Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twenty Thirteen: The year in a post!

To be honest, I never liked the sound of 2013; there was a bad ring to it. So for that reason alone, I am glad it is over. What i learnt about life and myself in the last year: (Lessons learnt from 2012 in this post, and highlights from 2011 in this post)

  • I like to keep challenging myself. I do it quietly, hesitatingly, all the while questioning my ability on the inside but i do it with a weird sense of confidence that is latent but very potent.
  • This yoga class i attended a few weeks back and a chance comment from the instructor that stayed with me- she said: 'Injuries are very clever, they let you know your weaknesses; make them your friends and respect them'. I was so blown away by that sentence that i almost let go of the lizard pose she had us all in and went and gave her a hug. Injuries; physical, emotional and psychological- they all tell you what the chink in your armor is and it never hurts to know that and work on it. 
  • The weirdest experience happened outside of office when a man stopped me and 1) said things about my past that were absolutely true and b) predicted my future. 
  • I think life should be documented, what else is it if not a string of easily forgettable moments? This blog is one way of doing it but of course there is only this much that you can mention on a public blog. I have taken Ma's advice and have started sending emails to myself about the funny things, the compliments, the heart warming little incidents that one tends to forget..
  • Its funny  you know; how you live life scared of some things and then the things that actually happen- you would have never even imagined that that would happen to you! I struggled massively with some issues this year and in trying to get over them, i tried so many new things, understood so much about myself that i think i evolved as a person more in this year than in any other. I learnt to be very optimistic and enthusiastic about everything in general. 
  • Africa. Visit it. It calls me again and again. (The Africa Diaries here)
  • Travelling is one of the greatest joys of life. I think it was this year that i truly realized how much i love to travel. My advice: If you can afford it, travel. If you cannot afford it, travel. So this year I traveled to India (of course), Lanzarote (Canary Islands),Mombasa (Kenya), Salzbourg (Austria), Istanbul (Turkey), road trip in Scotland, Amsterdam (again), Stockholm (Sweden), and Dubrovnik (Croatia). 
  • Life can be perfectly fabulous without certain people in it. Don't take $%^& from people. If you are even vaguely/ remotely successful a lot of people will behave the way they do because they are jealous of you. Ignore, move on. 
  • I performed on stage for the first time in ages. I danced to a Bollywood song in London. Here is a post with the details and some pictures.
  • I discovered the immense joys of baking! Pictures of some stuff i baked here.
  • I changed roles at work and am now doing something i never thought i would/ could. This change in role also meant that I pretty much smashed the before-i-turn-30 salary target i had set for myself. I am very thankful for this opportunity and work my hardest.
  • I have realized that my biggest strengths are hard work and a good sense of humor. There was an email from my doctor that began ' Dear R, I must say your email made me giggle...'  To be honest, his email made ME giggle :)
  • I made a lot of friends. 
  • I have become an expert at throwing parties. I cook for 10 people without batting an eye lid and zero stress. 
  • I got back to exercising and am loving it. Here is a post on my love for yoga.
  • I painted, baked and embroidered.
  • I realised that being Indian is a very big part of my identity. I tried very hard to not let Holi, Diwali, Karwa Chauth be just ordinary days; i called up people, cooked or got them to cook, and actually celebrated the festivals. For holi, we had colour, for diwali we had patake and for Karwa we had the channi and fasting. And for all these, we had a lot of people. My house feels like a home when all this happens and I like that feeling.
  • I have made a ritual out of Sid's birthday. I cook a day in advance, invite his closest friends and make him feel all special :) We have also almost made a ritual of travelling for mine.
  • My brother decided to get  married to a girl I am extremely fond of and the thought of them being man and wife just fills my heart with immense, pure joy.
  • I realised that we might be scared, vulnerable and fearful. I also learnt that with wisdom, we can overcome such negative emotions.
  • this was one of the most eye opening and oddly enough, spiritual experiences of my life.
  • I watched all the episodes of Big Boss. Yes, kill me now.
  • This year I finished writing two books. Maybe some day i will talk in detail about the first one but suffice to say right now that the first one is very close to my heart- I breathed and lived it for 1.5 years; for the first time the story completely overtook every aspect of my life. I would actually sort out the nitty gritties of the plot in my dreams, so obsessed was my being with it. Eating, drinking, sitting in the tube- the story would do its rounds in my head. However, no respectable publisher thought it would sell in the Indian market. That was a tough blow. I learnt to not give up. Picked myself up and wrote another one. Harper Collins has kindly agreed to publish it. (Whoop whopp, hurraaaayyy). I learnt, very simply, to not give up on my dreams. If you dream often enough and work hard enough, it generally, does happen :) And that is why, yet again, life taught me how important it is to keep at it. Simply keep at it.

I think, all in all, I became more active, learnt to massively multi task, struggled, succeeded, threw tantrums, cried my heart out, laughed, made others laugh a lot, stood by friends, fought with people i am close to, spoke my mind, grew in confidence, felt incredibly vulnerable, was horrible and absolutely lovely in equal bits. That pretty much sums up 2013.

To a fabulous 2014 to all of us!


Monday, December 30, 2013


'Are you a person or a museum or probably 3-4 people in one and should be put in a museum?' my Scottish manager asked me a few hours ago, laughing.

I get that a lot these days; people who share my life with me asking me how i do the many things i do and honestly, the question takes me by surprise because i do not know how to live any different. 
I wish i did, but i do not.

I have a high pressure, full time, B2B sales job with targets and customers spread across UK, rest of Europe, Russia etc.

I have one book in the market and another i have signed the contract for and am finalizing the details for.

Yesterday I baked and iced a cake for a lunch party i threw for my husband's birthday and this is not the first time I baked and cooked for someone's birthday. 

Today i will hopefully complete an embroidery project that i have been working on for quite some time.

I was a little indulgent (and very tired from the last few days ) and hence decided to not do any exercise today and i do not like the feeling.. I typically do some core strength exercises or a nice 40 minute cardio session or go for a 40 minute walk atleast 4-5 times a week. Close friends have been witness to my biceps and triceps which i have been proudly showing off to anyone who will bother. 

I have a BIG circle of friends in London most of whom wish to spend time with me. 

I traveled last month to Croatia, am travelling to India in Jan and to Iceland in Feb and still itch to travel more.

I am ALWAYS reading. I am extremely listless without a book.

I HAVE to speak to my Mum atleast once a day.

And I typically have a LOT of time on my hands. So much time that sometimes i wonder what is missing...

So, to answer the question, i understand that this is probably not normal but i do not know how or why i do it. 


Monday, December 09, 2013


 2009. Induction meeting in Delhi for MBA graduates who were to be part of the fast track management trainee program of one of India’s largest telecom companies. Lots of us excited MBA graduates ready to set the corporate world on fire and all that higgledy-pigglidy.

A casual first meeting, I suppose; one that I cannot even recall now. Another face in the crowd, probably…Five of us were going to be based out of the same city and he was one of them.

Half a decade and half way across the world later he is one of my closest friends.
When? How? Really?

Friendships. It is interesting to see how the important ones began. You allow yourself a little smile when you go back into time and see for yourself in a little self-directed movie how it all panned out.

Nik and I were together in the same company for a grand total of 3 months in 2009. Remarkably,that was the only time we have spent around each other. The five of us were a big, tight group, the tacit promise of helping each other see through the horrors of the internship ensuring that we had much to talk about, share and laugh at.

A finance role in a telecom company was never going to keep him for long, and he left soon after to join an investment banking firm, to do things he really, truly wanted to do. I stayed on in the company for another three months and then moved to London.

Since then, I got married, wrote a book, wrote another, then another and then ANOTHER! (Not all of them will be printed s don't freak out about the number of books I have in the pipeline )

Every author has a friend who reads the books they write as they write it. Typically, its their closest friend. For me, my Dad and Nik do that. We have spent hours discussing the characters, the plot and why he thinks what I have written is great/ ok/ utter rubbish.  He was also the brain behind the title of the first one and he will name my second.

Today is his birthday.

Last year, towards the end of December, it struck me that the entire year had passed and I had not wished him a happy birthday. Had I missed it, I asked him innocently, as I paced my garden back at home in India.

The answer, of course, was that I had indeed and he had been waiting for me to realize that I had!

I still mentally LOL when I think of that conversation.

Good friends are precious, very precious. And while my behavior hardly shows that I hold that thought dear, I dooooo!

Nikhil is one of the very few people who understands me even when I do not say anything (and I mean this literally). He is also one of the very few people in front of whom I can be me without fear of being judged. And I count that as a luxury.

Along the years, we have helped each other take some of the biggest decisions we have taken. Often not by giving advice but mostly by just hearing the other one out.

As you get older  As Nik gets older, I, of course, stay 16, you tend to value  such friendships a lot more than you did when you were younger.

And, so, on this august day of Nik’s birthday, (;) ;) ) I would like to wish him a world full of happiness.

Happy birthday, Nik.

You simply rock J


Friday, December 06, 2013

The latest craze

So there is something new that has caught my fancy.


Now, I have been doing bits and pieces of it forever but it is only of late that I have taken to it with gusto. I mix it with exercises that work on my core, use pink coloured light weights and feel so so so good when I am done with it.

For the longest time ever, I just waited to find that whole hour to go to the gym. It hardly happened. One fine day I told myself that enough was definitely enough, and promised myself that if nothing I will do 15-20 minutes of yoga before I leave for work each day. Something, I reasoned with myself, was better than nothing? eh?

Let me just add that 15 minutes of yoga are the best investment possible. Take my word for it. And, well, you CAN take out 15 minutes for yourself. Atleast!

I do breathing exercises, stretching, surya namaskars and add a little bit of core to it  (How I LOVE planks and push ups!)

The only point in putting this here is because for some reason, of late, a lot of people have emailed/ told me how much this blog inspires them. That is an odd thing to say because I never intended for this blog to inspire. AMuse yes, but inspire, no.

So be inspired to work out....just start with 15 minutes in the morning.

Take my word for it. Your body will thank me :)