Friday 19 January 2024

Reflecting on the year 2023-a year of purpose and self healing for me


It is time for my customary year-end reflections on the past twelve months, what they gave me, and what they taught me. I begin by expressing my earnest gratitude to the supreme power for giving me another precious year to live because in our everyday small and big desires we forget that our biggest gift is a gift of life and we must leave no stone unturned to make it worthwhile. The year 2023 began for me on this note as I shifted to our new home on 1 December 2022. It is this exact place on my sun-soaked hammock that I wrote my last year’s reflections, too. 

In the year 2023 a lot changed in me and I will fondly like to give it a look back with a full heart. January 2023 started for me with a lot of soul-searching and acceptance. I also merrily got immersed in tapping the power of my subconscious, healing and training it in the process. I also kept working on my Ikigai. It was also the time my annual contract with Amazon as a fashion and beauty influencer ended and I didn’t feel the urge to request the renewal, commercial projects were not what I was eyeing anymore. I value purpose, meaning, and joy in whatever project I undertake. I found immense joy in writing so writing continued but the compulsive desire to be appreciated and praised all the time took a backseat. 

Then in February 2023, I wrote a letter each day to my child as a countdown to his forthcoming birthday in March. The idea was to publish them as a book and present it to him but I chose to gift them to him one each day as it came simply because both of us enjoyed it this way. By the end of the month, I didn’t realize it was quite a few words written which could be easily published as a book. Thus, this ready book manuscript happily awaits seeing the dawn of the day. I am not sure why I didn’t publish them but the joy of writing to your progeny each day with earnest intent and a heart full of love is so precious. Maybe they are too personal for me but someday I will publish them because I would love to stay alive in my words long after I am gone and I want my grandchildren and their grandchildren to know me through my books.

In March my manifestations and a deep desire to lead a purposeful light as always, yielded results. Post exams, birthday celebrations, and a quick holiday, I attended a bloggers meet by Blogchatter, where I clearly saw my goals. As a chronic endometriosis patient, I had suffered badly in India due to the wrong diagnosis and medications and I really wanted to do my bit in changing this scenario in India. This is what led to the birth of Endometriosis Awareness and Support Group India, a 24X7 helpline and community of Endometriosis Patients in India to support and nurture each other and also seek relevant advice for early diagnosis and intervention for this life-disrupting disease. By God’s grace, I could genuinely help several souls through this medium because I know even by lending a patient ear, that I know your pain matters and getting the right professional help whenever needed felt good.

The whole of April I penned 30 articles on this very ailment in the April AtoZ Challenge of Blogchatter to let this initiative reach as many people as possible and serve them or their loved ones in times of need. I tried to be exhaustive in the topics I covered and my research in them and always included the patients' perspective in them because I understood the pain one felt while struggling with this whole body condition. 

In May I went bag packing to Spain for a conference( I need to do a separate post on why I fell in love with the city of Barcelona from the entire country for reasons more than one) and then vacation followed by Paris. Almost a decade ago I had been all over Europe for my Ikea assignments and so many precious memories came flooding by. This time was extra special also because I was with my family which multiplies the joy and beauty of holidays. Europe I felt has become more accepting after the pandemic towards the brown world as they used to call us when I worked there. Though for the major part of the journey, I was very sick and was on antibiotics and cough syrups but it in no way hindered my spirits. But travel truly is therapeutic and I felt so good inside.

Back home in June, I basked in the glory of my first-ever murder mystery being picked up for publishing in Blogchatter Anthology. I thought this was the genre that had eluded me the most but I had to write for my love for Blogchatter, how could I not be a part of their first publishing outing. A few things were difficult on my personal front that threw me out of my comfort zone and I momentarily panicked but by God’s grace a balance could well be struck and I could get my groove back by July. As always writing became my anchor and I weaved my pain into fiction and dispersed it out in the universe. I also learned to self-heal, be patient, and be kind to myself. I learned vital lessons as a human being and a wife, parent, and sister. I learned to surrender. I learned to be at peace and not keep running always. I learned to let go.

Thus, continuing the same, August and September I dedicated myself to self-improvement and also trying my hands at podcasting. After all, I had to learn a new skill each year and also because I had conjunctivitis so with my eyes closed I could not write but definitely record my voice. I was sick so many times this year that I could not get back to my fitness regime and gained a lot of weight. This is one front I have been really lousy in this year and next year hopefully will find a fitter Roma, amen🙂!

But what kept my spirits high was travel in 2023 after so many years of lockdown and being confined to the four walls indoors. My spouse was to take an official trip to Dubai around my birthday in october and he asked me to join him which I happily agreed to. Thus my forties began with a bang celebrating my birthday on top of Burj Khalifa. I will also remember this year for the many firsts I did overcoming my extreme fear. Not only did I take the toughest 360 degrees roller coaster ride in Disneyland Paris but also took the transparent sky glass slide in Dubai at the top floor. I also tried most of the crazily adventurous and a tad bit scary water slides at Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park in Dubai which is known to be the largest water park in the world. Talking on things I am especially grateful this year, I am particularly thankful for all the offline friendships I had forged this year. Less is more for me now and I have become really selective with whom I can invest my time with.

In October, I also hosted an emotional wellness blog hop where the top bloggers of India came together to share their wisdom and coping mechanisms during emotional turmoil. This was indeed such a priceless experience that I decided to put their works together as a book that shall be released on Women’s Day in 2024.

November was beautifully festive and peaceful I celebrated Diwali in our own sweet home decorating it my way and praying amidst Pooja’s and hawans in our office while December made us complete 18 years of marriage so the celebrations continued monthlong and culminated in Goa, our regular adda where we bid goodbye to a generous year of our lives with grateful hearts. Of course, to mark another first I tried parasailing, and man it was so much fun to fly high in peace as if the world came to a standstill for several moments. 

Aah so quite a year, reflecting upon it was really healing in itself, I could work on my purpose in life as best as I could, and yes because I only count my blessings I choose not to pen all that was not that good and only take the lessons learned from them ahead. Thank you so much all of you for blessing me with your presence last year and please keep the love coming in the years to come as well, I thrive on it♥️. Happy 2024 everyone, hope you and I all have a meaningful year ahead.

Monday 8 January 2024

Began my new year at my Baba’s home in Shirdi #Gratefulbeyondwords


I feel extremely blessed to have commenced this new year at my baba’s feet in Shirdi attending his Kakad Aarti. This is my first post in 2024 and I probably will witness the purest of the emotions I experienced right at the year’s start.

After I lost my mom and my dad remarried, I was introduced to Baba by a senior colleague who took me to Sai Aarti every evening after work. Whenever my heart cried and yearned painfully for my parents, I silently wept in front of Baba almost always requesting him to take care of my little brother who was struggling even more. Did not realize when Baba literally became my parent and adopted me as his very own child whom he never let down. Soon I relocated to Pune and for 8 long years, baba called me to Shirdi so often that I didn’t realise when it became my Maayka. 

Then I moved back to Delhi with my bag and baggage suddenly after a big surgery and did not get a chance to meet my baba and bid goodbye. Thereafter 5 long years passed and I wondered if my baba would ever call me again and suddenly this year he did and how. When I came to know there was a possibility that we ring the new year in Pune-Shirdi, I made every single odd turn in our favor and went running to him like a lost child having found a means to go back to his parents. The credit would go to my husband and my best friend Prashanti who has constantly pestered me to come back to Pune. She even cut short her annual family vacation to host me. How will I ever repay such unconditional love? May all her dreams come true. 

It was indeed divine to be on the fateful soil of Shirdi again. No wonder it has improved so much in the last 5 years in terms of infrastructure but the original pure innate vibe still remains intact. I did the darshan first and kept walking in the temple premises to reach my favorite window from where I could see Baba to my heart’s content and talk to him all that I am not able to say to the world because I know only he would understand. Some things can only be told to your mom and Baba is both my mom and dad. In the evening too I kept strolling through the streets listening to bhajans and getting a photograph of the darshan made as I wanted to document my Shirdi Visit on my husband’s birthday.

The next morning I got up at 3a.m. and showered to get ready and queue up for the Kakad Aarti. The next three hours were the most divinely overwhelming hours of my life. All the words of the universe put together will fail me to describe how I felt. I just chanted and moved in the rows with a heart full. At 5:15 I was made to sit right in front of Baba and as soon as I saw him tears started flowing down from my eyes and I could not control how overwhelmed I was. I have never got so much time to sit in front of him and talk to him, it was as if he remembered his forgotten child and invited her to sit right in front of him and talk to him which I did to my heart’s content. I kept looking at his face, his eyes though I had forgotten my specs but does that even matter. There was so much to say and listen to. It was the best kind of morning I have had especially because I am a 4am person forever. Prayers have such infinite powers, that I realized surrendering is absolute bliss. I have surrendered myself to my baba completely.

By seven I was back in my room a decent fairly new property known as Alaukik which I highly recommend to anyone travelling to Shirdi because the extremely loving baba Bhaktas run it. I then checked out and reached the airport to fly back to home sweet home. It has been 11 days away and Dilli ki sardi has taken over us since then.

I am still basking in the glory of the fact that I began my new year at my Baba’s home in Shirdi #Gratefulbeyondwords. 

Sunday 17 December 2023

Finding a new purpose in life

Today is Teej 2022 and it is different from how I always celebrated one with great cheerfulness. I have this habit of embracing a smile no matter how much it is hurting inside. Today I have cried my heart out like never before and am having suicidal thoughts. But on my life depends other lives and I am just going to wipe my tears and head out with a smile but the fact is I am lonely very lonely. I want to talk love laugh live and  travel. My partner just sits next to me or walks next to me without a word for over two months. Why am I not worth talking to? I try my best, make demands, go out together, watch a movie but he never utters a word, I only get to hear him when I ask a question or someone calls up. I can’t give him the benefit of doubt that he is very busy with his business because he is mostly playing an online game or watching Netflix if not on phone so my heart refuses to accept this excuse from myself any more. He might have his own reasons I am sure. The fact is perhaps I have become redundant in his life and will in some years become for my kid too. 

In Pune I had a purpose in my life, my academy, no matter at how small or big level, my students who made my life worthwhile. I had something to call my own, something to look forward to and not sit in a corner and cry with no one even remotely guessing your tears. Delhi has deprived me of it and I am struggling but I will soon surely find something to channelise my intellect and someone to talk to who will talk to me and most importantly like me and smile with me.

It will be wrong for me to ascertain the cause of my despondency and current mental state to someone else. I was the one who gave my IKEA career at its peak and all the repercussions I face are entirely mine. I have to pick myself up and motivate myself and see here I am already feeling better a characteristic of typical me. I cry my heart out, let the words flow out and my  soul feels pure and free. Sometimes it is so vital to just let it flow out. Perhaps it is time to once again searching for a bigger purpose in life.

This post is a part of the #CauseaChatter Initiative by Blogchatter.

Sunday 10 December 2023

I am blessed to have you as my soulmate


If God asks me to count my blessings 

I will keep you at the top of the list 

For I genuinely believe 

You are the bestest soulmate and my one and only 

I am grateful to Almighty 

That he gifted me you

And then after him am grateful to you 

For being my partner true 

Happy 18th anniversary my love 

Thank you for always being on my side 

I know I am the troubling one

And you my patient knight

Honestly, there is so much 

I have learned from you 

As a person and as a son 

As a father and as a husband 

You are so graceful , we can bank upon you 

And can keep coming back to you 

Words fail me to express 

how I adore you

You know what is the most beautiful feeling 

It is when you respect your partner 

to the extent that his goodness rubs on you

I genuinely believe you have made me a better soul 

Thank you for always being kind 

You are a precious soul inside out 

 am grateful I was chosen to be blessed with you 

Must have been some good karmas of the past births

My last wish is to hold your hand until my last breath 

Watching something together and laughing our hearts out

There is no safer place for me in the universe than your arms 

I am blessed to have you as my soulmate my one 

I don’t know if you have noticed 

Our love is not the regular one 

Some crazy gifted writer in the heavens above

Has weaved us together forever love 

So never get angry 

Nor misunderstand me ever 

My love for you in unparalleled 

Grateful I was chosen to shower it on you forever 

Monday 20 November 2023

22 years of going strong

Hugs and Kisses to you my love 

On completing 22 years of accepting each other forever the way we are 

I still remember that fateful night 

That made us accept our hearts’ desire 

I replay it in my mind a hundred times 

And still smile reliving those moments 

How young, how naive were we

But our love knew how to transcend all boundaries 

From that day, till today 

We have weaved our nest inch by inch 

Need I say how fulfilling is this journey 

Let’s be together like this for many more decades and centuries 

Happy Love Anniversary once again sweetheart 

Together we are really going strong 

Respecting and loving each other 

Despite being so different and sometimes even being wrong 

In our every day hustle bustle 

There are many things that go unsaid

So today let me take the opportunity 

Before it is too late 

Thank you for being kind and caring towards me 

For this I will forever remain grateful to you 

Thank you for all the smiles you give me 

For they are the primary reason I feel like living 

I also genuinely want to say 

I am so proud of your accomplishments 

Not many in this world can fulfil their dreams 

Like you have done 

And you may not know 

For I always nag you

But on this earth I am the one who is happiest to see 

the heights that you gradually accomplish 

Of course for the days we fight

I want to delete them from our life’s flash drive 

I honestly don’t like when you get bossy

Because I always know that internally your heart is as soft as wax and I know my Shobhi 

I honestly love you to the moon and back 

And believe you are the best thing that has happened to me in this world 

I would rather not spend life’s journey with anyone else but you

And I love to keep saying you are mine and I love you

Thursday 26 October 2023

The story of my story in The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers


First things first, I am really thrilled that my murder mystery(if I can call it one) is published in ‘The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers’ released by Readomania alongside many eminent authors and I honestly feel I got lucky.

My story in the book ‘Secrets of Nandini Rutuja’ is a tale of a reclusive and aggressive teenager who loves lizards. She has lost both her parents and has for long confined herself to a room with zero human contact. She only communicates with lizards and surely hides some dark secrets. Read this thriller and delve into Nandini’s world to fathom the dark truth of humanity.

 The book is garnering good reviews from the readers and I still feel so nervous contemplating every day if my story was good enough, if I would have penned a different plot, or maybe I am not cut out for this genre. The imposter syndrome is real guys and it hits hard.

As some of my reader friends rightfully pointed out, this is the genre they had least expected from me because I am a soft motivator and nonfiction writer mostly aiming at women empowerment and self-improvement. I have become complacent with them and though my straight from heart,  pieces still inspire me, I wanted to walk out of my comfort zone. Thus when Blogchatter announced the entries being open for their forthcoming Thriller Anthology somewhere in March 2023, I let the idea sink in for a few days before I decided to submit my entry.

I went back and forth with my decision before convincing myself that I was taking up this challenge to surprise myself and my readers if my story got accepted by the publishers. Otherwise, it shall be a great learning experience and a worthy trial.

Once I decided I had to think of a plot and my protagonists. This is the only place where my earlier experience helped and also kind of became a hindrance. In the earlier 7 books that I had penned, inspiration mostly occurred to me from 2 a.m. to 4a.m. in a trance-like state that I had developed with perseverance which happened here as well. I have never doubted myself before but what I wanted to attempt here was different. So the fact that I didn’t feel the same confidence pulled me back again and again and that is what was different this time though honestly the love for the written word was still the same.

Finally I started imagining a reclusive,  aggressive, and disturbed teenager and let her character evolve in my brain. I named her Nandini Rutuja and Nandini would advent in my dreams often. How she would love to have a pet Iguana was all shaped up in my brain. One fine morning, after doubting myself for the umpteenth time, I sat down and penned the story in straight fifteen minutes and never changed a word.

I made my family read it and like my audience, they too could not accept I would write something like this. I didn’t think twice and submitted it at the spur of the moment knowing that it was an immature act and that who writes such a story.

In some months I was informed that it was selected as one of the top 15 picks to be published in the Blogchatter Anthology and I wondered what was in it that would stay with the readers. I also feel it was only a naive first attempt and I can really try my hands at much deeper darker murder mysteries and thrillers now. Thankfully you all been generous enough to shower your kind words on this one too and I am only humbled.

This was the story of my story in The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers and now when I look back it was so much fun penning it though honestly I still have butterflies in my stomach every time someone says they are on it now. 

On another note, I have read this book and the stories are so worth a read. I have enjoyed them every bit and they have stayed with me.

I am grateful to Blogchatter for having published them. They are indeed sassy and saucy soaked in different shades of life. I wish them many more literary outings like these in the future. You can order a copy of The Blogchatter Book of Thrillers here.