Monday, 21 August 2017

When I Look Up at the Sky

WhI look up at the sky, I feel significantly small. Significant enough to make an impact yet small in this vast world that we call our own, yet smaller in this multiverse.

It's an humbling experience.

To learn that billions of us of different races, ethnicity, countries, genders, ideas share the same sky. That we all are so different from one another but yet the same. 

To understand that we are not alone.

To know that there is a world out there to explore.

To realise that there is a universe out there to figure about our origin.

I'm in awe.

To see how differently shaped clouds float together in the bright blue sky in such unison.

To be able to look when the sky is beautifully painted with the hues of sunset.

To see how the sky gets dark and  how the stars show up one by one until the sky is nothing but a blanket full of diamonds.

To be showered in the silvery hazy glow of the moon. 

To feel an ineffable notion within me, that makes me feel right at home, that longs to go back to its roots.

as I continue to look up in amazement, gaze at the infinity and ask the most important questions.

To ponder about my place in this wondrous universe.


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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Inner Monologue of a Writer on a Hiatus

I did it again.

I took a blogging hiatus.

I can't write anymore. Words that were typed seamlessly, now struggle to leave my mind.

I stare at my computer screen for hours, my mind brimming with unstructured thoughts and then,

I type. I try to let out but I end up deleting it all.

No, it's not a writers block.

  • I have hundreds of stories to narrate to you, countless lessons that I have learned to share with you.

No, it's not the lack of time.

  • For what I believe, people make time for something that is important to them.

What is it then, Sakshi?

I ask this question to myself repeatedly. I don't know if those are valid reasons or just lies that I tell myself to convince my naive heart.

"Ah! I can't be a technical person with a creative mind"
I would say, as my fingers moved swiftly across the keyboard while I code.

"There is a fine line between my life and what I share"
Forgetting how writing is to be vulnerable.

"I am not able to write how I used to"
You haven't been writing in a flow since months, almost years. It's going to take some time for you to get you in the groove. Do you remember your first blog post? I would have laughed it off, if I read it now. But, you got your first 3 followers that day. Are you going to give up even before you try?

"The blogging community is not what it used to be"
Now you're just finding reasons to not write.

Sakshi, no one is stopping you to write except yourself.

I miss writing.

Every day, it pains me like a goddamn needle prick in my heart knowing I'm losing an essential part of me.

..but here I'm today.

I have decided to believe in myself and start writing again.

I have decided to be a better writer than the day before.

I want to share my stories with you.

I want you to learn from my experiences.

I want to build us a community where we help one another despite the distances.

That was and has been the only reason of why I write and will continue to.

I hope I'm back.

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Saturday, 1 April 2017

Phillumeny: Collecting Stories, One Matchbox at a Time!

I was a child, travelling in a train when I found this matchbox.

The first matchbox that caught my attention :)

Little did i know that this would be my first ever matchbox in my upcoming collection that I'll start to build in my teenage years.

a collector of matchbox or matchbook labels.

I am a phillumenist. I find it interesting how these little matchboxes stores such large stories. What started off as an inexpensive hobby for me, it turned soon into a gateway of understanding our history better. With over hundreds of matchboxes in my collection, I have noticed how there is a common theme that runs across all the designs on the pack. While tigers, elephants, roosters and bicycles are the most common ones, the diversity ranges from mode of transports, food items, historic monuments and deities of worship. All of them printed beautifully according to the era in which they were made, like a pretty intrinsic design on a tiny box! A piece of art.

I remember getting these as souvenirs while I travel to any part of the globe as I search for a local paanwala with my eyes glued to the window of my car to get a unique matchbox this time. And oh how the managers raised their eyebrows when I asked for a matchbox in a non smoking room in the hotel. My friend Pranjali, helping me in building up this collection in the summer break and my mom remembering all the boxes I still need. So many memories!

I don't understand why phillumeny isn't as popular as it should be. Just like stamps, it depicts the history of the era, stories and values that raises a society and hence are little treasures that serves as the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle when we look back in time. With the modern times, it only gets less popular which concerns me. I wished everyone can see with the same amazement as the seven year old me in the train.

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Thursday, 16 March 2017

How Our Shortsightedness is Ruining the Planet

Picture from Pinterest

We are myopic and I'm not only talking about our eyesight.

It's not only our eyes but our minds that are shortsighted. For the most part, people seem unable to understand how our longing for short term happiness affect us as a human or the planet in general in the long term.

Think about it, in smaller contexts. We will procrastinate on studying for an exam, we will find it easier to stay in home on a day to vote, we will deforest an area to build a community, we will fight wars for the most valuable commodity: oil that fuels our very existential lifestyle.

Rings a bell? Let me break it down for you.

Today, we are depleting what is left of the earth at a rate faster than ever before. We have managed to pollute the air and made air purifiers to sell, we loved bubble bath so much that we made lakes of toxic foam, land are deforested, our ecosystem is in a mess and yes, climate change is real.

"The ironic thing is that we are the only specie that has power to alter our environment immensely to make it unliveable and we are doing exactly that."

The most profound thing is to see the world changing in front of my eyes. I remember how my locality looked when I moved in here a decade ago. There were less houses, the sky was clearer to the point where it was my routine to stargaze each night, driving to the nearest restaurant was a fun outing and I did not feel suffocated. Fast forward to the present, my house is literally jammed with several other houses, the pollution in the city has been termed as one of the deadliest in the world. A 15 min drive is now an hour long, thanks to the never ending traffic and forget stars, I'm lucky if I even get to see the clouds in bright daylight.

We have cut down our trees only to build a concrete jungle to live in.


According to science, we have been wired to be shortsighted. We can only truly understand what we are able to experience, so the longest stretch of time that we are able to wrap around our head is approximately about 80 years, which is nothing relative to the time our earth has existed and will continue to do so. Having said that, we are great when it comes to micro managing our time in the present.

In the corporate world, all of our work is planned and scheduled down to the last minute. Preference is given to speed despite the accuracy and ah, how being busy is a blessing! This mentality has usher us to our downfall. 

Speedy is being greedy. You basically neglect planning and focus on short term gains instead of how it's going to affect in the long run. 

Cars are a population innovation but who would have thought that this human bubble would be capable of deforesting millions of acres to clear land for roads and highways, will lead countries for wars for oil and would emit nothing but only more cough cough smoke cough cough cough . This is a perfect example of how we didn't think about it before but kept on producing at an extend that there are now more cars than people in the world! Think about that.

It's sad to see how we are misusing our powers to destroy the only thing we have. 

Looking at the present situation, it's evident that a new source of energy is needed which is both clean and reliable and what is better than solar energy? Although setting up the solar panels is an expensive feat, the rewards reaped are immeasurable. 

Another important thing is how we dispose our waste. It's important to ensure that we as corporates don't dump our toxins into the air or the sea where it contaminates the ecosystem in a way which is irreversible. Recycling should be the jargon and reusing, the common way of reducing most wastage.

Take a carpool to work, use more jute products, support your local communities and farmers by buying more fresh produce than relying completely from the supermarkets. These all are so small yet such significant steps when they add up.

We do not have to wait for our government to impose their eco friendly policies on us. Change starts from one of us. Although we tend to focus more on our own individual problems, the health of the planet is our responsibility. Each of us must work to pass on this beautiful planet to our future generations.

We are powerful enough to affect our fate, let's make it on a positive side.

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Monday, 2 January 2017

What Makes The New Year Special

 "Who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It's not a date on the calendar, not a birthday or a new year. It's an event, big or small, something that changes us." -Greys Anatomy

The chapter of 2016 has now been closed and the world is welcoming 2017 with wide open arms and watching the hype of the new year's eve around me made me question its existence.

What does the new year signify other than a fresh beginning on the calendar?

A sense of hope.

The thing that makes the new year special is our belief of closing a chapter behind us. It provides a sense of closure to whatever mistakes we made and a false sense of hope of a new beginning to tell us that we have a chance to make ourselves and our life better, a landmark, an opportunity to do the things that we always wanted to do. Hence, the ritual of creating new year resolutions.

So, the gym memberships reach to an all-time high during January only to get into its normal pace somewhere in April. The journal you wanted to keep writing is now forever kept in the closet and the books you promised to read is catching dust on the shelf, dying to narrate its story.

Why do we wait until the new year to make resolutions? If you're someone who plans to study at 6:00 and then later it happens to be 6:05 and then you plan again to study at 7:00, you're a serious procrastinator. The same applies to someone who plans a change on Monday (hence, waiting a week) and the most serious ones are those who wait until the new year (new year, new me).

Image may contain: text
Image by Buzzfeed

Do you remember when you fought back your fears and gave that presentation in school/college? When you realized, you had enough and cut out those toxic people from your life? Or even the time you finally passed even when you thought you never would. That mostly didn't happen on new year's, that didn't even on a special occasion because life doesn't work that way.

 The new year marks the beginning on the calendar, for us to measure the span of time and seasons. You don't need a calendar to decide when should you change. Every day, every moment is a fresh beginning and the sooner you realize this, the sooner things get better.

Procrastination destroys and absolutely demolishes your dreams.

So, don't wait for magical dates on the calendar, promise yourself that whenever you need to make a change in your life, you'll work towards making it then and there. The ability to transform yourself into your best goddamn self will require efforts each single day.

Don't wait for magical dates to happen, create your own. 2017 is here, ensure to make each day count.

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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Stop trying to profit on my insecurities!

Today a lady tried to sell me a beauty product in her way and it did not go well.

Comic by: Alenka Doodleline

Over my blogging years, I have received many emails, mainly from teenage girls asking my advice on various topics: ranging from high school, academics, blogging and self-doubt. The last one led me to write a post called "Pretty is not always beautiful". As someone who used to face it, I thought that this applied only to teenage girls as they are still trying to figure themselves and the world around them but now two years later, I see that the entire society is plagiarized by this infectious disease.

My conversation with the lady went somehow like this:

Lady: "Madam, which face cream do you use?"
Me: "Umm...XYZ. Why?"
Lady: "Uhh, XYZ is such a sham. You should try our new product, it will help brighten the dark patches under your eyes and keep the glow in your face intact that comes in your 20s.
Me: "No, thank you", walks away almost instantly never to look back.
This made me think about the way in which these companies try to sell their products and I realized that the beauty industry more than any other, thrives on our insecurities. Protect yourself from the sun or you'll get tanned. Oh, you did. Well, here is our whitening cream. Your skin starts aging in your 20s, apply the anti-aging serum. Lose weight in 2 weeks. Make your legs seem taller in these jeans. Day cream, night cream. Under eye cream, hand cream, foot cream, cuticle oil. There is not a single part of our body, they don't have something to sell for.

I don't have any problem with the people buying these products. I believe, there is a personal preference and it should be respected but I think society has pressurized the female sex a lot more than their male counterparts to look in a certain way.

I'm worried about the teenage girl who believes when the lady tells her that she is ugly because she has dark circles and acne. For the young lady yet in her school who is taught that hair on her body makes her a man. For the young girl out there, who believe that she'll become more attractive if she attains the zero figure by starving themselves. For the woman who believes that she needs to be Fair and Lovely for marriage proposals. For the grandmother, who believes that her wrinkles and gray hair have made her lose her charm. For the newly mother who think that her post-baby weight has made her fat.

No. Fuck all of this.

Your skin tone doesn't define who you're. You need to embrace your child bearing hips.Your dark circles, wrinkles, and grays tells a story. It's a privilege that not everybody gets.

I'm blessed to be comfortable under my own skin but I would be lying if I tell you that there isn't a day when I don't like my body. Sometimes, I do wish for a flatter stomach or hope that my dark circles go away magically. But I have attained that point of beauty nirvana where I can brush off them quite easily. Over the years, I have realized that all of this is just skin deep and it never matters in the long run and one day someone will love you for who you're and tell you that you're the most beautiful human in the world and you'll believe it. You should.

You're beautiful. Don't let the society make you believe otherwise.

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Monday, 26 September 2016

Coffee and Conversations

Beautiful artwork by:

I'm writing this down as I take in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee beans against the backdrop of the "coffee shop buzz", the beautiful mosaic of conversations combining together: hope, dreams, life , laughter, fear and love of people who are strangers yet so familiar. 

I sip in my favourite cup of coffee which disturbs the white foam swirled around the cup, oh so delicately. Coffee is my guilty pleasure and I can't stop myself getting back for more.

At this moment, I feel blissful to be in this coffee shop which is bustling with life. 

Coffee shops are a place where you can have the most meaningful, intense and deep conversation either with your mates or with yourself. It's like an urban getaway but only so much better.

The lights are low and touches everyone with such elegance. The oversized armchairs are cozy and embracing to dive into. The jazz music alongside the buzz is one of the most beautiful music I have ever listened to, a sudden thought shouts back at me: "people are beautiful if you let them be".

I spent hours thinking about life and its ways, the society, the people and the ways to impact all of them positively as the cup of coffee in my hand reached its last drop, I took a ballpoint pen and wrote down a message on the tissue paper, hoping someone will read it after I left.

"You're great and you'll do greater things! I believe in you", it said.

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bring back the night sky

"I would like to invent spectacles that could eliminate the light pollution reaching our eyes so that I can watch the stars without disruption", I replied after being asked an idea for my innovation in the entrepreneurship class.

My teacher smiled and the rest of the class was followed by him reminiscing of how beautiful the sky looks back at his village.

Since decades, the night sky has been a muse for poets, writers and philosophers. Humans have looked up at the stars in awe, questioning their existence and finding a relationship within the stars and the galaxies above. The wonderment of the pristine night sky has ensured that we remember our true place in the universe.

Stargazing has helped me untangle so many of my life problems and has eased my 'writers block' several times. Sadly, living in a metropolitan city, I could never watch the night sky in its whole glory. Light pollution has deprived me and millions of people from the celestial treat up in the sky.

Image courtesy: Google Images

In most cities similar to mine, the sky is virtually empty of stars. Not only it mirrors our fear of the dark, it also leaves behind an orange haze, normally called the skyglow. This is artificially created due to the excess and unwanted lights been directed towards the sky. Light pollution is the result of poor lighting design which throws light up in the sky wherein it should illuminate the ground where it is truly needed. I can't stress enough on how much this has irked not only me but to everyone who has loved the night sky truly.

Skyglow at night (Google Images)

Our nights are vanishing.

Humans have a large well-maintained record for being greedy. As much we have accomplished over the years, we strive for more, to be and maintain at the top of the food chain. Darkness is mystifying, it's scary because of the unknown and the invention of white lights flooding and washing away the stars to create an eternal day eliminated this fear. The willful turning off and on the night by a mere flicking of the switch made us believe that we have mastered the universe.

But have we?

It's high time we act the intelligent species that we have evolved into. Humanity is about empathy. We need to stop being selfish and maintain the harmonious relationship between nature and us. We need to open our window to the universe.

We need to turn off the lights and bring back our stars!

Related post- Stargazing:Diamonds in the sky

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Brewing Chai: Why Indians love tea

As I was driving through the old streets of Delhi, I couldn't help but notice the number of chai-wallahs or tea vendors occupying their place in the vicinity. This made me think of how Chai is one drink that India cannot live without.

My mom has been in love with Chai for as long as I can remember. Saying that, the first thing she taught me in the kitchen was how to make a cup of piping hot ginger tea, the way she likes it. I remember how fascinated I was when I saw her brewing tea for the first time. She added some tea leaves and sugar in the water to boil along with spicy root ginger (which is a must in her tea) and then added milk to create a harmonious melody between them all. When I caught a cold or during the winters, she added some holy basil, cloves, cardamoms, black pepper and told me this will keep the cold at bay.

Chai or tea
You'll find this in every home

Like her, there are thousands of people where tea is a staple in the homes of India and no, I'm not talking about those people where they will prefer tea over other drinks occasionally. I mean, they need their cuppa at least once or more in a day. 

Tea is undoubtedly India's favorite drink and rightly so, this nation is the second largest producer of tea in the world after China. You go to visit any home in India, the first question is "Would you like some tea?." From the streets and corners, the railway stations having vendors shouting "Chai lelo Chaaaiiiii", the Assam tea near the foothills of the mountains, the Masala Chai, the Cutting chai, the 5-star tea, the Kulhad (red clay cups) chai, the Kehwa, the Kashmiri sheer tea, the Ginger tea to the modern favorite Green tea. This nation runs on Chai! 

Different types of tea
Different types of Chai

My mother used to brew tea and hand it to me while I was preparing for my boards in class 12th as I studied late at night. An energy booster that is, this memory will forever stick with me along with how I used to help her out as a kid. Does this make it so special here? Making and recreating these memories from generations to generations as it evokes emotions each time it is sipped with a loud nostalgia sigh later. 

Whatever it is, tea has been conditioned into our system now. It's a part of the nation, an integral part that is. For the rest of us, the monsoons are here. Let's have some hot chai and pakodas, will you?

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Friday, 26 February 2016

Choosing 'Happiness'

It's not a secret that I took a longer hiatus than planned. Over this period, life took a toll on me and I was pretty uncertain about what the future has to offer. Without boring you with the details, let's just say that the time was unkind to me and I wasn't as happy as I should be.

The word 'happiness' is quite misinterpreted.

It is often referred to the idealistic goals that the society set up for us. When asked, people often reply that they will be happy when they have a certain amount of money, property, assets, fame, friends or family and in this process, they fail to realise that you need nothing but yourself to be happy.

As cliche it sounds, you have to create happiness yourself.

When we make these assumptions that we will be happy after we achieve something, it restricts us to not enjoy the current moment because we are busy creating the ideal world that will never satisfy our greed.

One of the greatest thing that I learned during this phase was how important it is to live in the present moment, something we refer to as 'mindfulness' and how life provides us with numerous opportunities where we should make a choice considering our happiness as a factor.

We say that decision making is tough and yet we do it all the time no matter how big or small it is without even paying attention. From the choice of getting up from your bed and going to work in the morning to doing the chores in your everyday life, you do not even realise the number of if-else statements your brain executes (hehe, sorry for the geek reference).

Choosing what to wear, where to hang out or the bigger things like planning to start a family or working at your job, we have to make decisions. Sometimes we do it on our will, sometimes we let fate decide the future for us and the rest of the times, we let fear conquer us.

Fear paralyzes us and it does rightly so because we allow it to. When you tell your mind that the fear can go and find someone else, you'll end up living the life you always envisioned and that my dear friend is the greatest gift you can give to yourself.

This changed my entire perspective and I started making decisions with mindfulness, choosing decisions that will make me happy in the current moment...

...and this has made all the difference.

I want you to ask yourself what makes you happy and if you're doing a lot of it?

If not, let this be your wake-up call. 

As always, I would love to hear your views on the same :)

Related: Happiness comes in small packages

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Is the grass greener on the other side?


"You have such an amazing life. I wish I could be like you."

I have heard so many people saying this to me since the last one year that it is insane to even think how much people misjudge people.

Why is it that everyone thinks that the other person is happier or has less problems than them?

Why is the grass always greener on the other side?

Is it the manure of the hard work

or the sunshine of luck?


Or maybe the grass is of the same color and you're just blinded with self-pity.

Humans are never satisfied with what they have. They constantly peek into the other person lives and assume that they have the brighter side. They would constantly stalk their old friends on Facebook and look at the life of others which would make you question yourself on how they are leading a successful life while having fun where as you're spending your Saturday night in your PJs eating cold Pizza and stalking them.

You can see the flaws very clearly standing in your own garden but it is very difficult to see the rough brown patches of the other garden from here. No one has a perfect life. It might seem so to an outsider but once you go there and introspect in detail, you'll realize that it is far from what you thought it was.

You have no idea what happens behind those fences. We all wear masks and some people are really good at wearing them than others. We don't want to show the society how hard it is and how unhappy we are. Instead we show them the tiny happy bits of our lives and magnify it to a large extend which other people acknowledge as more happier and successful.

But even if they're successful and happy, you shouldn't be jealous because in this process we often forget how much amount of effort they might have taken to get there.  Haven't we all? Look back and see how far you have come in life and so did they. Calling them lucky is no justification because luck only favors those who work hard.

Good things don't come to those who wait, you have to go and earn it.

So instead of checking out your neighbors garden, work out on yours.

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Thursday, 30 July 2015

I love when it rains

Rain in the streets b/w
A greyscale day out in the rain

In the middle of my stargazing session last night, the stars were soon shadowed by dark-bellied clouds. The moon that shone so bright was now nowhere to be seen. The breeze had a cold, humid feel to it while it played with my hair. Eventually, it began to rain.

I stopped doing everything and stood there.

As a child, I have always played in the rain. Whenever the clouds turned dark and the thunder was heard, I used to run outside and dance in the rain until it stopped. That was my moment of ecstasy.

Somehow over the years, the rain did not amuse me. Rain then meant inconvenience in all phases. It meant humidity, it meant flooding of the streets, it meant traffic on the roads, it meant the difficulty to walk my dog and in all this I began to detest rain.

Until yesterday, when I made my 10-year-old self happy by just standing there and looking at the rain. I looked above and felt the cool water of heaven tingling my bare face as it seeped down only to make my clothes cling tighter to my skin. I jumped and danced with the breeze whooshing past me. I love rain and will continue to all my life.

The rain has always captivated me. It's been my romantic inspiration or just my excuse to be closer to nature. I'm a pluviophile. 

Let me tell you why....

The darkness of the sky is beautiful. I don't quite understand why rains are termed as gloomy. It's a symbol of rejuvenation as the world around us turns a little greener and a little brighter. 

The 'after rain' scent. Oh my, can I talk about that for a second? I wish that scent can be bottled up in some ways. I love that scent of wet mud in the air when it rains.

The sound of the rain on my windowsill is such a soothing music to write or sleep. It's cozy and comforting to hear.

And yes, the rainbow. The last time I saw a rainbow, I was aged 6. I still remember that day when I saw that beautiful scene in the sky with my cousin. We both were kids and we were astonished to see such a sight. I still yearn for that same innocence, that amazement we all hold as children.

Growing up, we lose this excitement for little things and get lost in the bigger picture. We stop being happy because we stop doing the things we love. We get into the monotony of routine and kills the child in us. 

When was the last time you did something your 10-year-old self would be happy about?

Last night, I did and was lost in the magic.


Read a similar post: Happiness comes in small packages

Read more posts on rain: Rain Memoirs and Taste Of Rain

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Monday, 27 July 2015

The Women In Rural India

I met this beautiful lady in the fields of Rajasthan. Her story inspired me to write this poem. It's a shame to see such contrast in a country which aims to be at the developed stage. Change the mentality of the citizens and the country will progress.

O the women in rural India,

You're strong and responsible,
making your way through all obstacle,
an inspiration to many, 
I'm surprised how they don't realize your importance already.

Cursed when born,
instead of celebrating everybody scorns,
your mother is called a sinner to bear a girl in her womb
the pencil in your hand is replaced by a broom.

To them educating you is a waste of money
the same cash would go to your dowry,
married away at such a young age
you're now trapped in an another cage.

You're now expected to multiply
having even more to satisfy,
beware, don't bear a girl child
else your in-laws would get wild.

Still, you bear the torch of ever burning flame
making your own destiny, having no one to blame,
you help your husband in earning the bread
so your children can always stay ahead.

O you women in rural India
you're an inspiration to many, 
I'm surprised how they don't realize your importance already.

Also in the poetry series: The Princess Warrior

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