pretending to surf the mobile, cursing himself/herself on why he/she is here.

Here is where we need to evolve. At least a few folks from the majority group should try and include the outsider in the conversation. All of us communicate in english outside our homes in the US, can't we extend that courtesy to the person in the gathering? It shouldn't be just the host's responsibility to make sure everyone feels included irrespective of the majority. If someone in the group speaking your language is speaking in english with you,  try to take the hint and do not reply back in your mother tongue.

Languages were made for people to come together and communicate. But we are using language to make barriers and separate ourselves from the rest of the world. We are making small hollow pockets within our community and passing on the same culture to the next generation.

Language is so beautiful that even when you don't have a common language to communicate - your expressions and gestures say a lot in this situation. To give an example, just a couple of days ago I attended a function in my community and a friend's mom who doesn't know english conveyed to one of our friends that the decoration she did for her daughter's event was fantastic with a broad smile and like this  - 
Wasn't that easy?

I have learnt the hard way to include everyone in conversations because I was an outsider for a long time and I understand how it feels to be not included into conversations in a gathering. I still tend to slip into my mother tongue but mostly get back into my 'include all mode' :)

It is hard. But if we do not do it, we are losing out on the whole essence of languages!

So the next time you have a gathering, can we attempt to make it an all inclusive party? :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Stop Judging, Start Living!

During my solo trip to India, I had a stopover at JFK and this is an episode during my trip which made me think about how easily we judge others and pass predicaments which are uncalled for most of the times.

I had a 3 hours stopover at JFK and was sitting at the terminal when one of the Aunties approached me and requested me to make a phone call to her son. I gave her my phone and she had a talk with her son and later she sat beside me. Here is a glimpse of the conversation which happened between us -

Aunty: So are you a student?
Me: (I get that a lot due to my tiny frame). No. I am married and stay here with my husband.
Aunty: Oh! I see. How long have you been married?
Me: 4 years (And I knew the next question which was coming).
Aunty: 4 years!! Where is your kid then?
Me: We don't have kids yet.

Aunty makes a nasty face. I ignore. I am hungry and I take out the dry snacks I had prepared at home. I offer some snacks to Aunty.

Aunty: I don't eat outside stuff.
Me: It is home cooked by me. You can have it.

Aunty gives me a suspicious looks and says: You cook?

Me: Yes, I cook to survive. Why did you think I cannot cook?
Aunty: You are wearing orange bright striped pants and a funky t shirt with such short hair. By no means you look like you might be entering the kitchen!

It was then I realized, how easily we stereotype people and pass judgements. It is not that I am guilt free. I have also done that on many occasions. I have also labelled people based on their looks, their lifestyle, their friend circle or even on their dressing sense. I have labelled people as 'easygoing', 'uptight', 'haughty', 'nerd' and so on and so forth.

Image Credit

Now when I think about it - how narrow minded I was to call names without really knowing the person. What right do I have to judge people based on some initial scrutiny? How easily we talk about other people and pass judgements without even knowing the person fully. I believe this is how we do character assassination of others and don't even realize what harm we have done!

Just because I was wearing some unconventional clothes doesn't imply that I cannot cook. Just because someone is rich doesn't mean he/she has got it all sorted. Just because someone had a baby the very first year of marriage doesn't imply it was a mistake. Just because someone had a baby after 5 years of marriage, doesn't mean they had marriage woes. Just because a husband and wife are staying away, doesn't mean it is the money they are after. Just because a girl wears a short skirt, doesn't mean she is inviting rape. Just because a guy talks well with you, doesn't mean he is flirting with you. Just because the girl is talkative and open, doesn't mean she is asking for it. 

Let us not be too fast to judge and give our verdict. Better still, let us try to stop judging and evolve from the vicious cycle of stereotypes. Let us stop judging people by the preconceived notions imbibed in us by the society. Let us open up our mind and be our own judge.

You only live once! So stop judging and start living!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The tamasha of my life!

When we were watching the movie Tamasha, amidst a bored and disengaged audience I think I was the only one who was completely engrossed in Ved's story. The movie is about Ved, the protagonist who is bundled in a set routine and a fixed life with no space for spontaneity or following dreams. While the Ved, Tara (female lead) met 4 years ago was so not like the present Ved. The struggles Ved goes through to be that 4 years back Ved is what the movie is about.

Image Via Hindustan Times
The movie may not be Imtiaz Ali's best of works, but the message it portrays and delivers is powerful.

The story touched a chord in me as I could so identify with Ved. Throughout my school life, I have been this serious geek girl who did not play sports or did any fun activities. I was bananas about my studies (humor intended) and that is what I did. I was shy and kept to myself. This was not due to any social pressure or parental nagging, it was just the way I was! Or the way I thought I was! Slowly this shy and silent self became my identity and I got wrapped in this personality stamped as studious forever.

I remember a time during our school picnic when some fun loving girls were dancing in the bus while returning from our picnic spot back to the school. And in the spur of the moment, I too stood up and started dancing which was so not me. I enjoyed it. But my enjoyment was short lived as the next day one of the guys in my class came and asked me what was wrong with me? Why did I have to dance like that with those girls in the bus. Why this did not suit me at all! It was when I realised I have been trapped in this personality forever. At that moment I knew I will be always like this and will have to live with it.

Since then I stuck to my serious personality with a fear of what people will think and say if I do what I really wanted to do. I wanted to do journalism but instead I went for the classic Microbiology realizing soon that it was not my cup of tea. I did not take up journalism as I was told that I am not cut out for it and should instead go in Research. After graduation, I had to shift gears as Research was not what I envisaged myself doing. I finally jumped into the MBA bandwagon and completed my MBA in HR, still being the Pradnya who took grades very very seriously. 

I worked 5 years in corporate doing my work diligently and always being on my toes and bouncing new ideas. I received accolades from my seniors and I thought it was natural and the only way to move on with my life. I still was the Pradnya who took my job very seriously and always kept on thinking what my colleagues think about me, are my seniors happy with my work, am I doing enough at my workplace? 

And then life changed upside down. I left all that back and came to US. I think coming to US on a dependant visa has been a turning point in my life. I started writing and I think it is then that I started loosening up in real sense. I have an extremely liberal and supportive husband and that made the whole difference. Post marriage itself I had started to unwind a little but it was never extreme. As I started writing again, I felt a sense of elation and euphoria. Finally I was doing what I really loved! It slowly started unblocking my apprehensions and letting each strand of my hair down. It gradually liberated me and I started breaking out of my mould and reinventing myself or rather being my real self.

A girl who would seek everybody's approval at one time, today does not care for anyone's approval as long as she knows what she is doing is right. A girl who wore what society prescribed, wears quite 'unapproved' wardrobe today without thinking twice of what will people say.  A girl who kept to herself, goes out today and boosts others' morale. A girl who had a set routine all day long, does impromptu crazy (ok, not so very crazy) things today. A girl who never smiled from the heart, laughs like a crazy woman today!

2 years ago when I had come to India for my sister's marriage, I was here for 2 months and I met only 3 close friends of mine in those 2 months. That's it! Today when I am in India, my writing has taken me to places and made me meet new people. In a span of 15 days, I met many friends - some old and some new! The change is noticed by everyone at home and outside. My parents are awestruck with this new Pradnya and my in laws think I have been reincarnated ;) They love the new bubbly always smiling me :)

Did I always wanted to be this Pradnya? Deep inside, maybe yes! Would I have been this Pradnya if I had not come to US? May be not. Am I happy being this new Pradnya? Oh hell, YES YES YES!!!

For all those who are still in their forced avatar self, let your hair loose once and see what magic happens. I know following our passion can be difficult and we have financial and family responsibilities, but at least once try to pursue what you love! Do it part time, do it as a hobby or if it is possible make it your livelihood. 

There is nothing in this world which is as satisfying as doing what you love!

Ved and me are following our passions, he happy with his tamasha and me happy with my words! Are you following yours???

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

15 Minutes in a Mumbai Local

Last week my boss and me were in Mumbai to tick off a few important tasks from our agenda. When we did our booking, my boss made absolutely sure that her America returned colleague does not have to travel via the over crowded Mumbai local. But alas! Destiny had some other plans for us and all the meticulous planning by my boss went for a toss as we entered Mumbai!

We were supposed to reach Dadar station at 10.55 am and as the station was nearing we asked one of the fellow travellers whether the next station was Dadar and he very authoritatively said yes. We got down at the Dadar station and were waiting patiently on platform 6 for one of our friends who was supposed to pick us up. We waited and then called him. The conversation between my boss and the friend was something like this -

My boss: D, where are you?
D: At platform 6, the station master says the train is running late.
My boss: We have reached Dadar. Stop joking around and come and pick us up.
D: Arey baba, seriously train nahi dikh rahi yaha. (I cannot see the train here)
My boss: Which direction is the train track from where you are standing right now?
D: Right
My boss: Then you are at the right side. Platform no.?
D: 6
My boss: Can you see an indicator on top? We are below that indicator.
D (thinking to himself, what on earth is she talking about?): What indicator?
My boss (started cursing): ****,*****,****
Me: Shweta, we have got down at Thane!!

Ha ha ha! That was it! We told our friend that we will take the next local and come to Dadar now from Thane station.

Image Via Indian Express

My face goes crimson red, no not due to anger but because of anxiety. My palms start sweating. Traveling in a local! I start thinking of various reasons to avoid it. I tell my boss, Shweta that I will go back to Pune. She thinks I am kidding.

She gives me the first lesson of Mumbai local travel - get your laptop sack in front so that people don't pull/push you with your sack at the back. I think she is joking but then realise she is serious as she takes her sack in front. I still don't do it thinking it to be funny.

The local arrives. Looking at the mad crowd, I tell Shweta let us take the next local. She pulls me in front of her and as numerous women board the ladies compartment I am automatically forced into the local. We have to get down after 3 stations and standing in that crowded local with luggage starts becoming a nightmare. Women are pushing and making way as the stations arrive. I am being swinged between poles. At one point I think of pushing everyone out of my way but cannot. I stand there amidst these Mumbaikars wishing Dadar comes soon enough.

I look at people around me. Pregnant women also travel in these locals, I feel embarrassed about my self. They can travel in her and I am making such a big fuss. I see college going girls very handily speaking in their headphones with their friends standing as if they are strolling in a garden and talking. I see women discussing office gossip. I hear women discussing home problems. I feel the pulse in the local of Mumbaikars for whom this is just another day unlike me. And then I realize, how a local binds all of them together where many of them spend a considerable amount of time in here traveling.

As Dadar arrives, I am pushed out with force easily with the women heading out in full speed to their respective destinations starting their just another day in Mumbai. While I thank God for letting me survive this ordeal and feel jubilant as we see our friend finally on platform 6 of Dadar station!

They tell me it was off hour and hence the local wasn't crowded! I smile to myself thinking where would  I have been in a rush hour local!

Salute to all Mumbaikars and their spirit for making each day count and making me realize in awe how each Mumbaikar repeats it every single day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Week Three of Old and New Friends

Week three of my India trip has been a blend of meeting old and new friends! 

This week I decided to spend some more time with my parents and hence kept my outside meetings to a minimum. And yet, I met so may people!

I first met Amruta and her talkative daughter Avanee. Amruta and me were in the same school, but we never really spoke that much then or were close. Recently she gave me pat on the back on my 52 weeks of adventure stint and since then we have been chatting. I also took her advice on my tattoo and she was one of those who assured me that it doesn't pain. Thanks to that, I finally did my first tattoo.

Our talk during our meet was more centred to school days and how I wasted those days doing nothing but studying! How naive we were then and how different today's kids are! Avanee sat super awesome for the entire time, talking about her favorite movies and songs. She is a good kid with a fine taste in cinema, I must say! Here is to new bonds - 

My first pout ever!!!
The next meeting was with a fellow Toastmaster Yogiraj. Again, same school but no talk then. I started following Yogiraj's posts after seeing his TM photos. He is a Competent Communicator today and working on his next level. Can you believe - he has always won the Best Speaker award for all his speeches till now? That is a big feat and I respect him for that! He is even competing at the District level - International Speech Contest. My best wishes with him :)

Our talks mainly revolved around TM, some philosophy with choosing a word for the ear concept, blogging and his life when he is sailing (he is in the merchant navy). Unending stories unravel when one Toastmaster meets another Toastmaster!

All smiles!
The next meet is a special one! Meeting my MBA best buddy Devayani. We were three very close friends - Devayani, Rohini and me. It has been 10 years now and we are still very close. The best part of our friendship is each one of us has been a part of all the ups and downs in each others' life. We may be apart by distance, but we are close via our hearts. It may sound cliched, but it is true. Rohini is in Bangalore and we are waiting for her to fly down to Pune.

Meanwhile I met Devayani who is in Pune. It was my special request to her to get her daughter and oh my god.... Mukta is a junior Devayani with all the incessant talks. When Devayani used to talk with me, Mukta very innocently used to say, "Aai mala pan sang".....subtly hinting ti include her in the talks too. She is adorable and her sweet babble just made my day!

When we were leaving, Devayani asked Mukta to give me a flying kiss. She did that reluctantly. However after going a little ahead, she looked back blew the sweetest of kisses towards me. That image of hers will always be etched on my mind!

Friends Forever!

Working with Stylewhack is always exciting. Ever since I have come to India, we are grabbing every opportunity to sit and strategize. One of the things I am enjoying being here now is the events I get to attend due to Stylewhack. One such event was watching the Marathi play Don't Worry Be Happy and meeting the stupendous duo Spruha Joshi and Umesh Kamat. I loved sitting in the first row and watching this enthralling play. Tune in to Stylewhack to get a review of this play. 

The awesome duo!
I also met Shradha, my MBA friend. Again, we weren't close then but we bonded over Game of Thrones and have been having some common interests. I hogged on Pav Bhaji with her and in that food coma forgot to click a picture. It was nice chatting with her on all topics right from who is doing what after MBA. We spoke about our favorite books and my writing. It was so nice to catch up with her after 10 years!

This week was full of stories! I am in Mumbai now with Shweta and it is going to be one fundoo trip. We already have stories of our day 1 here. Wait for next week for some Mumbai diaries!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Week Two of Memory Collection

I am in second week of collecting memories. The week one was exhilarating! And week two had its own charm. Let's see what all I did this week.

The week started with meeting an old friend. 10 years ago we started our MBA together and here we are now, 2 very different people than what we were 10 years ago. Siddharth at that time was a completely gutsy fellow, not afraid to talk his mind and also to give a piece of his mind to people who needed it ;)
I met him this week and he is a transformed man. A doting father and an extremely mature human being. His rudeness has vanished and what I saw was a down to earth, calm and mature Siddharth. I hated his audacity in college, but today I think his audacity has rubbed off on me and I would not care a damn for anyone who is here to bring me down. I will not sit quiet if injustice is happening in front of me. I will not just sit and brood that things are this way and cannot be changed. I am a gutsy woman today!

This one is for Sid and his audacity :)

To our friendship!
I am waiting for our entire MBA gang to get together now, which will happen sometime in April when Rohini comes from Bangalore and we catch up.

In the course of my writing, I meet many new people sometimes via the internet and sometimes in person. Another such connection which I made through my friend Rohini is the super friendly couple Priyanka and Abhijeet. I have been doing some small writing assignments for Abhijeet and thought of meeting them during my current trip. The highlight of this meet was super yummy butter chicken and manchow soup! Ha! This happens when you come to India after 2 years, food does become a highlight of meetings! ;)

This was before the food came! Post food we were numb with foodgasm :)
I was meeting them for the first time. But I did not have the anxiety of being on my best behaviour or thinking how should I be in front of them. I think I have come a long way today where I do not have to pretend to impress anyone or be super conscious about what others perceive about me. To be frank, Abhijeet and Priyanka made me so comfortable that I forgot that I am meeting them for the first time :)

Having said that - I had an experience where I thought there were 11 judging pair of eyes on me and to be really honest, I was a little scared. Yes, this was the kitty party of my MIL's friends which took place at our home. I carried watermelon juice in a tray and served everyone, trying to gauge if those eyes out there were judging me or assessing me (I never had any groom seeing sessions, so you can understand how this felt!). But then I realized, these women are here just to get together and laugh their heart out with their friends. Slowly my anxiety dissipated and I was my normal self chatting with them.

I had baked a cake for one of the Aunty's birthday celebration. It was my first attempt at baking in a pressure cooker and I wasn't sure how good the cake will turn out. But everyone around liked the cake and that made me really happy. 

I baked that! :)
 What can I say of this group which filled the house with laughter and noise. Coming from US, it was a little difficult for me to digest so much of noise but I liked the energy and camaraderie flowing in the room. These women were pulling each other's legs, making fun of each other and the most important fact of all - 'enjoying life'. All of it made me believe - 'Age is just a number'. When they left, they left a part of their energy back with me.

The noisy gang!
So this was my super fun week two. I am at my mom's place now hogging on all kinds of fish. There can be no home as cozy as your mom's for sure. 

My week three has some exciting plans. Keep an eye for some good times coming next week :)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Coming Home :)

You know you will be home soon when you search the entire internet for a flight ticket which makes you reach Mumbai Airport at 2 pm, so that you can commute alone to Pune and yet your mom-dad, your in laws and your sister and brother in law ask till the very last moment if they can come to pick you up at the Mumbai airport! 'Welcome Home' rings in my mind :)

Finally we got our visa extended and booked our tickets to home just a day after the visa approval! Beat that! We were so desperate to be home! It has been a week now that I am home and I have done so much already :)

What hasn't changed is the overflowing love of my family around me. The day I landed, my in laws had a cake cutting for me. My sister and brother in law came in to wake me up from my sleep. My pug Bosky didn't leave me alone even for a minute. She kept on wagging her tail and was beside me all the time.

She doesn't leave me at all!!

I recently wrote a piece on leaving the nest syndrome where I mentioned how much I miss my home and how the place where I stay right now can never be my nest. And when I am home now, I realize how much I have missed being here amidst my near and dear ones. My spot on the sofa is untouched, my books are still there neatly stacked in the cupboard and 'my people' are here.

In a week I did so many things and met so many people. Apart from being with family, I finally met my boss with whom I have been talking almost everyday! We gave a tight hug for all the pending hugs till date and it never seemed as if we are meeting for the first time. We sat in a chic cafe on one of the happening streets in Pune and went on and on and on. It was such a constructive meet with some strategy discussion along with some completely off topic bad ass talk! A perfect blend of fun and work. It has been a week now and we talk like 2-3 times a day presently making my mom doubt my noble intentions ;)

The smiles say it all!

I also met my friends with whom I spent most of my childhood as we stayed in the same apartments long long back. With Facebook, it becomes so easy to connect with long lost friends and the same happened with us. Another of my friend was also visiting Pune from US and we thought we should catch up. We met after 16 entire years and on the surface it seemed so much had changed but deep within all of us still are those kids which we were long long back. It was great to hear to the respective love stories, marriage gossips and of course asking about whereabouts of the rest of the gang. I still cannot believe that we met after 16 years!!!

16 years and still the same!

I also had my first taste of fame as I attended a movie premiere of a regional movie for which Stylewhack was a media partner. It was a BIG day for us to see our logo on the big screen. I had a selfie rampage and kept on thinking, life has changed so much since the last time I visited from US. Here I am today, talking strategy, a part of a promising start up, big dreams in eyes and of course meeting new people and widening my horizons. Isn't this what life is all about? Dreaming and trying our level best to make the dreams come true?

Selfie, it is!
My post cannot be complete without the mention of food! Ha! Food has been exemplary. Do I have to even mention that? I have already had the famous vada pav and I have been craving for Indo Chinese which I hogged on last week. It is so good not to worry about what to cook for the day or tomorrow or day after or for 2 months now :P Making my best to eat everything on our 'to eat' list (we also have a 'to buy' and 'to do' list in India).

Scrumptious Vada pav

My days are numbered here and I am trying my level best to cramp up as many activities and meetings as possible in this duration. I am waiting for Sujoy now. It has been 4 years now that we haven't stayed together in Pune at a stretch of more than 2 weeks. I am excited to be with family along with him. Till then I am continuing my eating and meeting spree sans him, learning new things and exploring new places :)

All said and done, my favorite moment of this week is my sister's birthday celebrations where we took some rare pictures with the family.

And this is my most cherished moment -

I am here making each moment count and trying to gather every single memory and make it immortal in my mind and heart! :)

Stay tuned for my upcoming India adventures :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Leaving the Nest Syndrome

All of us know about the 'empty nest syndrome' but don't we as kids go through the leaving the nest syndrome?

Image Credit

For a while I have been thinking about this and figured out we indeed suffer from leaving the nest syndrome. Especially me who spent 28 years of my life with my parents as from my birth till my MBA and then the job, all of it happened in Pune. I even dated a Pune guy with the hopes of being in Pune, but the plan was a little different for me it seems and I have been out ever since my marriage. First Chennai and now USA.

When I was in Chennai, I was exhilarated. My new found freedom away from my parents along with a promising career at a reputed MNC made me forget about the nest I left behind. My parents called me often but many a times I would hang up on them saying I need to rush to a meeting. The talks became lesser with confined mostly to weekends or sporadic when I had to get a recipe from my mom or enquire about a medicine name to my dad. Yes, I became so selfish in that one year of sudden freedom that I forgot about all the good times spent at that nest with my parents.

Things changed drastically when I came to the US. I was alone, no job and in a foreign country which was silent as hell and nobody, absolutely nobody to talk to. It was when I started talking with my parents and my in laws every single day without fail. The talks might be for 15-20 minutes but yes every single day I speak with them , a little longer with my MIL though!

I have become super busy again with the start up and yet I have maintained my every day call ritual with my loved ones. 

It has been 4 years that we are out, and I still consider my parents home as my nest and my real home. Sujoy and me have created a life for ourselves but we haven't been able to call where we stay right now 'our home'. I think home for me will be the cozy bedroom where I sleep, the balcony from where I used to talk with Sujoy before marriage, the study room where I used to sit for hours on the computer doing my MBA assignments or teaching Papa to use a computer, the kitchen which I entered only to have a sneak peek at the food which was cooking, the couch which would be my home when I used to read, the numerous books which fill one entire cupboard and the unlimited times I spent laughing in the hall with my mom, dad and sister. I think this home will be my home forever where I barge in and I do not have to think about what am I doing or what am I talking. A place where I don't have to worry if the doors are locked or wake up in the morning to open the door for the maid. The home where I can be me and say no to anything and everything. This will always be my home where I can let go my adult responsibilities and be a child again.

As we try to create a new world for us, our parents' place will always be where we will feel at home!

I may have a new life today away from my parents, but the nest which I left behind will always be my home! And I can't wait to be home again! :)

Friday, February 12, 2016

#ForgivingFridays - How long can I keep on forgiving and forgetting?

It has been a while since my last update on my forgiveness journey. The word which I have chosen for 2016 is Forgiveness and I am struggling with the word already.

As I walk on this path of forgiveness, many questions come in my mind. 

Image Credit

Saying sorry to someone has become easier. As I unfold the deep rooted questions and try to search answers, I am learning to understand the meaning of 'sorry'. What I have understood is 'sorry' is seeking forgiveness with keeping your ego aside and vowing to not repeat the same mistake. 

Last week, there was a situation where I snapped at someone. Ideally I should have been able to forgive all the wrongdoings the person has done till date and should have smiled, forgiven and said 'It is ok'. It is easier to forgive someone who does one mistake but what about those who keep on repeating the mistakes and don't even know that they have hurt you? In this situation, is forgiving those a wise move or it just speaks volumes about my foolishness? Why to let someone hurt you more by forgiving them and keeping them in your life? Isn't it easier to just cut them off our lives?

How much ever I try, some people just cannot come in my 'Forgiven List'. My mind keeps on making schemes to take revenge against them! So much for being the saint and trying to keep calm! I try and ponder each time that why do I have such intense and extreme hatred for certain people that forgiving them seems to be a distant dream. I try to tell my brain that let us get rid of all that frustration and hatred and instead try to be amicable, try to be a friend again. I even take 2 steps ahead in this direction, but then again the person does something again to piss me off and I call it quits! 

How long can I keep on forgiving and forgetting?

Friday, January 29, 2016

A year in a start up!

A few days ago I was told that I completed a year at the start up Stylewhack and I just couldn't believe it! 

It seemed just yesterday that I met the founder of the start up at a FB group who was looking for writers and I thought of approaching her for the opportunity. My life has changed dramatically since that message I dropped to this young lady! It is so cliched, right? Meeting even your new boss over the internet ;)

This young lady named Shweta liked my writing style and thus began my journey of being a professional writer for a real time website! I started small with a series called 'What makes me Happy' talking about small and minute things in life which make me happy but which we often forget about. At that juncture of time, I wrote one article per week and was pretty much content with that volume.

Then we were hit by the tsunami called 'Shweta's atma' which suddenly rose into a die hard entrepreneur mode and we wanted to do much more with Stylewhack with all our focus on how to make it BIG! 

My real development started after this tsunami hit us where I started writing out of my comfort zone, taking up topics which were not at all my genre. I wasn't a success in a fortnight for sure. I still remember an article which I wrote on Anarkali dresses and it was a disaster. Me and Shweta have a hearty laugh even today thinking about that immature article!! But yes, I had this insatiable hunger to do well, to widen my horizons, to try something new, to challenge my comfort zone. And I did exactly that! I asked Shweta what more can I do, how else can I contribute other than writing and thus began the exciting ride at Stylewhack. 

I started as a Creative Writer and today I am the Executive Editor at Stylewhack, doing a lot more than I could have envisaged myself doing when I first joined Stylewhack. I edit, I come up with ideas, I am part of strategies, I brainstorm, I own and run individual projects and of course I write :) My personal growth at this startup has progressed in leaps and bounds making me capable enough to take on any challenges in the social media or writing world head on. My husband today says that I can cook up a story if I am given just 2 words ;)

Another major influential factor in my growth was the people I met through this startup. The team is a close knit family where we laugh, cry and swear together. Every individual is unique bringing something new to the table. I also came in contact with different people because of my work at Stylewhack - sometimes interviewing them, sometimes making cover stories on them and sometimes just researching them to come up with some solid stories. The Social Spotlight section is one such section, for which I met people who are selflessly making a difference to the society. I also got to be associated with some celebrities and I made a huge deal about it, publicizing it within my close friend circle and family ;) 

Saying all this, I still can't digest the fact that I have not met my team in person as yet. My team met this month sometime back and it is then I realized how much all of them mean to me and how much I want to be there with them. But till USCIS decides to grant us our visa extension, I think I will have to be happy with watching them from here for the time being!

The wild, crazy, mad gang of Stylewhack. Many of the faces are still missing in the pic!

Stylewhack is at a very promising stage today, growing exponentially and spreading some unheard stories. We still have a long way to go, to transform our venture into the dream destination we have been waiting always. But I am sure, we will reach there one day.....soon.

I cannot emphasize enough the bright sides of working in a startup. It gives you the adrenaline rush you don't experience in an organized set up where there are defined processes. And if you have a boss like mine who lets you do anything, then there is nothing more you can ask for ;)

This mug gifted to me by my boss which traveled from Mangalore to Pune to Denver and then to me in Palm Beach Gardens, sits right in front of me on my work desk. As I work on my laptop completing umpteen number of tasks each single day, the mug reminds me the love and respect I am showered at, at this start up!

PS - Check out the venture at - 
or follow us on FB at

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Questioning my Faith

I have always believed that I am God's blessed child. I had it quite easy as compared to my sister or my husband. I got things the first time without much of an effort. Even during the worst of times, I always had something to look upto and smile.

There have been times when I should have questioned my faith, but I haven't.

Image Via

Most of my sister's and mine growing years, our mother was ill and bedridden. I think for almost a decade, she was up and down in her health graph. All those school years, my dad did everything for us. He cooked, he bathed us, he made us ready for school, he dropped us to school and then picked us up along with making a living for us. 

I was young then, yet to form the strong beliefs of faith. But even then, I never once thought that 'why is this happening to us?' My sister and me were good kids even then, though the home situation wasn't favorable for us. We were good in academics and also never ever created any nuisance.

My mom was recovering and then the Harshad Mehta scam hit us! My dad used to trade quite a bit in the stock market then and all our savings came crashing down due to one scam which shook the entire economy. Since then, life was difficult. But not impossible. Amidst the small pockets, I completed my education. I did my MBA in Human Resources, started working and things started getting better.

In all those years, I never questioned faith. Yes, there was a problem. But in that economic crisis also, God made sure that money came in when it was needed the most. Unlike my sister, who had to start working earlier to finance her later education.

These two are the only drastic situations where I should have questioned my faith and asked God, "Why me?" But I didn't. I didn't because inspite of the adversaries, I still was content. 

I started praying not to get something from Him. But to bow down to a supreme force and just feel it's supremacy. To feel content that I am being watched by someone up there. To know that I am in good hands.

But last week something hit me and I have been shattered since then. I don't even have the courage to spell out what happened but yes, it still haunts me. It crushed that strong cushion of faith around me, it made me doubt my beliefs, it made me question my faith. That why God, why with me? I have been torn apart and struggling to resurrect my faith, but with no success.

I was crying incoherently and sobbing to my husband asking why is HE being so cruel? Why is HE being so unfair? And you know what my husband said to me? 

What about the rest of the 100 things HE has done good for you? 

These words from a guy who has never got anything in his life easy. My husband has struggled always. He never gets anything that he aspires in the first go. A lot of struggle, a lot of delays and then maybe he gets what he wants. This person, this person who has struggled always was asking me this crucial question.

I was numb and pondered on what he said to me. 

Is my faith so frugal that a small blow shatters it down. Am I so vulnerable, that a disappointment makes me doubt my own faith. Are my prayers so weak that an adversary can cut through them? Am I so selfish, that I forgot all the other things HE did for me?

He kept our family together even after the shortcomings, He made us stronger and tougher, He gave me a job in 2008 and did not let me get fired when the economy was in shambles and I saw 25 employees getting fired in front of me, He gave me a husband who is a gem of a person, He gave me a new family who love me as their daughter, He gave me a job within a month after shifting to Chennai while my friend had to wait for 1.5 years to get back to work after relocating post marriage, He made my sister and me independant enough that we can take care of our parents, He gave me a chance to come to a foreign land and spread inspiration through my writing, He gave me a smile which rarely wilts, He gave me an outlook to tear down every adversary into pieces and find a optimistic ray of hope within, He gave me Faith to which I can hold tightly even in the worst times.

Yes, He gave me all that and much more. 

That one question made me stand up again. He just has not given me one thing and I am making such a big racket down here, cursing Him and blaming Him. My faith resurrects as I remember the 100 other things He did for me!

My faith is intact and maybe, maybe one day He will give me what he just snatched from me last week! Even if He doesn't, my faith is strong enough to face the truth heads up and restart.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Why I am an introvert!

Yes, you heard it right! I am an introvert, though the people around who don't know me well will think I am full of attitude as I don't mingle and people might think I have a smug face! Well, to people and their perceptions!!!

Image Credit

I am an introvert because I do not like a large group of people around me. It makes me claustrophobic. It makes me conscious that each one of them is judging me and that too judging me in the wrong way. A herd makes me extremely uncomfortable.

Second reason of me being away from all the social life is I like to keep my circle small with good people. I hate drama, I hate cheap gossip, I hate people talking at your backs, I hate petty fights which are turned into world wars, I hate the constant nagging to keep up with the group, I hate to fake smile, I hate to be pulled down by jealous people. When your social circle is big, all these things tend to happen no matter what and you cannot control. 

I am happy in my very small world with my husband, my family back home, a few good friends, my writing, my books, Toastmasters and currently my exhilarating stint at Stylewhack. I like being in my own cocoon and letting only the treasured ones inside that cocoon.

I love being in the warmth of my home with my loved ones doing something which I like instead of attending a party hosted by someone whom I don't even know that well. 

The other day I watched the local cricket tournament which happens in my Community! I was there because I love to watch my husband play. I have been watching him play since our dating days - Infosys football, Cognizant football, US football and now cricket. He is a different person on the field, I love to see the transition between normal Sujoy and sportsman Sujoy. Oops! Sorry, I got a little carried away with my love for Sujoy and his sports! So getting back to the point, I had gone to watch the cricket match and and I was the only one female in the audience for most of the tournament time! And it was liberating!

I love to see him dribble!!

Not that I didn't enjoy the last time I was there with a bunch of women, but this time it was different and I could enjoy every bit of the match swearing without thinking of the audience around. I did not deter for a moment also that what will everyone think that I have come all alone to watch the matches. I think that is what being an introvert means - being happy to be alone in a crowd and being in their own world!

But my closer circle knows how talkative I am, how caring I am, how positive I am, how pissed I get at certain things, how I love watching cartoon movies, how I get engrossed in books, how I get excited about Toastmasters, how I love writing, how I am obsessed with certain things!!!!! And I think that is what matters - my beloved people knowing me, rather than a bunch of unknown people trying to gauge me!

Me and My Happy World

Bottom line is - I love being an introvert and don't think I am going to change this any sooner!

Friday, January 8, 2016

8 Days into Forgiveness

As you all know my word for 2016 is Forgiveness. And as I am practising this virtue in my day to day life, I just thought about sharing my journey so far.

Has it been easy? 
- Definitely not! 

Am I liking it? 
-Sometimes yes, but sometimes I feel like ripping off the contact with a certain person rather than forgiving. 

Do I think I will be able to continue with this charade of pretending to forgive? 
Definitely No!

Come on, it is just 8 days into this new word and I think I am doing better as compared to what I envisioned. Just a few days ago I came across this poster from Sun Gazing and it explains my sentiments so aptly - 

I started with my forgiveness spree by getting in touch with everyone whom I had deliberately cut off from my life due to reasons which could not be forgiven. It was the most difficult step to take as it brought back all those memories of betrayal, insult, hatred and animosity. Getting back in touch with them and behaving nothing ever happened was an insurmountable mountain which I am still struggling to conquer. But what has kept me on track is giving the benefit of doubt that those human beings might also have evolved and changed since I knew them last.

Then there are some folks whom I just cannot come to forgive. At least not at this point of time. I am leaving them off my forgiveness radar at least for the time being.

What I have realized is someone admitting their mistake and saying 'Sorry' makes forgiving a little easier. Maybe. I have never found it difficult to admit my mistakes and say sorry to the person who was hurt because of my actions. I have done it every time without having any ego issues. But for some, saying 'sorry' is also a humongous ask. And it makes my life hell to forgive someone who isn't even apologetic of their actions.

But as I am inculcating forgiveness in my life, I have started believing that getting rid of that rancid hatred feeling is elevating. I am feeling liberated to some extent by taking these baby steps. Why to hold on to one small incident in life and break up all ties with a person? Why not to give benefit of doubt to someone? Why to hold on a grudge all life long? Why not forgive and move on?

These Whys seem simple on the outset but the way I figure out the answers to those Whys will determine the kind of human being I am. I am staying put on this mission of 'Forgiveness'.

Image Credit

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Top 3 Blogs of 2015!

I would like to thank each one of you who came and read all my stories, sent me messages of appreciation as well as constructive feedback, told me that my stories inspire you, shared your stories with me and of course those of you came again and again to read my scribblings! I am thankful from the bottom of my heart to all of you :)

I hope that your love and support is with me this new year and all the next years to come :)

That smile is because all of you mean a lot to me :)

As the year went by, here are the top 3 blogs at my everyday blog as well as the 52 weeks adventure gig blog. These are the stories you loved the most!

Happy Reading! Or should I say re-reading? :)

My Blog:

Guest Post on Gratitude: This is my most read blog of the year. It was a pleasure writing this guest post on a fellow blogger's website, who now is a very good friend :)

Nurturing Growth: My journey in US so far and how it has helped me to grow as a person. This one brought a lot of memories!

The Twisted World of Relationships: A glance at today's relationships and how bonds are deteriorating amidst the influx of unwanted desires, temptations and of course social media.

My 52 weeks of Adventure:

My Parasailing Experience: This is the most adventurous thing I did till I did ziplining later :P My mental fight while trying to tell myself that it is ok!

Warli Art: This was the first project, our girl's gang undertook and it was so much fun. Loved every bit of this experience and all the other projects we did as a gang!

The Tattoo Experience: Finally after a year of pondering I finally got inked in my favorite word and theme. Check out my tattooing experience down here -

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Word for 2016

You know my word for 2015 was 'Gratitude' and I lived every bit of my life in 2015 engulfing and assimilating the real meaning of gratitude. I was so influenced with my way of new life with gratitude that I even got inked in my gratitude tree. The journey with gratitude still continues and it is time to choose a new word for 2016.

That is my gratitude tree

The whole idea of choosing a word instead of some 10 new year resolutions is being true to yourself and sticking to this one singular goal. This one word represents who you want to be and how you want to live.

Choosing the word for 2016 was not that difficult. Since a month or so I have been infected with intense hatred for some people in my life. This is extremely unusual for me as I do not feel such intense negative feelings for anyone. I am typically a positive person looking at the good things in people as well as life.

The hatred has made me a little silly as well as turning me into a person which I is so not me. We just get one life, why to waste it in hating someone who does not even matter in your life. So my word for 2016 is 'Forgiveness'. 

Forgiving and moving forward. Not dwelling on someone doing wrong to me, forgiving someone plagiarizing my content, forgiving people using me, forgiving those gossiping and spreading rumours about me, forgiving those being insecure because of my presence, forgiving those being jealous about my journey, forgiving those who want to pull me down, forgiving one and all.

I know this is not going to be a cake walk. But in order to grow as a human being, I need to give it a try at least. This is more for me than those who affect my life in a negative way. Getting rid of all that extreme hatred is the need of the hour.

So join me in wishing me all the best in this difficult crusade I have taken up for this year. I don't know how successful I will be in this task, but I am here to give it a try at least.

"Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on."
-Criss Jami, Salome: In Every Inch In Every Mile

And trust me I am substantial enough!

To 2016!!!!!

New year, new beginnings!