There’s Magic in the Air

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As the months change, from November to December my eyes light up at the thought of the most magical month of the year. December, how I love December and everything it promises. The thought of winter settling in excites me! I am a hot chocolate, good book and warm corner kind of girl on a cold wintery morning. Of course, I get to break out my entire winter wardrobe which makes a guest appearance once a year. So many sweaters, scarves and shoes to choose from!

But the highlight of this season, the bright star on the horizon, is Christmas. The magic of Christmas really does make this month sparkle and shine. Coming from India I confess that my Christmas traditions may be poles apart from everyone else. However, as a child I have been brought up with a Christmas tree towering over me and an angle smiling from atop the tree.

4My earliest Christmas memory is my aunt sitting and hanging baubles of the tree and me arranging a little nativity scene on the side.

My family did their best to spread the magic and cheer of Christmas around me and my sister as we grew up. Santa Claus was very real and we would leave cookies and milk for him by the tree.  As a child, my father showed me a website where I could see Santa’s village at the North Pole, see how his elves were doing and check if I had been naughty or nice. What a revelation that was! However, my clever farther also told me the site only operated during Christmas and I believed him. It was only recently I remembered this and decided to take a look at the website, which is of course operational all year round. It still exists! Take a look at it, if you want to share it with your kids, it’s different but the magic is still there: http://www.northpole.com/

I remember one Christmas when I thought I heard sleigh bells on the roof of the house and who knows maybe Santa actually came by to pay us a visit or it could have been my aunt with a bell outside my room making me believe in the magic of Christmas. Then as I grew older and realised my dad was Santa, I remember trying to surprise my sister with gifts every year. Once she refused to go to bed and stood watching the tree. She was convinced that Santa would show up at 12 am with presents. I was wondering how to get her to leave the room and just then with a few minutes to spare, the power went out and we were plunged into darkness. I got up and ran in the dark, to where I had hidden the presents and threw them under the tree as I sat back in my seat just as the lights returned. The look on her face was priceless and since I was wearing a red top she actually thought she saw Santa come and go in a flash. And who knows, maybe he had a hand in the power outage? It’s that innocence that I want to forever preserve.

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As a child, Christmas=Magic and to be honest it still does. Now that we are all grown up (but still believe in Santa) my sister and I are in charge of decorations.

We set aside an entire evening, dancing to the tune of Christmas songs while I decorate the tree and she decorates the house. It is the highlight of my year and something I look forward to as soon as Christmas ends. It is my belief in the magic of Christmas that has been the foundation for my belief that there is magic in this world. Does Santa actually live at the North Pole, do Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen actually alight on the roofs of children over the world every Christmas eve?

I do not know. I want to believe in the stories of magic and the North Pole. What I do know is that there is magic in this world, it may not be the kind where you snap your fingers and make gifts appear, it may be the magic you see in a child’s eye when you hand them a present. It may be the look on your families face when you come home for Christmas, it may be the helping hand of a stranger or it may be the look of pure love on your partners face. In this world that is being torn apart by terror every day, we have to believe in the innate goodness of people, in the magic that we bring into this world, in the magic we create. Magic exists, it is very real, you just have to believe, and go out there and make it happen.

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Merry Christmas!!

Wish I’d Never Grown Up

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Never Grow Up

Growing up, oh how we all want to grow up when we’re young!  When I grow up, I’ll do….. But when do we really grow up? Is it when we turn 18? Is it when you stand you for yourself? Is it when you’re forced to take an adult decision? Or is it when one day you open your eyes and the world seems to look bigger, scarier and crazier than before?

I have been blessed with a wonderful family and I remember wanting to grow up and be just like my parents. One of my favourite memories is my mom dressed to the nines, the smell of her perfume lingering in the air and my father looking smart, asking me to help him pick out a tie. Me, sitting there with stars in my eyes thinking, I’m going to do this one day, I’m going to find what I love, have a family, I’m going to have it all.

Famous last words? I’m too young to write off the rest of my future, for all I know I may still get to have it all. It’s just that from where I am standing I don’t see that happening anytime soon or ever. There are so many facets to my life that all seem to running along their own course and I can’t seem to do a thing about it. Sometimes I stop, look around the house and see that carefree ghost of a child running amok, I see her curled up in a corner of the house with a book, on an adventure solving mysteries or casting spells.  I envy her innocence, I want to go up to her and say, “Enjoy this it won’t last forever.”

I see her growing up and taking everything around her for granted; I see her looking around, bored, when she should be soaking in every aspect of the world. I want to shake her and say, “Wake up, look around, take it in quick, before it all disappears.” I see her now on the cusp of adulthood, heart almost broken, trying to put it back together, too scared to take chances and letting them go by. I want to hold her and say, “Don’t worry, you’ll be okay. Take those risks, or you’ll forever wonder how life would have turned out.”

I see her more clearly now, tragedy just about to strike and I want to wipe her tears and tell her, “It’s never ever going to be the same, you’ll always remember and it will always hurt but you’ll build your life around those memories and you’ll learn to carry on.” I see her all grown up, living on her own, hiding out in her room, not wanting to face a new world. “Go on,” I’d say, “You won’t know until you’ve tried stepping out and facing it head on.” Finally, I see her staring back at me, asking me, “What do you have to say now? Are you going to look back and wish you had a taken a different path?

The time is now, remember what you would have said.

Step out, take those chances you may regret,

 For you won’t know until you try, otherwise life is going to pass you by

It’s never too late to find your passion and follow it with unwavering faith

Otherwise all you will have left is a box hidden under your bed

Full of memories and regret.

Our Golden Cage ~ A Nightmarish Vacation

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Talk about a forced hiatus! I planned on writing a blog post almost a week ago but I did not even have access to the internet, let alone my laptop. Let me tell you how a destination wedding turned into a vacation from my nightmare.

A close family friend was getting married on the 4th of September, in Kashmir, which is known as ‘India’s Switzerland’. Our family had received an invitation to one of the most beautiful places on earth and we were to stay at ‘The Lalit’, a five star resort in Srinagar, Kashmir.

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On the surface this seemed like a dream vacation, however the pessimist in me was apprehensive since Kashmir lies on the border between India and Pakistan and is disputed territory. With these fears at the back of my mind I conducted numerous Google searches to determine the safety of the city and spoke to friends who had traveled there recently. All my queries yielded the same response, “Kashmir is very safe and beautiful, don’t worry just go and enjoy!”

And so we set of on the morning of 4th September and met the rest of the wedding party (there were about 50 people in total) at the airport. Upon landing in Kashmir, in Srinagar to be specific, we were welcomed by torrential downpour. We were whisked away to the hotel and within a few hours were all dressed up and ready for the functions. The first day was the ‘Mehendi and Sangeet’ ceremonies, where we put mehendi on our hands and danced the night away.

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 When we awoke on the second day, the rains had not abated so we did some quick sight-seeing by boat and dressed up in the evening for the wedding ceremony. Finally, utterly exhausted on the third day we decided to do some quick shopping in the morning and attended the reception in the evening.

As we trudged off to bed, everyone set their alarms for 6 am since we had an early flight back home, little did we know, Kashmir wasn’t ready to bid us adieu yet. The next morning, as we made our way down to breakfast, we were told that the rains had caused the river that runs through the valley to overflow, a dam had broken and the city was starting to flood! In all the wedding fervor, none of us had paid much attention to the weather. A decision was made, the hotel called for a bus, all of us piled into it with our luggage and set off for the airport, the date was the 7th of September. As we made our way into the city we were greeted by sights of overturned houseboats and roads swimming with water. The bus reached a certain point after which no matter what route we took, the roads were flooded, the bus could not pass and so we returned to the hotel and decided to wait it out.

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The 8th of September dawned bright and sunny but the tidings were dire, the city had become a big lake, homes and been washed away and houses were submerged. Kashmir was facing its worst floods in over a century and no one had seen this coming.

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By afternoon, the hotel staff informed us that the generators would not be able to sustain the hotel for long and that diesel was now to be rationed. As a result we were facing power cuts from 12 am to 6 am and 11 am to 6 pm. The hotel had to cut down the lavish buffets to two dishes per meal, in fact we were told that the hotel staff were skipping meals so that the food would suffice. Add to this the fact that cell towers were down and there was no way to contact the outside world, we would wander around looking for cell coverage which would appear for seconds and then disappear making calling loved ones impossible.

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The days went by slowly, every morning we would gather at breakfast, only to realise that there was no means of getting to the airport yet. It was like being trapped in a golden cage, we were safe but there was nothing we could do for those trapped outside. The skies above the hotel were filled with helicopters going back and forth, trying to rescue people and airlifting others to the airport. The military had completely taken over and was in charge of rescue operations, I must say they did a brilliant job.

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We tried to get airlifted but naturally people stranded in the floods were the priority. Of course, people started falling ill, myself included, there was soon going to be a shortage of medication. The situation was starting to exacerbate, it was now the 11th of September and the hotel had informed us that their food supplies would only last a day. It was time for some action, we had heard that water levels had begun to recede in parts of the city and so we decided to walk part of the way to the airport.

We set out the next day, the 12th, it was almost a 12-15km walk, it is one of the most daunting things I have ever done, both physically and emotionally. As we ventured out into the city we had to cross make shift bridges and walk across roaring rivers with only a log of wood underneath us. Upon seeing the sights of wreckage we realised just how blessed we had been in the hotel.

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Finally, after a certain point we were taken by cars to the airport, which was in absolute chaos, it took us three hours to get our boarding passes and even after boarding the plane we waited for another three hours before take-off so that the flight could be filled to maximum capacity.

Walking out of Srinagar I held the hands of countless Kashmiris as they helped us cross precarious bridges. They said to me, “Madam, don’t worry, we will fall, but we won’t let you fall.” At one point we were exhausted and sitting on the roadside when someone approached us and said, “Did everyone survive? There’s food, water and medicine ahead if you need it.” These words are still echoing in my mind as I sit safe at home. The disaster and devastation is unprecedented and no written or verbal description can do it justice. This experience was life changing and it really made me realise: Live every day as if it were your last, carpe diem.

Stay or Walk Away

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Yesterday was a wet and rainy day, the kind of day where you want to curl up with a nice book and a cup of tea, but that was not to be. I had work to catch up on and I sat down determined to finish it. It was at that moment, my phone buzzed and my cousin sister, Devi wanted to meet at Starbucks. I knew she also had a ton of work, so we decided to meet and work simultaneously. Of course, my younger sister, Kaj decided to come along and deep down I knew that no work was going to get done. However, when the three of us meet hilarity soon ensues, so, looking forward to an evening of girly chit chat and coffee I arrived at Starbucks.

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Grabbing a hot chocolate to warm me up we found a nice cosy spot to settle down in. Devi and I diligently removed our laptops, plugged them in and started to work, Kaj on the other hand removed a copy of ‘A Clash of Kings’ and started reading. This lasted for all of 15 minutes (during which all I had achieved was connecting to the Wi-Fi)  before someone said, “So do you want to catch a movie next week?” and soon our conversation drifted from movies to books to fashion to food and settled down on life in general. Our laptops lay there, plugged in and forgotten next to the drained cups of coffee.

Somehow we began discussing good comebacks to compliments we had ever received and this was of course my sisters’ cue to start making fun of me. You see, I have a standard response to any compliment I get, I tend to freeze, smile stiffly and mumble an inaudible ‘Thank You’.  While this may be an appropriate response to an aunt who says, “Oh you look so lovely dear!” This is definitely not the way you want to respond to a flirtatious, “You have such pretty eyes.” So, yesterday in Starbucks a new game was born, it was my sisters’ brainchild and they called it ‘Stay or Walk Away’. It involved presenting me with different scenarios and compliments and seeing how I would respond resulting in the opposite person other staying or walking away.

Honestly, I think coming up with good retorts, especially flirty ones is an art and I need classes! 😉 And so the game went on, apparently the right comeback for ‘You have pretty eyes’ is ‘Thanks I’m flattered with a nice laugh thrown in for good measure.’ Another one they came up with was, “I keep seeing you around, how come I don’t have your number yet?” to which you could reply, “You never asked with a nice (not stiff, maybe flirty) smile.” We did this for quite a while and it was tons of fun. My sisters’ were surprisingly good with comebacks, maybe too good, I need to look into that!

So, are any of you as awkward as I am? Try playing this with your friends, if nothing else you will have a ball listening to the comebacks.

This post was inspired by a combination of yesterdays and today’s Daily Prompts.

Born To Be Free

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I was watching television yesterday, National Geographic to be specific (well, to be completely honest, I was reading while my family watched an intellectual program about animals in the wild.) I was busy averting my eyes from the TV screen and into my book since I do not especially enjoy the sight of animals attacking each other when my aunt turned to me and said, “They have such a bad lifestyle, no safety or security, forever hunting and moving.”

 I burst out laughing at hearing her talk about the ‘lifestyle’ of wild animals and retorted, “For all you know they must pity us, with our restricted lives, going back and forth in a monotonous cycle of work, home, sleep and occasionally an evening out with friends.” We both left the conversation there, but the thought had me wondering, who had the better lifestyle, the animals in the wild or us?

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I profess to knowing nothing much about animals, never having had a pet, but I thought I’d discuss it with you all nonetheless. Well, of course if you think about it our lifestyle seems so much better than that of wild animals. I mean, lets pity those poor animals without their cell phones, tables, Wi-Fi or Facebook! But in all seriousness, they do have a pretty tough existence in the wild, where all that matters is ‘Survival of the fittest’. They have to keep moving in herds, based on their place in the food chain could lose a member of their pack or family at any moment and of course they have to protect themselves from human beings who are bent on destroying their habitats and driving them into extinction.

 So let’s see where we stand today in comparison to these creatures. Of course we have technology and knowledge of art, science and literature far beyond that possessed by wild animals but I feel that in this ruthless world we are still governed by ‘Survival of the fittest’, be it at sports, in academic applications and acceptance, in society or the cut-throat world of business. While most of us are lucky enough to have stable homes and roofs over our head, I feel like we might be in the minority. So many homes are washed away by natural disasters and so many of us can lose a family member in the blink of an eye to some unforgivable disease like cancer.

 Of course, drawing such a comparison between the lifestyles of human beings and animals, is difficult if not impossible. They are poles apart, but if we were to draw a vague comparison what would you think? After all, aren’t all of us:

 “Born free, as free as the wind blows

As free as the grass grows

Born free to follow your heart”

(The lyrics are from ‘Born Free’ by John Barry)

There and Back Again

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As a child I always wanted tunnels that connected my room with all my friends, as I grew up I realised that I wanted a tunnel that could connect me to one of the craziest and most magical cities on earth.

I completed my Masters degree last year, for that year I lived in the magical, hectic and crazy city of London. London, you have the ability to make someone love you and hate you simultaneously. For the first three months of my stay there, all I could picture was my cozy room back home, my family and my friends. I didn’t really care for the cold shoulder that London was giving me (literally and figuratively), the only thought that spurred me on was: I get to go home for Christmas! Yay!

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I had countdown Post-It’s stuck to my shelf, as the day drew close I couldn’t wait to pack and take the first plane back home, to the warmth of the country that I knew and loved. Coming home, even after three months was emotional but everything I did was coloured by the thought: Oh no, I have to go back soon. At home my sister and I put up a gorgeous Christmas tree, danced New Years away and had a brilliant time but soon, too soon I had to return to London.

No sooner had I landed in London that I began resenting the city all over again, having to find a cab in the sleets of rain while dragging my luggage in particular, did not endear me to that city. But London as I got to know you, I learnt that within that fast, cold and wet city beats a warm heart and slowly you began to beguile me with your enchanting ways. If I had to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love, it would have to be the day I made in new friend, with this amazing British girl who lived in the apartment above mine and we decided to take a walk in the freezing cold snow along Tower Bridge!

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It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship and a relationship with London that would last forever. The next six months flew by in a blink of an eye. Between, exams, London markets, shopping on Oxford Street, going to plays and musicals the time just flew and before I knew it I was back home in my ‘cozy’ room reminiscing about my year in London.  I wish I could create a magical tunnel that would connect my home with London, to be specific, Oxford Street! (I really think shopping should be a hobby!)

I want to go back and watch a play at Victoria, I want to feed the ducks in St. James Park, I want to walk down Southbank and watch the street artists at work, I want to visit the Christmas markets, I want to sit the sip hot chocolate at Nero and watch the world go by. Oh I have a yen for London that makes me want to keep going back, but spend too much time there and it will remind you why you wanted to come home to begin with!

Age is But a Number

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Today, I decided to write a post based on an older Daily Prompt suggestion and since I like to dabble in fiction, I thought I’d write a story. So here goes:

A Page from Cassandra’s Diary

Dear Diary,

It all started last Friday night (now I have Katy Perry playing my head) but no it wasn’t as crazy or fun as the song, it was something else. As usual I had to postpone my Friday night plans with friends for a catch-up work session and as per usual it wasn’t my work that needed catching up.

Let me introduce you to Drew, handsome with a smile that could disarm a bomb. He’s also as slippery as an eel when it comes to work. Here’s a list of his many excuses :

Monday: The tap was running and my apartments been flooded, so could you…?

Tuesday: It’s my niece’s birthday and I have to run to the store, so could you…?

Wednesday: My family dropped by for a surprise visit and are staying over, so could you..?

Thursday: I slipped and hurt my wrist, so could you….?

Friday: My girlfriend has to go to the hospital, so could you…?

In all honesty I can be a bit of a pushover and my recent break up may factor into this crush on my colleague (But I digress, that is a story for another day.) When it became alarmingly clear on Friday that he had a girlfriend, I promised myself that I would no longer do the lion’s share of work. Although in the small recesses of my mind I hoped she was his ex-girlfriend, but even this thought was extinguished as I received a call from him yesterday morning. This is how the conversation went:

Drew: “Hi Cassie, how are you? It’s not too early is it?”

Cassie: “No no, of course not, is something wrong?” (It was 7am on a Saturday!)

Drew: “I have wonderful news and I thought I’d share it with you, I’m going to be a father!”

Cassie: “You? A fath…? Oh wow, congratulations!” (The trip to the hospital made sense now)

Drew: “Thank you, thank you, I am very excited, also I was wondering if you could possibly take on a little more responsibility with the Cooper Project?”

And, that was when I hung up. Yes, I do have a modicum of self-respect. Now, I was awake and annoyed, so I decided to go for a jog. After an hour of running around the park, I headed home. On my way home, I stopped by a local store to pick up a few things, the lady there knows me well so we ended up talking and I told her my story. She gave me a shoulder to cry on and a few free samples to brighten what was a dreary day. As I was leaving I thought I heard a whisper, “Time is fragile, use it wisely.” But when I looked around there was no one there.  As I entered my apartment I decided to pamper myself and try the free face mask I had gotten. I put it on, picked up a novel, sat on my bed and was promptly off to dreamland.

I awoke a few hours later and went to wash the face pack of, hoping to see a new and rejuvenated face staring back at me, but as I scrubbed and looked into the mirror, I realised I had aged almost ten years in the span of a few hours! I looked almost 35, how could that be? Was it just me or had I pulled a Rip Van Winkle? So I googled the date and realised that time had stood still but I hadn’t.

I wanted to cry, I didn’t really look that old but I had lost ten years! Ten years’ of laughter, sorrow, silliness and stupidity. But then it hit me, if I was 35 today, what had I done with my life? I stopped to wonder what I wanted to accomplish by the time I was 35. Did I want to be stuck in this job doing someone else’s work and letting them take the praise? Did I want to let my past weigh me down like an anchor? Did I have the courage to pursue my dreams?

No, by the time I was 35 I wanted to have earned enough to set up my own agency. To my surprise I realised I wanted a family, something I had never really thought about before. I wondered where my sister would be in ten years and realised I didn’t know where she was now, we hadn’t spoken in over two months! It was the same story with most of my friends.

I needed to stop wasting away at this job, I needed to catch up with old friends, talk to my family and put myself out there, meet new people and possibly find Mr. Right. I comprehended the fragility of time, we take it for granted, obsessing over the past or future we forget to stay in the present. We can learn from the past and hope for a bright future but we have to live in the present. It was only when those years were taken away from me that I grasped their true value. And as I was having this epiphany, I looked into the mirror and saw a brighter face staring back at me. I blinked, had I really aged or was it just a trick of the light? Whatever the cause I wouldn’t forget the lesson I learnt, change is coming, I can feel it.

Our Secret Treasure- Our Memories

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Today, while rummaging around in my room for a book I sorely wanted to re-read, I came across something entirely different. As it often happens when you are looking for one thing you find something completely unrelated and distracting. Something, that perchance you haven’t thought about in years. In my case it was a card of sorts, a flimsy rectangular piece of paper with a cartoon character (Stella from the Winx Club) on it. It was a makeshift entry card to our ‘exclusive’ clubhouse. This illustrious institution was founded in the attic, the summer that our cousins visited and so the four of us became card carrying members of ‘The Clubhouse’.

Coming back to present day, I was looking at the card and on a whim decided to go into the old attic. As I stood there looking at the now bare walls and remembered all the pictures we hung up, the rules which stated that only members carrying their cards would be allowed in. In retrospect this was a convoluted rule since we always left our cards in the club house! As I sat there on the cold floor, gazing out the attic window into the garden, I was overcome by a flood of memories.

I remember being 12 and running down the staircase and suddenly lurching forward and tumbling down the stairs, I had a horrible cut in my leg for weeks and I have scar till date. I remember learning to cycle and scrapping my leg horribly, earning me yet another scar. Then there was the time I was ostracised by my friends at school for nearly months or so it seemed at that age where ‘fitting in’ is our hearts desire. That left yet another scar, though not as visible as the others. All these scars brought me pain but as I sat there I realised we all have them and they make us who we are. Our wounds heal but the memories remain to remind us that even though we once believed that the pain would overwhelm us, we persevered. And so we hope and trudge on.

I remember being ridiculously happy when my sister was born, when I was chosen to play the lead in the school play, when I got my driver’s license, when the 7th book of Harry Potter released (who wasn’t happy?), I could go on and on. But to temper these memories of joy, are memories of sorrow so profound I feel you are drowning and like I will never surface. I remember when my grandma passed away, when my dad fell ill and succumbed to that disease. Such memories though years apart make you realise that life is ultimately about balance, that you have to take the good with the bad. Memories of love and life are the light on days that sorrow darkens your doorstep. They have made you who you are, ready to face all those difficulties you never see coming, while smiling through those happy moments you will always want to relive.

I remember moments of failure, like when I failed my chemistry exam or when I failed an entrance exam to a course. At those times it wasn’t my parents harsh words or cold looks that made me want to persevere and not give up. It was their warm hug of acceptance, their words of encouragement and their relentless faith in my ability to succeed. Then there are memories of getting into the school hockey team, graduating among the top of my class, being accepted by my dream school, the claps that echo in the hall as I walk across the stage to claim my awards. Achievements and failures go hand in hand. While there are times I wish I had not failed, I know that is these memories of failure that spurred me on to those things in my life which I now cherish.

As I grow older I have come to believe that we are moulded by our memories. They are my greatest treasure, they give me hope and allow me to dream. For I know, that when my heart is breaking, I will find the strength to put it back together, for all the times I am crying, I will one day be laughing and when I fall down, I will always try to get back up.

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Circle of Surprises

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Birthdays. They mean so many different things to different people. There are those who don’t celebrate the day at all, it’s just a day in a month in a year. Then there are those who love to celebrate that passage of time in different ways ranging from a small family get together to elaborate parties.

I have celebrated my birthday in so many different ways, as a child I looked forward to it for a month and after the party was over I was nostalgic for a week, wistfully remembering the cake, my friends,  the music and of course the pretty dress! As I grew older I had smaller parties with my friends which soon graduated to little dinners or lunches. Over the years, there’s one thing that I have learnt, it doesn’t matter how big or small the party, only a few people can make your birthday special.

For me those people are my family, especially my sister and my two best friends. While friends and family are central to any celebration, there is another thing that everyone looks forward to receiving on their birthday: Gifts! They can be big or small, hand-made or store bought but what makes them special is when they come from the heart. So, let me tell you about the circle of surprises that started with my best-friends birthday.

My sister prides herself on being the queen of gifts. She has been coming up with the perfect gift for her closest friends this year. So, when she asked me what I planned on giving my best friend for her birthday, I was a little embarrassed to say, “A gift card.” My response received a withering look from my sister and I was quick to add, “She can buy what she wants and it’s the thought that counts right?” To which came the snappy response, “What thought? You have put absolutely no thought into a gift for her.” After a long process of trying to come up with a brilliant git, I finally caved and asked my sister for advice, to which she replied, “Isn’t your friend turning 23? Just get her 23 gifts.” My sister beamed at me and I stared at her aghast, “How am I supposed to get 23 gifts in two days!?”

And so began the great gift hunt. I had to not only buy 23 gifts, but do so within a very strict budget. I seems miraculous but I actually pulled it off. The gifts ranged from tiny things like candles, lip gloss, chocolates to bigger things like a teddy bear, wallet and bracelet. I even turned up at her house at 12 am with homemade brownies with the message ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’. To make the birthday even more special, she was supposed to open one gift every hour and each gift had a little message attached to it. She was ecstatic to say the least! 😀

The next birthday to come up was my sisters. Of course I couldn’t ask ‘The Queen’  herself for suggestions so this time it was up to me. Since she had been making amazing gifts for her friends, they all came together and made gifts for her. We worked in secret for weeks, we made frames with the words: Dream, think and wish (since those are her favourite words) along with a quote for each word. In addition to that, since she loves keeping a personal diary we made her a personalised one, with pictures, important events and her favourite quotes. To top this off we threw her a surprise 18th birthday party with a customised cake. She was over the moon! Of course, the party wouldn’t be complete without a small video of embarrassing childhood antics, edited and made by me. 😉

Now we seem to be coming full circle, since I surprised my sister and my best friend, it was their turn to surprise me. And they did a brilliant job with messages from my closest friends who are scattered around the world, personalised bookmarks, a magic mug, a stuffed Olaf Disney toy and the best personalised frame marking the year I spent abroad. I was absolutely taken aback!

This year has truly come full circle. It has been a complete circle of good wishes and birthday surprises, and just like a circle it has no beginning and I can see no end to the love between family and friends.

It’s Time to Begin, isn’t it?

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This is my first foray into the world of blogging, I spent days just trying to set up a blog! Getting the colour right, thinking up a good name (not to mention a good tagline) and of course wondering what to write about. I don’t know what the rules are when one blogs, do you insert smileys? Do you add a lot of pictures? Can you use slang? How long should an entry be? I spent another day wondering, pondering, writing and editing. Then I realised it’s my blog! I can write in any style I like! On that note, here’s a smiley: :). I love them, doesn’t a text seem somewhat bare without them? I feel they add a little more emotion to a text and are the next best thing to convey my facial expressions as a type out a post.

I thought I’d title my first entry after the lyrics in the song ‘It’s Time’ by Imagine Dragons, if you haven’t heard it I’d really recommend it! It seemed apt since I’ve been meaning to write for years now, I start and stop, it’s like a recurring pattern with me. So, I finally decided to pick up a pen (well, metaphorically anyway), make a commitment and start writing. My work will from now be at the mercy of the internet, which I hear is a very forgiving and merciful place, so there’s nothing to worry about, right? 😉

My earliest memory is that of a story being read to me, I used to sit in rapture and listen, always hungry for more. I devoured books as I grew older, everything from the Famous Five to Swiss Family Robinson. As a result my passion has always been to write, to create a piece of work that I love and that others will love too! This blog is a small step towards realising a dream, a step towards sharing my work with the rest of the world.

To that end I hope my posts intrigue and interest you. I hope you keep reading, because I want to  keep writing.