Perfection is for Gods!

I read this line in a magazine and felt so relieved! If Perfection is for Gods, then I need not be perfect. I don’t have to strive hard to be a perfect mom, daughter, wife or a daughter-in-law. There is no need for me to work my butt off to publish the perfect post. I’m only a human, after all. I make mistakes. All the time. And Perfection is for Gods, right?

That thought freed me. Now I can focus on simply Showing up and Doing the Work, and giving it my all, instead of worrying over the enormity of what lies ahead, how hard the task is or how it needs to be perfect (or almost-perfect) before it is put out for the world to see (and praise or criticize).

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Perfectionism can be demotivating. If I don’t have something really good to share, then I simply turn my back to my blog; If I expect to be praised all the time I cook something, then I’ll never try to be innovative in my kitchen; If I expect Medha to score very well in her exams, then I’ll scare her from trying something on her own and from making mistakes.

Mistakes are good. Making mistakes help us to learn and grow. Our Mistakes, our weaknesses make us human. As I read in the same article, “Let your weaknesses show. It is as titillating and attractive as showing a bit of your slip”- How beautiful and apt is that! Mistakes tell us what we are doing differently and what can be tried next to get the desired result. We only need to recognize that what we’ve been doing so far will not help us get to where we want to go. And we need to change course. Or, even better, sometimes  those same “mistakes” might lead us to an unexpected, but a surprising new destination.

I was one of those perfectionists myself (Not sure I’m completely over it yet)- Not doing a thing or trying something different because I couldn’t see the perfect end result before I began;  Not happy with what I’d make or write because I was too obsessed with being good enough or authentic enough. I’d compare myself with others way above me and fall short in my own eyes. I’d snip my ‘art’ right at its bud! It left me feeling miserable.

But not anymore. Now I tell myself (over and over again) that it is just me, Manasa, a mere mortal, who is just one of the many that come and go on this big, beautiful Earth created by God. It doesn’t matter if I sew the worst-fitted dress or write the most boring blog post  (like, I’m probably doing right now! Thank you, if you’re still reading this!:)) or do the ugliest painting ever. I’m sure I will. And it doesn’t matter one bit.

So… Make I will. Write I will. Sew I will. And do everything else that speaks to my heart. Every Single Day. 

It doesn’t mean I’ll have to do a shoddy job or a mediocre art just for the sake of doing. I’ll do the best I can with the resources I have. I’ll do it with love (to God and towards myself). I’ll let the Higher Power guide me. I’ll let my intuition pave my way. I’ll plunge into the darkness even if I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel. And someday I might strike Gold, But most days, it is just going to be work, work and work. And guess what, I love this “Work”. If what you’re doing is something you’ve always wanted to do, like me, then you’ll feel pleasure in the “Doing” itself.

So I’ll keep on doing. Keep on going. And enjoying all along the way. I’m no Perfectionist. I’m not Perfect. I’m just a human. I’m  only a Doer.

Love you loads for being so patient with my rambling!

Manasa.

A visit to Allmend, Frauenfeld

When Mike suggested we go for a walk on a warm lazy Sunday afternoon, I gave into the idea, but not without a tough fight, as I had to pull myself away from the book I was reading.

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But as we neared Allmend, I had to admit I felt glad to be out and about.

We drove from Dachsen to Diessenhofen, before stopping at Allmend. Located in the region of Frauenfeld (in the canton Thurgau), Allmend is a Natural Habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Hedges interlink different habitats like dry meadows and forests while the river Thur (which gives the name to the Canton, Thurgau) cuts through the landscape.

Different species of birds, amphibians and reptiles make this region their home. Apparently this area is full of Beavers. Though we couldn’t spot any, their presence was evident in many trees, which were gnawed upon so much that they were ready to come crashing down!  Some of them already had fallen, creating dams.

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According to some reports on the Allmend, between 1999 and 2005, more than 800 arenas (the size of 15 football fields) were restored. Some of the barren meadows were sown with native flowering plants, and the rest were planted with different species. However, sadly, due to the recent climatic changes, there has been a strong decline in the flora and fauna. But the Canton is doing its best to protect them.

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We walked around for an hour or so. There weren’t many visitors that day. I wonder whether they allow folks to have picnics or barbecues in the premises. It was very surprising to see the area so clean and well-maintained, even though there were no supervisors around.

Allmend is a fun spot where the whole family can have a great time walking, playing and exploring, while kids can learn a lot about nature. I highly recommend going there to enjoy and appreciate the tranquility and to soak up the beauty around….

Love,

Madhurya

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (February 22, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Reading: “Under a Cornish Sky”  by Liz Fenwick.
Watching: Nothing specific. Just Random comedy shows.
Eating: Pizza!!!
Making: Plans for our long weekend in March.
Wishing for: A beautiful sunny week.
Learning: To manage work and home efficiently, especially when it comes to cooking.
Thinking: That it is a wonderful life!
Listening: To all the adventures Mike had on his trip to Panama.
Loving: That the weekend is not too far!!
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “After the Night” by Linda Howard and enjoying the ride!
Watching: a movie tonight, any random movie, until whatever time it takes to finish it. There’s no need to get up early tomorrow as exams are finally over! YAY!
Eating: Cool Foods- mostly Cereal with lots of fruits and cold milk. Yummm!!! It’s getting so hot lately.
Making: Plans to go shopping.
Wishing for: a nice long nap in the afternoon.
Learning: to let go of things that are not on my top priority list right now.
Thinking: Of unwinding with my friends, sipping Masala Chai, while the kids have a good time with their own buddies.
Listening: To this and feeling strong and confident. The hymn invokes Goddess Shakti, calling her by different names, all the names given to girls of Indian Origin, including my name. And when I listen to this hymn, with the music given by none other than the maestro, A. R. Rahman, I feel like a Goddess myself. Now, please don’t laugh. Don’t get me wrong too. I don’t consider myself powerful or invincible or as good as the great Goddess herself. I simply am not. Period.
I just feel like we all have this Goddess within us, each one of us, who is mostly hibernating. And I think we need to nurture her, wake her up and bring her out, to shine some light on the World, Just as we chant prayers to invoke the true Goddess Shakti.
I hope this makes sense.
Loving: having long sunny days ahead with nowhere to go and nothing big to do.
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.

The Woman on the Orient Express- a Book Review

I sleep better when I have a good book to read. I simply can’t fall asleep without reading. My daughter too wants to be read to before she dozes off. She tells me she’ll have bad dreams otherwise! When I don’t have an interesting book at hand or on my e-reader, even sleeping becomes just another chore to be ticked off on my to-do list! I’m serious! I then resort to browsing my favorite blogs, instagram accounts or pinterest, which is a surefire way of wiping all the sleep from my eyes!

Gimme a good book, and you’ll find me sleeping like a baby after a while! 🙂

So… What did I want to write about? Ah! The Book Review. I wonder why I got started about my sleep routine!

(Thinking…)

Yup! “The Woman on the Orient Express” was one such interesting book that made me want to wrap up all my chores, speed-read my kiddos’ books and dive into the World of the famous detective novelist, Agatha Christie (who is one of the 3 protagonists in this book), the luxurious Orient Express from London to Istanbul and the archaeological wonders of Ur mentioned in the book.

This book is for someone like me who can’t stand books full of mush or magic or Vampires and their slayers, like most Young Adult books do, nor the ones that contain gruesome murders, horrific kidnappings. apocalypse or terror attacks like most books for adults do. It falls somewhere between the 2 extremes. It was just what I needed to read, as I couldn’t finish any other book I started!

The book is all about 3 women- Agatha, Katherine and Nancy- who come from different walks of life, each carrying the heavy load of  a not-so-rosy past, but heading towards the same destination- Baghdad. Among them, Katherine is going further down to Ur, an archaeological Dig site and towards “doom”, as she suspects. They are all aboard the Orient Express with its drool-worthy customer service. Something, an incident, triggers the beginning of a friendship between these 3. As they get to know one another, each one shares her secret, bit by bit. This unraveling of their pasts, even as they set out to begin a new chapter in their lives forms the core of this story. Their loyalty to each other and the promises they have made to protect one another’s secrets are tested along the way by people and circumstances they come across. Do they remain BFFs despite the roadblocks they face? You will find out when you read…

When I mentioned this book to my friends, most thought I was talking about “Murder on the Orient Express”, a murder mystery written by Agatha Christie herself. I must have read that book a long time back. I want to re-read it and compare the 2. Of-course there are no comparisons. There’s no murder in this contemporary novel, nor is there a mystery to be solved. There’s an undertone of “Something sinister must be lurking around the corner, the next page, ready to pounce upon the reader” kinda feeling through the book though. This book also makes me want to read Agatha Christie’s memoirs.

Lindsay Jayne Ashford does a great job of interweaving fiction with real life events, so much so that we are left to wonder what’s real and what’s not. As soon as I was done with the book, I had the urge to find out the authenticity of the characters and situations mentioned in the book, and to learn a bit more about the author, whose writing I thoroughly enjoyed. She described the comforts of the train journey, the seemingly endless  desert sand and the smells and colors of an Arabic spice market so vividly I simply felt like I was experiencing them all myself. If there’s another book written by the same author, I’ll surely get my hands on it! And I suggest you do too. 🙂

Here’s something to think about-

“For the train, like life, must go on until it reaches its destination. You might not always like what you see out of the window, but if you pull down the blind, you will miss the beauty as well as the ugliness”

-Agatha Christie, The Woman on the Orient Express.

A Baby Shower for my Sister-in-law

Last weekend I held a Baby shower for my sister-in-law at our home.  It is not a typical Swiss tradition, but I thought why not? I’d felt bad that I could not  do it when she was having her first child, so this time I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.

We decided to make it a surprise party for her. So instead of telling her that she was going to have a baby shower, we simply asked her and my brother-in-law to join us for dinner!!

I’d planned to have a girls-only party, but since I knew very few of her friends, I decided to have a “Family only” gathering.

So after deciding on the date, I researched some online websites where I could buy the party materials to decorate our home. After a lot of searching, I found this , this and this.

I bought a pretty tableware, a banner, honeycomb balls, balloons, paper plates, cups and napkins and a few gifts. Mike and I had so much fun decorating our home.

We made Cheesy garlic bread for appetizer and for main course yummy enchiladas. For dessert we ordered a customized cake from this bakery (Trust me it was really yum!!).

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The best part of the evening was their reaction to the arrangements as they entered our home. It was a real treat to watch their surprised faces, full of smiles! Well, it was all worth the effort we put in! My Sister-in-law found it hard to believe that we’d worked so hard to make her feel special!

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I loved hosting this special day for my sister-in-law and  can’t wait for the arrival of this sweet baby into our family!

Cheers,

Madhurya.

“What we are ………….” Wednesday! (February 15, 2017)

We’d like to share what we are doing this Wednesday, hopefully, every Wednesday from hereon, as a way of documenting our Everyday Life. Hope you like reading such posts!

Here’s what Madhurya had to say:

Watching: Kapil Sharma show and Koffee with Karan.
Eating: Some nice South Indian foods like “puliyogre” and “bisi bele bath”.
Making: Decorations for my sister in law`s baby shower.
Wishing for: My husband to come home safely from his trip.
Learning: To cook more easy and quick recipes.
Thinking: About ways to keep myself busy this week without my husband.
Listening:  to some old Kannada songs.
Loving: The warmth of the sun pouring through my office window.
Here’s what I had to say:
Reading: “Thea Stilton and the Journey to the Lion’s Den” to Medha and “Where Animals Live” to Madhav.
Watching: Medha try to read a book by herself. She’s getting better and better at it. Sadly, Madhav doesn’t like being read to by his big sister! He only prefers his mama’s stories.
Eating: Anything I can get my hands on, which isn’t a good habit, I know! But what to do!?! I’ve been feeling so hungry lately! Change of weather, maybe? Oh no no! It’s absolutely not what you are thinking!
I’ll have to prepare some healthy snacks for the whole family, so that we don’t resort to munching on junk, like we normally do!
Making: Medha memorize Multiplication tables! Oh God!
Wishing for: a Coffee and Cake Date with my husband.
Learning: how not to let anybody bring me down. Like I’ve said before, Meditation really helps. Plus,  a poor memory makes it easier to forget and forgive! 🙂
Thinking: about my new haircut and what my friends told me about it- “Please don’t let it grow long! You look so young with short hair!” How sweet! And I do feel like a new woman- a bit more confident about myself! 🙂 I wonder what it is about a haircut and the boost in confidence!
Listening: to this and wanting to have a good cry, not because I’m sad or anything. It just feels like the right thing to do, sort of like casting a burden aside. It is just so calming!
Loving: this blog as I’m spending more time with it. As they say, Long Distance Relationships are really hard; The longer I stay away from my blog, the harder it is for me to get back to it and show it some TLC. We hope to stay more connected…
Love,
Madhurya & Manasa.
 

The Elephant Safari, Corbett National Park

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The Elephant Safari at Corbett National Park is one of the most happiest, most blessed times of my life! It happened last October when we visited the park and its neighboring beauties- Binsar and Nainital. I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the details of the trip; Anybody who knows me, knows all about my poor memory! But thanks to the journal I kept during the trip, fragments of that journey are still recorded for me to look back on, and for you to, hopefully, savor. Here’s what I wrote in my journal-

It (The Elephant Safari) felt so earthly, so primal; I felt as if I was one with nature. An Elephant Safari is much better than a Jeep Safari. With every footstep of the Elephant, every brush of a tree branch, every poke of a thorny shrub, every breath of fresh air inhaled. every grunt of the swaying elephant, I felt more and more connected with Mother Earth. I couldn’t stop looking at Laadli, the Elephant behind us. She looked so lovely and divine, I fell utterly in love with her. We were seated upon Kalina. They both sucked the juice out of sugarcane sticks as they trudged on. And they kept pooping too… Heaps of it. Some floated right across the river we crossed. Ah! Crossing the River! It was an adventure in itself! You should see how an elephant steps on a boulder, ensures she has a firm grip on it, and then moves on. She is onerously careful as she crosses the river. You find yourself rooting for her as she does that!

We went all over Seethavan. We spotted some birds stirring up in the early morning Sun. We heard Distress calls by a Sambar too, which meant a Tiger must have been nearby. And we felt the presence of a male Elephant, as Kalina became too excited and kept veering off to where she wasn’t supposed to go! “Thwack!”, went the Mahout’s stick upon Kalina’s spiky head. Whenever that happened, Medha felt so bad for her. She was almost in tears. She wasn’t enjoying the ride as much. And when we asked the mahout why he punished her so, he explained how an Elephant needed to be brought back on track with a bit of spanking, just the way a kid needed a bit of discipline now and then, and it didn’t mean that he loved her any less! And believe me, I felt his love for the mammoth. He kept telling the other mahout that they needed to come back to clear the web of tangled branches to make it easier for the Elephants to pass.

Medha kept mumbling about how she felt the Elephants looked like Lord Ganesha himself and as soon as we got down, she simply bowed in front of them. And I too couldn’t hold back. I hugged and kissed Kalina and Laadli both!”

For all those of you who need more information, other than just the ramblings of a romantic fool, here are some details I found in the mail the proprietors of the Safari sent us (We booked the Safari days (months?) in advance)-

1. Only Sitavan (Sitabani) Zone is available for the Elephant Safari.

2. Morning – 8:00 am to 10:00 am (We had it changed to 6-8 am as we had to head towards Nainital the same day.
Plus, we love to explore the jungle early in the morning)

3. Boarding place – Dhikuli Village at 7:45 am 
4. 2 Elephants for 8 Pax. We were 8 passengers, including 4 kids.


Terms & conditions for Safari advance booking

 (Subject to availability & approval from forest department and weather conditions)

 1. Safari permits are booked in 100% advance payment basis.

 2. To book the safari will require name, age, gender of All the passengers, Photo ID and details Issued by GOVT. 

 3.As per jungle safari regulations, once confirmed and booked, the booking amount of Elephant Safari is Non-refundable and non transferable. 

 4. Maximum four persons are allowed to sit on an Elephant.

 5.In case of any natural calamity ( rain, flood etc) there will be no refund.

  6. Timing Might change because of Weather Condition & Season.

  7. When You Reach ( Corbett City Ramnagar / Resort / Hotel ) Inform Us.

 8. Cost of Elephant Safari – Rs. 3500 per Elephant for 1 to 4 Indians Inclusive of Elephant Fee And all taxes. (2 Elephants x Rs. 3500 =Rs. 7000 for 8 Pax.)

Love,

Manasa