A tribute to loving and losing

Some people say love hurts, others say it brings happiness. I would say love brought me life’s greatest lessons. I was 16 when I first started actually dating someone. It was kind of a big deal. Being from India I can definitely tell you that parents are really not okay with you seeing someone at that age. That’s when they expect you to enjoy life (start thinking about your career). I really did want to make it big in life. I was very ambitious at 16, I wanted to be a doctor. I even put a LOT of effort towards being one. Of course, now at 25, I know I wouldn’t have been able to succeed doing that. Anyway, the person I was dating was literally the opposite of who I was. He was funny then, we hung out a lot and he wasn’t ambitious at all. It was a typical high school relationship. I couldn’t have asked for more. I really thought I was going to marry him. Then, I went to college, I grew up.

The break up wasn’t really as difficult as it should have been. Considering I was dreaming about my perfect wedding with a person I had been for almost three years. I moved on rather quickly. I remember my friends telling me I was too practical instead of being emotional at the time. It was me who broke up. I wish I could go back and apologize for being a hard ass that I was. I din’t really care about what the other person felt. I always thought I should be happy. If not break up was my best bet.

As I started college, I became famous with the ‘senior’ guys. I was a bit of a carefree/ hippy back then; never gave a shit about what people thought of me. I guess that’s how I survived college. I made great friends who are still with me. I met someone worth being with at that time. He was really nice, funny and sociable. Would engage a crowd with a great conversation. But then all of this led to many insecurities which led to a break up. That’s what happens to good college relationships- people move abroad and long distance brings insecurities. That relationship was a big factor that led to me moving out of my house and coming to this country. Of course by the time I got here I had already broken up. Who wants an old relationship when they are in a new country. Right? Oh my god! This is who I was before- shallow who had no empathy towards anyone.

I wasn’t going to get away hurting everyone that came into my life. So I finally met someone who changed me completely. Definitely for the better and yes, I am not with that person anymore. He is happily married now to his girlfriend/ ex-girlfriend of God knows how long. I was a drifting bird in his life so to say. And I do wish them the best for their future. They are really suited for each other. And some part of me wanted them to be together even when I was dating him. How messed up is that. I’m sure many people out there must have felt like me. I became this lonely, dull person who smoked and drank all the time to make myself feel better. I never asked myself once is this relationship really worth it? But when I did I stayed away from trouble. It took me a long time to accept that I was cheated on, being lied to and rejected while living in the same house. My advice- Never do it. Move the hell out! Also, never think that you are going to end up alone. Its root cause of all failed relationships.

Anyway for what its worth, I learned a lot from each one of them, even from the ones I dated for a short time. And I wish I was in touch with each of them. But that doesn’t really happen these days. No one talks to their exes anymore, everyone just stalks them on social media! Come on! You all know I’m right about this one. That’s how all of us feel good or bad about ourselves depending how our exes are doing.

Today I do learn about their lives and I do feel extremely happy for each one of them as they get married or find the one they truly love. I am evolving and moving towards forgiving my past and doing away with regrets and being strong for my future. I certainly don’t feel as insecure as I used to before (can’t be a 100%- not insecure) haha! I learned about who I really was as a person. Inside and out. Gave me perspective and motivation to be better than who I am.

Today I am happy- not only for myself but also for the ones I loved and lost.

P.S: If ever my exes get to this- I want you guys to know that it was great to have you all in some of the most important phases of my life.

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Starting Afresh

So I guess it’s been a while since I saw my own website. I have been swamped with work! Oh, but first let me tell you that I have finally found a permanent job at a renowned cosmetic contract manufacturing. My interview went really well and I was hoping to nail this one. And I did! It has been two months here and I have been learning quite a bit. I really wanted to switch jobs, get recognized for what I am doing. And I guess this is a stepping stone towards that. There have been so many changes in my life right now.

I moved closer to my new job that is in New York. No! not New York city, just New York state. Its a beautiful drive I take every morning. It was horrible in the snow but I made it. I moved all my stuff in the storm too! It’s like the storm wants to be my best buddy. Also, I am the only Indian in my workplace. Breather from New Jersey/ Indian land. Not like I hated it, I still do love New Jersey. But this is different. May be good different; I haven’t decided yet. Its too early.

I was kinda thrown into the middle of our innovation collection at work. It was like mad house a month ago. I really don’t know how I survived it. The job is teaching me the dynamics of a manufacturing unit I had never seen before. It is so different from the previous companies I worked for. I’m definitely learning though. I guess, sometimes, you just have to take one day at a time. And then all goes well. Its not the best place to build your career but I feel like I made a good start. In this day and age it’s so important to have a good relationship with all your colleagues for various reasons. One being your own sanity. The minute things go south, stress increases. I am definitely learning to ignore the things that irk me.

Living alone has been difficult, more like overwhelming. I handle my own bills now, clean the apartment and do the dishes by myself 😦 Not to mention all the cooking. Its tough to keep your mind occupied all the time in an empty apartment but I guess I have been doing okay. Its as if I have been given all this time to plan my life ahead. Plan about the more important things.

When I left home four years ago, I thought I had taken the biggest step of my life. I was wrong. That’s because I landed a fantastic group of friends and roommates here. I realize now living alone has been the toughest thing I’ve had to do.

I know I do have a long way to go. Build a career first, save some money to support a family. The future looks bright and I hope I can be positive and determined through this learning curve of my life.

For all you people out there who are considering living alone (moving out from your parents house or not living with roommates anymore); I think you should think twice before doing this. Its a lot of responsibility, its expensive and you have to pretty much take care of yourself. Having said that, sometimes its amazing to unwind by yourself, doing things you like- be it watching your favorite show or just reading a book or playing an instrument. It feels like it is going to be okay. And then a new day begins. I would recommend every person to live alone at least once in their life. See and experience the bigger picture.

Things I learned from 2014

I know I haven’t blogged for a while now. But it’s been a crazy couple of weeks; getting back to routine, trying to prioritize important things. I have dedicated this year to Career and Fitness. I know it sounds lame but I am going to do it anyway. As an International student here, getting a job, a work visa is very challenging and I do see a big chunk of people struggle everyday with this issue. But, we stay strong and get through it.

So last year, I dedicated myself to learning how much ever I could at work; enough to apply for jobs out there. Of course learning is a daily decision, so I try to imbibe how much ever I can. I have been frustrated with the job hunt. Though it has only made me more confident to know what I really want and what I really deserve. In my opinion, giving interviews is a great experience.

All my friends tell me that I look way better than I did a couple of years ago, where I was skinny and looked a little malnourished. The truth is, I stopped my bad habits and started eating more. More, obviously didn’t mean it was healthy. I gained my appetite back but it wasn’t in a good way. So I think this year needs to be about my health and earning some money (more like saving some money).

I see so many of my classmates from undergrad, tying the knot. I guess everyone is finding “the one” to be doing that. I don’t see myself getting married for a few years from now. There is so much to be done before that. Marriage needs dedication and hard work. Its not like I can’t do both but its just not the right time for me. Luckily, I don’t feel the pressure looking at other people going on this journey.

After a long time I feel happy and satisfied with myself. I don’t generally feel stressed anymore (big achievement for me considering I used to be the stress queen). 2014 taught me how worrying about unimportant things and people isn’t worth it. People who don’t matter left anyway. People who stayed always mattered. I feel proud to say that I just have a handful of ‘real’ friends who don’t pretend like the ‘fake’ ones did.

I realized I was surrounded by people who pulled me down. They were a negative impact on my life which was already complicated. Its important to understand that at some point you need to leave them behind and move forward. Of course you need your folks around you, that doesn’t mean you put up with their crap. I learned to let go! A very big lesson for me.

This is year I will learn to forgive and hopefully learn to forget. I have a lot to learn, lot to achieve this year. I hope you guys are dreaming big too. Because I know 2015 is going to be amazing! At least way better than 2014.

Dream Big and Achieve Bigger!

Bringing in the New Year

2014 just flew by. Can’t believe it’s 2015 already. I’m pretty sure I feel this way every year. I had a great, long break from work and my other stressful stuff. In this one week, I traveled, ate good food, saw dolphins among other things. I did not drink much, considering most of my other new years have gone by wasted. It’s been wonderful having these experiences with no alcohol. Life feels so much better! I enjoyed a few TV shows (that was me taking a break from being in the car and cold).

I visited the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The 4D experience in their movie theater is awesome! If you have young children, should definitely take them. The different types of fish I saw there, just made me ecstatic. There were sharks, shrimps, crabs, swordfish and there was a huge leopard print sting ray! And of course the dolphins were there and beautiful jellyfish. This definitely is a must-go place. TIP: Try a weekday; weekends and holidays are way too crowded.

I also had brunch at this famous place called Miss Shirley’s cafe. If you Yelp it, you will find great reviews and amazing pictures of the food. I had the shrimp and grits with the fried green tomatoes, very flavorful. Another must- have desert is the Monkey bread. Just go try it; I don’t really have words to describe it. Its that good! Miss Shirley’s was a great experience.

Another great place for desert is “The Bent Spoon”. I really enjoy this place when I crave for my dose of ice cream. I drive all the way down to Princeton for this one. This is the only place I’ve tried, that has different flavors every week! Can you believe that? They do have their usual dark chocolate, vanilla etc. But they also experiment with their bold choice of flavors. For example they had ‘Tree” flavored ice cream. Can you imagine? It was just I like imagined how a tree would taste. They incorporated it beautifully into the ice cream. I love their ice cream because its flavorful obviously; but its also so light. The after effect is not lethargy. TIP: Their sorbets are splendid and if you like hazelnut, their ice cream is to die for. I also like the sea salt caramel (its seasonal 😦 ).

For Christmas, I went to the Christmas village in Philadelphia, PA which happens every year. They have great food, lot of handicraft items, handmade goods etc. Had a waffle with strawberry bits at the waffle counter. So let me tell you this, no matter what I eat in Philly, it never seems to disappoint me. There are great places to hangout with friends, eat food, watch movies and plays. Philly has it all. And it isn’t even as crowded as New York city.

Today, when I start my new ‘work’ year, I feel well rested and ready to get on with work. To top up the motivation, I got a hair cut! A hair cut is a great confidence booster. I do want this year to be better than the last. Achieve my set goals, one at a time. I feel stronger this year and have decided to begin this year with a lot of self motivation and confidence. There is no time for set backs and mistakes!

The New Year always brings some resolutions with it. Though, this year, I have just decided to take one day at a time. Enjoy it and do everything to make it an awesome one. Every year I decide to be healthier than the previous one (doesn’t mean I exercise). I have got my appetite back that I lost in 2013. No complains there. Just that now I need to lose the hearty weight I have gained. Good thing is, I bid farewell to my addictions from 2013. I have been clean for a while now! Something that everyone should consider doing. Its totally worth the effort. I feel so much better. You won’t know how it feels until to try it. Give it a shot!

And for all those who feel the way I do- ALL THE VERY BEST! 2015 is going to be great!

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Handicrafts at the Christmas Village

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

Waffles I ate (Christmas Village)

At Miss Shirley's Cafe, Baltimore, MD

At Miss Shirley’s Cafe, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Jellies, National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD

Lonely, I am so lonely; I have nobody to call my own…

This is how I felt when I first moved here. Cliche but true. I think most of us feel lonely when we first come to a different world, away from our comfort zone. Though I do know people who love this opportunity to meet new people, interact and make new friends. I find this a little weird. Don’t get me wrong, I am sociable. But I do find excessively chirpy ones among new people; a little weird.

India is crowded; very crowded as compared to the various states in the United States. You wouldn’t see a stretch of land without any people on it. I am from Mumbai, I have never seen empty spaces of land. Growing up there, I got used to the cars honking, hawkers shouting at the curb of the road, women shouting at each other so they could win their argument. This was routine for me. And how can I forget the heat and the humidity. Ah! Sweat! And of course, the smell.

A big part of my childhood consisted of playing with my neighbors and the sleepovers. It was four of us girls; sure there was a lot of fighting. But there was also a lot of caring, sharing and doing all the girly stuff together. And as we grew up, there was shopping! I fondly remember those days, when were we wore each others clothes. Today its different, considering one of us has a 6 year old boy. He is quite the rockstar. I don’t recollect a single day where our doors would be closed and we wouldn’t be running around in both the apartments.That was the feeling of belonging. I knew all my neighbors. I ate home cooked meals with them every other weekend.

So, when I landed here, in the US, I was quite shocked and depressed. I knew no one. I had no neighbors and no friends around. This feeling can really be overpowering if you don’t do anything about it. I waited for a good two weeks to realize I wasn’t in India anymore. And that my family and my friends are 10,000 miles away. Reality struck me bad. I cried a lot that night, slowly understanding that I truly was by myself.

I have seen students leaving mid- semester and going back to India. Just because they cannot handle the pressure of being alone or rather by themselves. Let me tell you this, we aren’t really alone. There are thousands, just like us, who are struggling to make it here; who are scared to ask for help. I, once wanted to go back home. I had decided to give up, lost all faith. But then my father reminded me that I was a fighter. I have always fought my way through different times. Achieved great things through hard work.

I am lucky I found amazing friends who are like family. You always feel the need to find somebody, especially during the holidays. Someone to cuddle with in the cold. How would you do that if you stayed depressed and lonely at home. So go out! Mingle! And am sure you won’t feel lonely or unhappy anymore. Trust me, it isn’t too difficult to open up to a stranger. No reason to get hurt or nothing to lose. Take this chance and enjoy your holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ

Oh, you little thing, you inspire me..

As a part of growing up, I liked the little things to inspire me in a way that the vital ones didn’t. A kind act by someone (not necessarily for me) or even someone sharing an article they read. It makes you believe that people do think about you in the day and that you did make a difference to them. I am quite self motivated and usually don’t get dispirited. I take delight in bringing energy among a group of people I am a part of. I appreciate every deed a person has done for me. Although I do want to learn how to be less critical of a person or a situation and see the light behind it.

I really enjoy my ride to work. There is something about early mornings, the fresh air even if its so damn cold! I like seeing the roads, shops by the side, slowly getting busy. I enjoy seeing little children being dropped off to the school bus by their parents. Something about the mornings also inspires me to do better, do much  more than I can. Sipping a warm cup of coffee, listening to music; I mentally make a to-do list for myself. I feel like the coffee helps register things better.

My recent inspiration has been travelling and being on the road. It has given me time for myself and also helped me enjoy food of different styles and people of different kinds. Good food and good conversations are my fuel for life. Whenever I feel down, I read. I enjoy playing with my never ending collection of stationary. So I write back home to my family and friends. It makes a difference to me and to them. My friends from India have told me that my posts have reached them at the correct time or when they were least expecting it. It makes me so happy.

The most trivial things help you to make so much sense of every situation. I bask in the joy of somehow knowing it all (at least I feel I do). Doesn’t everyone want to feel that way? I suggest you give importance to the less valued things, emotions and gestures. It makes life simpler and gives you an edge. Then you start noticing that people around do appreciate you for it.

Someday I want to be a person who is strong emotionally and who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I want to make a difference in multiple lives. Motivate them when they need me the most. I want to move forward and take all my loved ones with me.

Have you made a difference today or changed anyone’s life?

I wish you were here..

How does it feel to lose your breath? How does it feel to be lost? How does it feel to lose yourself?

My mother was my friend, my critic, my guide, my idol. I’m sure many people feel the same. When I was 10, I believed that I could conquer the world with her help (I was young). I trusted that I could achieve it all. Parents give you that confidence to excel. Mine certainly did. Of course with all of this, I was a little bit of an arrogant kid, always looking out for myself. I wasn’t empathetic towards peoples’ feelings or their problems. Sometimes you need life to teach you a lesson (at least I thought it was that).

Just a few days before my 10th grade final exams (quite an important one for Indians), I got a call early one morning. My mom had gone for a party previous night, her team had organized at work. I remember how beautiful she looked as she left to never come back. I looked at her with awe and felt proud to have a parent like her. She was the most important to me. The call ruined everything. The person on the phone sounded scared, worried and slightly guilty. She told me that she wanted to speak to my father, considering I was still young to deal with it.

There was an accident. She was hit.

My life came crumbling down. I was angry for days, wondering why this happened. Why would this happen to me. I felt disappointed. Truly, it was loss, of the worst kind. I have a younger sister. I looked at her. The sadness in her eyes made me feel that I should be stronger. For her. For my family. For myself. The pain was excruciating, my head hurt everyday. I kept thinking and questioning my fate (most do that when they are sad). I became a defensive person with huge walls around myself. My sister did too. (If you ask people around us, they will tell you!) It was just the way we protected ourselves from being hurt again.

Sometimes, you need to take a step back and think about survival. It was difficult to adjust for the longest time. We would have fights in our house. I would be more agitated than usual. It was like a roller coaster of emotions considering we guys had to see her coma for 22 months, every single day. I hadn’t seen my happy place for the longest time. Finally, my mother gave up being a turnip (that’s what they say). Eight years ago, around this time (18th Dec 2006) she left me, my sister, my father, she left us.

Today I am eight years wiser (at least I think I am). Every person needs time and space to figure that this wasn’t their fault. Or even to cool off anger and think straight. I feel better about this empty space in my life. About the fact that if and when I get married, my mother won’t be there to see me off. But today, I know that I din’t lose it all. I have my father, my sister, who take care of me even if they are 10,000 miles away. They are the strongest in the world. I truly love and miss them so much. My sister always says that we are a team and we are in this together. My empty spaces are filled with one of the best people in the world (my world).

My sister shared this quote with me when I was at the lowest point in my life. It said, “Sisters are friends for life, a gift to each other from their parents. If they are near or far, they always belong to each other and belong together”. I am the luckiest to have her. I realize the importance today, of having a sibling. Take the time to express to your sibling, how grateful you are for their presence. And for all those who have lost a parent, don’t lose hope. It does get better! And you will be happy again. Ask for help when you need it. Your family is yours, they will always love you. Thank the one parent you have, who has struggled for your happiness and sacrificed their own.

 

Its Thanksgiving time! Lets all give thanks!

Before I came to the United states, I had no clue what thanksgiving was. During my first year of study here, I was exposed to thanksgiving concepts, foods, and ways of celebration. For a foodie like me, it is a grand fiesta. There is literally soooo much food around. And it sounds all delicious!

For us, in India, the only time we truly celebrate together with so much food and lights is Diwali (I mean it’s called the festival of lights). Diwali for us is like celebrating thanksgiving here. Good food, great clothes, so many gifts! It’s a crazy time for the females considering we get to eat and shop a lot! And who doesn’t like sale and discounts! I remember last year, me and my group of friends were sitting in my room, not talking to each other and just shopping continuously for hours. This was because all of us didn’t want to tackle a crowd. It can really get messy during this time. I, once heard that people could die in this stampede (So much for being a shopaholic, huh?).

Since I don’t have my family here to celebrate thanksgiving with, I will be enjoying every moment I can with my friends who are my family. I will spend most of my time eating and shopping (And hoping that the winter storm isn’t too bad). I remember, my first storm I witnessed here was Sandy. Ah! those days without electricity, a week of being nomadic and wishing to be back home. Sure don’t want anything close to that! I hope and wish, all of you are warm and safe with your kith and kin celebrating this holiday with a lot of love and happiness.

This year though, with yummylicious food, I will try to thank every person who made a difference in my life at some point. It sounds sweet, doesn’t it? You guys should try it too!

But trust me when I tell you this, I haven’t tasted the traditional baked or roasted stuffed turkey. Can you believe it! And you would think I go all out for my food, right!? (Any volunteers to feed me delicious turkey this year?)

P.S: Thank you dad and Payal (sister) for always being there and witnessing my success and failures; for lifting me up every time I fell down. I miss you guys!

Thank you Pia for always being there; taking care of me, an entire week, while I irritated you with my sickness. Thank you Manali and Neha, for always being there and handling my idiosyncrasies well.

A very big thank you to all my friends, all over the world, for making the slightest difference in my life and also for being a part of it. I miss you all. Hoping to see you all at some point, very soon.

Enjoy giving thanks using the new KRDTS app available on Google Playstore and Apple Appstore.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Love is how you make me feel

What is Love?

Can anyone define it? I don’t think so; not perfectly at least. I am sure each one of us has a different definition to this emotion or rather “feeling”. Growing up, I always thought it would be like a perfect fairy tale: Girl meets boy– tingling– eyes meet– tingling– hold hands for the first time– tingling– First kiss– tingling! Do we actually feel this way? I thought I would marry the first boy I meet and fall in love with (Its an Indian thing to always think about marriage). Of course it didn’t end that way.

I am playing a totally different ball game today! I’m sure most of you are too. Some of us who actually have felt the “tingling” are just plainly lucky. So, for most of those who find that one person, spend most of their time pleasing them. No one wants to upset their loved one or even do anything to lose them. I have seen couples who spend their entire lives pleasing each other. They lose themselves; their own identity in doing so. What kind of a life would you be living if you din’t enjoy it with the person you love, right?

I observe so many couples around me. Some are really happy with each other, others, not so much. They ‘make do’ with their situations. That’s not love, is it? May be it is. Then you meet couples who are extremely compatible, who don’t need the presence of others. Then I question: Is compatibility a sign of love? I do believe that compatibility does ignite some level of attraction between two people, but is it enough to be in love? I never got to answering that.

We are made to believe that love is always about the other person. But is it really?. One of my friends once told me, “Love is about how the person you love makes you feel”. Let’s all think about this for a second. Hmmm, did you ever ponder over it that way? Its true though. That is when you truly concentrate on yourself, being happy, making your loved one happy. And happiness is what we all desire, don’t we? I have seen people spend years finding happiness in what they do. Let me tell you this, it always starts with yourself. I feel that everyone is accountable for how they feel (remember the tingling?).

When I started being okay with myself, all my relationships; be it with my partner, my family, my friends, all were okay. More than okay! I began noticing the changes, the love I always wanted to feel with all of them.

Today, love is my comfort and faith. Is it yours?

Comfort

The universe finds ways and means to upset us through actions, words and emotions.

I found myself longing for comfort like home, like my family which was 10,000 miles away. Life seemed meaningless and mysterious at the same time. I thought comfort was a person, it was in his actions towards me. I thought comfort was food or a cozy blanket, a shower or even sleep. Comfort was lost in believing that it is materialistic. I was rigid, I was upset.

Today, it is a state of mind, a moment in the day when I believe I am okay, I am loved, I am respected. Today I am strong, I have direction. Today I am alone and not lonely. Today I have forgotten my past, forgiven my regrets, embraced myself with a blanket called comfort. I am comfortable with who I am and who I will be.

Comfort: She is freedom from pain, ease from grief; she is solace.