What Do You Treasure Most in Life? #WriteBravely

“What do you treasure most in life?” This question was casually asked one evening during a get-together with friends.  Love and support from family, friends who have been through thick and thin, some special gifts, love notes during the dating days, drawings / notes from kids, good health… were some of the responses that we heard that evening. These are priceless treasures indeed.

I couldn’t share my thought that day, as I was needed in the kitchen for something. If I were to answer that question today, well… family, friends, books, some accomplishments and a very thoughtful gift from a blogging buddy, Sulekha for KG and me, would feature in my list of what I treasure.

But if I delve a bit deeper, my answer would be a bit different. TreasureI am a sentimental woman and have always been like that. I hold close the moments and memories that touch me or bring me joy. I cherish the moment when I learnt how to rock my baby to sleep or the night when we chatted away to glory with friends or the regular things KG and I do together. All these are not spectacular or something profound but moments like these are stored in my heart as great treasures. 

Today, I’d like to share two of my all time favourite treasured moments and memories…

Not All Heroes Wear Capes

Some years ago, I was thinking about the troubles that were never ending just like the bus ride back home. So lost I was in complaining to God about my life and my circumstances that I was unaware of the tears that were streaming down my face. When a warm hand touched my hand, I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned to look into the compassionate eyes of my co-passenger. Before my brain could process a reaction, the lady said, “I don’t know what’s troubling you. But I want you to know that you’ll get through it. Whatever ‘it’ is!”

Her words were exactly what I needed to hear. Those few simple words comforted me. Her words filled me with optimism and hope. And this memory is something that I treasure the most and is close to my heart.

Conversation Over Coffee

It was 2008, Aaryan was learning Abacus at an institute.  Usually, I sat outside his class while he studied inside, because going back home and coming again to pick him after an hour and half was not feasible.

That day, I dropped him at his class and went to the market to do some shopping. Incidentally, that got done in a few minutes. I decided to have coffee in a nearby café. Next to my table sat a man with his coffee. I don’t remember how it started, but we got chatting. We talked about so many things and laughed so much.

Soon, it was time to leave and we just bid goodbye to each other. We didn’t ask for each other’s names or exchanged any personal details for that matter. It was one of the best conversations I had had with a stranger and this is when I don’t talk to strangers as a rule. This is another memory that I cherish a lot.

There are a lot more moments and memories like these, which I love and treasure. There are times when I don’t think about these moments for a long time, but a small hint or another memory brings them right back in the forefront and envelope me in that warm fuzzy feeling.

What do you treasure most in life?

Linking this to the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words

Day 1 – Prompt – Write about a treasure you have…

The Homecoming

Drabble

She felt their judgmental eyes on her. She knew that they knew.

And that was sufficient to bring the monsters of the past to raise their ugly heads.

The memories of the past slipped back into her mind and engulfed it completely with fear and pain.

She ran away from all the physical and the mental demons into the dark and quiet of the long room.

As she breathed in deeply, the musty and the woody smell acted as a tonic for her frazzled nerves.

The words around her gave her the much-needed escape, comfort and strength.

It was homecoming…

Books

Linking this to Writing Wednesdays at Write Tribe for the Prompt  “The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ― Maya Angelou

Writing-Wednesdays

Hero Umpire Who Saved a Suicidal Woman #WATWB

John Tumpane can’t explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the afternoon of June 28, 2017.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go. The woman struggled and asked him to let her jump. “You’ll forget me tomorrow,” she told him.

“I’ll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.”

MLB Umpire Saves Suicidal Woman

You can read the news report and listen to Tumpane’s talk here.

This positive and uplifting story has touched me.

This story reminded me of something I read at Corinne’s blog. It says, “A man who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, left a note “I’m walking to the bridge,” begins a Golden Gate Bridge suicide note. “If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” Sadly, no one smiled!”…

This story keeps reverberating in my head!! And more so, because 2 months ago, one afternoon, my husband’s best friend’s sister jumped from a busy bridge and no one noticed or stopped her!

We may never know what somebody’s day looks like. We may never know what battles they are fighting.  We may never know what demons they are facing. Or what life circumstances are weighing them down.

But can we be positive and supportive of people around us and connect with them?
Can we reach out to those who have become disconnected from others and offer them support and friendship?
Can we show more empathy towards people around us?
Can we lend a patient ear and a supporting hand?

This simple act of ours can be a life-saving act.

Can we bring a little sunshine into the days of those around us?

In darkness, can we be the light?

WATW Turquoise Badge 320 x280 White

The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its fifth month of a year-long journey.

This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity.

This month’s co-hosts, Simon FalkRoshan RadhakrishnanInderpreet Uppal, Damyanti Biswas and Sylvia Steinwelcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month.

Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

Delayed Connection

Drabble

I’m sitting by the window, waiting for a piece of my young adult life to walk in through the door.

As if on cue, he’s wading through the sea of tables and fellow diners.

His eyes light up on seeing me and before the pleasantries, he gives his reason for being late, just like before.

We talk about a million things and fall into an uncomfortable silence when it’s time to leave.

And at that very moment, I realize that I’ve never stopped loving him.

I stare at him in shocked silence, when he says, “I’ve never stopped loving you.”

Linking this to Writing Wednesdays at Write Tribe. Today’s prompt is a Wordle consisting of 10 words. From these words, use a minimum of 4 to a maximum of 10 words in the post.

writingwednesdaywordle

The One That Got Away

Today’s prompt for #FridayReflections is…

“Then I wondered if everybody has that person that haunts them, the one that got away.”― Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings

The first thought that comes to my mind when I think about ‘the one that got away’  is unrequited love. But it could be about the missed opportunities, or the relationships that didn’t work out, as well.

‘The one that got away’ brings to my mind the thought that a relationship or an opportunity should have worked but somehow it didn’t turn out as per the expectations and their paths diverged.

How would one feel about ‘the one that got away’? What would be the dominant feeling? Would it be regret or hurt or pain or doubt or…? Would the various ‘could have been’ scenarios create havoc in the head? Would the heart shed silent tears?

I remember writing a 100 word story on this very thought a few years ago, which I believe is apt for this prompt. So here’s a rehash of an old post…

Drabble

La douleur exqise*… the words that explained how he felt.

He knew that she would never be his. But when does love follow rules?

For months, he felt a heavy stone on his heart, with sad tears washing it.

The pain was killing him and he believed that he’d never get over her.

Then just like a new day, change came his way.

He realized that he was done with regrets. He had to move on.

He understood that some people can be a part of your history but never your destiny!

Slowly, he felt his heart begin to heal…

*La douleur exqise – It means, the heart wrenching pain of wanting affection of someone unattainable.

Linking this to #FridayReflections

Friday-Reflections-button

Drop the Dead Leaves -Thursday Tree Love #4

I saw this tree, earlier this week and it reminded me of this quote from Rumi… Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.

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Isn’t this message so simple yet so profound. As we grow in life, we gather so many experiences in the form of people, places and everything around us. As much as we may want to but all these are not just the good and positive. There’s the bad and the ugly as well. While we often look at positive things of the past with a smile, but we really hang on to the negativity of the past.

Our failures, our mistakes, our disappointments, and our hurts from the past are shackled around our ankles. They weigh us down, yet we hold on to them tightly.  Some of these painful memories are immortalized in our minds.

Last week, I was in the grip of a past hurt, which I believed was truly a thing of the past and would never be a part of my present again. And yet, it was there with all its power to distress and agonize me.

Why can’t we be like this tree and drop all the leaves of resentments, hurts, pains, miseries of the past? I know it’s easier said than done, but we must truly drop these baggages of the past. It’s a conscious choice that we must make.

In one of the meditation session that I was a part of, the guide suggested three strategies to let go of the past.

  • Acknowledge that we have some dead leaves to drop.
  • Consciously work on removing them from our life.
  • Reap the benefits of the progress.

The process of dropping dead leaves is a slow process but a progress nevertheless.

Yes, let’s be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop and bring about a positive change in our life.

Do you have some dead leaves to drop? How would you go about dropping them?

Linking this to Thursday Tree Love, a photo feature hosted by Parul Thakur. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link up. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

Beating the Block

55 Fiction

It’s time you updated your blog.

Blogger's Block

I want to but it’s a struggle. The thoughts are too foggy and the words are eluding me.

How about a story in 55 words? Certainly, you can manage that.

You think that is a cake walk?

Don’t give excuses, just start writing.

Ok, if you insist. Here it goes…

Best Time to Book for Indian Travellers Favourite Summer Destinations

Leading global travel search engine, Skyscanner has analysed two years’ worth ofclip_image001 travel search data from over 60 million monthly users to answer the one questions that always puzzles travellers: when is the best time to book flights?

A recent survey of Indian travellers revealed 72% do not know when is the best time to book flights. Skyscanner’s survey further unveiled 69% of travellers incorrectly estimate the best air fares can be found less than 12 weeks before departure, when in fact the best deals are snapped up by travellers who plan in advance. Traveller’s eyeing up Bali for their summer trip can save up to 51% on flight tickets by booking 25 weeks in advance or risk paying 27% more than the average fare when they leave booking to the last minute.

The same trend appears for air fares to Indian traveller’s favourite summer destinations, traveller’s looking to vacation in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok can grab flights for 35% and 33% less than the average fare, respectively, when booking 24 weeks prior to departure.

Skyscanner recommends booking 24 weeks in advance for travellers venturing to Europe or the USA for their summer vacations for savings of 22% and 18%, respectively.

Skyscanner also reveals the most inexpensive months to travel to visit some of Indian travellers’ favourite locations. November is the cheapest month to travel to Bangkok when flights 10% cheaper than the average fare, while visa-friendly Bali can be best enjoyed in April with a 10% saving on the average fare.

Commenting on the findings, Reshmi Roy, Senior Growth Manager, Skyscanner India said, “We hope Skyscanner’s data can provide travellers with clarity on how and when to get the best deal on flights and what to expect if booking is left to the last minute. After reviewing flight prices from the last two years, we can clearly see that it pays to plan. Booking at the right time can make a huge difference to one’s expenditure on their trip, up to 51% in some cases.”

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About Skyscanner

  • Skyscanner is a leading global travel search company, providing free search of flights, hotels and car hire around the world
  • Founded in 2003, Skyscanner helps over 60 million people each month to find their travel options
  • Skyscanner is available in 30 languages
  • Skyscanner’s highly-rated free mobile app has been downloaded over 60 million times
  • Skyscanner employs over 800 staff and has 10 offices across the world: Barcelona, Beijing, Budapest, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Miami, Shenzhen, Singapore and Sofia
  • Skyscanner is part of the Ctrip Group

For more information, please visit https://www.skyscanner.co.in/bttb/best-time-to-book-in

Surthrive -Thursday Tree Love #3

Last month, I was in Shimla and near our homestay I saw this unusual sight, which I was quick to capture in my phone. You can see here that a tree is growing through a wall. A wall, yes!!

httptheoldshelter.comliebster-award-june-2017

I am sure that its roots must be long and strong in the ground on the other side of IMG_20170612_091642the wall. But that’s not the point. The point is that this tree had obstacles in its way, well, it was up against a wall, literally and figuratively. And it is still growing. It is not merely surviving but thriving… surthriving that is. See, how tall, towering and green it is, and it’s contributing to the world around it, selflessly.

There’s a lot that we can learn from this particular tree. It’s about surthriving despite the adversities.

We know, life is full of challenges but how do we respond to these surprises that come our way? The problems that we face are not the problems, actually. The problem is the way we approach these problems. Do we allow the setbacks to pull us down and discourage us? Or do we use the problem as a stepping stone and move ahead anyway.

This tree reminds me of us… KG and I. These past few years have been pretty challenging for us, work wise that is. Today, when I look back, I realize that we did not get broken down by the adverse winds. We surthrived even in the most difficult of circumstances. Positive attitude, not playing the victim card, resilience, taking control of the situation, looking at solutions, never giving up were some of the things that helped us tide over the tough times.

Like this tree, we surthrived and I am so glad and proud of that.

How do you respond when life throws you a curveball? Do share your surthrival stories in the comment box below. I am all ears!

Linking this to Thursday Tree Love, a photo feature hosted by Parul Thakur. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link up using the linky. Let’s come together to appreciate the beautiful nature around us.

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