Monday, 31 December 2012

A 2013 wish for you and me

Hello dear friend,

It's new year's eve in Toronto, and I've spent some time thinking about what I'd like to say to you as we start 2013. I also spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on all that happened this past year...

And then I realized I was done with it.

2012 was a monumental year for me, and I know I'll never forget it. But it's also time to embrace the present reality, recognize that the past is just that -- the past, and to look hopefully towards a brighter future.

I couldn't find better words than these gems from Neil Gaiman. So here's to you and your dreams, my friend. May the New Year 2013 be everything you wish it to be, and may you and your loved ones be blessed with all the things that will make your hearts sing.
Image courtesy of

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Anything but the (bad) news

I follow a number of organizations and pages over on Facebook. These pages either represent various brands I like or share information and content I enjoy. One of my favourite pages by far, however, is Overheard in the Newsroom. Everyday I see at least one to two anecdotes submitted by members from various newsrooms that resonate. Quotes can range from the daily hilarious one liner to something more significant. Like this one (pictured below), posted two days after the Connecticut school shooting on December 14th, 2012. 

Screengrab courtesy of StraightFromTheCurls

In a day when news is literally available at our fingertips, it can be hard to tune out. From newspapers to 140 characters on Twitter, if something is trending, we're going to hear about it -- whether good or bad. But it seems like these days, it's mostly bad. Bad news is magnified. It's what sells. If we're not getting the straight skinny, we're getting the angles. And the worst part is the rush to get the information across. For instance, in an effort to be the 'first' to break news to the worldwide audience, news agencies didn't fact-check the information they provided about the true identity of the Sandy Hook killer or his relationship to the school.

I think that's what frustrates me the most. When I work with interns I try to drill the importance of fact-checking their work before hitting the submit button. Yes, in the online world we're able to edit our work as soon as we notice our mistakes, but news travels so fast that the ramifications of false information circulating over the Internet (even for mere minutes) can create a negative ripple effect.

Anyway, I guess my point in all this is that sometimes silly news is good news. It's healing. Viral videos of puppies driving cars or cute cards with catchy phrases are more than welcome amidst such sadness. In fact, I told someone the other day that there should be a Funniest Home Videos channel. Laughing uncontrollably for even 15 short minutes can make such a difference to our overall health.

So with that said, here are my five favourite links from this past week. At some point or another they've either made me giggle at my desk or want to share them with coworkers and friends. I hope you get a laugh (or two) from them, and I also hope you'll feel inclined to share them with those who need them the most.

1. Said dog on bicycle referred to in the Overheard in the Newsroom comment.

2. A Boston terrier puppy who can't keep his hind legs down while eating.

3. 11 people we don't want to see in 2013 (yes, Donald Trump made this list).

4. Emergency Puppy: The Twitter account I'm so gratefully following. (You should too.)

5. And my most favourite compilation... 40 of the cutest things that happened in 2012.



Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A present worthy of a pause

I can say in all honesty that the firsts have been the toughest. They always are, aren't they? Since June, we've been through the Euro Cup, the Olympics, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Diwali... his favourites. Seasons have changed and life has moved on. And it has only been five months. Well, it will be five months on November 21st. Five months on what would have also been a milestone birthday for him.

Image found on

In one way, time has been speeding on by. I can't believe it's almost the end of November, with Christmas right around the corner. But in other ways, the days have been dragging. I sometimes feel as though I want time to speed up. Like the faster it goes, the closer and sooner I'll get to what it is I really want. I keep imagining that the fates have this grand plan chalked out for me. Something that will involve more smile than frowns and more reasons to live in the present than to anticipate what the future will bring.

Then, just as I get ahead of myself and what I imagine things will be like a year or a decade from now, life sends me a reminder that I'm not promised anything beyond the present. You'd think after everything this year has swung my way I'd have learned that lesson by now...

Then again, I suppose the reminders are also important. They're flagposts of our own mortality. I feel like we live in an age where life moves so quickly that we're constantly struggling to keep up.

Image found on

I'm starting to savour the moments when I'm still. I used to be scared of the silence, but now I'm starting to embrace it. I'm grateful for quiet moments that let me reflect.

Many years ago, my mum printed out this image (pictured below) and stuck it to the mirror on her dressing table. Five simple rules for happiness. I remember seeing this printout every so often, but wouldn't really pay attention to it. It keeps springing to mind now, though. She follows these rules every day, and I hope that some day I'll be able to do the same.

Image found on


Monday, 12 November 2012

For the light that guides us

"2012 will be the year when big things happen!"

I clearly had high hopes when this year first began.

When I made that statement at the turn of the new year, I was thinking new job, life-altering trip... things along those simple lines. But how does that saying go? Something about the "best laid plans going astray...?"

If my experiences this year have taught me anything, it's to not be surprised if you end up on a different journey in life than you had planned. Because even if you have it all figured out (right down to what outfit you'll wear on the plane as you embark on your great escape), life can shift gears at any moment and send you on a journey you had no intention of ever entertaining. 

The thing about these unexpected journeys, however, -- the ones that shake the very foundation that you exist upon -- is that they hold a mirror to you. They usually set forth a series of events that test you down to your core. They make you rediscover yourself -- your mirth, your courage, your resilience, and what you truly believe in. I can't say there's a real ending to these journeys because I think they're the forever kind. But I can say that the strengths you pick up along the way (because they are strengths) do make the road... less... difficult. And they, perhaps, even help you as you work on your other plans -- once you get back on track, of course. 

Losing my father in June came as a rough blow. I wasn't ready for it. It wasn't part of my plan this year. I know that sounds awful, but because his passing was very unexpected I can say it. I (and members of my family, in their own way) have been on one of these unexpected journeys since May. And I have been tested. From shocking emotions to moods I never even knew existed, it's been a roller coaster. And I'm trying hard to stabilize the flickering lights in my life. 

I mentioned in my last post that over the past few months I've taken comfort in my job and the joy it gives me. However, the moments on my own have been the toughest. I've been forced to acknowledge a reality without my father, and it's heartbreaking. He comes to mind mostly during the holidays -- especially the Indian ones. He enjoyed them the most because they reminded him of his youth, growing up in India. Ganesh Chaturthi and now, Diwali -- the festival of lights. There's no denying a lot of people saw the light that shone brightly through my father. 

For the light that guards and guides us. For the one that will always shine so bright.
{Photography courtesy of}

So tonight, on the eve of Diwali in Toronto, I've lit a lantern as a symbol of hope and peace. I hope that the light will continue to shine and guide me on my journey. I hope that it will bring my loved ones peace. I've also lit it in the hopes that you, my dear reader, will always find reasons to see brightness over the dark, and that you and your loved ones will forever be surrounded by light and love.

Thank you for adding to the light in my life! 

Happy Diwali!



Sunday, 23 September 2012

On loss, life and the things we'll never know

I never imagined how much my life would change after my last blog post. Nor did I realize just how close to home the post on May 19th, (So finite) would hit.

In it, I talked about life having an expiry date. At that time, a series of small events highlighted mortality and sent me a strong reminder that our time on this planet is limited. Little did I realize that the post was almost a premonition of what was to come.

I lost my father on June 21, 2012.

A few days after I wrote that last post, my father was rushed to the hospital and almost a month to that date, he passed away.

Wow. I think it's the first time I've actually written those words. I've opened this blog to write many times since that heartbreaking day, and the words just never formed. But there they are -- real as this computer screen staring back at me.

Yes, death is real and it will eventually touch us all. However, no one can know how or when it will happen. As desperate as we may be to look into the future to try and figure how it will all turn out, the truth is we just won't know what's been designed for us until it happens.

Image courtesy of

I never imagined that we'd lose him the way we did. For nearly a month we had to live hour by hour while he was in the hospital. On some days we lived minute by minute. Sitting here, just about three months since that day, I'm trying to pinpoint the moment when I knew he was fading. And I can't do it. The entire journey that led to his passing wasn't stable. It wasn't consistent. And we're still struggling with so many unanswered questions. But as I was often told in the days since he passed, 'When it's your time, it's your time.'
(Not comforting words, fyi.)

The three months since has passing have been a blur. I didn't imagine the impact this would have on my family and I. People who've experienced such a tremendous loss in their lives often say that they become numb in the aftermath. I never knew what emotional numbness felt like until this experience.

Everyone deals with grief differently -- denial, anger, inconsolable hysteria, silence. For my part, I've been trying to stay busy. Absorbed in work and holding on to moments where I don't have to be alone with my thoughts. I hang on to anything that lets me ignore my own reality. I'm coasting. Numbness -- I now know what it feels like. My choices probably aren't the healthiest, but it's what I need for now.

I'm not sure what the next few months will have in store for all of us. I keep thinking about how he died exactly five months to the day of his birthday. Appropriate enough, I suppose -- he always enjoyed symmetry. My mum refers to losing him as a void that we're unable to fill. She's right. Life, moving forward, will now be without him.

No matter your relationship, nothing can ever prepare you for the emotional turmoil that stems from losing a parent. But it's part of living, I suppose. And an experience like this certainly shifts perspective, makes you reorganize your priorities and look at life differently.

And now that I've found some words (finally), I hope I'll be able to write more. Share more. Acknowledge what has happened. Look towards the future. And I hope that the fog of the past few months will eventually lift.

**Thank you to all our friends and family who've stepped up and shown us support during these past few months. Thank you for your love, thank you for your strength, and thank you for your wishes of peace. We're lucky to have you all in our lives.**

Till next time,


Saturday, 19 May 2012

So finite

Yesterday it dawned on me. It happened mid-sentence and during a thought that had nothing to do with... anything. But for the first time it became quite clear that my time on this planet is limited.

I don't know why it took me so long to really absorb this truth. I mean, it's something I've always known (obviously), but it's a thought that has taken a backseat in my vehicle as I've maneuvered through life, when it really should have been sitting front row and centre.

Perhaps it's because we, as humans, are coded by society to live our lives a certain way. We try to measure our own happiness and success by those around us, and by what we're told is 'right.' You know? Go to school. Study. Get a job. Get married. Have children. Work. Work. Work. Because work = success. Save all your money. Retire. Then what?

I know far too many people who work so hard at jobs they don't like simply because it brings in money. However they then take that money and store it away at a bank or in investments, and never really see it. They say (the people I know) that it's to provide for their children (who don't exist as yet), and for future generations (who also do not exist as yet). And all the while these people complain about how much they hate their jobs, hate their lives and hate the people who bring them down. I hear this far too often.  Do they not realize that 'someday' should be today?

Not too long ago I too was in the same canoe. I was working at a job that made me quite unhappy. And I was working so hard that by the time I came home, I would pass out from mental exhaustion and sadness, with no time to enjoy my hard earned earnings. It was a vicious cycle.

Fortunately my tides have turned, and I now work at a place that feels like home. It's not easy by any means, but it's right for me. And I'm finally learning how to balance. However, part of this balance is the importance of knowing that my time on this planet is finite. That I shouldn't put off till tomorrow what can be done today, and that if it makes me happy, I need to jump in with my heart wide open. Because chances are I won't have tomorrow.

Take that trip. Quit that job. Study that program. Kiss that guy.

Live YOUR life YOUR way. 

Do what makes you happy. Be with who makes you happy. Even if it's just for the moment. Live for the moments that make you smile naturally. Be thankful, be grateful and pay whatever good comes your way forward, because everyone deserves goodness in their lives. 

As I tackle this next chapter in my life, I look forward to remembering that my time is finite. And that I don't have to follow anyone else's design for life but my very own.

I'm thankful for every chance I get to wake up, dust off, and embrace a new day with all the love in my heart. Because we're not promised tomorrow. We're only promised right now.


P.s. Tell someone you love them. Today. 

Image courtesy of

Sunday, 11 March 2012

7 Scrabble inspired ideas

I love Scrabble. It's one of the first board games I ever received as a child, and though I didn't appreciate it as much back then, I'm absolutely obsessed with it as an adult.

Trolling around the Internet lately has been quite a treat, as I've stumbled across some fantastic Scrabble inspired ideas I'd like to share with all of you. I'm in awe of the creative minds behind these ideas.

Custom designed Scrabble keyboard

Throw pillows with Scrabble letters

Scrabble themed wedding

Scrabble inspired d├ęcor for the baby's room

Scrabble coasters

DIY Scrabble wine charms

Scrabble styled cupcakes

What do you think? Have you seen any other fun and interesting things inspired by this classic board game?


Images courtesy of Google Images/

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Word of the Day: No

This post is a bit of a rant, so proceed at your own risk.

Learning new things is part of evolution. We go from being helpless babies, to learning to standing on our own two feet, to growing into ourselves (or at least, versions of ourselves), to becoming adults with a whole mixed bag of responsibilities. When we allow ourselves to learn about who we are and about the world around us, we inadvertently become better as human beings. At least that's my take on it.

Part of my personal evolution (besides the obvious natural progression), is an effort to train myself in certain aspects. For instance, I had to learn to focus on tasks. When I was younger, I would spend a lot of time taking on various responsibilities, and could only dedicate small amounts of myself to each of them. I would bite off more than I could chew. I didn't think this was very productive, nor was it fair to the tasks I had taken on. As a result, I had to learn to manage time better in order to focus on these tasks. It's not a skill I came wired with. I had to train myself.

Lately, I've been working on something I've struggled with my entire life: Learning to say one simple word more often—No.

I can't tell you the number of times that word has haunted me. It has lived in the bottom of my throat; at the tip of my tongue; I've felt it roll from my brain to my mouth, and I've even breathed it out. Silently. But, for the life of me, I've very rarely been able to let this simple, two-lettered word move past my lips.

And I'm not sure why. More often than not, I let myself get talked into doing things I don't want to do. I end up spending more time focusing on other people's problems instead of my own, and I constantly worry about what people will think, should I choose to say no. And as a result of all this, most people have come to expect me to say 'yes' to things... all the time. Even when I don't feel like it. And I think that's no one's fault but my own.

So I've been making a conscious effort. You know, to say 'no' to things more often? It's been tough, I tell you, but so worth it. At first I was wracked with guilt. And for what? I'm not too sure. Catholic guilt (if it exists), perhaps? I would say no to things, then spend time coming up with explanations as to why I said it. Then I'd feel guilty. Surely "so and so" deserved to know why I wouldn't be her wing woman that Friday night?

But the truth of the matter is that saying no is a right. At least I'm fortunate enough to live in a country where that's the case. I have to remind myself that I can do it. Should do it more often. Shouldn't feel guilty when I do do it.

A confession? I've had to practice saying this word in front of the mirror. And it's worked. Saying this word (more than I used to, anyway), has freed up so much time for my own pursuits. And the sad reality is that it's upset quite a few people. But I wonder — should I care that I've upset people who are OK with me putting them ahead of myself all the time? I don't think so. At least I don't think so anymore.

So yes. If you hear me say no, please don't take it personally. If I do it, I probably mean it. It has taken a lot of effort on my part, and I probably won't change my mind.

Time is precious, and I'm (finally) learning to appreciate mine.


Images courtesy of Google Images

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012: Give It Your All

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's wishing you and yours all the very best that 2012 has to offer. May you always have reasons to smile, and may your lives be filled with all the goodness and love that this world has to offer!

I spent quite some time thinking about my first blog post for 2012. I wasn't sure about whether to do a wrap up of the year that was, or to write a post in anticipation of the year that will be. As you can see, I went with the latter choice.

One of my resolutions this year is to live life in forward motion. To let go of the past and to try to be absolutely present in the now. It might sound pretty obvious to you, because why would anyone live their life any other way, right? But you'll see from past posts that I spend far too much time reflecting on what was. I think about moments that shaped and brought me to where I am at a given time. And I believe it's good to do that once in a while, but for the most part, because the past cannot be changed, it's important to keep focusing on what's ahead. And to do it with hope and optimism.

With any luck, 2012 will be marked as a year where I make significant changes in my life. I'm looking forward to accomplishing more goals (personally and with my career). If 2011 taught me anything it's that I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Since moving back from Korea I've spent so much time worrying about my career, that I've lost track of other aspects of my life that are also important —my health, giving back to the community and personal growth. My goal is to get back on top of all those things this year.

Over this past holiday season one of my dear aunts reminded me that every day is an opportunity to do good and to be better. She is in her mid-70s and she wakes up every day with a purpose — to live her life to the fullest, knowing that when she goes to bed at night, she can say with confidence, "I gave it my all." And that's what I want to do, because that's all I can do. Give it my all.

So my wish for you, dear readers, is that you wake up every morning and do the things that make you happy. Find your bliss and revel in it. We don't need to be reminded that life is short. Money will come and money will go, no matter how much we try to control it. People will enter into our lives, and some will stay forever, while others will take off without notice. But we have to move forward. Life doesn't come with a 'pause' or 'reset' button, so we have to keep looking forward and give it our all.

Lots of love,

Images courtesy of Google Images
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