#25- Joy of giving

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

I am in awe of  people who make it their life mission to help others. Stories of such benevolence and grace inspire me to make it my life’s mission to give something back, make just one person’s life better. From saving the environment, to improving education, alleviating poverty and disease, people are sacrificing their time and energy to make the world a better place.

I am inspired by the drive and determination of people like Bill Gates and Bono who have invested their personal fortune in eradicating poverty and diseases in Africa. In my homeland, India, there are amazing organizations like Nanhi Kali, Cry, among others which have some inspirational people working to making India a better place.

I am grateful to have such role models, and I hope some day I can make a difference in making the world a better place.

#24-Dreams and Ambition

One of the biggest realizations for me in the last year is how much ambition pushed me to propel me to the right direction. It is one of the life lessons I learnt as I struggled to deal with not getting a job.I think a lot of the time I felt like I wont be able to achieve all the things I had envisioned for myself. I wanted a secure job, a stable marriage, and be able to do something back for the world. But in the rush to get a job, I often lost focus of all other things. It took time to get the wisdom to refocus on my marriage, look for the simple pleasures in life, and look at the bigger picture. Part of the reason I am writing the 25 days of gratitude is to look for the small things that seem to make my life better! I didn’t want to look at my life as what I couldn’t do but what I could do, so it took a bit of re-focusing. I am studying now, which was not in my plan but I have got around to look at it as a stepping stone to get my career back. I think in the last year I lost a bit of my fire for my list of ambitions, but I am finding my footing. My new ambition which takes me forward– to get back on track!

#23-Candles

A permanent fixture in my apartment are candles. I love them in every shape of form! Its one of those things that makes any room feel more intimate and make any evening special!

It is again one of those things which I loved since I was a kid, when I bought candles as a kid, I never lit any of them up so I could hold on to it for longer. I don’t think I can walk by a candle store without buying one! My obsession for candles is something my husband used to find very amusing, but I would like to believe I have made him appreciate how candles make any room more special!

Some of my favorite candle images!



#22-Art

I can’t believe it took me this long to write about this, but one my favorite hobbies is to paint, sketch, draw…. I always painted since I was a kid, and secretly dream about getting famous for it! I always thought about taking classes professionally but I think I am too much of a chicken to face up to a likely probability- someone saying I have no art talent! I spend hours in art museums, walking around and hoping to gain knowledge and insight. It helps me relax, to clear my head and just get to a tranquil frame of mind!

My husband has been immensely supportive of my art ambitions, I made two paintings on Lord Ganpati for him (below).

 

#21-Perfume

Going back to some of my favorite things (I risk making this blog seem like Oprah’s favorite things episode!), I love perfumes. I can’t get out the house without it. Wearing a good perfume makes me feel prettier!

When I was a kid, I used to walk around malls collecting samples. I remember the first perfume I purchased– a David Off Cool Water. I held on to them, long after they are done!

The one perfume I was dying to have was the Issey Miyake! Strong and powerful fragrance that leaves a mark! And my amazing brother was generous enough to get me one!

#20- People who put me down

I was talking to my soul sister and best friend Deepti, about my idea of 25 days of gratitude, and she reminded of how we have grown as individuals and how people putting us down have helped us grow. I thought it was rather profound, and with her permission, I plagiarized the idea. She eloquently captured a very interesting point.

People are often critiques and end up being negative, and when our self-esteem isn’t very defined, this negativity can affect you a lot. But as I see it, if you can separate the person from their criticism, you can evaluate if that is justified.  I have one clear experience in my mind. I have always had problems with my weight, especially since my ankle surgery. And for some reason, everyone who barely knew me thought they had a free pass to ride me on it. On my wedding day, one of the happiest days of my life, people came to me and said “Congratulations. You have put on so much weight”. I think initially it really riled me up, and I felt the urge to give an explanation. For the next few days, I worked out harder than usual. But it took me months and many more comments to realize that the only person I need to answer to is myself, and as long as I know I am doing all that I can, then what people say doesn’t matter. I want to work out but only for me, for my own image, and for me to like the way I look.

The wisdom to choose to ignore and learn how to deal with the comments comes over time though. I think over a period of time, as you get a clear definition of who you are, then it doesn’t faze you. You accept it, and every time someone puts you down, you learn how to deal with it.

As I list the things I am grateful for, I am grateful for people who put me down, because it built me to be the person I am today.

#19- Lists

I am self-confessed forgetful person, and the one thing that ensures I am sane and helps me keep my life on track is making lists. I try and keep everything from grocery lists, to birthday and event lists, to the to-do lists. The lists on various scraps of paper, phones, in all my books, and of course on my palms!

I think I might need a list to remind me to read all my lists and make sure I go from planning to execution!!

#18- Passion for Economics

I started my undergraduate, confused and unsure about what I wanted to do. I almost stumbled into Economics, and loved it! I spoke to a few people and took a spot decision to change my majors from business to Economics. My parents were convinced I was failing Business and thats why I am shifting so suddenly!

I think I connected to the subject because there aren’t rules, it isn’t like math in that there are axioms and theorems. There is a lot of movement and trends in the subject, again in contrast to history, which to me, is like an explanation of observable phenomenon. What made me enjoy the subject and gave me a high, is the chance to, on occasion, predict the performance of currencies based on the theory I have studied. It is this applicability and connection from theory to the real world  is what I find interesting.

To get my fill on economics read, I love the blogs by Tim Harford and Greg Mankiw, I stumbled upon a hilarious website called economists do it with models! I know it sounds a bit geeky, but I am so glad to stumble to this discipline, and it is something I hope to contribute towards!

#17-Yoga

Its my new found passion, and one of my favorite forms of exercise. I started classes in Singapore after my ennui to go the gyms, and as means to meet new people. The experience changed my life! Not only is it a powerful exercise that makes sure you work out every inch of your body, it improves blood supply making you feel energized! I have had ankle ligament issues, and yoga has helped me gain strength in my legs and tone up. It has improved my flexibility, strength and posture immensely. I have discovered that doing yoga can solve simple sprains and body aches. Sure, when I started yoga, a day after the class, I was left with sore muscles all over! But in this case, the pain is worth the gain!

#16-Relationship with God

Now I want to move back to the more serious mode. One of the things I am grateful for is my relationship with God. Its not so much the religion aspect, but the faith. Let me be honest, it isn’t always that simple. When things don’t work out, I get upset and sometimes question why me? When things are really bad, you wonder if there is a point to trying, whether things would eventually work out in the end. But what keeps me from not giving up and still work towards life is the faith that everything happens for a reason, there is a plan. It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand the plan, it just matters that I have that faith. go to the temple and I sit there to feel like there is someone there who has your back.
My parents are religious, they follow customs and festivals, and I try to do whichever ones I can follow. Not because I have to but because it reminds me to reach out to God not only when things are bad, also when things are just fine, to say thank you for being there.