Inspired by a Stranger...

In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
- The Stranger, Albert Camus

I can't describe the solace I find in these words (Thank you, SG!). They inspire me to be good, even when bad things happen, to me or around me... :) In a world that seems to have lost its mind (Don't believe me.. read the news..!! ), we need such thoughts... To inspire us... To make us feel better... To make us believe in our own goodness...

In the summer of life, I am the oak tree. Through the storms, I am the reed of grass. I have the power to transform. I have the power to take it all. I have the power to emerge a better person. I will always greet Life with a smiling face, a resolute mind and a kind heart... What about you, Life, will you do the same?

❤ ashwini

Random travel musings...

When I decided to do this 8-day Alaska trip all by myself, I was both excited and worried. Excited? That's obvious, right?... 8-day vacation to Alaaskaa... Why worried then? It was that "all by myself" bit. I knew it could only go one of two ways - either I enjoy it like any other vacation... Or I am utterly miserable... Looking at the pattern in the past few months, I think it was a fair toss between the two.

But now more than halfway into the trip, I am happy to note that I am doing just fine. I am content being with myself. :) Know what, I think I am pretty good company, very entertaining. (You should hear what goes on up here in my head, and you will know what I mean...) Oh, I am not self-aggrandizing! I think after spending so much quality time with me, I can actually have an "unbiased" opinion on this... Haha.. Anyways, I digress (as usual).

So, as I was saying, I like my own company. I enjoy spending time just staring at all this beauty around me - watching nature at play, watching its mood swings everyday, how they change from a smiling sun to the sulking rain. I like meeting new people, the morning conversations over a hot cup of coffee, listening to the stories each one had to share... This was one thing, I was most apprehensive about. I have always been painfully shy in front of strangers. (Yeah, all those who know me well, you can stop guffawing. I can be shy, stranger things have happened!! :P). I love driving around in the rain, just thinking or listening to my audio books.

There are some things that I can't do alone though - like going on some of the hikes. Besides the obvious weight issues, there is another weightier issue - those grizzlies. For every hike, at least one person has commented on how they encountered grizzlies, and how it was fortunate they were in a group. However small the probability of me encountering a bear, there is no way I am going alone after knowing this!! So next time, I would love to have some company to do the things I am missing out on. (Even if they turn out to be bad company, as long as they are good bear food, I am ok ;) Haha...)

Unexpectedly, but thankfully, this has been a great trip. I know something about myself today that I didn't know 5 days ago - that I don't feel lonely just because I am alone. I know I will gladly do this again. And I know everytime I do this, I will have great company (Not the grizzly food... But me... :))

❤ Ashwini

A note to myself...

... to be read when I am wallowing in the dump of self pity...

So you are down in the dumps again! You silly piglet!

Ok don't worry, I've got this under control. :) Just follow the instructions below and we will get you out of there in a jiffy!

First, we need to make a magic potion.


1 whole Unconquerable soul (Borrow it from Invictus )

1 cup Fighting spirit (Ask The Stranger , he will know where to find it)

3 tblspn Self-worth (You found it one new years eve)

Faith according to taste (Get it from Pi Patel, I am sure he will lend you some)

Some smile for garnishing (I am sure you know where to find that... That curve is never far away from you...)

Mix it well and drink it while saying this magic mantra...
"I may not have control over what happens in Life. But I can choose how I react to it. I always have THAT choice and no one can take it away from me. I can let myself be sucked into the viciousness of negativity and cynicism or I can choose to hope and have faith. Have faith that no matter what happens, I can get through it. Like Pi says, if we have to anyways go through life and whatever it brings to us, why not do it with some faith and belief in God. So, I choose to smile in the face of adversity and give hope a home in my heart."

Repeat the above process until you get it right... :)

P.S. - If you find yourself in the dump again... Don't judge yourself. Just rememeber that you are not weak because you are down but you are stronger every time you pick yourself back up again...

❤ Ashwini

❤ To my parents... With lotsa love

I didn't believe in God or luck
"I am the ruler of my destiny" such was my pluck
But when I look back to seek what defines me
I realize I owe what I am, to none, but thee
Me being a part of you is nothing but chance
And at my faithless thoughts I look askance
I am left with no choice, but to believe in the Holy wise
When I count my blessings, I count you twice

You taught me to walk, You taught me to stand tall,
You urged me to run, You picked me after a fall.
You never gave me your thoughts, You taught me to think
You gave me courage, so my own story I could ink
You watched me soar, reach the high sky blue,
You gave me unconditional love known to lucky few
You are my biggest strength, my soundest advice
When I count my blessings, I count you thrice

I hope you are proud of who I have come to be
That your heart smiles to think, "This person is a part of me"
I know whenever through memories I sift,
I will think of you as God's greatest gift
That I was special to Him I can no longer ignore
When I count my blessings I count you a million times.... And more

❤ Ashwini