For some of us, living day-to-day is not hard, it comes by pretty easy. People get up, do their chores and leave for work, whatever their work may be. Ten hours at the workplace come and go, leaving for home, with plans for the night. A peaceful dinner with the family, a walk with the dog, some more work for the more unfortunate humans among us, and for some, an existential crisis that drowns them as soon as they find a moment alone.
Their entire being crashes down on their own selves. The purposeless of this life, maybe? The meaning behind the daily rut? Will all of this just vanish one day? What does their existence signify? What does existing mean? Do they even exist, or are they a figment of nature’s imagination? How does God feature so easily, so prominently in people’s minds when for them, it seems a hazy concept. Gazing at the stars, they observe how painfully tiny those gigantic balls of fire appear. And the magnitude of nothingness engulfs them whole. Their own minuteness, their microscopic existence seems to lose all meaning in the vast, dark ether. Whatever they may do, whatever they may achieve, however they lead their lives, those lives were just a story. With a beginning and an end. A story prone to being forgotten. Lost. Considered insignificant in a long run. Or even in a short run. Even if the page carrying their story was deleted from the billions of pages of the book listing the life of every human being ever, what difference would it ever make to the world, when all they are is nothing more than a grain of sand in this endless universe. That was how fickle their life was. How momentary, how impermanent, how very tiny, and how insignificant.
A gigantic black hole exists within each of them, eating them from within. An emptiness takes home in their very souls, which nothing can seemingly fill. Some of them try to fill this vacuum with distractions. Some with extreme emotion, such as anger or hurt. Some may just devote themselves so completely to their daily lives that they don’t get to feel the gaping hole in their soul.
Cosmos is where some find solace. The very Cosmos that evokes meaninglessness, is where a shift in perspective changes the game completely. This shift is all that matters.
The vastness of the billions of light years is all but quiet existence. A silent blackness, dotted with trillions of stars, planets, nebulae, asteroids, comets, moons and dust. All too quiet. All merely there. Till our conscious minds begin to appreciate it all. The magnitude of all of it, the intelligent design within all of it, the subtle laws of nature that govern all of it, the minuteness of quarks and bosons and tiny particles that constitutes all of it, while at the same time, the sheer colossality of black holes and galaxies that populate all of it. Our existence is the sound that resounds among it all. That grasps it all, that can appreciate it all, feel it all, give meaning to it all. It’s the human consciousness that brings it all alive, as alive as a beating human heart. To think of it, we are nothing but random particles of nature that have come together to a conscious state and have begun the journey of discovering our own selves. A journey which is unbearably long, and seemingly endless, yet one that needs to be made.
This is the purpose of every human being. Reason enough for us to go about our days and journeys, expanding the horizons of the known, pondering the nature of existence, and experiencing it on behalf of the billions of stars and trillions of tons of starstuff that exists without knowing what it is… Our lives are an ode to every star that gave birth to each atom in our bodies.
To all those with a hole in the soul, the universe lives within you. Lives through you. Make it count.
When it comes to weddings, Indians want their own, personal Bollywood movie. They aspire for larger than life venues, themed sangeet parties, a whole host of dance, drama and food from all over the world to feed a thousand guests, along with gifts and gold. Everyone, including your nearest and farthest, have to be there to witness your union with a human being, with whom you’re going to start living (a pretty regular) life. But we, and our parents, save up their entire lives in order to wed us off in a ceremony of a lifetime. Just go back and read the last sentence all over again. Saving money for an entire lifetime to wed us off.
Seriously? Is a wedding really worth all this money? If you are not an industrialist’s son or daughter, chances are, you will be working your ass off in a job, or working towards starting something of your own by the time you are deciding to get married. And if you are in this situation, chances are also high that you struggle to save money yourself. And then, to literally burn off this money in a span of one week in the festivities of your own wedding, you must have really loving parents who have saved a truckload of money for their dear son’s/daughter’s wedding, or you’re just plain clueless about the priorities in your life and the value of money.
Let’s start with the difference between a marriage and a wedding.
A marriage is the legal, social, religious and also, a spiritual union of two human beings who wish to start living together and fulfil their life purposes together.
A wedding is the ceremony, the functions, the rituals, the lunches and dinners and parties accompanying the marriage.
A marriage does not need 7 odd family functions in order to be recognized as a marriage. Societal expectations have made the simple act of marriage an uphill task by wrapping it up in a shiny, glittering package of wedding.
The society, comprised of your neighbours, relatives, friends, colleagues and distant family, hopes that you will invite each one of them to this ceremony, feed them till the seams of their shiny suits are literally bursting, and also, in the act, take away some (pretty useless) gifts for the new home you are about to build. Did we forget, along come sweets and gifts for all, jewellery and makeup for the bride and groom and their families, an odd ton of new clothes (mostly the shiny kinds that you will never end up wearing but tossing around from one closet to the next), dry fruits and nuts for the next couple of years at least, and lastly, a 5 meter long bill from the banquet hall, caterers, mehendi-wala, band-wala, car-rental, photographer, wedding planner and so on and so forth. This list is not even exhaustive. And I am just exhausted imagining it all.
Really? Isn’t the marrying couple already weighed down by the new responsibilities that it is expected to fulfil as adults living together post marriage, that it must start this new life after fighting the 7-day long wedding battle? And also, after footing a bill so back-breakingly heavy that they are left completely broke by the end of this fairytale affair? Wasn’t this all supposed to have been a beautiful new beginning to a life together? When did it become all about the wedding, more than about the marriage?
If you are not among the richest persons in the world and are about to have a wedding, KNOW this for a fact that a wedding can be simplified if YOU are interested in simplifying it. A lot of youngsters don’t even care because they also think that a wedding is once-in-a-lifetime thing and their families and relatives have expectations from them, but all this is NONSENSE. You are an adult and it is YOUR wedding. And if you are shrugging off the responsibility of simplifying your wedding because you are too lazy or naive to make your family understand the importance of the money that will be flowing out of the banks just to please the crowd, then my friend, you really deserve this fat wedding and its consequences.
You should always remember, a wedding need not be fat, but pleasant. Within a smaller budget and with lesser people. You need not invite that distant aunt you last saw when you were 4 years old. You need not do 4 parties when only one will do. You need not break the bank and the fixed deposits just to be able to have 5 types of cuisines in the dinner. And if you need to spend your last 3 years worth of saving on buying that designer gown or lehenga, remember that with the same money, you could have bought yourself clothes that could have made you look ravishing each day for the next 2-3 years, instead of looking good on just your wedding day.
At the end of day, what matters is the presence of the most important people in your life on this important day, which is definitely NOT the “MOST IMPORTANT DAY” of your life, because the day you buy your own house, the day your child is born, the day you are the owner of a successful business will be far more important days of your life. And all of it needs money. (Yes, you need money to be able to afford having a kid these days. Do you have any idea how much good education costs?) And if all your money is gone on celebrating this one occasion, you will keep working your ass off for a very long time in your life.
And also, remember that you are a part of the giant vicious cycle in our society that keeps expecting people to have lavish weddings and larger than life ceremonies to mark their weddings. Seeing you having this ultra-grand event, your own brother or cousin or friend might feel compelled to have such a wedding. Who will be the breaker of this chain, my dear?
Be courageous, be practical, be sensible. If you don’t make this change, who will?
Body shaming came to you pretty naturally, right? In fact, the seeds were sown at your own home. When you heard your father taunting your mother for getting fat. When your elder brother teased your little sister for eating too much and looking like a “baby elephant”. When you were taunted for being shorter than your elder sister. It began very early for you, didn’t it? At your own home, you were accustomed to hearing direct, rude, sometimes subtle and at other times, pretty in-your-face kind of remarks, so often that you internalized these statements and accepted that these are the ways of the world. That this is how normal humans behave. That this is how human beings taunt each other for looking a certain way. Hence, it came to you pretty naturally when in school, you called a chubby girl “elephant”, a dark little boy “kallu” or a thin girl “sukdi”. You laughed and made fun of these kids who looked slightly different than the rest of the crowd. Never even once did you think how your remark made those kids feel.
You called me “moti” in a breath, without a thought. Well, I was quite used to hearing all this all over the place. It was nothing new. I knew I was overweight and heavier than the rest of my class when I was 6 or 7 years old. Yes, I, a mere 6 year old little girl was made aware of her body and its “heaviness” by you. I, who started dreading the sports class because I couldn’t run as fast as the others, or I who couldn’t jump as high as the others. Thanks to you, I remained consciously aware of my body, of how I was different from the crowd because of my fat thighs and round face. Thanks to you, I knew what an ideal body looked like from the time I started to recite math tables. The cues of an ideal body that you were taking from movies and media and your own family were now a reason for my issues with my own body. For you, those were mindlessly uttered words to tease me, to make me feel awkward, to have a moment of fun with your gang. For me, it was a stark realization of my being. And yes, I want you to remember that it started when I was 6.
I remained quite overweight throughout school because I liked reading books more than I liked sport. I lived in an area where I had no friends in my locality to play with in the evening, so it was only me and my books, my studies, and of course, my homework. I did cycle around, ran, walked, skipped rope in order to lose weight in my early teenage. But it didn’t really help me much as I remained quite heavy despite exercise. To an outsider, I may have seemed like a lazy assed nerd who did nothing except studying at home (evident from my school performance), because of which I had this fat body. Which you took a liberty of calling out. Which you made fun of. Did you ever realize that this was a thing not very much in my own control? Did you ever stop to ponder why people look different before calling them names for their shape, colour, size and height?
People look a certain way because they are genetically made that way. It’s their personal blueprint. It’s their grand design. Just so because you were designed with a thinner frame, a more athletic build, or tinier waist doesn’t negate the fact that the blueprint I was born with was inferior. Just because I did not look a certain way that pleased your eyes (which, I am sorry to remind, had hardly seen, let alone appreciated any diversity), you took the privilege of calling me names. And I, being naive and stupid, assimilated it as a part of my identity just because I was surrounded by bullies like you everywhere I went. Yes, to a certain degree, it was my fault too, that I let you affect me. But it was your sheer overconfidence in being a shape or size which our rotten society sees as acceptable which made me feel like a lesser person in my body because I did not look like the rest of the more “normal shapes”.
But now, I accept my body and love it. Having been body shamed throughout my life has made me so thick skinned now that it would take ten thousand body shamers to make me feel bad about my shape. Yes, it did take me ages, a lot of seeing and knowing the world to understand the futility and shallowness of body shaming. But now, after many, many years, I have accepted my body. Because frankly, this is the only one I have!
Now, coming back to you, the Shamers. Let’s have a conversation. Did you know what you consider fat here is considered pretty normal in many countries of the world? What you call dark and fat in India is beautiful, desirable and exotic in the west? Do you know that calling a short guy short is nothing but a lame defence because you have no brains to come up with better arguments? Did you ever study a tiny bit of biology in your life to understand the science of heredity, and how certain people may have just inherited a body shape from their ancestors? Also, have you not had a family member suffer from metabolic diseases such as diabetes which makes it hard for them to control their body weight? Do you also realize that there are many types of eating disorders that millions of people suffer from, which leads them to have an overly thin or quite big bodies?
In today’s times when information and knowledge flow so freely, why don’t you bother to read up about the diversity in the human race? When there are so many colours, sizes, shapes and types to the human body, why can’t YOU be the one to be more tolerant and accept the facts, rather than being the crudest form of animal and spread hate and animosity by targeting someone for something that is not their fault?
I can accept that you were too young, too naive yourself when you teased someone in school, but what in the world is wrong with you now which makes it so easy for you to comment on someone for their physical attributes when you, yourself have a body full of human flaws, scars and defects?
Now is the time for you to heal, dear Shamer. I want you to heal your own wounds. I know that you must have been shamed too. I know they must have said to you that you were not as tall as your dad, not as beautiful as your cousin, or not as thin as your neighbour. They must have called you fat when you put on a few kilos, or called you out when you lost a lot of weight post illness. I want you to realize that bodies have been given to us by nature and we have little control over physical attributes. What I want you to do is, remove body shaming vocabulary from your brain and your tongue. Think how you would feel if you were called fat or skinny or dark or short. How it would have affected you when you were a little kid and repeatedly called out for being a certain way. If you have kids, I want you to never utter a single body shaming word to them. Because, remember? I remember the words from when I was 6 years old. Your kids would remember them too. No kid deserves to be so conscious of their own body. You would not want your near ones to suffer at your hand ever again. So, dear Shamer, please never shame anyone for their body, their color, or their size.
Hoping you evolve and become a better human being, A Healed Victim
“How can the human race evolve to be supreme, how can we claim to be a race of knowledgeable folk, how can we claim scientific supremacy when at the basest level, our thoughts are so fogged, so clouded by judgement on the basis of how we look? It is high time for us to take account of how we behave with each other if we are to evolve into something better, if we want to see a generation of better human beings around us. Human beings that don’t shame each other for the way nature has made us. It really is high time.”
Life is a highly dynamic experience. What is seemingly a perfect situation today will not be remotely relevant to you in a matter of a few days or weeks from now. Each of the coming moments will be conspiring to change you and make you whatever it was that you were meant to be. So, we have to learn to see the signs of the universe, and the signals you receive within your own body that ask you to make a change in your life. Sometimes, a change is brought by our own selves, while at other times, a turn of life events may force you to make a shift and take up a new journey.
You may be feeling the pinch at your current workplace, signalling that you need to make a move to a better work environment, probably in a new job. You may find your current relationship not giving you as much happiness or fulfillment, thus prompting you to change the situation or move out of the relationship. You may suddenly come across a new career opportunity in a different part of the country, or may be in a new part of the world, and hence, destiny (or whatever it is that you may want to call it) has thrown a new beginning your way.
A new career, or even a new job, moving to a new city, starting a new business, new beginnings require a new version of you, or rather, a better and more receptive version of you. Let us check out some of the ways you can make that new beginning and become more successful in that new beginning.
Drop all assumptions about yourself
People are very good at categorizing themselves into buckets. It is easy to term yourself “introvert”, “anti-social”, “short-tempered”, “shy” or any of the other negative personality traits that lead you to having preconceived notions about yourself. Once you are making a life change, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop assuming things about yourself. Once you stop seeing yourself in these self-made categories, it is easier to adapt to a new routine, a new environment and new people. See it this way: if you keep telling yourself that you are the shy sort who doesn’t make friends easily, it will just get harder for you to take that step towards making new friends. So, drop those assumptions about yourself and open up.
Being fearless is the way the soul becomes more open. You already have broken that shield within you by plunging into this new beginning. In a way, you have already been fearless in taking this step for yourself. So don’t prevent yourself from moving ahead headlong by having any more fears, big or small. A small amount of fear helps us by telling us what is at stake, but if fear clouds your vision more often, then you should be consciously trying to reduce your fears.
Do something which you normally would not do
If you are turning over a new leaf, why not try to regularly do something which you normally don’t do? If you are moving out of your city for the first time and don’t like to go out alone, take yourself out on a date with yourself. If you have never talked to a stranger, do that the next time you are in the metro. Don’t like to make the first move at introducing yourself at a new workplace? Do it! You will find all that you are capable of doing just by taking these tiny steps towards being an all-embracing soul!
Don’t fuss about being prepared for everything
Don’t always strive to be prepared for everything. At times, go spontaneous. Some of the best experiences in life are had when we are least expecting them or prepared to have them. Also, in the spur of the moment, you can also realize more things about your personality than by predicting and controlling the outcomes of all your actions. While making a new beginning, this becomes all the more important as the whole experience should hone you as a human being.
Embrace change every da
Some of us get uncomfortable with the changes that accompany new beginnings. See, once you have decided to start afresh in a new place (a new career, a new place, even a new relationship), try to celebrate every change, because all of them will accumulate in the long run to convert you into the new you! Isn’t it beautiful, that you get to experience things in a new way and be a new and improved version of yourself with this new beginning? Let each change remind you that you are in it for a bigger cause. Let each little change in your routine make you happier.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
New beginnings are tough, no matter how strong or adaptive you are, no matter how hard you try. There are days when you feel like you haven’t done enough, or things are going snail-pace. You may feel things are going against you or not as per you. In these scenarios, you should not be too harsh on yourself. Big life changes and especially new beginnings need you to remain focused and work steadily towards the bigger cause. If you take hit from every small setback, you are demotivating yourself and just making the climb harder. It is better to take things easy and not beat yourself over every little thing you couldn’t do.
Retain something old
New circumstances, new people to meet, new places to visit, are all a part of the scheme when you have set yourself up for the big new change. But you need something old and comforting to go back to, simply because we need a thread that binds the old with the new. Retain an old habit or something from your time prior to the change. This may help you see how far you have come with the same thing by your side.
Don’t let the roughness of the journey on this new path stagger you, or prevent you from walking this new path. You have one life and you are a dynamic creation of nature. Make that new beginning fearlessly. You will become a much better version of yourself, ultimately something that you were always meant to be.
There are a hundred ways to break yourself down. Everyone around you is trying to do that. Your colleagues, your “friends”, the college professor, your boss, your neighbour, social media, and even your parents. Every single day, we experience someone pulling us down in ever so subtle ways that it is even hard to realize that you were shamed or made to feel inferior. The speed and shallowness of modern relationships make us question our own beliefs about ourselves. The pace of life in the 21st century leaves us with several thoughts about ourselves that mess up our brains further. In short, you are surrounded by words, actions and situations that lead you into thinking things that not only waste your precious time and energy, but also leave you with false impressions and assumptions about yourself.
These are the thoughts that you should remove from your head as soon as your mind wanders into such zones.
I am fat/dark/ugly/”insert any other body shaming word”
The most common (and personally for me, the most irritating) complaint of every person is that they are not thin enough, not fair enough, not tall enough, not curvy enough, not hot enough. The constant thoughts of your body being inadequate for your soul leaves you feeling frustrated. The obsession with fitting into a small sized top or comparing yourself with a lighter-skinned friend of yours is unhealthy, and frankly, very irritating if you rant about it to others. This is the only body you have, and learn to accept it the way it is. Live happily in it, take care of it in a non-obsessive way, thank it for working well, and just be.
I am incapable
If you have not been able to get a particular job, if you have not been able to clear that supplementary exam, or if you just have not been able to keep that promise to yourself for going for a regular morning jog, don’t right away brand yourself incapable. Be kind to yourself and give a hard assessment to the entire situation. Maybe you are not thinking well before the interview, maybe the way you have been studying has been ineffective, or perhaps you are pushing yourself too much for rising early when you can workout in the evening to suit your schedule. You are as capable as you would like to believe and as capable as you would like to prove to yourself and the world. Don’t believe false things about yourself before trying newer strategies to get what you want.
I am undesirable
Post a bitter breakup, or after being rejected by a prospective love interest after the very first date, it is easy to start believing that you are undesirable. Why not think from the perspective that there are 7 billion people on this planet and by letting such feelings dwell, you are just branding yourself undesirable, in turn giving out such negative vibes to the next prospective someone in your vicinity. Give it a few days so that you get over it, but never brand yourself undesirable in your own head. You are as awesome as you would like the world to know.
I feel too much
Being emotional makes you human. Accept this and feel the anger, hurt, hatred, happiness, excitement and even jealousy. All these emotions are real and healthy till the time you don’t obsess. If you feel you are obsessing, then do a reality check and see where the problem is. But if you cry or feel hurt sometimes, don’t suppress your emotions by telling yourself that you are oversensitive or feel too much. Let them flow and be natural. Suppressed emotions lead to illnesses.
I am unlucky
You are born as a human being in this universe, and that in itself is no less a miracle. You could have been born a crab or a crow, what would you have done then? Luck is one of those undetermined things that nobody knows exists, hence don’t deem yourself unlucky if you didn’t score well, couldn’t clear that interview or didn’t win that award.
Luck favours the brave. If you keep sitting at home never willing to take a plunge, several opportunities that some may deem as “luck” will surely evade you.
I am unloved/I am alone
Being single for a long time can leave one feeling extremely lonely. However, it is now that we are accepting that singlehood is not that bad after all, and having a partner and getting married is not the only way life can be joyful. Life holds several types of happiness and several ways to feeling fulfilled. It is more important to pursue a passion, read, write, draw, sing or create something. These are enriching experiences too. The world holds tonnes of knowledge, and you don’t want to go to your deathbed feeling like you explored nothing while you had the time and just wasted it, waiting for that loneliness to subside. Loving one’s own company is something not everyone knows how to do, and it is something one should strive to learn.
I am the best/most intelligent/most charming/center of the universe
While it is not good to undermine yourself in all the above mentioned ways, it is extremely unhealthy, and frankly, stupid to think that you are the rockstar that this world needs, or the most intelligent or gifted person that exists. One must be aware that while we are good and capable, there are others out there who could be better than us in many ways. That balance in your approach towards others is always needed.
It’s all in the mind, folks! And removing the negativity and false impressions from our head is the first step towards living better.
Compare this with an animal that merely eats, reproduces and dies.
We are born to “do”, not just born to be
We need to be constantly doing something because our lives demand it.
We are always in search of better prospects
We contemplate the future. It is important for us to have the feeling that we have a brighter tomorrow waiting for us. This is scientifically proven that our ability to think of the future differentiates humans from other animals.
We always seek to go higher
We try to be better at what we do, we try to be richer, more famous, while some of us try to be more in control of our health or be more spiritual, but the path we see is upwards.
Our work must give our lives some meaning
Seeing and knowing that we are different from other animals, it is only natural to expect that the work we do every single day of our lives, gives us meaning and satisfaction. If you are working 8-10 hours a day (or maybe even more) on a mission that you have no faith in, on a project which makes you unhappy, on something which gives you no learning or satisfaction, chances are high that you start to feel like an animal, a being without purpose. The day will not be far when you start feeling that your body is not helping you and is becoming a house of diseases born out of stress.
Working on a cause that you don’t understand makes your body ill
Stress doesn’t only come from working long hours, but also from working on a cause that gives you no happiness of any sort. Soon, a doctor may be prescribing you medication for hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, or any of the several types of hormonal disorders or mental illnesses. Think of it, the human body is a complex organic machine and it knows by itself when it is unhappy and being made to do tasks it is not designed for, or is not comfortable doing, and just like any other machine, it begins to malfunction when it works in the same disorderly state for long. By continuing to work in the same fashion, the body is reducing its own life expectancy.
If you work for a long time in a career or a company that doesn’t give you a sense of achieving something significant, or a feeling that you are contributing to a bigger cause, or making a dent in the world with your efforts, your mind begins to get boggled in ways you don’t understand. Some of the ways this can manifest is:
Simple tasks take longer to accomplish, while harder tasks make you feel incompetent
You feel lethargic and push tasks, trying to avoid them altogether
You feel a constant nagging feeling within, but you can’t really place what is bothering you
This negatively affects your inner energy and hence, your productivity
If you aren’t able to understand why you are filling excel sheets and making dead powerpoint presentations day after day, you will start being careless, or scared of this work. If you can’t really determine why you meet so many clients every day, or what’s the purpose of making those reports, you may end up feeling completely lost and purposeless.
Now, do you realize the importance of working towards something your soul believes in? Working on something that your inner being feels happy doing? Putting your energy into something that is in harmony with your own internal energy?
Once you are making sense of your work, only then, you, a human, can feel realized.
Nobody will tell you what makes YOU happy
That’s the truth. Nobody else will tell you what will make YOU happy. Not your friends, not your parents, not your boss, neither your teachers, nor your significant other. It is a long journey towards self discovery as to what work gives YOU immense happiness. Some of us know it from the very beginning, when they see their parents happy as teachers or doctors or scientists and they know their own happiness lies there too. For others, the path is very complicated and distorted, often pebbled with failed stints at a career, a sudden illness caused by tirelessly working in a wrong profession, or career progressions much slower than our capabilities. It is then that this group of people realizes that they need a shift in their life strategy, and need new work in order to be able to fulfil their lives.
Our work takes up the biggest chunk of time of our lives and for each of us, it needs to be meaningful so that when you look back on your life, you feel that you accomplished something, or helped in something, or contributed towards something in your life. And this is one of the most important motives of human life.
So start finding meaning in your work if you already don’t. If you can’t find your work giving enough meaning or substance to your personality, it is never too late to start all over again.
Diwali is special for every Indian all over the world. But we have come to associate it only with bursting crackers, recycling gifts from one relative to the other, mindless splurging, eating and overconsumption. This Diwali, let us do things different. Here are 8 ideas:
Light more diyas than usual
If you usually buy 50 diyas for your home, buy more and light more. I find lighting diyas and candles on Diwali extremely therapeutic. On some level, it feels like you are eradicating the darkness of your own soul and burning away the negativity of your house. Hence, light more diyas and decorate your house with them yourself. You would love the harmonious energy that these burning candles will bring.
Spend half the money that you would have spent on crackers on buying something for yourself
I can’t tell you how relieved I am with the Supreme Court maintaining the ban on firecrackers in Delhi this Diwali. Keeping religion and celebration aside, I can’t forget the sickening smog we breathed through last year post Diwali and how ridiculous it felt to be wearing masks just because we had “celebrated” a festival. Keeping my opinion aside, if you still want to indulge in fireworks, the least you can do is spend only half of your planned money on firecrackers and buy something useful for yourself with the other half. Firecracker money is anyways, money going away in a puff of smoke. If nothing else, buy yourself some cool mechandise from your favourite series, something to decorate your room with, or anything at all that you fancy. You will be much happier.
Instead of buying others sweets, gift something savoury
All of us receive an excess of sweets and chocolates from friends, relatives and our offices. So, instead of being a culprit yourself, gift everyone something savoury instead! Think mini kachori, samosa, namkeen, chakli, chips and so on… People may be blessing you under their breath!
Recycle an old outfit instead of buying a new one
Buying a new outfit for festive occasions can hit your pocket if you are living on a budget. Pull out some fancy stuff from the last wedding season and mix and match to create a new look! However, if you are planning to indulge in fireworks, do take care to ensure that you are wearing cotton clothes only.
Gift yourself a book
If you have been putting off buying that book because it was too expensive, or whether you have been eyeing a particular rare novel but not buying it because it was out of your budget, please do yourself a favour and buy it. Definitely check out book prices regularly on Amazon and Flipkart as they have amazing deals coming out on books all the time. There is no better gift to yourself than a book. And no better time to splurge than Diwali.
Buy your parents something they had been meaning to get for themselves but they never did
If your Mom had casually mentioned that she wanted a particular outfit or piece of jewellery, buy it for her without letting her know. No, this does not include another pressure cooker for the kitchen, please! Gift them something for “them”, not the house. Pamper your parents in whatever way you can. They have given you all that you have today, so it is only your responsibility to make them happy in such ways.
Adopt one good habit only, and try to keep doing it for as long as you can
This Diwali, just adopt one small, good habit. Though Diwali is not really a time for resolutions, but nevertheless, it is the beginning of the new year as per Hindu calendar, and really, any time is good time to adopt a good habit. It could be as simple as going back to reading again if you have abandoned the habit (start with a couple of pages a day only, but stick to it). You will feel even better about the festival.
Stop sending forwarded messages, instead just send a heartfelt “Happy Diwali”
Nobody reads mile long message forwards nor sees those forwarded picture messages. Instead, type a simple but genuine “Happy Diwali” to your near and dear ones. Feels much warmer and heartfelt.
Make this Diwali different. You will love the festival even more!
Share this article with all your friends and spread the “difference”, and make this a really Happy Diwali!
Indians love to run around and compete. Your day begins with a race to grab a seat in the metro, followed by a race to reach your workplace at 9:30 AM (or else, they may even deduct your salary! This crappy concept exists even today!) Once you are settled, you juggle along deadlines and several administrative tasks. Cut to the time of appraisals, they will compare your performance with that of Ram and Ramesh and every random person in the company to make their point and not give you the raise or promotion you deserve. The so-called work-life balance is nothing more than a myth, and you bring work home. This cycle continues for several years, with work getting more demanding, your partner (and kids) needing some of your time, and yes, you need to sleep to remain alive, so all the spare time that you could have had is spent sleeping. Consider yourself lucky to have a two-day weekend, because several companies exist that work six days a week.
Over time, you feel life becoming a hazy blur in the rat race. You can’t remember a single day when you were totally relaxed without being preoccupied with the thoughts of the upcoming deadlines or kids’ school or impending bills. Your soul is hungry for something, but you don’t have time to realize, let alone give it, what it requires to sustain.
Here are 10 ways in which you can nourish your soul, giving you a new form of spiritual energy, and making you feel a bit more in control of your life.
Breathe: Every morning, go to the balcony or preferably to a park, sit still, breathe and feel the incoming oxygen energizing every cell of your body. Feel your lungs expanding and your muscles working. Whenever you are stuck in a tough moment, breathe. We are living beings and need oxygen to survive, and this simple act of breathing deeply calms us and clears up our head.
Smile: Just smile. Even forcing your face to a smile makes you feel better immediately (it makes your body think that you are happy and releases happy chemicals called endorphins). The positivity of being happy gives you a fresh burst of energy, helping you have a fresh perspective.
Take a leave: You have a leave quota for a certain reason. The company will continue very well for a day or two without you. Once in a while, it is a good idea to call in sick and spend a weekday curled up in the bed, reading a book or watching a movie, learning something new, cooking and pampering yourself too. You earn and work in order to feed that body, hence there is no harm in taking a meaninglessly meaningful break to nourish your soul.
Do a mundane chore: Sometimes, when you are stressed, it’s a good idea to arrange your room, closet, or do some cleaning. It makes you feel capable of bringing orderliness. When you look at the end result, your stress is reduced and you feel like a competent entity.
Watch an animal play or eat: Looking at a living being of a different specie makes you reflect on your own capabilities as a human being. Not only is it stress-busting, it offers you a peek into the life of another creature, and puts you in touch with your humaneness.
Sit and think of a part of your body, and manoeuvre it: We don’t appreciate our body enough. The kind of shitty things it helps us through, and how well each part functions in order to keep us alive. Sit with your eyes closed and think of your feet, and how well they help you walk, and move them a little. Repeat with several parts of your body. This simple act makes you aware of your own existence, and how wonderfully perfect your body is.
Look at the stars: Nothing is more peaceful than reflecting on our own minuscule position in the universe compared with the infinity that exists beyond. Looking at the stars and the moon is calming, and helps us appreciate our unique position in the universe. There are still no signs of extra terrestrials, which makes us pretty unique in the sense that we are the only conscious living beings in the vast expanses of space (at least till now, while we have no more evidences!). Appreciate that.
Create something: Humans are not only meant to earn and eat. We are equally capable of the beauty that exists in the form of art. Pick up a pen and write a poem or a story, no matter how ridiculous it seems to you. Cook up an exotic dish. Record a song on your phone in your own voice. It is refreshing for our body, mind and soul.
Observe a plant: Go to a park or observe a potted plant at your house and look at how beautifully it sustains itself. Appreciate the wonder of nature that exists in the form of greenery.
Be grateful: It is not necessary to express your gratitude to God in a temple or a mosque or a church. The mere fact that you are grateful sends out such vibes to the divine and makes you a lot more peaceful.
From personal experience, I can tell you that these work very well and help you find much more meaning in life. In the crazy times that we live in, slowing down and doing things that harmonize the body, mind and soul is not a luxury, but a necessity so that we end up not losing ourselves. Nourish your soul and you can feel a lot better about being alive.
Did you try any of these? How did it affect you? Let me know!
Breakfast, some days, deserves to be better than usual. I would not call myself a person extremely focused on healthy eating, but once in a while it feels good to feed yourself something that one can consider healthier than the usual breads and cheeses and biscuits. I love Greek yogurt parfait since the very first time I tried it. There was a strange goodness I felt in the combination of yogurt and crunchy granola, something that felt right in the morning. It also helps matters that I have a sweet-tooth so I really like sweet breakfasts.
So I went ahead and created an “Eclectic” version of the parfait. Why eclectic? ‘Coz unlike regular bowls of parfait, this one is loaded with eclectic ingredients that enrich the taste, texture and also, the nutritional value of a regular parfait bowl.
Some people also like to call it a smoothie bowl, so you can also call it that if the name catches your fancy and makes you feel any better about indulging in this bowl of goodness!
Banana – one
Greek yogurt – 3-4 tablespoons (I used flavourless, you can also use any other fruit flavored yogurt, but then the combination may end up being too sweet, so I caution you beforehand!)
Chia seeds – 1 teaspoonful, to be soaked beforehand in 2 tablespoons of water till it blooms
For the granola
Rolled oats – 2 tablespoons
A teaspoon of honey
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons of water
Almonds – 8-10
Mixed superseeds – pumpkin and sunflower – a tablespoonful
First, let’s make the granola. I am sharing a simple recipe that you can make in a regular microwave. You just need to mix up all the wet ingredients (water, honey, oil) in a large microwave safe bowl. Add in the salt and mix well.
To this, simply add your rolled oats, almonds and mixed seeds and mix till it all combines really well. All the oat should be covered with the liquid.
Now, just keep this bowl in the microwave and heat on full power for about 1.5 minutes. Take it out, stir up the contents to distribute the heat, and then repeat the process. In about 5-6 minutes of total cooking time, you will get lovely, crunchy, toasted granola. All the oat will turn slightly brown in color (you can go as brown as you like, some may like it less caramelized, while some may prefer a more toasted granola) and all the nuts & seeds will get lovely and toast up and smell amazing. So your granola is ready to be plated for the eclectic Parfait!
Assembling the granola
In a large cereal bowl, drop in the yogurt. Drizzle a bit of honey onto it if you want.
Next, decorate with slices of banana. You can add any fruit of your choice here, I personally love bananas.
Now, onto a side, spoon in the granola and top with more nuts of your choice.
Onto another side, decorate with chia seeds.
There you go! It’s as simple as that. A pretty healthy breakfast or evening snack option for those with a sweet tooth! It is loaded with fibre from oats and fruit, calcium from yogurt and antioxidants from the chia seeds. I call it eclectic because the bowl looks like a party!
Do try and let me know in comments how you made your own bowl.
So you have decided to tie the knot? Congratulations! If you have figured that bit of your life, you need to hop over to this article that affirms that you don’t need a big, pompous wedding to impress the society. And once you have read the piece, you will know that your wedding is not the biggest occasion to celebrate in your life because there are tons of things that you need to do in your life that need a good amount of money. Here are 7 things to do instead of having a big fat wedding.
Make a down payment for your home or car
The most significant expense in our lives is buying a house, followed by buying a car. These investment heavy commitments are important milestones post marriage and hence, you can make these dreams come true by putting your money here, instead of feeding a thousand odd guests at your wedding. Chances are, the guests will still leave complaining that the rice was undercooked and the cake wasn’t gooey enough.
Get that fancy degree from the University you always aspired to go to
If you had been wanting to study from a renowned university abroad, money in your pocket would help you more than an education loan. You don’t want to be reeling under debt for the rest of your life. So go on, get that fancy degree that would help you more in building a brighter future, than having a wedding in a brightly lit 5-star hotel.
Start a business
Give wings to the dreams that you had with that business idea you considered worth millions but had no guts to invest in because you wanted a fairytale wedding. You will sleep better for the rest of your life knowing that you gave your real dreams a chance, instead of spending your money on getting exotic orchids at the wedding venue. And you never know, you may end up with those millions!
Travel the world, you’ll learn and be a wiser person.
Nothing teaches us more than travelling to newer parts of the world. And if you are compromising on having a shorter honeymoon with your partner to a closer destination rather than going to your dream destination just because you can no longer afford it with that fat wedding, get rid of the fat wedding and travel wherever the hell you want to. You will have no regrets in life.
Buy yourself beautiful things for your new home
You deserve that rocking chair, that pool table and that music system. It’s worth having that small bar in the corner of your living room, more than having booze flowing in your wedding for 858 unfamiliar faces. Invest in your own happiness, not in that of the people you won’t be seeing again in your life.
Settle abroad in the country of your dreams
If you had wanted to go and live in some far off country with your spouse, do it with the cash you save by not splurging on the stupid wedding. Every penny counts with such a drastic life movement. Be smart and prioritize these decisions.
Invest and save for your own future (and your kids’, if you plan on having any)
If you don’t have any serious life plans as of now, you must save instead of splurging, especially on a wedding. Buy yourself and your spouse a decent medical insurance. Learn about investment schemes and invest a decent amount in a reliable option. Money in your bank account is better than money in the account of a wedding planner or a banquet hall owner. Wedding industry is business. They thrive on your money. Your aspirations for that lavish wedding set their cash registers ringing. Understand this and your entire perspective towards weddings will begin to change. Plus, even if you don’t need money shortly, you will need it for your kid’s education and health. Plan wise and plan soon.
We spend all our lives working hard and saving money for hard days, for our dreams and our plans. Do you really think the fattest weddings leave time for the bride and groom and their immediate families to enjoy these moments that they truly deserve to enjoy? Don’t waste that hard earned money. Prioritize your life plans over that live pasta counter.
In Indian context, for a woman, one of the biggest milestones of her life is marriage. It is important for women all over the world, but more so in the Indian subcontinent. The thought of being tied in wedlock by a certain age is so innate, that all our actions revolve around it. I have met women from different walks of life, and come 20s, all their relatives and friends, neighbours and parents begin to worry about her “future” and her “biological clock”. The fact that our society has always been so pushy and screwed-up in its approach to marriage, a lot of women never even begin to realize what they are as a person, what their dreams are, what their potential is, and what they even seek from the partnership of marriage. Here are some of the things a woman must be before she decides to be with a person for the rest of her life. These things are true for men as well. In fact they hold for every adult. But today, let’s focus on women.
Be self-aware: Be aware of what you are. What makes you, you? Is it your profession you identify yourself with? Your love for animals? Your passion for reading or playing a sport? Be aware of your being and try to discover yourself. It is true that this is a lifelong process and you keep discovering facets of your personality as you have more experiences in your life. However, what are you as of now? And what would you like to become? What are your deepest values? On which of these values would you never compromise? How important is honesty to you? How important is fidelity? What are your deepest desires from life? These are some questions you should know answers to.
Be open-minded: Become more open minded than you already are. Know about the worldly things. Read and understand that there are different types of people with different opinions. Develop your own opinions on important matters. Become more tolerant as a person. Yes, this may come handy in understanding the views and opinions of your in-laws, but this tolerance will make you a better person, in general.
Be confident: Have confidence in your capabilities. Know your worth as a person. It is important for you to realize that you are unique and beautiful, and even if a person or a companion is not by your side to verify the fact for you, you should remain just as confident and self-assured.
Be level headed: Be well balanced in your thoughts and actions. If you think you are an over-spender, consciously try to reduce that. If you think you take rash decisions, be more thoughtful while doing so. Don’t wait for marriage to drill sense into that head of yours. Because no, it won’t.
Be independent: Earn your own money. However little you may consider it to be, but never depend on another person financially. Even if you end up marrying a millionaire, any self-respecting person would never ask for a husband’s credit card to buy that fancy bag or branded sunglasses. Also, learn to save money and invest some too for the grey days of life. It should not be your dad or your husband taking care of your finances. Though it is good to take advice, but you should have a fair idea about saving schemes and benefits available through each. Also, you will learn to value money and then not end up spending your/your partner’s or your parents’ savings stupidly on the wedding and that designer lehenga.
Be responsible for your happiness and know what makes you happy: If you don’t know it already, it is better that you know how to deal with a bad bout of anger or sadness instead of expecting your partner to cheer you up. Yes, he should also help you overcome those days, but not every time. Be responsible for your feelings and learn how to cheer yourselfup. It could be as simple as realizing that you need to go take a walk in the park or shut the world out with a book to cheer you up, but you should be consciously aware of these methods.
Be demanding/ know what you what from your partner: It does not matter what kind of marriage you opt for (knowing that we live in the times of love as well as arranged marriages). You must know what kind of support you seek from a partner. Apart from emotional support in difficult times, you must know if you want him (I wish to write him/her, but alas, section 377) to push you in certain areas to bring out the best in you. You should know if you want him to help you hone certain aspects of your personality, making you more confident in certain matters, or making you financially more independent.
Know why you want to get married: Societal pressure should never coax you into taking this crucial step in your life. You should have a good reason to get married. Is it because you love a person and want to begin living with him? Is it because you are seeking emotional support? Or is it only to make your parents shut up or have an early retirement from your job? If your answers don’t sound good enough to you, it is not the time to get married but take a hard look at your life.
A woman, before she ties the knot, must be one thing: a whole person. We as women should never think of ourselves as halves, searching for the “better-half” to come and complete our world and life. We are remarkable women, each in our own right, not seeking a man’s validation or presence to fulfill our lives. There is no right age to tie the knot. But there is a right moment to be a person you are proud of being, and that is right now. Once you become that person, life would be more enriching and meaningful, with marriage or without.AdultingMarriageSelf Improvement
I have recently read that it’s not essential to wash oneself every single day. One should bathe only when one feels the need for it. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me, because we do not normally encounter other animals washing themselves every single day. Come to think of it, we need to bathe because we have to deal with dirt, pollution and grime, all of which has been created by humans themselves. Hence, we have to pay for it by bathing quite often, lest we begin to smell like chimpanzees.
I have used several soaps and shower gels, and the factor that differentiates the good ones from the bad ones is 1. Fragrance 2. How dry they leave the skin.
I especially picked The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel because I had already used and love the perfume oil from the same line (read full review here). (And plus, the sale was magnanimous!)
Packaging: TBS changed the packaging of The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel a couple of years ago and the new bottles are all white with an Indian rangoli/ambi design in the front, with the product name in an orange box. The cap is black colored, with a twisting main opening, and to dispense some while using, there is a small push-button. It dispenses the product as required and there is no problem of over-dispensing. The packing is leak proof as it has been lying inverted in my bathroom for several weeks and never once has it leaked.
Appearance: The shower gel is a light golden in color.
Fragrance: The fragrance had won my heart the first time round with the perfume oil. The shower gel has the exact same fragrance, with lovely white floral notes with an unrecognisable sweetness to it. It is a happy-happy fragrance for me, and quite uplifting. For the same reason, I use it on days when I am especially feeling down and out. The fragrance makes your bathing time a positive experience.
Efficacy: As a shower gel, I would rate it very good because it does what it claims. It lathers well and leaves the skin completely clean. You need a coin sized amount for the entire body, and especially with a loofah (I am using bath gloves these days :)) it lathers luxuriously. The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel washes away easily and does not leave any oily or greasy film behind which leave you rinsing and rinsing and rinsing some more.
Post showering, it does leave the skin a bit dry and you need to follow it up with a lotion or body butter so that you are not left itching and scratching. I would not really rate it as a negative as it is quite obvious for any cleansing agent to wash away the natural body oils and hence it is always a great idea to moisturize the skin immediately post a shower. I personally love to follow it up with moringa body butter (you can read the full review here).
FFS Rating: 4/5
Price: Rs 625 for 250 ml (look out for sales, you can find some deals on TBS online)
Buy Online: You can buy it from TBS India site here
PROs and CONs:
The great happy white floral scent
Little goes a long way, and hence a bottle can last you several months
Effective skin cleanser
Expensive for a shower gel, however, if you buy during sale periods, this is worth it
The fragrance does not last post showering
Leaves the skin a bit dry after shower, but this is not really a con as this happens with every soap and shower gel.
Final Verdict: The Body Shop Indian Night Jasmine Shower Gel is a great smelling shower gel, totally effective and makes the shower time a goody-good experience. If you don’t have unrealistic expectations (such as fragrance that lasts post showering and no need to moisturize the skin afterwards), it is a decent investment as a bottle will last you really long!
I absolutely love skincare products that smell amazing. I have this uncanny love for collecting creams and lotions and lip balms that promise anything remotely interesting, although I do keep coming back to some soothing fragrances like vanilla and chocolate and cocoa butter, but yeah, every once in a while, a japanese cherry blossom, a rose or a kiwi thrill me! So this time, I was looking for an affordable cream that could:
Be affordable, to be frank!
Could function successfully as a hand cream, so something non greasy so that I could go about using my laptop and phone without oily marks all over
Have a glorious fragrance to kick me and awaken me in my office
Be great on moisturizing properties, as I have hopelessly dry hands
I had tried the Nivea Soft Light Moisturizer as I got a tiny tub free with some lotion, so I knew that I could rely on its dryness defying properties. But what compelled me into buying this tub was its absolutely heavenly fragrance! Fortunately, they had testers at Big Bazaar so I checked out Nivea Soft Chilled Mint and this one, Nivea Soft Berry Blossom. Not being a mint fan (except the color!), and not having access to the tester of the third variant, I bought myself the 100ml tub of this cute pink Nivea Soft Light Moisturizer Berry Blossom.
My Review: As I said, I knew what I was getting into. A light, non greasy cream, with my prior experience with the regular white variant, that I had used for a while as hand cream. So I bought this basically with that idea in mind.
Packaging: Nivea Soft Light Moisturizer Berry Blossom comes in a regular plastic tub with screw-on lid. The color theme for this variant is pink and it makes it imparts a nice appeal to the product, more like the colorful tubs of body butter by premium brands. I have travelled with it and I can vouch that it does not leak if closed properly.
Fragrance: The fragrance is exactly as per the product name. The first notes that will hit you are sweet, floral ones and then you are bombarded with a juicy, berrilicious smell of raspberries, which is somewhat tangy. Overall, it is a lovely combination as it is sweet yet refreshing. It lasts on the skin for about half an hour, after which it settles into a very typical creamy fragrance if you poke your nose into your skin. Full marks for justifying with the fragrance!
Effectiveness: Same formula as Nivea Soft, so it is decently moisturizing. I take only a small amount, the size of half a coin maybe, and that is enough for both the hands. I also use it sparingly because I don’t want a creamy feel on my hands. I have been using this only as a hand cream, but as a matter of fact, my hands are the driest part of my body, next after my feet, so if a product works well on them, it would be decent for other parts too. It absorbs into the skin quickly and leaves skin softer and smoother. I have been using Nivea Soft Light Moisturizer Berry Blossom only for a few days now, and then, as you all know, if one cares for skin well enough for a few days, it starts looking, feeling and behaving better. So is my case.
Overall, I’d say that if you do not want to spend a bomb on those fancy, metallic tube hand creams with cute floral motifs and pastel color packaging and just want something to do the job while smelling just as good as those expensive products, this is the stuff to lay your hands on.
FFS Rating: 5/5 (mostly for being an amazing moisturizer with an equally amazing fragrance)
Price: Rs 160 for a 100 ml tub, Rs 270 for 200 ml
Where to buy: Nivea Soft Light Moisturizer Berry Blossom is available at all general stores. You can buy it from Amazon or Nykaa as well.
Pros and Cons:
The wonderful fragrance of berries and flowers, a delight for the senses
Great moisturizing power, just apt for use as a hand cream
Affordable (hehehe, you can tell when a girl is on a budget!)
Very little goes a long way, so a tub will last you long
Tub packaging makes me cringy, especially using it at my desk. I am wary of poking my fingers in and have to ensure my hands are clean. They have introduced a tube packing for the original variant, so should go ahead and launch these in tubes as well.
Final verdict: Totally in love with how effective this is, plus how heavenly it smells! I am eyeing the yellow variant now very eagerly! Also, Nivea should make these permanent additions to the line, these are worth it!
Dessert is something I have major love for and cannot compromise on. So while waffles and choco-lava cakes do feature on the order summary, sometimes all you crave for is a guiltless indulgence that makes you feeling good about having that sweet tooth.
I was also wondering how to use flaxseeds in a way that we get to actually eat this superfood without being too conscious of its bland taste. And thus was born the idea to share this lovely dessert.
Healthy desserts cannot get easier than this as this would not take you more than 5 minutes of cooking time and a total of 15 minutes to make! No kidding! Do try and let me know how you liked it.
Flaxseeds: 50 grams
Jaggery powder: 50 grams
A pinch of salt
Toasting flaxseeds initially is important. So take a large pan and dry toast the flaxseeds on medium flame. This would take about 3 minutes. Keep stirring the contents up to avoid overheating of the seeds in a certain area.
Once the seeds are roasted, empty the pan and add the jaggery with just a teaspoon of water to melt the sugar up. You can overheat a little to the browning point if you want a more caramel-y taste. Else just melt the jaggery. Add a pinch of salt to it as well.
To the molten jaggery mix, add the toasted flaxseeds and mix really well till well combined. Turn the gas off.
To a flat dish, liberally apply a layer of oil. Keep this dish ready beforehand.
Transfer the flaxseed candy to this dish and flatten with a spoon. Wait for it to cool, this would take about 20-30 minutes. Then break up the candy into random shapes and store in an airtight container.
That’s it! It’s as easy as making maggi and you’ve got a dessert to treasure for a week (or a couple of days if you’re like me and can’t keep your hands off this tasty mess!)
The roasted flaxseeds have a flavour to kill, it’s yummy and smells amazing. Jaggery is obviously a healthier alternative to sugar and adds a lovely, earthy sweetness to the candy. Salt will bring out all the flavours in a punch.
I miss childhood sometimes (well, not all the time because childhood sucked for me, like it sucks for everybody in some ways. This could be a topic of another blog, you know!) Looking back, I fondly recall how nonchalant days those were. How great school used to be, how I used to be shit scared before exams, how I used to love drawing classes (and hence, was always involuntarily the one selected to participate in every random inter-school drawing competition :P). Kids fainting in the school assembly used to be a daily feat and the school canteen (with its Rs 5 oil-laden burgers with microscopic patty) was what today’s Social Offline looks like (no, I would still pick my school canteen, if given a choice).
We can’t go back to school, neither can the glorious days of childhood come back, hence we can see that a lot of adults try to live their childhood through their kids. Adulting is never easy. For most of us, it comes as a slap on the face! When you wake up to the importance of money and bills, work and passion, skills and their worth, existential questions and yes, relationships. All this is why adulting sucks as it literally sucks the life out of you! So there are certain ways through which I try to go back and become a kid again. Yes, so that I can survive adulthood better. Here are some ways I do it, while some are the ones I am willing to try myself.
Draw/paint/sketch: No matter how much your drawings resembled those made by a stoned orangutan, you still drew those hilly landscapes, a picnic scene, or a cartoon in your art class, didn’t you? Pick up the pencil and draw something again. Believe me, it’s a phenomenal stress buster as you create something with your own hands. Even if you suck at it, you’ve got a caricature to laugh at!
Play a kiddie game with kids: Play gully cricket, a game of catch or even hide and seek with your own kids, or the neighbourhood bunch. It’s fun and also a reminder of good times from your own childhood.
Visit the public library: I terribly miss my school library. It used to be amazing, with rows upon rows of ancient books passing between generations of students (my school was, at that time, ~75 YEARS OLD!). Plus, school libraries have an old world charm which you only realize after school is over. Going to a public library, although not the same, can be just one of the ways to get lost in the magical world of books like a teenager newly discovering literature. If adulting has left you weary eyed and robbed you of your love for reading, then this is one way to rediscover your love for books.
Go to the museum or the national science centre or any other place you visited for a school project: Do you remember how we had to visit museums and science centers as part of summer holiday homework? Well, at that time you probably understood very little of the things that were shown there. So, now that you are (hopefully) smarter and of course, not burdened by exams, why not revisit those places and learn something taught in school, but with a fresh perspective? It can be fun to look at nuclear energy and dinosaur extinction now that you understand their implications better.
Buy stationery: I’m a culprit here. I love buying crayons and funky looking pencils! Just because they are so pretty to look at, and frankly, we never had such swanky stuff back in our times. And who knows, probably the cute color pencils awaken the artist in you, or that gorgeous set of pens makes you write your first story!
Go to an amusement park: Nothing awakens the kid inside all the adults like a visit to the amusement park. The scary (or not so scary) rides make it hard to distinguish whether it was a 10 year old kid who screamed his lungs out or a 42 year old dad of 2.
Collect random things like stamps, unusual looking stones, leaves: An Indian kid from the 90s can fondly remember collecting tazos that came in packet of chips and yes, those WWE cards! Adulting can help you collect better things though. How about collecting some beautiful flowers and pressing them in newspapers? Or you could go about creating a collection of stones from every new city or country you visit! Wouldn’t that be a priceless collection to boast of years down the line?
Read a kiddy book like Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys or Famous Five: I remember reading my first Nancy Drew when I was 11. And now, reading these books make me time travel to my childhood without fail! These stories, especially the older ones, have a certain ageless charm and leave a happy feeling inside you every time you go back to these books.
Write a letter or make a greeting card for someone you love: You know your childhood is over when you are buying someone a gift online and not making them something with your own hands (well, I don’t even know whether kids these days ever do that…). For the next birthday, make your Mom a simple handmade birthday card, or write your boyfriend a loving note with your own hands. In the present era dominated by Whatsapp, these are rare, precious things and leave a feel-good emotion in both, the giver and the receiver.
The inspiring scientist and thinker Neil deGrass Tyson said, “Adult scientists are just kids who never grew up.” It is quite true that adult life compels us to kill this child and become soul-less bodies with no capacity to experience wonder and appreciate the little miracles of life. So for me, it is important to keep the kid inside me alive in order to be able to fully experience life itself! I hope you try some of it to re-emerge as a kid at heart!