Day 5 – 10 Mins for 10 Days

Today, you will get a story, dear readers. Not sure how good or interesting the story will be, but the prompt says that we have to write a story using some keywords that Tammy shared.

Story Title: Empty Wind

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

Anita ignored her phone, just as it buzzed for the third time in ten minutes. She knew who the messages were from and what they said. Instead, she looked at her watch, the straps covering fresh bruises on her wrists. She covered her arms with the sleeves of her coat, as the brush of cold wind blew through the platform. Her heart beat with excitement and nervousness at the same time. She had to calm herself down.

‘I know it is going to be alright. I know she will love me. Because I know I love her, have always loved her,’ she thought to herself.

The train approached as her phone buzzed again. She took one look at the messages, full of hate and anger and left her phone on the bench she was sitting on.

The train stopped and people started to get in and out in a rush. Thankfully it wasn’t rush hour. She didn’t want to lose her again, not like this.

Someone tapped her from behind. “Mom?”

She turned and took in the sight of the almost-grown up girl looking at her. She didn’t look angry. Or disappointed. She knew then that he had lied to her. She smiled tentatively at the beautiful girl in the tie die sweatshirt standing in front of her. Another gust of cold wind swept the platform as the train left the station, just as Anita exhaled the breath she didn’t know she was holding. Just as both mother and daughter hugged each other. And just like that, she felt free. Free of the illusion of hurt and dread that she had carried all these months. Free like the empty wind.

Day 4 – 10 Mins for 10 Days

Today’s prompt is ‘Non Sequiturs‘. But with a twist. I have to write a truth about myself and then follow it up with another truth, but one which will have no connection to the first one. How many such sentences or truths can I write about myself within ten minutes?

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on Pexels.com

But before I start, have you wondered about your truths ever? I was thinking about this prompt and realised there are some truths that will be easy to divulge to strangers. Whereas there will be some truths that I will keep close to my heart or maybe just share with people I completely trust. There are other times when I may not even realise a truth about myself that someone else might point out to me. And then there are the truths that I don’t want to acknowledge. Something dark, or heart breaking or sinister. Some truths are meant to be forgotten. But these are the ones that make the best stories I guess.

I wonder though, as a writer, if a lot of what we write is autobiographical to some extent, how comfortable will we be sharing our thoughts with people who know us, but don’t really know us? How does one overcome this as a writer? How do you use a muse without letting them know they were your muse? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Or tips if any.

Now, here are some of my truths – the ones that are easy to share:

I will turn 40 this year.

I have a t-shirt that says, “Hang on, let me overthink this.”

I ran 2Kms this evening in the rain.

I overslept this morning and didn’t even hear my alarm ring.

I prefer savoury over sweet.

I think I’ll stop at this. The timer ran out. I realised that the easier truths to share seemed very biographical. Things like my age, my preferences or what I did in the day, were really easy to write and share. And it was hard to figure out how to write a non-sequitur using these truths, because they don’t seem disjointed. Put together, they will give a picture of me, even if its superficial at this stage.

What are some truths that you would like to share with me? Can you share two truths about yourself which are also non sequiturs? I’d love to read in the comments πŸ™‚

Day 3 – 10 Mins for 10 Days

9 Things I Noticed Today (During my commute to and from work):

  1. I noticed the river was full and adorned with lush green bushes and trees on both sides, all thanks to the incessant rain
  2. I noticed there was a lot of traffic both while going to work and returning
  3. I noticed a pregnant woman wearing a brown and white hijab coming out of a police station, gently holding her tummy
  4. I noticed a traffic Policeman sitting and scrolling his mobile while the traffic went haywire
  5. I noticed three old men with the typical Maharashtrian white caps sitting at a bus station and talking, while the rest of the world zoomed by
  6. I noticed a young man squatting on the sidewalk of the bridge and scrolling his phone
  7. I noticed that the auto rickshaw driver driving me today from work was a young man and he drove very fast
  8. I noticed a small pond which was completely covered with a bright light green moss, which made it look like a velvet green carpet and I really had the urge to sit on it
  9. I noticed a dilapidated watch tower in a field of trash

What are the 9 things you noticed today? Let me know in the comments πŸ™‚ I wonder if I can write a mystery using this list.

As promised yesterday, I also have my song that I want to tell you about. I’ve been listening to Imagine Dragon’s new album – Mercury I & II. The lyrics of most of the songs speak to me so much. The entire album is about mental health and being worn out with life today. I loved every line in almost every song. But one of the songs that stuck with me was “Lonely“.

Just like most of the things I noticed today, except for the bunch of old men in the bus stop, everyone else was alone. They somehow seemed lonely to me. Sometimes I feel lonely too. Especially when I’m surrounded by people. I try things to keep myself busy, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I feel lonely, anxious and depressed sometimes. Do you feel like that too?

What is a song you heard recently that spoke to you? πŸ™‚

Day 1 & 2 – 10 Mins for 10 Days

From Tammy’s Post

Ready, set and go! My timer has been set and oops, there goes the bell! I mean the doorbell. This is my life. Every time I sit down to get my meditative mode on to try and write something, an idea of a story, a continuation of my existing stories, a short story maybe, life interrupts. The interruptions can take a million forms. But every interruption takes me further away from the mindset I need to write.

Since the day one of my short stories was published, instead of writing more, I have hardly written! Unless you count journalling or watsapping writing. Every day I would look at my planner and feel a stab of guilt for not being able to check off that writing box that I had sworn I would include in my daily routine.

So when my writer friend and teacher came up with her 10 minutes of writing for 10 days challenge, I thought, I should sign up. And then I went a step further. I also enrolled into her PUSH group because I have noticed that sometimes I am better at sticking to things when I hold myself accountable. And what better way to hold yourself accountable than by joining a supportive community? I had noticed how I have reaped the benefits of improving my consistency with running since I joined the local running group, so I thought maybe this will work with my writing too?

Luckily this wasn’t a 100 Days of Running sort of challenge where if you actually miss a day, it won’t be counted. I think you can bend the rules a bit to help yourself. The important bit is sitting down to write. Something, anything. So I decided, I will write 20 minutes today, instead of 10 minutes, and that should in a way account for 2 days of writing for 10 minutes? Potaytoes-Potahtos??

I don’t know what form my writing will take, but maybe these can be my daily pages or be written in addition to my daily pages. Whatever be the case, I’m glad I have started this challenge.

I finished the sentence in the paragraph above and looked at my timer. 7 minutes remaining. I had thought that I had already written for 20 minutes.

Finding time or creating time for the things that matter or the things that you love feels like trying to build up a failing business. You try to cut corners, let go of some activities that merely consume resources – time and give nothing in return, make some people unhappy because you chose to write or run or read instead of going out for a drink with them or face timing them. But if all this leads to getting your passion up and running again, it will all be worth it, wouldn’t it? Everyone will understand. Maybe you will be able to make time for everyone eventually. Maybe you will add some more things into your business of writing?

In the three minutes that remain, and if you’ve for some reason decided to read the entirety of this post, let’s end it with a question. No, its not about time or business or even writing.

Its about music. What is a song you heard very recently, that stayed with you or appealed to you because of its lyrics and not its music or the artist. This is what I will be writing about tomorrow. I’ll tell you about the song I chose in my entry tomorrow. I can be one song or more than one. Whatever suits your fancy and whatever I can fit in 10 minutes. Wink!

My Running Life – June 2022 Updates

I had written a post about my running life and goals in March this year. If you are interested to read my first post on running, you can head out here. I have been running since 2015 and yet when I tell people I run, they immediately ask, “HMs/FMs”? (That’s short for Half Marathons or Full Marathons?) And the irony is, that most of the time this question comes from non runners.

In March however, while I had gone for one of my short morning runs, I listened to an audiobook on running slow marathons and was inspired. So I started this plan of adding goals to my running life, that will keep my love for running alive and spice it up as well? That’s how all long term relationships work right? You have to keep spicing things up, changing your goals, adding something new πŸ™‚

In the last three months, I have been able to achieve my goal of running two 10Ks at the pace of 75 minutes and also signed up for 100 Days of Running. Hopefully I will be able to complete my 100 days of running challenge πŸ™‚

So, here are a list of things that I learned, loved and was frustrated about in the last three months of running with my new goals:

  • Learned: I used to be a solo runner. Planning any kind of event with strangers on a regular basis used to be anxiety inducing. But now, I realised that I am more disciplined and I run better since I’ve joined my local running group. Somehow, they make me feel calm and slightly less anxious with their dedication, kindness towards newcomers and general camaraderie πŸ™‚
  • Love: The feeling of having done a good run/workout daily and bragging about my runs to my family, colleagues and friends
  • Not a fan of: Running during my periods. I just hate it. I read a lot about how women runners deal with running during their periods. What they wear for their runs, how they manage cramps, nutrition, etc. But in the end, I simply dislike the whole feeling. So the first three days, I usually skip the whole running routine and go for a brisk walk or a small jog instead
  • Learned: Strength training and cross training are really important if you want to improve your core and overall body strength, muscle mass and stamina as a runner. I have tried to attend most of the strength training sessions hosted by the running group
  • Love: Running in the monsoons! Not when its actually pouring, but when its overcast and windy or maybe when there’s a slight drizzle. It’s amazing!
  • Not a fan of: Waking up at 5:00 am. Or even earlier, especially for a running event..gah! Even more frustrating is that I can never sleep well before a running event because I keep thinking that my alarm didn’t ring and I slept through the event. Not to mention the fact that my anxiety leads me to a poop festival and a rumbling tummy that warns me about impending poops up until the run actually starts!
  • Learned: Hydrating before and after a run is of utmost importance. I used to get these terrible migraines every time I ran a 5K. Forget 10K. But with the slow and steady training sessions and proper hydration – no, not just water, but something with electrolytes, juice, coconut water – my post run migraines have reduced a lot in frequency and intensity.
  • Love: I can eat more carbs and not feel guilty about it!!!!!
  • Not a fan of: Not seeing any major improvement around the belly fat reduction area..LOL..but its ok, I love running and I love eating, so go figure πŸ˜€

Goals for the next two months:

  • Focus on completing the 100 Days of Running Challenge
  • Try to turn up more often for the Sunday long runs and increase my running distance slowly from 10K to 12K/13K. This will mean less or no drinking on Saturday nights…sigh πŸ˜€
  • Sign up for a few more running events for 10K, preferably one in a different city πŸ™‚

I want to start training for my first Half Marathon eventually. But I want the 100 Days challenge to be over first. A friend and I decided that we will take it slow and also follow Hal Higdon’s training plan for novice – Half Marathoners. If everything goes well, then maybe I will be able to run my first HM by end of this year. But even if I can’t do it this year, I’ll mostly do it next year πŸ™‚

Here is how my Hal Higdon training plan for the 10K went like πŸ™‚

I hope this post was informative for others who have started their journey as runners or already are runners. For the seasoned runner readers here, I’d love to hear about your running goals, training plans, what you learned and love about running πŸ™‚

Three Things

Inspired by Holly from Poetry Forge – An interesting way to inspire a conversation. The first two stay the same and the third thing is chosen by the …

Three Things

I really liked this post shared by Tammy and so re blogging it. Here are my three things for today.. Both Tammy and I would love to hear your three things for today too πŸ™‚πŸŒΈ


Something of Beauty – When I was cycling in the morning, I saw either sides of the road lush with bougainvillea flowers of all colours.. it was gorgeous!


Something of interest – I want to learn a few dance moves from YouTube on a Hindi song that I saw other people dancing to on Instagram 😁


Something Difficult yet Worthwhile – I’m trying to take a step back and look at the bigger picture every time I get anxious or stressed, to ask myself, β€œdoes this situation really warrant my stress?” It’s harder said than done but when I’m able to achieve it , it feels good πŸ™‚

All About April 2022 – Trip to London, Bday Celebrations, Parties and Hardly any Reading!

This post decided it didn’t want to be boxed into a category or labelled. It called itself fluid. It is a little bit of a wrap up post, its also a travelogue, a lifestyle post, definitely not a reading wrap up post (even though this blog is supposed to be a reader’s blog), and will have a lot of random updates about what I did in April this year. I mean its totally up to you if you want to read further, and if not, that’s alright too. πŸ˜€

Travel:

I traveled to London for two weeks in April, to visit my sister. This was my first international solo trip with my daughter. Well, my mom traveled with us too, but my husband didn’t. This trip was less of a traveller’s trip and more of a much needed family get together kind of trip in a beautiful city. So I won’t be telling you about all the new sites and places I visited. Because I didn’t. Instead, I’ll just throw in a bunch of photos to remember all the delicious food I ate – in restaurants, pubs and the ones cooked by my sister, all the silly pictures I took with my daughter, the one run I did in London, well because every runner should run in every location they go to πŸ˜‰ And the perfunctory visit to the bookstore – Waterstones. Maybe next time Ill find out an independent book store and visit them. I had the most amazing two weeks with my sister, mom and daughter. The weather was excellent – spring at its best. The company, comforting and the food and booze relaxing. I was also able to meet up with a few of my friends who had moved to London, so that was an added bonus πŸ™‚

My daughter had a super fun vacation too because there were no rules there and she could eat her fill of pancakes, waffles and pasta for her meals. Not to forget the unforgettable trip to Legoland and being completely spoiled with gifts from her aunt πŸ˜€

Birthdays and Other Parties

April became a month of parties, starting with the beer crawl I went to with my friend. After that it was a bunch of get togethers with my family and friends in London, followed by the biggest party f the year – my daughter’s birthday party – she turned six this year! And then finally, a few dinners with friends and a super fun and charged aqua Zumba session – my first!! I loved everything I did in April πŸ˜€

Reading, Running and Getting my First Short Story Published!!

I wanted to train for a 10K and started the Hal Higdon running program in April. I also joined my local running group and it has been a bitter sweet journey of running so far – the waking up part being bitter and the running part being sweet. Remember I had written a post about my running updates a while back? If you don’t, this is where it is. I’ll write down a much detailed post about how my running life has been going later. But basically, for the fifteen days that I was in London, I ran just two days. I’m proud of the fact that I still ran at least a day and could brag about the fact that I ran 6K in London!!! By the riverside! I felt blessed πŸ™‚

The same went for my reading too. I had lofty goals of reading by the riverside, or in the park when I was in London. But I literally read only ONE book in the whole of April!! Not proud of this. And this was an audiobook about running too. I’m trying to catch up with my reading goals slowly in May πŸ™‚ I realised, that when I travel with my daughter or have a really busy social life, I hardly get time to read or write. I have to admit, I didn’t write at all.

Despite my inconsistency with writing, I got the best and the most shocking news of my life in April. One of the short stories I had submitted was selected for an online publication!!! It is an anthology of short stories called ‘Disobedient Girls‘ and my story is called ‘Masked Love’. I would love it if you would like to read it and give me your feedback and give us budding writers some love πŸ™‚ You can find the kindle book here πŸ™‚

Whew! I feel like I just ran a 10K! In terms of trying to remember all the things I did in April! I miss you April..you were so good to me! However, its almost end of May and I have some great and some not so great things to say about May too. Next month though..heheh

How have you been doing? How was your April and how is May treating you so far? I’d love to read your travel and life and reading update blogs too – so don’t forget to leave a comment! πŸ™‚ Sending some laughter and sunshine your way πŸ™‚

I Lit A Candle for You Today

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve always been afraid of dying. Which is so strange, because its like being afraid of sunrises or sunsets. They are inevitable and might lead to something beautiful, and yet.

However today, I’m feeling a different kind of fear. Or maybe heartache. The fear of having the people I love leave me forever. As in, dying. I miss my dad. Today is his third death anniversary. People say that time heals everything. You might be left with a scar, but the pain becomes a phantom pain or even a non existent one.

But what if that isn’t true? What if the pain never actually goes and the tears are always there and with each year you miss the one you love and lost even more? At least that’s how I feel. Every milestone I achieve, every difficulty I face, every time I am hurt, every time I feel immense joy, in almost every thought, he is there. I miss him so much. I have songs that can trigger tears. Places that can trigger tears. Even smells, the aftershave he used to put, the drinks he liked, so many triggers.

The only thing that becomes easier with time is to pretend that it doesn’t hurt anymore. That you have been healed because you are going through life. It becomes necessary to wake up with a smile and a purpose every morning, because I realised, just like I depended on my dad, my daughter depends on me. And then, what if my dad is somewhere around in essence? He wouldn’t want me to completely break down right? He would want to see me grow into old age and have no regrets, right?

So, I missed you some more today

I cried some more today

I smiled at our memories today

I spoke to your picture today

I lit a candle for you today..

Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper makes me want to be young again

I binge watched Netflix’s adaptation of one of my favorite graphic novels by Alice Oseman – Heartstopper, last night. Needless to say, I loved the screen adaptation as much as I had loved the books!

I can’t stop smiling and thinking about the show and all the characters coming to life for me from the book. If you are a book nerd like me, you’ll know how special it is when the screen creators actually do a good job in casting the right people and keeping the script absolutely the same as that in the book. So thank you so much for doing that!! πŸ™‚ Everything about the show was spot on – from the way the actors played their characters, their look, the background, the rooms, the little animations added in, the background score…everything!!

After watching the show, I re-read all the four graphic novels again. I didn’t want this warm mushy feeling of happiness inside me to stop. But it also made me wish I was young again. The world is so full of possibilities, and love and hope when you’re younger. Then you become forty and turn into a loveless, dissatisfied cynic, searching for meaning and worthwhile connections. LOL!

I have a handful of people in my life who I feel like I can’t live without. But they’re all so far away. In the show, I felt like I could really relate to Tao’s character and his nightmare of losing his friends when they grow older, move away, get jobs and probably have partners and a family. In my 40s, I have a job, a home, a loving family, but I miss the excitement of first love, I miss the feeling of being cherished by someone and most of all, I miss hanging out with my best friends. They’re all continents away and yes, technology helps, but nothing compares to spending physical time with your besties πŸ™‚

So this show and the book (like other books that Alice has written, my favorite being Loveless), made me feel all kinds of emotions. I felt loved and happy, but I also felt alone and old πŸ™‚ I wonder if someone has written a book about a 40 year old finding love, or re-finding love, or getting to be with her friends again forever or finding new friends within her vicinity with whom she can truly be herself? Maybe that’s a story I should write about? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

Whatever it is, Heart Stopper and the cast made my day and probably my week too. If you haven’t already watched the show and read the graphic novels, please do!! It doesn’t even matter if you’re straight or gay or young or old. I felt like there was something wonderful about these characters and the plot that will make you come alive and happier at the end πŸ™‚

Now that I’ve satisfied my heart’s desire to let the strangers know about my feelings, I’m going to go back to listening to the Heart Stopper mixed tape playlist on Spotify and scroll through the endless fan art and memes like a true obsessed fan πŸ˜€

My Running Life – Goals and Updates

Did you know I am a runner too? Just like I call myself a writer πŸ™‚ I haven’t run a marathon or published a book yet. But I’ve been running since 2014 and writing since even before that. Both give me a lot of joy and peace along with being therapeutic. I’m not an athletic person in general and I run away from gyms like they’re the plague. But somehow, I like running. Or well, jogging. Or maybe walking and running..LOL..

Also it helps that running is one of the cheapest and most accessible sport one can take up – yes, running is a sport! yay! And its something I can enjoy solo or in a group too. There are many other reasons I run, but that post will be for another time I think.

Although I’ve been running since all these years, Ive never taken it up a notch. Mostly comfortably sticking to the 5KM distance and maybe one or two 10KM social runs.

Somehow, this year, I wanted to do something to celebrate completing four decades of my life. And no, I’m not planning to run a full marathon, but closer – a half marathon. I reached out to some expert runners I know and asked them for tips to start training. They shared the Hal Higdon training plan for 10KM with me and suggested that I first aim trying to run 10KM in 70 minutes and follow that training. And then start training for the half marathon using his novice training plan.

I’m in week two of the 10KM training plan and so far I’ve managed to stick to it πŸ™‚ Here’s a snapshot of my progress so far:

As an additional effort, I’ve also joined my local running group to train strength and run long distances with them for three days a week, so my husband can go cycling on the other three days. I’m thankful to him for sacrificing his cycling days so I can train for this.

I have two challenges – waking up extremely early in the mornings and being consistent.

I thought writing about my running training progress and its ups and downs will encourage me to stick to it better. Who knows..I’ll check back in soon then! Wish me luck! πŸ™‚