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The New Stuff

Few children books by Indian authors to try this holiday season

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”

Isn’t this so true? It’s the season of gifting and in case you haven't been able to figure out the best gift for the little ones in your family yet, try including some books. Of course, there is a different joy in receiving toys or chocolates as gifts but books have their own charm when it comes to gifting. Wondering which books to gift this holiday season? Well, there are many options to choose from, I suggest to try out based on the interest of your little one. While you must be knowing the popular titles on your own, here’re some Indian titles that I came across this year and quite liked these for my little one. I think these will make great gifts for children of different age groups.

Now there is a Panchtantra by Gulzar, this I wasn’t even aware of :-). The intro of this book by the "Nanu"
 Gulzar for his grandchild Samay is quite sweet. It’s a collection of some of the best-known stories from the Panchatantra and the first chapter is about the history of Panchatantra tales. This will make for a good read-aloud book for kids below 6 years age and self-reading for 6 to 10 ones. Definitely worth giving a try.

A story of adventure and courage, this book pretty much presents the saying - where there’s a will, there’s a way - in a story format. It’s about a young boy Musa, who sets off alone to collect wood from the forest near his home. During his journey, he loses his way. Would he be able to reach his home back? You can read it to know more. What’s the best about this book? The illustrations! Absolutely stunning and very Indian, this book has been illustrated in the Gond form of art by the very famous Gond artist, Bhajju Shyam. My 6-year-old kept on looking at the pictures again and again and I think this will be a good read for 5 to 7 years old.

Were you a fan of R. K. Narayan books while growing up? If yes, chances are you might like the books by Sudha Murty too. At least to me, her stories remind me of books by R.K. Narayan - full of innocent anecdotes from regular day to day life. The Magic Of The Lost Temple is about Nooni, a city girl who is very surprised at the unexpected pace of life in her grandparent’s village in the state of Karnataka. Packed with many interesting twists and turns, this book not only makes a great read for kids but it’s worth giving a try for elders too. I had recently gifted this to few girls in the age bracket 8 to 11 years and all of them absolutely loved it.

Looking for something for younger kids below 5? You may give some of the titles from Tulika Publishers a try. They have many interesting titles and I recently came across Mala’s Silver Anklets by Annie Besant. Packed with gorgeous illustrations by Nancy Raj, this is a cute book about a naughty little girl Mala who tries to scare everyone in her family. What happens after she starts wearing an anklet? Read it to know more :-).

Would you like to give something around science but presented in story format? Dhooli’s Story might be the answer for you. It’s about Dhooli, a tiny speck of dust, that flits and floats in the air with her friends, who flies past clouds and aeroplanes and ends up watching rainbows in the sky. This book focusses on air and at the end of the storybook, there are some interesting scientific facts about air and the layers of the atmosphere above us. This book by Tulika Publishers is one of the five books in the series, First Look Science, that was visualized by design students in a classroom project with Srishti, Bengaluru, other four are on - Space, Water, Earth and Earth’s Surface. It’s a good book for read-aloud for below 5-year old and self-reading for 5 to 8-year ones. The information on the last two pages of books can be actually useful for above 8 too.

Do give these books a try but as I always say, these are some of the books that the mommy me enjoyed reading with her little one. It may happen that your junior won’t like some or all the books from this list and that’s perfectly fine. Every child has his/her own preferences, let’s just respect their choices and read them what they want.

Before I go, one fun fact about me :-) - I just love painting bookmarks, you can see some of my hand-painted bookmarks here. When I gift someone books, I try to include these little hand-painted love along with those. I have been trying to encourage my little one also to do the same. So, this Christmas vacation me and my 6 year old created some Christmas-theme bookmarks for his friends. After making one or two, he got hooked on to these and made many on his own. Have a look at these easy and quick hand-painted bookmarks ideas, perhaps the junior at your end might enjoy doing these too. In case you liked this video, feel free to share it with the mommies who are looking to creatively engage their little ones during vacation time. 

Thank you for reading this post. Have a great holiday season and very happy 2018! 

Some children books to try out this November

“I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”
― J.K. Rowling

So true, isn’t it? A good book is indeed like a magic and stories work for me like wonders whenever I have to explain something new or difficult to my little one. Children’s Day is round the corner and when one of my friends who manages a reading club asked me to recommend some books that she can read out to kids during her upcoming Children's Day event, it left me thinking. While I don’t think reading needs any special occasion and a good book can be read any day of the year but its good to notice that many events these days are focussing on building reading habits amongst kids. After some quick thinking, I decided to recommend her some books that are not preachy yet communicate some key values to children in a fun story format. So here goes a list of few of those books that me and my 5.5 year have loved reading together:

1. Moana by Disney: 

A wonderful tale of courage and grit, this is one book that’s surely going to attract the attention of little adventurers at our home. Its an ancient folklore about Princess Moana, a born navigator who sets sail in search of a fabled island. During her journey, she encounters lots of trouble but with her perseverance and courage, she finally ends up finding her destiny. Packed with beautiful graphics and a very entertaining story, this book is good for a read aloud session for below 6 years old as well as self reading by above 6 year ones.
Written by: Samantha Crockford
Illustrated by: Disney Storybook Artists
Rent it out from your nearest library or buy it online from here.

2. Brown Like Dosas, Samosas And Sticky Chikki by Fun Ok Please: 

A much needed book especially for a country like India where bias towards certain skin and complexion type has existed since ages. It’s a beautiful book that talks about diversity and to be always proud of you, the way you are. This book is about young Samaira who in a world biased towards the lighter skin tone, is happy and content with her brown skin and would not exchange it with whiter shade for anything. When I read it for the first time, I was amazed at the way such a sensitive topic has been communicated in such simple and fun story format.
Written by: Rebecca Manari
Illustrated by: Hetal Dattani Joshi
Rent it out from your nearest library or buy it online from here.

3. Dot by RHUK

Simple and easy to read, this book is about digital vs real life, about playing outside, observing our environment instead of just being glued on to screens. Dot is a smart and intelligent girl who knows everything about swipe and virtual share but is so stuck with her electronic devices that she forgets what it is like being outdoors. Good for 3-6 years old, this book is full of gorgeous illustrations and revolves around a theme that’s very relevant for today’s time.
Written by: Randi Zuckerberg
Illustrated by: Joe Berger
Rent it out from your nearest library or buy it online from here.

4. Hanuman’s Ramyana by Tulika Publishers: 

In a world that’s obsessed with self, it’s a book that tells you to listen and respect others perspectives too. Same story can be communicated by different people in different ways but what’s more important is that a good story should be told to everyone irrespective of who has written it or how has it been written - that’s what Hanuman’s Ramayana focusses on. Full of gorgeous Madhubani style of illustrations, this is a great read for 5 - 8 year old.
Written by: Devdutt Pattanik 
Illustrated by: Nancy Raj 
Rent it out from your nearest library or buy it online from here.

5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Penguin: 

A book loved by generations of kids and adults for its fun yet informative values. For me, when my son was younger all I had to do was remind him of the stomach ache that the caterpillar had after eating junk food :-). A picture book with holes (now who hasn’t poked his/her finger in those holes ;)), it’s a book that can be used for multiple purposes - from an entertaining story, to information about stages of a butterfly, from explaining weekdays and numbers to healthy eating habits, I am yet to meet a child who hasn’t liked this book.
Written by: Eric Carle
Illustrated by: Eric Carle
Rent it out from your nearest library or buy it online from here.

So, what are your all time favorite reads that are entertaining and enlightening at the same time? This is such a vast topic that any post with 5 to 10 book recommendations can’t do justice to it. There are hundreds of good books out there and I just wish, may our generation of kids continue the habit of reading regularly.

As I always say, these are some of the books that the mommy me enjoyed reading with her little one. It may happen that your junior won’t like some or all the books from this list and that’s perfectly fine. Every child has his/her own preferences, let’s just respect their choices and read them what they want.

Thank you for reading :-)

Children Books to read this Diwali

Holiday time means story time, isn’t it? While any book that your little one enjoys reading is good for holidays but it’s occasion like Diwali or Dusshera that add a special charm towards reading mythology and folklore. It’s always good to let our children know the ‘whys’ & ‘hows’ of our festivals and thankfully we have many good books now that focus on festivals centric theme and content. 

Recently I got to explore some very interesting books around Diwali and Ramayana. Some of these I loved, whereas some I thought were too verbose or heavy for kids. Listing down few of my favorites here that you can try reading to your title one this holiday season. These are not necessarily the best children books explaining the concept of Diwali, I am sure there are many more interesting books to explore but these books definitely attracted mine and my little one’s attention both in terms of story as well as visual content.

I love this Amma series by Bhakti Mathur, very informative and entertaining at the same time. Like other books in this series, even in this one Amma is telling the story behind the festival to her son Klaka. The book as the name suggests focusses on how we celebrate Diwali, the history behind it, Raavana’s killing, Rama’s return to Ayodhya and how people welcome their beloved king by lighting up the whole city with diyas. Not just mythology, this book also tells a new story about a seamstress and how it’s not just the flashy lights or rituals that matter on Diwali but the real blessings come to who do their work honestly and sincerely. Packed with super cute illustrations by Maulshree Somani, this book is a sure shot hit with children of younger age group.

We all have heard of Valmiki’s Ramyana, has anyone heard of Hanuman’s Ramayana? No? You may like to check this one out. A story that highlights the selfless love of Hanuman for Rama and communicates a beautiful message at the end about importance of a good story reaching to all irrespective of who is telling it. Easy to read along with gorgeous illustrations by Nancy Raj, this book is definitely a must read for all. My 5 year old loves the character of Hanuman and he loved this book too.

While there are many comic books and stories for younger kids, this one might suit the interest of elder ones too. Based on the original Sanskrit text by Valmiki, this book by Arshia Sattar is an excellent read for children and grown ups looking to go through Ramayan in detail. Someone asked me recently if it has only texts? No, while it’s a text rich book, it also has some eye catchy images in between. 

If there is one book that covers the importance of different festivals in India in detailed way, it’s this book. From Lohri to Christmas to Eid to Diwali, it has it all. Even for Diwali, while most of the books focus on the story of Rama and Raavana, this one also explains the concept of Dhanteras, Narak Chaturdashi, Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Govardhan Puja. Written in simple language, it’s a book that grown up kids can read on their own while little ones can enjoy it in a read aloud session.

How can a book list that revolves around mythology and Ramayana end without a mention of Amar Chitra Katha? The publication that has enriched generations with amazing content and engaging stories, stories that I have grown up reading and love to retell to my son. Yet another interesting book from ACK house, this one covers Rama’s exile, Sita’s kidnapping and finally victory of Rama over Raavana.

While I found these Diwali / Ramayana theme books to be interesting, it may happen that your child won’t like some or all books from this list at all. Every child’s preferences are different and when it comes to reading, I personally believe in respecting the child’s preferences so that his/her interesting towards reading remains intact.

So what are you reading to your little ones this holiday season? Any other interesting book that you would like to share with us? Do let us know in the comments section below. 

Wish you all a very happy Diwali! May the festival bring joy and prosperity to your lives :-)

*For more updates on children books, you may follow my Facebook page Under That Guava Tree.  All pictures copyright by @UnderThatGuavaTree

Fiction or Non Fiction?

Speaking of books or reading, one question that I often get asked is - do you still read fiction? On replying yes, the next question generally would be - how do you find time to read fiction or why do you read fiction? The answer is pretty simple - I read fiction because I like it. I read fiction because there is nothing more enriching than a good story. I read fiction because:
Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures - Ralph Waldo Emerson

But isn't non-fiction a wiser choice? Isn't non-fiction better for knowledge? When we have such limited time available now, shouldn't we give priority to learning? Oh yes absolutely, non fictions are great, I love them too. I generally alternate between reading a fiction and non-fiction book, I totally agree that non-fictions are powerhouses for knowledge but are they better? Are non-fictions the only source of learning? I am not so sure. Seriously, neither the reader-me nor the working-professional-me can decide which one is better? It's like asking whether:

Imagination is better than Knowledge?
Empathy is better than Experience?
Creativity is better than Structure?
Cognition is better than Intelligence?
Storytelling is better than Research?

Can you decide which one is better for you? I definitely can not. Be it empathy or intelligence - at least I need both to survive in my professional as well as personal life.

As per me, all these skills are important, the degree of importance may vary depending upon your profession or your life stage but there is no science or arts that can prove that one genre of book is better than the other for mental growth or which type of book one should prioritize to utilize the reading time more prudently. A good book is a good book, it doesn't matter whether fiction or non-fiction. I have at times learnt a great deal about empathy by being able to relate to a fictional character and at times have been amazed by the insights that I could gain by going through a good biography. So, instead of worrying too much on what kind of books to read, I would say - just read a good, of any genre that you enjoy reading. It's much better than the skimp reading we do on internet mindlessly throughout the day :-). 
Still need some logical proof? Check out this post on how a fiction can improve your brain connectivity or this video on how a good biography can influence your personality.

What did I read recently? Quite many interesting books but the two books from my recent reading list that I liked a lot are:
  • Non-fiction: Start With Why by Simon Sinek. I have been a great fan of Simon Sinek's TED Talks and hence I picked up this book on impulse. I am glad I picked it up. While you may think its a leadership book but it's a great read for almost any professional at any career stage, be it marketing, product, design or business development. It encourages you to put "why" before "how" and "what" - something that many of us lack in our regular approach. If we know the "why", many things start falling in place automatically.
  • Fiction: Rise of Kali by Anand Neelakantan: Very interestingly even this one answers and addresses many "why"s of Mahabharata. This book narrates the story from Duryodhan's point of view and gives you amazing insights on the reasons behind actions of the vanquished. In case you liked Asura by this author, I think you are going to love this one too. Oh by the way, on my last fiction reco for "Remains of the day byKazuo Ishiguro", I was being asked by a friend if he can read it or is too "womanish". Lol, I seriously don't know what would be the parameter to define a too womanish read but Kazuo Ishiguro books are readers' delight, be it a man or a woman reader. If this helps, Rise of Kali is all about Duryodhana's side of story and presents insights like "manipulation" and "influence" in a story format. Hope this helps :-)

These days, I am trying to read on user psychology. So, if you have any great recommendation for me, please drop it in the comment section below.

Bringing old ways of reading back to life

From being a voracious reader to a reading enthusiast - that's how my reading habit got changed when I started working and entered into other phases of personal life. For last two years, despite all my sincere intent to read more, at best I could manage to read only 12-14 books an year. This was lot less than what I used to read earlier. So, when I ended up reading 19 books in last one month, I was quite pleasantly surprised with myself. At least there is something good out of this hospitalization and being-on-bed phase of life, I am getting time to read and paint more. See, I am trying to look at the positive side of any situation :). No, I mean it in all seriousness; first month on bed was too painful with surgery, stitches, fractures and what-nots. To add to that, weird thoughts kept on floating in my mind throughout. So, after few weeks when my hands got freed from stitches, the first thing I did was, picked up a book. One book after another and soon enough I was engrossed in reading like earlier. It only added to the reading charm that not only I was getting to read the books that I wanted to read but I also got some amazing books as gifts from friends.  

But I am all free these days, so what's the big deal about reading 19 or any number of books? Well, it's not the number or the titles of the books but the way I am reading that makes me think more on my current reading habits. You know the kind of reading that we used to do earlier, engrossed in words, lost amidst the pages, the kind of reading that brings you calm and cognitive stimulation, the kind of reading that you do mindfully. My recent readings have been all of that.

So, what did change this time?
  • If I have to say it in one word, it's the internet - I had very limited access to internet most of these days. When I was reading I was ONLY reading.
Few other things that worked for me in bringing back the good old habit of mindful reading were:
  • Reading books only, no other format of reading at all - no ipad, no mobile and no laptop, only physical books and kindle. This works like anything, with no on-screen distractions or notifications that you get on other devices, not only you get to read substantially, your retention power also gets much better. I am not against ebooks or audio books but you know reading a physical book has many virtues of its own - the most important one being attentiveness - a skill that's a rarity in today's age of non-stop distractions.
  • Reading more than one book at a time. I am generally one of those who finish whatever I pick up, even if I hate it and I am also one of those who like to be lost in the world of only one story, one plot at a time. But then in today's world where you have many digital impulses available on your fingertip to distract you the moment you get bored of any book, it makes sense to keep another book handy. I was switching between one fiction and one non-fiction at a time and it worked. I also left 2 books mid way as I thought it was not worth spending time on something that I was not enjoying at all. Also, stacking up some good books to be read next acts as lucrative incentive to finish your current read and be glued on to reading. I for sure had a good stack lined up, thanks to the friends who sent me books to keep me occupied in this bed ridden phase.
  • Cutting down on junk reads: So, whenever people speak of diminishing reading habits, I actually wonder if we are really reading less these days. On the contrary, with 24x7 connectivity, I think most of us are reading a lot more now, consuming anything and everything that flashes on our screen - from tweets to blogs to news in shorts, there is just excess of content available to us all the time. You open Facebook and you realize your 20 mins are gone watching those DIY videos or reading others' posts. With time, I have become cognitive of my online reading behavior and it has helped me quite a lot in cutting down junk content consumption.
  • Dedicated reading time. What I have lot more right now is time but what I mean here is "dedicated reading time" - the time that I use for reading only. This I used to practice earlier too, in between work and child I used to find it very difficult to find uninterrupted reading time in my day to day life. As a habit I used to get up half an hour earlier than my family and spend that time reading in total peace. Currently I have many more such dedicated 30-minute slots with me that I am using for books only. I am aware that I will not have this much time after few months, but even if I can increase my dedicated slot to twice a day instead of once a day, or maybe for 60 mins instead of 30 mins on weekends, I will be happy that I got to form a habit that will be bringing me closer to books. Do think about your dedicated reading slot - the time that you choose to give priority to books over that office email or that whatsapp notification, both in most of the cases can actually wait for 30 minutes.
  • And last one, reading all the time - on bed, in hospital, while waiting for doctors, I carried books everywhere. But I used to carry books earlier too? Well, then I used to carry mobile too :). Currently with my mouth all wired up due to maxillofacial fractures, I could hardly talk and my mobile phone was mostly not with me. So even when there is 10 minutes of waiting time, the default behavior is to browse the book and not the mobile :). Will it work during my regular life too? No idea, but I am surely going to give it a try - to swap the impulse of hitting the home screen with flipping a book page as and when possible.
Books and mindful reading have many benefits and I am sure I don't need to tell you any of that. It's surely worth a try to bring back the old ways of reading in our lives. It's good for our overall wellbeing - emotional as well as intellectual.

In case you would like to watch some interesting talks on reading, do check out this TED talk by Lisa Bu.

Wondering what to read next? Well, there are many recommendations and curated lists available online. Pick one as per your taste and preferences. Currently I am eyeing this 2017 Summer Reading list from GatesNotes. I read 3 from his last year list and loved them.

What did I read in last 1 month? Fiction, Non-Fiction and Biographies and if I have to name 2 of my favorites out of the recent 19 reads, it will be these two -
  • Non-Fiction: Hooked by Nir Eyal
  • Fiction: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

What are the things that help you to read more? Would love to hear it from you. And in case you have a must-read recommendation for me, do drop it in the comment section below. 

Raising little readers

Raising Little Readers
You love books, you have books all over your house, you always wanted your little one to be fond of books, you have ensured to buy sufficient books for her, you have even taken up a library membership as well as the monthly book box subscription for him but still your little one is not as passionate for reading as you would want him to be? You have to remind her to read and it doesn't come naturally to her. He was actually very fond of books when younger but as he grew up, he lost interest in books?

In this gadget filled world where your little one has option to hop from one screen to another throughout the day, it's difficult to keep their interest alive in printed books. As against earlier, they have multiple options now to entertain themselves and unless reading as a habit has been inculcated in them since very early years, it might get challenging with time to keep their reading interest intact.

Mine is just 5 as of now and even though I have been reading to him since very early days, I can tell you with my practical experience that it's not easy to keep up with this habit always. He loves books but of course there are days when he will insist to watch videos during bedtime as against story books and you have to keep telling him no or make the story time so interesting that he forgets the videos. Like many aspects of parenting, patience and persistence works when it comes to raising little readers too. Sharing few tips here that has worked for me so far as far as junior's reading interest is concerned, not sure if these will continue to work when he grows up, but the mommy-me sincerely hopes that this habit becomes a life long habit for him.
  • Start Early: I mean really early. There is no lower age limit as to when a child can get acquainted with books. You know we all give in to the temptation of showing the child videos on mobile or tab while feeding. Instead try colorful board books, give it to the child to play and see. Starting early works, for sure!
  • Read Aloud: Grab their attention, help them with their language skills, make them a good listener - reading aloud has many benefits to kids but one of the biggest benefits as per me is it helps them concentrate and focus, skills that are rarity in this screen dominated age.  
  • Make It Fun: Get into the character, add a bit of drama, enact the story (come on, we all moms and dads have an actor hidden inside us :)) or plan some fun activities around the books that you are reading. The more fun you will make your reading sessions, the more engaged the child will be.
  • Read It Together: Cuddle & snuggle and bond over books. This I tell to many who assume that buying good books will naturally lead to interest generation for reading in their kids. Definitely not possible in today's time when kids have so many other multimedia richer choices available at a click. Make it a habit to read it together and you never know what beautiful reading memories you will be creating for your child.
  • Read regularly: Even if it's just for 20 minutes but read daily. Set aside a time for reading to your kids, it could be evening or bedtime but do ensure to follow this regularly. Once you will be regular, you will yourself observe that with time your little one will pick it up as a habit too. Remember, reading is not just a weekend or holiday activity.
  • Don't bribe: If you will offer bribes like pizza-if-you-finish-that-book, reading will always end up to be an activity done only for rewards. We all end up doing it for some or other activities (in my case, it's his eating where I had done this mistake of rewarding), just refrain it for reading in case you want it to be a life long habit. Instead try to make it fun and yes, patience pays. Keep at it.
  • Read what he /she loves: I know we all avid reader moms & dads have some choices of their own, the books that we think will be good for our kids. But let's not force our choices on them as times have changed and so have preferences of our kids. For almost a month, my son insisted me to read him "Wolverine Vs Sabretooth" story book during bedtime daily. I mean daily! The mommy in me used to wonder why such action packed story at bedtime. But then that's the only book my son was very fond of at that particular time. I gave in to his choices and kept reading him whatever he wanted. Thanks to Wolverine and Avengers, I must say that reading got established as a bedtime ritual on its own quite easily. Do I remember reading anything like Wolverine while I was growing up? Of course nah :D

Hope these suggestions work for you. In case you have any other interesting tip, do drop it in the comment section below.

If you liked this post from a book-loving mommy, feel free to share it and for more succh posts follow my children books page @undertheguavatree

- The Mommy who got all her reading skills by spending her childhood under a guava tree with books :)

Bawra Mann

Bawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna
Bawre Se Mann Ke Dekho Bawri Hai Baatein

I can listen to this song in loop forever and still not get bored of it. I am so much in love with it. Beautiful words sung so beautifully by Swanand Kirkire and something that I totally relate to.

The current phase of my life is...ummm let's just simply say - confusing. I don't know of anything that lies ahead. Planning anyways has never worked for me, but this phase is uncertain beyond comprehension.

I try to seek answers or tame my wandering mind but all in vain. After multiple such trials, I have decided to give up and let the mind wander wherever it wants. After all human minds are supposed to be wanderers, dreamers, crazy and bawra :).

Where is my mind wandering right now? I don't know :)

What does my wandering mind want to do? I don't know :)

Can I express the random musings of my wandering mind in words? I don't know :)

For now, I only know that it's in a restless state, trying to seek answers and figuring out what next.

For now, I only know that it has random musings and abstract expressions.

Shall I try to give some shape to those expressions? I don't know :)

When it comes to expressing, ever since my childhood, I have found a notebook-pen or canvas-brush to be an easier tool of expression than anything else.

Considering the same, "Bawra Mann" is just another random beginning to capture the randomness of a wandering mind either textually or visually.

But it's been 15+ years that I have been blogging, then why a facebook page now? I don't know :)

How long will I continue it? I don't know :)

For now, all I know is - Bawra Mann Dekhne Chala Ek Sapna :)

To be updated on Baawri Baatein of a Bawra Mann, please like my facebook page here.

Speaking of my fascination for visuals and my current state of life where I am all vella lying on bed for months now (why? read it here), I am quite liking instagram and pinterest. I have been using both these apps for long now but its only recently that I have become actively engaged at both these places. In case anything beautiful attracts your eyes too, connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest @kanupriyasindhu

New Year Reflections

End of previous year & beginning of a new year... this joy & celebration & enthusiasm to welcome the year. While I join the celebration and enjoy the fun, I also end up wondering why? Why this zeal to welcome a new date? Why this eagerness to greet this day? After all, isn't it just another calendar date? Why to make new resolutions only on first of January? Would it make any difference if new resolutions were to be made on first of March? Why this keenness to start things today and not on any other day of the year? Is a calendar date really that important to start something afresh? A beginning can be anytime, anyday, any moment, why this strong urge for the beginning today?

While I sit back and reflect, I realize once again that it's not the rational or logic that can give answers to every why of ours. Perhaps for certain things, it's just good to rely on our belief and have that faith - faith on new beginnings, faith on magic of those beginnings. Somehow the magic of beginnings always remind me of these beautiful lines by Meister Eckhart:

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust in the magic of beginnings.”

So, cheers to yet another beautiful beginning, yet another new year and let's hope this new year proves to be as magical for all of us as we are hoping it to be today.

Happy New Year to You & Yours from Me & Mine :)

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