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I Dare, Bare and Share – My Most Critical Life Lessons!

Painted by me: Tea Plantations of Munnar (view from the balcony)

When my blogger friend Abubakar Jamil invited me to contribute to his “Life Lessons Series”, I said “yes” instantly not knowing how to say ‘no’ to any request from a friend, let alone this request which is an honour in itself. I had made a promise to share my Life Lessons, but this sounded so serious and reflective a subject that I kept procrastinating. It had been a few months and more than few reminders from this well-meaning and determined friend who would not give up on me! And yet, I thought, I will write when I ‘feel’ like.

And that feeling did come, when, out of no where, I get this sudden urge to refllect on my past; go down the memory lane to collect some weathered and wilted blossoms from the garden of life. And I am so glad it came naturally to me, for, I won’t write for this blog unless I feel it earnestly from within.

I have always aspired and espoused to live a life without regrets. I believe in going ahead and doing what I would like to do rather than waiting for the perfect time or perfect resources. For, I think there will never be a right time. What is of primary importance is a burning desire to do what you want to do. If that’s there, everything else can fall in place. And yet, inspite of this strong philosophy, why do I feel the urge to go back and reflect on what I could have done or not done? There is no way I can even undo what has happened and what those actions have led to. On the contrary, more or less, I don’t even think I would now like to change those events and actions. Altering those would mean, altering who I am today. And, honestly, I am happy with the ‘today’ that I am sharing with my hubby and daughter. Who knows, if I had done certain things differently, my life today would have read a different script, with someone else. No, I can’t even fathom a life without Avie and THIS specific little girl who’s my daughter!

I think, I want to go down this journey back in time for reasons more than just taking stock of the rights and the wrongs. Due to the pace at which we live our lives, we don’t often care to pause and mull and meditate over how our lives have unfolded thus far. And, to some extent, our otherwise positive philosophies about “living life in the present” or “getting on with life no matter what” or “looking ahead” don’t exactly fit in with looking backward.

I’m not suggesting this “looking ahead” attitude or philosophy is wrong. But, isn’t there joy and nostalgia and meaningful learning hidden in going back to those times when youth and rawness ruled; when matters of the heart were the heart of every matter; when opening gifts after a birthday party was the most exciting event ever; when mom meant everything and yet she would be the one taken for granted; when getting a campus placement on the first day equaled scaling the Mount Everest; and when work became life and life became work for the sake of the so called success and significance!

The other reason I want to reflect on the lessons from my past is to be able to leverage those learnings and focus all my positive energy and thoughts in making my current life more beautiful and meaningful.

And third, and most important – I want to see from my present perspective, if, consciously or unconsciously, any action or world or thought (or the lack of it) of mine may have had hurt somebody. I will, now, want to make it up to that person in some way or other.

So, as I go back in time, here are a few things I wish I had known then.

On matters of Aspirations….

I wish, back then, I had not given up my music lessons midway.

As a little girl, I loved music – be it playing the guitar, the keyboard/Clavier or just singing. I pursued all these feverishly only to abandon this dearest passion midway. May be due to the pressure of academics (or, was it a sheer excuse?). O! how badly, desperately, I wish, I should have mustered enough will power and not allowed my conviction and fervour to shake. For, I know, I had the natural talent and the yearning for music. If I had learnt it through all those years, I could have become a master at it today. It’s a lesson that resonates in my heart and soul loud and clear these days. But, I am so full of gratitude to the divine that He made me cast away my ignorance and I am back to playing my keyboard again. Not just that, since past one year, I am taking lessons in Hindustani Classical music. In singing, I am experiencing the purest form of joy and this joy, I am not going to relinquish, come what may! I have learnt that of all the things that we want to do, there will be that one thing that our soul aches without. And, it will be our greatest gift to ourselves, if we can recognize that passion early on in life and apply ourselves to it, whole heartedly.

I wish I had taken up English Literature as my honours (major) subject in graduation rather than Economics.

I have always nourished a love for writing – poetry, essays, journals and reading all sorts of literature has been my fascination. And yet, I ignored the well-intentioned pleadings from my heart. I can’t begin to fathom why I abandoned this beautiful subject; did not pay heed to my English Professor – Sir Anjan Das’s advice and instead took up Economics. But, as destiny, and my heart would have it, Economics fell on the way side as I went on to study Advertising and took up copy writing. Voila! That, got me back to writing. And, now this blog and one other are pushing me more and more in that direction. So, no looking back from here on…

On Matters of Relations and Emotions…

I wish I had not kept those many small expectations in relationships all the time.

Back then, I would allow myself to feel overtly hurt and let down (and in turn ‘judgemental’) if a gesture was not returned; a thought not appreciated; a hand not held; a hug not shared; and many such things. In retrospect, I think if I had accepted those people as they were – with their own individualities – I would have been a happier person and my relationships would have been more fulfilling and long lasting. And, I am glad I have learnt a lot from that not-so-helpful attitude that I carried for years. I have learnt that ‘expectations’ stifle bonds. It’s a no-win proposition for two people/families on both ends. Today, I care for and value the relationships I share but I don’t fret so much as to affect my happiness and mental state by what people do or not do. I realize that in a relationship that matters to me, it should matter as much without me trying to change the person and moulding him/her as per my expectations. I have decided to learn something from the uniqueness of people as they are rather than invite misery from my selfish expectations of how they should have been or what they should have done.

On matters of Friends and Friendships…

I wish I had been open to making more friends in adulthood.

I always felt that the friends we make in childhood and in the teenage years are for real; for life. I never tried making real friendships once I got into adulthood – past the teenage years. Being a friendly person, I made friends and acquaintances at work and other spheres but the relations never evolved into anything more than casual friendships (except for one that culminated into marriage!). But, I have been proven wrong. Vehemently wrong! I stepped into my 30s – an avatar and a stage of life when the child and the family tends to become the centre of our world – at least for a few years. Who has the time to think about making new friendships? Let alone, lasting friendships? But wait, I had to meet this lady – same age and at same stage of life as mine. We shared vibes and we shared wavelengths and we connected like there’s no tomorrow. Chhavi Taneja, my dearest friend for life, dedicating this thought to you! I am so glad I approached your friendship with an open mind and an embracing heart.

There’s no denying the fact that childhood friendships are priceless for they were moulded from pure love and purest intentions. There was no analysis, no calculations, no contriving, no hidden agendas. Having said that, a friendship or two in adulthood too can be truly, deeply meaningful in its own right. For, a friendship that takes shape at this stage of life – when our aspirations, desires, thoughts, goals, values and ideals become closer and clearer to us; and when most likely we would have defined the essence of our lives – will be a friendship that will be immensely stimulating and satisfying – at an emotional and intellectual level. This will be a friendship that we can go hand in hand with – into the winter of our lives.

Another revelation about friendship, that dawned on me about an year back…

…was about not setting limitations when it comes to friendships. Be it limitation of age, geography, gender, distance or even lack of in-person meetings. I had never ever ‘consciously’ considered that my friends would have to be closer my age. But, I guess, due to some deep rooted societal norms, I carried this in my subconscious. Until an year back, that is.

Last year, when a customer of mine (via my online store) – who I had never met and never known other than by means of that one business transaction; sent couple of friendly emails, my first reaction was one of skepticism; then surprise tinged with affection and then one of returning the gesture. Vitoria Antar is a Brazilian living in America; 60+, very lively, elegant, ‘giving’ and caring lady.  Our ‘online’ friendship developed despite we being one generation apart; despite we being continents away; and despite the fact that we have NEVER met – not even on video chat! Today, I can vouch that she’s my true friend and family. Infact, we share with each other what  we probably do not share with best of real-life friends (and even family)! Can you beat that! And wait, this is not the end of my revelation. 2009 was a remarkable year when it came to learning lessons on friendship. I meet this another lady via Flickr, who’s a Brit living in Germany. Caroline Harrington and I clicked instantly. It was our common passion – photography – that introduced us to each other. But, photography was just a clue that we picked up. I think, we were destined to know each other. Caroline is the most vibrant, positive, genuine and loving person I have ever come across. Ever. Seriously! We have never met; never even spoken on phone! And yet, we have a STRONG soul-sister-like connection.

These three friendships – all three in the span of two years or less, have made me realize that the universal energy will guide us to find the scattered parts of our soul – in the form of soul-sisters, soul-mothers or soul-mates. Let’s not close our hearts and minds to all the beautiful synchronicity that life has to offer.

On matters of Making Choices…

I deeply wish that during my pregnancy I should have cared more for myself.

I should have enjoyed more; and I should have spent an easy, peaceful time. I have always been a workaholic to the core (I think mostly people are becoming that way, these days) and due to that trait (or rather, an obsessive compulsive disorder?!), I worked like a maniac, in spite of the sickening nausea, in spite of the persistent pain in my lower abs and in spite of scoldings from mom and bro and disapproving glares from hubby. Today, when I look back, I am aghast at my former self. Because, NOW, I realize I could have spent a more holistic time during those nine months – doing yoga, relaxing with aroma therapy, playing music, doing painting. How much more cherishable those 9 months could have been! But, I am much better off today. Ironic as it may sound, it took a pregnancy and the experience of motherhood to change my perspective on life drastically. Today, being a mother, a wife, a homemaker, an entrepreneur, a blogger – life is still plenty of hard work and far from being calm and quiet. But, I have peace. (I think peace and quiet are not exactly interchangeable.) And, I have satisfaction. The satisfaction of nurturing my own enterprise – on my own terms, accompanied by a deep sense of responsibility and ownership. And, the satisfaction of raising my little girl. This experience of bringing up a delicate young soul in the most creative way possible, is nothing else but spiritual. I am so glad I learnt sooner than later that a 9-6/7/8/9 job (yeah, the upper limit goes on stretching!) will suck the life out of me!

On matters of Defining Priorities….

And, how can I ever wind up my life lessons without sharing the biggest of them all.

Yes, my dear readers – THE lesson of my life is what I share next!

I wish, I had known back then, the supreme significance and essence of – every single, so called, mundane day, replete with the daily chores that we often term as drudgery and interspersed with those moments and acts of togetherness that we relegate way down in our list of ‘To-Dos’. I don’t know if this is true with you but at least I had never paused to think of my each day as a blessing. I lived in a state of blissful ignorance by taking the most precious things in my life utterly for granted. And, by those precious things, I mean such things as the family dinner times, the everyday morning walks, the  catching up on phone with each other, the looking forward to a Friday evening with great anticipation and eagerness, the lazing around on a couch with a cuppa and a newspaper, the whole family huddled together watching the favorite Television program, and..the satisfied, peaceful feeling of knowing that my family is doing good, hale and hearty; that I have them to lean back on, to love and be loved and to share good (and bad times) with….

I had never thanked the Almighty for each day that he blessed me with. Until, I found that the most precious person in my life was on the verge of life and…death. I learnt this lesson the harsh way when, last year, my mom was detected with the most fatal and complicated ailment of the heart. Our lives went topsy turvy in a matter of one week. The previous evening she’s booking a ticket for a weekend holiday and the next day, by mere chance (yes, it was detected in the most bizzare fashion; by a sheer matter of luck), we come to know of her heart problem which was so catastrophic that she needed a surgery as soon as possible. And, what a surgery it was! It took 8 hours and removal of her aorta, valves and root. Those EIGHT hours were the most trying times of my life and my family’s.

As we sat outside the ICU waiting for the news to be announced, what went on inside our minds can hardly be summed up in words. It was spine-chilling, hair raising, creepy…eerie! But, in those ghastly, unearthly moments I had found my definition of life! Never before had I seen it so crystal clear. This was the time when I spontaneously embraced the power of meditation and chanting. There was nothing else I could have done. But, I did not want to sit there a mere bundle of nerves. I wanted to transfer my most positive vibes and energy to mom and to the God-sent angel of a surgeon (Dr. Anil Bhan) who was fighting against odds to give her life. And, the vibes were well received!

But, that was only the beginning of mom’s long and traumatic recovery (she’s still going through it). Seeing your mother (or any of your loved ones) in unthinkable pain is akin to your heart being torn apart. Spending hours and days in the hospital milieu; witnessing hordes and hordes of families and friends of the suffering people hanging out there in every nook and corner – day in and day out; and, observing pain and misery left, right center made me clearly see what are the most treasured things in their lives and, in my life.

If I could have asked this very question to those people, who did nothing everyday except visit the hospital in the morning, juggle night duties as attendees of their unwell members, go back home to come back the very next morning with only one prayer on their lips,  their answer would have been this and only this – that they want nothing else but take their family member back home – hale and hearty, so they would have a peaceful dinner together; spend lazy weekends together; go for a stroll and just cheer at the prospect of a Friday evening. The very things that were hugely underrated by – none other than me!

I am happy that I beg to differ with my former self and so blessed that I learnt this lesson well in time! For, what I have in hand is “today” and in my ‘today’ I have all those I love, the dreams that I must pursue and the acts of kindness that I must do. So, why wait for a Valentines’ Day to utter “I love You (still!)” to my hubby; why not take one concrete step forward towards my dreams today itself; irrespective of a Thanksgiving Day, why not express my gratitude to all those who care for me; why not pen a few lines of email every once in a while to those lovely friends conveying I miss them. Given the whimsical and unforeseeable nature of life, why delay in making those precious people in my life feel special by conveying how much they mean. Aren’t these words true – “today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present”.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.”
– Dale Carnegie

So, that’s it, dear readers. Wow! This has to be my day of reckoning! You may ask, do I feel exposed?! Well, no! On the contrary, I feel I have connected with myself and with so many of you, like never before. I feel healed! I have tried baring and sharing the truths as much as I could have. I think I must save a few more for when I can muster up more audacity! (winks)

There could not have been a better time to share the lessons from my life, when you and I are still fresh with our New year resolutions hoping to give wings to our dreams and shapes to our ideas. When going after our goals, if we do not forget the lessons we have learnt, the journey will become unambiguous and convincing and full of self-confidence.

********

I would like to know if YOU too, dear readers, have learnt a same or similar lesson (and other unique lessons) that you would like to share here? Did you, at any time reading this, feel a resonance or a synchronicity with my lesson learnt?

O! how I would love to hear YOU and know YOU!

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • arunkumarkalra January 13, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Very interospective article.Taking a halt and Looking at the past is a very time consuming and exhaustive activity but is very essential to put your life's story on paper and share it with other beings.  whereas feeling the past is not such a hectic activity and it infact is a personal journey in which we are continously feeling the past without consciously realising it.In your article you have somehow managed to join the dots of feelings and thoughts and churn up an essay which sometimes looks like a mirror where when can see one's own dreams in it.(some fulfilled some unfulfilled)

  • Rashmie Jaaju January 13, 2011, 7:53 pm

    Dear Arun, thanks for reading this long post and for leaving your thoughts! I really appreciate. Yes, you are right – we unconsciously are "feeling the past" and often it even intersects and interferes with the present. Hence, it's all the more essential that we pluck the lessons that we have learnt in the past and apply those in the present. Only then, we would have lived our past purposefully…

    Thanks again, Arun! You're a thinker! :)

    • rakhi August 13, 2011, 8:12 pm

      hi rashmi didi
      i am very happy to see your blog. i read very little but whenever i get time i want to read this .papa is also appreiciate you.you deserve all this . u r always my role model.how is bhuwaji, avi ,manish,shrishti,pari,doll.

      • Rashmie Jaaju September 6, 2011, 12:30 pm

        Rakhi,
        Thanks my dear for sharing your sweet comment. How excited I am that you visited my blog! Will catch up with you soon on phone. :)
        Love to the kiddos and hugs to you my sister… :)

  • Abubakar Jamil January 13, 2011, 8:42 pm

    Rashmie,

    What a lovely post!
    I appreciate the amount of work you've put into writing it and glad to see you in the list of Life Lessons Series Contributors.

    All the wait was finally worth it. ;)

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 13, 2011, 10:02 pm

      Abubakar,
      Thanks to YOU for giving me an opportunity to participate in your glorious Life Lessons Series!
      Am so glad you liked reading this post! :)

  • vitoria antar January 14, 2011, 1:29 am

    My dear Rashmie, with tears down my face I can tell you that I treasure/honor our friendhsip.  I am speechless over everything that I read.  Simply beautiful, well done.  God gave you a grace and you are honoring HIM with your words, thoughts, gestures, abilities.  Your life and soul are rich with creativity, meaning, giving, sharing, caring.  You are a beautiful person with a beautiful mind.  More power to you girl friend!  Keep up the good work and sharing all these beauties with us along the Universe.  Good fortune dearest friend.  I am proud of you and to be considered a friend.   My love to you and family,  Vitoria

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 14, 2011, 5:47 pm

      My Dearest Vitoria,
      How can I ever thank you for for your invaluable friendship, your constant selfless support and motivation, genuine advice and just being there for me – always! I am so very fortunate, Vitoria, that I found you! Believe me, you are one of those best things that has ever happened to me! :) It’s people like you who inspire me to write, to share and care. YOU set an example, dear Vitoria!

  • Farnoosh January 14, 2011, 3:21 am

    Rashmie, I cannot believe how touching, how amazing, how open and honest and sincere you were in this! I am so touched. Thank you for giving us a gem of life lessons for our series and thank you for giving us yourself in your most glorious state. I will think and pray for your Mom. I went through a terrible episode with my Dad back in 2007 and there is NOTHING like those hours and days in the ICU living with the feeling of the unknown that breathes in the air!
    Stay with your music and with your literature as well as your yoga and meditation. I studied engineering , my dear, and we won't say why or who influenced me to do that ;) only to find out that I belong in the fields you just described.
    We have a lot in common! And my life lessons on the blog too – right now I am reflecting on yours and learning from you!
     
    A million thanks for doing this for us!

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 14, 2011, 6:04 pm

      My dear Farnoosh,
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kind, genuine words and appreciation! They mean so much to me – coming from you – my all-time favourite blogger! And, I mean it!
      I just came back from reading your Life Lessons post and I too have to say – we have lots in common! I am so glad, you too recognized your true calling by pursuing so many of your passions – photography, blogging, reading classics, yoga!
      I hope your dad and my mom – they remain healthy and happy and continue to shower their blessings and love in our lives.
      Thank you again, dear friend, for your encouragement.

  • sahiba January 14, 2011, 10:49 am

    Hugs:-) can relate to what you have shared. Very beautifully written.. I personally believe, everything happens for the best. Yes, when we go through pain and unhappiness in life it shatters us but it also teaches us a invaluable lesson for life. Life is a journey that has to be experienced with an open mind. Value of family is seldom realized by most. Gratitude for being alive, having a happy family, being hail n hearty are never expressed. Most live either in their past or for the unseen future..we forget, the only day we have is today. Its rightly said, live today like you are gonna die tom.. hope we all realize that, happiness is a very personal experience and for that, we have to de-clutter a lot of mess from our lives..My journey towards self realization had started a few years ago. Ego has no place in my life. Being thankful for each n every breath i take in good health has always been thanked for..seeing my kids smile each day, each moment is so blissful. I do not know what the future holds for me but for today i can say..thank you god for everything.  Wishing you happiness always:)

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 14, 2011, 6:09 pm

      Dear Sahiba, thank you my friend, for reading this and for sharing such beautiful and meaningful thoughts. You are so right – “happiness is a personal experience and for that we have to un-clutter a lot of mess from our lives”. I agree. Clutter – be it material or emotional, does not leave space to breathe free and light. And, yes, “whatever happens, is for the best” is a philosophy that I too take comfort in. It gives a lot of strength to cope with difficult times. Thanks for being here with your support and motivation. :)

  • JJ January 14, 2011, 9:07 pm

    I am at a loss of words after reading your blog. It is beautifully written and very heart-felt and genuine. I wasn't planning on commenting until I heard about your mom's illness. I am hoping and praying to God that she fully recovers from the illness. You are right, the choices we make in life dictate the script for the rest of our lives. I am glad that you are happy with your 'Today'. Good Luck with everything. Tell your mom she's in my prayers. God Bless you and your family.
    JJ

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 16, 2011, 6:11 pm

      Dear JJ,
      Your initials and your thoughtful words remind me of a dear friend. I am so glad you decided to leave a comment. How else would I have known your beautiful thoughts? :)
      Yeah, we don’t have any control over the so called destiny, but what we can do with the powerful too called – choice – is often times only up to us. So, we have certain degree of control over how we want the script of our lives to read. Thank you so much for your wishes and prayers. And, all the very best to you in all your endeavours.

  • sharath January 15, 2011, 2:15 pm

    nice read Rashmie.  its not for everyone to be so clear and thoughtful with their life experiences like you and reflect back on those experiences so well.
    Regards
    Sharath
     

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 16, 2011, 7:06 pm

      Sharath,
      Thanks for reading the article. I am glad you enjoyed it.
      Your encouraging comment mean a lot.

  • Tariq and Shaheera January 15, 2011, 3:12 pm

    Rashmie,
    what a beautiful piece! I can see you dug deep into your heart and soul to share with us what you've learnt so far. Kudos to you for finding happiness and making changes that not everyone has the courage to do.
    I especially love the thought about friendships and priorities. However, I would like to note that children actually do form friendships based on shallow things. I deal with kids everyday and I've seen them turning their 'friends' away just because they were not allowed to share stickers or stationery and the like. It's funny but it does show the true nature of human beings. Perhaps I'm feeling a little jaded but this is just what I happen to come upon daily. :)
    My boyfriend, Tariq shares the same view with you concerning relationships. He used to expect a lot from people as well and he got pretty hurt in the end. However, he's slowly been working his way around this and he even documented it on his own Life Lesson article in this same series.
    Anyway, we wish you all the best and we pray your mom gets a full recovery soon. Take care!
     
    Tariq and Shaheera

  • Rashmie Jaaju January 16, 2011, 7:31 pm

    Dear Shaheera and Tariq,
    You’re the newest readers on my blog and I am so happy to have you with your genuine and thoughtful remarks.
    Yes, I agree to an extent, with your observation about children forming friendships based on rather silly and even ‘material’ things. And yeah, it may seem funny and cute on the surface but one may be able to interpret the human desire in all these interactions. However, I also feel that children are brilliant ‘decoders’ of ‘vibes’ – positive or negative. They probably sense deeper vibes in seemingly trivial aspects as whether they were allowed to share stickers and such things.
    Thank you so much for adding more dimension and depth to this topic. I wish, Tariq finds bliss and meaning in his relationships. Now, am going to hop over to your blog to read your Life Lessons article. (10 New me Vs 10 Old me). Wow, already sounds like a very interesting read.
    Do visit again. :)

  • Anitha January 19, 2011, 10:31 am

    Wow! you have put your thoughts very beautifully. Im sure everyone who has read this article would have related to many similar things in their life; and would have done some introspection as well.

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 20, 2011, 9:57 pm

      Dear Putti,
      Thanks for reading the article and for sharing your comment. Yeah, often times, we would have gone through experiences that stir up similar emotions and create a resonance. I am glad you think that this article may have led to introspection in the minds of the readers here. Thanks my dear, for your show of support here. :)

  • Chhavi Taneja January 21, 2011, 3:38 pm

    Hi there…..finally…u got me to writing into this; lazy bum that I am with a bag full of excuses!

    Let me begin my using your words to express my emotions…”Goodness Gracious”. Its overwhelming to hear from you what I already know. Reassurances matter a lot! Though my core belief always was and always is (especially after having built this bond) that you keep making friends all along the way. On the contrary sometimes childhood friends begin to look alien as you grow in different worlds. So this one is is to reasssure you that u actually are more special than many close childhood friends…and this is straight from the heart!
    On a different note…hey, the painting in this blog post has been done by YOU? Unbelievable. Its awesome Rashmie…pls start an online auction on Gorgeous Karma; in case you have many of these.
    And hey, dint know you are an Eco (hons) grad. I am too (did you know…???) Like you, I too disassociated with the subject long back.
    Your blog post has inspired me to retrospect and pen down my life’s lessons now. What a motivator you are!
    Love
    Chhavi

    • Rashmie Jaaju January 26, 2011, 12:05 pm

      My dear Chhavi,
      You are so right. “Reassurances matter a lot”. Often, we understand the feelings and vibes between each other, but don’t care to convey. And when we do, the magic it creates between two people is so much worth it.
      Stoicism is not all that rewarding, is it? :)

      On the matter of childhood friends, again, agree with you – often childhood friends seem alien because the factors of making friends at ‘that’ age was different. And yet, when we meet friends from those days, the nostalgia, the recollections and the going back to even the most trivial moments are oh so precious. I think, our childhood friends are our only key to those golden childhood experiences and incidents. How I love that song – “those were the best days of my life…”!

      That painting? Yeah, I made it during the last Kerala trip. :) It’s a portrayal of the stunningly serene scene that lay in front of my eyes when I stood in the balcony of that apartment where we lived. It was so beyond words that I had to capture it on canvas. Putting these paintings up on my store is not a bad idea! But, I have to create much more time to be able to paint at leisure and peace! Well, another point to validate my case against a second kid. ;) – the topic that you and I are going back and forth on, these days. :)) May be, it’s time to put this debate up here and see what my other readers have to say? :)

      And, yes, you must write down YOUR lessons learnt. How can you not, with so much that has transpired over the last 1 year. :)
      Thank you, darling, for your thoughts and encouragement. And, Happy Birthday and Happy Republic day :)

  • Srishti January 25, 2011, 9:01 am

    Awsome post.Best part is that you realize what you missed out and not living with that reaslization but trying to make up for it now. It leaves a positive energy in reader’s soul and makes one think that “do you know what you missed out in life and if yes, what are you doing about it !!!” Its only one life which we have got then why to spend it with some regrets. Rather do something so that those regrets convert into achievements. Inspired by your post, I thought of sharing some of the lessons life has taught me :).
    These days I am giving a serious thought to what I want to do with my life. Am I happy with what I am doing? will I be happy about it 10 years or 20 years down the line? and I think this is the biggest lesson life has taught me. Lot of times, I have missed cherishing those small small moments in life and sometimes even big ones which I always remember as my mistakes.During my wedding I was not relaxed and happy as I should have been beacuse I was worried about lot of social obligations. Now when I think back, I missed enjoying those moments which I would never get again.So I promised myself that I would try my level best to enjoy each and every bit of life and not miss those small or big celebrations which would mean the most in long run.I have already started implementing this in my life. With this doll in our family (my Sarah), I want to celebrate each and every moment of happiness and not regret later that I was busy in life at the time which meant the most for Mannu, me and my baby.

    Another one, which always prevails in my mind these days is that whatever I did in life is what I wanted to do out of all the options I could see. If I wanted to do something and I didnt do it, it was because of some factor which I prioritized before it or I didnt have the capability to take that risk in my life.I should not be blaming any body else for it which I used to do earlier. This makes me more responsible and accountable for whatever choices I make, whatever acts I do. I definitely see myself satisfied and happier by following this theory.

    Thats it from my end :),there are a few more but I cant write as effectively as you do so not spending much effort on them :)
    Reading this post gave me another reason to be happy. I realized that we do talk and share things :). I knew almost everything in this post !!!! but the way you write, even after knowing these facts, it still made me think again about my life ……

    I really apreciate the topics you choose for you blog, they come to the reader so naturally. I must say you relate to the reader!!!

    • Rashmie Jaaju February 4, 2011, 8:28 pm

      Srishti – my dear sis-in-law,
      I am so sorry for this late reply. As you know, I have been traveling and have very little access to internet.
      What you have shared here has been on my mind and I have been badly wanting to write back.
      First off, thank you so very much for sharing YOUR lessons learnt. The two lessons that you have shared are so so relevant. And I can understand your thoughts and introspection well. Indian weddings are so chock full of traditions and norms and obligations that often the two most important people involved – the bride and the groom – end up being puppets in the hands of these long, convoluted and tiring rituals; when, they are the ones who should be enjoying the most important event of their lives to be able to cherish the day for ever. So, yes, big lesson learnt – for you, for me and for others who may have read or will read your thoughts. So glad for you that you are applying this lesson right away in your life and now – which, once again, is the most beautiful phase of your life – with your lil one. Those small celebrations and joys will count much much more than any success achieved.
      On your second lesson learnt – yes – aren’t we fortunate that we live in a society where we can make our own choices? How many cultures and societies allow that precious freedom? You are so right in owning up to the choices that you made for yourself keeping in view the best possible options at that phase in life.
      And this introspection that you are doing – looking for the purpose of life – is so relevant to do. We often look back on the years spent; remember those events; but not every time is it an introspection to take guidance from. Yep – you said it right – “will I be happy and proud 15 years down the line with what I am doing right now” may give us a surprise answer!
      I asked the exact same question to myself some time back and it gave me my answer! :)

      Thanks you dear for sharing such a thoughtful reply.
      And yes, we do share thoughts in person and I knew that you would already know much of what I have written here. :)
      Stoicism has never been my strong point ;)

  • Iniyaal January 29, 2011, 12:55 pm

    Hi Rashmi… Your words flow with so much sincerity and honesty. This post reminds me so much of what I have been thinking about for a few months now. Life at work rushes by, carrying us with it and we stop not to think about how precious every moment is. It is only when Nature (or God or destiny) suddenly brings about a devastating experience, we take time to reflect upon. For some people like me, one devastating experience is not enough to realise the folly. Several experiences one on top of the other, cascade down to give a reality check. It is very true that we tend to put off living. Your post means so much to me and has come to me at the right time.

    My sincere prayers for your Mother’s speedy recovery.

    • Rashmie Jaaju February 4, 2011, 8:37 pm

      Dear Iniyaal,
      Welcome to my blog. So glad to have you share your sincere reply to this post.
      And, am so happy that you think this post came to your at the right time when you too have been thinking on similar lines.
      Strange are these synchronicities! Like “The Alchemist” says, I too believe that when we are on the right track, the universe conspires to make it happen. All we need to do is pick up the clues that are dropped right in front of us from time to time. May be this post is one such clue for you – so you don’t “put off living” any further.
      Thank you, for your thoughts and wishes. I will convey to my mom.
      Do come back. Your thoughts will make my blog richer in meaning and intention. :)

  • Ashita February 12, 2011, 11:00 am

    rashmie….
    i m speechless….i do not know u except via FB and absolutely amazing child rearing ideas u give on mommy labs….but believe me i had tears rolling down my eyes as i read this blog….we all make choices in life…right or wrong….but we do….thats what life is all about….some choices we make due to sheer stupidity/ laziness/ etc….some choices life and god throws on us…..i can imagine what u went thru sitting there outside the OT awaiting for the dr to tell u whether ur mom made it…..i too had a son….who is no more…..i sat outside NICU praying to god to make him ok, as he was down with just mere fever….and then the very next day praying to god to take him cos i could not see his little body punctured with tubes all over….sometimes i just sit and think, did i do wrong by asking god to take him? could he have stayed back had i not pleaded god to stop giving him so much pain….i dont know what wld have happened otherwise….this is the only life i know…and it is quite strange….wld i have done better had i not taken that history (hons.) in my graduation and picked up eco (hons.) instead? …should i have married my husband, when there were so many suitors in line? …..shld i havebecome a homemaker after having yona rather than start my career at such an advanced age?…….gawd…u got me thinking lady…..
    10 stars for the blog…………and the brain spa that i have just experienced ………….keep it coming……

  • Rashmie Jaaju February 14, 2011, 10:56 am

    Dear Ashita,
    As I read your words and story, I was shivering and crying – at the same time…
    If I was with you, I would have hugged you and sobbed along with you from knowing what it takes for the heart to endure after seeing the ones we love most going through such unbearable pain. And particularly, for a mother – to see her baby in that state…
    Ashita, I do think that you are a very evolved soul – who was/is so selfless to pray as you did so that your child would be freed from all the pain he was going through. I cannot ever fathom, what it may have taken for you to ask ‘that’ from the almighty.
    But, I do think that a mother’s prayer only seeks what’s best for the child – even at the cost of her own happiness and interest.

    The questions – about choices – that arise in your mind, are bound to come during introspection. But, I think, life had planned for you to go through certain tests and hence you chose those ‘choices’ in the first place.
    It may sound fatalistic, but I do believe that, there’s a strong reason behind every thing that happens in our life. And, we may not like it or even curse our fate for it at that time, but, later, when the results unravel, do we see why it had to happen.

    As far as I am concerned, your story is a shining example and embodiment of the unadulterated and selfless love of a mother and the mental strength of a woman. I am almost choking with emotions…
    All the very best, dear Ashita, for your present and future. I am sure you will only take strength from your past and move on without any tinge of regret. Love you and proud of you…

  • Andrea DeBell - britetalk February 21, 2011, 9:27 am

    Hi Rashmie,
    So many lessons learned. :) When I reflect on my past, I’m grateful for every decision and each turn I made. With each turn there was a lesson to be learned and even if the lesson was hard and I didn’t like it at the time, it was great to have gone through it. In each moment there are new lessons to be learned and a new path to follow. I rejoice on the blessings on my path and the new lessons that I encounter. I tend to concentrate on the now instead of the past since that’s the place where my path is being formed.
    Thanks so much for this gorgeous post. Loving blessings.

    • Rashmie Jaaju March 3, 2011, 12:29 pm

      Dear Andrea,
      Sorry about not getting back to your lovely comment until now. It’s weird how I missed it….

      I wholeheartedly agree with you that “at every turn, there’s a lesson to be learned.” I too have found myself not liking being in the tough situations then, but, later, when I looked back at those moments, I could clearly see the meaning and message they came wrapped in. But, it is upto us to pick those clues, the messages and the lessons that lie on our path. To me, they are nothing less than divine messages that I better not choose to ignore and undermine.
      Thanks Andrea for adding value to this post with your thought provoking comment.

  • DrASHOK KUMAR DAS February 28, 2011, 3:41 pm

    Rashmie
    I am your customer of few a monthsback but many things I am learning from you.
    and I praise your effort and sharing your experience so nicely that I canot foget .Please continue
    my blessing will remain always with you. DrDAS

    • Rashmie Jaaju March 3, 2011, 12:35 pm

      Dear Dr. Das,
      Welcome to the Gorgeous Karma blog.
      We have known each other via my store but I am so glad that our interaction has gone one step ahead by your choosing to read this post and sharing your thoughts. So happy that you have learned something from my life lessons, as I myself have learned so much.
      Do visit again to read and to share your ideas and experiences.
      Take Care.

  • Rissa September 13, 2011, 11:59 pm

    Dear Rashmie,

    What’s good with you? Beginning my emails/phone conversations this way is something that has come as a result of the life lessons I’ve learned. If I ask people, “How are you?” it gives them an opportunity to answer with a positive or negative response. However by asking, “What’s good with you?” it elicits a positive response. If someone responds with, “nothing,” I ask them, “Nothing? Really? There’s not a single good thing going on with you right now? What about the fact that you’re breathing? Or that you woke up this morning? Or that you have the ability to walk/see/smell/taste, etc…” When people first get to know me, they think it’s kind of funny and they’re caught off guard when I greet them this way. But now my friends know this, and they actually stop and think about what’s good in their lives before they respond to me, which I think is nice:)

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to go off on that tangent…I am a bit wordy :) I came across your blog after reading an article you wrote on TinyBuddha, “Get Started On Your Dream: Clear The Most 5 Daunting Hurdles,” which I found to be insightful and I plan on emailing to a good friend of mine because she’s working in a job that she doesn’t enjoy. I keep trying to encourage her to follow her passion instead. I think it may be beneficial to her to hear it from someone else’s perspective :) I clicked on your website’s link after seeing it on the “about the author” section and I’m glad I did! Thank you for sharing your life’s lessons! :) I’ve learned many of the same things you have; most importantly that life is a gift and that there is no such thing as ordinary or mundane. Everything is beautiful, even things that at first appear to be ugly.

    One of my favorite books of all time is a book called, “Peace Is Every Step,” by Thich Nhat Hanh. There is a section in there titled, “Flowers and Garbage,” in which the author explains that everything is interconnected and dependent on everything else. With his example, if we look at a flower at first we see that it is beautiful and smells nice, but if we look at it more deeply we can see that it will die and begin decomposing and will smell terrible. Then, if we look even more deeply, we see that it will go back into the earth and help a new flower grow. Not a direct quote, but that’s the gist of it. I think that it’s important to recognize that there is beauty in a smelly, rotting flower, just as there is beauty in a beautiful blooming one! They need each other. And we people are just the same.

    One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is not to take a moment for granted. I should give you a little background information about myself. In addition to many other things, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Morocco for about 2 years. Half way through my service, my friend and colleague (and closest PCV neighbor), died unexpectedly from an illness. I lost a lot of my support group at that time as well, and I found myself alone in my city, on the edge of the Sahara desert, wondering what I was doing there and if I could finish my service. I did, and I’m glad. Before my friend died, I appreciated every day that I woke up (because of another even about 5 years before where I saw a man die in front of me because of a car accident), but after she died, I realized that I appreciated EVERYthing more. I could see the sunset while riding a bus through the beautiful Draa River valley, I could taste my host mom’s delicious tagine (a traditional Moroccan dish of meat and veggies served in a clay pot with a triangular top), I’d notice kids playing football (soccer) on a dirt field and enjoyed their yelling, “give me the ball…I’m open,” even riding my bike smelling food as I passed restaurants and the less pleasant smell of dung as I passed a mule on the way to the market. All of it was beautiful. Everything I see today is beautiful. Even people when they are being rude. You never know what someone else is going through. Everything happens for a reason. Most people are mostly good, most of the time, I’ve found :) If they’re anything other than that, it could simply be their situation. I acknowledge every person I pass on the street, wherever I go with a hello and/or a smile :) Often they smile or say hi back. Sometimes they don’t. But both are ok with me. I think it’s important to spread positive energy in the world…sometimes it spreads farther than you can see or imagine;)

    I’m relatively young in years. I’m 27 (and a half, today!), but I feel like through my experience and by listening to people much older/wiser than myself I have a good idea about what the world is like and why I’m here. I don’t fear death. The reason is because if I look at what I’ve accomplished so far in life, if I were to die today I’d be satisfied with it. I know that I’ve affected the people I know (and some that I don’t know) in a positive way, and the world is just a little, tiny bit better than I found it :) I consider each day a blessing. A bonus. “I woke up today! It’s going to be a good day, :)” is what I think as I get up out of bed every morning.

    Didn’t mean to write a novel on your page, but those are a few things I’ve learned. I think that it’s nice that you respond to each one of the posts. “That’s very zen of you,” as one of my good friends would say. I hope that this finds you on a day where you’re in a good place and that all is well with you and your family (including your mom, who I hope has recovered nicely by now :) ). Have a great day, and I’m looking forward to your response, whenever that may be. Take your time though, by all means. I understand that quality requires attention ;)

    With peace and love,
    Rissa

    • Rashmie Jaaju September 22, 2011, 12:43 pm

      Dear Rissa,
      First of all – a huge, heart felt thank you to your for connecting here with an open and genuine heart. I have savoured every word of what you shared here.
      Your journey through life, my dear friend, is invaluable – and at such a young age. What you speak and the way you speak clearly shows you have seen life and love and sorrow from close quarters.

      The way you begin this letter – with – “What’s good with you” – wow, what a positive way of connecting with somebody. I will have to steal this from you. :)
      It really makes one sit up and think about the good that he/she has experienced rather than focusing on the bad. What better way to cheer up one’s day.
      So, thank you for passing on this radiant attitude and approach here!

      The thought you explained from the book – ‘Peace is every step’ – it really is beautiful and deeply spiritual. This circle of life is completed by each and every being with their unique strengths and defects. If we all thought and behaved the same way, there possibly would be a lacuna or a gap to fill. And the circle, possibly would not be complete.

      I took some time to reply to your comment because in the past few days I have not found quiet, reflective moments. And this comment warranted a reading in a relaxed, tranquil mood. I appreciate your asking me to “take your time’.
      I hope we keep this connection going. I write more often these days on my other blog – http://mommylabs.gorgeouskarma.com
      In fact, I will possibly merge the two. The plan is to dedicate a corner of the other blog to such articles – about life, passion, purpose, health etc. The remaining part – about my other passion – artful parenting.

      So glad to ‘meet’ you, Rissa. And thank you again for this deeply thoughtful comment.

  • Pritam December 5, 2011, 6:49 am

    Amazing!!
    Rashmie, you have put your thoughts amazingly, yet very easily….
    Life is soo fast…but turning back and living old moments is such a pleasure….

    I want to thank you a lot…for sharing this post…..i made me think about my past life…….finding my lessons learned

    God Bless

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