The journey of becoming a writer

Exactly a year ago, I started writing and updating my blog regularly on WordPress and Instagram (I created ‘The Shooting Star Blog’ in 2015 as a hobby). Being stuck at home due to covid-related lockdowns, I had finally found the time and determination needed to write consistently. And here I am, a year later, holding a book that has one of my pieces in PRINT!!

From writing poems on the back side of my question papers in school to finding one of my poems being printed in a physical book (e-book as well!), it’s been quite an amazing journey. Also, my favorite part of it all is that one of my poems I had written celebrating Women’s Day is being published.

This also reinstates my faith in the Universe and makes me believe that if you pour your heart into something you really care about and put in your honest efforts, things do tend to work out. Generally, for the best.💫

P.S: It’s available for purchase using the following link:
https://www.amazon.in/dp/9391228410/ref=cm_sw_r_wa_api_glc_fabc_JSZ4505HQ5HEXATWPST1

Life change ahead

Here I am, already crunching my knuckles, ready to step back into the world of blogging! Have been meaning to do so since a month, but procrastination got the better of me. After a 4-month break, I feel ready to get back to writing and this post is more of a life update for all of my amazing readers.

Moving across continents is a major life change. Especially when you’re moving from your home-away-from-home (New York, USA) to your real home (Mumbai, India). At the start, I was really annoyed about not being able to write due to this big change. But the whole process of moving has been overwhelming and I decided it was a good thing to take a break before starting anything since I was finally back home for good. I realized how important it is to acknowledge and dedicate time for things that you hadn’t originally set in your schedule. This whole move was one such priority.

I must admit, nothing beats the joy of being home and seeing your family after a long gap (due to covid-related travel restrictions). And trust me, sometimes it’s really worth taking a break to adjust to your new life and just enjoy where you are. Do everything that you feel is necessary for a smooth process. Even if it means putting things on hold for a while. Speaking of which, now that I am all settled in, cannot wait to jump back on this writing journey!

Hope you all are doing great! I really missed this space!

Life of a dreamer

A friend of mine sent me a slam book entry I had written in her book which read, “Life goal: To become a computer engineer”. I had written down this goal probably when I was in the 5th grade. Back then, computers were the new thing and I was fascinated by them. The only related job I knew back then was becoming a computer engineer. My friend also pointed out, how that dream of mine eventually did come true!

Pondering over it made me realize I did manage to achieve my dream without even acknowledging it. I have been a huge nerd my whole life. Though there was a moment in my life, where I stopped running behind grades (the nerd in me still exists!). Today, it reminds me about the amount of efforts I used to put in, the sleepless nights, the influx on information, the drive to study as much as I can to get my degree. I slogged really hard and seeing your hard work being reflected on report cards gave me a great feeling back then.

It also made me realize that with the same attitude, if I really put in all my honest work into achieving my other dreams, I can achieve them as well. Because I am that hard working kid. I had the headstrong determination and drive to become a computer engineer. Now, that same kid has different goals, but the sheer thrill of going after my goals still excites me. Life doesn’t need to be limited by a single dream. This was a beautiful reminder that when you start manifesting your dreams and do all the groundwork, even though it may take some time or even longer, but one day, you will get there. Keep going!

The grass is greener where you water it

“The grass is greener where you water it.” Read this quote on the Internet and thought it was an interesting twist to the old quote, “The grass is greener on the other side”. When we don’t like where we’re at, the unknown seems like a better option just because that’s our perception. We start seeing the other side as an escape, but we have to think for ourselves and not be simply blinded by the allure of the unknown.

Life is always about the choices we make. Even though the other side might seem greener, the choice always lies with us to choose the ground we would like to grow from. When you begin to believe in yourself and acknowledge your own grit and strength, your life will be a flowering garden with greener grass wherever you choose to go.

Prisoners of the free world

This image was taken at the Alcatraz prison, which is just 1.5 miles away by sea from San Francisco city. Walking through the matchbox sized cells with rusty metal bars, it made me wonder how the lives of the inmates of this prison would’ve been like. The prisoners had this beautiful view of the Golden gate bridge on one side and the SF skyline lurking on the other.

The tour guide told us, that the smell of chocolate from the famous Ghirardelli factory nearby, used to spread across the island. The irony for the prisoners here was that they could’ve had everything that one could wish for, just 1.5 miles away. And yet, because of the burden of their crimes, this small distance kept them away from the real world.

Alcatraz Island, California

I also happened to stumble upon a prisoner’s cell (above image) who’s art made me stop and wonder that, if he was out here in the real world, he would’ve definitely made it as an artist! Such a waste of talent. When I come to think of it, we as humans, sometimes imprison ourselves in this crazy web of life, that we forget about the beauty that lies underneath. I mean, this one life, wouldn’t you want to make it big?

This guy, he was stuck in one place and yet, he tried to make something out of literally nowhere! And here we are, free as birds, yet caged by these shackles of a monotonous life, societal pressures and procrastination. One of these days, I hope you break free from these chains and paint a beautiful picture in real life as well!

Friendships lost and found

Isla and me decided to meet at Pebble beach. She always loved the beach. Probably because her name itself meant an island in Spanish – Isla. I faintly remembered our beach getaways during college days. It had been 10 years since our last rendezous at the beach. Since the Californian winds blew quietly that day, we decided to directly head down to the beach.

For the longest time we just sat quietly on the sand, staring at the deep blue ocean in front of us. The sound of the crashing waves being the only sound amidst the awkward silence. I suddenly remembered, this place was called “Pebble beach” and I saw all these pebbles lying around. I grabbed some pebbles from around and started stacking them one above the other. Isla joined in too. We both got engrossed in placing the pebbles on top of each other, trying to maintain their balance. While we were at it, I said, “You know, people stack these stones to make a..”. “Wish! I know”, she said and smiled. I smiled as well, amused at how she remembered this random thing I once told her.

Just like that, here we were, 10 years later, skeptical if we had lost our connection and wondering if our friendship could ever make sense again. Yet, we were back to being those same two kids who used to run off to the beach, where we would stack some pebbles together, wishing for future adventures together.

I didn’t wish for anything that day and I know she didn’t as well. Maybe, one of our wishes from the past did come true. Because here we were, reunited as the best friends we always thought we were.

Human cages

Looking back at this picture, it reminds me of the beautiful world we live in. Last year, particularly hindered all our travel plans. However, this particular shot makes me think about how we, as humans, build some fences all around us, restricting our own growth and reach. How often do we wonder about what’s stopping us from doing the things we’ve always wanted to do?

Sometimes we are restricted by external factors whereas, sometimes, we unknowingly build a cage around ourselves and keep running in circles. A lot of things we worry about are just in our heads. If we don’t even try to wander beyond the usual, letting go of the insecurities, self-doubt and risk of failure, we might never get rid of the cages we’ve put ourselves in.

Pebble beach, California

The above picture is a gentle reminder of how free we truly are, to be anywhere in this big, beautiful world and become the person we really want to be. It’s all about the perspective. 

P.S: This is one of the lookout spots from the iconic 17-mile drive along the Pacific coast in California.

Pressed flowers in a book

Let’s collect flowers and save them in a book
Pressed amidst random pages, where no one would look
From the days when we wished for the time to stop
So that our good times would run in an endless loop

Let these flowers you pick from the ground
Remind you of days that made you forget time
And how happy you were in your own little world
Oblivious to everything happening around you

And each time you come across a dried little flower
I hope the faint scent and its imprints on the pages
Remind you of a time when this flower was in full bloom
But right now, it’s a cherished memory, an invaluable heirloom

– Ashwini

P.S: We found these cherry blossom trees in the Japanese Tea Garden located in the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Eagerly waiting for the cherry blossoms to arrive again this Spring!

Old habits die hard

They say, old habits die hard
When I look at you every time you walk into the room, I understand why
They also say, it takes 21 days to create a new habit
I don’t know which is worse, the 21 days of not looking at you
Or the 21 days of replacing you with a new habit
Because time for me has come to a standstill since the day I saw you
Maybe you weren’t just a habit
But a reminder of the love I have carried for you since then
So I take this love and let it walk away with you
Coz it’s always been yours to keep
Realizing that you don’t have to give up on some habits,
But gradually learn to just let them go
I simply walk out of the room, into the bright new world
Like a man with a heart full of dreams
Knowing there are things and places meant for me
Now, all I need is to form a habit that takes me one step closer towards my dreams

Ashwini

P.S: I took this picture while riding on a two-wheeler with my friend in Gainesville, Florida. Loved how the Spanish moss growing on these trees gives them a dramatic effect.

The flowers that bloom

If you ever wonder what you’re made of,
Think about the flowers that bloom through branches and thorns alike
Their purpose is to grow into these beautiful flowers
That makes walkers stop by to adore and smell
Or make people carry a fresh bunch home
To remind them how beautiful this world actually is
How even a single stem can brighten up your day
And how an entire bunch fills your entire room with fragrance

Let these flowers remind you
That you too, are meant to grow into something beautiful
Sometimes you need to just let yourself be
Maybe a sunflower, maybe an orchid, maybe a tulip
You don’t need to be a part of the same bunch

Choose whatever you want to be and sow the seeds today
Slowly growing roots and expanding your stems
Even if the world looks at you just as a bud today,
There will be a time when you too, will be in full bloom. 🌸

Ashwini

P.S: Came across these lovely flowers while taking a walk in New York City. Loving the spring vibes all around!