To do or not to do

Good things happen to those who try

The time for simply waiting has long gone by

Little by little

Every inch of the way

Push your limits

And remember

Even Rome wasn’t built in a day

Life goes on

Leaving us mute spectators

So I say, even though we’ve no sound to chime

Nothing can stop us from learning to mime

Thinking out of the box is the key here

When one door closes

Don’t show any fear

For when you believe in yourself, my dear

And put in an effort

You’d have no regrets

Despite facing failure

For you fail not when you don’t win

You lose when you’ve not even tried to play the game

So, if it’s all the same

I’d rather work

Than shirk

And be my own sweet reward.

I hope you all like this near-year-end motivator. It’s the time for resolutions. I’m getting off my feet and getting things done. I’m on the path that I’ve forged with blood, sweat and tears. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way! Im getting closer to my goals and getting ready to set my aims even higher.

How’s your journey in life been so far? Are you making some genuine resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear about them!

Love,

Varnika

Halfway to the weekend

Good evening, dear friends, and congratulations for making it halfway to the weekend once again! This is exciting for me also because my blog is halfway to 5K which reminds me to try the couch to 5K thingy as well.

However, before committing to weeks of running, I feel it to be of the utmost importance to first prepare my body for what’s to come. I can’t just throw it in the deep end of the pool without any inkling.

Now, I don’t know how long it’s been proven to take to make or break a habit, but I’m guessing half a week is a good way to start. And if you sustain it through the weekend, where all good things go to die and evil rules the roost, it is bound to be a good omen for days to come. My body can then power through.

So who’s with me to give half a week to bettering our mind and bodies by following the self care manual by yours truly?

And thanks to the whole lot of you for keeping me on your screens. Your constant support means more than words can ever convey!

Self Care Manual for Dummies Like Me

  1. Sleep early and sleep enough. Every night, for instance.

  2. Being bored is not equal to feeling hungry. Portion your meals and have them on time.

  3. Workout for 30 minutes (minimum) daily. Not for a summer or bikini bod but for a long, healthy life.

  4. Your body is a temple and your mind its reigning deity. Monitor what you consume, both physically and emotionally. Don’t eat crap, don’t take crap. Don’t drown yourself in tears pitying your existence while gorging on unholy amounts of french fries.

  5. Socialise. Share your time. Share pieces of yourself. Allow kindred spirits to enter your life. Allow yourself to be treated the way you actually deserve to be. Look at yourself from someone’s else’s perspective. It’s okay to have some alone time and well defined personal space but it’s equally important to get out of your comfort zone too.

Better functioning adults than me, please feel free to add to the list. Let’s all lift each other. There’s enough in this world to pull us down. Always remember the words of one very wise, albeit forgetful, fish, “Just keep swimming!”

Stronger Than I Believe

What is strength if not me?

For I am strong

Stronger than I think

Stronger than I feel

Stronger than I would ever need to be

Do you doubt that?

Come then

Try and hurt me

Throw a punch

Physical or emotional

And we shall see

How fast I heal

While you wallow in the depths of misery

For having lost to me

and worst still

For having lost me

A Psalm of Life – #FridayFlashback #2

It’s been a minute since I announced the Friday Flashback Edition of my blog. In case you’re new to this space, you can read more about it here.

In short, on Fridays, as I put up my feet and sip on a well deserved glass of wine, I’d be curating some of my favourite poems for you. These will all be brilliant creations that have stuck with me over the years and I can, more often than not, recite them verbatim. For the sake of brevity of the posts, I’d be sharing one such poem a week. Every Friday (I plead guilty to the charge of not having followed this earlier but time has been a flighty mistress. I’m back on track now). They shall be shared in no particular order. I have always been bad at picking just one favourite. That might quite possibly be the reason why I love making lists!

Today’s poem is titled ‘A Psalm of Life’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It is a poignant narration of how life is meant to be lived to the fullest and not as a mere counting of days till the day we lie in our graves. I am absolutely certain that almost all of you must have come across this poem at some point in your life. It’s very famous and highly celebrated. So much so that first time readers would be able to identify a lot of verses as commonly cited inspirational quotes that they’ve heard more than once in their lives. Without further ado, here’s the timeless masterpiece –

A Psalm

of Life

What The Heart Of The Young Man Said To The Psalmist.

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each to-morrow

Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,— act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,

Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,

Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing,

Learn to labor and to wait.”

I hope this poem inspires you in the way it has done for me all my life. I cannot possibly pick my favourite lines from this one because every single one of them is resplendent and overflowing with meaning. I hope each one of us is able to leave behind their footprints etched in the sands of time no matter how fleeting our lives might be. Here’s to not going gentle into that good night! (But I guess that’s for another post 😉)

I would like to thank you for your overwhelming response to the previous post in this edition featuring ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. In case you haven’t read it yet, you can do so by clicking here. I’d be delighted to know your thoughts on this poem and would love to hear your recommendations for further posts.

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Varnika.

Breaking the Mould of Peer Pressure

A question that sometimes drive me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of the realisation that most of the time my likes and dislikes are quite different and distinct from the people around me. It would appear as if the whole world is obsessing over a certain fad at the moment while I’m unable to see any charm in that particular thing. More often than not, I absolutely abhor or despise it.

Time and time again, I’ve tried to ascertain the reason behind this discrepancy, because, like everyone else, I wanted to fit in or felt pressured to do so by peers. I failed to understand if I did not want to follow the beaten path merely because so many others were doing the same or was there some other factor involved? Would I have given the object/substance/matter in question a fair chance in vacuum without knowledge of the fact that people were going bonkers over it? It was baffling and somewhat disconcerting.

As of yet, I have no answer. Over the years it had become more and more difficult to define my own choices, to choose my own desires. It was easy to get swayed by popular opinion because of the tendency to be one of the flock. Any deviation from the ordinary is usually looked upon with scepticism and I really did not want to draw attention to myself. Was I being true to myself, however, was an entirely different question. All the lines had gotten blurry.

What I do know, today, is that it’s alright to be different. It’s alright to think differently, to choose differently and to decide differently. Peers are just that. Peers. They are not you. You’re your own person. It does not matter why your wavelengths don’t match those surrounding you. What matters is being unperturbed by their existence and concentrating on your own. So many children buckle under peer pressure. So many college kids get goaded into doing things they don’t like to the extent that it they end up ruining their lives. It is important to learn to say no. To put your foot down and draw the line between what is acceptable to you and what isn’t. No one can take the right away from us. All that’s needed is a simple assertion from our end. Within no time at all the notion of fitting in would look like the smokescreen it actually is. Sooner or later, invariably, everyone ends up finding like minded people. Thus, it is imperative to thrive in your individuality rather than to suppress it, to let yourself grow into what you’re meant to be and not what others would like to see you as.

At the end of the day, and also to answer the questions I posed earlier, remember the words of the good ol’ Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland – “We’re all mad here”.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

As I walk along the streets of my city, I see faces abound. Regardless of all their differences, I see them share a commonality. They all wear a harrowed, tensed and worried expression. It baffles me to see the time, energy and effort we waste in worrying over things beyond our control, since worrying in such cases can do no good. It saddens me to see people worrying over things that might very well be in their control – wouldn’t it do more good to expend effort into working towards solving the problem rather than worrying over it?

Now, I’m not religious by any stretch of imagination. However, I did study at at a catholic convent school and can sing hymns even in my sleep, if needed. A few words from one of those hymns learned during those wonderful, childhood years leap to mind in the hope that they might provide motivation, perspective or even some mood upliftment and, thereby, dispense with some of the worry doing the rounds.

Here goes nothing…

Do not worry over what to eat, what to wear or put upon your feet. Trust and pray, go do your best today. Then leave it in the hands of the Lord.

The lilies in the field, they do not spin or weave, yet Solomon was not arrayed like one of these.

The birds in the air, they do not sow or reap, yet God tends to them like a shepherd tends his sheep.

If you believe in a higher power, I needn’t say anymore. If you don’t, let me draw your attention to the lines “go do your best today”. Isn’t that all that we can actually do? Do your best, reap the results. Even if the benefits aren’t much, one would be able to sleep at night with the satisfaction that there was nothing more he could have done. Have faith in yourself. Trust your abilities. Push yourself and get ahead in life. Work towards what you want. When worry tries to knock you down, say “not today”. Live a happier life. Live a fuller life.

On a parting note, I’d like to leave you all a link to a wonderful song called Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin. It’s had a permanent spot on my playlist since I was a kid. It’s bound to lift your mood in its own funny, peppy way. Give it a listen! And a very happy Monday to you all! (Sorry for making it a motivational one).

A Way of Life

I came across a video on Facebook that gave me reason to pause and think. It was a commencement speech by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Now, you can agree to disagree but we all know that Mr. Trudeau is the gift that keeps on giving. What struck me however, was how his speech was a departure from precedent. He did not ask the graduating class, which is all set to venture out on its own into the big, bad world, to go out and make it big, to do great things or to become big names. No, what he advised them was to do small things in a big way.

To elaborate, he told them to donate an extra ten bucks to their favourite charity, to send a bouquet of flowers to their mothers on a day other than Mother’s Day, to strike a conversation with someone who looks completely different from them, to switch their cars with a bicycle when the son’s down. Just very small, presumably inconsequential things. Yet, he stressed on how that donation might enable a young girl to study, how that bouquet might make a mother’s entire week, how that bicycle might just save the environment. 

I know what he said is not something completely new, but we forget to see how it can be a very nice way of life. It is true that in our quest to achieve as much as we can as fast as we can, we tend to lose track of the things that actually matter. 

It’s the small things. It’s the meaningful things. It’s the unrecognisable, or rather the things that might not get you recognition, that leave a smile on your face at the end of the day. 

We all have somewhere to reach, and we’ll get there, eventually. Some sooner than others. Some a tad differently than others. Some might change tracks midway. Yet, whatever journey one chooses to embark on, it is imperative to remember that the journey in itself is an experience. It is, in fact, a destination in its own right. Let’s make it worthwhile so that we can grow while we’re still on our way. 

I will take your leave today by citing Murakami. 

Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money cannot buy”

In our rat race of a life, lets do small things in a big way!

Thank you for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts on this so please share your views in the comments section down below.

Of mountains and burdens

We’re six months into this year now. Phew! Time really does fly when you ain’t looking. I’ve been seeing a lot of people reviewing this time or putting up posts about what they’ve learnt during the first half of this year. This got me thinking. I recalled a little post I’d written in January and realised it would still be pertinent today. It is a piece of learning that is a continuous process so I thought of sharing it again with you all. It is a journey into self assessment with an empowering route to realising self worth. Please give it a read below.

Moonlighting Scrivener

“These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb” – Najwa Zebian

Who amongst us has not felt the weight of the world laying on our fragile shoulders? Oh Atlas, I wish you could see how many kindred souls you have!

It is time to jettison all the extra burden that we have self-imposed on ourselves. Yes, self-imposed. No, no, you heard me right.

I agree we live in a fiercely competitive dog eat dog world in present times. No one is spared from an ever present, all consuming pressure to perform. Right from toddlers participating in fancy dress competitions in pre-school, to high-school students scrambling to be popular and cool, to suicide attempts on failing entrance exams, to attaining promotions over all other colleagues, the list is endless. Expectations from parents, from the world, peer-pressure, everything demands of us to excel, to be beyondSuccessful. There…

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A Game of Numbers

The number sizes on your garment

Do not define the size or shape of your personality.

The number scores on your mark sheets

Do not measure your worth.

The number of inches in your heels

Cannot determine your stature.

The numbers holed up in your bank account

Cannot increase your happiness.

The number of donations you make

Cannot diminish the darkness of your soul.

The number of times you’ve fallen in love and failed

Does not label you a slut.

The number of years in your age

Cannot limit the magnitude of your successes.

The number of times you’ve failed

Cannot prevent you from getting up and trying again.

Only the upturned numbers on a roll of the dice

Can make or break you.

Because life is a game of Russian roulette

Where numbers have no part to play.

 

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