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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The joy of writing...

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”  Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


Some of the cards received 


The very first postcard I got was from an Uncle [Grandpa's brother], a few days after I was born.. He was travelling and sent a card as soon as he heard the news. I found this years later, and apart from this, there are so many cards that were sent by various uncles and grandpa [mom's dad] during their travels abroad..They used to go abroad often on work [ leather business] and have sent cards addressed to me or mom to wherever we were [ I grew up in Coimbatore, Madurai, Tirunelveli before hitting Chennai]... Today I have almost all the cards and letters sent by them, some were sent to others in the family, but well I got my hands on them. There were also a few from Japan and Korea, new ones which granpa had that belong to me now :D

I also have an uncle in Delhi and another in USA who have sent cards almost regularly, for birthday & new years, which I have with me.. Infact, my uncle in USA continues to send cards even now and I get one just for me :-) Like this uncle, I collect stamps as well [ when I remember, else I just save the entire envelope]

I also have friends with whom I have exchanged letters, back in the day when we did not have phones and lived in different towns, letters were the only way to keep in touch. Blessed to have friends who wrote, long detailed letters- some would be filled with updates on their family, others would just be rants about what they were going through.....It did not matter, I enjoyed reading and responding to them all. Another thing I love is to put stickers and little quirky colourful text on the letters and cards. Infact, I recently put one in a card to a baby cousin...  

So, if I were to look back at all these, my love for the whole "writing" as a hobby was something I got from my family. I love sending out letters and cards, be it on their own or with gifts to people I care about. Infact there have been times when my uncle from USA would visit and the day he leaves I would drop a gift with a letter into his hand baggage which he would discover sometime during his flight. I have done similar stuff for friends as well. Guess, I am all about surprises and heart felt notes... :-)

Today, whenever anyone is travelling, the only thing I ask for, or sometimes don't even need to ask for is a postcard. Some post it from the destination, others bring it back and hand deliver or courier it across with other stuff.. It fills my heart with such joy, I fail to find words. And then there are those that get lost in transit.. Sigh! Recently my sister asked me if I got the card she had sent from Spain, alas its been few months and no sign of it. Similarly, another card that a friend sent from Europe never made it to me. But the fact that they did send me one makes me smile. 

Know what, I started this habit of sending myself a postcard whenever I travel [ done it 8/10 times].. It is fun visiting post offices in the town, learning about their system and picking out stamps etc [ esp in USA].. 

Few years ago, I discovered this website called Postcrossing- it is like pen pals, except here you are assigned a random address [6 to start with] and you send them postcards [no personal details but a ID number assigned to you], but then over the years I somehow dropped the ball on that one, but I did make a few friends through the Facebook forum on "postcrossing" and I do exchange cards with a few of them. 

I do collect stationery- stickers, pens, pencils, notepads, bookmarks, washi tapes, and just about everything else that comes under this category. Well, must say this whole habit has been toned down a bit since I moved to "minimalism" way of living but I do get tempted. During my entire 1.5months of travel across USA, all I bought were pencils across cities I visited. :-) 

Few weeks back when I was cleaning out my room, I looked at the box of postcards- some received through postcrossing, some from friends, others from family and many new ones. That is when I decided that this year I was going to send out New year cards and letters to people who matter- friends , family and others...  Some got gifts and a postcard, others got greeting cards with a long note in them... And when they tell me they loved what they got or it was a pleasant surprise, I smile and hope they pass it forward to someone else.. Send a note or a card to someone they care about.... 

Well, if you would love to get a note/letter from me, leave me a comment and send me your address to aaroo4@gmail.com.. Happy to write and don't be surprised if it comes with a quirky sticker :-) 

Happy writing.... 
Love
Me

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Gift me any of these, wont you?!



As 2018 draws to an end, like everybody else, I too tend to spend a few minutes reflecting on the year that was. While it was awesome in the Travel arena,  it was alright on the Work front, some amazing progress on the personal "ME" side as well, but then not so great in other areas...Nothing was majorly out of wonk, no disasters but then there are some things I hope to change further in the coming year...

Over the years, on this personal blog I have written about various aspects of life, the most recent was something I felt strongly about-Body image and body shaming. It was beautiful the way people shared their pieces and I think it helped me as a person start to love myself more and more... So a big Thank you to the readers and contributors... The stories shall continue, keep them coming...

I did manage to do one more fantastic trip before the year ended, also stayed away from Social media for the duration of my trip, just keeping in touch with a few close friends [sharing updates etc]... I do realise that my interest in being online is diminishing with every passing day. 

While we are all going gung-ho sending out New year cards and gifts to each other, I would love for you, my readers/visitors to gift me any of these...

1. Share a personal highlight/incident from 2018...
2. Share a link to the latest blog post you have written [ I promise to read and comment]...
3. Leave the name of a book that you found powerful/ interesting/ moving/ good/ fun ...  
4. Ask me a question... 
5. Drop a note saying you were here...  :-) 

Am all ears,.. * pulls the chair, a cup of coffee and settles in *

Here's to a Great new year ahead for all of us... 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

In your shoes...

[Image: A fridge magnet at a friend's house]


For atleast 20years of my adult life, have had people tell me now and then how I was not in their shoes to understand what they are going through.. I have also been told, 

"Only when you are a mother, will you understand why I do/say what I do"

"Only when you get a family of your own, will you understand dynamics, why we pussy foot around some....etc"

Does one really have to be all this to understand the dynamics/drama and/or give out suggestions/advice?  Also there is no general standardised rule that mothers/wives/people follow right? 

For instance, just 'cos you are a mom, doesn't mean you will follow what the other moms do, or say exactly the same thing.. 

Each one is different. Each one's approach is different.. the lessons they have learnt, the things they bring to the relationship is different... Also, isn't it enough to have maternal instincts to act motherly?

Over time, it has become such a thing that I kinda know how the conversation will go and therefore many a times keep my mouth shut. Not because of fear but because I don't want to argue, don't like to justify why I said what I did...  

Ok, I agree I am not in whatever position the person is
Yes, I am not going through what they are
but then, as an outsider, don't I have a right to share my opinion? Am not thrusting anything on anybody... but can offer some insight or what I think are reasonable to valuable inputs...It also never ceases to amaze me how people come to me for help/suggestions and then at the end of it throw this whole "what do you know, you have no idea what am going through" .. Hey, dont go all judgy on me, am just trying to help... 

For example, I have done a brief stint in the corporate world. I was in recruitments and so I understand the psychology of those who are shopping for jobs, who are working in a company and their behaviour as well. Many a times, guys who take up an offer will not join, or they might join but leave within few days or will take off a few days without letting us know they were on leave and so on. 

Heck, I have taken off without giving advance notice. Not because I dint want to, but because I know any reason I give will be turned down or questioned. And similarly, the same would be done to other employees.

Today, when the maid or driver or cook at home take off unannounced, I get it.. On the contrary, I dont get angry or upset but figure a way around it. Gramma on the other hand gets all worked up, angry , sometimes she calls them and yells at them or asks them to drop whatever they are doing and come to work. Few occasions, they have, other times they havent. The anger then spills over to the next day.

When I tell her the psych of people and why they take off the way they do, she doesnt get it. She doesnt get that as an employer she is never going to accept the Actual reason, and therefore many a times staff end up lying or cooking up excuses. If they announce their intention a day ahead, they are going to hear no end of it, and if they take off unannounced, they will hear an earful the subsequent day... Sigh!! All I hear is "You dont understand, you have no idea how they think/work/operate".. and I quietly end up slinking away from the spot and controlling the tongue next time such a situation arises... 

Similarly, I also feel things that what works for one person might not necessarily work for another. Be it medicines or even things like movies, food at a restaurant or clothes from a particular store. Opinions, preferences & experiences are all so personal. People infact get touchy and upset if you dint like something they suggested.  

So these days even if I do offer suggestion or inputs to someone, I always end it with a "hey, you know what's best for you, after all you are the one going through whatever it is you are going through.. take care".. or "I went here, the food was good, give it a try, see if you like it" or "I bought a few shirts from xyz store, price was reasonable, they have sizes ranging from XS to 5XL, hop in if you have some time to spare"

Can never win this battle.... walk a mile in someone else's shoes and yet you cannot figure out what they want!! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

[Inclusive, exclusive...] Living life with a handicap....

Few weeks back I had attended an event that was all about inclusivity ( post-https://www.aartikrishnakumar.com/2018/09/inclusivity-and-everyday-ability.html).. that event in fact got me thinking- how accessible are most places for people with any kind of disability, be it physical or otherwise..  Here are two incidents I came across the past week that I wanted to write about.... 



Incident 1

It so happened that day before while getting back home, I shared cab with a guy who was visually impaired(blind).

It’s not like I haven’t seen/come across / interacted with such folks but this was the first time I was travelling with one. I had no issues but quite the contrary.. I asked how he used the phone and he also told her about a software he had installed that converted all text into audio and everything worked   on the Double click concept. After a few seconds I saw him holding the phone in reverse to his ear and struggling with typing something .. the page open was the Über help/support page and he was
trying to raise an Issue. 

I watched him struggle, and therefore proceeded to ask if he needed help, he explained that the earlier cab he had booked did not turn up plus the cabbie had done the ride without him in it and he had been charged for it and so to raise a complaint on the same issue... He then handed the phone to me with a warming and a smile "You have to double click everything, see if you can do it, else just guide me"

It took me good 5 minutes to even get the hang of his phone, how to use it leave alone complete the complaint... I kinda figured it out, managed to scroll to the right section and handed the phone back to him when I realised I was going to be at it all day if I tried to type text in the box. He managed to key in his grievance, asking me for help with spelling now & then and was finally done... 

Phew! I was tired.... And to think he goes through something like this a million times through the day.. Over the next few minutes till my destination arrived, we chit chatted and I watched him make calls, send Whatsapp messages on his phone. 

When we turned into my street, he said aloud "Have we reached, where are we, i have no clues" [in tamil]. I then proceeded to tell him where we were and asked where he had to go, and gave a ballmark sense of how long it would take and the tentative route to his office... 

We parted ways as I reached my destination. But I kept thinking "What if the cabbie was a shady guy, what if he just took this guy on a goose chase or robbed/hurt him?"... I shivered at the thought. It also made me realise how we take so much for granted. And how Google maps or Uber needs to do something to announce the location/navigation for the visually impaired. Else these folks are constantly at the mercy of others to take them around... Sigh!! 

think about it while I go clear my head and write about the 2nd incident...