CAUGHT IN A GHOST CASTLE

Based on a true story:

A group of 8 young explorers, me among them, entered a house that was surrounded by not only darkness but rumors of being haunted. The air was eerie and the silence so thick that even a pin drop could set hearts race. I got a chance to enter with seven others, I was excited to prove. It was my chance to prove a few nay-sayers that I am not boring and when I mean adventure it isn’t about millennial pranks. I meant serious business and what can be a better option to set the adrenaline rush going than a haunted house. I would be dishonest if I say fear wasn’t on my side along with the seven others.

We together stepped inside the house that smelt pungent and we thought “let the helper at our house take off for a while and our houses won’t be different” and had a hearty laugh. Slowly we marched – sometimes 4 steps at a time and sometimes just 1- don’t ask if it’s prudence or fear that was spiraling down our spines like sweat. We weren’t together but scattered all around. Someone at the loosely hanging railing at the first floor, someone at the corner by the picture of handsome looking tyrant that once lived there, a few near the bookshelf, and a few on the staircase following trails. The house that once might have had people as inhabitants in it, now hosted bats, mice, and a negative aura in abundance. As I slowly marched ahead, I heard a loud shriek. I rushed in the direction of the sound and I was horrified to see one of my accomplices lying in a pool of blood. She was caught unaware by an axe dangling overhead. I nearly fainted but had to carry on the mission for it was about leaving that house alive and proving a point. I moved in a different direction, suddenly something came flying to hit me or it was just my illusion. Whatever it was I ducked and saved myself. Another friend fell from the railing and broke his back badly. He did mention it felt as if someone pushed him. We together had to survive that night amidst everything which was not normal. We didn’t want to speak our minds aloud but now it was certain that this house is haunted. Throughout the night, to and fro the dangers, we somehow survived somehow and stepped out of that wicked nest of mortar and wood. I was the first one to do so.

And I was the winner. What? It is still based on a true story, I did play this board game “Ghost Castle”, was indeed caught and it took a long time to reach to the finish line i.e out of the house/castle. That’s how I spent the first day of the new calendar year. Ludo and monopoly is a thing of the past now, try this one, preferably in a slightly dark place for the spooky ghost not only scares but illuminates too😂.

Try it with your family, fun guaranteed!!

A DELICIOUS RECIPE FOR THE FIRST DAY OF 2022

I believe in Time and its game. It’s like – I am moving continuously, you have to go through all the strives and hardships and walk with me or you will be categorized as a failure.

But my heart and mind said something else after rising last year. 31 Dec 2021 was a beautiful day with hubby and son at Bhandardhara & Igatpuri. It was a sudden plan for the last day of 2021 and the first day of 2022. We all wanted to make it memorable and happier with tiny moments…just wanted to hold the feelings of happiness, peaceful soul in us. It was a 2-day plan. The day of last year was felt in every moment with the setting sun in the backwater of Pravari river. The clicking of pictures, having tea and snacks wherever you stop- really the madness of a traveler and a photographer. My husband loves to click pics with his DSLR and he contributes in Gurushots. He is just mad about the themes and ideas, competitions organized by Gurushots. I saw him so excited and ecstatic with the clicks of beautiful birds near the dam. I can say his year ending was superb. By seeing them happy, l too felt happy and contented.

Yes, I have also made my year ending and starting of the new year with beautiful memories of nature and submission of poems in 97anthologies. The morning of the new year was chilling at Igatpuri. The day was planned with Bhavali dam and Dhammagiri (Vipassana Centre). It was a slow, content, enjoyable trip with a trekking experience. My son was happy with Mc. Donald breakfast. He read the stories and saw the pictures of Goutama Buddha at Dhammagiri. He gathered more information about Goutama Buddha.

After our Igatpuri trip, we headed towards Mumbai and landed at our family friends Sandeep & Mitali Das at Thane. We met two more new friends, Mike and Spike (Cockatiel birds). The first time I saw the birds out of the cage and flying in the room happily. They were eating at a particular place and moving like kids. It was fun watching them. My best moment was when Mike flew and sat on my head. It was like ‘whooh’ for the first 5 seconds. Then I felt normal and good. The evening was spent well with cooking together like old days, chitchatting and sharing old memories, and making plans for the next day, as it was my hubby’s birthday. Finally, the day of the new year ended with dinner and filter coffee at the Hiranandani area of Ghorbunder road. We reached home safely at 11:50 pm, just before 10 minutes to 12am. It was a great day with mixed emotions.

Ingredients of the days were traveling, eating, cooking, chitchatting, discussions with a top-up new experience of birds. The recipes for two days were delicious and cooked on time without any wastage or hesitation.

My new year should follow the following lines, that I really wish…..

“Having lots of confidence
like colour palette,
Stick to the situations just
like magnet,
As the life throws balls at us
like Cricket.”

Happy New year 2022 to each and every reader. Spread a smile and spread happiness and time will be with you.

FIRST DAY OF 2022

When we were young kids, we were told that whatever you do on the first day of the year; you will end up doing the same thing for the rest of the year. We used to make fun of this “superstition” and we would sleep on 1st Jan so that we get a chance to sleep a lot the whole year. Or we would go for a picnic on 1st Jan so that we keep going for picnics throughout the year. Of course, it never worked.

But guess what like all superstitions are healthy habits miscommunicated over the generations, this one was no different. Recently one of my coaches mentioned this –

“Be careful how you spend the first day of the New Year because this first day is as important for the rest of the year as the time of birth is for the rest of your life. The life of every human being is marked by the planetary influences at work at the time of their birth; the whole course of each life is contained in seed form from the beginning, which explains why horoscopes exist.

On a smaller scale, the first day of a year bears within it the seed of the days to come. This is why you must take care to live in light, love, and harmony on this first day. Throughout the day, through prayer, meditation, songs, good thoughts, and good feelings, try to inscribe imprints of light that will have a positive influence on all the days of this year.”Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

This just made so much sense. It is not that if you do certain activity on 1st Jan, you will end up doing the same activity. The fact is that the feelings that you have on the first day of the year (doing whatever you are doing) will have some influence on the rest of the year.

I spent the first day with my family and friends at Preeta’s place. Had a great time and the kids enjoyed a lot too. Preeta has already mentioned this day in her article. And I am really glad I spent the day in good and light feelings.

WAKING UP TO A NEW DAWN

The 31st evening it was.. the last day of the year gone by…I walked down the road from my building, with no particular direction in mind, only a printout to take and a few steps to make, to give my smart-band some much-needed activity. I said to myself “It is a number game after all”

The air was clear,
the mind at peace,
the hands flayed side to side
…and I had a smile on my face.
My heart seemed light,
for probably even my heart knew
it was the END of something after all.

It would soon get dark and a new day would dawn…
not just any day, but a new start… for a year was to begin all over again.

The day began…
The sun rose
I was up and about…for a walk again
I had a smile on my face as I took the stride
left and right and left again,
The baker was first, then the shop vendor
I went from place to place and wished them all… “a year to gain”
Happy New Year was the line,
as wishes came back to start a HAPPY New beginning.

Bread to break and a Newspaper to be read, the day had begun but this time – it was a new Year ALL OVER AGAIN.


What can I say!? First’s for me have always been special, be it my first ever date, my first ever salary, or even my first ever… <okay! there have been a lot of first’s, maybe I shouldn’t be getting into that, I’m not saying any more>
The day as it panned out, wasn’t out of the ordinary, as it should be. It was just a change in the date after all.

Wishing people, shaking their hands, and silently judging their confidence levels by their handshake is what generally happens on a day like this. I know it’s wrong, but can you help it?

Not every day do you get to hug people, shake their hands and get up close with another human being. However, the 1st day somehow makes that exception.

Yeah! Yeah! Covid and all… but come on! When you’re happy, you’re happy and the body reacts accordingly.

Here’s wishing every reader an awesome 365 days ahead – this year WILL be special, something in my heart just tells me that, not just for me but for the World at large. Just wait and see… actually don’t wait, I think we’ve all waited enough!

STEPPING INTO THE NEW YEAR TOGETHER

“We heal, not in isolation, but in togetherness”

This quote is so true, especially in the current times, when going out still contains a little risk. We managed for 2 years, sitting inside our homes and managing to stay together virtually. We all hope and pray that the new year marks the end of the scary coronavirus and the world is freed from the COVID pandemic.

We planned a get-together on the very first day of the new year. I met my sister Prabhjot after 2 years, though didn’t feel like meeting her after ages, as we are in constant touch with each other through WhatsApp. However, it was different for our kids, who rarely video call each other. My elder son doesn’t like to talk to his friends virtually. He says that he misses them and wants to meet them, physically, face to face. The kids have really suffered a lot during this pandemic. It feels bad that they missed out a lot due to isolation. 

Yesterday, our sons were super excited since morning and were so happy to meet each other after a long gap. They played, laughed out loudly, danced, and had fun together. Now, they are looking forward to more such frequent get-togethers, and so are we.

Spending time together with family & friends, sharing joy & happiness, having endless talks, and eating delicacies are indeed delightful. With a beautiful start to this new year, I wish the rest of the days are well spent, for everyone. I pray that we get to meet our loved ones often and share the good times, for togetherness is a wonderful place to be in.

Stay happy! Stay together!

SHAVING OFF MY DARK-UGLY-LOOKING HAIR

All that I have done in my life were mostly need-based rather than for fun and pleasure. And on the 29th of the last month, I sat down to trim my hair and I went on to shave them till I was almost bald. As I looked at my dark and ugly-looking hair falling on the newspaper, a thought came to my mind. 

How often do we tend to tread the path of sickness, suffering, and sinfulness in a particular time period of our life? The preconceived, the preoccupied, the presumed thoughts, ideas, and prejudices we tend to gather as we walk. These thoughts or ideas either turn us into persons having a closed mindset or judgmental. Neither it helps us on a personal note nor solves the purpose of our creation, that is being an instrument for God towards the fellow human.

So what should we do? How should we help ourselves to be more useful for the sole purpose of our creation? My answer to this question is – GO THROUGH A PROCESS OF UNLEARNING.

Unlearning every thought that tells me I am better than others, unlearning the prejudice I have that people should revolve around me, unlearning the very idea of I should stay self-sufficient without bothering about what is happening in my neighborhood. The days have changed after the onset of the Pandemic. And it is high time that we get rid of this mindset of revolving around our own set rules for life.

When I look at my completely shaven head today, I see a blank slate of my life and feel happy that I am ready to learn afresh without having any preoccupied ideas or prejudices about people and their life. As new hair starts growing on my head, I will learn things that are new and something very different than what I have never experienced before in life. And I know, I need to unlearn from all that I have previously before being active on what I want to do afresh this year onward.

How about you? Are you ready to shave off and unlearn along with me? Then don’t have second thoughts to it, just do it.

Stay Blessed!!!

IN SEARCH OF MYSELF

On the 365th day of the year looking back I wonder what major achievement did I have this year.. can’t think of anything spectacular…  I survived that’s my achievement. I could manage to somehow stumble through this maze of the physical, mental,  financial, emotional onslaught of Covid.

But looking back I noticed one thing. I have somehow lost my essence in this whole struggle. It is as if I have put myself on hold somewhere, in the wait for things to normalize once again.

I have come to realize this is not how it works. We can’t stop living our life fully in wait for circumstances to improve. Things have changed and will keep changing. Times will be good and bad. But we need to keep on living not just surviving.  Keep on making memories. This time once gone is not going to come back ..

In 2022 I hope to find myself again. I need to drop this cloak of being a ‘bechari‘ (poor me) a victim of circumstances. I am going to find myself again. Take me out of this endless round of chores at home and work and gain some new experiences.

I am leaving behind the feeling of helplessness and melancholy in 2021. Looking forward to writing more, learning new skills, experiencing life more not just in front of the screen.

I know it’s too ambitious but kuch to ho hi jayega (Something should happen). At least the intentions are there, the search begins.