Finding Comfort In Chaos

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I never thought I would write about this, but here I am trying to make some sense of it. This is going to be slightly long so stay with me.

Being in the medical field, I come across anxious and worried families of the patient all the time. A part of my job is to answer their questions, make them comfortable, ease them out to the best of my capacity. I didn’t give it much thought rather enough thought to the things they must be going through. Of course, I knew it wasn’t easy, but I naturally thought more about the patient and from a treatment point of view. And then one day, I received a phone call back in March,2018. A call that gave me the chills, gave me a different perspective and showed me what’s it like to be on the other side.

My mother had suffered a massive heart attack with multiple blockages and my fellow medical colleagues and Grey’s Anatomy fanatics will relate to this when I say we were way past the golden hour. I was away from home which made it more difficult but like my mother says by god’s grace everything went well. The first few weeks were critical, but as strong as our mothers are she fought right through it. And I told myself, the tough part is over, it was a bad phase, we will sail through it. 

Fast forward to the end of the year, both my grannies started showing similar symptoms as my mom, we rushed them for all the tests. Within a couple of days, they were both diagnosed with massive blockages and needed immediate intervention. They both got operated on the same day. One of them was badly affected and was bed ridden for a long time. It was a tough time for my family as we were juggling between them, sharing the day and night shifts and just seeing them in so much pain was very heartbreaking and overwhelming. It breaks my heart till date whenever I talk or even think about it.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a few months later my grandfather suffered from a stroke, this was his third one and got the best of him. This was followed by my brother’s massive neurosurgery, a very near and dear one’s death to covid, my father’s severe pneumonia, mom’s second big surgery and my grandfather’s untimely demise a couple of months back. Last 3-4 years have been maddening and things are still settling down accompanied with personal and professional work life balance which has been very challenging. I have been fortunate and privileged to have family and friends who supported me throughout. I wouldn’t be able to get through it without them.

Caregiver’s Stress

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It was during this period that I experienced what we call ‘Caregivers stress’. Caregiver’s stress/burnout isn’t spoken about a lot, mostly because it is difficult to recognise,  but there are a lot of studies that discuss it at length. It’s defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It often leads to development of compassion fatigue which is the stress, strain and the wariness that arises while caring for a person. Being a primary caregiver for most of my family members was not an easy task. My mom and I went through an emotional turmoil.

As majority of the medical decisions were made by me, thinking about the repercussions and bad outcomes made me anxious all the time. I was constantly overthinking and had panic attacks I would have a nervous breakdown and cry out loud sometimes. Feeling irritable, helpless, hopeless and getting angry so easily. It felt like I was slowly losing my mind and sanity. I am not writing this to impart knowledge or tell you how to deal with it. I am still figuring it out myself. But what I can tell you is that it’s okay to feel like that. Seeing your loved ones suffer is not easy. It’s okay to not be okay.

What I have learnt or rather still learning from my experience is that you need to identify it and put your needs first too. It is important to get out and indulge, be in a social environment. It is very difficult at first because the worrying never stops but it is one of the most important things and needs to be done.

Talking about it or writing it down helps too. It wasn’t easy for me to write this all down but the more I thought about it the more I realized how important it is to speak about it. Maybe it will help someone going through something similar, maybe it will just create an awareness. Acknowledging it is step one. Therapy sure did help too. On my tough days, I looked up to my younger brother who gives me so much strength and inspires me to do better each day. He encouraged me to take some time off for myself and always pushed me to move ahead.  My mom has been my anchor all this while and I am forever grateful for that.

Things have been slightly better than before; we are being hopeful and keeping the faith. This story is unfinished, there is so much still happening, and I am not waiting for a happy ending or for all my problems to disappear. At this moment, I am looking for anything good, big or small, that life has to offer.

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Headed For A Heartbreak

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There’s something so beautiful and alluring about love. Everyone talks about how it helps you grow and brings out the best in you. How it feels like to love and to be loved. And then people also talk about how it destroys you. The way it dismantles you and breaks you after it’s gone. They talk about scars and healing and forgiving and believing and of course, hope.

But what people don’t talk about is the hardship and distress you endure while sustaining it. The days when you don’t feel like you’re in love. The days when you want to give up on something or someone. The days when you feel so lost and restless that you cannot find your way back. The days you shut your eyes in anguish trying hard to not let go. The days when you just want to push the person away and breathe in the air around you. Just you. The times when you decide to put yourself first after pouring in all the efforts you could over months and years and how they were not reciprocated.

So you do. You let the person you thought the world of go away. You push them out even.

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People also don’t talk about the aftermath and the absolute destruction it causes. The way your world falls apart like a controlled explosion in the middle of a bustling city with no one to get hurt but yourself. People don’t talk about the days where you have to wake up and live each day knowing that you are the reason for your own doom. The moments when you wish you could turn back the time and do something different to have made it last.

You think about how you should’ve worn that stupid Christmas hairband with the reindeer horns that she was obsessed with. Or how you should’ve worn his favorite shade of lipstick.

People also don’t talk about how these little regrets are nothing but a trail of breadcrumbs which leads to the first house that both of you made with innocent love. There are pictures of you enjoying on your first day on the nightstand by the bed. The bed too, is left exactly the way it looked the first time you undressed in front of them and had more than a naked body for them to judge. The curtains are slightly open too and the window gazes straight into your soul, more bare than your body in front of them. The house is nothing but a mirage and you standing there is an image of you from your perfect past.

So what people don’t talk about, is how you take a sledgehammer and bring that house down and sit in the rubble, your crying face in your palm and wail till you can’t speak anymore. Cry till your voice gives away.

Then you stand up and find another person to build a home with, the sledgehammer still tucked under your shirt though.

Yes. That. Let’s talk about that.

Vaishnavi Arote & Janak Goswami

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PROLOGUE

They got out of the lift and entered the basement. It was dark and a light was flickering in the distance, like in any horror movie. Somewhere between entering the lift and getting out of it, Agastya and Ruche came close and held hands, almost as if out of instinct. Neither of them spoke nor did they want to do anything to acknowledge the fact that it was their final day of seeing each other as they had over the last 6 weeks.

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They started walking towards the car, still not having exchanged a word since they bid adieu to some colleagues and promised to meet the others at the bar. Agastya stopped in his tracks and squeezed her hand. Ruche, who was walking a step ahead, looked back to see his pale face, devoid of any emotion. He was hurting. Obviously not physical, but his heart was burning, there was a pit in his stomach, a lump in his throat and his eyes were moist. 

Ruche could almost feel his pain within her. By now, she knew him well enough to know exactly what was going through his head. Somewhere deep down, she was hurting too. She’d obsessed about this moment just 24 hours ago, talked to Agastya about it for over an hour and yet eventually, neither of them could make any sense out of it.

The seminar was over and it was time to say goodbye. However, they were still going to be in the same city. They still lived and worked within an hours drive from each other and could always catch up post-work or over the weekends; and yet, this goodbye felt like an emotional anchor – but for good reason.

The seminar had been like an alternate dimension altogether. In many ways, a vacation – being able to spend hours together every day over a long period of time without without having to explain or give excuses to anybody about why they saw each other everyday. No excuses for making post-seminar plans and coming home late or for holding hands in the car and driving around pointlessly while listening to soft should touching music or for going to secluded places and stargazing while sipping on some hot-chocolate. They knew now, that their honeymoon period was over and it was time to go back to reality. Back to facing unpleasant bosses and clients, long work hours, curious parents and other daily drama. 

She walked towards him, not letting go off the grip, squeezed his hand and rested her idle hand on his cheek. She graced his cheek delicately, looking straight into his eyes. Her gaze was soft, but stern. Sad, but passionate. She came closer. He could feel their breaths sync in rhythm and in the next instant, she just wrapped her hands around him and hugged him reassuringly. 

They stood there for a few seconds, neither of them making an attempt to move. Agastya could feel Ruche’s breath on his neck, her perfume that he’d come to love and the scent of her washed hair. He did not want to let her go. But at the back of his mind, he knew he did not have much time. Their colleagues had already left for the bar and as had been the unsaid agreement between them, they did not want to raise any eyebrows. He slowly loosened his embrace and Ruche got the hint. They looked at each other again only this time, Agastya planted a light peck on her cheek. She could feel the smile on his lips.

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They straightened themselves and took a deep breath, as if readying to go to battle, and walked towards the car. Like clockwork, they threw their bags on the back seat, Agastya loosened his tie, Ruche took her blazer off and took control of the aux. Agastya turned the ignition on, one hand on the steering and other on the gear and waited patiently, until Ruche rested her hand on his. That had been their thing for weeks now. Agastya smiled amidst that security and drove off towards the bar.

Both Ruche and Agastya sat silently, trying to fully comprehend what had just happened. They’d held hands and hugged before, but this was unlike anything from the past. The magnitude of those flowing emotions was so strong and alien, that they couldn’t find words to explain it. And if they could, no words could ever do justice to how they were feeling. But soon enough, as they drew closer to the bar, the vibe in the car changed. A long – wild – alcohol filled night awaited them, as they got off the car and headed towards the bar, now maintaining a platonic level of distance between them. 

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Fake It Till You Make It (OR DON’T)!

You’ve probably heard of the saying, ‘fake it till you make it’ and maybe tried it too. But let me tell you, this is the biggest load of crap I’ve ever experienced. I mean, yes, it works. 

And OH, IT WORKS WONDERS!!

It makes you feel everything you’re not and everything that you want to be and that’s great. It kinda even fills a void within you. It makes you feel more powerful, more loved, more attractive and more confident and people really notice that! t changes your ‘vibe’ and people around you definitely feed on it, kinda like how it is said ‘energy is contagious’.

And that is good to hear, OBVIOUSLY! 

I mean, that’s validation right?

The entire basis of why social media even exists and works so effortlessly, in my opinion. 

V-A-L-I-D-A-T-I-O-N.

A simple 10 letter word that describe almost 70% of our actions and existence; of why we do some of the things we do and why do we do them even when they might not necessarily be right. 

I mean, yeah, you can tell me you’re doing a certain activity for yourself and I’d believe you 100% without a percent of doubt. But you’re telling me you’re not gonna enjoy it a little extra when someone notices your Rolex or asks for a ride in your new Mercedes or compliments the smoothness of the expensive whiskey you share?

Isn’t that validation too?

I don’t mean to question your intentions or motivation for working as hard as you do. I mean, if it works for you, it’s good only, right?

But isn’t this also the equivalent of lying? Isn’t anything you fake, a fact or an action or emotion, a tiny part of lying?

Let’s take an example. Imagine that your entire personality is like a sandcastle. Imagine your many inherent traits are small grains of sand and your tiny ‘fake it till you make’ actions as tiny grains of powdered sugar. With time, this sandcastle is only going to get better and bigger, filled with sand and sugar. But as soon as there’s a big wave (problems/truths), it’s going to disperse the sand (which is still fixable) but it’ll dissolve all the sugar which will only lead to more gaps in the reconstruction.

Here’s another way to look at it. This whole practice may be good for you, but you’re probably hurting someone you love or you’re gaining something under false pretences or worse yet, you end up living the lie so flawlessly that it becomes your new/alternate reality and the worst of them all, it’s all of the above.

What’s funny though, is we see this happen all around us all the time. I mean, we’re all well-versed with ‘Window Dressing’ as a concept. Study it professionally and you’ll find a course called ‘Marketing’. 

But let’s get back to what I’m really trying to say, because I’m trying to talk about this at a more human and personal level. Because over the years, I have been guilty of doing this again and again and again with it’s adverse effects coming in the form go all the problems I mentioned earlier and quite frankly, IT SUCKS!!

Nothing hurts more than hurting the people you really truly love and care about. Things like that really mess with your mind and daily well being. It’s kind of a vicious circle in itself. You fake it till you make it or until the truth catches up to you, you hurt people and yourself and then pick up the broken pieces and start all over again. 

So maybe don’t do it. Or maybe do. I’m curious to know about what y’all think about it!

Is Less Really More?

‘Less is more. 

We’ve read this a million times, and although this mostly applies in an artistic or design context, it is widely misinterpreted. This phrase was first used in 1855 by Andrea del Sarto, an architect who used it when referring to the desirability of less visual clutter in the building of homes. 

This saying goes with design too. The idea is to design something that’s not so overly complicated that it robs the fun for the perceiver, who’s trying to make more sense of it than being able to enjoy it. Various studies also show how working excessively hard, putting in extra effort at work is something to brag about for many people, is not always the most healthy thing.

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But is less really more?

For design and art? Probably. For your career and work-life balance? Maybe. But for life too?

I mean, what does ‘Less is more’ even mean when it comes to life?

That you sit back and laze around and relax, maybe watch Netflix or go out on during the weekends and non-work hours? I mean, I don’t know. I am no expert to critique someone’s way and neither is there one perfect answer for everybody. So you do you!

Me personally though, I don’t believe that. Having been brought up in a Gujarati family, I’ve seen my father work 14 hours a day and build himself up from nothing. How things have been over the last 20 years, from living in a small 1BHK house to now living in a big enough home to have adequate space for all our luxuries. And while there were a lot of times, annual days or sports days, when I wanted him to be there for me and he wasn’t, it was disappointing but I also understood why it was the way it was. 

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But it was not like he wasn’t there for the important times, because he was. And having said all of that, I have seen my mother work equally hard, maybe even harder with having to raise 2 sons, take care of their education and extra curriculars, take care of the home, etc. 

So yeah, working hard or ‘Hustle’ as the call it, is all I’ve ever known and something I try to duplicate for myself from my parent’s lives. If there’s anything else that motivates me to Hustle, it is Sports & Athletes and Steve Job’s speech at Stanford University. If you’ve heard the speech you know that no lesson as small as it may be, ever goes to waste.

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But I want to do it in my own way. I want to learn things I like and that interest me; And I know it’s not going to go waste. It is quite possible that it won’t help me in my career, but it’ll help me in some way and if not anything, it brings me a lot of joy. What price would you put on that?

I am doing a ton of things today – Learning mandarin, taking up dance lessons, working on writing my own book, maintaining this blog, studying for my GMAT exams and taking some boxing lessons and practicing yoga too. I barely have any time to breathe all through the day, but I am also the happiest I have ever been. These activities although physically draining, just bring nothing but peace to me mentally. 

I always knew academics weren’t my strongest suit and I am living my truth today. I have an amazing mentor at work who invests time and energy in me to ensure I’m growing and pushing myself. My workouts help me channel all my excess energy (and sometimes rage) in a productive way, my reading helps me gain more perspective and knowledge, my writing helps me express my feelings and emotions and learning Mandarin (and already knowing English and Hindi) means I can speak to roughly every other person on this planet.

But here’s the funny part : I never did any of these things for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. I just did these activities to plug holes in my daily routine where I was simply wasting time watching TV or idling around; and because I had very easy access to them. But it kept on adding joy to my daily routine and overall value to my life and I love it. Because,

I am not here to live, I am here to leave a legacy.

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A Cursed Desire

You want it so badly, you chase it. 

You pray for it. You think about it 24×7. 

You decide on what you’d do if you got it. 

But in your head you know you won’t get it,

and you’ve already made your peace with it. 

And yet, deep down a voice inside tells you to not lose hope.


And then you get it. 

Impossible. Unfuckingbelievable. 

That did not just happen. But it did.

It takes you a few minutes, maybe hours,

to realise you actually got it. 

Maybe it was good karma showing up or you just got lucky. 

Maybe it was fate, maybe it was meant to be.


You love it. You cherish it.

You hold it as close to you as you possibly can.

It’s your possession, your desire personified. 

You don’t want to share it with the world.

But fate has something else planned for you.

It is taken from you, your prized possession.

You’re in denial. Crying. Hoping for it to come back.

But it won’t. It wasn’t meant to be.


You slowly let go. Learn to live without it.

You move on. The sun is shining again.

But you see a pretty butterfly fly by.

As beautiful as your prized possession.

You slip. You’re hurt. But you get up.

Dust yourself. Start moving on again.

Maybe this is how it was supposed to be.

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Moving On

I have thought this and said it out loud atleast a thousand times,

“My lack of ability to move on is going to be my doom”.

I don’t mean ‘moving on’ only in the context of a breakup or a heartbreak. I mean it in a much broader sense. Like my inability to move on from an incomplete task when something more important shows up at my table; or my inability to forget a pending task because I had to do something else.

Somehow, that incomplete task keeps living in my brain, hounding me until I deal with it. 

Let’s get to the romantic side first :

There’s this girl that I really like and care about, in a romantic way and otherwise. I am almost 100% certain that nobody understands her the way I do and there’s nobody who’s going to mesh with her better personality better or who’s going to be as good for her as me. But somehow things didn’t work out on the romantic side and it was soon very clear that we weren’t going to end up together.

But this is the kind of person I wanted in my life, since she added a lot of value and brought along a lot of laughs with her and more than anything, her presence made me really happy. My heart always tells me to be supportive and not let my petty feelings of insecurity get in the way of a nice relationship. 

Here’s the thing though :

I wish well for this person and want nothing but the best for her and if someone else makes her happy, then so be it. But how do you move on/detach yourself from this situation? I have always been that guy who’s either 100% all in or not in it at all, there’s no in-between. I LOVE the banter we share and how we’re there for each other but I also cannot stop spiralling when she’s going out with someone else (platonically even). And that’s just one thing. 

Now The Professional Side

I have been somewhat unfortunate with my academics so far. I have an exam left to clear before I get my degree and I’ve taken a lot more time than necessary in doing it. Simultaneously, having focused all my energy on studying and clearing these exams, meant delaying my career for the longest time. Somewhere in between, it even dawned on me that this is not what I really want to do in life. 

This degree is nothing but a big value addition to my resume, which adds more credibility to my name irrespective of what I do in the future. It is a certification that involuntarily states that I am a smart guy and allows me to do things without raising a lot of questions. But, it also been my biggest shield to hide behind. 

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In a world with a million job and career opportunities, simply knowing things that I don’t want to do is not good enough. Apart from the fact that I’d never be able to live it down if I quit the degree, there’s the fact that I have no idea what I want to do ahead.

So yeah, I stand here doing a simple job that’s not doing justice to my capabilities, while simultaneously focusing on completing my degree and not doing a good job with either of those things. If only, I had the guts to quit and move on without remorse. Things would’ve been easier and life a lot better!

Here’s the funny part though; The Professional side doesn’t really matter. I am not worried about my job and making money because I know I’ll do something decent with my life eventually (and this is also my privilege talking). It’s always the emotional part that pulls me down. What good is anything if you don’t have someone to share it with?

So yeah, if only I learn to move on and avoid a certain doom for myself!

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France And Euro 2016 – Nice, Eze Village & Monaco

Nice

From Paris, we took a 6 am flight to one of my favourite cities, Nice (pronounced as “Neece”). Unfortunately, our flight was delayed due to an air traffic personnel strike (which I was told was neither a big deal nor very rare in this part of the world). Arriving in Nice at 10, we checked-in our luggage in the hostel and headed out towards the beach.

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Nice from atop the hill.

The Villa Saint Exupery Beach Hostel, Nice. It was a pretty good place, considering its location which was just 5 minutes from the beach. Although most places in Nice are not more than 5-10 mins from the beach. In terms of its interiors and amenities, it had a full fledged bar inside and a cool place to hangout and chill, or gather up before going for a bar crawl. A lot of us just hung out here with our fellow travelers from across the world, with loads of stories to share. That is one of my favourite aspects about living in a hostel, the people generally tend to have travelled a lot, or aspire to. The vibe is pretty good and the interaction is genuine, something which doesn’t always happen if you check into a hotel. The hostel also had a fancy kitchen with all kinds of equipments to make life easy.

I personally prefer a hostel over a hotel for multiple reasons:

  1. It is cheaper, because you pay per-bed and not per-room. Although, you don’t get any value added services either.
  2. The people are usually cut out of a similar cloth, backpackers or travellers with an agenda to just explore the street and cities, explore local cuisines or just wander. People who believe in low-cost travel.
  3. Its just overall more informal and comfortable; and in a way, more interactive!
  4. These people also tend to be reliable sources of information to help you plan your local itinerary.

One point to note is that hostels, just like hotels usually have a late check-in around 2-3pm and check out is always early at 10am, so one must plan accordingly! Although most of these places do allow you to store your luggage without any questions or hassles, and its pretty safe in general.

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While walking across to the beach, we came across this wonderful waterpark. It is just a joy to watch little kids play in the fountains, more so adults, who behave like little kids and just live in the moment. Those few beautiful minutes of just joy and peace! From there, we headed towards the street markets. It was like a small organised farmers market with lots of stuff ranging from handmade soaps and candles to fresh fruits and jellies.

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The beach in Nice is beautiful and the water is different shades of blue. There is a small hill in Nice, which is right opposite the port and is a couple hundred steps to the top. It is called The Castle Hill. Up there is a big garden and a nice picnic place. One can see the whole beach as well the entire city from up there. It is too good to miss and doesn’t consume a lot of time either. One can walk towards the port from there and look around and enjoy!

One thing to keep in mind is that Nice has a fantastic nightlife! Big casinos and clubs. The whole strip across the beach is full of casinos.

Keeping that in mind, we napped in the afternoon and hit the casinos in the evening, to try our luck. Turned out to be like my lucky day, since I was able to earn enough to sustain my expenses for the next 2 days 😇

FYI : Hostels provide nothing other a bed to sleep and a kitchen to cook. So it is important to carry your own bath products and personal toiletries, towels and food (if you plan to cook).

I woke up the next morning and headed for a run on the promenade along the beach. It was a joyous experience, with the blue sea on the right and a fresh cold breeze hitting my face. A good run and then on to the beach I went, into the cool turquoise blue water for a swim. You’d want to carry a pair of slippers or swim shoes since it is a pebble beach, so that’s going to hurt if you plan to walk bare feet.

Coming back to the hostel after the swim, we freshened up and left for Eze Village. Nice is a small city and can be explored on feet within a day or one could rent a bicycle and ride around. It’s beautiful!

Eze Village

The thing to remember in Nice, is that the bus frequency is very low so when you want to go outside the city, keep a track of the bus timings! The trams can get you to other places inside the city. Ubers aren’t so easy to get or the best option is to rent a car and go around!

We took the bus and headed to Eze village. It is located on the top of a mountain and one has to explore it on foot. It would take barely a couple of hours to see the whole village, which is very quaint and cute. It is similar to the narrow streets with small gelato shops in Rome or Greece, a visual treat for anyone who’s into art.

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View from atop the Eze Village Garden.

It has narrow roads and is an uphill task. Some good cafes to eat at and a few ice cream stores with authentic gelatos that literally melt in your mouth. There’s also a garden at the very top which is quite unique.

Monaco

Taking yet another bus from Eze Village, we touched down into Monaco. The biggest attraction here is the Monaco Casino (the one you see in the Bond movie Casino Royale), the World renowned F1 race track (as seen in the beginning of Iron Man 2) and AS Monaco FC (the football club).

The Monaco casino is huge with fancy exotic cars parked outside. A city so rich, one can spot between 15-17 Rolls Royce’s and twice the number of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and the likes within a span of 30-40 minutes. It is safe to say, a trip to Monaco and you won’t feel so special about exotic supercars anymore.

The race tunnel and a part of the track.

After the casino we strolled around the racetrack that goes around the port. Lots of luxury yachts and small boats here. A sight very rare to the naked eye.

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View from the train back to Nice

Coming back to Nice from Monaco via train, we finished supper and headed to the clubs. Of the 4 clubs I came across and after asking around, we headed to the one, which is now a personal favourite, Wayne’s. That’s the best bar and club in the city for me. With an awesome space to dance and drink. Live music followed by a dance floor made of tables and chairs. Nobody dances on the ground.

Next Stop : Marseille, Poland Vs. Portugal.

Until Next Time,

The Travellothoner.

The Wish

This year for my new year wish I ask,

A little more luck and a little something from the past.

I want that girl who sat at my side when I drove,

I want the girl whose laugh made my day whole.

 

Every one of those exchanged smiles from across the room,

I want those moments back that got our friendship to bloom.

Its still just as effortless to remember those days,

Brings the widest smile to my face your peculiar ways.

 

I’m always going to be here cheering you on,

I promise to be by your side from dusk till dawn.

I’m always going to be in your corner for every fight,

Remind you of your Herculean might.

 

So here I am asking you to grant me this wish,

Turn this friendship into a uniquely assembled dish.

For I loved those fifteen days and I hope to live them again,

For you’re the one I miss each time it starts to rain.

On Joy and Sorrow By Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
     And he answered:
     Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
     And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
     And how else can it be?
     The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
     Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
     And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
     When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
     When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
    
     Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
     But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
     Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

     Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
     Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
     When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Source : https://poets.org/poem/joy-and-sorrow
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A Special Lady

I’ll tell you something you already know,

I really like you and that’s up for show.

You’re so incredible and a sight for sore eyes,

Your brain a whacky combo of wicked and wise.

We started off decently well if you ask me,

Until those unfortunate times came by.

But you kept faith in me and always stuck around,

Took me a while but a keeper in you I found.

I reflect on our times quite seldom,

Especially the dumb letter that I penned. 

You’re unlike anything my eyes perceived,

And those fences I’m trying to mend.

It’s not easy to make a list of the things I like about you,

Especially since I tried but ran out of ink.

I wish you could see yourself the way I see you,

The thought of you makes my cheeks go pink.

You’re a worldly woman who doesn’t understand her might,

A person with an aura alike the sun so bright.

Your laugh is so natural that it just brightens my day,

It is what I look forward to like the weekend on a Monday.

There are so many things I want to do,

So many emotions to express. 

Hug you and kiss you and hold you tight,

And in my hoodies I want you to dress.

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Practicing Gratitude : Why You Should Practice Gratitude In These Times

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Virus. Pandemic. Lockdown. Quarantine. Unlock. Virus 2.0

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It’s hard to stay positive when these are the words we’re being exposed to day in and day out. Of course, the fact that we’re cooped up at home  only makes the situation worse.

Over the last few months, I have read a lot of books in order to find the secret behind being happier and trying to maintain a healthy balance in life; physically, mentally and spiritually. Although different books and authors have different perspectives and methods, one of the most common amongst them is ‘Gratitude’.

It may seem like the new normal will never end, but don’t lose hope just yet. Why? Because this is a good time to remind ourselves of everything we have to be grateful for. And when you think about all the things you once took for granted.

So while you stay safe, wash your hands, and maintain social distance, also remember to add ‘practising gratitude’ to your list.

What is gratitude, though?

It is an emotion or feeling, a recognition and appreciation for what one has, that comes from acknowledging the goodness in one’s life. It opens your eyes to the fact that what you have is truly enough. Research demonstrates that the practice of gratitude can enhance overall wellbeing, and other studies have shown that people who practise gratitude are more resilient in the face of trauma. What’s more, spending a few minutes every night writing down what you’re grateful for can even help you sleep better. In short, gratitude makes us happier — and that’s definitely something we need now more than ever!

Researchers in Positive Psychology have found that gratitude and happiness are always strongly correlated. A possible theory is that gratitude moves people to experience more positive emotions, to thoroughly enjoy the good experiences, better their health, face adversity, and develop and maintain relationships of strength, which in turn makes you happier.

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The three common ways people can express their gratitude are:

  • By being gracious of their past (i.e., think of positive childhood memories)
  • By being gracious for the present (i.e., taking time to be present and enjoy)
  • By being grateful for what’s to come (i.e., hopeful and optimistic of the future) (Giving thanks makes you happier).

There is a direct link between happiness and gratitude. Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more someone is thankful or feels gratitude, the less there is time or room for negative thoughts.

Oscar Wilde once said, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

Ps. Here’s a poem I wrote a long time ago about being grateful about some of the people in my lives.

Here are a few ways in which you can get started:

Maintain a journal

Close-up Of Gratitude Word With Pen On Notebook Over Wooden Desk

Count your blessings and write them down every day — be it the great cup of coffee you enjoyed in the morning or that recent video call you had with your friend. Soon, you’ll realize that you have more than you need to be happy.

Express appreciation mentally

If you can’t find the time to write every day, think about something you’re grateful for — e.g. the healthcare workers, police officers, and other essential services that are ensuring we remain safe — and be thankful for their hard work.

Meditate

While meditation usually involves a complete focus on the present moment, the practice can also be used to focus on what you’re thankful for — such as pleasant weather, a nutritious meal, or a good night’s sleep. Try the guided gratitude meditation on the cure.fit app or website to get started.

Why should you practise gratitude?

Now that you know how to inculcate the practice — and the feeling — of gratitude in your daily lives, here’s a deeper look into the myriad benefits that come with it:

Improved heart health

Being grateful helps you stay healthy. Research has shown that a positive attitude brings down the risk of depression, stress, and anxiety, all of which are factors behind heart disease. Further, according to various studies with participants that suffered from asymptomatic heart failure, individuals who were willing to see the brighter side of life and exhibit ‘trait gratitude’, slept better and took better care of themselves! Happiness, better health, and a good night’s sleep? It’s a win-win.

Stronger relationships

Of course, showing someone appreciation makes them feel good — but the effects of gratitude go even deeper than that. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude is associated with positive future relationship outcomes, while other researchers compare gratitude to auxiliary emotions that bring people closer, such as trust. So show your loved ones how much they mean to you — and go the extra mile to reach out to friends or family you may have lost touch with. Now’s the time to let people know you’re thinking of them, and how much you value them.

Better self-esteem

Yes, noticing what other people don’t have will make you feel better about yourself — but the most important part of practising gratitude is going beyond comparison to appreciate what you have. And that’s when you stop comparing yourself to others completely. This is what helps you get rid of toxic emotions such as greed and envy, and cultivate better self-esteem!

While these are compelling enough in themselves, there’s another reason you should start practising gratitude — sooner rather than later. Research shows that regular expressions of appreciation alter the molecular structure of the brain and keep grey matter functioning the way it should. Further, the feeling of gratitude activates multiple regions in the brain, boosting the production of ‘happy hormones’ like dopamine and serotonin.

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To sum up

People who practise gratitude have a positive attitude and feel better about their lives as well as their connections with others. So there’s really no reason to wait — there’s no better time than the present to remember all that we have to be grateful for.

As Melody Beattie once said,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

So what are you feeling grateful for, today?

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