Of unexpected gifts

If you visit the other page on this blog, Me, you’ll notice that I’ve mentioned the reason I started this blog. It was to “trick me into writing”. Well, it’s done that, and more. In the time I have been here, I’ve not only written more than I’ve ever written in my life, I have also begun to sometimes like what I say, too! That is one of the best gifts being here on this platform has given me.

But what makes this decision one of the best I’ve ever taken is something I’d never expected. It’s given me a chance to know beautiful people without ever meeting them. While, at the first glance, it might seem a cheesy fact to rejoice over, it isn’t. There are hardly any beautiful people left in the virtual world to meet! There’s cosmetic surgery everywhere — physical, emotional and behavioural. It is refreshing to meet simple, real people leading their lives like simple, real people. There’s still hope in this world!

And even more so, when the world reciprocates with the acknowledgement of just how cool I am.

When I started blogging, another thing I did not know was that blog writers have devised ingenious ways to appreciate the goodness they see around them. Linda Paul of Rangewriter pleasantly surprised me with the Stylish Blogger Award almost a year back. I am still preening my feathers in a not-so humble response to it.

Recently, more fellow writers gave me more reason to want to continue seeing this accepting world that lets you be just the way you are, and appreciates you for it, too. Well, I’ll be. If these pleasures were available in the so-called real world, we’d all be beautiful the natural way. No?

Allow me to first introduce you to these people, who decided to humble me with their sweetness.

Arindam of Being Arindam has a large heart. I often tell him he’s also acquired wisdom beyond his age. That might explain the two awards he’s given me — The Candle Lighter Award and The 7 x 7 Link Award.

Vineet of The Confused Graduate and Patrice of The Heartbreak of Invention decided that I am a Versatile Blogger, let it be known, too. Vineet’s new to me. But his posts make me think I know him for a long time. He reminds me of those mischievous boys I taught at school — the ones who’d make you laugh and impress you with their sharp minds all at once.

Patrice. What do I say about her but this — if you visit her blog, and read what she has to say, you’ll be glad she walks this earth somewhere, and radiates her intensity into this increasingly shallow world.

Melissa of Play101 is creative, insightful, considerate and very wise. Judge that with the fact that she created her own award, and a happy one, too! The Happy Blog Award. Out of all the awards mentioned above, this surprised me the most. Largely because I constantly doubt my writing’s ability to spread happiness.ย  But that’s exactly what displays Melissa’s ability. She makes you feel appreciated, makes you want to like yourself. Consequently, what’s not to like in her?!

And lo! While I was writing this post, Perspectives And Prejudices thought of me for a Liebster Award. If I’d wished for the moon, I’d be bathing in its light right now. Only this award was missing from the ones I’ve seen around and I was wondering why no one finds me worth a Liebster. And there you go, I have it! And from P&P, too. The person who is so lovable herself, you’ve got to read her posts to know!

It makes me feel privileged to know people like these, and the ones I am going to mention in just a bit. But first, I am going to bend some rules.

1. I’m going to tweak the instructions of these six awards, and combine them.

2. I am not going to pass on the awards because I am selfish and I want to keep ’em all.

Well, now that that’s settled, I can tell you more about myself.

Ever since my father discovered that my brother and I had acquired some sort of passable intelligence, he’s been trying to educate us about a certain list he was introduced to as a young cadet in the Indian Military Academy. The list of The Thirteen Mistakes. It was compiled by Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall in his book An Officer As A Leader. Surprisingly, you and I can also read it and feel ashamed about the distance to cover.

It is a mistake

1. To attempt to set up your own standard of right and wrong.
2. To try to measure the enjoyment of others by your own.
3. To expect uniformity of opinions in the world.
4. To fail to make allowance for inexperience.
5. To endeavor to mold all dispositions alike.
6. Not to yield on unimportant trifles.
7. To look for perfection in our own actions.
8. To worry ourselves and others about what can’t be remedied.
9. Not to help everybody wherever, however, whenever we can.
10. To consider impossible what we cannot ourselves perform.
11. To believe only what our finite minds can grasp.
12. Not to make allowances for the weaknesses of others.
13. To estimate by some outside quality, when it is that within which makes the man.

I’ve attempted a few times in all these years to see where I stand according to this gauge. A few months back, I thought I’d almost accomplished all. When I rummaged through my notes to find the list (No, I don’t remember it by heart. Still.) and read it again, I realised that barring Numbers 10 and 11, I am a nitwit. Which is why I need to read what the world’s doing, and how. And this is where being in touch with your world helps me. Thank you.

The people below have either become friends I’ve never met, or have just entered my world but have still nourished me in small ways only friends can. All of them, however, have given me the hope that I will, in one way or the other, learn important lessons in life, and deserve the awards I get.

Charles of Mostly Bright Ideas has become an important part of not just my blogging routine, but of many, many others. His humility and wit make him so likeable (lovable, even) that it is difficult to not read him, impossible to not want to interact with him. He was my first visitor (apart from one-time friends and family who’ve bailed out since that first comment. So they don’t count), and has stayed on to become an important friend. He has, among many other things, taught me the value of being positive in spite of odds. To laugh and to give others laughter, even in the face of trials.

Val of Art by Val Erde is another blog writer to have visited me when I had no other visitors. She read my words and understood them in a way that made me think that I could communicate my heart, after all. Her former blog Absurd Old Bird is no more. Those who’ve not read it have missed the intricacies of a wise, clever mind. But I am lucky. She’s taught me just how essential it is to not allow what I call little annoying flies on the fruit of life to keep you from enjoying the fruit.

I met Rosie of Wondering Rose at a time when I first reconsidered my decision to blog. I’ve reconsidered the decision several times since, but it is precisely because of people like her that I stayed on. Not only are her posts a delight to read, they make you marvel at her unending patience, and appreciation for goodness. I am proud to call myself Rosie’s friend, because she brings to my flighty nerves the calming touch of a person who knows how to give.

Dave of Dave Whatt is someone you’ll rarely see here. And you’ll see me occasionally there at his blog. And yet, I feel a certain sense of friendship with him that’s rare to find even with people you know in flesh. He calls himself a grumpy old man, well he just might be (I haven’t met him, you see), but for me, he’s a man full of wisdom and wisecracks that make the word worth its inception. In spite of his alleged grumpiness, he’s managed to touch my heart.

Jean of Snoring Dog Studio was perhaps one of the few that scared me when I first visited their blog. Her passion for ideals, her well-researched posts on things ranging from health to politics made me want to shake myself up and ask “And what are you doing, you arse?” With time, I discovered she’s as sweet as she’s passionate, and that her dogs are probably the luckiest on this planet. That speaks a lot. So, she’s taught me that you can be strong and gentle at the same time.

Linda of Rangewriter inspires me not with her taste for travel, but with the fact that she actually does travel. Not many can boast of that. I certainly can’t. Her words transport me to the places she goes to, be it her memories, or the restaurant round the corner. I’d like to be like that someday.

Earth Ocean Sky Redux humbled me with her interest. I didn’t expect her to show any, but she did. Her blog is one of the very few that posts on an eclectic range of subjects and succeeds in entertaining or educating every time. Whenever I visit, I leave with a sense of wanting to do more.

Amy of Soul Dipper takes mischievous dips into your soul without your knowing it. And when she reveals what she sees, she astounds with the insights she’s had. These virtues are too high for me even to consider, but what I like best about her is that she chops her own firewood. If I could feel embarrassed about something, this is it. When my husband and I fight over who’s mightier, I never fail to ask him, “But you won’t be able to chop wood, would you?” That takes care of my victory. Thank you, Amy.

I first read a post by Darla of She’s a Maineiac that was about learning to do running circuits (I forget what they’re called, Darla). To me, she appeared to be Goddess of Strength incarnate. In the course of these few months I’ve read her work, I know she’s a Goddess of Strength who overcomes the highs and lows with her strength — positivity and unmatched humour.

Lenore of Lenore’s Thoughts Exactly came into my world, and I didn’t even realise it before I discovered that she had. Her work, her words and her unassuming wisdom enter your being without an announcing bell. They waft in gently. She teases me about my vocabulary (I know you do, Lenore) and I tell her the truth that I am jealous of her off-the-cuff humour.

Bela of Bela’s Bright Ideas takes my breath away with her words and the profundity of her thoughts. Interacting with her takes me to a place where I feel like an unknowing learner of life’s lessons and she’s the wise tutor who’s seen life with experience.

An Idealist Thinker reminds me of myself. Only, she’s the stronger version of me. Her idealism is what I can relate to. Her steadfast belief in keeping that idealism makes my attempts look pale. She struggles with life with the kind of elegance I can only dream of.

Nel of Directionally Impaired is hardly directionally impaired. Her words flow out of her keyboard and they’re not just any words. They’re full of her very unassuming attitude. Just recently I left a comment on her blog saying that I like her style. And that’s the truth.

Kevin of Arbor Familiae is one of the most staunch believers of constructive values I know of in the blogging world, and off it. I am sure of that, I think, even though I barely know him. This blog of his is dedicated to his ancestry, the people from which he’s descended. But every post of his gives more than just information on people you’ll never meet. Each post talks of humanity in the most compassionate way. What a human.

Sandra of Sandra D’Souza Photography takes pictures that show the colour and soul of India. Besides these soulful pictures, if you look closely, she owns a soulful heart because it wouldn’t be possible to take such photographs otherwise.

There are some people I’ve just begun visiting, but wish I could have known a little earlier so that I had read more from them by now.

I’ve come to know Aparna of The Whole Hearted Mind only recently, read only two posts, and I am interested in knowing more. She does have a whole-hearted mind which makes her perspective particularly wholesome to read about.

Shama of C’est La Vie astounds me with her faith and the gentleness she radiates in every thing she says. It is a rare trait these days, is it not?

Saara of Saara’s World reminds me of Sophie of Sophie’s World. You love her and feel awed by her all at once.

Chris of Earth and Hearth is sweet. I like him so much, I am feeling guilty for having missed his last two posts. He’s shifted into a new house with his partner and writes about how best to make a house a home.

Marusia of The Perfect Mother. I’ve just visited her once and she’s taken a place in my heart and mind. Visit her to know just how good she is.

Nandini of Life Just Is lives in one of the beautiful hill stations of India and takes pictures that do justice to the place. Beautiful is the word.

Georgette of Georgette Sullins’s Blog writes with her heart and her mind. It’s never easy to do that successfully unless both are very strong.

Emily of Emily’s Photography Blog takes breathtaking pictures. And then embellishes them with compelling words. Beautiful.

There are many more I’d like to mention here. People who’ve visited me or whom I’ve visited to my benefit. Time and words must be spent with care, though. It is time I end this post.

But before I do that, I must reveal a secret about me. I used to secretly admire Betty Londergan of What Gives 365. Used to? Because it’s no longer a secret, is it? If you’ve visited her, you’ll know the incredible work she’s done last year to improve this world, and is off to do more this year. I’ve been to her blog a few times and never cease to be amazed at the energy and dedication she has. The intensity of her conviction and action leaves me so embarrassed, I rarely go there any more. But whenever I do, I find myself promising myself that I will someday give light to dark lives, too. I hope I am able to.

And for you I wish a beautiful world — inside and outside of you — this year. And if I may dare, then I also wish shorter posts. At least from me.

78 thoughts on “Of unexpected gifts”

  1. Oh, Priya. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I just read your “Me”, I have never even looked for it until now. I have been reading your posts so I could demystify who your are just by your words – nothing else. I was sure you didn’t wear lipstick – not for more than 10 minutes. I eat mine (so, I buy only organic).
    I imagined that you taught, now retired, with a camera (is it a Cannon?) You like climbing mountains and fog. Do you like ginger in your tea?

    1. Is there a particular taste you prefer? Do organic lipsticks come in different flavours? I just might consider getting one for myself!

      I have a Nikon D300. When we’d purchased it 3 years back, we’d promised to get educated about it — that’s still pending. And now it’s just point ‘n’ shoot.

      I do like ginger in my tea and tulasi. I am a lemon tea person, though. Milk tea and I never agreed with each other. Sometimes, I have to admit, I’ve been known to enjoy milk tea as well — especially when the day’s bleak and cold.

  2. Thank you too, for introducing me to your friends. New here, in blogland, I stumble everyday on new, mysterious souls, with missions and possibilities. Inspiration abounds, the caludron sits still, potions stir. All is well.

    1. Isn’t that how we all are? Mysterious souls with missions and possibilities?

      The cauldrons and potions sound like out of Harry Potter and if you are a fan, then we’re buddies for life. If you aren’t well, as long as you keep talking of magical interventions in daily life, we’re friends anyway, Aparna.

      It’s quite a thing for you to have gone through all the 2600 words of this post. Thank you for your time, and patience.

      1. I grew up on Harry Potter. Can you believe it, I nursed my boys with a fat HP book in my hand. And sometimes, they would still be latched on for an hour, while I’d hope secretly pge after page for a romance between Harry and Hermoine!!

  3. Your reference to unexpected gifts could describe your masterful skills as a writer, just as much as it does the awards you’ve received because of those skills. But even more than that, the person behind the delicious words delivers unexpected gifts, as well. Your loving and humble and generous nature saturate every line of this post. It’s a beautiful example of how you’ve managed to lure so many wonderful people away from their everyday lives, to become part of your growing audience of admirers and friends. I know you also think of them as unexpected gifts, Priya. They are, and I’m sure there are plenty more on the way.

    Also, this post made me laugh several times, and I don’t care if you don’t believe me.

    1. Oh, poppycock, Charles. Of course I don’t believe you. Would you consider sending me evidence the next time?

      These unexpected gifts, the people, do fill up my life with so much more, Charles. It’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?

  4. You do have such a stylish blog! I look forward to exploring some of these wonderful writers you’ve mentioned here. As you say, the lives of others, what they choose to share here in the blogosphere, really is a gift, priceless. Thanks so much for sharing yours. Funny, Bronx Boy was my first visitor too…after many months of blogging he came by just when I was about to pack it up. Oh…that’s an amazing list of mistakes. You are blessed to have such a wise father.

    1. I have to go back to the Will Smith post someday, Patrice. It took away my thoughts for a long time. And when I decided to finally comment, the thoughts were so saturated with themselves, it wasn’t easy to write anything! Does that ever happen to you?

      I do have a wise father. What I like best about him is that he never imposed. He offered things and choices on a platter for us to choose from. It was never a challenge to grow up in that household.

      Thank you for a wonderful gift — your time and patience with my writing. It means much.

    1. Arrey yaar. Kucch to bolo. I’d be honoured to hear those thoughts behind the speechlessness, Saara!

      Thank you — for making me feel special. If I remember correctly, you’ve described yourself somewhere as fond of talking. If I make you speechless, I must be specially moronic! ๐Ÿ˜›

      1. Haha, no! If I tell you that I’m very intimidated of you, will you think I’m crazy? Somebody said somewhere that less talking saves you from making a fool out of yourself. I believe that!

        Ab agar itna impression jamaaya hai, to zyaada bol ke sab kharaab kyun karein! Sahi hai na ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Thoda zyaada bol kar aapne aur accha impression jama diya. I hope that you’ll keep this up.

          If you ever feel you have any reason to be intimidated of me again, let me know, I’ll cure you of your delusion.

  5. Priya, this one is the most creative award post i have ever read. I have no doubt while saying that, “You gave all your efforts and spent lots of your valuable times, to make each one of us feel special & unique in our own way”. So thank you for this. I believe that’s why these blog awards stand, to motivate us . And you did that things through your words.
    As i have said you before, i am relatively new to blogging. Still in these 3months, i am really lucky to come across lots of wonderful people. As i have said you before, i got link to your blog through Melissa. So thanks to her, i came across such a wonderful writer as you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Arindam, you have come across beautiful and appreciative people in such a short time (I was struggling with my own echo at this phase of my blogging existence) because you have the ability to appreciate, and to deserve appreciation in return. It’s just a matter of time when you feel even more satisfied with what you’re doing here.

      My best wishes are with you, my friend.

  6. Thank you, Priya. And yes – you are cool! ๐Ÿ™‚ You write beautiful and thought provoking posts, beautiful poetry, beautiful photographs and along with all of that you’re a lovely person. I’m glad to have you as my friend. Hugs.

  7. Namaste Priya, congratulations on receiving so many awards! Only you would’ve written such a great tribute that included ALL your readers.

    I had to laugh (yes Charles I also laughed) when you mentioned your
    “family and friends whoโ€™ve bailed out since that first comment”
    because that’s exactly what my relatives and friends did. My sister M commented a few times in the first couple of months and then told me “I can’t keep up with you” and hasn’t even pretended to read a post.

    We all follow your blog because you’re such a thoughtful writer. One cannot speed read through your posts – your words have to be savored like fine wine – read through slowly and carefully, and at the end we’re always given a gift of hope, love, memories, beauty… something to take away and chew on.

    1. Namaste Rosie!

      You’re kind. I shall think about this compliment for a long time. It makes me more happy than you’ll know.

      Oh but I couldn’t mention all the people I know in the blog world. There are so many I’ve come to know in the recent past. I must do something about this. Perhaps another post?

  8. A very very special post. And in your own way, you managed to make each of these bloggers feel wonderful. Thank you, Priya! I’m going to spend the weekend looking up these blogs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. I’m delighted that I was the first to give you a Liebster! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Hi,
        Under the main WP page, go to “Blogs I follow”. Click on the button, “Edit List” when you highlight “Blogs I follow”. This will lead you to a page where you can set your “get posts by email” option.

        Hope this helps

        1. Looks like you got your answer about this, P&P. If it doesn’t solve the problem, let me know. Sometimes new themes create a problem with notifications!

    1. Oh yes, you’re the first and the only one. And that makes you the one and only person who’s got an open offer to come and have an especially big piece of the apple cake I’m baking today.

      Do look up these blogs. I am positive you’ll pat your back for doing so.

  9. Priya…I am overwhelmed at the generosity of your spirit at this unexpected honour from you…Thank you and God Bless you…Your very kind and thoughtful praise for all those you mention says it all for you…thank you for making me feel special…I feel privileged to be in this company and look forward to visiting many more of these blogs…

    What wise words your father introduced you to…methinks you do yourself an injustice over them…your thoughtful and beautiful posts are testimony to that…specially in the way you have reciprocated so generously…

    Thank you…:)

    1. Shama, whatever I write here right now is not going to express what I feel about this response of yours. I wasn’t aware that this post could deserve such an emotion. Your are generous with your appraisal, perhaps? At any rate, your words fill me up.

  10. Priya, what a marvelous acknowledgement you’ve given to all of us. I had the best laugh over your reference to my chopping wood. I see you keep warm with the wood, too, by holding it over your husband’s head! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I hope it is appropriate for me to be a bit early in wishing you Happy Makar Sankrankti – which is celebrated on January 14th. May the blessings of the season fulfill all your dreams and those of your loved ones.

    I love you, Priya.

  11. You have such a wise personal compass (“It is a mistake…) derived from your father. Thank you for sharing his instructions and giving us clear direction to the bloggers who inspire you. You have a way of making me feel so special with each comment you make and to include me here in such a beautiful post. Thank you. Your visits to my site are such a gift. The photographs and messages are all exquisite and meaningful.

    1. Georgette, I am smiling — ear to ear. The Cheshire Cat must run for cover with embarrassment.

      Thank you for your time, and encouragement. I look forward to more from our blogging association.

  12. Congratulations on the awards! Thank you for including me in such a lovely post, Priya. I am honored. You are one of the sweetest and most endearing bloggers I have met. Not to mention always insightful, intelligent and thought-provoking. You put so much of yourself into every line and in every photograph you share with us. Thank you for that. (and yes, I also laughed out loud a few times reading this!)

    1. I do put a lot of myself in my words, Darla. That’s bad in a way. At the end of it, I feel spent. But then responses such as yours revitalise me for more. Thank you!

      P.S. You’re a liar. You just said you laughed because you’re sweet.

        1. ๐Ÿ™‚ I could argue more. But I am going to stop because of the fear of sounding like Shah Rukh Khan, a Bollywood superstar. He insists on saying something akin to “Oh, but I can’t dance.” at least once when he opens his mouth to speak. It’s an obvious invitation for “Oh, but you can, Shah Rukh! You’re the best!” Don’t you think?

          I leave you with Mr. Khan and the latest dance rage here. The singer’s Akon.

          1. Hi Priya
            I love this Shah Rukh Khan quote. We have a good friend who adores Shah Rukh and his movies and has taken us to see quite a few of them, so I came to watch the video.

            I also wanted to see the new look. I agree with Melissa that it’s lovely – nice and clean.

          2. Shah Rukh’s a good dancer and I’m impressed how he still manages to keep up the grueling physical challenges of each movie, but I’m not “besotted” over him. Sorry, I hope that doesn’t upset you?
            Our friend goes to see each of his movies something like 70+ times and then buys the DVD! She taught herself Hindi from watching his movies so many times. Of course she also buys the movie posters and has already wallpapered her whole house including the garage with his posters and now that there’s no empty wall space in her house guess who’s getting the posters? We’ve put him up on the wall going down to the basement so I say Hello to him every day…

            I can’t wait to tell her that AID went to his bungalow ๐Ÿ™‚

          3. I couldn’t say I am besotted with Shah Rukh either. I am not a star-struck person. No longer, at least. Every since Bruce Willis of the Moonlighting days got into the Die Hard stuff, I am no longer star-struck.

            I’ve written fan mails, too, though. Would you believe it? Once to a nice VJ called Rahul Khanna. I was convinced his intelligent talk and gentle wit could match my own, and said as much to him in my letter, offering him life-long friendship. The unlucky dude never replied back. Fool, he doesn’t know what he’s missed. The other letter was to a cute actress called Neelam. She was so cute, I wanted to save her from the world. If she died in the movies, I cried and refused to watch… Shah Rukh will probably never reach such honourable positions in my world.

  13. Dear Priya,
    when I started writing in English, few months ago, I couldnโ€™t imagine I would find so kind return. Iโ€™m deeply moved.
    An interesting thing happened, too! Yesterday, I had just finished the translation of a text about newborns, which mentions you, when I saw your pingback. An unexpected, reciprocal and amazing gift!
    Iโ€™m happy to say youโ€™ve got a friend – from Brazil, some kilometers away, but very close in thoughtโ€ฆ inside my heart too!
    (This post is wonderful)!

    1. That is interesting indeed! How the world works! I was worried that you’d never come to know about this post, and that I could never tell you, since I’d be too shy. But it’s all worked out in the end, no?

      Greetings from India, Marusia. And they’re going to keep coming in.

  14. When I talk of my blogger friends, I say, “my friend, Priya,” “my friend, Charles,” “my friend Darla, my friend Amy, my friend Linda” and so on. It’s because you all aren’t my blogger friends, you’re friends. You’re as real as they come. For many months I’ve been reading your posts, Priya, not always capable of finding the words to describe the beauty of what you do and who you are. Once again, I’m at a loss. But you’re my friend, and a cool one at that, and that will do for now.

    Love the list of 13 mistakes. It’s a much needed guide for my life. Thank you for all you are.

    1. Cool is just enough forever, Jean. I thought I’d never say it here, but you’ve left me speechless and I am looking for something smart to say, but I know I am going to fail (which is what usually happens when I am responding to you). But one needs perspective, no?

      You said this once here and I am going to steal the line — I love you.

  15. Priya, thanks for being my friend! It’s always a delight to read your posts…they’re like beautiful poetry – enchantingly descriptive with deep emotions… thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Mal, when I read your blog and comments, I imagine a cheerful, pleasant lady who can serve tea and laughter with such finesse that once one has had a taste of it, they’ll want to come over again and again. Not many people have that.

      Thank you.

  16. This is a fantastic post, many wonderful sites for us to visit and all encompassed and wrapped in your wry and entertaining style and sense of humour. i am very pleased to have found you through souldipper who is one of my most special friends in the blog world.. c..

    1. Cecilia, you aren’t aware of my chronic malaise — I-believe-I-don’t-have-a-sense-of-humour. I am making allowance for this, and letting you praise me this one time. Wry and entertaining style and sense of humour? Lord, I’ve spent years wanting to hear this, and when I do, I suspect the truth of it.

      Welcome to my world! I hope to explore yours soon.

  17. Tease? Oh, I don’t mean to tease. How can I tease when I am too busy envying your use of words? For example, I bath in your words and your writing. Trouble is – when i say that … ‘bath in your words and your writing’ it sounds odd. Yet I could easily see you saying something similar and it would be a thing of beauty!

    Truly, your words are as beautiful as your photographs. And your humor? Oh, you even kid yourself about your humor. You are, as others have said before me, funny (and I do not mean funny looking).

    Congrats on the awards, Priya, and I greatly appreciate you including me in such a wonderful group of writers.

    1. I was waiting for you, Lenore. I knew you’d defend your stance. Just as well. Because I am going to defend mine.

      Thank you for being here.

    1. Bela, if only you’d told me earlier. I could find out those hundred ways and toned my belly even as I kissed the ground. Sigh.

      Cheesy jokes aside, I really am thankful I came to know you.

    1. Chris, I have been to your other blog so many times in the last few days (Earth and Hearth) and have always left with the thought that I’ll come back when I can read them all at once and then respond. That has not happened, and I feel impatient! But soon, my friend.

  18. Congratulations on your many and well-deserved awards, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I simply love the new layout of your blog! Your pictures are very “clickable,” and work perfectly displayed there on your home page. Well done. I can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to this blogging world in 2012.

    1. I like the new theme, too! It’s called AutoFocus. Very crisp and no-nonsense. I’d have preferred a bigger font size in the comments section, but one can’t get it all. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I still remember the time we’d just met through our blogs. I also remember thinking, “How does this person manage so much emotion, so much energy and sincerity in everything? Doesn’t she feel spent at the end of the day? Every time? What rejuvenates her for the next day?”

      As I gradually discover the answers to these questions, I feel more respect for you, Melissa. I hope your day today is restful and kind.

  19. Hi Priya,

    Thank you so much for mentioning me here in your “unexpected gifts”. It’s an honor. I would like to congratulate you for the awards you have got. You are a beautiful writer, and I really like reading your articles. (I admit, I don’t drop here often, but when I do, I read several posts all together) ๐Ÿ™‚

    So nice to know that you enjoy my pictures. I have been staying with my parents for 6-7 months (searching for a job; it’s not an easy task in India, is it?). Before that I was never at one place for long (studies). And since now, I’m at one place, and that too mountains, I got more into my photography.

    I am looking forward to check the links you have provided here, although, I already have checked some of them. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Great wisdom in this post. Well written, as always.

    Thank you so much. I’m grateful. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ah ha. So this is your secret. You rarely come here and when you do, you make up for the absence, hunh? I’ll have to forgive you for the less-than desired number of visits, though, Nandini!

      You’ve been at one place after a long time, and the place had to be Dalhousie. How cool is that?! Keep taking pictures, and keep showing us your world.

  20. Thank you Priya for including me in your thoughts and the kind words about my work. I started my blog pretty much for the same reason as you — except it was to force me to take better pictures. Although, I would also like to improve on my writing. Your writing is so beautiful and from the heart. I look forward to learning from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. And I look forward to viewing your pictures without envy for once, and learning just how to capture nature’s magic. We have a lot to learn. And teach, then, Emily.

  21. Now, why did you have go & put in that video of Shahrukh’s song? I forgot what I came here to say, plus all that I read here, too!!

    ..it’s all your fault.
    You know when I was designing his bungalow in the outskirts of Mumbai, my boss & I went to his Bandra house for a design meeting. Even though I took my son’s photo to get an autograph on, I kept wishing, ‘oh! let him be busy’, so that I don’t meet him. Funny, right? But, he has such a magical hold over me everytime I watch him onscreen, that I was afraid of losing that magic forever if I actually saw & spoke to him in person. I did meet his wife, Gauri & their 2 children playing barefoot in the driveway. Just imagine then, how grateful I was that I didn’t meet him so I can still enjoy the magic of the video above : )

  22. Yeah yeah, I am strange.. I know.
    But, elegant?!! Absolutely not.
    Strong? I used to think so too, but. Oh well, we will get over it, I know!
    Don’t mislead the wonderful people you get here, Priya. Else, they will not believe you the next time you say something nice about me!

    No seriously, an honorable mention from you is an award in itself. You just donโ€™t know it yet. But more than the awards, it is the people who are the true gifts of this blogging world. You couldnโ€™t be more right. And you’ve got plenty more than 7 there. That’s more to celebrate for. Congratulations!

    By the way, I can’t believe you had the โ€˜secret list for a fulfilling lifeโ€™ with you all this time and you kept it from us all? How could you!

    [ oh hey, i just remembered what i actually came here to say.. blame SRK !! : ) ]
    ( I have been having lemon tea here every evening. Now, I won’t be able to have it in peace without thinking of you with a hand on your chin. Oh, damn! And you didn’t tell me this before, that being an HP fan was a sure way of becoming your friend, would have saved me so much trouble. By the way, are there 2,600 words in this post, sach? I run out of steam at 1,000. )

    I hope you don’t get to writing short posts, Priya. Your posts never seem long. Maybe because they are so poetic & picturesque. “How essential it is to not allow what I call little annoying flies on the fruit of life to keep you from enjoying the fruit.” That’s poetry, depth, insight all right there.. n that’s what I love about you !

    1. You’re a Harry Potter fan? Lovely! Had to be, you’re a good girl.

      This secret list is not the one I follow religiously, though. If only I had…

      And now, when I have my next cup of lemon tea, I am going to ensure my chin’s not on my hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for this beautiful message, AIT. I enjoyed reading it and smiling through it. It means much.

      1. I am glad my weak attempt at humour here made you smile, Priya. ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels good. It’s a change for me. Don’t.. I like the chin in your hand (reminds me of this picture).

        Rosie, just like you, I am not besotted by him. I love his movies.. not all of them, though. It’s the characters he plays.. those of the perfect son, p.brother, p.boyfriend, p.husband, p.father.. too good to be true. But 70 times..really?!! Your friend must be a true blue fan, because I can’t imagine watching any movie more than once. Maybe I will watch ‘Forrest Gump’ or ‘Godfather’ again and amongst the Hindi ones, ‘Dil Chaahta Hai’ & ‘3 Idiots’. It’s more about the movie than the actors for me.

        ..yes, ‘mannat’, I had forgotten the name. Seeing their children with messy hair & normal clothes playing barefoot in whatever little outdoor space they have, made me think of my son. Though I would have scolded them to wear shoes. It made me think more highly of him that they are trying to give their children as normal a childhood as they possibly can. Not like Suri Cruise.

        Oops.. sorry for crowding your post, Priya ( again! ). I will shush now.

        1. Yes, it is always more about the movie than the actors, isn’t it? A friend, a dance fanatic, first asked who the choreographer of the movie was before she went to watch it. Another went for the director. Actors can become overrated.

          It’s fun to small-talk, AIT. Keep ‘crowding’.

  23. Oh my, how did I miss this post? You are always such a giving and nurturing friend. Thanks for the recognition. I feel honored to have my name and measly attempts to write linked in anyway with yours.

    It’s funny, I don’t think of myself as a traveler so much as I am a “would-be” traveler. I do love to travel, but my budget doesn’t seem to appreciate travel so much!

    You are a traveler in your own right/write…You travel the paths of the mind. And you travel your neighborhood and share it so beautifully with those of us who will never be there to see it with our own eyes. Thank you for being Priya.

    1. Linda, I guess we all like to do more than we already are, so we feel that what we’re doing always has room for supplementation. It’ll be a good exercise to relax and step back and let others tell us what they think of our initiatives and efforts. For me, Peru, and walks around Boise and road trips to ranches is the ultimate in travel! I’ll do similar things, by and by. And you’ll keep doing what you’re doing, and more. Budget is just an annoying fly sometimes that can be swatted off…

  24. wow…what an amazing post and thank you so much :))i am always pleased with myself when i see a compliment from you..it truly means a lot…can i please copy paste..”it is a mistake”

    hope the year is treating you well…i have my first solo photo exhibition tomorrow..all excited:))will tell u how it goes…


    1. Please feel free to use Thirteen Mistakes. It’s not for me to claim right on!

      How was the exhibition?! Do tell me about it. Write a post!

  25. Hey, thank you for this post! Was just passing through blogs and reading stories and I really enjoy the layout of your blog. You write very well too! Hope to see more soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Good of you to’ve stopped by Lynnette! Hope to see more of you soon, too! Do you write a blog? I like these flowers in your gravatar. Are they narcissi?

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