Moments that count…

http://learningtolovelife.blog

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Its has been really long since I had a word with all of you. I have no valid reason or excuse for this. Sometimes some portion of your life is non existing for the rest. I guess it was the same. Lets leave it like that only:)

So the year this was, full of extremes! Positive and negative phases, losing friends and making new ones, new understandings, new experiences – both good and bad, a basket full of all sort of events. I loved few and tried to ignore few. All this while I just remembered one line that the show must go on. I travelled intensively, whether it was work or leisure and every journey was a learning in so many aspects. The first solo travel of my life and made me even more confident.

Meeting all sorts of people and listening to them makes us stronger. It is learning on every step of life. Today When I was posting a photograph of a baby taking its first few steps, I realised that we never stop taking baby steps. Broken relationships, losing dear ones, failing exams, learning new skills, making memories – everything starts with baby steps.When I started travelling solo, it was my baby step. Tawang, Guwahati, Tezpur, Jaipur, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Russia, Singapore, Raipur, Varanasi, Mukteshwar and the list is long. few of these trips were solo and a few with friends and families.

However, it was all completely impromptu!

I was looking at holidays list and places to go and suddenly I came across an amazing picture of Golden Temple and I just got stuck.

I wanted to start my birthday with some good amazing vibes as I was at worst of some personal crisis and that was my baby step towards a positive life. I chose Amritsar for the same and that was one unforgettable experience. While I was sitting in silence and watching others pray and dealing with their life’s problems, a kid of about 5 years came to me and asked if I would play antakshari with her. I was not sure what drove her to me but we started playing. In half an hour, we were friends. I looked around for her parents and they were smiling. That friendship I cherish a lot even now. I ate my first langar and wondered why I had missed out on this for so many years.

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The next day was for experiencing the food starting with Kesar da Dhaba – a name familiar to most that have visited Amritsar.. A close friend of mine suggested I go there to have at least one meal, a part of some unspoken ritual of Amritsar. When I reached there, my heart skipped a beat as it was a small hotel with very ordinary interiors. After cursing my friend and ordering my food, I looked around. People were waiting for their orders very patiently. I did the same and my food arrived after a long wait. Needless to say, it was so tasty that I forgot to take pictures:) The wait was worth it.

I came back to hotel and packed my bags to join my kids back home who were waiting for me to celebrate my birthday. It was a short and memorable trip indeed.

So many experiences, so many stories. I learn a lot when I travel. I will share them with all my friends here. Hopefully I will be regular now with my posts.

As this year is in its last few hours and a new year is peeping in, I am writing this blog for you, for me. Lack of party plans for an introverted photographer works well. I love to be in my cozy corner and feel the moments. For those who like to party, wish you a crazy fun party tonight!!

Wishing you all a very happy new year and lots of happiness in the year ahead.

PS: Being regular is one of my resolutions!!!

Shaping up the life..

Another week is coming to an end. So many plans incorporated, so many thoughts took shape. A new wish took birth, a new leaf came into existence.

Feeling positive about the changes, I have brought in my life. Reinventing my hibernating hobbies was a bliss. Holding a brush  in my hands and feeling the power of expression once again was so wonderful.

This time it was something new, “the clay modelling.”

Being an impatient person since my childhood, I always lacked diligence. Its very difficult for me to hold myself against time. Like, water colour was a taboo for me always. It needs a lot of patience so I used to paint my canvases with oil colours and never dared to use water colours.

So, having indulged in canvases it had never occurred to me to play with mud. I was reading a book and the lead in that book was a potter. I got so influenced (thanks to the writer) and immediately I called up one of the pottery classes and  attended one day workshop.

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It was so out of world feeling to hold  clay in my hands and giving it a shape of my choice. Don’t  we want to do the same with our lives? I just wish it was as simple.

Holding clay in my hands, made me a mother again. Giving shape and life to a lump of mud was so speechless feeling. It was like living life again and again. Getting my hands dirty hands with mud was so therapeutic and refreshing. I felt like coming back to my soul. It was so me.

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The same Sun that melts butter, hardens clay!-Bill Vaughan

I loved exploring this new me. Life takes you on the path where everyday you meet a new person in yourself. You bring out the best in you, your hidden strengths, unexplored powers, the untold love for yourself. I just saw those shapeless creations of mine,  very soon I would start giving shapes to them, I knew.  In that moment, I was smiling, as I had found a new Seema and this time not to lose her again.

Learning to love life!! 🙂

Happiness….

 

I am an irregular normal. Able to blend where I choose, love who I want, and block what doesn’t matter.

I had decided to being regular with my blogs but oh, these circumstances!!! They never fail in proving you wrong. Am I not strong enough to fight them? Am I behaving like an escapist? Excuses are meant to hide our weaknesses. I don’t want to give any excuse and I promise to be regular in future.

Sometimes I just look around and see people doing various thing to make themselves happy but at the end of the day they are still sad. Apparently, they mistake their short-lived fun moments for the happiness within. Pretending to have a happy life on Facebook, is certainly not the true happiness. Rather happiness is more about being content. Well,  I don’t intend to continue preaching..

This Diwali, I witnessed how to be content in a very simple and pleasant way. Five days prior to Diwali, my son had Dengue and he was admitted to the hospital. Our vacation plans were in a mess. We all were so unhappy about the whole situation.

Finally, I decided to go with flow and take the life as it comes. I was giving away Diwali Bonus to all my domestic helps. One of my helps is very needy lady surviving the difficulties of life with two little children and a drunkard husband.

I gave her the bonus which she needed the most, and to my astonishment, she returned the money, saying that she can’t take it when my son is in hospital and I might be needing it more than her. I tried to convince her but she was sure about her stand.  She earned my respect for herself. I gave her a big hug and convinced her that my son is having what he needs and her kids deserved that money. Finally she got ready to take that bonus. I was speechless by her gesture and my eyes were filled with tears. This is what we call “being content”, I thought.

Saying no to something which you need badly is contentment, self respect and true happiness.

When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.
–Lao Tzu
In few days, my son got back home and we were happy. Though we could not go on the planned vacation, we were glad that we all were together. We were happy! We were content! Sometimes small incidents like this, change your complete outlook. Don’t you agree?

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Wish you all true happiness forever!!! Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year!!

 

 

 

The leaf..

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It was just another morning and while enjoying my tea time with myself, the cool breeze from my window got this leaf from my balcony garden. First I ignored it but soon I realised how beautiful it was. An interesting shape, with amazing colours and so much details .I just took it in my hands and watched it closely. It was indeed a very beautiful leaf.

“How beautiful the leaves grow old. How full of light and colour are their last days.”
John Burroughs

Being curious, I located the plant from which it had fallen. So many leaves were ready for their detachment while new ones were on their way to replace the old ones. Life was taking rebirth with its own innocent smile. And all of sudden I felt that these leaves were giving us the message of a new beginning. For a moment I  lost myself in my thoughts. I read somewhere that whenever we believe that everything is finished, its a new start. Isn’t it surprising the way nature teaches us the lessons of life. It tells us to have patience and make space for the new ones. Everything will fall in place eventually.

Sometimes we feel that we know the path we wish to travel on. But nature knows better and it takes us in the direction which is meant for us. We feel sad, as the change is not always welcome but we get to know the reason for the change with the time and appreciate it. Quite often there is a new found belief in this change.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

I could see my life so far in that dry leaf. I looked at that leaf and smiled. I don’t see any end in falling leaves, rather I see a hope for a new life. A dry leaf tells us the complete story of life, from birth to it’s fall. For me its like setting goals, giving them shape, and achieving them. In our one lifetime, we set many goals, one after the other, like leaves. Once a goal is achieved, new one comes in shape like a new leaf. Its all about the perception. So, new leaves and new goals were waiting for me. I took a sip of my tea and it tasted even more reviving and refreshing. I said thanks to the leaf for helping me in exploring a new me. I had forgotten my goals and it was time to achieve them. A leaf with no life revived all the dimensions of my life. Life never fails to amaze you. Waiting for more surprises!!

 

The Challenge..

If we were allowed to live without meeting difficulties, we would not be viable. Life gives us challenges to make us stronger.

I had heard a lot about challenges of life, but they used to be mere stories for me that I never experienced. Now, it was my turn. I was forced to face these challenges because of a major change in my life. I was a numb, emotionless and silent spectator.

After coming back to India, once everything was channelized everybody was back to their work and I found myself alone and lonely.  I realized my responsibilities had doubled. Loneliness makes you weak and tender. All my strength changed into unending numbness and tears. But it was far from over. Something even worse was waiting ahead.

I started losing weight and appetite. My mental condition was an obvious concern for my family. After three months, I was diagnosed with a serious illness and was hospitalized for three weeks. My children were terrified – they could not even think of losing me now. I was unavoidably kept on steroids for long time and it affected my health in a big way. My weakness didn’t even allow me to walk a few steps.

Being positive seemed impossible – I was weak and irritable, losing faith in God by the day. Preaches, motivational books or self help articles were not working – I just wasn’t ready. I was in the middle of the tunnel with no end in sight.

That New Years Eve, I had a resolution. The evening that I got discharged from the hospital, I promised myself that going forward I would be viewing life in a positive light.

After a year and a half, I have started improving and normalcy returns.  I have started running as a hobby. Although it was not easy, I wanted to be fit and get back to life. After all this time, I have learnt the lesson that being healthy is the only way to live a positive, meaningful life. I have learnt to smile again. My family and friends are there to support me in this fight. I did not want anyone’s sympathy – I wanted to be stronger and sympathies give you the convenience of being weak. Being weak was out of my charts now.

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”– Dennis P. Kimbro

In the end, I have come out as a winner though it has taken me two long years. With the support of my children, I learnt that it is never too late to begin a new journey. I always regret that I could never ask them how they were dealing with the changed circumstances. Further, I put them in increased stressful situations by not keeping well.

It was a difficult win for all of us. I could finally see a smile on their faces.

I am back to my photography, my passion. Manu is with me, everywhere, every moment, giving me strength to be a perfect mom and fulfil the dreams that we saw together. We have learnt to take life as it comes, in its all colors, shapes and sizes. Our little dog, Juno, is the new addition to the family.

Life is again on a positive track and to prove it, Shreya got a placement offer from Microsoft. The feeling of Manu being around got stronger. I felt him with us, smiling with pride.

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This goes to you Manu!!

We love you. We are having a new start together and we know that it will be a successful journey with you in it.

It all started like this…

http://learningtolovelife.blogIts not easy… It was never easy to think of my life without him, but I am trying to live with our dreams which were meant to see together, trying to see them from his perspective too.

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Being youngest of three siblings, I was pampered a lot in my childhood and it continued even after I got married. It was an arranged marriage. Manu, as I used to call him, used to treat me like a child and he continued to pamper me. We did have our share of shortcomings in our personalities but we were complimentary to each other. Numbers were french to me and he was a serious finance person. Being interested in artistic stuff was my forte and he was quite naive in that matter. But as usual, opposites attracted and we developed a strong bond over a period of time. We started our journey together, with unspoken promises, unexpressed feelings and untold respect for each other. He respected my immaturity, I respected his sincerity.

Love was blooming and so was our first child. We were waiting for its arrival so eagerly. I wanted a girl and he wanted a healthy baby. And Shreya came.. She was so tiny, he was scared to hold her and I could feel his sense of fear and responsibility for that tiny creature. His eyes told me thanks and my eyes were teary. We had found our third partner for the long journey we were in. Shreya filled our life with so many feelings. To handle a small child one needs to have patience which I was severely deprived of. Manu and me started to learn to be good parents and Shreya really helped us in that:).

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Now we were three to experience the life together. Shreya was almost four years. We had lived almost in four cities by now. Goa was the current city we were living in. That was the time when we decided to have another baby. By this time Manu and I had developed a great compatibility. We had our share of fights as well but respect for each other and feeling of being emotionally secure in each other company was enhanced. Having a child increases the sense of responsibility and commitment. Shreya being quite an independent child was an added help to me. She was a perfect child for two of us.

With Shardul, our son, we achieved the milestone of a complete Indian family:) Unlike Shreya, Shardul was a very quiet child, easy to survive with. In all standards, we were a happy family. Two adorable kids, handsome charming and loving husband and a descent lifestyle, what more I could ask for.

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People say that time flies. And it really flew away. Kids had grown up to the children. We were stable in life. Manu had planned a secure future for us. We were not aware then that “ life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” Life had certainly other plans for us in store.

It was May 2015, Manu was getting a better job opportunity, and we planned to shift overseas. He went there before us to join. We joined him on may 23rd, 2015. We had no idea that we were going there for something we could not even think of.

I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfil our destiny, but our fate is sealed.
–Paulo Coelho

It was Wednesday the 27th. We had reached there three days before only and were trying to set our new home. After a long day of arranging the home, we were planning for a movie and suddenly he complained of some discomfort. Being in a new country, I did not take any chance and immediately called some friends. They helped me to get him admitted in the Hospital. Next day he showed some sign of improvement and we were happy. But this happiness was very short-lived. In the midnight doctor told me that things had started worsening. It was fateful morning of 29th when he took his last breath. I was numb. In five days my world was changed. I was just standing with my two children in the hospital corridor of an unknown country amidst strangers. I had no sense of any feeling. I was standing there with a feeling that he had cheated me by leaving like this. With no family members around, I had no liberty of crying as I did not want my children to feel helpless. “You need to stand strong Seema” my mind was saying while my heart was urging me to cry. And I was standing like statue. Why me? Why Manu? My questions to myself were knocking at the door of my mind. And I had no answers.

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Life was shattered, everything was changed in one moment. I realised that now there was a long journey to travel alone. I looked at him and he was smiling. Probably he wanted to say goodbye with a smile only. Or he might had that confidence while going that I would be able to manage. I wanted to tell him that I wont be not able to manage without him. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want to manage without him. Please come back Manu!

Continued…

Plant on my desk..:)

 

So I decided to keep this plant at my desk, while after a long time, I was including plants in my home decor and this all was intended to give life a new look. Very little did I know that this mini creature was going to be an inevitable part of my life. Every new twig, brings a beautiful smile on my face and I start my day with a whole positivity.  I have heard somewhere that plants look like the people the live with. Am I also growing with small twiggy things in my mind? Again I am smiling and this plant is smiling too….

Mesmerising Ganga Arti..

Banaras is my home town and I try to visit my family, at least once in every year. This March I was there for a week. My brother asked me to experience the Ganga Arti. So we planned to be there for the Arti. Normally people go for the Arti in the evening though it happens in the morning as well. The evening arti is much elaborated one and it is one of the tourist attractions too.

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Bhaia and me..
It was almost 6 in the evening. People were gathering for the Arti. The preparation was in full swing. People go there to witness it for various reasons. Some of them are local devotees, few of them are tourists. Foreigners find it quite interesting and capture it in detail. Indian photographers and bloggers 🙂 are also present in a big number.

Hawkers, flower vendors were all around the place. For Arti they were selling flowers, kids were buying toys and women were buying artificial funky jewelleries of Banaras. Tourists from other countries go there for temporary tattoos. Its so interesting to see those little children talking to foreigners in their own english language. When I asked one girl about what she was trying to sell, she replied “its not for you Indians.” I was shocked and amused at the same time. I was not sure if she found me unable to appreciate her stuff or not capable of paying for her expensive tattoos. Reality check!! We are in India girl!!

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The girl who made me think twice:)

Now after this short dialogue, I looked around. They were almost done with the arrangements. People had started sitting on the steps of the ghat. Boats were arranged on pay basis for the people who wanted to experience this whole event from the river side.

Arrangements for the arti is also a detailed part. Keeping all the varieties of ready lamps, flowers and bells in a perfect order surely is a talent . They are so organised and experienced.

And finally the Arti began. People took their positions. Everyone was so excited. They were going to be a part of a worldwide famous event. So many cameras just peeped out. They even blocked my view though I was sitting on an elevated stage.

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Cameras in front of me..
People were trying the steal and store these moments in their pictures, write ups and videos.

All of sudden the full ambiance was filled with so much positivity. So many priests positioned together started the Arti. It was dark now and their lamps were the only source of light. I just lost myself for few moments. It was a life time experience for sure. Sound of bells was making it more magical. People were sitting with their hands together in Pranaam mudra. Don’t know why but felt tears in my eyes. When feelings can not be expressed in words, they just find the other ways.

Arti had taken charge of every one’s mind. One after another they were performing steps and sacred chants were all over the place. We were just speechless by what we were seeing.

We came back home with a thought, an experience and so many memories. An out of world feeling. Spiritual, religious, aesthetic, what ever it was, it was amazing….Incredible Indian feeling…

 

The gift.

My son gifted me this on my birthday. I was so awestruck. Kids do such things at times which leaves us speechless. Love u kiddos.