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Lessons Learned in 2022

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I wrote down these learnings over the year in scattered forms, mostly in my weekly newsletter Looking Inwards. But I am putting them together here to have them in one place. 

Please relish.

Lessons 2022 Taught Me

# We can run as fast as we like. But life is always right there. Running behind. Chasing us. In this race we cannot win. For we are life itself, and she is us.

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27 Hopeful Photos From 2022 That Show Nature Defy Climate Change

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While no one can deny that the climate crisis is here, the nature leftover in the corners it is squeezed into is as real, extraordinary, and soul-warming as ever. Some of the animals, forests, and landscapes I saw this year while traveling within India and through Vietnam looked so ethereal, as if someone had painted those scenes. They were moving pieces of art. 

Every moment of my life I wonder how we are even here. The perfection of it all fills me with unprecedented joy. All the big events we plan, prepare, and wait for — graduation, foreign trips, marriages, potlucks, get-togethers, movie nights — happen soon and finish. After all the merriment, we are left with the loneliness of our being. But if we would look around, smell the air, and sit in the grass we would see life oozing out of every grain of soil, stuck to the bark of a tree, or finding its way inside through the little gaps left in the window. Once we are with nature, we are never alone. Once we are ready to be charmed by this wellspring of magic — and it is armed with enough to dazzle us — we would not be bored or think that life is ordinary ever again (this is only one of the life lessons 2022 taught me).

There is much to see, amaze at, and protect. I want to end the year with hope by sharing these photographs from 2022 that show nature defying climate change and not only surviving but also thriving in its own home. If we still let it be, it will recover all that is lost, with just a little consideration, help, and love from us.

Hoping to inspire that love.

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5 Years of On My Canvas: What I’ve Learned

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Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and supporting me always.  If I have learned one thing in these five years, it is that the joy of creating should be enough. When we work hard and persist, we arrive at the goal, destination, or prize we have our eyes on. The much-planned …

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You Judge Me. I Judge You. And Then What?

n_a_Roman_Osteria three people sitting at a table looking behind in an italian restaurant as if judging people small.

People Judge Others. We Are Always Judging Someone or the Other. But Do We Need To?

Six months ago, I had just come to Auroville. It is an experimental community on the east coast of India near Pondicherry. A collaborator Mirra Alfassa of the philosopher Sri Aurobindo, referred to by him as Mother, had a vision for a place on earth where men from all countries will live in harmony as equals. Set up by the followers of Mother, Auroville is supposed to be the manifestation of that vision. 

If the people of Auroville, Aurovillians, live in peace and treat each other equally is a report for another rainy day. For now think of the place, once an arid sandy land, as a lush green forest dotted with houses, cafeterias, and community spaces nestled in their large green gardens. People from fifty-nine countries call Auroville home.

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On Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg: Nothing To Do But So Much To Do

Living, Writing, and Traveling Slow on Stuart Hill in Madikeri Coorg, Karnataka

February 2021

We have been here in Stuart Hill in Madikeri town for almost two weeks. The popular Coorg viewpoint Raja’s seat is near Stuart Hill. I’m seated in the garden of our homestay to write.

I don’t know the origin of the name Stuart Hill. The place must have a story from British times. I could go to the Madikeri museum to get a glimpse of this town’s history. But on this trip, I’m not hungry to know. 

Even though we were here on our first wedding anniversary, we didn’t make any big adventurous plans. In the morning we walked down the path going in front of our house. That trail is fringed by jungly plants and trees on both sides. Few houses peek out of that path here and there.

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Van Gogh on Delving Deeply, Hardships, and Doing [In a Letter to Theo]

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Letters From Van Gogh The celebrated painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) regularly wrote to his brother Theo, his ardent supporter and friend.  Out of the hundreds of letters by Vincent van Gogh, the Vincent van Gogh organization has put about hundred on their website. The book Ever Yours: The Essential Letters contains a broad selection of …

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How to Sort Through the Mundane For Creative Living

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Creative Living Beyond the Constant Humdrum of the Daily Daily Distractions in Creative Living The Muse Why Do We Create and How to Persuade the Muse Perseverance First We Start By Being Unsatisfied Then We Fight the Distractions We Meditate We Focus on The Littlest of Details and Let Results Take Care of Themselves It …

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An Old Himalayan Woman’s Routine Showed Me How Hard Is Village Life in India – Lessons On Resilience and Repetition

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Village Life of India : An Old Himalayan Woman’s Life at a Glance. Notes From Gagal Village, Mashobra, Shimla

I woke up at 5. The host’s kitchen hut was filled with yellow light from the bulb. Smoke rose out of the hut’s chimney. Our homestay’s mother, whom we called aunty, was already up.

Aunty must’ve folded the mat on which she slept on the kitchen floor, had lit firewood in the chulha, and must’ve been preparing milky tea then (a common scene in village life of India). Though I never entered the kitchen —when I had asked  aunty if I could make chapatis on her chulha, she had said women couldn’t enter there — from outside I had seen her fluff chapatis on the woodfire and paste the floor with yet another fresh layer of mud and cow dung. Aunty was somewhere between 60 and 70.

(I don’t have any pictures of aunty neither would I want to post them online. So please bear with me while I add photos of everything else around her home.)

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On My Canvas Turns Four – Big News and Five Lessons Inside

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Celebrating Four Years of On My Canvas – Learnings and Updates

Phew! 

It has been four years since I published the first article on On My Canvas. From then on, these four years have been a non-stop roller-coaster ride. From the first year of impenetrable determination but absolute ignorance to helping out other bloggers from my two years of blogging journey, and the third year of accomplishments, I’ve come a long way.

The journey started with writing. But every artist needs an audience. I want to thank you all — my beloved readers — who have helped me make the blog the meaningful resource it is. Though I know On My Canvas has to reach a lot more people, I really appreciate the love and support I’ve received so far. At least, I have not been hit by spoiled tomatoes or stinky eggs.

So thank you! 

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Loitering Around Shakrala (Mehli) Village, Shimla – In Photos

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Memoirs of a Three-Week Stay in Mehli, Shimla

 

Himachal feels like home. 

Here I run with little children in their parents’ green fields. I almost join the lithe girls in their hop-scotch game. I explore every obscure path that can be (or cannot be) stepped on. Every tiny dhaba seems like a food stop. I never shake off the red-black curious beetles that embezzle my white-green Kashmiri kurta. Whistling thrush is my new loud neighbor (I won’t say friend for she hardly seems to care). I click and research the birds I see from the balcony of my one-bedroom guesthouse.

We are in the village of Mehli Shimla. (Later when we would tell the locals where all we had stayed in Himachal, they didn’t understand Mehli but recognized Shakrala, a village of rural Shimla under which Mehli falls, I guess). Mehli is our first stop on this indefinite Himachal Pradesh trip. 

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5 Tried and Trusted Online Organic Stores in Bangalore (Farm+Homemade)

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(Phone-Based and) Online Organic Stores in Bangalore That Deliver Fresh, Natural, Preservative-Free, and Personalized Food Items to Your Doorstep

 

Grocery stores in Bangalore line every street. But we can never tell the origin of the fruits and vegetables there. Is the grocery we buy pesticide-free, or are we eating vegetables swathed in medicine? 

I love to cook. And, I love to shop for groceries. I will not survive a cloth retail store, but I will be so lost in a vegetable market you won’t find me for hours.

Something about the fragrant vegetables and their vibrant colors pulls me towards them. My attraction to the farmer’s markets and organic stores in Bangalore could be attributed to my foodie nature. Food is a blessing in my simple life. I’ve been cooking since I’m a little girl. And I’ve been overeating ever since I opened my eyes.

For the past 4-5 years, I’ve been focusing on eating healthy food and living a conscious life. I’m being mindful of the source and content of my food. My diet has shifted heavily towards vegetables, fruits, whole grains, juices, nuts, yogurt, and other light food products. I try not to purchase items with liquid glucose, edible color, all-purpose flour, palm or vegetable oil, flavor enhancers, and other such redundant and unhealthy items. You would be surprised to know how little you can purchase if you vehemently avoid these ingredients.

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