Category: happiness

A DIY perfect day

A DIY perfect day

If you were given the choice to put together a perfect day for yourself what would the ingredients be? 
I’m not talking about special days – weekends, holidays, birthdays, celebrations – not those. I’m talking about that regular, routine day. What would go into making it perfect? 

What are the things that make you happy everyday?

When I was working I used to buy one single rose for my hostel room everyday on my way back home and that was the perfect ending to my day. It could be something like that. It could be meeting your daily deadline at work. If work’s not really happening maybe it’s the daily lunch with office pals you look forward to. Or maybe a glimpse of your office crush :-).
Or it could be turning in a decent piece of writing, publishing a blog post, reading hundred pages of a book or watching your favourite soap at the end of the day. It could be anything that’s part of your routine and that makes you feel really happy and/or accomplished.

Of course you have to cross out things you cannot control

For instance you cannot say, ‘Not seeing that colleague I detest’ but you can include, ‘Not getting into an argument with that colleague I abhor’. Just like I cannot include ‘The kids  going off to school without an argument’. However, I can include ‘Not yelling at the kids in the morning’.
Are you getting the idea?
For me the very basic ingredients of a perfect day would be:
1. A good night’s sleep
Like I’ve said before this plays a huge role in beginning my day well.
2. An hour of exercise in the morning and another 15-30 minutes in the evening
The morning exercise gets me my endorphins for the day and those 15 – 30 minutes in the evening get me a good night’s sleep and also serve as a reminder of my continued pledge towards good health.
3. A half-hour decluttering.
I’m not obsessive about cleaning but I’m not fond of clutter either. So a half-hour clearing up makes me work better and feel happier.
4. One complete piece of writing. addition to whatever assignments I have for the day. This one’s important. It adds meaning to my day.
5. Healthy eating through the day.
Well, obviously. Healthy meals are a definite check for me. For someone else it might be that single sinful chocochip cookie, and that’s fine too.
6. At least half an hour of leisure time with the children. 
This does not include the morning hours or study time or the time I spend sorting disagreements. This is the time we spend talking or reading or making something together.
So there: those are the essentials that make me feel accomplished and happy at the end of a day. If I manage to tick them all off – well then, I have my perfect day. 
That list keeps me focussed. Of course there are days I cannot get it all done – when assignments spill over or the maid decides to stay home. But even if I manage most of them most days it isn’t too bad.
It’s worth a shot to try to make each day perfect rather than living for weekends. Or hanging about, waiting for a holiday to come by. After all it is these mundane-everydays that make up most of our lives. Makes sense, then to try to make ‘everyday’ perfect, isn’t it?

What do you think? What would your perfect-everyday list look like?
Picture Credit: Pixabay.
The best sound in the world

The best sound in the world

You know what’s the best sound in the world? The sound of laughter. And if it is that of a loved one it is even more precious.
As I sat in my room working at my laptop the other day, I heard my parents laugh out loud at something they were watching on the television in the other room. It brought an unwitting smile to my face, just like the sound of H and N’s laughter does, although in the second case there is also a degree of relief :-).
I love the sound of my parents’ laughter because it transports me to my childhood, to days of endless giggles and noisy arguments. My father would complain sometimes – ‘You make enough noise for ten people’, he would tell us. ‘We’re alive, that’s why’, my mom would retort. Over the years he pretty much got used to it and came to put up with our racket cheerfully.
I love to hear them laugh because it reminds me what a boisterous family we are and that perhaps that’s where H and N get their noisiness from. It’s definitely not from the Husband’s side! It reminds me then, that I really have no business to complain, that I should be more patient with them.
My parents’ laughter speaks of the wonderful camaraderie they share despite being complete opposites. I listen to them quibbling and then settling down with their books. I hear them discussing Rekha’s biography which mum is reading. Then as the news comes on their conversation becomes even more animated and veers to Akhilesh and Mulayam Singh Yadav. They’ve come a long way since when they first met in German class. I love how their interests have merged over the years, though my mum still draws the line at cricket.
I love their laugh because it reassures me that they are happy and healthy. It speaks of their spirit that the aches and pains of age have failed to dampen. I can already see my mum raising her eyebrows at the word ‘age’ as she asks, ‘Who’s old here?’.

They left last week but I still hear their laughter ringing in my ears  and I am grateful.
Picture credit : Pixabay
Notes from a happy mom

Notes from a happy mom

This weekend has been frustrating and rewarding in equal measure. I was in the middle of penning a post on the frustrating bits when I stumbled upon this post from Kreative Mommy . It was such a happy idea that I dumped all my grumpiness and decided to go with it. I thought this was a great way to get back after my hiatus.
Despite the tussles that are characteristic of the tween years, growing kids can be a lot of fun. The conversations become more meaningful, the sharing more rewarding, the hugs more precious.
So here are some of my happy mommy moments.
When I hear the children singing and giggling together.
The songs are becoming increasingly unfamiliar but I love the sound of their togetherness – truly is the happiest sound ever.
When H smothers me in a bear hug, which he can do since he is almost as tall as I am, and then he tries to lift me off the ground, which he obviously cannot because I still win hands down in the weight category!
When N says, “You look pretty mama” in her rather woman-to-woman voice. 
Our taste in clothes are way different and I am definitely not looking forward to the arguments that the future has in store for us but for now a thumbs up from her in the fashion department is a big deal.
When they say they love my cooking.
I’m a no-good cook so the fact that they like my cooking is a constant source of amazement to me and amusement for the rest of the family.
When H does something goofy and N shakes her head in this very grown up way and exchanges a look with me that says, “Boys!!”.
When N surprises me with a cup of really good ginger tea – just the way I like it. 

When knowledge excites them and they run to share it with me like they’ve discovered something miraculous, “Did you know sloths are so slow algae grows on them.” 
For the record, No I didn’t know that.
When H does his ballerina impersonation. Of course he’ll kill me (or sue me) for revealing this one but it is the cutest ever.
Do share your happy mommy moments in the comments or, if you blog too, join the linky.
Thanks Kreative Mommy for this nudge. It made me realise how happy the twins make me – something I tend to forget when they’re driving me up the wall.
A gratitude post

A gratitude post

There’s something peculiar about how time flies between posts. I checked back and realised almost three weeks had gone by since I last wrote. Going through my posts I also realised I have been sounding upset and angry and overworked.. which is true to some extent, however it’s not like I haven’t had my happy moments. And so today I shall try to count my blessings.

Here are 10 things that made me happy and/or grateful.

1. The Husband came home after a harrowing time at the Chennai floods with scary tales of being stranded without food (that he’s a diabetic made it worse) yet also with heartwarming stories of strangers lending a helping hand. A man on the road lent him his phone to call us (since his died out), a small kiosk owner lent him money (because the ATMs were all down) and another one got him food. It was amazing how adversity brought out the best in so many people.
That’s definitely something to be grateful for.
2. My relationship with the gym has seen more misses than hits these last few months. However I’ve managed to include a walk most mornings. That it is in the company of some good friends and great conversation makes it something I truly look forward to. 
3. And the days I do manage to go, for a Zumba session that one hour is without fail the happiest hour of my day.
4. At a function in our apartment complex H and N put up a performance together and did pretty well. That’s reason to rejoice – not that they did it well but that did something TOGETHER without absolutely killing each other. They recited an edited version of the TV poem from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory –  a most delightful read.
5. Another happiness comes from the Book Club which is back on it’s feet. Despite having a million things on my mind, I’ve managed to keep it going simply because that one hour with the children makes me happy. It’s a bit of a struggle but is completely worth it. 
6. I got some long pending chores done all on my own. I won’t go into what they were (mind numbingly boring stuff mostly, including painting the house) but I did get successively happier with each tick on the to-do list.
7. The next happiness is courtesy my daughter. N has been on a good behaviour streak for some time now (even as I write this I feel I’m jinxing it) and that’s been a source of happiness and gratitude. An evening spent struggling with her homework all on her own is a tiny miracle for a reluctant academic like her.

8. The husband’s absence these past few months made me handle chores which were essentially ‘his’ territory and he was duly impressed even though I’ll had to hit him on the head to make him admit it. But he knows. And I know that he knows and He knows that I know that he knows… so it’s a yay!

9. Holidays are round the corner and I am beginning to feel all Christmasy and holidayee. I hear carols around me and the kids have put up the Christmas tree already. Good things are round the corner, I’m sure.

10…. And lastly, finally finally I managed a post.

There! Those are the things that made up my happiness. Your turn now – tell me what made you happy.
Putting the cheer back in Diwali

Putting the cheer back in Diwali

I was chatting with friends a few days back and I found myself saying with a sigh, ‘I wish Diwali was already over. It’s a bit of a pain, right?’ And that friend replied, ‘Not really. I like Diwali, it’s fun.’ It might count that he was a ‘he’, wasn’t a mum, wasn’t even married for that matter. But the thing that struck me was, ‘Hey! I used to think like that. When did Diwali become a drag for me? When did I stop missing putting out the diyas, doing up the house, dressing up in new clothes?’

Me the Scrooge

It happened slowly, over the years, ever so slowly that I didn’t notice. It happened when all of that became a compulsion. I’ve shared how I felt many times here on the blog. I even took Lakshmi ji to task. Jokes apart, Diwali to me had come to mean loads of cleaning, wading through crazy crowds, trying to drive bargains and draining out my bank account handing out those bonuses.

However, that’s not what festivals are supposed to be about right? Well, they are, but they are more about being happy and excited and content and about spreading cheer and making everyone happy while also being happy yourself. 
So this year I decided I’d put the cheer back into my Diwali. I needed to, specially since The Husband might not be home this time. The key, I realised, is to lower expectations and do more fun stuff with the kids. It helps immensely that at 8 years they are older and a little less of a pain. (I cannot believe I just said that!!)

So I drew up a ‘Will’ and ‘Won’t’ list for myself. Take a look.

I won’t

Dive into closets and lofts for that once a year cleaning.
Trawl the old city for the best idols, the ‘different’ diyas, the cheapest bargains.
Worry myself sick about visitors.
Try to clear up the kids’ cupboards or their room (Whew! Such a load off, already).
Go ballistic yelling at them to clear up either.
Try to keep a democratic approach with them (This one is HARD).
Try to say ‘Yes’ to them as much as possible. (I have good friend Shailaja to thank for this tip).

I Will

Put out fresh (not necessarily new) covers.
Put up the pretty stuff I’ve bought for Diwali.
Order gifts online.
Paint diyas with the kids.
Try new crafts with them.
Have a few festive foods like the mandatory Yam (So we don’t turn into chhuchhundars in the next life!) and a simple sweet like a kheer or the super easy atta laddoos which we make together.
Buy lots of sweets.

Hand over the bonuses with a smile and without a grudge because the people around me do make my life simpler and happier.
The list comes with a word of caution to myself:
– The house will not be as clean as I would like it to be or as it used to be
– The food will not be as elaborate
– The gifts will not be as glorious

The democratic approach

Starting from there we’ve spent the past few days happily cleaning up TOGETHER. 

The kids made out lists of things they would do and the things they wanted me to do for them. They allocated cleaning one small area (a drawer, one shelf of a cupboard) each day to themselves. H even included ‘not trouble N’ in his list! Now that’s a time-saver if ever there was one. Their lists for me were, of course, much longer (buy crackers, help us paint diyas) but that was fine.

Our fun times

Since painting diyas was top of the list, that’s what we started off with. Midway through it N wanted a dance break so we put on some LOUD music and she danced. Then we got back to work. After a while she wanted to invite her friend over. And we did just that.

We tried making jam jar lanterns for which we’d been saving for some time. After a few mishaps they turned out fine. Take a look.

Here’s what we did..

We pasted cello tape. Then painted them with fevicol, then applied powder glitter. We intended to peel off the tape later but we couldn’t find the tape and ended up peeling off much of the glitter. So next time we left the ends clearly visible. Like this…

… and then peeling it off was a cakewalk.

We stuck on some sequins and ended with some ribbon and gota. All we need now is for some candles to go in and we’re done.

And we tried some damage control. We pasted kite paper hearts on the really bad ones. Once the candle lights it up, we’re hoping it’ll look just as good as the others.

Then we wondered what to do with the bottle caps. So we made them into tea-light holders.

This was easy. And here’s a tip: Use a toothpick to pick up the tiny sequins. Once the kids got a hang of it, it was fun.

To our surprise and happiness they even floated on the water so now we have ended up making floating candles! Yay!

There’s a few days to go for the big day and we’ve had a relatively peaceful time. We still have some more things in mind which we might try out. But I’m not pushing it.

So what would your ‘Will-Do-Won’t-Do’ list look like? Of course it might be completely different from mine. If you love cooking that’ll feature big time or if you love to shop, city shops might be fun. The thing is to list and prioritise. 

Happy Diwali!!

Come join a set of fabulous bloggers sharing their Diwali moments , easy Crafts, DIY ideas, Recipes and book recommendations with you .

Starting from today till Diwali and beyond, each one of us will be writing a post related to Diwali.
Participating blogs

So sit back, relax and check out all the fabulous Diwali Dhamaka posts from the participating blogs in the linky.

Link in your Diwali posts here

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