Saturday, January 31, 2009

A postcard from UK

Hi there,

Moving places is always bitter sweet. All my life I have moved. On an average every three years would mean a new place. My dad had a transferable job and we moved a lot. After I got married, my husband had a transferable job too. What’s more he had a childhood similar to mine as his dad was in the Air-Force and so he kept moving too.

Many people cannot imagine moving like that and many people I know have lived in a single place their lives. I think I’d die of boredom if I had to do that. Some people tell me “Oh—you must be used to it.” I think that’s very unfair—how would they know? They have never moved even houses. It’s a bit like telling a soldier “Oh, you must be used to the war and it must not be a big deal for you.”

It’s really not easy to move places, to say the least. But what makes a world of a difference is the attitude. I have so many friends in so many different places now. Friends whom I can just call and say that I am arriving and they would welcome me with open arms. I have seen so many cultures. I have weathered so many extremes in temperature ranging from a blistering 45 degrees centigrade to a icy cold minus four. I have had the opportunity to know taste different cuisines and learn to cook it too. But most importantly I know that no matter where you go, human emotions are the same and all it takes is a big genuine smile and laughter to connect to people.

Right now, I am in London typing this from a lovely hotel suite. We arrived in UK last week, to finalise a school for my children and a new home for ourselves. It's all done now a big thanks to the relocation team from my husband's company who were simply marvellous. Yes—we’re relocating to UK –and no we’re not in London or its suburbs (Thankfully!) but will be moving to this lovely city called Norwich. We’re back in India tomorrow and then by the middle of February we will move.

Am I excited? Yes! Am I looking forward to it? Yes! But it’s a mixed feeling as I’ll be leaving my country for at least two years. We will be selling all the furniture and a lot of stuff. If any of you are interested in some really nice furniture (which is mostly less than two years old, as we bought new stuff when we moved to Pune) which was chosen with a lot of forethought and care, do mail me on Please mail only if you’re around Pune or if you’re willing to take it away yourselves.

I’m posting a picture which my son clicked from our flight into London. The mountains looked so breathtakingly amazing—we just could not stop staring. I remember thinking that if there is a paradise on earth, this is probably it! Don’t know which mountain they are—perhaps the Alps?

That’s all for now. I am happy for the Internet as I can stay connected to you all, no matter where I am! It may be a while before I write a new post as I have to get my life in order—but as the famous line goes—I shall be back! :- )

Do wish me luck! This is a new chapter in my life and I do aspire for happily ever after!

With love, warmth and laughter

Preeti Shenoy

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Live today well

Often, when on a holiday, it’s the little things that catch my eye rather than the BIG obvious touristy thing that everybody is rushing to see. I like the others, see the touristy thing too, but often I look around and there is so much more! Sometimes it would be a small insect, sometimes a different kind of leaf, and yet at other times the way the slant of sunrays light up a particular spot or a local resident going about their daily chores that make me want to capture it so that I can relive those moments, taking them out , like carefully hoarded treasure, on dull dreary days(You’re bound to have your share of those),examining them, cherishing them and before I realise the dullness has worn away around the edges and the day does not seem drab any more.

Today I'll share with you some pictures of people that I clicked on holidays to various places. I sometimes put myself in their shoes and wonder what their day is like. They too have hopes. They probably have a family too. They will have a loved one who is thinking of them, waiting for them.

A fruit seller at Egypt

An Umbrella seller at Pune,India. I clicked this from inside my warm cozy car while he was out there in the rain selling such colourful umbrellas in wet, cold weather.

The Galabya traders on River Nile. They row their wares on a tiny boat and come very close to the ship and throw a rope and attach their boat to the ship.They kept calling out to the passengers on the Cruise. They were finally shooed away by the Captain of our ship.

The temple Musicians at Ernakulam, Kerala,India. They are talented and train for years to be able to play the way they do. Yet they are not very highly paid.

The vegetable sellers at a small village called Naraynpur near Pune, India.
A little boy selling paper windmills on Juhu beach, Mumbai, India

A seller of Sugarcane juice on the Highway near Panchgani, Maharashtra, India.

If you are reading this, it means you have access to Internet and chances are that you , like me, are definitely better off financially when compared to them. But what we need to think about is, are we happier? Are our lives truly richer?

Isn’t it memories full of moments, that make up life? A Sanskrit shloka says “Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day.” Wise words indeed.

Live today well. Make your moments. Cherish them.

And if you have had a particularly nasty day, don’t worry—there’s always tomorrow to start afresh!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mr.Watch and Ms.Keys

Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Things to see and do

Funny how 10 days feels like a month! It’s only been ten days since my last post but when you go out of town and come back, even if you have been out only for 3 days, it feels like you have been away for at least a fortnight! At least it feels that way for me. I have been travelling like crazy. I was in Delhi-Rishikesh-Haridwar-Agra on a vacation, and then I was in Mumbai for the last four days. So please forgive the time gap between my posts. Many of you have written and asked me if I am ok—yes I am! And no—I have not forgotten my resolution of posting more often! It’s just one of those rare times that I did not have Internet access and when I got back there was a mountain of pending work that clearing it seems like a behemoth task, not to mention the colossal number in my Google Reader which I am scared to even open and look at! [I'll get around to your blogs slolwly--as I recover my breath :) ]

Even though I had seen the Taj Mahal many times before, we still decided to visit Agra as my children were seeing it for the first time. The magic works each single time. There is something mesmerising, magical and enthralling about the Taj. We stood and stared along with the children. The story of Shah Jahan’s love for Mumtaz continues to move millions of people who travel across the globe for a glimpse of the Taj, even centuries after it was built.

Rishikesh and Haridwar exude spirituality like no other place. There is so much of a vibrant energy in both these places. The colours, the sounds, the atmosphere, the River Ganges all of it was so overwhelming and enchanting. As an Indian (That too again it was not the first time I was visiting the place) I was swept away completely and so I can imagine how a Foreigner visiting this place will feel. (Many come here to do white water rafting trips)

The best part of course was pigging on the food. The parathas at the roadside dhabas are irresistible, and the dollops of butter added to it only make it even more so and for once I did not watch the calories and relished the food.

I leave you with a few images that I really liked—and they were all clicked by my son (he just turned eleven) who loves photography.

If you have seen the Taj, then you know what i am talking about and if you have not seen the Taj, take out your calendars, mark your dates and plan a trip right now!

It indeed is a MUST do.

Friday, January 02, 2009

My wish for you

Photo clicked by Atul age 10

Yesterday morning I was as enthusiastic about the New Year as an ant on a warm summer’s day, even though the air was cold outside and there was a nip in the air. Like an explosion of greenery that arrives with Spring, there’s something infectious about a date that reads 1/1. New beginning, Wishes, Gaiety, Hopes, and a renewed vigour about leaving everything unpleasant behind makes even the grouchiest of people shed aside their pessimism for a while and they respond to the “Happy new year” that everyone has displayed on their status messages as well as their hopeful faces.

I am no different and I decided to begin the day by speaking on the phone to my closest friends and wishing them. A text won’t do, I decided—It was just a day that I had to hear their voices. As soon as I called up one of my closest friends, I knew something was terribly wrong, just by the way she said ‘Hello’.

“Preeti—do you remember Varun?” she asked.

I did. Varun was one of her good friend’s son—a 19 year old good looking, pleasant well mannered guy doing his Law at Symbiosis, Pune. I had met him at her place and he had made an impression on me and I had hoped that my kids would be as polite, focused and well mannered as him when they reached his age. Yes, I told her, I definitely remembered Varun.

“He died last night in a car accident,” she said and could not go on.

I was too shocked to speak. Later I saw that it was the front page story in Times of India. It was right beneath the Cheerful picture which showed people welcoming the New Year. Click here to see the newspaper story.

I told my friend that it makes me even more determined to live each day completely as if it were your last. It reinforces what I believe in so strongly. Life is very unpredictable. What you really have is just this moment. It sunk in like a hot knife through butter when my dad who was in his prime of health passed away so darn suddenly. It sunk in like a pebble thrown into a placid lake when a friend lost her spouse. It sunk in again yesterday morning when I called to wish my dear friend a happy new year.

A year is a long time. Suddenly wishing a ‘happy new year’ did not make as much sense and I realised that what I actually want to say is GRAB today. You never know--It really may be all you have. Call your friends even if they have been busy and have neglected to call back. Connect to your siblings, to your family. Forget that petty little argument you had.

Now stop reading and grab a pencil and paper. Take a moment and think of five things that make you really happy and jot them down. (Not drinking happy—but deeply happy!) Did you do it? No? Then please do.

Done? Good! If you are like me (and I suspect you are—else you really would not be interested in reading this far would you?) chances are these are things that money cannot buy, right? Now aim to do at least one thing out of this every single day.

That is my wish for you this year. At the end of the day when you lie in your bed to go to sleep, may you have a contented smile, a song in your heart and a deeply satisfying feeling that whispers “Yes—today I have lived.”

I shall not say happy New Year but I wish you a Happy new day—Everyday for the next 365 days.

These are my wishes for you.

Warmth, joy and laughter

Preeti Shenoy