Nothing Comes Easy

‘I wish this topic was easier’, ‘why do these exams have to be this difficult’, ‘why can’t all my problems just vanish away like the fairy tales’ and so on. Every one of us has complained like this at some point in our life. We all crave a smooth road with no bumps, blind turns or speed breaks. Such a turn of events is an impossibility, yet we dream of it. We even pray for it to come true.

Imagine, if life suddenly removed all obstacles in your path and it became a smooth ride for us, would we be able to enjoy it? This very thought made me think, and I had a fun discussion with my family about this.

If life suddenly became easy, I would not trust it for quite some time. I strongly believe in the saying, ‘if everything is coming your way, you are probably in the wrong lane’. I would be suspicious of everything that happened. I cannot enjoy something that I have not worked for because I have a constant fear that it will be snatched from me.

My mother said that if it happened to her, she would enjoy life for a little while. Finally, life would be an easy path after a lifetime of difficult decisions. Eventually, she would lose her sleep if she did not have anything to worry about or any crisis to resolve.

My sister said she would grab it with both hands and run. Considering how hectic her life is, I was not surprised by her answer. She did not believe in staring a gift horse in its face. She spends her day running around her two sons, so she waits eagerly for a slow day.

When I asked dad about his reaction to such a situation, he said it is impossible to get a smooth road. He would not bother to waste a thought on it.

My niece felt that if all obstacles were eliminated, there would be no learning. Since she is young, she believed that she would miss out on the experience and the fun in dealing with tricky situations.

Based on all these reactions, I can only conclude that most of us will not really be happy if life removed all the obstacles in our path. Complaining about our problems is a fun process in itself. We just wish life would go easy on stacking up problems all at once.

Beauty Of Tiny Homes

Of late I have been binge-watching the “Living Big in a Tiny House” video series by Bryce Langston. A tiny house is typically 120 sq ft or less. When I first heard about tiny houses, it did not make any sense to me. I wondered how all the furniture and appliances of an 800 to 1000 sq ft house, could fit into a tiny house. The concept did not appeal to me. However, the more videos I watched, the more I understood why so many people prefer a tiny house.

Some tiny- home owners say that it is the cost factor that encouraged them; the cost of building a tiny house is much lower than a regular-sized house. The cost of a tiny house can range from $10,000 to $150,000. The cost depends on the kind of materials used, the design and the additional features added.

For some, a tiny house is a way to diminish their carbon footprint. They don’t mind replacing a regular toilet with a composting toilet in their house. They make clever use of things that were discarded by others. Often, these repurposed materials look very artistic and impressive. Solar panels are used for electricity, to sustain an off-grid living. I have also seen a few people build marvellous systems for rain-water harvesting. Some have even created a biogas digester too. Greywater treatment systems are also incorporated by a lot of these enthusiastic homeowners. It is absolutely amazing to see the effort that they have put in to save the planet.

A large majority of tiny houses are on wheels. The house can be taken wherever you go. This freedom is another reason for the rise in popularity of tiny houses. Their love for the outdoors is so great that they are ready to make any sacrifice.

Image Of A Tiny Home From the Show ‘Living Big In A Tiny House’

The dimensions of the tiny house are very important. There are rules regulating the tiny houses but these rules vary from place to place. If someone were driving under a bridge, the height of the house becomes very important. You understand the reasoning, right?
Whatever be the reason for opting a tiny house, one thing in common: it’s important to downsize the lifestyle. This means, only the bare essentials stay and the rest have to go.

Storage space in a tiny house, I’ve noticed, are designed very skillfully. Every item of furniture or fixture has multiple functions. The seating areas have a hollow space underneath to store things. The staircase is made of a set of cupboards or they may have some other arrangement to store things. Collapsible tables and couches that can be pulled open into a bed. These are some common design elements. Almost all the tiny houses have a loft above, that is generally a bedroom space. In some cases, this is even an office space or a lounge to sit and relax while watching T.V.

Bryce Langston himself has a marvellous tiny house that he designed and built for himself. I thoroughly enjoy watching his videos. I am blown away by the creativity of some people to convert an old school bus, or a train coach, an old truck or a shipping container into a tiny home. One guy built his house, using completely reclaimed timber, tin sheets and an old trailer on a large permaculture farm.

Finally, I can say that I changed my attitude towards tiny houses after binge-watching Bryce Langston’s videos. Even though I can’t see myself living in a tiny house, I have a lot of respect, admiration and awe for those who do.

Disclaimer: All Above Images Are Taken From The Show Living Big In A Tiny House

What I Want And What I Get

I want recognition for my hard work
I want applause for a job well done
I want the admiration of my friends
Then why do I get uncomfortable in the spotlight

I want to look good in my dress & makeup
I want to be the best-looking person around
I want to have the best skin and figure
Then why do I feel uncomfortable in my skin

I want the best projects at the office
I want the corner office in the company
I want to be a success story
Then why do I feel like I’m being set up for failure

I want all my parent’s attention
I want all my sibling’s affections
I want everything a girl dreams about
Then why do I feel it is a burden that is weighing me down

I want to discover new worlds
I want to go where no one has gone before
I want to run free
Then why do I feel xenophobic around strangers

I want to speak my mind
I want honesty from everyone
I want to know what’s in your mind
Then why do I become intolerant towards people with different opinions

Back In The Day, When I Was Young…

Most conversations with elders and senior citizens, neighbours or relatives winds down to the statement,” back in my days, things were…..”
I always took that statement as an indicator of the age of the person I am speaking to. This made me feel young, however, I recently used this statement while speaking to an office colleague. You can imagine my horror, I was suddenly faced with the reality that I am ageing as well. I did not want to accept that reality, so I tried to explain away my statement as a slip of tongue.

Excuses apart, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the statement is more about hope or the lack of it than it is about the age of the speaker.

When we are young, we are full of hope and belief in a better future. We may face bad times, corrupt officials, inflation, economic downturns and more, but our hope that tomorrow will be better is what keeps us going. We believe that this too shall pass. This hope and positivity will keep us from looking back at the past with sadness. We have faith in our hard work and hope that tomorrow our luck will turn around.

Once we begin to lose hope of a better future, we start to use statements like, back in my times. We accept defeat in the face of hardships, or when we throw in the towels and say, ‘this is it, I’m done’. It is a way of accepting that nothing good can happen anymore, Our rosy picture of the future suddenly seems out of reach or impossible. This phase has more to do with losing hope and faith rather than age.

Just as one loses hope, one can also find hope and rebuild faith too. Be it through planning, God, family support or a simple change is luck. Once we start to turn things around for ourselves, we automatically stop looking back in sadness.

Chill Out Hut

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? Since my childhood, I loved food and enjoyed eating different kinds of food. I experimented with food and recipes in the kitchen but, that story is for a different day. Last week, I went to this place called ‘Chill Out Hut’. Here I am to talk about my experience.

Chill Out Hut is located on the A1 highway at Long Bay, Jamaica. It is open from 10 am to 11pm. On the menu, they have pizzas, burgers, fries, meats etc. We ordered fries with cheese and bacon, Parmesan chicken with rice and peas. The food was delicious. Since the food is not pre-cooked, it took them some time to prepare our dishes. There was a bit of waiting time after the order was placed. But the place was so beautiful that we did not mind waiting.

Chill Out Hut hosted many events like Calypso nights, Reggae nights, Karaoke nights, and even mud-wrestling. Since I visited the place at lunchtime, all we experienced was good music playing on the speakers.

The weather was pleasant and not as hot as it mostly is. The sky was overcast though there was no rain. The soft breeze made for enjoyable view and weather. The meal was delightful, and I was relaxed. Later, we took a little walk around the place to click a few snaps. I wanted to remember the place and share my memories.

This was where we were seated and here is the view from my seat:

This was another seating area a little away from ours. The view from there must have been great too. Unfortunately, I did not go up there. I walked around and took snaps in every direction.

And finally, I will leave you with the best picture (in my opinion). The sky was like a painting and the silky, deep blue waves dancing under it. You have to come here at least once to experience it.

Motivation Determines Our Quality Of Life

We are all aware of the importance of motivation in achieving success. Every story of triumph over hardships is backed by a strong motivating force. We all agree that the right amount of motivation can push any person towards greatness. It can make us do, both good and bad deeds. The emotion that drives motivation determines the outcome, be for good or bad.

We have established the fact that a strong motivation can make us do, both positive achievements and negative atrocities. What got me thinking is, what if there is no motivation at all? Is there are a possibility of living without motivation? What would be the quality of life if we lacked motivation?

Even during the most depressing of days, I would still wake up and think to my self, what does today hold for me? Is it going to be the same old or worse? I was motivated to get out of bed to see what the day holds. Though I did not like what was happening, my curiosity to see the end of it, motivated me forward. Though I hated my job, the salary motivated me to go to work. Same way, hunger motivated me to eat, cool breeze motivated me to get out of my room, the greenery motivated me to take walks.

I see many people from different walks of life, who say that they have lost all will to live. Experiencing a loss can make us question the purpose of living. Failure to achieve a goal can make us resentful. We only need to rethink and calibrate the direction and goals of our lives. We can always draw inspiration from others. Many sportspersons, life coaches, successful people, scientists etc lead exemplary lives that give inspiration and motivation to fight back. Exercise, supportive friends and peers, therapy, positive environment etc will help you adjust your compass to point correctly towards success.

We may not be able to go around motivating everyone, but we can keep our motivation alive. Be thankful for all the little things and celebrate them. This will keep us fighting to get better. This way, we can hopefully inspire the people around us and indirectly give them motivation.

Scary Encounter or Mind Trick

This incident occurred a few years back during my college break. It was a hot summer day and I decided to spend it reading my favourite book. I was reading The Lord of the Rings, and it was a particularly gripping chapter. Frodo and his friends had escaped from the Nazgul at Weathertop. If you read this book, then you are aware of the gripping story line and the nail biting narrative. Coming back to my story…

I had been reading the book continuously all day and well into the night. I started to feel uneasy; I sensed a presence watching me. My foot became numb along with my leg and this feeling spread up my body and reached my head. Fear and panic set into my mind. I frantically started to chant God’s name in my mind, hoping that it would help me. Nevertheless, the numbness in my body did not subside. The presence that was watching me was moving closer to me.

When I felt someone touch my shoulder, I panicked and jumped out of my bed. It was then that I noticed that I was asleep all the while. Though I woke up, I was still shaking with fear. I went out to my parent’s room and saw that everyone was asleep. Not wanting to disturb anyone, I splashed some water on my face and drank some juice from the refrigerator. This had settled my nerves a little. I decided to sit in the puja room (every Indian house has a special room for daily prayers) for the rest of the night. The next morning I spoke to my mom about the incident and she was spooked too. We decided to let it pass.

Soon our maid came to work and she looked haggard. She told us that, the previous night, a fight broke out in her neighbourhood. A person was caught doing black magic and everyone started to lynch him. She said that it was very scary as they found many weird items in this possession. I was still shaken from last night’s events, so my maid’s story added to my fear.

This story had spread throughout our neighbourhood like wildfire. It became fodder for gossip and fear mongering. Everyone was coming up with new stories every day. I found myself falling for these stories due to my own experience. There was a wave of paranoia among the illiterates and the educated alike.

A fortnight later, on a Sunday, I found an interesting article in the newspaper. It was about our brain; the conscious and subconscious mind. The author spoke about how our subconscious mind continues to work even in our sleep. It was still aware of the surroundings, it assimilates data and sound bites throughout the day and at night it gives us signals in the form of dreams, to alert us of our surroundings. It could be a bug or a mosquito buzzing around us, changes in air quality, change in temperature, thirst, and other bodily functions.

This article suddenly made more sense when I looked back at the events of that night. It was a hot summer night and I was locked up in my room reading a gripping novel. I was so engrossed in the book that, I did not take any break to drink water or get fresh air. At some point in the night, the fan stopped working too. In my sleep, I was unaware of all this. My mind had to do something drastic to jolt me awake and hence that dream. It was purely coincidental that the fight occurred near my maid’s house. This coupled with my dream, started a chain of stories and fake news to cultivate fear. I almost fell for this and believed in black magic.

The whole scary summer turned into a fun and eventful summer by the end of it all.

Does Positive Thinking Really Work

Hello friends!! When someone spoke about positive thinking, I always made fun of them by asking, will it help me get away with murder just by wishing it away. Yet, I have seen it work and I have experienced its failures too. You might understand my perspective if I tell you the backstory about a coworker of mine. I have known her since my school days, but never really warmed up to her until we started working together. Since the beginning, she was always a bundle of positivity and this rubbed me the wrong way. In school, when all of us wished for the teacher to fall sick so that we get an extra day in the assignment, this girl would just say that the teacher won’t mind it if she didn’t submit and it worked for her. We all thought it was favoritism, but after the same story repeated in college and work, we realized she can’t have so many fans. It was her luck maybe?

Well, this good luck did not limit itself to assignment submissions or tests. From getting comfortable seats in buses to the last dress in her size at a sale or chance to meet her favorite star in the airport, she had all the luck. At one time, we even suspected that she might have a stock of rabbit feet that brought her all this good luck. However, that was not the case and while working with her I realized the truth. The secret was her positive thinking. As you can guess, I did not believe her. She would say, ‘don’t worry, it will all work out’ or ‘you will win this time’, and her words came true. The positive thinking did not work for me though. No matter how many times I thought positive thoughts when I did I shoddy job, I always got caught.

One day, I sat down with her to get to the bottom of the matter. How come positive thinking worked for her and not me? The answer she gave me took a while to digest and understand. When one thinks about positive thinking we already have a set outcome in our mind and everything else is a negative outcome. She explained that that is not how it works. We should be open-minded about all the outcomes and ask for one that is the best suited to us. Whether it is the one that we foresee or not is of no consequence. We have to have faith that we will be given the best outcome. She was, quite literally asking for the best outcome and nothing else.

This was a difficult lesson to learn for me. When I tried practicing it, I had difficulty accepting the outcome. Maybe it was because I could not see far into the future and determine that the outcome was for the best in the long run. If we want to succeed in making positive thinking a way of our life, we need to be more accepting and open-minded in our approach. I decided to start with small steps by applying it to my daily tasks and everyday issues rather than starting off with all of life’s big problems straight away.

I am still practicing it and have not become a master at it yet. As of now, I can safely say that Positive Thinking is not quite the impossible concept that I thought it was. There might yet be more to this than just getting the promotion or getting away with murder.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.

Monthly saving is not that difficult to achieve

In today’s world, it’s all about making a fast buck and spending it just as fast. There may be tons of avenues to earn money, but the young generation is finding it more difficult to control expenses. Every young working member of this society complains that their income is never enough to set aside savings. Is saving really that difficult? Is it the living expenses that have gone up, or has the urge to spend gone up?

Here are my thoughts on some age-old techniques that our parents applied and are still very much relevant when it comes to saving. I will also add a few of my personal ideas that have worked for me when it comes to saving. Despite all the ideas and techniques, the will to control expenses and the wish to save money is the foremost requisite.

Here is my first technique to save money.

  • Set up a recurring deposit, so that on the first of every month the bank automatically transfers a portion of the salary to the RD for a year or more. This way, without your intervention you set aside a small amount that will accrue interest. You can set up the amount based on your salary.
  • Reduce the number of e-wallets that you use to one or maximum 2. The more you use these wallets, the more you end up spending. They offer you cash back schemes, which only make you spend more. Their cashback schemes are all a trap to make you spend, where you never planned to spend.
  • Here is a personal idea of mine. On the 7th of every month, sit down at your system and pay your bills personally. Do not set up auto payment instructions. The idea behind this is, when you sit and pay each bill, you will feel the pinch of seeing your bank balance reduce. It generally scares me enough to control expenses.
  • One can always use the traditional saving plans like an insurance plan, PF plan, pension plan, SIPs, Chit funds etc.
  • One technique that my mom employs is to maintain a book of accounts to keep track of all expenses. This comes in handy in case of unforeseen or unavoidable expenses. I use the Google sheets on my phone to keep track and I noticed that the expenses are not so unavoidable after all.
  • Everytime I receive a bonus, I use the complete bonus amount to buy a gold coin. The amount may be small, the coins may be of different denominations, but in your hour of need you can exchange the gold coins at any jeweller for cash and get the complete exchange rate as of that day.
  • This may not be the best idea, but it works for me. I use my procrastinating attitude to postpone shopping trips. I put away the chance to spend for as long as needed until one day, I don’t need that purchase. It works like a charm for me.

Remember, all these methods will work only if you have the will to make them work. Just make up your mind and it’s not so impossible to save some money however small our salary is. All the best in your efforts.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these images. They are sourced from Google and Pinterest.