Podcasts, Anybody? – Day 35/365

I started listening to podcasts just a few months ago. I was very skeptical about the entire concept – no visuals, at all? You just listen to someone talk ? How is it different from the traditional radio frequencies?

I was reading an article in New York Times which featured the best podcasts for 2018. It mentioned how podcasts are gaining popularity and the number of viewers and downloads have been astonishing. I thought why not give it a shot to experience it first hand.

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Go Solo! Day 34 /365

I have done a couple of solo trips, the first one was to NYC about 4 years ago. I had just given CPA tests and had exactly 3 additional days to spare before I took the flight back to India.

I had a lengthy checklist detailing every tourist spot to go to and the best of pizza places to cover. Since it was my first, it was undoubtedly precious, nerve wrecking, scary and freeing. I remember before my first free day, I had barely slept. I was staying an hour away from NYC and I figured if I wanted to have a pizza for breakfast, I would have to get moving early!

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After the Break! – Day 33 / 365!

8 days ago – I was frustrated, a tiny bit exasperated with keeping up with writing. As impulsive as I was to start the challenge of writing every day, I was almost equally impulsive at the time of abandoning it. Consistency, I thought. I felt guilty for couple of days for not keeping up with every day jotting, but secretly I was enjoying the freedom. I was enjoying not being tied to a commitment.

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I Need A Break! Day 32/365

I am on Day 32! For those of you who haven’t been following me – I had decided to write each day for 365 days at a go! Today is Day 32 of that challenge.

Let’s take a progress check –

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Day 1-5 : These were breezy. My brain was exploding with topics to write on. I was struggling with articluating the gushing stream of thoughts. But there was no dearth of topics.

Day 6-10 – Brain was playing with the idea cell switch. Sometimes it was turned on and quite a few times it would turn that cell completely off. Struggle was real. Lot of research followed and I ended up writing about “Writer’s Block”.

Day 11-20 – I guess brain felt guilty when I wrote about “Writer’s Block”. It started throwing ideas and once again things were starting to get better slowly and steadily (at tortoise speed).

Day 21- Day 30 – Ah! I reached the magic number 21. I also wrote about how important it is to continue doing what you are doing for 21 days – to make it a habit. These were good 10 days. I was progressing toward walking at elephant pace.

Day 31 – Brain is being moody and throwing tantrums. Until the last hour, it doesn’t give me any topic ideas and makes me want to stop the challenge. Also, makes me come across various articles on why writing every day is counter productive to your creativity.

Day 32– Brain continues to be moody and makes strong arguments against how writing when not feeling like writing is such a pain. I come across more writers who advice not to write until you feel a strong urge to write. Brain also reminds me how the schedule is getting busier and finding time to write is getting harder.

But I write anyway.

Not sure if Day 33 is on the cards, but if we don’t meet tomorrow, thank you for following through the progress!

Today’s song –
“Ash – Give A Little!”. This.is.amazing.!!

P.S. – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – “Project 365 Days – Amidstlife” which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

– By Devisha Shah

Stumble Find – Day 30/ 365

Robert Lee Frost was one of the most renowned American poets. He won several accolades during his lifetime for his astounding work.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” was published by him in 1923 as part of his New Hampshire Volume.

It’s one of his best work and it always resonates with me whenever I read! Hope you enjoy it too!:)

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

In a gist, the poem describes how one must concentrate on fulfilling his promises and duties without being distracted by the pleasures of life. Here is the reference link to a more detailed analysis of the poem – https://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/frost/section10/

Today’s song – “Clean Bandit – Rockabye”. How can you not like this song!

P.S. – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – “Project 365 Days – Amidstlife” which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music.

– By Devisha Shah

Postcards ! – Day 29/ 365

When did you last write a postcard? Have you ever written one? Have you ever sent it across to a different country?

I had never written a postcard / letter before, though I like the idea of writing letters. I also like the idea of having a pen pal. The idea of having pen pals across the world is the one that I find extremely intriguing. The handwritten letters say so much more than a digital email.

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Time! – Day 28 / 365 ( Milestone)

It has been an interestingly weird day today. Yesterday a friend from my home city dropped by for a surprise visit. From trying our hands to making our own Sangria to eventually having excessive apple in our glasses – the night slipped by. We sat there catching up on each other’s lives until the wee hours of today morning.

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Stumble Find ! Day 26 /365

I came across these beautiful words few years ago, and each time I read them they make perfect sense.

“Some one is still single.. someone got married and “waited” for 10 years before having a child, there is another who had a baby within a year of marriage.

Someone graduated at the age of 22, yet waited 5 years before securing a good job; and there is another who graduated at 27 and secured employment immediately!

Someone became CEO at 25 and died at 50; another became a CEO at 50 and lived to 90 years.

Everyone works on their “Time Zone”.

People can have things worked out only according  to their pace.

Work in your “Time Zone”.

Your colleagues, friends, younger ones might “seem” to go ahead of you.

Don’t envy them. It’s their “Time Zone”. You are in Yours.

Hold on, be strong, stay true to yourself. All things shall work together for your good!

Today’s song  – “ Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin” – A classic!

 P.S. – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – “Project 365 Days – Amidstlife” which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can  access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

-By Devisha Shah

Midnight Brain – Day 24/365

11:00 PM – Decide to sleep early tonight. For you had befriended partial insomnia for few nights and now you need sleep. You enjoy the warmth of the bed and how your face rests on the pillow and your body gets dunked under the blanket weight. Lights are shut.

11:15 PM – Eyes open. The array of yawns stopped right as you hit the bed. You force shut eyes and again attempt to sleep. Mind must wander. Everything you did during the day comes back to you.

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To Be or Not To Be – Day 23/ 365

“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” 

― Lik Hock Yap Ivan

Imagine – You have a meeting at sharp 10 AM scheduled at the lobby of the 5-star hotel,which is located at the far end of the town. Factoring in the distance from your place to the hotel 1 hour – Reach 15 mins before the scheduled time – 1 hour to get ready and have breakfast and about 15 mins of spare time – you set alarm on previous night at 7.30 AM. Morning arrives earlier than expected and you over sleep for 15 mins. Life is still good – as you had 15 mins on spare. 

You rush your way through breakfast and realize that you are about 7 minutes behind schedule. You try to breathe out given that you have another 8 mins on spare (you had decided to reach 15 mins early). You start driving in the hope of still making it on time. Though traffic is merciless and by the team you reach the venue it is sharp 10.00 AM. Would you call this as being on time? Did you experience few major anxiety and panic attacks every time you looked at the watch and realized that you were not going to be able to make it 15 mins before the scheduled time? Did you really want those 15 mins to become comfortable and have some peaceful moments to settle in before you jump right into a meeting? Also, not to forget – were you itchy with yourself when you walked in at 10:00 and with another gentleman who walked in at 10:05? If yes, welcome to the club!

As a kid and now as a grown up, I have an incessant need to be not only on time but before time wherever I go. As a kid, If I had a play time scheduled at 5 PM, I would like to be at the ground at 4:45 PM whereas all others would make an entry probably at 5:15 PM. Well, life was simpler then, I would just go to my friends’ houses and get them to get ready and come along.

But as I grew up, I realized – This was not just a play jammy thing – I am quite obsessive about being on time. And to the horror of the people around me – they are compelled to be on time or else they end up tickling the wrong bone!

A colleague who was always late, talked me to feeling that always being on time is probably not the best idea. He even convinced me that it creates unnecessary pressure for yourself and the person meeting you. With his impeccable convincing skills, he told me I probably suffered from an OCD of being on time and may be should do a bit of introspection. 

Kudos to his communication charm he made me think why it is of paramount importance for me to be at a place when I said I will be there at that time. I firmly believe that being on time conveys to the other person that his time is much valued, and I appreciate the opportunity to meet with them immensely. Being few minutes earlier then the scheduled time certainly provides you with an opportunity to collect your thoughts and focus on the meeting/call that you are about to have. And last but the most important on the list is, being on time conveys that you are a person of integrity. It simply means that you would do what you say you will do. 

Words of Karen Joy Fowler echo my thoughts so well –  “Arriving late was a way of saying that your own time was more valuable than the time of the person who waited for you.”  

Punctuality is a rule that you will find in all the top management books and biographies of top Leaders! Thanks to the mind-boggling speech that my colleague gave, now I look at punctuality with a defined purpose. You may certainly adjust your approach based on the situation but learning how to adjust without compromising your core values, is an art. Still learning and a long way to go!

Today’s music suggestion – “Snarky Puppy – Lingus (We Like It Here) “. It will grow on you! Trust Me!

P.S. – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – “Project 365 Days – Amidstlife” which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music! 

-By Devisha Shah

Stumble Find! – Day 22/ 365

“If” is one of the best and very famous poems by “Rudyard Kipling”. He wore many hats during his life span – he was a journalist, poet , story teller and a novelist. He was born in India in 1865 and was gained tremendous popularity for his work in United Kingdom. At the age of 41, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize and its youngest recipient to date.

Hope you enjoy the below poem!

IF

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

 

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.

 

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Today’s melody – “Tajdar Junaid – Dastaan”.You won’t regret listening to this!

P.P.S – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – Project 365 Days – AmidstLife which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

– By Devisha Shah

Milestone – Day 21 / 365

Few days ago, we spoke how human brain takes a minimum of 21 days to form a new habit. To be specific, the research says that it takes anything between 21 – 90 days, however if you go on a 21-day streak of repeating the same thing, your brain starts developing neural connections which are more receptive and supportive to this new task. And as you continue to do this task for few more days, it will start becoming just a regular task for you! Something like brushing your teeth or eating – which you no longer must consciously do.

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Summer! – Day 20 /365

You know it’s summer, when the sky prides in its blue, wind gushes around tenderly, sun shines a little longer each day while the trees dance along with the chirping birds.

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Unlike winters when the dark greets you a little too early and snow-clad roads plus the shiver in the air force you to stay indoors to live a more modest life and also unlike the rain days – when snuggling in a blanket with a cup of coffee and a good book takes priority over all worldly things, Summers are more adventure calling.  Continue reading

What’s your Mojo?- Day 19 /365

According to Merriam- Webster dictionary, “Mojo means a magic spell, hex, or charm”.

Everybody carries their Mojo along with them, for some it’s their smile, for some others it’s their personality and may be for some others it’s just their aura.

Think about it – has somebody come up to you randomly and told you – that you have the most calming or lively smile? Your presence simply lights up the place? That you hold a very positive aura? If people haven’t told you directly, look for indirect comments or behavior? Do people feel comfortable sharing their life stories with you? Or do you notice they open up easily to you? Some may adore you for being the person who listens to them carefully, no matter what they are speaking about.

It’s funny how each one of us have our own unique Mojo and if we are conscious about when we are losing touch with our Mojo, we can take efforts to connect back to it. We could then use that charm to turn a bad day into a more tolerable one for ourselves or for those around us! Little powers that each one of us is bestowed with!:)

Today’s song : “Brain Flower – Tash Sultana” . Happy Saturday peeps! 

P.S – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – Project 365 Days – AmidstLife which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

– By Devisha Shah

Have you thought about it? – Day 18 / 365

“The fact is that we have no way of knowing if the person who we think we are is at the core of our being. Are you a decent girl with the potential to someday become an evil monster, or are you an evil monster that thinks it’s a decent girl?”
“Wouldn’t I know which one I was?”
“Good God, no. The lies we tell other people are nothing to the lies we tell ourselves.” 
― Derek Landy, Death Bringer

Have you ever watched a thriller movie where the actor enacting the role of a good person ends up doing something terribly evil to protect himself or for the greater good? Or a classic situation where the story forces you to empathize with the villain of the story – because he had his reasons to end up the way he did? In essence we empathize because we believe that given the circumstances, anybody could have turned into a villain.

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Have you settled down ? – Day 17 / 365

Every individual encounters this question at some point in their life. Based on from where your cultural roots are,  the age when you start being asked this question will differ a bit. For example, if you are from a developing country such as India, probably 24-25 is just the “Perfect Age” while if you are from one of the western countries anything between 30-35 is considered alright!

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Musings ! – Day 16 / 365

Some beautiful musings that a dear friend of mine shared with me on Instagram! Have a good read! –

“Some of us are restless souls. It’s not that we don’t like the quiet but we are never really sure just what to do next. We become too bored in the stillness and we’ll kill off the calm because we know how to function in the storm.”-By JmStorm

“Whenever I stumble across a good song, I often find myself contemplating if i should share it with people or not. On one hand, I want everyone to listen to it, experience that world and appreciate it. And on the other, I want to be selfish and keep that world just to myself. Something that I would be very proud to have in my playlist, like a trophy. Something I would hum, and no one would join and ruin it.” – Sanjana Singh

” I’ll never forget the most valuable piece of advice I was given,  “If you feel like you can’t make it through the day, only focus on the next hour. If you feel like you can’t make it through the next hour, only focus on the next few minutes. If you feel like you can’t make it through the next few minutes, take it one breath at a time.” – Poemsporn

“You don’t have to be busy to be worthy”.Sometimes you have to realize its time to stop beating yourself up about not being “successful” or in some sun-kissed glittery “best days of your life” state of euphoria right now. You are doing your best.” – Unknown, Seen on theartidote.

“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” – traceeliross, Seen on theartidote.

Today’s song is one of my favorites and is also suggested by this same friend – Ode to a Sunny Day by Blackstratblues”. This is the kind of song that you must hear when you are hiking your way through the hills!

P.S – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – Project 365 Days – AmidstLife which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

– By Devisha Shah

 

New Skills ! Day 15/ 365

Coming up with a random topic to talk about is a little more difficult than one may think. There will be times when you stare at the blank screen for hours and could get nothing typed. Apparently, there is a term for this called the “Writer’s Block”. It is defined as ” a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown”.

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Why do we drift away? Milestone – Day 14 / 365

How easy is it to drift away from somebody? Is drifting away good or bad?

Why does one drift away? What makes once brilliant friends or die hard lovers drift away from one another when distance in any form creeps in? Distance may be in the form of – hopping cities or countries or just moving few blocks away or getting busy in their own lives or finding a new job, or getting wedded  – anything at all.

Why is it that people find it hard to reconnect with those with whom they found it easiest to be their most authentic self at some point. Is it because both the individuals have changed – they have met several people, have gone through diverse experiences with new acquaintances – and not with each other?

Or may be is it because they are no longer the same individuals that they once were. They no longer enjoy the stupid history joke or tripping on the sunset  – and may be it isn’t wrong to no longer enjoy each others company. We humans have the capacity to evolve and adapt. May be one just outgrows being who they were at the age of 7 , 18, 25, 30, 50 or even 80.

That absolutely does not mean that you abhor your old self. You just liked the part of yourself at that age..and may be you left a little part of you there and picked up some new parts along the way! You might miss that old “You” but would you want to go back becoming that old “You”??

Today’s song – “Mogwai – Take me Somewhere Nice”. Instrumental once again! Happy Music to you!

P.S – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – Project 365 Days – AmidstLife which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music !

– By Devisha Shah

A Poem! – Day 13/365

Sharing the beautiful lines by Rudyard Kipling that I came across :

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.

Today’s song – “Mad Wold – Gary Jules” Happy Sunday!

P.S. – I have created a YouTube Playlist called – “Project 365 Days – Amidstlife which includes songs that are mentioned with each article! The settings are set to “Public” so that all of you can access it whenever you are in the mood to enjoy some new music!

-By Devisha Shah

 

 

 

The First Sight – Day 11/ 365

There was something enthralling in the air around there. Around the whole wide city.

Scheming through a gazillion articles and itineraries on the internet about the best places to visit in Paris, I came up with my own itinerary for 2 days. I insist, and I urge deeply, never go to Paris for just two days. Take a week off, even that will not be enough but at least you will be able to breathe the liveliness of the city for a little longer. Continue reading

Are you watching ? – Day 10 /365

Having a knack for observing things around you is a two-edged sword. Especially if you are that blessed soul who observes people even without trying.

Eyes are extremely expressive, one look at a person’s eyes and if you are good at observing you would precisely know how the person is feeling. Smile has got absolutely nothing to do with the thoughts that the person is playing on his or her brain reel.

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“Women = Men”. – Day 8 /365

“Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings.” – Cheris Kramare!

According to Oxford Dictionary, the word “Feminism” is defined as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”

According to Cambridge Dictionary, it is defined as “an organised effort to give women the same economic, social, and political rights as men”

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A Lost and Found Story ! – Day 4 / 365

For 2 hours on every Saturday, few willing young volunteers and I go to a local government funded school to teach low income students (13-15 years old) several life empowering skills such as acting, public speaking, sports, visual arts, coding and dance. An organisation called The Apprentice Project, leads this initiative and we together try to do our bit to bring some positive shift in the society that we exist in.

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What’s more testing..? – Day 2 / 365

A conversation that was born out of thin air, got me and a friend of mine to think about what exactly is more strenuous ? Is it that being kind, honest, accountable, courteous and more so all in all being a “moderately good person” tougher than just snapping at somebody, lying, robbing or (to go as far as) killing somebody ?

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Project 365 Days – Kick Off !

The thought of penning down my thoughts has been a constant self-nag in my head for past 3 years. Not that I am an amazing writer, but, in a way, it is liberating to be able to express yourself that allows you ponder on your thoughts, organize them, throw some out of the brain window while learn about a few more as you write!

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