4 life lessons I learnt from my cat

A fine balancing act

That’s Pepo, my adorable furry friend. She adopted us on 15 July 2009, and has been a constant source of entertainment for us ever since. In addition to entertaining us, she also strives to teach us mere humans some lessons, cat style!

  1. Act first, think later: Pepo’s a house cat, which means she spends hours watching birds through the window.  In this picture, she’s clambered up onto the top of the window, near the ceiling, and after having her fill of bird watching, is looking for a way back down. She knows one of us will come get her!
    Translated to us humans: Just do it! Don’t think. The more you think, the more reasons you can give yourself to not do something to break out of your comfort zone. Act and trust in the universe, things will almost always work out — 99.99% of the time!
  2. Want something? Be cute: One of Pepo’s favorite things to do is to go out on to the balcony and drink water or sit on the ledge and watch the world go by. Since she’s a house cat, these excursions are under supervision. So, once we are back from work, her first request, nay demand, is to be taken out. The best way to get her demand met? Be cute!
    Translated to us humans: When you want to be recognized for the work you do, you need to move out of the mindset of letting your work speak for yourself — you need to focus on building strong relationships with your managers. It doesn’t mean you have to suck up to them, but small talk, going along with their plans, and problem solving as much as possible wouldn’t hurt.
  3. When I’m playing football, I’m Ronaldo!: Yes, Pepo plays football…with balled up paper…and when she’s playing, she’s Christiano Ronaldo incarnate! Focused, quick, nothing but the game matters – not food, not going out, nothing!
    Translated to us humans: Focus, hard work and perseverance will help you achieve any goal. The best way I’ve found to stick with it: write your goals, break them into baby steps, reward yourself for every milestone achieved, don’t beat yourself up for missing a target – analyze what went wrong, fix it, and go for it again!
  4. Sleep above all else: The amount of time Pepo spends sleeping can leave you amazed! On weekends, she sleeps, eats, plays, sleeps, plays, sleeps…you get the drift, right?
    Translated to us humans: (1) You need downtime baby! There’s no way you can go on and on and on, working, running the house, looking after everyone else before yourself. Make some “me time” — meditate, go get a manicure, watch a movie or grab lunch with a friend…something, anything, that is only for you!
    (2) There may be times when we wish we had 48 hrs in a day, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon — can you imagine a 16 hr work day? Yuck! The best way to be productive — plan, focus, and ensure you get adequate shut eye, or your body’s going to rebel on you, and then you won’t be able to get anything done!

Has your furry friend taught you any life lessons?

A new start

Happy Party People Toasting Cheers Holding Cha...

Happy new year!
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Here’s a toast to new beginnings and happy endings…to love and life and joy…to a brand new year…a fresh slate…Happy 2011!

This year will be a fresh start for me – the first Monday of the year is the day I started a new job! The first day was…boring…joining formalities, paper work, the system wasn’t ready, and when it was, I had no access to emails.

It appears, though, that work will start almost immediately – as soon as I have access to email that is – which is good, I guess. It also sounds like there will be a constant flow of work, which I don’t mind, except for the fact that I am the only editor there, so I don’t know how vacation time will work out. I guess all that I can do is to wait and watch.

It was a bit strange today, though, to not go to my old workplace, and I missed all of my colleagues and friends there. That’s the worst bit about changing jobs – and this was a move I made after four years – the longest I’ve spent at a company!

I look forward to a fruitful working environment, though, and hope that things work out well. Wish me luck!

How did your new year start?

The world's most photographed cat

As you read this post, I will be on my way away from this maddening city…escaping to the sandy beaches of Rishikesh for some rest and relaxation. Three days away from work and home, to rest and recuperate along the banks of the River Ganga seems to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

While I’m away, though, I thought you’d enjoy seeing some pictures of the world’s most photographed cat, Pepo! 😉


Put your hands together for this lazy lil cat…


…her favorite position — curled up into a ball of fluffiness…

…as she looks out at you from under one paw…

….or reclines on her favorite chair by the balcony door.

She can be stern when she thinks the humans aren’t doing what she’s asking (or demanding) them to do…


…and is intensely curious, just like yours truly…


…and she’s all mine (oh ok! and the husband’s!)

I'm grateful for…

Gratitude , The Tall Ships' Races, Szczecin 2007

Image via Wikipedia

  • A husband who gives me the freedom to be and who supports my decision to not have babies
  • The ability to enjoy “me” time, guilt free, without wishing the husband was with me or feeling guilty about ignoring my “wifely duties”
  • Friends who make me feel special
  • Pepo, who fills our life with joy (she’s our cat, not our baby, in case you’re wondering! ;))
  • Being able to laugh at myself
  • Not feeling my age – no, I’m not that old, but a lot of people I knew were depressed when they hit their 30s; I was excited to turn 30! 😀
  • Taking responsibility for my weight and making sure I work out at least 3-4 times a week (yeah, that’s a big deal for me, BIG!)
  • A loving and supportive family, who have been there for me always. They may not have always supported all that I did, but they came around to my point of view anyways!
  • Being in a secure and happy place – I do have the occassional mood swing, but overall, I’m happy with who I am and where I am

So, what are you grateful for?

This list post is part of the SITS Content is King challenge.

All the pretty gifts

Image via Wikipedia

Diwali is the season for hosting card parties! It’s the one time during the year when almost everyone gambles – the amount of money you’re playing with doesn’t matter, it can be as little as Rs. 5, what matters is the spirit of the game.

We hosted our first card party last night, and it was a smashing success. Though I was hyperventilating at the thought of all that needed to be done and organized, I managed to get the living room clean and clutter-free in an hour, brought out candles and diyas, floated some flowers in an earthenware pot, and the house was set to welcome our friends.

The night passed by so quick as we played, laughed, talked, ate and made merry. Before we realized it, it was 3:00 am, and grudgingly, we decided that it was time to say goodbye.

Yesterday night, as I was squaring things up a bit post all the revelry, I realized that I love hosting parties and entertaining. It’s a warm feeling that you get when you have friends over, laughing and having a good time, and even better when you get Diwali gifts! 😉

I got this lovely Tibetan evil eye that doubles up as a door knocker:

and this rice husk wall hanging for prosperity and a brass diya that can be either displayed as a showpiece or used in the temple at home:


What do you enjoy most about hosting get togethers at home?

It's the festival of lights!

Diwali, the festival of lights, is a prime fes...

Diwali diyas

Diwali is my absolute favorite festival. I love the lights, diyas, colors…just about everything associated with the festival.

The almost two weeks leading up to Diwali (it’s on 5th November this year) feel like holiday season. I took a day off work just to go to the Blind School mela, an annual ritual for the husband and me. They have a variety of stalls selling the most beautiful and unusal stuff, ranging from furniture to lamps, pottery to jewelery, and clothes to knick-knacks. From there, we headed over to the potters market near Sarojni Nagar to buy diyas (small earthenware oil lamps) and idols of Ganesh and Lakhsmi.  An entire day spent shopping, rounded off with dinner at Fez Dining, one of my favorite hangouts at Malcha Marg.


A potter at Dilli Haat

The atmosphere was festive, with people out doing their Diwali shopping and all the shops and malls and houses beautifully decorated with lights and lamps…I wish we could have at least 3 days off for the festival, but alas. All we get is the one day off for Diwali.

For those of you who don’t know much about the festival, here’s an overview of Diwali:


A still from Ramayana (animated 3D movie)

Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India.

The Times of India summed up the modern meaning of Diwali as follows:

Regardless of the mythological explanation one prefers, what the festival of lights really stands for today is a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple – and some not so simple – joys of life.

Diwali is known as the “festival of lights” because houses, shops and public places are decorated with diyas (these days fairy lights). The lamps are traditioanlly lit to help the goddess Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) find her way into people’s homes. They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends, which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama’s kingdom after 14 years of exile.

Wikipedia has an informative and detailed wiki on Diwali and if you like, you can read more about the different legends of Diwali as well.

What do you love about the festival of lights?

2 blogs, 1 girl, and limited time – help!

I’ve been wondering about something since a while now – I maintain two blogs – this here, my personal blog, and my photoblog, Shutterbug. The photoblog has a niche – photography and art – which I keep hearing is really important to building a successful blog. My personal blog is, well, personal! I write about a whole lot of stuff, though there are some dominant themes traveling, book reviews, spirituality and even photography. So, there is a definite overlap between the two blogs.

Then there’s the question of time. I work full time, so there’s a limited amount of time that I can spend on my building and promoting my blog. I’ve devoted most of my energies to building this blog up, and my photoblog is suffering as a result. It’s got a few readers and subscribers, but if you look at the stats, they aren’t too impressive.

I started it because I wanted to have a “portfolio” of my photographs. It was a very vague notion in my head, and I started it on a whim. (I had thought of quitting work and applying for a course in photography, but then dropped the idea as being rather impractical.)

Punto interrogativo ? Question mark?

Image by silgeo via Flickr

I can very easily merge the two blogs by changing the Friday Frame feature to a weekly one instead of doing it twice a month – that’s the frequency at which I post on my photoblog anyway.

What I’m wondering is:

  • Should I merge the two blogs
  • Maintain both blogs
  • Post the same picture both here and on my photoblog every Friday?

I don’t see the point in the last option, except to have it as a portfolio if I ever need or want one, as a place to chart my own progress maybe. But it’s so hard to ignore the stats! And I am so confused!

So, what do you think? Which of those three options should I chose? Or do you have another suggestion? I need ideas and help here, please!

What motivates you?


Image via Wikipedia

Ever wonder what motivates us to give our best at work? I know a lot of you will say “Money!” but that just might not be true.

Surprised? I was too.

Research has shown that the carrot and stick approach to performance enhancement works only when the job is a mechanical job. The minute it is a cognitive job, higher rewards = worse performance. Surprising, isn’t it?

To a certain extent, money is a motivator – If you don’t pay people enough, they won’t be motivated to work. But if you pay them enough that they don’t think about money, they are better able to focus on work.

So, what then, are our drivers?

  • Autonomy
  • Mastery
  • Purpose

Want to know more? Check out this really cool video that discusses just this.

So, what motivates you?

Love is…strong

Love is...not without its complicationsRelationships can be messy and complicated. There may even be times when we wonder what possessed us to get married in the first place. So when a friend recently asked me what makes my marriage tick, I had to think long and hard about the answer.

I’ve been married 8 years and knew the darling husband for 3 years before we tied the knot — that makes it 11 years with the same man. Wow!

If I said it was an easy journey, I’d be lying. If I said I was blissful every single day, I’d be lying. But I do know that I am truly blessed that we found one another. There are times when I can still get weak-kneed just looking at him…times when I marvel at the universe that brought us together…and yes, even times when I wonder how insane I was to have gotten married! But those are fleeting moments, generally brought on when I am really angry or frustrated with the husband — and those moments happen in every marriage.

So, what makes me feel like the luckiest woman alive when I wake up next to him every day?

The fact that, no matter how many fights we have, the core of our relationship —our bond — has grown stronger over the years. We can fight and argue and storm out of the house on each other, but at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, the love is very much alive and growing.

What is it that makes your relationship tick?


Here’s what my horoscope said for today:

A cat caught by surprise

Image via Wikipedia

You’re bound to feel creative today. Rather than engaging in something physically active, consider exploring your artistic side. Try your hand at painting, writing or a craft like floral arranging. Explore the essence of color and imagination.

Creative expression is not only a means to communicate with others but also with yourself. Take the time to learn more about this part of you. You may be surprised!

I almost fell out of my chair when I read it! I’ve been involved in creative tasks since morning, even before I read my horoscope for the day. I updated my photoblog, Shutterbug, and am busy designing a blog button for it since morning. It’s very rare for my horoscope to actually be this accurate, so I’m going to plan some creative time for later in the day too. It may be time for some photography or altered art this evening!

Have you experienced such synchronicity lately?