Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Inspiration comes when you are bored…

On the week of January 26th, I went to Lalbagh Flower Show in Lalbagh, Bangalore. I bought a nice houseplant for Rs. 200, and got a tiny pot to go with it. Mid-February I re-potted the plant.

Almost around that time I started watching a lot of videos on YouTube, to understand how to properly re-pot the plant, as well as basic lessons on caring for houseplants. (Sometimes I wonder how I’d even survive without YouTube!) I have also been watching bunch of interior designing videos, because I am looking to move out of my current apartment and was thinking to do my new room with a lot of houseplants and paintings and rice lights. Hours and hours of video watching.

Of course, this is possible because at the moment, I am pretty much bored. I usually don’t have much to do in the mornings, except make a quick smoothie breakfast for myself and some lunch. It was this boredom and the need to turn myself into a morning person that I decided to join swim classes in March. And before I knew, I had three hobbies for myself!

  1. Growing houseplants
  2. Interior designing
  3. Swimming

I have started investing little amounts of time to each. I go for swimming four days a week. I have recently purchased a lovely wall decoration.

I also started investing a lot of time in houseplant care. So much so that this weekend I over-watered my succulent and nearly killed it! I noticed something was off when the leaves felt too spread out. When I tried checking, the leaves just came off and they smelled of rot. Gasp!

Fortunately, my hours of video watching taught me that it was possible to propagate new plants from the leaves. So yesterday, I cut the leaves and placed them in a tray to start that process. And that’s why I say I nearly killed it. I still hope to revive it. Succulents are fighters!

All of this has taught me one thing: when you are too busy and too consumed, it is unlikely that you’ll have a bout of inspiration. It’s only when you are pretty much bored to death and wondering what to do with so much time in your hands, will you get a good clue as to what you should really be doing.

How about you? When do you feel the most inspired? Let me know in the comments section.

Hello, December!

Dear reader,

A warm Hello to you. Where are you as you read this? Curled up in a warm blanket, with a coffee in your hand? Or are you in a bus or a subway, commuting to office and peacefully reading a slice of other people’s lives, as passengers move in and out at each stop? Or are you in your garden, with a hose in your hand, watching over the big roses that you planted few weeks back? Or are you looking out a grey window, watching over buildings from a glass house, wondering about the purpose of your life?

I am on my bed, my blue blanket snuggled under my legs. My back is against the wall. On my left, from the window daylight shines like in a cloudy day. A motorbike just passed by, wheezing out noise. A carpenter is knocking repetitively on a plank of wood somewhere. Other than that, the sound of my typing into this blank screen adds to the audio spectrum. There is a feeble wind outside as I can see the leaves of a big, nameless tree fluttering. It is about 11.00 AM in the morning.

I have a busy workday ahead of me. At work, we are currently trying to understand how cloud platforms work. My mind is also filled with a bunch of creative ideas, still in their nascent stage, in want of fleshing out. I just finished writing a small piece which will go as a voice-over in one of my videos.

December is here. And to tell you the truth, the cold ain’t so bad yet. I am seeing folks updating pictures of snow on Facebook and WhatsApp statuses, but I don’t feel the chill yet. In a few days, Christmas will be here. The malls, the churches will light up in fairy lights and Christmas trees. It would be a spectacle to behold. We will exchange Secret Santa gifts at work. Maybe, we will go out on 24th night, me and my teammates, and we will sit in front of a church as the night turns into 25th. The air will be chilly, and people would be in colorful sweaters. We will eat cake after the service is over, wish each other merry Christmas, and return home to our comfortable beds.

December is that month when we take stock of the year. The memories that were made. The profits and losses. The balance sheets of life. Did we accomplish our 2018 resolutions? Did we lose that stubborn belly fat? Did we travel more, write more, and make new friends? Did we get over our heartbreaks? Did we lose a loved one? How do we summarize the year, put a final sum in the balance sheet and decide what to prioritize in the coming year?

The coming year. A new blank slate where no child has drawn a unsteady line with the white chalk. A new blank slate,before the duster has been rubbed. A new blank slate with the promise of incredible things happening. A year full of promise. To ourselves, and to others.

As I write this, a fraction of sunlight comes through my window – as if the sun understands the palpable glee in my heart as I write this. In this moment, I am peaceful. In this moment, I am full of hope. In this moment, I do not care how today will turn out and if we will meet the client’s expectations. In this moment, I feel confident that I will do well, today and in the times to come. In this moment, I am truly myself.

Are you?



A Magical Day

There are days when you just feel good about life. Everything seems to fit perfectly into the grand scheme of life.

On these days, maybe someone tells you about how you add value to their lives, or help them out in tough situations.

Maybe an old friend walks up to you and you go for a cup of coffee or tea together.

Maybe you walk amongst the busy city streets, passing snail-like traffic and tree-lined avenues, the wind blowing your hair.

Maybe you pour your heart out in your writing.

Maybe you decide on a change in life.

Maybe you see a smile on someone else’s face, and you feel happy in their happiness.

These are days when it feels good to be on the face of Earth, even as the industries and cars blow smoke into the air, people die and hearts break. These are days that are just perfect.

Today was one such day.

The perks of living in a small town

Continuing from my last post, which was a conversation about the perks of living in a big city, I wanted to highlight some points which are unique and enjoyable about small towns also. After all, nothing it pure white or black. So, here are my top reasons for enjoying life in small towns:

  1. Everything seems nearby – In small towns, most of the necessities are present within short distances, and you don’t have to traverse 15-20 km across town to get to your bank
  2. Traffic hardly comes to a standstill – Traffic in Bangalore is infamous, but small towners won’t ever complain of this
  3. People know you and you know people – As human beings, we crave familiarity. I have been staying in an apartment in Bangalore for past three years, and aside from the people who work in my company and also live in my apartment, I haven’t had a ten minute conversation with anyone. It’s that lonely at times! But back in my hometown, neighbors keep coming and we keep visiting them, so that sense of familiarity is always there
  4. The sheer peace of things – I don’t know if it is true of all small towns, but Durgapur is incredibly peaceful. I had not realized this until the point I had actually lived in Bangalore and gone back home after six months. The sheer silence of my hometown calmed my nerves, and when I say silence, it is not just external, but the pausing of the incessant internal buzzing noise in your head. In Bangalore, it feels like I am always on the alert and my mind is racing to survive and adapt. Back home, I can tune down, and enjoy a mental silence. Needless to say, I return from each of my vacations fully recharged and rejuvenated
  5. The special spots that you find to hang out with friends – While there aren’t exciting places to take people out, but localites in small towns always have one or the other special spot to hang out with friends – that bench under the tree beside the SBI ATM, that ground near your best friend’s house, the old school field and so on… you get the drill!

So, those were my top five reasons for loving life in small towns. My strongest reason is no. 4. To all you small towners, feel free to drop a line and let me know the things which are special to your place, and makes you feel like not leaving the place for the greatest wonders in the world.



The perks of living in a big city

Last week I was in my hometown, enjoying a week off from work with my family. Reason: Diwali. I met a lot of people during that time, socialized a bit and generally had a good time.

I belong from a small town, and of course, there are perks of living in a place like that, but there are times you crib about some important facilities not being present, especially if you have gotten the chance to live in a big city for considerable amount of time. In this post, I wanted to talk about some of the things that I miss about Bangalore when I go to my hometown/visit smaller towns on trips:

  1. Limited transportation choices – Ola/Uber are non-existent, and so are normal cabs. The auto-wallahs are too arrogant and would rather they have no passengers than allow you share the auto with other people – they want to charge you a fixed amount, and want you to reserve it for your purpose. Not great if you are travelling alone.
  2. No Subway – I am not a big fan of fast food joints, but I don’t mind a bit of Subway, at least it lets me have some veggies. Replace it with the fast food joint of your choice.
  3. Food home delivery apps – Extending point 2, home delivery of food is almost non-existent, so the delight of food-at-fingertip is a dream
  4. Not enough places to take your friends from other cities when they are visiting you – This is a big one. In my hometown, there are few choices w.r.t. malls and parks, but not really much of options to do different things. Sometimes, you are just bored and don’t know how you could entertain yourself or your guests
  5. Not enough cultural exposure/means to pursue cultural activities as a career – This may differ from city to city, but bigger cities usually have events catering to different types of audiences, which help with point 3 listed above, and also provides alternate career choices

These are some of my big reasons why I don’t enjoy being living in a small town a lot. Of course, there are some great perks of living in a small town, and I want to talk about that in a future post. Until then, do let me know what your big reasons are for simply loving living in a metro/big city.



21 Day Challenge | Aug-Sep 2018 | Day 21

Twenty one days ago, I started on the journey of waking up early and finding clarity as far as my career is concerned.

I am happy to say that I have been able to achieve at least 60% of my target.

Mission 1: Wake up early

As far as waking up earlier is concerned, I have been able to do this for at least 15 out of 21 days. Granted, it is not 100 out of 100, but the objective was to put a habit around my morning routine. Before this, I had a bad night schedule when I only went to sleep around 1 AM. Now, there is a conscious effort to change that, and ensure that I head to bed at least by 11.30 PM. Fortunately, I have been able to do this for most days and it has now pretty much become a habit. On the days that I did not wake up early, it was primarily because I could not get to bed earlier because of some unavoidable reasons.

I am glad that I am back to a morning schedule. I have been sleeping well, I have been well rested and have been more productive. I study at least for 2-2.5 hours in the morning, and that has definitely helped towards my second goal of finding work clarity.

Mission 2: Get career clarity

On October 8th, I will complete three years of my professional career. I studied to be an electronics engineer and then moved onto analytics role. For the first 1.5 years of my career, I was convinced that I would move back into electronics. Another 1.5 years and multiple discussions and introspection later, I realized that I can achieve lot more in analytics with lot less effort at this point (given that this is my full time career) than I could ever do in electronics. So, I decided to take a practical stand, as opposed to chasing impossible dreams.

Besides, I am also not sure if I truly see myself in the corporate in the long term. My father runs a small business back in the hometown and increasingly, I feel the need to do something of my own. As a woman, I realize that my career roles might be defined by my personal life decisions as well – hence, I want opportunities which help me work my best within those constraints.

Which is why, in the past 21 days, I have spoken to multiple people regarding what my career next steps should be. I have a rough 2-3 years plan as well as a 5 year plan in place. I do not see myself doing masters in the next 3 years, but I might end up doing an MBA (depending on how the 5 year plan shapes up) based on the needs. I do not wish to rush through anything. But primarily, over the course of the next two years, my goal is to work more hands-on so that I have developed a sense of depth in what I do. For this, I am not only looking at my current role at work but also freelancing opportunities. I also realize that for a data scientist, it might be a good idea to have a strong Kaggle profile and this my flow into the next 21 day challenge – stay tuned!

So all in all, here’s my assessment of the 21 day challenge:

Success Rate: 60%

Feel Good Factor (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest): 4.5 (Yep, I am plenty happy with the last 21 days)

Next Steps:

  • Continue with the early morning schedule, put on another challenge if I see myself deviating
  • Come up with another challenge or focused next steps for the short term career plan

Happy to end this challenge on a good note! If you have been part of this journey, thank you. I was quite motivated by the enthusiasm some of you showed regarding this challenge and that definitely helped me stay on track. So thank you again, and be sure to drop in a note if you want to know more of the behind the scenes of the 21 day challenge!

Until later,


Things I do to keep my life organized and Happy Rakhi!

I am a sucker for order: I like to keep things where they belong so it’s easier for me to find them. I can proudly say that I lose things very rarely, so when I really do, I find it really surprising.

Last night I had a great sleep and I feel very positive right now. Wanted to spread a little bit of that through this blog-post. Here are a few things that I do to keep things and my life organized:

  • Return things where they belong, even if they take thirty seconds of extra time – so yes, that means placing all the washed clothes exactly where they should go, rather than piling them all over the bed
  • Buy things that make life easier – I am someone who does not splurge on shopping, but I am a big fan of purchasing things that make things simpler for me. For example, my recent purchase of a blender helped me make smoothies in almost no time, and indirectly improved my diet by helping me include more greens in it!
  • Buy non-perishable things in bulk, so that you don’t have to make a list every other weekend and go out to shop. This includes things like soaps, shampoos, whole grains, pulses etc., anything and everything that you end up shopping way too often or end up forgetting when you go out to shop
  • Have a minimal lifestyle – I own very few things: few sets of clothes, only couple of utensils that I use on a regular basis, I don’t subscribe to any magazines or e-accounts. Again, this does not mean that I’m asking you to do the same, but a little moderation doesn’t hurt!
  • Pay bills on time – The first week of the month is meant towards paying bills. As soon as my salary is credited, I ensure that I pay all the outstanding bills possible, so I don’t have to worry later about the same
  • Do things before time! Extending the last point, at times it helps to just do something before you are even required to do it. I have noticed that I procrastinate the most when the clock is ticking like a time-bomb, but if I start on a project way ahead in time, it’s finished before I know it!
  • Take a walk, write in a journal, meditate or just simply, introspect – Spend some time pondering about the clutter in your life. You’ll be surprised to find the amazing de-cluttering ideas that you can come up on your own!

So, these are couple of things which help me keep my life easy. How about you? If you have any tips or ideas that I can use, please let me know in the Comments! 🙂

Oh, and here’s wishing all the brothers and the sisters Happy Rakhi! Celebrate the togetherness! 🙂

Health is wealth :)

Only when we fall sick do we realize what it means to be healthy really. When I feel feverish and too weak to get up from bed is when I realize how much I love to go out! But more often than not, we do not treat our bodies well. We do not exercise, we eat food which do not really help our bodies, and we spend a lot of time of phones or computers and do not get enough sleep hours. I am guilty of all these from time to time. But fortunately for me, health has become an important priority over the years, esp. since 2016, when I fell so sick that I fainted in the bathroom in the middle of the night. That was when I decided to take control of my eating habits.

The results that I have seen are wonderful! As a kid, I was quite sickly. Every time I used to get a fever, I would faint and fall in the bathroom (yes, it happened multiple times!). Now, I feel much more healthier on a daily basis. This has happened through series of small changes in my lifestyle: better breakfasts, better food habits, healthy dose of walking. I know that I still become indisciplined from time to time: ordering food multiple times over the weekend etc., but I also am quick to take measures to remedy it. For example, Saturday (yesterday) I ordered my meals, so I ensured that I cook both my meals today!

I also usually eat good breakfast, comprising of yogurt and fruits (I am still looking to increase my options) and they make me feel really good! In fact, today I ended up ordering a blender to make myself smoothies every morning! I feel this will increase my  morning options and I will be able to include more greens in my diet! 🙂 I will do a review of the blender after I have used it for a while.

Other than this, I have been sleeping well last couple of weeks, and that makes a world of difference to my productivity. Speaking of which, it’s approximately 11.30 PM now, and I need to head to the bed right now and dream some nice dreams!

What are the things do you do to take care of your health? Share with me the tiny tips that freshen you up! 🙂

Turning your life around… one day at a time

Have there been days when you just stayed inside the bed, kept looking at the ceiling (or more likely the cell-phone in the recent times), and felt nowhere like getting up and going through daily chores of life?

I am a single female, in my early twenties, living in Bangalore in a flat-sharing basis. I work in a moderate to high stress environment, spending approximately 48-50 hours a week at work. I do not have any family living with me. Quite a few times, I find myself slumping into a cycle of unsustainable habits. For quite the longest time, I formed the habit of staying up as late as 1.00 AM in the night, waking up around 9-10 AM next day. I did not eat good breakfast, and somewhere, through the entire day, I felt lacking in energy. Next day, same routine.

I was able to break out of this cycle, by keeping a close tab on myself. I started going to bed earlier, reducing time on the phone when I hit the bed. To a large extent, I realize that I end up staying late because I am too spent staying on my own and having minimal human contact – I usually do not have many people to talk to, so I try to fill it up with the phone. During the worst phase, I had even stopped reading, something which used to interest me a lot at a point.

Today, my lifestyle has improved a lot. I wake up around 8 AM on most days, go for a walk and come back and have a fulfilling breakfast. I spend some time reading work-related stuff, take my bath, cook lunch, eat and then leave for work. In between, I squeeze in time for some TV series, or read a page of a book. Currently reading Return of a King by William Dalrymple. If you guys have read any books by him, comment and let me know!

I have realized that for me the trick is in getting to bed early. On the days I am able to do this successfully, my routine is spectacular. I feel more positive about myself and more energetic too.

That said, such days are not everyday. This Friday night, after I came back from work, I was up till 1 AM, texting on my phone regarding some work-related issues, which I could have easily avoided. After that, I had quite a bit of difficulty falling asleep, I guess I might have only fallen asleep around 2.30 AM. I woke up in the morning at around 8.30 AM, groggy and very tired. My eyes were hurting from lack of sleep. I tried going back to sleep, but could not. I was too lazy to cut the pomegranate, so for breakfast I kept munching on biscuits. I thought I would chill for a while after, so I started watching The Office on phone. Lunch time came, I ordered food, too tired and lazy to cook. When I got off my phone, it was close to 7 PM – and I hadn’t gone outside my bed except for receiving my order and the occasional visit to the washroom. In fact, I did not even fill my water bottle for the longest time.

This only proves why it is important to fix the sleep pattern. Last night, I did just that. I went to bed relatively earlier. Today, I went for a morning walk, came back, ate good breakfast, and studied for two hours. I cooked myself lunch, and again did some studying. I took a little nap in the afternoon, took my bath after, and then went to do some groceries. After that, I took another long walk, using that time, to speak to my mother and relatives on the phone. I came back, studied again. Cooked dinner with a flatmate, and had a good conversation over dinner. It’s about 11.30 PM right now and I need to go to sleep, and I will after I have finished this blogpost – but I accomplished so much today! Last night, I was so depressed from having wasted a complete day unnecessarily.

I guess what I want to tell you all is: there will be bad days even when you are getting to the right track. But the point is to make one single change in your routine, to muster the willpower to do one thing differently one day, and everything else falls in place. Try it!

Changes are good because…

Every time I come back from a break from home, I feel as if a new chapter of my life starts. The flights to and fro home give me ample time to ponder over my life and its priorities, and I see them most clearly when I am riding the airport bus from Kempegowda Int’l Airport to my part of the city.

I grew up in a small town. While my hometown has all the facilities of modern life, it also has a blanket of silence that wraps it with care. This time, I went out on several morning walks, amid the monsoon greenery, and I felt the silence more than ever. Durgapur is somewhere you can take a pause in life, recharge your batteries and go back to the busy life that you had been living.

Bangalore, of course, is big, and with it, comes the noise. And when I say noise, I don’t mean the traffic. My apartment is quite peaceful, I wake up to the calls of little birdies and I can see trees from my window. It’s peaceful enough. The noise that I am talking about is the ricocheting of thoughts in my mind. In Bangalore, I am always busy. I lead a small team of four at work and throughout the day, that consumes my mind-share. If I am not thinking about that, I keep thinking about the thousand other things I could be doing in my life other than working in the corporate sector, the amount of money I must save, what I should be cooking for lunch. Durgapur has my parents, I spent my childhood there. The noise of responsibilities of my life is somewhat borne by my parents in that tiny town, and if not, I can somewhat put a hold on that noise for the time that I am at home. Alone, lying in my bed in Bangalore, I have a harder time falling asleep – having no one to speak my mind as the thoughts come by the droves at night.

This time when I came back from home, I decided to make a few changes around the room. One of it is the arrangement of the bed. When I was younger, I always preferred sleeping on my side, close to the wall, so that I could feel its cold and find some support in the wall. My bed in Bangalore was placed such that my head would be towards the wall and not my side. Monday night (in fact, early Tuesday morning), as I lay rocking in my bed, unable to sleep, the noise in my mind too loud against the sleeping apartment, I decided to place it in this manner:


The amount of white space that this arrangement resulted in the room instantly made me happy – somehow, this makes me feel better about this room. I keep thinking why I had not thought of it earlier.

There is another addition to my household. Say hello to Daisy:


Aloe vera is a great medicinal herb and works like a charm on the skin. I have an oily skin which breaks out in acne once in a while. I brought this from home, my mother was sure the herb would survive the travel and end up growing. “It has a strong lifeline,” she says. Throughout the week, I was quite busy to plant it. Yesterday, I found some time to put it to a mug which has remained unused for the past 2.5 years. I don’t know if it will grow, but the leaves are still green. I guess we will find out. 🙂

Arpita ❤