New Year

I am not much of a New Years resolution maker but I have been known to make a “to do list” for the year from time to time. Most of the times when I review my list, I have ended up checking either one or none of the items on the list. This is because we make a resolutions list and forget about them as the year goes on. So in Jan 2020, I didn’t make any list but wrote below poem.

This new year, find a way of life,

Be driven but pause, find a way of life,

Don’t get caught in the web of stress,

take a break, find a way of life,

Look after yourself and your family,

Find a way of life,

Prioritize your health, live in the moment,

Find your way of life,

Wish for many more New Years in your life,

But if this is the last, find your way of life,

Live the life you really want, find your way of life.

Looking back through the year, I wonder if I truly lived by this poem. I can say for a fact that I was driven but paused to see where I was headed and if it made sense. I did get caught up in the web of stress at work but realized when it happened. Did I look after my family? I believe I did. It was tough during the spring and summer months when we were all working and learning from home. I had stressful projects in the spring and summer time and had meetings most of the day. But we managed. My husband and I swapped break times so we could give attention to our kid. While cooking lunch, we involved her so she could learn essential cooking skills instead of giving her screen time. She did get more screen time than usual during those months but it was still monitored. We played games with her, pretend play, went for walks and my husband also taught her bicycling. So, I would say from family perspective it has been a very good year.

Regarding health, I have to say I didn’t prioritize my health. Especially mental health. I experienced anxiety while going for grocery shopping, traveling in bus and just walking outside. I am sure I am not alone in this and that many people felt the same. I tackled my anxiety by getting more familiar with Covid-19 precautions, prepped before going anywhere to make sure I had a mask and hand sanitizer at all times. When we travelled in bus, I would make sure my family and I sanitized hands after getting on and off the bus. I called these safety steps that we all had to follow if outside. I never carried sanitizer with me before this year and now it’s a staple in my bag.

Did I live in the moment..hmm…I am not sure. I live in the moment when I pretend play with my kid but otherwise my mind is always churning. My husband calls my mind a grinder that never

Did I feel like I lived a life I want this year? I believe I did. I also understood myself a bit more. My self confidence increased a bit more and I am closer to the next step in my career.

Cheers to more New Years to come.

A Very Happy New Year to you and your family.

Ramblings of a newbie lawn mower

After spending $$$$ for 2 summers since we bought a house, my husband decided to buy a lawn mower last summer. The Ryobi electric rear engine mower. It drives like a race car, only slower ;). Hubby had fun mowing the lawn and saving money last year. It also gave him a chance to spend time outside in fresh air. This year however the task of mowing our lawn fell in my hands as his work travel increased. At first, I tried to convince him to sell the mower and get someone to do the job. But it didn’t fit in the budget and I realized I ought to give it a try.

My first lawn mowing experience felt like I had bugs crawling all over my body. I liked being outside but the phobia of spiders, ticks and other insects around kept me from enjoying the fresh air. While mowing the front lawn for the first time, I realized some of the cut grass was falling off. I called my husband and found out that this was bad for the lawn as it blocks sunlight and kills the grass. I felt irritated with the task and the fact that I had zero tips on fixing my mess. He asked me to check a few things before giving up. I did and rest of the mowing was a breeze. The task of emptying the bags filled with cut grass was tiring but the crisp air and smell of earth felt refreshing. From then on lawn mowing wasn’t difficult until today. We missed 3 weeks of mowing and of course the grass had grown (even though we begged for it to stop 😉 ). Rains didn’t help either.

So, this week when the sun was out on Friday evening, I tried to mow our back lawn. I had to open the  mower and clean out the grass 3 times before giving up for the day. I waited until today to see if the grass would dry. Sun was shinning brightly when I woke up and after making some coffee, I went out to check the grass. To my disappointment, it was wet. I decide to wait until afternoon. During my kid’s nap time, I went outside and started on the job. After just 1 round in the back lawn my mower was shedding grass instead of moving it to the collection bags after slicing it. I opened the pipe and blade assembly and with no doubt started cleaning the build up. I reminded myself to count the number of times I had to do this tedious task. It involved removing the pipe, throwing the grass stuck in the pipe and around the blade into the collection bags and re-attaching everything. I wanted to let me husband know how much hard work this involved (My way of saying I will not mow the lawn ever again if possible :D). Again I felt the irritation building up. Why did I have to do this. Why couldn’t we just get someone to do this job. And then the reasoning came back. We had the best mower and most of the time it involved just sitting on it and enjoying the surroundings while working. It wasn’t that bad.

Then I remembered the power ladder reviewed recently in one of the colleague resource group seminar at office. The power ladder reminded me to accept the fact that this was my task and I had to own it and solve it. So, once I accepted it, I became curious as to why the grass was getting stuck in the mower blades at all. “It is wet. It has grown to a length where sunlight isn’t reaching the bottom” came the answer. I started listening to the machine. I heard the changing sounds of the blades while moving on the grass and realized it made a dragging sound when something was stuck. I was using my brain and natural instincts rather than reading about it on the internet. I stopped, cleared the blades and pipe assembly again and started mowing. I also came up with the plan of dividing the back lawn into 2 parts rather than trying to cover a large area. At least that way I could finish half the task if I got tired in between or if the mower battery gave up. I also experimented with the blade height in the areas of high growth where the blade was getting stuck. It helped tremendously. At the same time, I started cleaning just beneath the blades instead of removing the assembly that I had already attached and re-attached 6 times. This helped clear the area around blades faster. Finally, I did mow our lawn today and felt accomplished. I didn’t feel insects crawling over me as I had literally rubbed my hands inside the mower pipes and blade assembly. I felt comfortable with the nature. Thanks to my lawn mower. Funny ain’t it :D.

Ryobi lawn mower:


The pipe and blade assembly pic:


The collection bags:


Second half of the lawn to be mowed:

Following Pema

Everyone revers saints. In Jainism, a person taking Deeksha (Vow of celibacy) is considered a supreme human being. They are respected for leaving the Samsara. But come to think of it, it seems to be an easy path. Once you become a monk, you are committing your life to achieving enlightenment. Your own enlightenment, peace of mind. On the other hand, people living in this world go through various tasks of maintaining relationships, keeping jobs, raising children etc. So many roles to play, so many emotions taking a toll on you. Sometimes, it feels like you are going through your own personal hell.

I started wondering, how can we common people achieve that peace of mind that saints achieve. We might gather courage to take the vow of celibacy but does it really make sense for us. Who are we kidding. Even in our own selfish way we love our family, like our lifestyle, earning money and spending on material things. Deeksha is not for everyone. So, I started looking for meditation related audio books. My mind was telling me that I would doze off within first few minutes.

A few searches later, I found “Bodhisattva mind” by Pema Chodron and was in for a surprise. Never have I had so much fun listening to a monk. Pema is a Buddhist teacher, monk helping people take control of their minds. She has this honest, sarcastic, funny way of teaching. She captures your heart and mind instantly. As you listen to her you realize how stupid we are and how foolishly we spend a lifetime creating wars within our minds. While explaining one of the Buddhist verses, she says, “Imagine you have a wild elephant inside your mind and it’s on a rampage. Not just that, it’s pooping all over your mind. That’s what wild mind does to you”. That’s her way of explaining a negative mind. A negative mind is someone who is unconscious of their thoughts and actions. Just like me.

There were days when I would wake up and feel irritated about something. Something negative that might have occurred few days or weeks ago. My mind would remember it and get wired to negativity in seconds. I hated it. So, I started practicing Pema’s teachings. After waking up, I would concentrate on my thoughts. I took deep breaths to let irksome thoughts go and remind myself to be PRESENT.  It sounds easy but it’s not and I often forgot about my resolution for the day. It took a lot of time to remember and practice and I still have a long way to go (10 years for a beginner as per Pema :)). Practicing her teachings made me realize what light as a feather literally feels like and it feels like being re-born. All humans should try it ;).

Below is the list of Pema’s books I liked:

  • Bodhisattva Mind
  • Don’t bite the hook
  • Getting Unstuck

Another New Year

Every new year I see people excited, making plans for the new year’s eve and goals for next year. I was a similar happy camper until my parents passed away. Now, on the last day of the year, first thought that comes to my mind is “Another year they will not be able to see”. In the next thought, I am reminded of my own mortality. The new year is part of my life and my initial thought only applies until I live. It feels a little scary to question ourselves – “Is this going to be the last year of my life?” Then a moment of courage immerges saying “If it is, I want to die with no regrets”.

So, this year I promise myself to have 365 days of happiness. I pledge to,

  1. Be more present in the current moment of life instead of technology.
  2. Concentrate more on positive moments/experiences of life so my brain can recollect them often instead of their evil twin :-).
  3. Improve contact with family and friends.

Not a big list but an important one to remember in this fast paced world.


An affair with death

“The most painful goodbyes are the ones never said and never explained” – By someone.

In my 32 years of life, I have seen my two mothers (Mother and grandma) die of lung disease. I lost my father suddenly when my daughter turned 6 months old. Loosing the people who brought you up is heartwrenching. This year brings another death in our family. My uncle passed away today. He was suffering with multiple problems from past few month and was in ICU kept alive by a ventilator machine. He was a healthy person who started a third career as a manager at a relative’s office after retirement. He had been a business man all his life. Owned textile factories in his 30s and setup his own business with a famous Indian brand wholesale agency in his 50s.  After retirement he couldn’t sit at home and started working again. He had a good life living with his family (wife, son, daughter-in-law,  father). He used to go for walks every day with my aunt.

Suddenly,one day he fell sick with diabetes, jaundice, later with infection and then lung fibrosis. All these problems arose in a span of 4 weeks. It was like someone had pulled the trigger on his life.

Ever since the doctors confirmed that there was no hope left for him, I started thinking about life and death.  What is the purpose of life? Everything new born thing is fragile at start, gets stronger with age, starts withering after a while, becomes fragile again and dies. This is the circle of life for every being on Earth. A constant relationship exists between life and death from the moment we are conceived. Sometimes, external forces play a role in the start of our affair with death. But an affair it is when our time is up. We have so many to dos in our life’s list that we forget the actual purpose of life- To LIVE HAPPILY. So, why don’t we accept the fact, ignore life’s to do list and just have two to dos that is to be Happy and take care of our health.

As my husband says, life is a paradise when we are happy :-).

Should you buy a smart watch

I thought about this a lot – Should I spend money on a smart watch? Is it worth it? What would be the benefits of owning a smart watch? Like a phone, a watch isn’t a necessity. It’s just a nice to have. There are cheap smart watch options available on Amazon to get phone calls and text alerts. But if you are spending money you might as well go for a good model with additional features like fitness, gps and much more.

As I was interested in owning a wearable device, I tried pebble time first. Pebble’s price range seemed reasonable. The simple interface of pebble, the ease of setup, sleep and fitness monitoring were likable. But the lack of speaker phone and functionality to answer phone calls were a turn down. My main reason for trying out a smart watch was to refrain myself from using iPhone in front of my 2yr old who has acquired an affinity for phones. You could argue that if a toddler can learn how to use a phone and open YouTube by themselves, they can surely figure out any smart device. That would be correct but the tiny display on smart watches isn’t something that catches their eye much.

I have been using Apple Watch for over a month now. The integration of watch with iPhone and life feels seamless. I don’t have to hold on to my phone unless I want to send long messages or make phone calls in private. For most part of the day, I forget I am wearing the watch. Tap notifications are a reminder. It took some time to remember that I can look at the time on my wrist instead of the computer or phone :-).

The watch has helped me set fitness goals. Every week I set a calorie, exercise and stand goal for each day of the coming week. You get reward badges for various achievements from going over your goal to achieving a new maximum. It has helped me exercise more. GPS taps are a plus although it takes some time to get used to it. For most part, my hands feel free from having to hold something (My phone) all the time.

One hesitation I had before buying the watch was the attachment we have to our phones now-a-days. There isn’t a place where we don’t take our phones with us. I should say most of us. So, my concern was that this addiction of being connected will increase with the watch. Not quite so. I hardly check my phone for messages or call alerts. I know the ever so helpful Taptic Engine will alert me as soon as they are delivered. The most used app on my phone now is kindle.

Often I have made phone calls from my wrist while cooking, walking towards the car or doing laundry. It’s just so easy and feels like the technology is invisible. We are in the future NOW.

End of another year

Another year has gone by and a new one is beginning in few hours. The first thing that comes to my mind every year end is that my parents won’t be able to see it. Every new movie that comes out and makes me laugh, touches my heart or just makes me happy, I feel my parents missed seeing that movie. When my daughter says a new word, sings, dances or does anything new, I feel they missed seeing their grand daughter and their daughter (a mom now) grow up. Then, a hard thought hits me – “My time is running out” and my mind goes through a flashback of all the moments that I wasted with negative emotions and energy during the whole year. The thought that follows is that I missed taking care of my health during the year and next year health should be my focus. And that’s how all the new year resolutions start building up. As I go through a list of new year resolutions I try to remember if they were on my list last year but I don’t seem to remember if I made any resolutions for the year that just ended. Finally, I decide not to make any resolutions. 

But, somehow my mind cannot settle for a new year without resolutions. So, this year my resolution is going to be  – “Just relax, be happy, no negativity”. Hopefully, I can make this into a habit and remove it from the list altogether 😄.

What goes through your mind at the end and start of a year?


A creative mind never sleeps. Every moment, it keeps thinking of ways to capture, create and innovate. A photographer’s mind wants to capture all that their eyes see transforming it into pictures that live forever. A painter takes blank canvas and covers it with breathtaking beauty. An artist is connected to creativity through passion.

  Above picture was taken at the cog railway station in North Conway, NH. I am adding this picture for the daily photo challenge of “Connected” because riding the wooden train with steam engine made me feel connected to travel in 18th century.

Art is meditation

Zentangle is a form of art that seems quite popular these days for relaxing and relieving stress. I have also heard of color books for adults that help calm you down. The more we advance in technology, the more I see people coming closer to art too. Some want to get away from it and try traditional art forms and some use technology to satisfy their creative muse.  But they all create which leads to happiness and peace within. It’s like meditating in your personal way.

Applying Mehndi (Henna) feels like meditation to me. I just concentrate on the design and its placement which is refreshing for someone looking at the computer screen for 8hrs a day.

What art form helps you meditate?




Today was a good day

When I saw last week’s photo challenge on daily post, it sounded interesting. But I kept thinking what constitutes a good day for me. Just a week before the photo challenge I had the opportunity to click some nice pictures of my daughter playing on patio and in our backyard. It was early evening and we all had fun hanging out together enjoying our new home. I felt good and peaceful spending time away from work, phone and capturing beautiful memories for us. So, when I saw the photo challenge “Today was a good day”, I immediately thought of this day with my family. The more I thought about it, I came up with below list of things that would make a good day for me.

  1. See my little one laugh and giggle.
  2. Relaxing with a good cup of masala or ginger chai.
  3. Making bread
  4. Spending quality time with my family.
  5. Eating tasty food.
  6. Doing something creative – photography, blogging or cooking.
  7. Seeing the forest behind feeling peaceful with birds chirping in the background.

The list might go on but the post really made me think what I want from a good day. Basically, to be happy and remember to appreciate life.

A Good day to you 🙂