Tea December

'The situation is like the joints in a piece of bamboo: if one joint is ruptured, then all the joints will split.'

I have been doing my best to imbibe this spirit for quite a while, and I sit to write this post with a balance of gratitude and determination. After nineteen months of living precariously, in December (provided everyone pays up) I would have for the first time sustained myself and my family through my earnings as a writer. I entirely write what I am driven to (which rules out a lot of stuff), and for me, this is a big achievement. If there is one thing that has made it possible, it is the faith, patience, strength, support and love of my family.


There have been several breakthroughs in terms of blogging and writing, most of which I have shared with you here. These include blogging awards, traffic milestones, and of course, extremely heartening interactions with fellow bloggers. For those who are chancing upon this blog for the first time, you might enjoy my "Greatest Hits of 2012" post that I did recently. Back to the subject of this post.

In December, I witnessed the fruition of eight long years of planning to share my love for fine tea with the world. This is the first step towards my dream of – some would call it true welfare state, others would call it world peace and happiness – let’s say, humanity. It is, for those who have missed on my babble on this earlier, an online curated catalog of premium tea. It is the finest tea that you can lay your hands on, and this is just the beginning.

Greatest Hits of 2012

2012 has been a good year for me and my family, (I promise to do a post on that soon) and as I look back on my writing during the year, I feel sufficiently gratified. Sufficiently at least to live through the quizzical faces when I say I write, or when I say I do not have a business card, or when I say that I write in order to "save the world." Sufficiently for me to "keep at it." Bad luck for those who were hoping otherwise.


This time last year, I was excited about embarking on a fresh departure, trying to fulfill some of my longstanding dreams. What I did not know then was how much time, effort, and patience the journey would demand from me. What is amazing is that I have not regretted a single step of the way, that I have largely not been found wanting, and that I have not given up. To a large extent, this blog and readers like you have been responsible for that. Without your love and encouragement, I would not have had the courage to plod on. And if I have faltered, I beg forgiveness from six crore Gujaratis.

5 Ways to Practice Gratitude in an Insane World

As the "end of the world" descends upon us, I have begun dreading the morning papers. Every day brings stories of inhumanity and mayhem to my doorstep. You cannot avoid it anywhere, at the workplace, on social media or at the bus stop. It would appear that we have lost all perspective on what is normal and healthy and what is insane and sick. How do we keep the faith - in our society, in our governance, in our selves, in such times?

sandy hook funeral
Image from NBC website (msnbc.com)

It is my privilege to share with you a post attempting to answer this question written for Subho's Jejune Diet by Aarathi Selvan. A practitioner of holistic psychotherapy, Aarathi is also a "mommy blogger" at Between Life's Doings, one of the nicest blogs on mindfulness I have ever read. Over to +Aarathi Selvan 
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I live with the fact that the mental health services provided at my place of work can be against my philosophy of care. I also live with the reality of leaving my little one at home in the care of others who absolutely love her, while I work towards a better world for myself and others, and yet at the same time yearn for and miss her. I live with the knowledge that small children are shot dead and slit open in schools around the world. In a world that may look like it is going to pieces every day, in a life which seems to have more downs than ups, finding sanity, grace and peace seem like such an effort.

And an effort it is, to find peace, sanity and grace amidst life’s difficulties. Evolutionary psychologists will tell you that we are wired to look out for what is wrong in a situation rather than what is going well. Our survival depends of making sure that we scan for negative things in our circumstances. It is but natural to have that bent of mind then, to look at and focus on the negative side of life and life situation. However, Buddhist psychology seems to gently put our fears to rest. In the words of the Pema Chodron, this negative view of the world is merely "an innocent misunderstanding that we all share, something that can be turned around, corrected, and seen through, as if we were in a dark room and someone showed us where the light switch was."

The route to action, the route to looking at life with a balanced view, the way to look at my own circumstance without being bogged down by all that is negative around me, the way for me is through gratitude. Being grateful for the good in my life and being grateful for the difficult, miserable and hard things in my life. Gratitude helps me look back with a realistic lens that both good and bad have happened in my life, and I was able to find the “good” (e.g. My strengths as well as others’) within the “bad”. Gratitude also helps me look at right now with a view of mindful awareness of the “good” and “bad” in my situation. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology swears by gratitude as one of the most important tools to develop a happy life and to beat depression and anxiety, two of the oft occurring mental illnesses in the world.

Gratitude is a daily practice of being thankful for the gifts of life, for being thankful for both joys and sorrow that make us fully human. When you start a gratitude practice, the key is to partake in it every evening for two weeks at least (you will eventually get hooked). It is important to stick to it in order to gradually change the way our mind is bent towards focusing on the negative.

Decode My Grocery List

I went to bed late last night after losing my sleep over the shooting at Newtown. My day began with an online shopping experience that I thought deserved a post, to help me overcome the bitterness of our environment!

It was 7 a.m., still chilly. My groceries were delivered at my doorstep by a shiny pair of young men, neatly sorted (the items, not the men) into category wise trays, from an online order we placed a couple of days earlier, specifying this morning since we expected to run out of veggies by just about now. Accompanied by a categorized bill.


As a large number of you live in Hyderabad, you might want to try this out. They also service Mumbai and Bangalore. I ordered leafy greens and a small range of common veggies, along with some grains and staples and a few household articles, roughly enough for a week of eating. I did not have reason to order fresh livestock and dairy but which I would think would meet the quality requirements judging from my current experience. The products were all fresh, select, clean and neatly packed. The prices are comparable to local store prices and there are discounts and offers even on veggies. In many cases, their prices are lower than the lowest supermarket prices.

The Right to Make Copies

For those who are not accustomed to my obscure and annoying ways, a disclaimer. This post, though being written on the 28th anniversary of one of the most vicious violations of human rights, is not about the Bhopal tragedy. I used this disturbing image not just so that we do not forget about what arrogance can lead to but also because 1. it is not mine, but by a photographer called Pablo Bartholomew, and I am reproducing it without his permission 2. I believe that human tragedy is a lesson to learn from and 3. because this is the outcome of corporatization and commercialization of human knowledge - tragedy without accountability. This post is about reclaiming that which was always ours but has been stolen from us by the concept of mine.

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I get up in the morning, go through all the updated blogs of my friends, and make a list of facts and ideas that I can use for a post of my own. Sometimes, it works. At other times, it is frustrating, especially during blogging contest season, which in the recent past has been almost once a month. It is terrible to wake up and find everyone writing the same stuff. One of the good ones (in terms of copying) has been the recent ideas and outline for a real love story. This has everything that one can ask for. Many of the ideas are great, they are all supposed to be factual. A treasure-house for diligent copiers like me. Okay, I lie. Some of the ideas are great.

What about copyright and social boycott, you ask? That is there, but I cannot be any more socially boycotted than I already am, given my views on all things dear to most people, and as far as copyright goes, well, it goes. Here is a publishing house and a bloggers platform telling you to share your facts and ideas on your blog, taking care only to leave the climax out. Where is the problem if I use them? And for better or worse, I don’t need a lot of help with a climax. (Note to self: Post that love story before it shows up as someone else’s idea.)
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