5 Life Lessons That Travel Teaches You

5 Life Lessons That Travel Teaches You

Over the last two decades, I have traveled a lot. A large part of it is due to work but also because I can’t stand to be in one place for too long. There is this constant urge to see more and go further to explore and experience.

No matter where and how far you go, I believe travel changes you in a lot many ways. As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness…” Yes, travel expands and enriches your experiences and life. The lessons that I have learnt from my travel are a lot, but here are 5 of them which are inspired by my years on the road.

Lesson #1: You’re more capable than you think – They say travel can transform you and I agree with it completely. I was an introvert, but travel has turned me into an outgoing introvert or an ambivert. When I look back, I realize that I have done a lot of things which seemed nearly impossible or uncharacteristic for me. I have travelled at all ungodly hours of the night alone, chatted away to glory with strangers, eaten alone at restaurants without a blink or care, dealt with eve-teasers and unruly behavior, handled unexpected mishaps and much more. I now know that I am capable of handling whatever is thrown at me, there might be mistakes but the challenge is taken heads on.

Lesson #2: You create your own stories through some priceless experiences – Life is about memories and not diamonds. Travel gives you some unusual and vivid experiences that last a lifetime. I can talk for hours about the various experiences I have had at various places. Shedding tears with a stranger as she shared her life and loss, listening to some amazing experiences of a cabbie, sitting quietly under a tree and soaking in the sounds and beauty of the nature, roaming the streets at night with a gang of friends and having some fun talks… are some of the experiences that I look back with smiles, always.

Lesson #3: You CAN survive without technology – I was at this remote resort in the hills where there was no mobile network. There was a landline at the resort though. The initial thoughts were anxiety and panic ridden. I soon realized that I must accept the reality. I cut my digital lifeline and soaked in the beauty and serenity around me. Going for walks in the woods, lounging in the sun and chatting with colleagues and participants of the workshop without the intrusion of texts and alerts from phones, re-learning to live in the moment felt positively luxurious. And when I was back in connectivity after 3 days, I realized that I had not missed anything. FOMO – the fear of missing out had turned into JOMO – the joy of missing out.

Lesson #4: You learn skills – Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer in skills and learnings. I had a poor sense of direction and believed in traveling with luggage which would last me for two trips. Some mishaps made me learn to travel light and become a better traveler. Travel makes you good at time management, communication and social skills, adaptability along with decision-making skills as well.

Lesson #5: You are appreciative of your loved ones –  Days and weeks away from your family would make you realize how important they are in your life. Traveling certainly makes you appreciate your family and friends more. And you realize that there’s no place like home.

What life lessons have your travels given you? Do share with me in the comment box.

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts [ Guest Post]

Hello Folks. Say Hi to my today’s Guest Blogger Shalini Baisiwala from Shalzmojo. I had the pleasure of meeting her some time back and she comes across as a warm, confident and intelligent woman with inner strength. An interior designer by profession and a blogger by passion. Shalini blogs about her experiences of travel, food, books, mindfulness.

Please join me in welcoming Shalini to my space here and I hope you enjoy her thoughtful and thought-provoking post.
Over to you, Shalini…

I am a big believer of giving gifts. There is something about wrapping it up, writing a pretty handwritten note, finding that perfect ribbon to tie it in and then the surprise on the receiver’s face – it all totals up into a big joy for me. So if I love giving them, logic says I would love receiving them too – right? I mean give and take is the basis of a good healthy relationship.

Wrong!!!!gifts

Much as I love to give out gifts, and receive them too; my focus is always on why someone is giving me a gift. I know they say “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. But I get very uncomfortable when people whom I barely know or have just recently met, start dishing out gifts to me. I start to look at the intention and every time I look at the gift displayed in my house – be it a coloring book, a magnet or a keepsake of any sort, it makes me uncomfortable.

My discomfort defines my feelings towards that relationship/person and it’s actually my intuition telling me to be careful about it.

In the past one year, there were these three new folks that I met who showered me with gifts. Each relationship had its doldrums beneath the smooth and calm surface of fun and friend ship. Each of the three fell apart as I realized I was being used. The fact of the matter was that the other side decided that I was someone who could be “useful” to them somehow and thus befriended me with that intent.

Silly me – here I was flattered for all the attention of being taken out for a movie, picked and dropped for coffee meets and most times the tab was also being picked up by the other person. Plus the gifts that were being showered on me; even though they were fast becoming a thorn in my side.

Why so? I really needed to analyze it. After all it’s the thought that counts right? But what was the thought behind these gifts?

Out of the three, one relationship went down south in the most miserable way as the perp realized I was not as useful as she had thought me to be. Ouch! The missiles in this case were brutal. I let it go thinking she is bipolar or something.

Second relationship was too much of a one way for me. I was always available to lend my able shoulders for a cry on, my softie heart for empathy and my limitless time as of course I had nothing better to do than wait for her to grace me with her presence. This person started getting a gift with very sweet notes of thank you for my being there for her. But when I would call her, message her or try to meet her; there would be radio silence from the other end. Sometimes I would get apologetic messages letting me know how bogged down she is with work/family/shit…….

Never once in past one year have I been able to catch hold of her when I wanted to talk to her. So the next time she tried to give me a gift, I put my foot down and told her that I cannot accept as she has already given me too much. I think I offended her because then she stopped meeting me altogether.

Third person was too sweet to me and some of our common friends cautioned me against her trying to use me. Actually they were right and I realized that to stop this relationship from going further.

See it is the thought that counts and in each case, the person was assuaging their own conscience by making sure there was a “give” to justify the “take” they wanted from me. A very pre-determined take based on their perception of my usefulness to them.

“Gifts have ribbons, not strings.” – Vanna Bonta

But this is surely not the intent of gifting. In my humble opinion it is not so. I send gifts because they make me happy and it makes me happy because I love the person I am doing it for. Oh I have a give-take in play too; my take is to boost the friendship and let the other person know how important they are to me.

I have made some terrific online friends via Secret Santa and other online interactions who now send gifts to me on my bday and otherwise too. We have never met but the bond has been created and there is a happy reciprocation of gifts, thoughts and love between us. We may never meet in the real world, in fact haven’t even spoken on the phone but our hearts are connected.

Gifts are not merely things but can be thoughts, helping hand, and one’s time – all in all they are stuff you do selflessly without any expectation of a return. That for me is the true nature of gifting.

What is your take on gifts? Do you think my reasoning is faulty? What would your advice be to me on this?

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About Shalzmojo

An interior designer by profession, writing is a passion which coupled with travel love, blossomed into this blog where I love to just “do my thing”! Be it recipes, food events, travel jaunts, fiction dreaming or even meditative musings; all of it’s taken up quite passionately on my blog. I am a serious wine guzzler and love to chase butterflies in my free time.

7 Pro-Tips to Buy Kids Wear Online

7 Pro-Tips to Buy Kids Wear Online (1)

Shopping for kids wear with kids? The mere thought of it can make most of us shudder. While shopping for most mothers is a fun and enjoyable expedition, the same is not true for kids. Shopping makes the kids overexcited or bored, tired and hungry and make some of them throw passionate tantrums. And amidst all this, we would want them to try multiple clothes in the trial room, with long queues and other equally impatient customers. Before this outing is complete, the kids are irritated and mothers are truly frustrated. And the whole experience can be described in one word and that would be a Nightmare!

With online shopping, these tantrums and nightmares have become passé. When the kids are sleeping or in school, you can shop to your heart content without leaving the house or even changing out of your pajamas. While online shopping is convenient, with great deals and wide variety and is hassle free, it comes with the worry that because you’re buying kids wear without trying on them, the size/fit might not be right and there might be issues in returning/exchanging.

Fret not; here are 7 tips to make sure that never, ever happens when you are shopping online for kids wear…

  • Get the measurements. You know that the sizes vary with brands and even the batch, the products were made in. This is easily sorted in a store by taking a quick trip to the trial room, the same cannot be done with online shopping. You need to take out that good old measuring tape and make a note of your child’s body measurements.
  • Check the size charts. Compare your child’s actual measurements with the size chart of the clothing item on the shopping site and determine which size you should actually be ordering.

Size Chart

  • Read the reviews. Research shows that 97 percent of consumers read online reviews, and they trust reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. So, read the personal experiences of the customers with the product/service before buying.
  • Know a bit about clothing material. The feel of a material is as important as the size. Since you can’t touch the fabric and often can’t know the texture of an item just by looking at the picture, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fabric content. Read about the material on the labels of the clothes in your cupboard and compare it with that of the online product.
  • Read the Return/ Exchange policy carefully. Familiarize yourself with the return policies before you order. Things to look for: free returns, how long you have to send the product back, whether or not you can make exchanges, if returns can be made in store and if there is a pick-up fee.
  • Be flexible. Be prepared to receive a product which is a shade different from what it looked in the picture. As you know, colors vary with batches.
  • Make notes. Keep a record of online retailers and brands you shopped with along with the sizes ordered and your experience. It would make your future purchases easier.

Happy Shopping!

Do you prefer shopping online for your children’s clothes or in store? Which online retailers are your favorites? Have you had any online-shopping mishaps? Do share in the comment box below!

8 Ways to Read More This Year

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8 Ways to Read More This Year

How much do you read?

Well, I read a lot! I am the person who is reading everywhere, a few pages here… a few pages there… in a bus, in a train, in the doctor’s waiting area, in a queue, in bed, while eating alone and sometimes even in the loo. There are some days (I wish I have more such days!) when I have read from morn to night and have left the bed just for bare necessities. I read all the time, and I love it. You may like to know why I love reading so much. Well, you may check out this earlier post of mine which shares just that!

The other day, a friend asked me in an almost accusatory tone, “How do you read so much?” I’d like to answer that today in this post.

Before, I share my strategies to read more, let me clarify that this is a post for only those who want to read more than their current reading pace but are not able to do so due to various reasons and is for those who want to enhance the quality of their reading experience.

Here are some strategies that I use to read more:

  1. Read what you like. If you are getting back to books because you know it’s good for you, or you’ve challenged yourself to read more, the last thing you should do is pick up a bestseller which everyone is reading. The probability of you abandoning it even before you reach chapter 2 is high if it’s not of your liking. Read what you like, not what you’re told to like. Pick up an entertaining and engaging book, you will finish it faster and you will bask in the joy of achievement too.
  2. Follow the cat rule. It is said that a cat carries her newborn babies wherever she goes. You should do the same with your book. Take books with you everywhere… to work, business meetings, shopping, travel, vacations even when resting on a couch in front of the TV. Have a book with you. Sooner or later, you’ll open it and start reading and in no time you will be hooked to the book and would read even if you have a free time of 5 minutes. Reading like any other thing requires practice and dedication.
  3. Make a public commitment. There is this social norm called the rule of commitment. According to this norm, you typically feel obligated to follow through with something after you have made a public commitment. Making an open pledge would give you internal psychological pressure and of course you have that social pressure too, to stick to your commitment. It is an effective way of bringing urgency back to your goal. So sharing your goals on Goodreads or your blog is a good way to make your resolve to read more a bit stronger.
  4. Track your reading. Our brain loves lists. Mine is truly, madly and deeply in love with lists. Keeping a record of what you have read will not only give you instant gratification but will give you a renewed sense of purpose too. I have an excel sheet where I track the books read for the various prompts of the various reading challenges. Also, Goodreads is a good way to record your reading. A tip – Record the entry immediately after you have finished reading the book. This link for PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018 spreadsheet will get you started and you can make your own variations too. The idea is to record your reading!!
  5. Buy cheap books. Now don’t get me wrong here. You know that, books cost money and if you plan to read a lot, your book budget is certainly going to shoot up. Buy books online to get better discounts. Amazon is my go-to store for books and it has changed my book buying habit completely. I keep adding the books I want to read in my wish list on Amazon, so whenever there’s a price drop, I get a notification for that. Also go for Kindle books which are economical than physical books. Join groups like eBook Deals for Broke Bibliophiles – India or Book Deals for Broke Bibliophiles – India and get information on some amazing book deals. Buy second hand books from sites like BookChor and of course, join a local library.
  6. Get your priorities right. If you want to read more, reading has to be high on your priority list. So, it has to come before watching TV or spending time on Facebook/ Twitter or simply wasting time.
  7. Find a few trusted, curated lists. We all have different likes and dislikes. The genres and authors your friend reads may not interest you. Also there are SO MANY books to read, and you can’t possibly read all of them. So, it makes sense to pick books which aligns with your taste. There are quite a few curated lists to follow like Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime or 74 Essential Books for Your Personal Library or Bill Gate’s reading list. You can find a lot many such lists on the internet. I follow some voracious readers on Goodreads who have reading taste similar to mine and pick books from their reading lists.
  8. Do reading sprints. There are times when you don’t feel like reading or have poor attention span. During such times, set a timer of 15 minutes on your phone and read for these 15 minutes. Take a 5 minute break and go for the next reading sprint of 15 minutes and you would have better reading focus and of course your reading mission would be accomplished too.

Leafing through a few pages all through the day adds up to a lot of reading and before you know it, reading will become a part of your daily routine.

Happy Reading!

These are my strategies to read more. Which of these would you like to adopt? Would you like to share your strategy to read more?

A Guide to Family Health Insurance Policies

A Guide to Family Health Insurance Policies

Recently, a friend of ours had to be hospitalized because of excruciating pain in his stomach. Then a few days later, his son met with an accident and had to undergo a surgery. The hospital bill and medical expenses for both of them were more than a lakh. Sadly, our friend did not have a comprehensive medical insurance and had none for his child. For this reason, he had to pay the amount from his own pocket and that put a significant financial burden on him and his family.

Healthcare costs are on the rise and in such a scenario buying a health insurance policy certainly helps. When buying health insurance policies, you may go for individual policies or a single health policy that covers all in the family. Rather, it makes sense to go for Family Health Insurance Policies, when you want to cover your entire family. Let’s understand Family Health Insurance Policies and why should you opt for it?

Family Health Insurance Policy is a policy which covers the entire family in a single insurance plan. It can be further customized as per your family’s needs. For e.g., if a family of 4 takes a cover of Rs 5 lakh, all family members together can claim up to that amount.

What are the benefits of Family Health Insurance Policies?

Family Health Insurance Policies offer a wide range of benefits.

  • You don’t need to maintain and keep track of several health insurance policies for your family.
  • A single policy is generally more affordable and economical than several individual policies.
  • Your entire family gets the required health insurance coverage against rising medical expenses.
  • A family health insurance policy offers extensive coverage as compared to individual policies. Everyone stays covered and in case of unanticipated high expenditure, adequate cover is available. Also, in case one family member falls ill, the entire family cover is available to the sick family member for the treatment.
  • Tax benefits are also available with Family Health Insurance Plans under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. You can also double the tax benefit if you are paying premium on the policy for your senior citizen parents.

Who all are covered under the Family Health Insurance?

Usually, spouse and kids are added automatically. In some family health insurance policies, the plan can be extended to cover dependent parents, in-laws, and siblings as well. The premium of the policy is determined on the basis of the age of the eldest family member.

How to choose the right Family Health Insurance Plan?

One needs to do due diligence in selecting the right of Family Health Insurance Policy. Here are a few pointers:

  • Sum insured: It should be taken into consideration so that even if one member avails a large part of the sum insured, there is sufficient balance amount for the remaining insured members.
  • Risk factor: If a person of higher age group is included in the policy, it increases the premium rates. Also, the likelihood of an older person in the family taking up much of the benefits of the policy is more. In such case, buying a separate health insurance policy for the elderly family members is much better.
  • Terms and conditions: It pays to look into the fine print of your Family Health Insurance Policy.
    • Check whether the insurer offers co-payment. If your insurance policy has a co-pay clause, you agree to pay a part of the medical expense out of your own pocket, and the insurer will cover the rest. For example: If your insurance policy has a co-pay (or co-insurance) clause of 10% and your medical expenditure is Rs.25,000, you will have to pay Rs.2,500 out of your own pocket and the insurer will cover the remaining Rs.22,500.
    • Know the deductible: Deductible is the amount that you are required to pay from your pocket in case of a claim. The remaining amount will be paid by the insurance company.
    • Know the room limit: Room limit is the amount up to which the health insurance policy will pay for your hospital room, in case of hospitalization.

For a hassle-free way of insuring the health of the entire family, you must consider Family Health Insurance Policy.

Do you have a Family Health Insurance Policy? If not, would you like to go for one?

He Provides Selfless Service to the Dead #WATWB


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Some 19 years ago, Ayub Ahmed was going to Gundlupet in a KSRTC bus to purchase a car, the driver stopped the vehicle near Bandipalya where a crowd had gathered around a dead body lying on the road. Ten hours later, when he was returning to Mysuru in his new car, the body was still there. A policeman standing near the corpse said he could not find anybody to shift the body to the morgue. That was the first unclaimed body Ahmed had buried. Ayub Ahmed

In an interview he shared, “When anybody buys a car, they take their friends or relatives on a drive. But I transported a dead body to the mortuary in mine,” Ayub Ahmed

Shifting unidentified and unclaimed bodies is not a coveted job. But 38-year-old Ayub Ahmed, not only shifts such bodies voluntarily to the mortuary, he also takes them to the burial ground and lays them to rest after the police declares them unidentified and unclaimed. He transports dead bodies in his own vehicle. Interestingly, he does not charge money from poor people. Along with recovery of dead bodies, Ayub also performs the last rites based on the identity of the deceased. Ayub has performed the last rites of thousands of dead bodies where relatives are nowhere on the scene. He has been doing this selfless act since the last 19 years and this has earned him the name of ‘Body Miyan’.

Ayub’s work survives largely on donations. However, he is content with what he gets and does the best he can with the resources at hand.

What I like about this real life story is the selfless service by an ordinary man, his motivation to help others in need without the thought of receiving any reward or repayment in return. It is one thing to drop some money into the bowl of a homeless person; it is quite another to devote one’s entire life to volunteering for such noble causes. Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person. And Ayub is doing just that by helping the dead pass from this world with respect and dignity.                                                                            WATW Turquoise Badge 320 x280 White

This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest, a monthly event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to showcase stories of hope and light. This month I’m helping out as a co-host, along with extraordinary bloggers  Simon Falk, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, Damyanti Biswas and Guilie Castillo—please hop over to check out their WATWB posts as well as from other WATWB participants for a dose of feel-good to last you a whole month. You’ll be happy you did!

Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!

My Book Reading Challenges 2018


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My 2018 Book reading Challenges

I love reading. I’ve been reading on a daily basis for years now. Probably, it’s the only healthy exercise that I have been able to follow religiously.

I also love challenging myself, so not doing a reading challenge would almost be a crime. I have been taking up reading challenges since the last 5 years. And in these past few years, I have read a lot.

Reading challenges have pushed me to read a little more. A little differently. About different topics. I remember a time, when I was reading only romance or just thrillers. Reading challenges have definitely helped expand my reading experiences. Because of the prompts from the various reading challenges, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and read non-fiction and dystopian novels and explored some genres and authors which I was totally ignorant of. For example, I was unaware that there is a sub genre of Romance called Christian Romance in which both the hero and heroine are devout Christians and are typically focused on a chaste courtship.

I enjoyed every bit of My 2017 Reading Challenges and I am very excited about this year’s challenges which I have picked up for myself. Have a look at them…

1. Goodreads

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Shilpa has
read 1 book toward
her goal of
100 books.
hide

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge 

This will be my second year for the #BrunchBookChallenge. I loved sharing my books and checking out books by other readers at Twitter for this challenge. From 36 books in 2017, this challenge is pushing the readers to read 50 books in 2018. And there’s this excitement of winning a big number of books at the end of the year with this challenge.

3. 2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

This is my favorite challenge, for this one has truly expanded my reading horizons. I love exploring books for the various prompts and then buying and reading them too. Thanks to the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, I have read such diverse books. I am excited about the prompts for this year.

Pop Sugar 2018

4. Back to the Classics 2018

I have read quite a few classics during the school days.I have been meaning to re-read some of them for a while now but never got around to do that. When I saw this challenge, I gave a whoop of joy. I am looking forward to the endless possibilities of rediscovery by reading some old classics with this challenge.

2018 Back to the Classics Challenge1. A 19th century classic2. A 20th century classic 3. A classic by a woman author4. A classic in translation. 5. A children's classic6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction

5. 2018 Read Your (Book) Shelf Challenge #ReadYourShelf

I failed miserably with the last year’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks 2017. Since I have become a Kindle convert, my books in my bookish cupboard are totally ignored. I have some fantastic books on my book shelves and I want to read them. In this challenge, one has to pick 12 books from their book shelves and stack them, click a picture and read one book every month in forward or reverse order. Given below is my pile of 12 books from my book cupboard which I am going to tackle this year.

2018 Read Your (Book) Shelf Challenge

6. 2018 Personal Growth Reading Challenge

Personal growth is a journey to explore and develop yourself. It helps you to develop physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually. Through this challenge, I’d like to educate and inspire myself to be a better version of myself. In this challenge, one has to read 26 books on the given topics.

2018-Personal-Growth-Reading-Challenge-1

These are the reading challenges that will keep me busy all through 2018.

If you are looking for more such reading challenges, check out The Master List Of 2018 Reading Challenges

What about you – do you do reading challenges? If so, which one?

In my next post, I’d share my experiences, learnings and strategies for reading more. Stay tuned!

How to Make a House Feel Like Home

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian BloggersToday’s world is driven by passion. It is about enjoying this one life to the fullest. We all love to travel and also explore our own world in the process. So there is always a need for new makeovers right from our wardrobe, hairstyle, attitude to the overall lifestyle.

REDEFINING LIFESTYLE

While we define our personal style with the way we dress or speak, our personality gets reflected also by how we live. Today the word ‘lifestyle’ is getting redefined as ‘living life in style’. So even if you travel for work or live away from home, you can always make a ‘house’ your home by adding your element of style to the place you reside.

It is a truth that we put less thought while shopping for clothes, but when it comes to buying furniture, it seems like a huge decision! This is similar to investing in real jewelry. Even if it seems like an asset, you do not wish to stay with that expensive piece, forever…

The mindset is the same while considering pieces if furniture as well. We are mostly on the go like nomads now, open to moving cities for professional and personal reasons.  So decorating the rented house and moving with so much baggage is not practical at all!

Coffee_Cum_Dining_Set

IS THERE A SOLUTION?

Yes!  The good news is that here is a perfect solution! Taking a cue from modern lifestyle, Cityfurnish.com offers a wide range of stylish, elegant and modern furniture on rent.

So you get to enjoy the luxury of style and comfort without any stress. All you need to do is select what you like for a pocket-friendly price. Doesn’t that sound wow? Belle_Double_Bed_With_Storage

PLACING ORDER IS SO EASY

The comprehensive range of home furniture from Cityfurnish.com includes bedroom furniture, living room furniture, dining room furniture and study room furniture.

3 simple steps to follow:

1) On Cityfurnish.com you can browse through a wide range of products.

2) Make your selection and then place the order online.

3) The well trained team from the brand will deliver and install your chosen products within 72 hours, while you simply sit back and relax.

WHAT’S WOW

Good piece of furniture is believed toremo_sofa_set reflect your taste and status as well.

¤ All the products from Cityfurnish.com are made with love, keeping in mind the latest international lifestyle trends.

¤ The furniture designs are finalised after putting a lot of thought process behind them. The research and consumer feedback is given great importance like most well known international players.

¤ Cityfurnish furniture pieces not only look elegant but also provide comfort and value for money.

¤All the furniture products are made in the brand’s own manufacturing facility, using highest quality wood and hardware.

¤ As an online furniture rental company, Cityfurnish understands the importance of good service even post delivery.

¤ Though initially Cityfurnish started as a furniture rental company, with growing realized customer demands, the brand also offers home appliances on rent.

So, the packages include not only furniture but also appliances to make your house a home!

Just choose what complements your style and leave the rest to Cityfurnish!

Have you ever taken furniture on rent before? Does this concept appeal to you?

Taking Stock of My 2017 Book Reading Challenges

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My-2017-Book-Reading-Challenges_thumb

It’s that time of the year when we all sit back and assess and reflect on our goals, achievements and struggles of the year that has gone by. And we also dream and plan for the year ahead. And it’s the perfect time to take stock of my 2017 Book Reading Challenges.

I had taken some ambitious reading goals at the beginning of 2017. Let’s check out how I fared with them.

1. Goodreads

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Shilpa has
completed her goal of reading
125 books in
2017!
hide

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge : Goal was to read 36 books by 31st December, 2017. I posted 49 books for this challenge.

HTBooks

3. 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge : Ah! This was my favorite challenge. Thanks to this, I read such diverse books and authors. And the best part was hunting for the books for the prompts and looking at my excel sheet every now and then for review.

PopSugar 2017

4. The 2017 Audiobook Challenge : I had plans to be a Weekend Warrior ie listen to 5-10 audio books, but I ended up being a Newbie. I listened to just one audio book.

5. Banned/Challenged Books Reading Challenge 2017 . For this challenge, I read Carrie by Stephen King and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Both these books were banned in schools in the US.

6. 2017 Diverse Reading Challenge : There were prompts for the various months and I aced this challenge truly.

2017 Diverse Reading Challenge

6. eBooks Reading Challenge 2017 : Of the 125 books that I had read in 2017, only 2 were paperbacks and I was an audio book. So, I aced the last level, ‘Empty the Cloud’ of this challenge. This clearly shows that I am a total Kindle convert now.

7. Humor Reading Challenge 2017 : This is my favorite genre. I wanted to read more than 15 books for this challenge, but I ended up reading 11 only so I completed the Comedy Writer Level of this challenge.

Humor

9. LGBTQIA Reading Challenge 2017 : One had to read just 1 book for this challenge, I read Vivek & I by Mayur Patel.

10. #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks 2017 : While I read quite a lot from my unread Kindle library, I failed miserably in reading physical books which are growing by the day. Will change that in 2018.

In all, it has been an excellent reading year. Despite the challenges of life, was still able to prioritize reading. Thanks to these challenges, I read some terrific books and alternative genres that I would not have discovered or tackled on my own. And that truly expanded my reading horizon. I tracked my progress on an excel sheet and reviewing it from time to time inspired me and pushed me to go for the finish line. And am I glad of achieving my goals?

So, what did you read last year? Have you joined any reading challenge?

Stay tuned to my next post where I will share my Reading Goals for 2018.

Playing the Victim Card


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The family of five had grim and sombre expressions as they waited in the corridor outside the Operation Theatre of the hospital. It was a major health crisis for them. The doctors assured that with medicines and care, the matriarch of the family would have a better quality of life.

Day after day, the children gave their mother best care and undivided attention which benefitted her immensely.

Soon they started seeing a change in her. With numerous friends and relatives dropping by, she started enjoying the sympathy talks and basked in the attention that was lavished on her. She bragged about her illness. She complained about everything and got into self-pity mode frequently. She constantly blamed other people or situations for feeling miserable. She refused to take up any responsibility even when she started getting better. If people told her to get active, she would either get hyper, “How dare you suggest that to me. You don’t know what I am going through” or get into victim mode, “I am in pain and nobody cares for me.”

Needless to say that this disturbed and drained the entire family.

These were the classic signs and symptoms of victim mentality.

Playing the victim actually gave her a lot of power: power to avoid responsibility, power to feel ‘righteously’ sad, power to avoid uncomfortable emotions which would always result in teary-weepy episodes and power to manipulate other people.

Dealing with a self-victimizing person is not an easy task. But it must be dealt with before the relationship with them turns toxic. The children got wiser from their experience and here’s what we can learn from them to tackle the victim mentality displayed by their mother.

  • Do not ignore the red flags. Though the family took action a bit later, but retrospectively they realized that the warning signs were all there from the beginning. They should not have been brushed under the carpet as a bad day or mood swings. Before the other person’s victim mentality starts to negatively impact your own life, it’s important to take action. Sit with the person and make them see the picture and work towards fixing it.

“As long as you feel like a victim, you are one.” – Morgan Freeman

  • Change the story. Help the person to be a survivor in their life story rather than a victim. A victim dwells in the past, a survivor lives in the present. A victim believes they’re helpless, a survivor takes back control over their life. Although the victim mentality is addictive, the survivor mentality is much more empowering in the long term. Change their focus from being self-absorbed to being interested in others. Help them realize the power of gratitude.

They say that victim mentality is a learned behavior, so it can be unlearnt too. Unlearning wasn’t easy but with patience and consistent efforts, my friend and her family fixed the negative attitude that was destroying their peace of mind and happiness.

Have you ever been stuck with someone with a victim mentality? How did you overcome it? Do share in the comments.

Linking this to #FridayReflections

Everyday Gyaan
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