Of Blossoms, Succulents & Slips

Last Saturday I went to see the Cherry Blossom Festival at Auburn, Sydney. Most of the trees were laden with Cherry Blossom flowers, while a lot had already shed. This is just a two-weekend event every year, so you can imagine the crowd the garden attracts. There was Japanese dance performance, food, cosplay - all in all, a great afternoon.

The Sunday was spent on sketching something new. This is a portion of my work-in-progress. I wonder if I will manage to fix her lips :P She looks so horrified ... and I seriously don't understand my fixation with big anime eyes. I hope by the time this is complete, she would look a little less terrifying :P

Guess what? After two failed attempts at propagating succulent through leaves, seems like I will finally have some success at my third attempt. See that little bud at the end. Took about 3-4 weeks for it to grow. Let's just pray that it will slowly take root and grow into a gorgeous succulent.

I am facing a strange problem during my Yoga practice. Ever since I moved into my new home I can't find a proper place to do backbends. My previous home had carpet flooring but now it's all wooden. I have very sweaty hands and feet, so every time I try Wheel pose, I keep slipping. And on the mat I can't seem to find a proper grip. I couldn't hold the below pose for more than a couple of breaths as my hands kept slipping away. 

Anyone got a solution to this?

Oh my Burger !!

My friend Luke has this habit of embarking on weird challenges. It's been 5 days since he had turned vegan. Other than lechering at chicken thighs, and eyeing salmon fillets during lunch hours, he has been doing pretty well. Or so we thought.

On the 5th day of his vegan endeavour, my friends and I decided to eat at a Meat and Co. restaurant. After enduring 20 minutes of stomach grumbling and inhaling aromas wafting from the kitchen, my Cajun chicken burger arrived - a scrumptious patty sandwiched between layers of avocado, mayonnaise, tomatoes, lettuce and sesame sprinkled bun. Generous amount of cheese was enticingly oozing out of the bread. My eyes lit up, heart skipped a beat and tummy grumbled some more in approval. 

At Ribs and Burgers, Stanhope Garden

"Wait wait wait", Luke shouted from the other end of the table, just as I was going to wrap my fingers gently around this delicate piece of art.
"Pass me your plate", he said.
"Whyyyy", I replied, suspecting his intentions.
"Just pass it on, I am not going to eat it"

So my plate got passed around, while I longingly stared at my food, desperately waiting to feel the flavours burst in my mouth.

He lifted the plate and then without any warning, took a long whiff of the burger. "What do you think you are doing?". I was on my feet now.

"Just relax Sweety", he said, looking like a druggie who just got a shot of cocaine.

He took another whiff, this time inhaling deeply, probably trying to fill his whole essence with the fragrance of my chicken burger. But something might have tickled his nose as he immediately sneezed.

Yes he sneezed ... on my f o o d!!

And it wasn't just a cute little 'Achooo', it was a full blown 'Aaaaachoooo', drenching my beautiful beautiful burger in things that I can't even imagine. That burger was going to be the highlight of my day. The best thing in my life was now contaminated and defiled. I felt like Ross from friends!!


"Oops ... Do you still wanna eat it", that cheeky insolent 'fellow' was grinning ear to ear, so were the rest of my friends.

I just kept staring at my burger, devastated.

"It's ok girl, just eat mine if you want"

"That was a Chef Special Cajun cheesy chicken burger... yours is just a loaf of bread with cabbage sticking out of it."

"It's called lettuce dear ... and your next lunch will be on me." With that he took a huge bite of my burger, while I chewed the measly onions hanging out of his measly burger.

Source- Ross Geller Quotes

This had been sitting in my drafts for a month. Today I finally got around to finish it for Blogadda - 'A Story Yet Unwritten'
‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

[Throwback] Once Upon a Skinny Time

Don't Laugh OK ;)

Long long ago, I was a scarily skinny girl, with hip length hair, whose mom was at wits end trying to make her daughter plump and chubby. The first time my weight increased from 37 to 40 kg, every one in the family rejoiced with copious amount of cream and cheese. That was in 2007, just after finishing my Engineering degree. The first time I felt that the wind didn't threaten to blow me away, or that probably there was still some hope for my alien skeletonial face to show some resemblance of Earthly features.

Believe me, with my skeleton body and long frizzy hair, I had managed to scare many a girl while walking along the hostel corridor at midnight. At one point, one of the seniors even begged me to tie my hair before stepping out of my room.

Can you recognise me?
The last working day in college, and this is how we thought of saying goodbye,
 by covering each other with ink and writing wishes on each other's clothes

I was so thin that if someone challenged me to slip between the cracks of my hostel room, I could easily do that, and probably even emerge from the other end. The umbrellas acted like parachutes and people often wondered if my long thick hair was actually a paperweight holding me to the ground.
Back in 2008-09, When I hardly weighed 40 kgs.
Well, I actually was like a paper, plain and plain, no curves, no weight, just  a wild dandelion floating along with the breeze. And if you think only overweight people are body shamed, let me tell you, people can be just as innovative when it comes to teasing bamboo-stick thin girls who are late bloomers.

Well, sometimes when I look at my old photographs, I do have a really good laugh with my sister and husband. Like seriously, how could I look so starved? I would tease my mom that probably she fed our dog more than me. I could have easily applied for a Dementors job at Askaban, and with my meter long thick hair, I could bring some great novel ideas in scaring the living daylights out of people. 

That's me, on the shores of Mahaballipuram
 All the action heroes must have stolen my pose :P
The current times though paints a whole different picture. Earlier I could eat a whole double layer cheese pizza for dinner and still fit in my skinny jeans the next morn. Now if I even bite into non-cheese non-fat non-fun slice, my tummy sticks out of my Tee and to my horror doesn't go away the next day... and the next day... and the next ... until I do some crunches and leg drops and candle dips and Burpees and mountain climbers... you get the drift.

Slow metabolism - nature's way of telling you that you are getting old.

So why am I writing this post ...  Because (and I am going to sound preachy here) Weight is just a number. Curves are just outlines. Complexion is just a shade. Beauty is a fad. Strange as it may sound to many but Love doesn't really check your weighing scale nor can hardwork be replaced by complexion.

Stay healthy! stay humble :)

3 Life Lessons from Taylor Swift - Kimye Feud

July was pretty intense with Taylor Swift and Kimye feud going to nuclear level. For those who are wondering Kimye is a combination of Kim Kardashian's and Kanye West's name. You can read all about it here. Now I don't know whether Kim is justified or if Taylor is playing the victim, but these famous personalities unknowingly taught some great life lessons.

Family comes first

It's a known fact that the Kardashians are famous for being famous. I am not going to comment on the love-hate relationship that the world has with the Kardashian clan. But one quality I appreciate about 'Keeping up with Kardashians' stars is how they stick together. No matter how much bickering or fights or arguments they have, they don't abandon each other. I don't know if it's staged or real, but their solidarity in times of crisis is quite heartwarming. Previous instance was when they showed undying support to their Dad/Step-dad Bruce Jenner, who changed to Caityn Jenner. 


Best Friends stick together

Taylor Swift has got a lot of haters out there. I am no one to judge her actions or life style. Selena Gomez, her best friend got a lot of flak recently and called stupid for supporting Taylor. Now, isn't it obvious that that's what a best friend does. A best friend will tell you that you are wrong but will not strand you in times of need. I absolutely love Selena, her philanthropic endeavors, her maturity and her fight against a rare disease called Lupus is absolutely inspiring. Add in the fact that she is an amazing friend. So look around, give your best friend a tight hug for sticking with you.

Source - US Magazine

Beware of Fair-weather friends

The Taylor squad, consisting of glamorous women including Victoria Secrets models Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, Lily Aldridge,  was the highlight of media attention in recent times. The squad became the ultimate squad goal of thousand of girls worldwide. It took a feud with Kimye to show how flaky friendships can be. Kendall Jenner, who was a part of the squad sided with her family, while most of the glamazons decided to stay mum. No one wants to be blacklisted by Kardashians you see. Only Selena, long time bestie Karlie Kloss and few others seems to have voiced their support for Taylor in times when the twitteratis were spewing hate on the Bad Blood singer.


The lives they lead is quite unrelatable, but the lessons can be learnt by all!!

Independence Day - A mirage in Assam?

If someone asks me today how I celebrated Independence Day while growing up, I have an answer, but of which I am not proud of.

Sunrise, Jorhat

Ever since I can remember, Assam Bandh was synonymous with Independence Day, 15th August. Various militant outfits would often declare a dawn-to-dusk Bandh, wherein the state would come to a complete standstill. People, afraid to venture outside, would stock their homes with food supplies, specially vegetables and milk. My Mom too would mark the days before Independence day as a reminder to make sure we don't run out of cooking gas and oil, or that my siblings don't travel around that time. 

"I don't remember when was the last time there was no boycott call by any militant groups during the Republic Day or Independence Day celebrations in the state. In the late 1990s and early 2000s it was worse, when the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was very active. A bandh called by the ULFA during any national day was fully observed. The residents kept themselves locked inside their houses as army men with guns in their hands guarded the roads during those bandhs," recalls Sunil Pawan Barua, political commentator and historian. Source - OneIndia

I still remember my third year in Engineering College, when I was made the mess secretary for the month of August - the most dreadful time for anyone maintaining a hostel of 200 boarders. I had to stock the kitchen with non-perishable items for three days and buy an extra gas cylinder as the markets don't open even on days before and after the 15th. The non perishable items tend to be more expensive so that means I was on the verge of going beyond the budget. Add in the fact that if the food wasn't delicious, I would be facing the wrath of 200 hungry girls :P Well, I managed to survive the month, with few hiccups here and there.

In 2008, when I moved out of Assam and started living in Chennai, I celebrated my first Independence day outside, on the roads, with a sticker of the Indian flag stuck on my shirt. After that I never got a chance to visit the state during Independence Day, but I have heard that the situation has improved, but only slightly. 

Comparatively Jorhat, my hometown, is a fairly peaceful city. And yet in every nook and corner of the busy streets of Garali (the shopping area) you will find an Army or CRPF Soldier, armed with weapons, guarding the place. It has been years since Army was deployed in civil areas. In fact the sight is so common now that the residents walk by nonchalantly, without a second thought. 

It is only when you walk on the streets of Chennai or Bangalore or even Delhi and don't see a Khaki uniformed soldier posted in every narrow lane, you realise the gravity of the situation.

In the past 3 days, 16 people have been killed, 15 injured in different instances by militant groups. Security is beefed up and the state is on high alert. I asked my Dad today if people still go outside on Independence Day. He simply said that even though this year there's no Assam Bandh declared, people are simply too cautious to go out. They prefer staying indoors in case something happens.

How long I wonder, will terror reign in this beautiful state of Assam?

Related Post - 7 Facts About Assam and its people

Note: Bandh, originally a Sanskrit word meaning "closed", is a form of protest used by political activists in South Asian countries such as India and Nepal. During a bandh, a political party or a community declares a general strike - Wiki

I wrote a similar article for  The Viewspaper in 2011 - here


Effects of Yoga on Body and Mind

Continuing from: My Yoga Transformation

Yoga is a very personal practice. What I mean is - it’s not a challenge or a competition. It’s not about comparisons either. Nor it is about thousands of yoga photos floating on the internet. Although, the images do represent the hard work and persistence of a practitioner to move into a pose. I am not very good with words to explain the spiritual aspect, I can only try to word how I feel about my practice.

As I have said before, Yoga is a revelation.  No, you don't start looking at the world with Einstein eyes, but instead you start understanding yourself better. With every inhale and exhale, you start appreciating and respecting your body more.

A photo posted by Rajlakshmi (@rajlakshmihb) on

I mostly practice Hatha yoga, often ending with restorative asanas and meditation. After overcoming the initial awkwardness of each pose, I started noticing the slow transition from an anxious or uncertain mental state to a more calmer one. Since I practice at home I do it at my own pace. 

So how does that impact me in a practical world? 

It's only recently I have noticed that whenever I am in a tense situation, my body subconsciously responds with deep steady breathing, and I feel myself going through the same transition. Of course it doesn't solve the problem but it gives my mind enough space to find a solution.

Yoga Asana

Ego Check

Practicing Yoga is also the best way to keep your ego in check. Each day is different. Sometimes Wall Handstands are a piece of cake, other days it's a struggle. Same goes for Chakrasana, or Hanumansana. Every time I practice, I start from scratch. It's a continuous learning process that trains you to be patient and determined at the same time. It's alright if I can't do an asana, that just means that my body is not ready ... yet. But I will keep trying, if not today, someday I will ease into that pose.

yoga, fitness

I am still learning to listen to my body and know when to push forward and when to stop. Earlier I would push too hard, hurt my wrists and end up taking few days off. Now I don’t attempt to perfect the art, but try to soak in all the goodness according to my potential.

Do you feel emotional in Savasana?

The best and the most relaxing asana is Savasana. I am not sure if it has happened to you but sometimes after an hour long practice I feel extremely emotional during Savasana. I am hit by this powerful surge of emotions, sometimes resulting in waterworks too. In fact there's even an article on why Savasana makes Yogis emotional 

Strange how all the chemicals in the body reacts !! :)

yoga asana

Each yoga pose has a meaning and a purpose. In one way or the other it impacts your body and internal organs, so don’t feel disheartened if you are not flexible or can’t do a certain asana. Just practice whatever you can, whenever you can. If you have a history of previous injuries, it is advisable to consult a physician before starting any routine.

I found this article very helpful to sequence yoga asanas for Home Practice - Bringing your practice home

Yoga is a lifestyle choice. Healthy living is a lifestyle choice. The bigger picture is a result of all the little choices you had made.

I was flicking through my Instagram feed when I came across an artistically edited photo of a fellow instagrammer, almost like a digital painting. I was impressed by how a simple picture can transform into something so aesthetically pleasing. Two minutes later I was on my phone figuring out if 'Udnie' is better or 'Mondrian'. These are two of the many filters available on the Prisma App, which seems to have taken the social media world by storm.
The above are my prisma’fied photos of yoga asanas.  If you are a regular here you would have already seen them but I really wanted to experiment with the filters and see how they turn out.

yoga asana

Don't forget to add in your views in the comment section :)

My previous posts on Yoga  - Here
Also featured on lifestyle blog Sweetsharing:

Of Introverts and Alien Pose

That day when I stood in a corner, waiting for my chance to talk to the awesome speaker we had invited for a workshop, I realised how 'not being tall enough', 'not pretty enough', 'not confident enough' felt like. I never got a chance because the speaker was having fun talking with the other vivacious group. It was then I promised that I will not be that person who ignores the quiet introvert souls, who have so much to offer but fail to do so, who are just as alive and funny when you make an attempt to know them. 
Source - Pinterest

Every time I see my teammate (a brilliant Developer and a mother of three) run 17 km to the office atleast 3 times a week (for fitness not because there's no train ;) ), I promise myself that I will try to be fit, if not like her at least somewhere near.

A snapshot of my Yoga Goals on Pinterest

That first Yoga Asana is called 'Alien Wheel Pose'. I see how it got its name. The first time I tried attempting it, I felt all kinds of muscles alien to me.

source - Pinterest

This is how it looks like in it complete glory. I don't even know why this pose is on my Yoga Goals list. Seriously, what is happening there? Not even the next life will be enough to gain this much flexibility. Until I had started practicing Yoga, I never completely realized how much dedication, hardwork  and patience each of these pictures showcase. The promise they must've made to themselves, to achieve the goals they dreamt of. 

Blog-a-rhythm Prompt - Promise


55 Fiction: Ooh Ahh and Omm

Breathe In. Breathe out. I kept reminding myself.
Keep extending, a little more, just a little more.
Oh darn!! I am going to snap into two today.

That was when instead of feeling calm and open, fear gripped my heart and my back slacked. I was lying on the ground again.

Sigh no Kapotasana today.

That my friend is story of my life ;)

Blogarhythm prompt - Wishful Thinking (used as a theme for the post)

Empty cradle rocking in time

Slowly she smoothens his dusty clothes,
arranging them in the wooden stand,
along with tiny shoes and plastic cars,
never will sparkle his electric wand.

Muted sighs had dried the tears,
her numb world no longer lament,
dragging each day, faking a smile,
trying to frame dispersed moments.

Chaos had suddenly darkened that day,
heavily she paid for their crime,
now grimly watches her forlorn eyes,
Empty cradle rocking in time.

Blog-a-rhythm Prompt - Tiny shoes

Sirius Caught Red-Handed

"Oh don't you worry, we gonna run like there's no tomorrow", I told my husband as we went for a run around the complex. Since Sirius and I ran (sluggishly walked) at a slower pace, I asked him to go ahead.

Of course, I was not going to run. It was a Sunday morning. Who runs on a Sunday Morning!!

10 minutes later he caught us off guard, sitting on the pavement, playing.

This is Sirius when he was just a month old, caught red-handed trying to escape from my high castle.

Sirius's superpower are his melting chocolate eyes, which he unabashedly used, when caught strangling my high heels.

Blog-a rhythm prompt - Caught Red-Handed


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