Photo Challenge: Natural Boundaries








Man has set so many boundaries; be it the barbed wire protecting one’s private property or the well patrolled country borders. Even the houses we build are meant to set boundaries from our neighbors. No matter how strong these human boundaries maybe, the boundaries that nature sets are insurmountable.

Self Help: How to overcome depression forever

Life is a mixed bag of both sweet and rotten fruits for everyone. But sometimes it can feel like you were given a bigger share of the rotten. The challenges and ordeals life throws can leave you feeling spent and hopeless. After all, in the face of incessant hardships it is only human to feel demoralized and dejected.AbbottKinney1

But if life has you feeling run over then continuing to feel sorry for yourself will only make matters worse. There are positive steps you can take that will change the game entirely and put your life back on track. The good news is that it is never too late to change your mindset and circumstances. Here are some easy ways to heal:

  1. Acknowledge your pain: To achieve freedom from pain it is first important to understand what ails you. A lot of people feel depressed out of loneliness, poverty, competition, and physical ill health. Others feel miserable because they are trapped in a toxic relationship and are unable to find a way out. Whatever your case may be, the first step to cure is always to understand the root cause. However, if your depression has no particular known cause then try probing your subconscious with this simple trick. Sit in meditation and clear your mind of all positive and negative thoughts or simply listen to some relaxing music. Then take a pen and paper, and write down 10 things that are making you unhappy. If you have more than 10, then just keep writing to your heart’s content (empty all the pain out on paper) but make sure to number them appropriately. Then focus on the list of things that make you unhappy and further write down 10 ways you can either eliminate or avoid them. You obviously cannot eliminate all toxic relationships (e.g. a rebellious teenage child or an annoying aunt) but you can find creative ways to improve your relationships. If nothing works then you will want to find ways to distance yourself emotionally.
  2. Make small changes: Focus on the list of action items you created above and focus on just one or two. See if you can do just one thing a day no matter how small. If your health bothers you then do one thing to improve it today. If your relationship with your teenage son is bothering you, see if you can have face to face talk. If your Aunt is always taunting you about not visiting her often enough, then see if you can set a reasonable schedule to visit her which will work for both of you. But focus on one or two constructive ways to improve your situation today. If there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, then learn to accept it. Time will eventually heal pain.
  3. Make health a priority: A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. If you are already in tip-top shape than that much more power to you. For the rest of us we can all make small changes to improve and keep our health in the best shape possible. If possible join a gym. If you cannot afford a gym, then start your day with a brisk walk and observe the world with a child’s eyes. Notice the birds playing in the trees, or the dew settled on the green grass or the clear skies. Seek joy in the simpler things in life. Make an effort to eat healthy. It is easy to fall into a habit of eating comfort food when you are feeling blue. But this habit can become hazardous over a long period of time. Try making simple, nutritious meals. Make small changes by inculcating more greens, grains and fruits on a daily basis.
  4. Be grateful: Gratitude is one of the best medicines to depression as it changes one’s focus from “the have not’s” to “the have’s”. While it is easy to look at everything we do not have, it is far more rewarding to focus on the things we have and offer genuine gratitude. Kindness starts at home. Be kind and grateful to your parents, partner, friends, children, pets and colleagues. Find some time to send them a card, or call or text them with a simple “thank you” message. This alone will improve your relationships. This will not only change your perception but also alter their perception of you.
  5. Offer Charity: This may be so counter intuitive. When you are ailing and need help, it is hard to think of others. Yet when you focus on helping others you take away the focus from yourself and your own pain. You look at people who are less fortunate than yourself and realize how much you have to be grateful for. Also helping other people releases mood enhancing endorphins.
  6. Inculcate a hobby: Hobbies are not just for kids. They are equally important for grown-ups. If you have a hobby then find time to work on it every day or as often as you can. This will give you a feeling of fulfillment, accomplishment and joy. If you don’t have a passion, find something you can enjoy. Maybe it is something you did as a child but just don’t have time to do it anymore? If you enjoy reading books, then join a book club. Meeting like-minded people and sharing views helps take mind off your problems. If you enjoy photography then invest in a reasonable camera and take a picture a day. If you enjoy writing then start a blog. If you enjoy gardening then get a few plants and decorate your home. Get the drift?
  7. Set aside time for you every week: The worst possible situation is to find yourself in a place where one day dwindles into another. If you have a hard time remembering what you did yesterday or what you will do tomorrow then you may be in a bad place mentally. Each day is a new day to fulfill your dreams and promises. No matter how small. Set some time every week to focus on yourself. Write down your goals and plan on fulfilling them. You don’t have to come up with flamboyant plans. You can use the time to simply organize your bookshelf, or clear some clutter in the garage. Or pamper yourself with a facial or go to the cinema and enjoy a movie. Make time to invest in yourself every week.
  8. Do not participate in office politics: Sometimes vicious cycles are created by simply participating in vicious activities. If you are unhappy at work, participating in company politics will only make it worse. Venting about difficult colleagues or bosses can sound like a good idea to vent out at the moment, but it will only make you more miserable. And usually will come back to haunt you and cause you to lose credibility in the eyes of your peers and management. If people are participating in politics around you, try to stay disengaged. In the long run, you will gain more friends and build respect.
  9. Change your attitude: Whether the glass is half empty or half full depends upon the way you look at it. Perception is everything. And yet, it too can be adjusted. Find positive viewpoints in every situation. See also positive in people. People are neither entirely good nor entirely bad. We are all motivated by our own inner needs. Learn to see these needs impartially and try to forgive others for their faults. When something bad happens to you, try not to focus on what has happened but how you can fix it. Try putting things into perspective. Will this matter an year from today? Read positive books by motivational writers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie. If necessary read them over and over again. The mind can be stubborn but loves repetition.
  10. Consult an expert: If nothing else works then seek the help of an expert. Look up for a psychiatrist or see if you can join a support group. Build a strong network of friends and family who would be willing to see you through difficult times. Offer them love and gratitude in return and be there for them.

Remember there is no such thing as a quick fix to most problems in life. Most known quick fixes like medications, drugs and alcohol only mask the problem today, but make matters exponentially worse in the long run. Instead try to become your own best friend and make small but consistent efforts to heal yourself both mentally and physically. Good Luck!

OMG! WTF! Don’t LOL …but Social Media speak is like killing me!


IMHO (In my humble opinion) all this social media speak like “OMG”, “WTF”, “LOL”, “ROFL” is really gone way out of hand. DAE (Does anyone else) feel that way, or is it just me? It feels like people don’t talk to each other F2F (face to face) anymore. People only text. And when they text they abbreviate. WTF! *Shudder*

What’s more if you are not fluent in Social-speak you may be deemed “uncool” by your kids and they may even LOL at you! If you don’t even own a Smart phone …well then forget about it!

I can’t even count the number of dinners I have gone to in the past few years, where everybody was sitting over a dinner table busy texting rather than talking to each other. It felt like the only words that were shared were on their smart phones in abbreviated codes. I wonder if these same people would later go back home and have a proper chat over their smart phones? And how far will this culture of no face to face communication go? Will people go on dates and communicate over texts?

I am not sure what I hate more. The fact that social media threatens to create an anti-social society incapable of communicating with each other in person or that it has created an unoriginal language of hashtags and abbreviations? ADD much?

BTAIM (be that as it may), Social Media is here to stay, like it or not. Personally, I think it does not do us any favor to lose the social aspect in an already supercilious society.

But I want you to tell me what you really think about all this incessant texting? Forget what your kids will say or how you may be shunned at work. Now is the time to speak up in favor or against Social Speak.

Ok, I GTG but Like drop me a line and be my BFF forever!

Home is where the Homies are…


I have a curious case of Homebody-ness. I love my Home above all things. When everybody is dressing up to go for a night out, I chose to stay at home and “just chill”. Interestingly enough I have moved so many times in the past 15 years, that I have even lost count of how many homes I have had.

When I was a student I lived in a dorm, then shared an apartment with other students, then moved back to dorm and then lived with a wonderful Greek lady as her paying guest. Then as soon as I got a job I rented an apartment but changed my jobs and cities several times each time moving into a new location close to work.

Finally, after 15 years of leading a gypsy life, I now own a small but comfortable home with my husband and dog. Yet, no matter where I may have lived; be it a room small enough to be a closet or my own house; each of the dorm room/home share/apartments have been HOME to me.

Today, when I reach home, my heart flutters for joy not just seeing the welcoming comforts of my home but my husband and my little dog Ziggy. Ziggy bounces around me as soon as I reach home, until he has my full attention for the next few minutes. And it just makes me feel so special.

If you were to ask 5 things that make my home mine, they would be:

  1. My hubbie – self explanatory
  2. My dog Ziggy – see above
  3. My kitchen – I love to cook and love to decorate my kitchen and it’s well lighted box window with small pieces of Art. When I reach home I stand there for a few minutes enjoying a snack or rummaging the refrigerator looking for dinner inspiration.
  4. My couch – My couch and I have a love and hate relationship. I hate that I love it so much. I have wasted countless evenings and weekends just sitting on it doing nothing but flipping channels. It’s quite sad really. But truth be told it feels awesome to be able to do just that!
  5. My jammies – Reaching home really means donning my jammies. Nothing says comfort better than a pair of well worn pyjamas. It tells you, you are home.

Of course I love my home and its rooms, its walls decorated with memories and family photos. But above all home would not be home without my homies! God bless!

Schön macher, Schnell macher


I was only six years old when my parents moved to Frankfurt, Germany. We spent three wonderful years there and to this day I harbor memories of beautiful Germany and the friends we made. Frankfurt was a beautiful, scenic and most of all a kid friendly place.

There were government funded youth clubs for children that offered after school activities to children of all ages, called “Jungendhausen”. The aim of these youth clubs was to promote creativity, art and workmanship in children while keeping them engaged and out of trouble…I guess!

I and my sister would go there every day after school and spend hours building or “basteln”. I remember making lamps out of a ballon and paper, toys out of wood, stone and clay and much more. The hours spent in the Jungendhausen under the supervision of the teachers were the highlight of my day.

One such day I remember my teacher calling me and my sister out as “Schön macher und Schnell Macher”.

“Schön macher” in German stands for a person who does beautiful work. My sister being a perfectionist and a few years older to me had the art for chiselling wood or stone into the most artistic shapes, which is why my teacher called her “Schön macher”. I on the other hand was all about “quantity”. I did not care much for detail. The fish I carved out of limestone had a vague resemblance to a fish but could have been an eye, the dog looked more like a cat and the clay shoe house was almost falling over its side. Get the drift? The Jungendhaus had a display window to show case all the art work made by children. It is no surprise that my sister’s artwork made it into the window many a times and mine would never reach its epoch glory.

Decades later I am reminded of what my teacher said, “Schön macher und Schnell Macher”. And I wonder which is better? Is it better to be a Schön macher and spend hours laboring on a piece of writing to perfection? Or is it better to be “Schnell Macher” and churn out greater volume?

Ofcourse this brings us to the ever debated topic of Quantity versus Quality? I am a bit equivocal on the matter and believe they both have their pros and cons. For instance when it come to blessings, I would rather have more but when it comes to friends I would rather have quality.

But are the lines between the two always black and white when it comes to writing? The craft of Writing is all about writing more and writing often and more importantly: rewriting.

I guess good writing is almost like a marriage of quantity and quality. If we marry the two we would probably end up with a supermodel child called “Quan-lity”.

Quan-lity would be the art of producing high quality written material in great volume.

But that is easier said than done. How do you strike the perfect balance to achieve a piece of prose or poetry that offers unrivalled quan-lity? If you were training someone to be a better writer would you err on the side of quality or quantity? Or would you insist on finding the perfect balance. If so, how do you strike the perfect balance?

“Try, Try, Try again…” Mantra for success or bottomless failure?

As a child I was extremely fond of reading proverbs and popular sayings. They are perfect fodder for inspiration and self-fulfillment. But sayings have an inherent weakness; they often suffer from oversimplification. Maybe they should come with a list of exception clauses like “If…Else” Statements that computer programmers embed in their code to account for all situations?

Take for example the famous saying “Try, Try again…” Anybody who is over the age of ten has probably heard that saying. It has become the mantra of as many successful people as it has for unsuccessful people around the world. So deep rooted is it in our minds that we accept it unquestioningly and accept that the secret to success is to try, try again. But is that always the case?

Penned by Thomas H. Palmer in his “Teacher’s Manual”, this saying was made popular by W.E. Hickson in around 1840-1852. In its unaltered form it goes:

‘Tis a lesson you should heed:

Try, try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try, try again.

My issue with this saying is not that it suggests trying your best in accomplishing a task, or never giving up. My issue with it is that it does not offer a stop-loss order or that it does not take other factors into account that also contribute to success.

Know when to stop and cut your losses: In the investment world a stop-loss order is designed to limit an investor’s loss on a security position. It is a safety net to save the investor and the market from incurring limitless losses. Likewise, in life too, it is important for any person to realize when he hits that stop-loss order before spending the rest of his life on a doomed project.

The question is: “Try, Try again” but until when? According to this old adage, the answer is: Never. Is that truly a reasonable advice? What if the failure ends up hurting yourself and those around you?  How far do you go on a failed project before you realize it is time to cut your losses?

For instance how long would you pursue an abusive relationship? Is it fair to say if your husband beats you, you may be able to change him by continuing to live with him and sustaining abuse? Should you continue living with him until he realizes he should not beat you? Clearly, that is not the case. Trying to persevere in this case would only be suicidal to your physical and mental well-being.

Unfortunately, Success in life cannot be guaranteed simply by trying. When we fail repeatedly or get hurt trying, it may be a good warning sign for us to stop and rethink our strategy.

Have realistic goals: The secret of being successful is not just to keep doing whatever you are doing, but to make smart, well informed decisions about what it is you will persevere to do in the first place. For instance, I am a very bad singer…I am practically tone deaf. Ask my husband he has had to endure my vocal talents or lack thereof! If I decided to become the best singer in the nation despite the fact that I have no natural talent for singing, could I do it? What if I persevered to devote my whole life to improving my vocal talents? I know even then, at best I could become a mediocre singer. But would I ever become the best singer? That is an unrealistic goal to start with and no measure of attempts would change the fact that I do not have any talent for singing. Instead my time may be better invested in something I was more suited for.Fatladysinging

Don’t go against nature: What happens when a swimmer swims against the ocean currents? Try as he may, he will eventually get defeated by the powerful oceanic currents. It is in his favor to try to swim with the currents not against them. Sometimes when you endeavor to go against the fabric of nature you are bound to experience failure.

Is it not childish to think you will succeed at a task, just by virtue of doing the same thing over and over again? A child standing at the shores of an ocean may think he may be able to plug the ocean if only he threw enough pebbles into it… but what a waste of time and energy that would be?

Know when circumstances are against you:


When I was a child my mother used to tell me the story of the frog that jumped into a pail of milk, which was too high for it to jump out of. So the frog tried hard to swim out, and all his kicking ended up turning the milk into butter. The frog was eventually able to jump over the butter and out of the pail. This is an excellent story designed to bring the point: repetitive hard work will yield results. But will it always?

Let’s consider for a moment the frog had instead jumped into quicksand instead of milk. Would all the fighting and kicking have yielded similar results?

When circumstances are against you and you are caught in a vicious cycle of failures then it is important to know when to call quits and break the cycle before it breaks you.

In conclusion: My point is simple. In order to succeed you need a lot more than careless, unplanned, unfocused effort. I want to bring the point home, with one last story written by Acharya Mahapragya.

It is about a man who needed to make an urgent trip to a neighboring village. In his hurry he grabbed a lamp and left in the thick of the night. When he reached the forest on his way he realized to his dismay that the lamp was broken and would not light up, hard as he tried. He was tired, frustrated and annoyed with the lamp and so he cursed it all along the way. By the time he reached his destination he was tired and severely bruised (having fallen over stones and shrubs). The next morning found him in great shock when he finally realized that he had reached the wrong village and that his lamp was not a lamp after all.

It was an empty bird cage! In the heat of the moment he had picked up an empty bird cage lying in his home and walked off. While the story sounds funny and silly it is not completely untrue. Haven’t we all been that man at some point in our lives? Haven’t we all embarked on a journey of sorts with unrealistic expectations? The man expected a bird cage to shed light, and try as he did it was unable to offer any light, since it is not in the nature of a birdcage to offer light.

Try, try again is an acceptable mantra only as long as you know when to stop and try something else! Otherwise it will guide you to a life of bottomless failure.

7 reasons why poets suck; are you one of them?


Are you a fledgling poet and an extremely “good” one at that but wondering why you are unable to keep the circle of friends you once enjoyed? Do well-meaning friends always have an excuse to avoid your lunch invitation? Are more and more members of your family enacting the Cheshire cat on the dinner table as you roll out your book of poems?  Do you constantly hear yourself talking to voicemails or phone lines going dead?

Then it is time to take this quiz. If you have answer “yes” to 3 or more points, chances are you are one of the dreaded poets people love to hate. *Scary music*

  1. You Lie constantly: You have the constant, incurable need to fabricate lofty, soaring descriptions out of every day mundane events. The innocent barbeque at your friend’s backyard becomes a playground for the Greek Gods all complete with Hermes, Zeus and Aphrodite playing tags. Washing your hair resembles the Niagara Falls thundering down your head. Picking the weeds from your handkerchief garden reminds you of the prairies complete with fairies and pixies…Get the drift? Then my friend you suffer from poetic exaggeration. Give yourself a point.
  1. You have no place for the ordinary: The chief protagonists in your poem are in a constant state of euphoria even if all they are doing is passing gas. There is absolutely no such thing as an “ordinary” day. The synonym for boring is ordinary and ordinary does not belong in your poems because poetry is all about life extraordinaire. Correct? Give yourself a point.
  1. You are time blind: Time blindness is a major sickness many amateur poets suffer from. You basically only recognize two time zones: Dusk and Dawn. The sun is in an eternal state rising or setting. Ours must be the busiest planet in the Galaxy, with people constantly racing to either go to bed or wake up! Give yourself a point and underline it.
  2. You suffer from the curious case of adjectivitis. This is a very common and unfortunate disease that most poets and writers suffer from. If you are constantly dishing out adjectives like Santa dishing out toys on 25th of December than you suffer from adjectivitis. It’s Nasty! Do you often catch yourself adding meaningless adjectives such as “bright day”, “dark night”, “hushed whisper”, “tall palm trees”…? Be honest now, you know you have done it…
  3. You are guilty of Necromancy: Are you constantly invoking the Greek Gods to do your dishes, or take the dog for a walk? Some poets think poetry is all about the exotic and the more Greek Gods they invite to their living room and share their cheap $6.00 Chardonnay, the better their poem becomes. No, No, No please let the Gods rest in peace, unless there is a genuine reason to invoke them from their resting heavens! Give yourself a point my friend.
  1. You rhyme on a dime: If you think the idea of creating music in poetry is to rhyme at any cost then my friend you are creating another reason for the rest of the world to hate us. Rhymes make up for great nursery rhymes but don’t rhyme on a dime on somebody else’s time! Give yourself a point.
  2. You are “Killing me softly” with trite sentimentality: If you catch yourself explaining your pain or sorrow with trite words such as “pain”, “sorrow”, “tear drops” and “shattered shards of your heart” then give yourself a point. Good poets stay away from expressing their sentiments in trite language instead they paint a picture. Stop crying “tears of blood” instead give yourself a point, you have earned it!

If you have answered “yes” to at least 3 out of the 7 points then you have committed the Deadly sin of writing boring poetry. You suck as a poet.

But fear not, you are in good company with “yours truly” who has pleaded guilty on all counts. And may the souls of all who died listening to our poetry rest in peace! Amen.

Photo Challenge: Creepy

New Orleans is famous for its Cemeteries so much so that it was nicknamed as the “City of the Dead“. The Cemeteries are unique in that they are built above the ground, since the City is built on swamp land. As a child I used to find visiting Cemeteries spooky and creepy even. Today, I visit them with a more somber attitude respectful of the sleeping place of the Dead.


OOPS!: The Laws of Creation


I love Found Poetry. The concept of Found poetry is similar to borrowing your grandma’s old tatters and stitching them into a glorious summer gown. Here is my contribution to the world of found poetry. I wrote this poem a long time ago when I was in school learning Object Oriented Programming. I should add I was not very good Programmer and at best would have made a mediocre Programmer after years of practice. Fortunately enough, I moved to another profession. However, this poem is based on the Principles of Object Oriented Programming and compares them to the Laws of Creation. Let me know if I went too far? If not, feel free to pingback with your own creation.

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a paradigm that presents the concept of objects having attributes and methods that are similar to a human having a distinct personality and behavior.

People are instances of humanity and are fashioned to interact with one another to design and create societies.

Species are like blueprint or prototype from which instances of objects or people are created.

People inherit certain attributes from their specie with certain superficial differences and elementary similarities which help them aggregate.

Aggregation is the process of creating a new object or person from two or more objects or persons.

The central theme of creation is code re-use, where the same DNA can continue to produce more DNA with minor enhancements and unintended relegates.

At the root of existence, lies an object or a person. Once created, an object can easily be passed around the system. By interacting with only a person’s behaviors, the details of the person’s internal implementation can be hidden from the outside world, and from the person.

The object or person must comply to the rules set by the programmer and always fulfill its purpose.

Pluggability and debugging are solutions to be used if particular objects or persons turn out to be problematic or incapable of fulfilling their purpose. You can simply remove the problematic object or person from your application and plug in a different object or person as its replacement. Law, Government and Religion have been instrumental in plugging and debugging problematic source code.

OOPS is the language of creation that we must all commit.

Neha Jain

Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

Neha Jain:

I wanted to repost an old story I wrote. Its a quick and fun read. Enjoy!

Originally posted on U Be Cute:

Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CLOSE.


Angels are recruited just like plumbers, craftsmen, teachers, politicians, priests and so forth.

 Walk-in interviews are held all over the world in pre-disclosed locations such as bars and restaurants over a glass of beer or wine (whatever your preference).

 Intent upon joining the ranks of some well-established Angels such as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, I walked into the “Blue Wings Dive Bar” on San Vicente, Los Angeles, which as I learned was holding interviews for the position of Junior Angel for Los Angeles.

 The bar had a gothic ambience with ominous overtones. It was very dark with tall ceilings, and red roughed out tapestry and wall hangings. A…

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Are Toilet scenes trending up?

I love movies. But I rarely sit and watch an entire movie in one sitting (never enough time). I often switch the Television on while working in the kitchen or having dinner. Yes, I know it is a bad idea to watch TV while having dinner. But I do it anyways!

So here is my problem. It is really annoying to cozy up to your Television while enjoying a bite only to be thrown into somebody’s bathroom ritual with the camera zooming in on the Toilet!!! I simply don’t get the fascination of modern movies with toilets!

Is it my imagination or are there a lot more Toilet scenes in the movies these days? Most of the time the Toilet scene adds nothing to the story line. I get the Director’s are trying to build a real-life image…or go for the big laughs, but is another boring Toilet scene the only way? Have you considered creating a more ingenious story line and dialog?

Surely, Hollywood can come up with a few other creative ways to keep audiences engaged. And what with all the reality TV shows where are we going to end if this Toilet fascination continues?

Believe me, I am all in favor of healthy bathroom habits, but I think it’s a private deal. So here is a humble plea to the Director’s and the Censorship Boards of the World.

Cut out the Toilet scenes, PLEASE!!!

Top 10 feel good flicks

Do you have a ritual that always works to get you out of your blues? Is there a book, movie or a spa treatment that will get you to turn your frown upside down in no time? I wanted to start a list of my favorite feel-good flicks. Here are my top 10 fav’s. Can you pick this up by adding a few of yours?

  • True Lies (1994)
  • Bridget Jones (Part 1 and 2)
  • Big trouble in Little China (1986)
  • Rocky (1976)
  • He’s just not that into you (2009)
  • Far and Away (1992)
  • Miss Congeniality (2000)
  • The Holiday (2006)
  • Wedding Crashers (2005)
  • How to lose a guy in 10 days (2003)

NOLA – The Big Easy…

New Orleans had been on the top of my bucket list for so long that I almost did not believe my ears when my husband suggested visiting New Orleans for his Birthday in May 2015. We stayed at a hotel which was walking distance to the French quarters.

The first thing we wanted to do after the long flight was to stop at French Quarter and grab a drink. But the moment we stepped out of our hotel room it started to rain. Although I was hesitant to step out in the rain at first, I must admit it was the most amazing rain I have experienced in a long time. It made the muggy weather a tad cooler, but the rain felt warm and inviting to the touch. And when it stopped raining we dried up almost instantly.

Colorful walls, elaborately decorated ironwork balconies

I fell in love with the old style architecture; the cobbled roads and the old-fashioned houses with ironwork balconies painstakingly decorated. For a while, I felt like I was on the set of Midnight in Paris, where a nostalgic Owen Wilson (a screenwriter) finds himself going back to the 1920’s every night. Most of the French quarter’s architecture was built in the 18th century.  There is so much going on here in terms of restaurants, shops, dive bars, concerts and more. DSC_0115

You really do not need to rent a car here. You can walk the entire area by foot. A lot of people chose to ride Rickshaws or horse pulled carriages.  There are several musicians and artists performing as well as painters and artists selling their artistic works on the street side.

Are we still in America?
Horse Driven carts are everywhere
A bustling Jackson Square
Told ya!
God I love this place!

Jackson square is a famous landmark situated in the front of the French Quarter and throbbing with visitors, artists and musicians. On the opposite side of the square from the River are three 18th‑century historic buildings; St Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo (museum), The Presbytere (museum). DSC_0143 DSC_0144 DSC_0186 DSC_0192

The Katrina exhibit at the Presbytere is an absolute must see. They have done an excellent job of making an honest and a heart-breaking exhibit of what happened during Katrina. They had snippets of personal stories both inspiring and shattering throughout the museum. I absolutely loved their video and the interactive map with a minute by minute demonstrations of which levees broke when and where.

Yours truly at the famous Marie Laveau’s

New Orleans is famous for its Voodoo culture. You can see the French Quarter is full of Voodoo shops, tarot card readers, and palmists. Needless to say, Voodoo is different from palmistry and tarot, but I love everything occult. If you are into the occult as well, you will find plenty opportunities to try your hand here (pun intended)! I did visit the famous Marie Louveau’s place. I had absolutely no expectations but some of the stuff the palmist told me about was surprisingly true and there is no way he could have known it by simply meeting me. So thumbs up!

We took a bus tour around the city and showed us some of the worst hit areas during Katrina as well as some of old and archaic cemeteries.  Here are some pictures from the 9th Ward and the neighboring wards. The 9th ward is closest to the Mississippi River and worst hit during Katrina. You can still see a faint yellow line on the light posts demarcating the levels that the water had reached during the outpour.

My favorite experience in New Orleans would have to be the Jazz performance at the Preservation Hall. The hall is a tiny place that seats no more than 70 people roughly. Be sure to stand in line an hour before show time. This place is always full! But I promise the wait is well worth the time. Preservation Hall is open for nightly concerts from 8 pm to 11 pm, seven nights a week, with the exception of certain holidays and special events.

And he stood there frozen and unflinchingly still for hours

New Orleans is nothing without its Art and music. And music literally pumps life into its arteries. You will find more talented street-side musicians and artists here than anywhere else! And you do not have to be an aficionado to enjoy it. New Orleans will somehow engulf you in its unique style. New Orleans is a dream destination; a muse for the artist in you or anybody who loves History, music, art, wine, food, festival and loads of funDSC_0120 DSC_0146

Review on Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis


Sometime early this year, I decided to start a completely new exercise routine that I had been hearing raving reviews for; Tracy Anderson Method.

It all started with an innocent if at all a bit vain google search that read like “Body Metamorphosis”. As you can expect Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis popped up in the top 3 search results.

Tracy Anderson’s method is broken down in 4 DVD’s (1 dance video and 3 Muscular structure workouts). You even get to choose the Method based on your body type: omnicentric, abcentric, hipcentric or glutecentric. I decided to choose Omnicentric because I honestly could not figure out which body type I am… *gulp* :(

I started the routine like I start almost everything; full gusto…The DVD’s come with a small pamphlet of food plan with menu items that would fill your appetite if you were a bird …a sparrow to be precise! It also comes with a pamphlet to track your progress (which I actually loved).

Tracy wants you to do 30 minutes of her dance routine followed by 30 minutes of the Transform DVD. Each Transform DVD has 3 unique workouts and is supposed to be completed in 30 days after which you move on to the next DVD and so forth. Here is my honest unequivocal review of her method.


1)    Dance Cardio: I really enjoyed the dance DVD the first few weeks. The first time I tried it I absolutely loved it. I was jumping around like a little girl in my living room and all the movement got my blood pumping and my mood elevated.  The choreography is fun although difficult to follow at first, but Tracy does mention that if you cannot follow along you can freestyle it. I always believe that any exercise is better than no exercise and had no issues with free styling a large part of her moves. In the end, I was sweating like a dog and felt really happy almost euphoric.

2)    Any exercise is better than no exercise. This is also true for Tracy’s method. Tracy wants you to get a combination of cardio and body transforming muscle conditioning exercises on a daily basis (6 days a week) in order to make the change happen. In that, it is pretty effective. Both the 30-minute dance and 30-minute muscular workouts got me sweating and my muscles exhausted. Her workouts are constantly changing which causes sufficient muscle confusion so you do not plateau and continue seeing results.

3)    Muscular Transformation exercises are really good. This is not your typical High-Intensity Jillian Michael workout. These moves are mostly stationary done either standing or on your hands and knees. The focus is on intensity, repetition and muscle confusion. In just 30 days of working out to her routines, I did notice a definite muscle conditioning and my arms and legs felt stronger and looked more toned.


1)    Dance Routine: Now for the cons. While I loved her dance routine the first 2-3 weeks, I started to tire off within a month of the same dance routine. The idea of using the same routine for an additional 2 months was really wearing on me. I even tried muting her audio and playing my own numbers, but I do enjoy variety. Also by the 3rd week my knees were really starting to buckle and hurt and I needed a break.

2)    Muscle definition Transform 2 DVD. Tracy is the queen of creating hard to follow exercises and really does not provide sufficient instructions during the routines. What’s more each week her workouts got not only harder but I feel: quicker and jerkier. What I mean is that she does not give you enough time to move from one sequence to the next, and I almost always ended up jerking my neck and back. I really did not enjoy her Transform DVD 2 and for a couple more weeks went back to her Transform 1.

3)    Diet Plan: I cannot speak enough on how dangerous, amateur and irresponsible her meal plan is. The fact that I tried to follow it for a couple weeks is something I am really not proud of. To start with I was not doing her workout to lose weight but to tone up. Her meal plan assumes that you are either a sparrow or you are working out to lose tons of weight. The truth is even if you are trying to lose weight, if you are exercising as much as she wants you to, it is essential to give your body wholesome nutrition so it can sustain the new and strenuous exercise routine. Her meal plan clearly lacks detailed research. I felt it was loosely put together without making sure that you get a good combination of proteins, minerals, carbs and fat required to sustain a healthy body. In just 2 weeks of following her meal plan I lost 4 pounds (which I did not need to) but I also lost tons of hair (which I definitely did not want to). I have since thrown away her diet plan and continued eating a balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Overview: Even though I only lasted on Tracy’s method for a Month and a half in all honesty her workout cannot be completely dissed. Her muscle-conditioning routines are good and you do feel the burn in a very short time. I would have continued with Tracy Anderson’s workouts if the moves weren’t too fast, jerky and complicated for me to follow. I am taking a break from her workouts and am instead doing Piloxing by Viveca Jenson which I absolutely love and will soon do a review of. In all honesty if you are able to follow Tracy’s moves you will see results but be prepared to be really patient and expect little instructions during the program.


Put your best face forward

To me beauty is not just about being attractive or following the latest trends in fashion. Beauty comes from feeling good and being confident and that happens when you are comfortable with who you are and how you look. It may be a cliche but beauty starts with beautiful skin and having a beautiful skin takes time and consistently following a good skin care regime.

Over the years my choice of beauty products has evolved, but one thing I would never do is go to bed without removing my make up and having a squeaky clean face. After cleansing I apply a moisturizer with Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C. But If you cannot do anything in the very least never go to bed without removing your make up. Some women swear by just applying olive oil or coconut oil as a deep moisturizer. For me, I need something more potent; something with Retin A, Vitamin C, Glycolic acid and a great delivery system to allow it to penetrate into the skin to do its magic and bring about the change.

If you are looking for a new skin care regime then visit me on my Mary Kay website. For a limited time I am offering free make up remover, 20% discount, free shipping and tons of product samples on all your purchases.

But you don’t have to buy my products to have beautiful skin. Remember the secret to beauty is cleansing>exfoliation>moisturizing and doing this consistently until the end of your life or until you chose to have beautiful skin.

Room in a blur

You can count the perfect patterns of her expression
in the creased symmetry of her blue-green curtains.
Measure the dimensions of shadows or flashes of smile
that rise and fall on the contours of her face.
You can trace the magic inside the creases of her bed.
Even capture her colored energy in the pale peach taffeta ribbon
lying on her dressing table.
Admittedly, the color of her skin is harder
and more fleeting to taste
like eclairs au chocolat melting in your mouth.
Everything in the room is where it was when she left.
She took nothing with her
but the lily-white brilliance of her eyes.

Daily Post


India is famous for its ancient monuments and their unrivalled architecture. Here are some pictures of old temples some of which are well preserved and others in ruins. Yet even the ruins are a great testimony to how incredible these monuments must have been in their day. It makes me proud to see the mettle of mankind when properly channelled! I hope you enjoy the intricate craftsmanship of these old pillars and ruins.

Walls can talk

I loved this week’s Photo Challenge posted by Cheri Lucas. I must admit I never before gave a thought to how we are intrinsically attuned to decorating our walls with the best life has offered us; be it scenic paintings, pictures of friends and family or decorative items that we have collected over the years. We love to deck our walls with beautiful things!

Walls can divide neighbors but they can also reveal our emotions and feelings. They can be a statement of who we are. Here is an assortment of pictures taken randomly over the years. Agreed they are not necessarily all walls but sometimes things are are loudly present in their absence. Enjoy!

Serene Goa

Goa’s 63 mile long coastline offers a long expanse of exotic beaches. The water is always lukewarm and the sand is soft to touch. The beach is studded with tiny sea shells and starfish. I found it best to enjoy the beaches early in the morning at dawn or around sunset because during the day time the heat is almost unbearable.

The beach is studded with shacks offering visitors both North Indian and South Indian cuisine as well as plenty of seafood.DSC02684 DSC02725 DSC02734 DSC02735 DSC02688

Unless you are staying at one of five star hotels don’t expect to find the shacks to be glamorous. Personally I loved their rustic beauty. I was never disappointed with the food and the amazing scenery for pennies on the dollar.DSC02903

A local shack

A local shack

A vendor at the local supermarket
Bananas sweet as sugar


I enjoyed going to the local market with my dad and we bought a variety of fruits like passion fruit, pineapple, kiwi, gooseberries, dragon fruit, raspberries and many more.  The Goan soil is so fertile it is a haven for fruit and vegetable lovers. Goa grows bananas (sweet as sugar), papayas, coconuts, cashew, sugarcane, bamboo, rice, Pineapples, chilies, betel nuts and much more. The locals also sell homemade coconut oil. While coconut oil is said to have many therapeutic qualities one does need to be conditioned to its smell. Some people may find the smell to be offensive. I am into all kinds of organic beauty products and found coconut oil to be an excellent hair conditioner. I applied it at night and washed out my hair the next morning so I would not reek of coconut oil during the day. The results were very satisfying ;)

Given below are pictures of Tambdi Surla a 12th century Hindu Temple one of the oldest temples in Goa, India. The temple is situated in thick forest and there are small villages surrounding the temple. When I visited Tambdi Surla last year (2014) I was greeted by a flutter of butterflies at the very entrance of the temple. The sight was absolutely unforgettable. It was so sudden and unexpected that I could not even take a picture. This year I was especially looking out for the butterflies but did not find any. I did catch a quick glimpse at these birds flying away the moment our car approached.

Shown here are pictures of St Michael Church Orlim Goa one of the oldest churches in Goa. I loved the austere beauty and serenity of this church. Every second Sunday of October, the little village of Orlim in South Goa brightens up with festive fervor at the St Michael Church. The village feast brings together a crowd of around 2000 locals who attend the service and pray to their patron saint. This year, October 13 will see the feast of St Michael celebrated with joy.

Varca is one of the most touristy beaches in Southern Goa. But in the morning you can have the beach almost to yourself. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch dolphins playing by the shoreline. There is a row of wooden fishing boats seen on the beach that belong to the Christian fishing community.

Popular beach resorts in Varca include the Radisson White Sands Resort, the Club Mahindra Varca Beach Resort, and Serenity Residency. On the way back there are plenty of small stores where you can shop for clothes, Indian Jewelry, carved furniture, brassware and other souvenir type items if you so choose. Be prepared to bargain. As far as clothes are concerned I found some name stores such as Fab India and Biba to have the best quality products. I enjoyed the Tulsi Chai Masala and sampled some of the beauty products at Fab India (I am a bit of a skin care fanatic and always try out local beauty products everywhere I go!)

Here are some pictures of Miramar Beach, one of the most populous beaches in the capital of Goa: Panjim. This beach is situated at the confluence of Mandovi River and the Arabian Sea. Boat rides offered at very reasonable prices will take you through a pleasant boat ride where you may be able to capture some beautiful coastal scenes as well as water life.

While Goa is beautiful because of its rich history, beautiful beaches, exotic cuisines, lush greenery it is not void of faults. Be prepared to see a lot of trash and waste carelessly discarded by people all over the state. I was surprised to see that the beaches did not even have a single trash can to allow people to discard their waste. I also noticed that visitors carelessly throw their beer bottles on the beach which is a big safety hazard. The government is implementing a much needed  “Swach Bharat” (Clean India mission).

Trash discarded carelessly by streets is a common site.

But if you are open to an adventure and an exotic vacation on a tight budget then definitely consider beautiful Goa as your next stop; a haven of natural beauty, a vibrant culture, peace and spirituality.DSC02837_2015

Daily Prompt: Be the change

Portrait_GandhiThe concept of change and evolution has always resonated with me. Life, in its most basic form is nothing but evolution. The ability to adapt with the changing environment and times is therefore key to growth and success. But the vision to rise above one’s humdrum life and envision change for the betterment of humanity truly identifies a liberated and enlightened mind. In my own personal experiences I feel that the journey is far more precious than the destination. To me the awareness to will a change and take conscious efforts to execute the change is more important than being able achieve it.

When Mahatma Gandhi first visualized a happy and a free India independent from the shackles of the British rule he became the agent of change. His vision and the depth of his resolutions ignited the Independence movement of India and united an otherwise divided country which had been left economically shattered by the oppressive rule.

Often the catalyst of change is nothing more than a fleeting will to change. This fleeting will when powered by vision and depth of emotion can become so insurmountable that it can put one of the biggest powers at its knees.

John_Locke's_Kit-cat_portrait_by_Godfrey_Kneller,_National_Portrait_Gallery,_LondonTake John Locke for instance; the English philosopher and physician who influenced the Revolutionary movements in so many countries including America. He had views that were so revolutionary in their times that all through his living years and until his dying will he denied authorship of his own papers.  Today the concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is not just a phrase (a phrase influenced by John Locke’s theories) in the declaration of Independence but an important Tenet for American socio-economic and political life.

A single powerful thought alone can be the catalyst for change.  When like-minded people meet and share their views, thoughts multiply like a nuclear reaction and revolutions are formed. Therefore it is important to fully appreciate the value of thoughts as well as the power of an individual. Never say, “What can I do alone”? Chances are you alone are more than enough to bring about the change most would not dare to dream of.

Daily Prompts: Ice, water and steam

When you think of versatile elements, water is probably one of the most versatile elements that come to mind. Not only does it have completely different temperatures and behaviors in each of the three different forms; ice, water and steam but water takes the shape and color of any container it is contained in.

What’s more the quality of stationary water is distinctly different from the quality of running water. Water collected in a closed place with no movement will collect dirt and eventually start to smell while moving water with plenty fish stays clean and will have a life-giving effect.

Not only are we humans changing like water and weather but our moods are constantly changing as well. When we are happy the world looks beautiful and the future seems so promising but come a bit of hardship and our perspective changes. We become sad, disgruntled and frustrated; performing simple tasks looks like a gigantic effort. When we are in love with someone we feel this huge windfall of emotion towards the object of affection. When rejected by the same object of affection we feel rejected and the same emotion of love turns into hatred.

Such seesaw of emotions is really not as incredible or uncommon as it sounds. The concept of “Mind over matter” is put to test.

They say love makes the world go round, but sometimes I wonder if that is really true? Love like hatred is a powerful emotion as is greed, competition and avarice. Powerful emotions whether negative or positive carry a lot of mental muscle. These emotions are manifestations of the same mind and possess the same depth of emotion. I wonder if it is the play of all of these elements that makes the world go round? Where would trade and economy be without greed and avarice? How far would countries and companies develop without competition? And how often have we seen lovers turn into enemies when they feel dejected and unappreciated? In truth so much around us including ourselves is constantly changing and evolving. This thought brings me back to Einstein’s famous discovery that “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed” but it can be rearranged in space or the entities associated with it may change shape and form. As humans our bodies and minds are no exception to this rule. In effect we are all like Ice, water and steam.ecology

Happy New Year!

We are at the very threshold of entering the year 2015. So Congratulations to fellow bloggers for yet another successful year of Blogging! Ubecute completed its first year of blogging and for that it is extremely grateful to all the followers and supporters of Ubecute for the constant feedback and comments.

Writing is a labor of love that I ignored for way too long until I found my way into blogging. Blogging is like carving out windows into thick cement walls and finding smiling people waving back at you. In my experience, I found blogging to be an excellent way to share my ideas as well as get an opportunity to hear what others are passionate about. It is so heart warming to see the talent that people have and to find an avenue to be able to share one’s talent and personal experiences.

Like all New Years, 2015 is also filled with the element of surprise and dreams. For many of us, New year offers an opportunity to evaluate our efforts and successes for the past year and learn from our mistakes. It is a chance to make New Year resolutions in our attempts to building a brighter future. Like many others, I too make New Year resolutions. Starting a blog was one of my resolutions last year, which I successfully accomplished. According to the free report offered by WordPress, Ubecute was visited 14,000 times in 2014 (first year of publishing). Some of the most visited posts of 2014 were:

  1. I sold my sister
  2. Street Life: Sunset Boulevard
  3. Why do you blog?
  4. In Between
  5. It’s a beautiful world

This year I resolve to write everyday, even if it means writing absolute gibberish. So what if 15 minutes of effort ends up being nothing more than a crumpled piece of paper ball in my trash can? Nobody needs to see a badly written piece, the effort is aimed at practice and self fulfillment. The act of the labor itself should be more fruitful than the rewards, correct? Well in truth I don’t know. But one thing I have learned in my life is that a small task done repeatedly over a period of time becomes a habit. And any habit performed consistently over the years has a cumulative effect; good or bad (depending upon the habit itself).

I therefore welcome you to join me in my endeavors. Let me know if you would like to be a guest blogger on Ubecute or simply resolve to writing more frequently? I welcome well written articles on self help. I enjoy and appreciate personal experiences of triumph over hardship, research articles on how to lead a happier and more fulfilled life and everything beautiful and poetic.

If you prefer feel free to write your own post and simply link to my site for articles of similar interests.

I wish you a very Happy 2015 and may God bless!20141220_123151

Strike a pose and Selfie

Making the world a happier place one selfie at a time

Since the past few years, Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr have been flooded with selfies from around the world. So pronounced was the usage of the word alone, that Oxford Dictionary announced “Selfie” as the word of the year 2013. Not only does Internet abound with selfies of famous stars and politicians but almost anyone who owns a smartphone or webcam has at some point taken at least one “selfie” and in most cases several. There are reports of toddlers taking selfies as well as more disturbing accounts of people taking selfies with the deceased in caskets at funerals. Thanks to the ease of use; taking a selfie and posting it on social media has made it a worldwide phenomenon. Oxford’s editors say use of the word alone has gone up a staggering 17,000% in the past year. (

Our fascination with the use and prevalence of “selfie” may define the millennia’s self-indulging and narcissistic fascination with self. But the concept of a selfie is nothing new. A visit to any Museum or classical Art gallery will confirm that selfies are as old as art itself. Artists have tried to create both artistic and realistic portraits of themselves in paintings and sculptures. Some notable artists who created self-portraits are Jan Van Eyck’s, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Paul Cezanne, Peter Parler, Henri Rousseau, Jean Fouquet, Van Gogh and many more. Artists have used all forms of medium to create portraits that actually help us chronicle history better today.

Posting a selfie on social media is the common man’s instant claim to fame. By a simple click of the button, one can share a selfie with the world and almost instantly start receiving hundreds of likes.

And what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. Just as long as you do it in fun and don’t get too self-engrossed with yourself and your selfie. So go on, Smile and Selfie!

Thanksgiving 2014; The 10 things I am most grateful for

Yes I know, Thanksgiving was day before on 28th November, 2014.  We just moved into a new location so we spent all of Thanksgiving and the long weekend packing, unpacking and settling into the new place. Until today I did not even have Internet set up at my new place. Moves are always hard; both physically and mentally. But change in itself is always positive or so we hope.

While it is hard to live out of cardboard boxes for a week or so, it is nice to get a chance to dig into the mountains of baggage one has accumulated over the years and do a thorough spring cleaning (literally and metaphorically speaking). After a long time I took a look at my closet and saw all the clothes, beauty products, hair products, vitamins, household goods, handicrafts and decorations that I never really used, and so I decided to box them up for Salvation Army. So this thanksgiving I took a resolve to be more vigilant while buying. Here is my resolve for future, “Buy little at a time, and buy only what you absolutely need.”

But Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, rather than lessons learned, correct? Well, here are the 10 things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. God bless them all!

  1. I am grateful for wonderful parents: No matter whether I am doing well or badly in life, whether I am healthy or under the weather, the one thing I am always and forever grateful to God for is having the best set of parents I could ever ask for!!!!

 I truly must have done something great in my past life to deserve wonderful parents like I have. When I was young someone told me that a child needs parents physiologically but a grown-up needs parents emotionally. I could not agree more with that person. While as a child, I may have needed my parents to care and provide for me, growing up I have realized how fortunate I am to have two beautiful people in my life as my parents. These are the kind of people that I would have fallen in love with for their kindness and seasoned intellect even if there weren’t my parents. While I am on the subject I want to clarify that my parents are not the adulating parents who fawn over their children and talk endlessly about them, condoning all their faults. Infact my parents are my toughest critics. They always tell me when I was in the wrong and are tough on me when I fail to do my best. They did not care whether I was the best in my class or not, they just wanted me to be the best I could be. But most importantly, they showed me that there are two sides to a coin and it is important to look at everything from the other person’s perspective. This has helped me see the good in everyone and accept the weakness in myself. It teaches one to be humble and accept life more openly.

  1. I am grateful for my family: There is truly nothing more saddening than having to spend the holidays alone by yourself. I am so grateful to God for having a loving husband and such a happy dog. My dog Ziggy is one of the purest souls. He teaches me that the happiest souls are the simplest souls and that if you wish to find love you need to give love. From my husband I have learned the art of being organized and living in the “present”. Although admittedly it is not an art I have fully yet grasped. Because when I look at myself critically, I am most guilty of either living in the past or always dreaming about the future. I rarely ever live in the moment. From my husband, I have also learned to enjoy the best in life. When it comes to shopping for myself, I always cut corners. That doesn’t mean I don’t buy enough for myself, it just mean I just don’t buy the “best” my money can afford. This mentality costs me more in the long run. Also subconsciously you train your mind to accept less than the best. I enjoy my husband’s mentality to buy the best his money can afford and enjoy it thoroughly.
  2. I am grateful for my sister: I am also very grateful for my wonderful sister and all the conversations I share with her. From my childhood she played a key role in shaping my personality and influenced me to be more outgoing. She helped me work hard on my people skills by promoting me to take part in elocutions, debates, school plays and even writing competitions. Her never dying faith in me has helped me have more faith in myself even when the going got tough.
  3. I am grateful for my job: I am grateful for having a good job with great colleagues that I can learn so much from. And yes, we may not be family and there is a healthy competition at workplace, it helps me to always keep my skills up to date. I am grateful to have a job that not only brings bread and butter to my table but I get to do what I enjoy and am good at.
  4. I am grateful for having a roof on my head: There is nothing better than coming home after a long day at work. And if you have to drive the 405 you will definitely understand the concept of stress! I am also thankful for the Californian weather, the beach and the lush greenery around me. I love to take my dog for a walk in the morning and see humming birds sucking the nectar out of the chrysanthemum’s in the park outside. That alone is enough to brighten any day!
  5. I am grateful for good health: When I was in pre-school my English teacher would make us write endless pages of cursive writing in the hopes that it would improve our penmanship. It never did anything to salvage mine. I sometimes have a hard time reading my own hand. But one thing it did do for me is that I learned a lot of nice sayings. See the thing is she would give us a saying and ask us to write it repeatedly for pages. It was sheer drudgery. The reason I am sharing the story is because one of the sayings I learned by heart was, “A cow hath its tail until lost”. I never really understood what it meant until I was much older. To me health is exactly like a cow’s tail. You take it for granted until you have lost it. All the joys of the world become meaningless the moment you don’t have health. Even something as simple as a house cold can bring a strong man to his knees. I am grateful for my health and will persevere to keep it by exercising, eating healthy and keeping stress at bay.
  6. I am grateful for good experiences: I am truly fortunate to have had so many great opportunities to visit the world since my childhood. Visiting new places and learning bits and pieces of foreign languages really opens the vistas of the mind. When I look back at my life, I know I have travelled a long way and had a sleuth of experiences.
  7. I am grateful for getting the best of two worlds: When I look at the news and see so much injustice and inequality around us, I cannot help thanking God for being fortunate enough to be born in a country like India which teaches you the importance of culture while training you to strive hard to maintain your independence and right to speech. I then moved to US (about fifteen years ago) and found USA to be one of the safest places for a woman to grow and flourish. I respect America for giving everyone an opportunity to succeed as long as they work hard. So today I cannot but thank God for the country of my birth and the country of my choice. Forever, I shall be indebted to the two countries.
  8. I am grateful for providence: When I look back at my life, I feel convinced that there is a higher power in play. Every time I have been in a fix and did not know how to get out of it, someone or something practically turned at my door step to help me in the form of a friendly advice, an offer of help, or even just inner strength that I did not know I had. As a young student in America, I was happily surprised by the kindness of absolute strangers, who treated me with so much love and kindness. I am grateful to my school that took care to provide an excellent community to its International students. I am grateful to all those wonderful people and send them bouquets of love.
  9. Lastly I am grateful for this blog: Yes, I am grateful to Ubecute as blogging helps me get out of the daily grind, even if just for a while. When I post an article and get comments from other bloggers or people on the web, it is like opening doors and windows in space and having happy loving faces peering back at me. I am grateful to my colleague who suggested I write a blog and my sister who pushed me to maintain it.

*Deep breath*. I practically wrote the 10 things above, in one breath. Now, that I have given my thanks, feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you are most thankful for? And don’t forget to pingback to Ubecute with your own Thanksgiving post.

A very Happy Thanksgiving all year round!AbottKinney3

Follow the child inside of you…


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