Where have I been?
Hello my dear listeners !! Welcome back to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine podcast. I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to just say those words again out loud after a long time. I declared a short break at the end of October. Initially I thought I would be back in two weeks but I can’t even grasp the fact that the break of short two weeks turned into such a long break. I have a lot to share, there is so much that has happened during this time. You definitely deserve my explanation for being MIA for so long. So where have I been?
I declared a short break a week before Diwali. It was our first Diwali in our new home. There was a lot of excitement to celebrate it together with friends and family. Diwali is one of my most favorite festivals. I still have so many sweet childhood memories of Diwali. I still remember the preparation for Diwali used to start almost a month ahead. The very first thing that my mom used to do is to declutter and clean every inch of the house. It was a project in itself. I remember her cleaning one small part of the home everyday after coming home from her office. I always loved helping her. Somehow cleaning and decluttering became my favorite chores because of those fond memories. Sometimes, we used to find a toy that was lost ages ago while cleaning, sometimes we used to spend hours looking at the our tini-tiny clothes that my mom had neatly tucked away. We had the best laugh while cleaning the home over silly and random things that I used to collect for god knows which science project. Cleaning the book cabinet was my favorite part. I spent hours cleaning, or shall I say reading those books and coming up with a new system every year to organize them. I always thought this time was the best quality time that I spent with my mom. Once the home was cleaned and decluttered we used to be officially ready to bring in new things for Diwali. Shopping was an integral part of Diwali. New clothes, firecrackers, groceries for many different types of sweets and snacks. I can go on and on about the Diwali of my childhood. I still remember the fresh smell of crisp morning that we used to experience as mom used to wake us up right at 5.00 a.m. It was then all good things lined up to make the day better and brighter. The bath, a special scented soap, called Moti, new clothes, faral with the entire family, bursting firecrackers with friends and then the festivities used to continue for 4 more days. Those were some of the best days of my life. So, every year I try to recreate those days for my kids. But this year, I wanted to start some of our own traditions that they will cherish forever. We cleaned the home together, we prepared all Diwali snacks together. We went shopping together. We wanted to involve kids more in the actual preparation of Diwali. We went to buy the Diyas and akashkandil together. There were a lot of discussions and arguments over what kind of akashkandil they wanted but finally both my kids have conscience over one akashkandil so we got that one. We decorated the home together. We filled our home with a lot of Diyas and of course good memories. I don’t remember how my days used to start and how it used to end, it is all blurry now but between work and then Diwali preparations the days were quite short. But the fun we had together as a family was beyond words. On the actual day of Diwali, we all woke up early, of course I did not have courage to wake my kids up at 5.00 but we managed to wake up by 6.00 and the first thing we asked kids to do was to run around the home and turn on every single light in the home. Diwali is the festival of light, we wanted to introduce some tradition that symbolizes this. I am sure my dad would have been shocked to see all the lights turned on even when nobody was really in that room. He was so fixated on saving electricity that he used to turn off the light, the fan the moment the last person used to leave the room. Don’t worry dad, we turned on those lights for some time, just to get the feel of Diwali, we turned it off after a few minutes. Anyways, the day started on a fun note, we tried to recreate the Diwali of our memories and I think we were definitely successful to the extent. We had nice baths, I did find Moti soap right here in the USA, you won’t believe my happiness after smelling it on a fresh, crisp Diwali morning. We had faral together. We had a lot of friends over, and had a fun time with them. We celebrated all 4 days with equal zest and enthusiasm. I got to deck up, wear sadi, click loads of pictures. In all the entire week of Diwali was all about spending time with family and making memories. I am so grateful to have my friends around to make these days extra special. We definitely missed our family back in India but we still managed to create the most of Diwali in our own small way here.
But do you know the difference between Indian Diwali and American Diwali? Indian Diwali ends after those 4 days but here once the actual Diwali ends then the Diwali parties start. We were going to Diwali parties long after the actual Diwali was over. In a couple of Diwali parties, we always have a lot of performances. It is like a cultural gathering where kids and adults showcase their skills. We had a lot of dances, drammas, poem recitals, one act plays and what not. Of course Mihir and Maitreyi were performing in a couple of parties so there goes the preparation, practices, rehearsals and all other things that go with them. Kids enjoyed those practices and performances so much. They had a gala time with their friends during the rehearsals. The shows went very well, they are still talking non-stop about the fun they had during that time. In all Diwali was a fun but super busy time. I hardly had time to sit and record episodes. I was missing my time. I missed spending my early morning in my favorite nook just writing my journal or creating new episodes. I missed talking to you guys but as they say, you need to practice presence and embrace the place when it happens. I am happy that I was fully present with my family and created long lasting memories this season rather than stretching myself thin by accommodating too many commitments. I am so glad that I spent time with my kids, created beautiful traditions that we will follow for many more years, and laughed with them. Although I missed my own space here, my heart is truly full with the beautiful memories.
The purpose of this episode is not to give excuses for my absence but rather emphasize on the fact that it is okay to take a break, reprioritize and sometimes adjust your expectations. I know I have created an episode all about taking a break and how it is okay to take a break but when it comes to me, personally that is one of the hardest things for me to do. I used to feel guilty, ashamed. There were a bunch of emotions floating in my mind and not one of them was grace. I have worked so hard to come to a point where I have slowly started giving myself grace. Sometimes, we understand others better, we tell others that it is okay, don’t worry, you are doing great but when it comes to yourself, the picture is not that rosy, am I right? We are hardest on ourselves. We see that as a personal failure but I am here today to tell you how my break of 2 weeks extended way beyond two weeks and how rather than feeling all guilty and ashamed about it, I am feeling much more centered and much more content.
Even though Diwali was over, we still had so many different activities and events lined up. The month of November just got better and better. This year, for the first time in the last 8 years we celebrated Thanksgiving in a real authentic way. I have always loved the concept behind Thanksgiving. For me it’s all in the name. I always think that gratitude is the most powerful emotion. Kindness and gratitude are the two emotions that make you a better person, a kind person. There are so many small things, moments that we forget. There are so many incredible people in our lives too but we forget to express our gratitude to them. I think Thanksgiving is the best opportunity to count our blessings, say thank you to the people in your life, say thank you to the small moments that bring you joy. Thanksgiving was all about gratitude for me, we never really had a feast or had friends and family over but this year I got to see a real Thanksgiving feast. One of our very dear friends invited us to the Thanksgiving feast. We had so much fun, we played games, had hearty conversations, for the first time I tried Turkey. It was such a beautiful evening, well spent with friends. But again for me the highlight of the evening was spending time with the people that I admire very much. Everytime I see them, I grow more and more fond of them. Their love, warmth is beyond words. I am so grateful for such wonderful friends in my life. I feel blessed that I have those people around me that I truly admire and I learn something from them everytime I see them. I sincerely feel that is the real treasure, the people around you, their presence, their friendships, their love is what really matters in the long run.
And all other exciting event !!
Then came the big event that we were waiting for. Rushi was performing in a play and had practices over the weekend. Their entire team worked so hard for it and as expected it went absolutely amazing, I always love watching him perform but this play was absolutely amazing, everyone from the cast gave their best performance. With superb direction, the chemistry of the cast and the complete play just stole the show. It was such a heartwarming moment to see the audience's reactions. We thoroughly enjoyed the show and felt so proud to be connected with so many talented people around me. I always feel that your day job provides you with a livelihood but your passion, your love for art teaches you how to live. I always feel that if anything is as important as your basic needs then that is your passion, some kind of art, something that truly brings you joy. It makes your life fulfilled and bright.
Anyways, with all these festivities and events , my podcasting took a backseat. I initially thought nobody would notice. But surprisingly, wherever I went or when our friends came over to our place, they always asked me when am I making a comeback. I think that gave me a major boost to pull my laptop and start creating episodes again. But this time I decided I will not publish an episode unless I have at least 4 episodes ready to go because creating an episode just a couple of days before it goes live was stressing me out. I felt I was not giving my 100% in the rush of creating an episode.So, even though that means I might have to prolong this break a bit, I am okay with that. For the first time, I am truly at the space where I am comfortable with my feelings, there is no guilt, no shame. I am being more and more mindful of my feelings and my surroundings. I am getting more and more secure in the place that I am in right now. I am much more compassionate about myself and that truly helps me to be more compassionate about others. Isn’t that what we really want? I want to create because that brings me joy and because I know I can help others who are in similar situations. I know I am not an expert or I might not be able to give a solution to every problem that anyone ever had. But I know I can be your friend, who will listen and be compassionate, be kind and walk the path together to find a way. That is the goal of this podcast and I am truly, sincerely committed to that. I am so grateful for each one of you to stand with me, accept me the way I am, listen to me week after week. I am so grateful for each one of you for tuning back in. I promise you that you are the main and center focus of this podcast. This podcast is for you. I am here to inspire you, motivate you. I am here to help you find your true passion , to help you find your big, bold dreams, to help you find happiness in the small, tiny moments. So, together let’s restart this beautiful journey again towards a happy, content and more mindful life.