The solitary tree.

Amidst the endless sea in the background and the tiny green shrubs, this tree stood out in front of me because it was the only solo component I could spot in the picture. It was just swaying along with the wind, glistening in the morning sunlight, lost in a world of its own. And I couldn’t help but capture this solitary tree, out on its own, so close to the sea and yet standing distinguished from everything else around it. What a beautiful sight it was!

During this pandemic, we all have been stuck at home and coerced into pondering over our lives. There have been those who were lucky enough to be stuck with their families and friends, whereas there are those who are locked away in solitude. There’s a high level of uncertainty associated in today’s time. When will it end? What will happen? So many questions! When you start asking one of these questions, your mind just rolls into a frenzy which is difficult to come back from.

Maybe we all need to learn from this lonely tree. So much is happening around us, all this information that we consume, trying to make sense of it all. It doesn’t have to make sense all the time, you know. Sometimes, you just need to stay put through any storms of uncertainty that boggle our minds. Maybe occasionally swing around when the wind changes direction. But, with a calm mind and a stubborn heart, when the strong winds stop blowing and all of this comes to an end, you won’t be standing alone, but you surely will be standing out from the crowd, shining through the brighter days. The Universe loves a resilient heart that never quits! 💖

Already missing the long and bright summer days!

PS: This shot was taken at Wood’s Hole, Massachusetts during the summer of 2020.

Born from the fire!

She often liked to play with fire,
Always chasing after what her heart desired.
That day she stood in front of the blazing sun,
Trying to catch the morning light, to make a run.


Through the gloomy clouds the sun quietly whispered to her,
Fear not my darling, even though things seem a little blur;
These clouds of doubt and fear will drift away,
Only if you hold onto a little, just wait for the sun’s first ray.


For you are born from the fire that you often seek,
The light that radiates from you is just a tiny peek.
So just shine through the haze from wherever you are,
Just as I continue to radiate light and warmth, long and far.

Epilogue: Too often, we go chasing after things and people that we are attracted to, that we feel will add meaning to our lives. However, during this journey, we often forget to think about ourselves. If we begin to recognize our own power, the potential that lies within, we begin to discover ourselves. You don’t need to chase after all these external variables, when you realize that you are enough. That you, yourself, are all the light you will ever need!

PS: I woke up to this sunrise after only 2 hours of sleep in one of the most remote AirBnbs I’ve been to. Felt like the perfect place to be during this pandemic, a perfect countryside beauty. I could see the sun rising through my window and I HAD TO run outside to see it! 🤩

What a view!

I once saw a tv show where a guy visits an old mansion and gets a chance to meet the couple who live there. When he looks at the woman, he sees a beautiful young bride trapped in a big castle, married to a man twice her age. It breaks his heart to see this confined soul in this desolate place and he even offers to rescue her from the man. The girl only smiles at him thinking what a fool he must be. She tells the guy that she’s actually happy with the person she’s married to and that they both love each other. He cares for her selflessly and is even supporting her in continuing her education. In the end there’s a scene where the couple is shown dancing away in their vast empty palace, no one around, just the two of them, living a fairytale of their own.

Sometimes we are so obsessed about finding issues and problems in other people’s lives, we often tend to overlook the bubble they choose to live in. We are so eager to project our way of living life onto them, we simply disregard the other person’s choices and priorities. Everyone doesn’t want the same things in life. Wouldn’t it be kinda boring if that were the case? Some people are just genuinely happy with all the things they have and they’re wise enough to not care about what the outer world thinks about it. What may seem less to you, might be just enough for them. Only if we start being more mindful about other people’s choices!

People want different things in life and have different priorities. So what you may perceive as a bad situation, the other person might just be wanting that. We need to stop judging people for the choices they make and rather try to understand why they did so. And if you can’t understand it, the least we can do is try to respect their choices. We have all got this one life to live. Would you really throw it all away just for what others would think? Everyone deserves a life of their choice and there’s nothing wrong in choosing to live it your own crazy-but-fulfilling way.

My mantra has always been live and let live!

PS: The picture was taken at City Palace, Udaipur (City of Lakes), India in January, 2018.

The power of manifesting your dreams.

When I was a kid, I used to draw a painting which had a small house with tiny hills in the background and the sun almost setting amidst them. This was probably one of the first paintings that we were taught in class. However, I always drew a bridge that would cross over a lake besides the house, with a few ducks (or what looked like ducks then) floating in the water. These extra elements in the painting were nothing but my imagination gone wild.

Today, when I look back at this picture which was taken a few weeks ago on one of my walks in my neighborhood, it just struck me that this picture resembles my go-to childhood painting so much! And I was in awe thinking about how dreams do come true. That 7-year old kid didn’t know much about what she wanted to be or do in her life, but all she dreamed of then, was this view. And here I was, standing awestruck in front of this beautiful scenery in real life.

I am a dreamer, always have been and will always be. I believe in the power of the will to achieve whatever goals I set my eyes on. The belief that says, if you really have it in your heart, it has immense potential to come true. And this exactly is what keeps me going everyday! The power of manifesting your dreams and the strength of an unfaltering, stubborn heart will take you one step closer to your dream. And along with the efforts that you put in, maybe one fine day, you too, will be standing in front of your dreams with eyes wide open and a fulfilled heart! 💫

Also, I’m forever grateful for all the beautiful sunsets I’ve witnessed in my life. They always leave my spellbound!

Be the light!

Find the light 

On the brightest of days when you’re basking in the sun
And through your toughest moments when you’re thrust into a void;
During days filled with laughter that were spent amongst friends
And the lonely nights that keep you awake.
  
Find that light!

 
Choose the light  

That guides you home while driving at night through a deserted road 
And the one that lights up your path while walking alone;
That lights up your home on holidays when family and friends are around 
And the only light that shines in your dimly lit room when you’re alone. 

Choose that light!

 
Be the light

That engulfs you with warmth when you’re out in the cold 
And the kind which burns you if you touch it too soon;
The fire that burns inside you and illuminates your whole body 
And the one that diminishes the darkness in other people’s lives.

Be that light!

- Ashwini Manjrekar


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The perfect fall leaf.

I stood at the beach, close enough that I could look down and see the empty shells in the crystal clear water yet far enough that my shoes didn’t get wet. I stood there a few feet away from everyone else with my back turned against the world, just staring deep into the abyss, breathing in the crisp fall air and watching the colorful reflection of the maple trees in the still water. The sun and the sky, the trees and their fallen leaves, the beach and the broken shells, it was all there right in front of me.

This was my last fall foliage trip since just in a few days, it was going to be past-peak for the autumn in Vermont. Throughout our entire journey, I was trying to find a maple tree with the perfect red leaves to capture. I was looking for a red maple leaf without any holes or dirt marks. However, the moment I set my eyes on the crystal clear water, I saw this one rogue red maple leaf right in front of me. It was nowhere close to what I was originally hoping to capture.

However, its worn, tattered texture stood out amidst all the pebbles. And while I stood there pondering over, it just struck me! Doesn’t this leaf symbolize what fall is all about? It teaches you about change. Just like how the lush green leaves change into different colors and shades, in our life too, we go through numerous changes, wanted and unwanted, both. But what we can do is adapt to the change. It felt like the leaf was conveying nature’s message to me that everything doesn’t have to to be perfect all the time, even your life. Sometimes, all you gotta do is take what you’ve got right now and still manage to find the beauty in what lies in front of you. Because in a week, all the perfect and the not-so-perfect leaves, they all were gonna fall from the trees and wither away.

So, here it is – my version of the perfect fall leaf. 🍁

Thanksgiving 2020 Edition.

‘Tis the holiday season here in the US! There used to be a time when friends and families gathered together filling their homes with laughter and bellies with food. But this year’s Thanksgiving has definitely been different for everyone. With the changing restrictions and lockdowns in place, people are stranded thousands of miles away from their families in their tiny apartments. None of us asked for this change in tradition. But what we can do is try to carry on the spirit of Thanksgiving wherever we are and in our own ways!

It’s really easy to let your thoughts spiral into a frenzy when you begin to think about all your problems. But rather, let’s be thankful for having a roof over our heads, being able to eat good food and being surrounded with people who will uplift you no matter how far they are. In the first half of the year, I was really sulking about all my canceled travel plans. However, when I look back, I’m still thankful for the short road trips I was able to make while keeping myself safe out there.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the things that are still carrying on their traditions! The days with clear skies and sometimes even the cloudy ones. The sunlight that enters your room in the morning and the beautiful sunsets. Those star-studded skies at night and the campfires that kept you warm. The home cooked feasts and the ice-cream sundaes you had for dinner. Being able to sit and talk with your roommates and being able to hear you loved ones’ voice. And last but not the least, each breath that reminds you how alive you are!

What you are experiencing right now may seem crazy and out of control. And it’s okay to feel a little lost. But don’t forget to count your blessings and be thankful for everything that you do have.

Happy holidays! Love and light. 💖

PS: This picture was taken on my last flight, when I was flying back to New York from Texas in Feb, 2020. How I miss flying! But safety over everything.

Save your heart.

I saw ‘The Breakfast Club’ movie a few weeks ago and came across one of the most grueling dialogues – “When we grow up, our hearts die.” And when you ponder over it, being a grown up, you kind of start agreeing with it. Because many of us have gone through something that totally wrecked their lives at one point. Where it felt like all walls around you have come crashing down. But, it also makes you think about how you survived it all and made it to where you are right now.

Being ripped off your innocence and dragged out in the world of reality, it does change you. But, do you want to keep sulking your entire life? How long are you gonna push away your friends and family, the ones who keep loving you in spite of your ignorant behavior? Yes, bad things happen and yes, it sucks. And yes, you might think it’s very easy for me to say this rather than you practically doing so. But when you think about the bigger picture, how can we let someone or something take away what’s ours.

This heart that beats inside you everyday, it’s yours. And you have the power to rule over it, nobody else. Period. NOBODY ELSE. So, in the time of adversity, it’s okay to take your time to grieve about things that meant the world to you. But, also remember that you still have your whole life ahead of you. Let the throbbing of your heart remind you how lucky you are to live another day. And for that precious little heart of yours, fight for it’s innocence. Don’t let you past experiences turn you into a cold-hearted robot who doesn’t laugh anymore. Just open your heart and see how there are people out there who would cover you with a blanket of warm embraces and discover the fire inside you that will light up the whole world before you turn cold.❣️

PS: This picture was taken outside Raw Love – Tulum, Mexico. You just cannot pass by this café without taking a picture!