Birthday stresses (and no it’s not about just getting old!)

So the birthday rolled around and this one was unlike any other! I’m the quintessential Gemini about birthdays even though I’m a Taurus-Gemini cusp! I plan for the next birthday the evening of the previous one- so I’m that kinda psycho birthday maniac,

But this birthday I was a bit more introspective and stressed out- had this year counted for anything? Had anything changed ? Did my life thus far mean anything to anyone? Yup I was being a bit more fatalistic than usual. What had I acheived?

And so this time I stressed out before the birthday! And started (like the OCD maniac I am) listing down any positive learnings I have had or impacts I had made. Here’s what I found!

  1. I have become closer to family now than I ever was and that’s a win!
  2. I have more friends now and they accept me -flaws and all! I’ve reconnected with a few who knew me and they seem prouder of who I am today -so there must be growth and that’s awesome!
  3. More importantly I accept me- flaws and all and now can be honest with who I am , especially to me!
  4. I have taught people and they remember that fondly and I continue to teach the people who work with me and that’s amazing.
  5. I have started learning all over again! Online learning allows me to find knowledge in areas that I’ve always wanted to discover and that’s hugely positive for me.
  6. I’ve traveled and I’ve seen and learned more about cultures and places and put into perspective how magnificent the world is and how much more we can do and then gone ahead and tried to imbibe all that I have seen into making a positive impact.
  7. I have cared for animals and loved and looked after so many and got so much love in return.
  8. I have become kinder, more compassionate and learned to love more! I have become more grateful to the God, the Universe and to people.
  9. I have learned that the more positive you are , the more positivity comes your way!

And the list went on and I realised that not only had the years rolled on, the learnings had added up to and just the fact that I had so many blessings in my life, was definitely worth candles on the cake – even if there were more candles now, than cake !

P.s. (Palat says)-: Whenever you are down, look around you and make a list- when you see how much you have and how many love you; you’ll realise that the stress just disappears! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

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Find your Fun

The husband complained more than a few times of my accurate description of his grunts and TV watching style. This amused me thoroughly and when I asked whether I should photograph him as proof or use his name in the blog- he grunted his approval while staring at his phone screen!

Conclusion-: He (Aditya) can stare at a phone screen at all times… it’s not just limited to when he watches TV

The rest of the day needed spicing up… and so I engaged in my favourite pastime – deciding where I should travel next to- my personal window shopping exercise… I have realised whether or not I go to all these places; I will be prepared. So if tomorrow, the opportunity arose to go anywhere from New Zealand to Russia to the South of France or even Hawaii, I’d have ready hotels, itineraries and even my choice of airlines all sorted!

This was easily the best way to spend lunch…especially with the new diet offering a new speciality of depressing food ! Before I knew it food was gone and Trip no. 34,563 was planned!

Each day can be so terribly long or unexciting, I have realised that every day it’s important to do something new- something that makes your day a lot of fun, even if it’s just for a few minutes or so- just so that yesterday is not the same as today which won’t be the same as tomorrow. A small ‘brain/heart indulgence’ always makes the day a little bit special. And we could all use a bit of special in our lives!

I used to use this on a Blog I wrote for Times of India and so I’m gonna start over now!

P.s. (Palat says) Find something that makes every day fun- that way every day is worth remembering!

find your fun hand written lettering inscription to poster, banner, printable wall art or overly photography, calligraphy vector illustration

Vote for…

On the eve of the most divisive election with all the mud slinging and name calling I realised one thing… that regardless of who you are and what place you have reached there’s always someone (or in most of our cases, more than a few people) who will HATE you. Yes, the capitalised BOLD— H-A-T-E.

So there’s a progression I’ve realised now- there are the critics… previously critics were unbiased individuals who gave their honest (not paid for) opinion and we’d all read, follow and listen to their recommendations, because it came from a place of passion and honesty.

Then with the internet, overnight everyone became a critic. Then there were the paid critics and those who honestly just wanted to be contrary and suddenly you didn’t know who or what to trust any more…

And the really angry critics they became the trolls… they used their hate of people/ movies/ race/ religion or just of life to bully, abuse and critique anything and everything….

And the truly angry trolls , they became the haters…vicious, mean, hurtful and not bothering about anyone or anything at all…spewing a path of destruction and anger….

And in the midst of all this hate… sensitive souls, teenagers and people with hearts were actually getting hurt- there were those taking their lives basis hurtful posts or trolls… There were kids hurting themselves, being shamed online and searching for outlets to release the hurt and pain , finding none and then becoming trolls themselves… a terrifying spiral of the worst of human  nature.

A few weeks ago, someone posted on her timeline “I want to kill myself.”- that post got 43 likes- WHAT?

No-one asked/ posted why?People didn’t reach out… they didn’t ask what was wrong… they LIKED IT!

I called her and found out that she’d had a truly miserable day and spoke to her till she was done venting… but I realised that in this extremely connected online community , with it’s very mean lean… I think the only way to keep your sanity is to just believe your perfect…

I am not going to be loved by everyone. I may not even be liked by some…. and online since you don’t know me at all, or may be you do- you might hate, comment, troll or just dislike me…

I can’t change how you feel.None of us can.

So in the midst of all the mudslinging and hate, I realised most of us have it easy…we’re not trolled relentlessly or hated with an unbridled undeserved passion.. but we may still get hurt by the silly comment or the backhanded statement made by a ‘friend’… forgot about it.

We’re perfect just the way we are… and if they can’t see it… there’s something wrong with them…!

While USA Votes Hilary or Trump…

I say Vote for yourself… Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and lets the critics , even those inside your head take a break for a day- You are perfect.

VOTE YOU!

vote_for_me

 

Love- is that really the crime?

In a world of hate, we could do with a little bit of love…

Life has changed so very much… Where our parents got married in they’re early twenties, we choose to spend our twenties working or traveling or if we’re lucky- doing both! We spend our lives on social networking sites and learn to market ourselves like a product- coldly and calmly and avoid getting overly attached incase we have to rework brand strategy based on what our ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ feel! This being said we have a million acquaintances but very few friends; every sees the mask we hide behind and we make every effort to make that mask perfect, flawless and beautiful hiding true emotions and feelings because that can only make us look ‘ugly’ right? Being single is now not taboo…infact it’s more of the norm than ever. Who has the time for love? And in this world, how can you let your defences down and even try to love? So we remain more rigid, more cold and even more alone.

And then those that seem to fall in ‘love’ seem to fall out immediately… Divorce happens. In this fast paced world of ours we have quick weddings and even quicker divorces and this makes us question love even more.

We’re not the same world any more. We’re not as safe. Among the 4 letter words that come to mind- angry words, hateful words come first- they easily trump ‘love.’

And that’s our excuse… we don’t have time for love… We may not even believe in it.

But in a world of hate can we be so selfish and self centred to not allow love among anyone else either? When 2 people love each other can we actually punish them for it- criminalise them for it? Why? Because we don’t understand it? Because it goes against our beliefs and fundamentals? Because it’s against ‘religion?’

Every religion preaches love and in a world slowly losing its humanity and love, when 2 people love each other regardless of whether they’re man-woman, man-man or woman-woman… should be allowed to love.

In a world where rapists go free, where fraudsters make millions and stay out on bail, where terrorists are never tracked; in a world where anger, rage and hate dominate our newspapers and senses every single day- would it be so terrible  to allow two consenting adults to fall in love? Is that really a crime?

Or are we hiding behind our own masks of self- righteousness and selfishness because if we can’t find love- noone else should? Now that’s the real crime.

 

I’m not a survivor.

Yes- I have Multiple Sclerosis. Yes- I have a Pituitary Tumour. Yes- I have a tremendous amount of pain every single day… but I’m not a survivor… I’m a WINNER :)!

I learnt a while ago that there are 2 ways to approach anything this serious – 1. Let it control you. 2. Don’t !

I choose to not let fear nor pain nor the fear of pain rule my life. I am incredible and I am all that I am because of the M.S.

How ? You ask?

Well sure.. when we were first told about the disease I was shattered… I didn’t understand it… no one did and it left me fearful. I was left side paralysed and I couldn’t speak… For an actor and especially a person as talkative as me… the not speaking thing was harder than the paralysis…! I could think it …it was just too hard to say so many words…!

And then I tried. I failed. I tried some more. I failed some more. And then I started from scratch. I got to re-learn as an adult how to be Divya and what fun that was!! My Dad and sister would read me the gossip columns of my favourite newspapers…My Mom would watch Oprah with me and Aditya would watch all my favourite rom-coms and comedies with me… and I got to spend all that amazing time with my family who made me realise how cool I was because they were so cool! My Doctor played catch with me and though I pretty much always failed in that…we got some good laughs every evening and I looked forward to the new day with childlike enthusiasm…enthusiasm that I had lost a while before that when work became WORK and family became FAMILY- the 2 things you were committed to but didn’t love the way you should!

And work? Well I decided to focus on MY COMPANY- BALANCING ACT PRODUCTIONS… and when I got up…I put heart and soul in to theatre and the company and it gave me purpose. i was proud to get up every morning because I was the coolest boss to work for! I had no fixed timings…I did short film direction, taught theatre, produced plays, directed videos, directed television shows, wrote television shows, wrote films, created tv properties for clients, ideated, acted,directed, produced and even sang! If I thought it…I did it!

From waiting hours for a shot, and waiting endlessly for the phone to ring I now had no empty minutes…and the phone rang off the hook!And I had to start saying no to work…so I could try something even more new and incredible !

And the travel… Aditya and I traveled every where and we’d pick a country and devour it! Days of research, months of planning and every trip was more exciting, more unforgettable and with more moments than I’d ever imagined possible…

And then last but definitely not least…I married the man of my dreams…someone I’d have only married 2/3 years post 2006 had the illness not happened and all that would have done would have made me miss out on living with my best friend, my partner in crime and my better half (in every way)!

So I didn’t survive… I live, I thrive and I win… and I wouldn’t change my life with all it’s ups and downs because it’s made me me…. and I’m pretty darn awesome!

 

stop hating. start loving.

Last week was important for 2 reasons. Last week was Valentine’s Day – and the one week I didn’t write!

In my Valentine’s Day- I see hearts, and heart shaped chocolates. I see flowers and balloons and gifts and romantic declarations…. and tho you will have the few who ‘do not believe in Valentines day’ ( huh!?) this year the numbers of those hating this day had increased a heck of a lot. Declarations of Anti-Valentines Day/ Wear Black against V-Day were being posted on Facebook and followers had increased. The number of people posting positive , love-filled messages were few and when a girl-friend of mine called me trying to discuss her valentines Day plans , she seemed so very grateful that I still enjoyed celebrating love! She’d called a friend to ask what they were doing for Valentines Day only to be told ‘who does that anymore?’

Who does that any more? Well….I do and it makes me happy!

What was I doing? I was Valentine-ing! I say this without shame and without fear that you will mock my silly rom-com life! I will celebrate love- loudly, unabashedly and I will love it! How is it silly to celebrate love? Most people spend a life time searching for it and when you do…you take it for granted and move on! I hate the people who self assuredly say ‘well, every day is a celebration of love, why should I restrict it to one!’ That’s just a cheap way of not buying gifts, flowers or taking your beautiful wife for dinner! And surely every day you should celebrate the fact that you have life and you were born but you probably still expect a special celebration on your birthday… though every day in fact should be a celebration of life!

To all the haters… take a day off! Celebrate love… celebrate the fact that you are still looking/ have found someone/ are in a new relationship/ single! Celebrate love. Gift yourself something special. Make a list of those you love in your life…. Make a list of qualities you’d like to find in the man / woman you want to meet! Be happy. Happy thoughts attract happy people. Love attracts love! Every day is filled with so many stresses, worries, petty fights, silly jealousies- for one day just go out, dress up and be happy that you CAN LOVE SOMEONE! You CAN fall in LOVE.

And if you are in love or have found someone special…the honeymoon period only ends when you let it end… so smile, dress up and fall in love all over again! Work can make our home go ’round but love makes our life go ’round and sure you may tell your better half you love them every day of the year , many, many times- but for one day- just pull out all the stops and bask in warmth of love!

Why didn’t I write ? Because I was on a journey to my roots with my handsome husband. We decided to combine our passion for exploring with Valentines Day… so it was travel, see, explore and Valentine…!I would document this later. Right then, I was too busy just living– and it was amazing!

Don’t waste hating love or Valentines Day- it doesn’t make you cool…. it just makes you lonely and sad. I celebrated Valentines Day when I was single too… and loved it! The one day you can buy heart holding teddy bears and ridiculously cute cards…!

Love is cool.

Being in love is very cool!

Stop hating. Start loving!

Relationship 201- What to do when the honeymoon period is over?

So you’ve met someone and the ‘honeymoon phase’ of the relationship is now kinda over. You disagree. You argue. He has an opinion (shocker) often different to yours (double shocker!). She stops dressing up. He’s not shaving that often. She’s stopped the heels… He’s stopped opening doors…And suddenly it seems like this isn’t going to work out any more…! I mean he/she seemed perfect till they stopped pretending and became who they are!

So how do you make it work?

How can it keep being fun/ fun-ish…?

How do you not become…(dreaded word here!) b-o-r-i-n-g!?

So as a self confessed commitment-phobe… yes I really HATED RELATIONSHIPS and most of my long ‘relationships’ lasted 3 days,4 days and one… an awful week…(I didn’t see him for 3 out of those days, so that helped!), these are my tips and tricks to keep your relationship in the ‘dating phase’ for a whole lot longer!

  1. Do a lunch date once a week… Escape from the humdrum of work/ normal life and just meet up for an hour… Once near your place of work/home and once near his… This makes the week less mundane and gives you a welcome break to spend with your partner. Have a quick meal and linger over coffee and dessert and just chat…! Take turn making the plans so it gives you something to look forward to! You’ll have a better afternoon at work after that for sure too!
  2. Dress up for dinner and go out once a week… Dress up! This is important because you can’t take your partner for granted. Don’t just dress up for the parties and the social do’s – make an effort and dress up for your partner – heels, straightened hair et all…girls and men- shave, suit up and take your lady out! Enjoy the dinner. Talk. Ask questions. Make travel plans. Laugh.
  3. Hold hands….seemingly easy…actually very hard. Hold hands when you are together. Hold hands when you fall asleep. Re-establish intimacy. HOLD HANDS.
  4. Share a hobby or a sport…OUTSIDE HOME! Go for a run! Go join a language class… Go gym together- Get out. Get out TOGETHER!
  5. Fight and finish your fights. Don’t change who you are or what you believe in. Fight for who you are. Fight about the death penalty, Lance Armstrong… whatever…. argue and then listen to each other. You fell in love with someone not because they were a clone of you…You fell in love with their differences…So listen to them.
  6. Ask about each other’s day- once in the morning where you hear all the plans. Then make a quick phone call at lunch to check on your better half and then at the end of the day ask how the day went and share. Sharing makes the other person realise that you value their opinion and also they get to hear how much you do. Talk and share!
  7. Make a few big dates… for me it’s out First Date Anniversary, Valentines Day, Wedding Anniversary, My birthday and his… and make those days super special… Take time to plan them together and make a day of it! Spa days, dinners, flowers…make the day special!
  8. Surprise each other- flowers, favourite foods, a CD… gift a gift – a no occasion ‘just because I love you’ gift. You used to do that when you dated…so don’t stop!
  9. Travel together…but most importantly PLAN THE TRAVEL together…! That’s all the excitement and so much happiness… so PLAN TOGETHER!
  10. Watch TV together and go to the movies… you may not like all his choices and he may not love all your rom-coms but watching something together , holding hands and just being… that relaxes the stress of a relationship and allows you to have opinions as a couple on silly tv shows and forgettable movies!

These are just 10 tips… there are so many more… But all I’m saying if you’ve found the right one… Don’t give up on him/ her because you think the ‘romance is over’ just change your definition of romance… The honeymoon may end but the love starts then…. And that period can be way better than the honeymoon ever was!

Have a romantic week ahead!