Monday Motivation

“ Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness”. Brene Brown.

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Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you all a good week ahead!

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Christmas Preparations

A big ‘welcome back’ to dear Amanda!

Growing up in Kolkata, Chritmas was about having fruit cake and my hidden desire to get presents from Santa – as I thought that was what Christmas was all about. This was of course, when I was much younger and it ended probably when I was around seven or eight years old! My dad, who has always been very enthusiastic about everything, once bought us a plastic Santa Claus, about 6 inches tall with a very pink face. I was overjoyed. I remember putting it on the window sill, next to a very shiny ‘Christmas Tree’, that too was of a similar height and that was all the Christmas I needed. I did it every year, even long after I had gotten over the ‘getting gifts from Santa’ phase. I can’t really recollect why…but I guess that’s the fun part of being a child. Once, I remember, during my ‘Santa fascination’ phase, I had hung two school socks-one for me and one for my younger brother-hoping Santa would bring us some candies. While that was quite a last minute act, we were pleasantly surprised when we found some ‘5 star’ candy bars in them the following morning.

A lot has changed since then. We live in a country that does not let you miss Christmas. We too get in the festive spirit and put up our fake tree with presents underneath! Our son has a lot of fun decorating the tree with trinkets and keeps cookies and milk for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer. And every time I hang up Christmas stockings, I still think about the white school socks from many moons ago that I had hung outside my ‘moshari‘(Bengali for mosquito net). There are no more mosharis or the pleasant winters of Kolkata where the sweet winter sun embraces you in a strange warmth that I think only a Kolkata winter can bring. It’s usually all white and while the winter wonderland effect stays for some days, it disappears rather quickly when one has to dig out the car from under a pile of snow. But the snow does make things look pretty:

We are yet to put up our tree this year…may be we will do it tomorrow. But this year it has to be the smaller one, the one that is kept on a table top, as our baby girl has started ‘cruising’ and is very close to walking and a big tree, with what seems like a bit too many ornaments at times, probably would not be a good idea! Cards need to be sent out and  some household items to a  local organization that works with families in need, especially at this time of the year. The school/daycare our son goes to also does a similar thing and it helps the community to come together. While Santa will visit our house too, we try to make sure that out older one knows the spirit of giving that is part of this festive season. He is still small to fully comprehend the complexity of human life but the hope is to help him and his sister understand, gradually, to always do what is possible for those that need a helping hand.

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Christmas lights are up on our main street, cars can be seen carrying Christmas trees tied to their roofs, sometimes in a precarious manner, shops are overflowing with things red and green, front doors are happily displaying Christmas wreaths. People are preparing in their own way I suppose, some getting ready to celebrate with near and dear ones while some probably are dreading the sudden rush. Some choose to stay away and some choose to overdo. Whichever way you choose to celebrate or not, we wish you happiness and peace and hope the year ends with you looking at all that you have done in spite of all the negativity that might have tried to upset your balance. Hope the new year brings you possibilities and you continue on creating what you love.

The photos are of Christmas past and present.

 

 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good weekend! Posted for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

A love-hate relationship

       I have been in this country for a while now and am used to the snow. Or so I tell myself. About a decade ago, when my flight landed in Chicago and I was rushing to catch my connecting flight to Minneapolis, I remember a brief chat I had with this gentleman while waiting for the air train. He was elderly and had a cheerful demeanor that I still remember to this day. I was fresh off the boat and had been traveling for 16 hours with another 1.5 hours to go. I presume I was getting a little antsy which he sensed, standing a few inches from me and said the following  in a rather deep, yet silvery voice “Where are you headed to Miss? I hope somewhere warm!” And when I mentioned my destination, he broke into this hearty laugh and said “Oh my, you better bundle up nice!” We exchanged a few more words before I got up on the train and a short flight later, I felt the reason for his “Oh my!” as a -15F wind and a blanket of snow welcomed me in Minneapolis.

   I have both loved and hated winter time. I still harbor the same feelings. Once I settled in, I was enamored by the ‘magical winter wonderland feel’ but that passed soon, and the reality of having to dress up in a gazillion layers while running on ice to catch the bus settled in. And whoever has been in that situation knows well that it is not a fun one! I have hated when the heater in our student apartment broke and I have hated when the tires of our car kept spinning in the ice, refusing to move. I have hated every time we have fallen on black ice and that one time when the car skid and hit a pole on the sidewalk, leading to a badly damaged bumper (which we had to tape up later and keep it that way till it could be fixed!). I have hated 7.45 am classes and classes that got over at 8 pm. But I have loved being with my husband and getting to know him a bit more everyday, sharing our likes and dislikes. I have loved living our own life, sharing our hopes and dreams, living our truth. I have loved white Christmas. I have loved laughing and spinning memories with good friends in front of a beautiful fire place. I have loved walking with my husband on his birthday along this ‘picture postcard beautiful’  lane, dotted with twinkly lights, as the snow fell silently around us. I have loved making a snowman for the first time and I have loved watching the snow fall at wee hours and they have soothed my eyes that were tired from trying to finish assignments. This love-hate relationship with the snow that started in Minneapolis about a decade ago, has been rather special and continues to this day as we spend our ninth winter here in New Jersey. Challenges are different and so are the joys. I still love the first snowfall of the season and am still in awe at the captivating silence when it falls. We have little ones now and the sight of snow fills the older one with an amusement and wonder that only kids are capable of feeling! I remember the first time he walked on snow as if it was yesterday. There was awe and pure joy in that, and a bliss to watch. The other day, he held his baby sister tightly and they watched the first snowfall of the season together. I watched them and added the moment to my pocketbook of memories.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for stopping by. Wherever you are, I hope you are adding memories to your pocketbook too.

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Future

   This is  Snow’s last time as a host for the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge that I have come to love so dearly and to be honest the blog that made my love for taking photos, deeper. I thank Snow for her thoughtful and interesting prompts and while she will be missed as a host here, I am glad she will continue to write! I am also looking forward to Sandy’s prompts as she joins in:)

   The future holds promise…at least that’s what we all hope for. It can present itself as new ventures we embark upon or returning to old ones with renewed vigor. Life is a concoction of crazy and dull moments, of sweet and bitter memories, of reflections and aspirations, of the have-s and have-nots and somehow, in spite of all the gloom that at times seems to engulf this world, keeps us hooked to possibilities. And that’s the power of future. I hope the world becomes kinder and wiser and we are able to take better care of this one place we have been fortunate enough to call Home so that our future generations are able to thrive and enjoy. For me, it’s also about seeing my little ones grow up healthy, knowing right from wrong and never deviating from the truth and embracing kindness…no matter what. It feels lofty at times when I think about it, given this rhetoric of hatred that just doesn’t seem to go away. But I am hopeful and I choose to believe in the promise of a better and brighter future for all of us, no matter where we are today.

 

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Monday Motivation

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”- Eleanor Roosevelt.

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Thanks for stopping by!

 

November photo a day challenge: Old Fashioned

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We still have a few of these and a ‘walkman’ too that still works! While not really old fashioned for us, they sure are for our next generation. This particular one is from 1984 – home recordings from a time gone by…keeping the voices of  someone very dear to my heart, alive.

Posted for citysonnet’s November photo a day challenge.

 

Thanks for stopping by and have a good rest of the week!

Monday Motivation

   Life is not equal parts happiness and equal parts sorrow…more often than not, sorrow somehow seems to have an upper hand. It rattles our peace and toys with emotions, smiles at the misfortune and maybe even revels in pulling us down to the abyss of hopelessness, testing the levels of our endurance and pushing us to our limits. We are probably all too familiar with this, unfortunately. And may be we, sometimes, come dangerously close to giving up. Yet, as if by some miracle , we go on. We must. We learn from missteps and we try to put the right foot forward. We breathe through the pain, breathe through the tears but keep our chins up and keep looking for that path forward. We cling on to hope and make that our chalice when darkness looms large. There are, maybe, people we know who are going through similar unhappy patches at the moment. Often just being there for them helps. With or without giving ‘advice’. Just listening and letting them know that they are not alone. It helps. So, if you know someone who maybe is going through a hard time, I hope you reach out to that person to let them know that you are there. The world is a much better place when we look out for each other.  And, if anyone reading this is going through an uneven stretch, I hope it passes soon and you come out stronger.

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This made me smile on a day that was not particularly a bright one.

 

Thanks for stopping by and keep believing.