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 guy who sold happiness.

They told me about a guy who sold happiness. Every person I met would talk about how the old man made them the happiest person in the world. I looked everywhere and he seemed nowhere to be found. I was left wondering if this town was full of crazy clowns. So, I stopped an elder man and asked him, if he had seen the guy around. He just smiled and said, “You will find him when you are really looking for him.”

I finally met the guy after a lot of soul searching, he was sitting under a tree with just a book in his hand. I simply walked towards him and asked him, if he is the guy who they say sells happiness. He said to me, “I’m not a rich guy to “sell” you any kind of happiness nor poor to take money from you. All I ever did was help the people realize that what they were searching for in the extrinsic world, was with them all the time. I just made them see the light within them.

I always ask them, what makes them the happiest – is it a thing, is it a person, is it a place? I tell them – don’t tell me if you’re currently happy with what you do, or how the person you’re with is great or about your beautiful new house or car. Don’t overthink it.

Tell me about that one thing which you know has always brought you pure joy, which without any doubts makes you feel like the person you truly are. Just place your hand on your heart and think about it. Because you can fill the void in your life with a lot of materialistic things. But, if you have that one thing in your life, even if everything else doesn’t work out, you will still have YOUR happiness with you, wherever you go, whatever you do.”

This guy never sold happiness, he simply helped people find it. 💫

To shine..

All I’ve ever know in my life
Is to shine
Amongst heads held high and hearts full of pride
Even through dark night skies
And peeking through skyscrapers so high
Anything that tries to dim my light
Only witnesses how bright I shine without putting up a fight
For I never learnt how to dull my sparkle even through time
Coz all I’ve ever know in my life
Is to shine. ✨

Ashwini

P.S : This picture was taken at the Bryant Park Winter Village in New York. It’s almost Spring in New York and I was surprised to see the Winter Village at Bryant Park still lit! Loved how glorious the Empire State building looks from here. Hope everyone’s excited about Spring!

Her little book of dreams

When she was just a innocent little girl
She dreamt and wrote about things she would achieve in this world
She giggled and danced her way through adolescence
Always carrying her little book of dreams in her tiny hands

But the realities of the unjust world put her in a cage
Started tearing down her dreams page-by-page
People kept telling her how she should be holding a pan and a ladle
Or she was simply born to swing her baby’s cradle

She gathered all the tattered pieces of her broken dreams
And stuck them back together, a beautiful mosaic it seemed
She clutched the book even more closer to her heart
And stood up for all the girls whose dreams were torn apart

Ashwini

Epilogue:

All over the world, a girl’s education is deemed optional for her growth. Because according to some, a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not in a classroom or a workplace. Historically, this has been happening since centuries. But with changing times, even the society needs to evolve.

Women have the strength and power to run a household as well as a workplace. What they need is support and encouragement. Mostly importantly, we need to remember, when you educate a girl, you are educating a child. Let’s work on that! 👸🏻

Take a moment..

Take a moment from your walk back home
And walk into that cozy café that you see everyday
For once, just grab an empty table there
The one where you see groups of friends laughing
And the couples that sit on one of the corner tables
Where the fairy lights brighten up a dark winter evening
And the decor still reminds you of the holidays
Where a cup of cappuccino comes with a heart made out of cream
Don’t forget to smile at the small gesture
Instead of grabbing your phone, grab a nearby book or get one of your own
Or simply look around and see the world around you
The world that doesn’t just exist in your head
But is living and thriving with warmth and love
So instead of pouring out all your thoughts today
Ask the lovely waitress to pour you another cup of coffee
The one that comes with a heart
And take a moment to lean back and just live! ✨

– Ashwini

P.S: This picture was taken at one of my favorite cafes in Brooklyn, New York called Pasticceria Rocco. Have been a regular customer since last 5 years and I simply love this place!

The circle of life

Looking back at this picture, it reminds me of “The circle (more of a circus) of life” and how our lives are constantly changing. According to science, humans are built to be dynamic. The very fact that the cells in our body keep changing over the years, explains that we too, are built to change, to evolve. This world, this Universe is constantly changing, moving and our tiny lives along with it are in motion as well.

And I believe that this is one of the best things happening to us. To have the opportunity to experience new things. To grow and outgrow from stagnant and monotonous lives. To let go of the things that bring us down and embrace the ones that lift us up.

Also, we humans have been gifted with this amazing ability to adapt to change. Our lives changed completely since March of last year, with the onset of an unforeseen pandemic. We were stuck and yet, we were evolving, trying to adapt to a new way of life. Even after a series of lockdowns and the uncertainty of when it would all end, so far, we’ve made it through.

It remains to see how the world will look like after the whole thing ends (we all still need to wear masks!). But well, while you are on the rider’s seat of this “thrilling” wheel of life, might as well enjoy the ride! Do more things that genuinely make you happy, use this extra time for things you’ve been putting off because of lack of time and take a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come! 💖

P.S: This picture was taken at Miami in Dec, 2020. How I miss the warm weather while sitting here in snowy New York. Would love to read in the comments how you guys have adapted to this new lifestyle. 🙂

Choose yourself. Over and over.

We often talk about how we love a fictional character from a movie or a show. Have you ever wondered how easy it is to love every other thing in this world and yet, so difficult to love ourselves. We try to find meaning in the outside world, to search the light that will guide our way and give us a reason to live, something that will make us happy and feel good about ourselves. But, how often do we sit with ourselves and try to make sense of what we are.

You try to find the “good” side of all characters in movies, friendships and even relationships. And yet, you’re so cruel to yourself. To think that you’re unworthy of any good thing in this world. That you will never be as cool as the other person is. And yes, you can try to be that person, but you can’t escape who you are and what lies within you.

It takes a lot of strength to face your own demons – your insecurities, your weaknesses, your pain, your failures. And trust me, it takes an insane amount of courage to acknowledge all these things that make you vulnerable. If you can be kind to strangers and even stray animals, why not show some kindness to yourself? The first step to self love starts with accepting yourself. The good, the bad, all of it. These are the things that make you, YOU.

Accepting yourself empowers you to grow past your weaknesses. You need to tell yourself insane amount of times that “I am not just a product of my insecurities. Rather, these are just things that make me human”. What really matters is how you choose to get past it and focus on things that do bring the best out of you.

Honestly, the world is always going to have something to say about you – sometimes good, sometimes bad. Don’t let them define you or just blindly adhere to the world’s perception of you. You have the choice to live a life built on your own beliefs and choices. Just work on yourself. Believe in yourself. Choose yourself. Over and over. ✨

Do your thing.

“Just do your thing, girl!”, that’s what my best friend said to me today. And it got me thinking, how important it is to hear these words even when you think you are on the right path. This wasn’t some deep advise, but just some encouraging words to get you going. At times, our own judgement gets clouded because we get lost in the ongoing chaos around us. When we watch multiple things, listen to contradicting podcasts, talk to people with different views, we begin to wonder about our own life choices. Sometimes, we judge ourselves so much that we begin to doubt our entire purpose in life even when we have found it.

To me, a healthy debate is important. I like to listen to what other people have to say, it gives you a different perspective to life. But, we also need to be careful about how we are reacting to all this information that we consume. The most important part you need to realize is, these are the other person’s views. They choose to believe in these things because at some point they too, had a revelation. Maybe through another person or any other channel. Whereas you have to decide what knowledge to keep and what to discard. It’s okay, if you want different things from the world and realize that you think differently. These differences are what make you, YOU.

Honestly, I tell myself that I believe in me more than anyone else. Because I know I am willing to work hard for the things I really want. It took me a lot of years to finally accept the person that I am, with all the good and bad combined. And let me tell you, that has been the best part! Because now I know what I am, who I am and what am I built of. This has helped me to be myself, trust my own instincts and go after the things I really want.

So, keep the good parts from what you see and hear and altogether discard what is not helping you. If you believe in something with all your heart, why not give it a chance to come true. The world will be judging you no matter what, the good and the bad. So, why not give them something good to talk about. Choose yourself, just be you and do your own thing. And I bet the chaos of this world will vanish into thin air when you do so!

PS: I chose this picture because the sun always reminds me that it will rise and shine, no matter what!

Let’s go live on a tiny island..

Let’s go live on a tiny island filled with people like you and me
A place where the winds sway as they may, and the people breathe free

Where on days when it rains, we go dance with our favorite songs playing in our heads instead of trying to find a shelter
And when the sun comes out, we sit under a tree and bury our faces in books, sipping a seltzer
And on the coldest of days, when there’s nowhere to go, we’ll ignite the dried logs of our memories
Let them provide all the warmth we’ll ever need to get through a cold breeze

If you wonder what will happen to the people you would want to see
The ones that care would even walk on thin ice just for one more meet
The houses won’t be fancy, but for all their guests, they’ll always offer a seat
Where they all grab a bite together and drink some lemonade to escape the midsummer heat

It’ll be a home for lost souls who are wandering around looking for something
And it’ll be a solace for us, a paradise for our dreams to cling
For this island would welcome all those who dare to dream
And for the ones who don’t, a distant utopia it would seem

It might not be a place where there will be millions of things for you to do
But it will all be enough to last you a lifetime or maybe even two!


Ashwini

Internal and external freedom

Few years ago, I saw the Broadway show, Aladdin, in New York City. It really is one of my favorite Broadway shows and it does leave you spellbound. There was a scene in this show, where Aladdin asks the Genie that what would he want if the Genie was granted a wish. To which, the Genie replies, “I want freedom”. “Not the riches of a palace or exotic food, just my freedom.” He could’ve asked for any lavish thing in the world or any crazy imaginable thing for that matter. But, all he wanted was his freedom! Freedom from being enclosed in a metal lamp and being answerable to no one.

This tells us how freedom varies from person to person. For some, it’s being able to live lavishly and not having to worry about spending a single penny, whereas for some, it’s about not depending on material things for their happiness. For some, these palace walls are everything that they could dream of, the riches of this world at your feet, not ever having to worry about what to eat and where to get the money for buying food and yet, for some, these same walls are merely pillars which they want to climb out of. Because being able to afford such luxuries also means guarding yourself from the evil world.

When they’re looking out of this window, maybe someone wishes to live in a place like this, amidst these high walls. And there are some, who peek through the window and adore the view, awestruck at how beautiful the city looks, wanting to explore its small lanes and tiny shops. And yet, these same high walls which guard them from intruders could also feel like a cage sometimes.

We all here, seek freedom from a place and some seek freedom from their thoughts. Our mind has this amazing capability to store even the minutest of details. Once we start overthinking, it boggles our minds and causes so much chaos that it feels like it is going to explode. We search and search, for an escape, running through the long passages of memories we shared and passing through the garden of secrets. Sometimes, all you have to do is climb out of that window and take a walk, let peace find you in the most unexpected places. Let the beauty of this world and its people make you find the magic you’re looking for.

Most importantly, believe in the magic that resides within you. Be your own Genie and fulfill your wish. ✨