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Here is where it all started

In one of my French classes, our professor gave us homework to write a paragraph describing an event from our childhood. The condition was to use as much past tense as possible so that we can practice what we learnt in the class and ask questions for clarity the next day.

I was already pushing myself by joining the French class alongwith managing my office as well, so a homework always came as a task. Despite of that, I always tried attempting the homework because I knew that only the practice could help me learn at a faster pace.

I sat down with my journal and started writing about a funny event from my past. Even though this was a language I was still trying to learn, I realized how much fun it was to recall an event from the past and describe it for someone else to read. And and, that’s where my love for writing started. I had created a WordPress account years ago but probably it was just lately that I started picking up by writing a bit and publishing it for a larger audience. Honestly, I am loving this and I love to be here.

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I can confidently say that probably, this is the only place I found in recent times where people are so encouraging and motivating. Everyone are so kind enough to take time to read and provide feedback on what they love to read. There is so much of experiences to share or learn from everyone without the need of showing off (#trending on Facebook or Twitter) 🙂

I am glad I finally made it here and I am looking forward to knowing you all more through my reading experience.

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Serenity

This was captured by me during my visit to one of the Heritage spots of Ahmedabad, Dada Hari ni Vav.

I caption this “Serenity” because every call to prayer calms my soul and connects me to “The Creator” no matter where it comes from. When everything seems to be going too fast or when I think I have no time for myself – these are the moments that reminds me to take a pause and say thanks – be grateful for this wondrous gift called “Life”.

It may be a call to prayer, the ringing church bells, choir singing, hearing the Gregorian chants, children playing, violin music, chirping birds or anything that wakes me up to Serenity.

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For anything urgent, better call

I couldn’t think of a better caption for this image. I was in a hurry to leave for work when this view caught my eye. I immediately ran to get my mobile phone to capture this before the bird flew away out of fear.

I zoomed my camera to get a closer view because I knew that if I made a noise it will fly away for sure, but that didn’t happen. No matter how closer I went to take the picture, it stayed there without any movements or sign of fear.

It was as if it had put on a status, “For anything urgent better call because I am busy” 😀

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The Home within a Home

This was probably taken a couple of years ago. I usually leave one of the windows in my room open for fresh air. Once when I came back from work, I found two little birds hiding in the corner of the window. Getting a little closer, I was able to make out that they were building themselves a home.

Since I also wanted something to engage myself with, I let them stay there and left the windows open everyday so that they can complete their task for which they were so actively in the process of building that little nest.

I used to check their progress. There were three eggs already in the nest hatching. Days passed by. I started seeing a change in the activities of the parents. They were now coming with food for their little ones. I climbed on my bed to get a close-up view to find three cute babies with an open mouth asking for food 🙂

This was indeed enough for me to feel good about my decision to let them stay. Building a home within a home!

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A picture perfect

While I was capturing some beautiful views at the old city in Ahmedabad, three kids came to me requesting if I can take a picture of them. Their innocence and the happiness on their faces would not have let anyone turn down their request. I agreed and took this picture of them.

To my surprise, they didn’t ask me to show how the picture turned out to be. They just went away with double the happiness and smiles. Maybe for them being captured was the greatest thing to happen.

I don’t know who they are. I never met them thereafter, but this picture still gives me joy and inspires me to take life easy and to be in the moment.  And I am sure wherever they are, this is what they will continue to do – inspire and spread smiles.

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The boy who never grew up!

After a long and tiring day,  I decided to stop by a coffee shop to recharge my energy. Even though I have tried out most of the cafes near my place,  this was my first visit here. As I opened the door, I was pleased to see the decor, there were some pretty and fun stuff hanging on the walls from decorated coffee mugs to funny quotes on why chocolate is irresistible.

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I took a corner seat and on the wall near me had this cute images of the comic characters from our childhood days.

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Snoopy dog, Garfield and Archies, – they reminded me of my friend who could talk endlessly about his crazy love for his favorite comic characters. Talking about them gave him immense happiness and he would laugh like a kid. During one of our conversations, I asked him, “What was the origin of your crush, I barely remember seeing these images in the newspapers but I don’t think I ever read any of their stories”

He narrated, “As a kid, I used to go to my cousin’s place to play. During one of our group play, I felt I was being neglected by them and no one were interested to play with me, so I stopped going there. I used to stay at home, sit and relax on my couch doing nothing. My parents started getting worried since I was not engaged in any activities.

Once my dad bought me a comic book. I immediately started reading; found it interesting and fun. There was a puzzle on the back of the book. Within a day I had finished both reading the book and also solving the puzzle. “That was so fast” – said my dad. My routine was back to normal. Since it was summer vacation, I absolutely didn’t had anything to do.

To my surprise, the same week – my dad came back home with a heap of books. He bought them from an old book store so that I will have enough to do during my vacation. I read everyday and started falling in love with these characters – not just because they were cute but also because I could relate with them even though they were fictional characters.

And out of all, Garfield remains forever close to my heart because he is a foodie, lazy, hates the world unbiasedly and doesn’t care what people think of him. He likes lasagne and hates getting older. In fact, he is my alter ego, my other self.

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And one thing I can say for sure is over these years no one has ever been able to replace the charm and innocence these characters bring to us. Kids love them, I still love them. And I have stored all the books so that one day my kids can have an access to these too.”

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A conversation

Me: In my dreams these days, I’ve been seeing celebrities whom I admire. What does that mean?

Friend: Maybe, there are bigger things waiting for you.

Me: Really? You think so?

Friend: Yes, but don’t make this a yardstick for your success.

Me: What do you mean by yardstick for success?

Friend: I mean, don’t think if you cannot meet these celebrities, your life isn’t successful. Success is when people who care for you and whom you care for, are multiplying, or with those that are existing the bond deepens.

You do acts of kindness and are blessed by people even if you don’t know. That’s success. People whom you meet on your path are your celebs and for those you bring hope, you are a celeb to them.

Me: Wow, I never thought that way. You are an excellent dream interpreter.

Friend: No, I am a story-teller 🙂

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Face of God

Grandmas' stories

A woman of substance, a face as bright as the sun and love as the flow of the water – that’s my grandma.

She left us to the heavenly abode three years back but she still lives in our hearts even closer than during her earthly life.

Through the Grandma’s stories I wish to bring her to the world. I want them to know what it means to consume oneself for the love of humanity.

I pray to God that He may give me the wisdom and the strength to portray her life exactly as it was.

More to come soon!

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When it rains…

The Red Velvet Mites, the first time I saw them was when I was in school. I have a very vague memory of all the students always in search of them, that came out of their hiding place during rains. Though this looks like a spider, the students knew this wasn’t harmful. I remember us taking a multiple of them in our palms and see the beauty of this creation – so red and velvety and so attractive.

It was then and it’s now after almost two decades I found this again at my home ground – took me back to my school days.

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Heaven on earth

If someone were to ask who accompanies during my daily commute to work, the answer will be books, music and occasionally movies. Thanks to unlimited data availability, my new music player is now YouTube with an endless list of songs, movies and interesting videos. Despite of this huge collection, my search usually ends at “Ustad Hotel” for scenes, songs and background scores.

For those who have not seen this movie, the story is about a young man Faizy aspiring to become a well-known chef. After finishing his course in Hotel Management, his father wants him to join his business, however Faizy is hell-bent to go abroad to pursue his dreams. This results into a dispute because of which Faizy’s father forcibly takes his passport so that he cannot travel.

Faizy unable to handle this, leaves for his grandfather’s place who runs a hotel on a small-scale and takes up work there. It’s here that Faizy is introduced to the beautiful concepts of life by his grandfather who is a man of principles and known for his care for the poor. Though his grandfather is tough on him at work, they share a special bonding with each other.

When everything seemed perfect, Faizy gets an offer to join as an Executive chef abroad. During his conversation with his grandpa, he expresses how much this offer meant to him. Maybe this was all he was waiting for and he wanted to be successful in life. His grandfather is caught up with a cardiac attack, unable the bear the thought of losing his grandson. Though he is out of danger, he sends Faizy with a letter to his friend, Narayanan Krishnan in Madurai, Chennai.

Faizy follows as requested and goes to Chennai. He hands over the letter to Narayanan. Narayanan reads the letter, the content of which mentioned said that grandpa wanted Narayanan to be an eye-opener for Faizy. During his stay, he sees the unsung hero, Narayanan, who left his 5-star hotel job to serve the poor and needy after witnessing an old man eating his own waste because of hunger. He changed the purpose of his life to satisfy the needs of these people who were unwanted and give them love and affection.

Before leaving Madurai, Faizy is requested to make a special Biriyani for the mentally disabled kids at an orphanage. While accepting the request, Faizy never realized this was going to be his life changing moment.

He makes the best Biriyani he would have made so far and serves to the kids. The sight at the place moves him completely, seeing the challenges of the innocent kids. After the event, he sits there with tears and a heavy heart when all of a sudden the kids starts flowing in and writes something on his hands. He could not understand what it meant. One of the teacher tells him that they are saying “Thank You” in a code language.

He goes back to his Grandfather’s place with a new purpose . However, by the time he reaches his Grandfather goes for a pilgrimage leaving everything behind.

What I have tried to describe will not be enough to capture the soul of this movie. The conversations between the grandfather-grandson duo has now become an integral part of my life inspiring me to look at each day as a blessing and an opportunity to make a difference. I may probably not be able to take a big step like Faizy or Narayana, but I still have my family, friends, colleagues and a big community of needy people; whom we meet in our journey called “Life” and I’ll forever be on the lookout for such opportunities.

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The Joy of Giving

Earlier this month, I got the opportunity to participate in the event organized at Apang Manav Mandal Boys Hostel, an NGO focused for elevating the children with disabilities. As per the original instruction that we received from our Event Lead we were to assist and motivate the children for a drawing competition. The first thought that initially came into my mind was, how will I be able to motivate a child in a duration of 2 hours that too for a drawing competition? But once I actually participated in the event my perception was changed and it was indeed an uplifting experience not just for the children but also for me as a volunteer.

The children had come back from their summer vacations and this was their first event post-vacation. Once we were all set for the event to start, the children started getting in at the place where the drawing competition was supposed to be conducted. Seeing these children with disability made my heart-melt and I was almost in tears wondering how much they have to struggle to undertake tasks.

Once the event started, every single child put in their creative efforts to give their best shot. As a volunteer, we got the opportunity to be with these kids and assist them adding to their thoughts and creativity; suggesting what best could be done to stand-out in the crowd. The response and the enthusiasm shown by the kids throughout the event was overwhelming. After the competition, we had a small gathering where the winners were announced and the children with some unique talent were encouraged to come in the front and perform. Each win was appreciated and celebrated by the crowd. In addition to this, I was truly amazed to meet and see people from our organization with such high spirits to make the event a success by engaging the children in conversations and spreading smiles. To me some were known faces and some were new, regardless – we all knew we had one common purpose – “To GiveBack”

Grateful that I got an opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and work together with colleagues to make a difference and give back to the society. Looking forward to be a part of more such events, which definitely will strengthen me as an individual.

Charmingly Bookish Montolieu

Taste of France

IMG_4529Books, art, old buildings. In the south of France. The village of Montolieu, just 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Carcassonne, is intellectual AND adorable.IMG_4528Montolieu bills itself le village du livre (the village of books), with 17 bookstores for under 800 residents. Plus art galleries. Plus very cute cafés and restaurants. All nestled among tiny, car-free lanes and crooked stone houses. With jaw-dropping views.

IMG_4523 We arrived too late for lunch and too early for dinner… Note the lady sitting outside and reading at the end of the street.

Enough said. Let’s go for an afternoon stroll.P1080629

IMG_4506 For a little coolness, visit the basement. Everything for €2 (books).

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P1080626 A table in the middle of a street. Why not? Note the curtain on the door at the right (to keep out flies and mosquitos), and the clothesline along the wall. And the straightness of the walls, as witnessed by the…

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a waking dream.

I didn't have my glasses on....

Refugee children have written a book of fairy tales and it's just awesome
 Refugee children have written a book of fairy tales and it’s just awesome. Travelling Tales features chickens fighting an alien invasion among its eight stories.

A collection of fairy tales written by child refugees in Greece has gone on sale to help those like the book’s authors.

Travelling Tales features a rugby-playing dog, a king who grew to love animals and chickens fighting an alien invasion among its eight stories.

The book is the brainchild of Brazilian journalist Debora de Pina Castiglione and her sister Beatriz. The two combined their love of words and illustrations to create the book but the ideas came directly from the children.

Debora ran workshops with Syrian and Kurdish children aged between four and 14 years old, at three refugee camps close to Thessaloniki in Vasilika, Lagadikia and Oreokastro.

Front cover of Travelling Tales

It gave the children something to do without focusing on their own lives.“The idea was not…

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Weekly Inspiration: Guilty Pleasures

The Obsession Begins

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Last week, I didn’t do a weekly inspiration post. I gained 400 Followers and thought I’d celebrate my milestone instead. If you’re new to my series, I’ll clue you in. I started this  series because I want bloggers to feel more appreciated and noticed of their hard work. We all deserve it and I hope these posts will help you find other blogs too.

HOW IT WORKS

  • Every Monday I will post a weekly inspiration post
  • I will pick one post published within the last week (or two)
  • The blogger will be tagged and I’ll provide a little introduction
  • I will tag a post that I enjoyed most
  • I’ll mention why it caught my attention and what I liked about it

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE BLOGGER

Shelby writes over at True Bliss in order to share her thoughts, ideas, and things that have inspired her. She’s…

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