Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 1000: It's Here, A New Beginning!

Over the last few months, I used to wonder every now and then on what I would write on the final day of the blog, given that it's a culmination of almost three years of my blogging experience.

Should I just write about the day itself and leave it at that? Should I write a summary of all that happened over the last 1000 days? Should I write about all the wonderful highlights from the last three decades of my life and make the theme around 30 years? Should I write about what I learned on this journey? Should I write about what I would do moving forward? Should I write about this, that and everything else?

For the last half hour or so, I had been staring at this laptop, still continuing to wonder on the above questions and I realized that I still have no clue. I still have no freaking clue.


So am gonna stop blinking idiotically at the screen and instead just write whatever that comes to my mind without over-thinking it. If the rest of this post meanders and sounds like utter gibberish, I apologize in advance.

When I started on this blog, I had simply wanted it to be a forced attempt at staying positive. The background for this is as follows - I had went through a bad phase some time in 2009 (in hindsight, it was nothing really... but during the phase I thought the world was ending)  and it took a visit to an orphanage and seeing a bunch of kids being perfectly happy with their dry dosa and black tea to drive some perspective into my thick head (a bit of that story is covered in the post here).

That left a lasting impression and I learned once and for all that I can be perfectly happy with what I have, provided I make an effort to do so. And I thought that jotting down one positive thing about each day would ensure that I think more positively than I would otherwise.

Given that the timing of this thought process coincided with some of my friends turning 30 and feeling royally blue about it, I thought maybe I shall kill two birds with one stone. I thought that if I make this searching-for-positivity thing a habit for the next 1000 days or so, when 30 hits me, instead of feeling blue about it (of which there was a good chance), it will find a very happy me.

Today I turned 30 and I am very happy to declare that I am.... a very happy me! Actually, not just happy but really on top of the world!

In other words, the mission worked!

And I asked myself why am I on top of the world and I realized that the answers are few and simple:
- Because I feel like I have given my best effort to everything that I did the last few years.
- Because I feel like I was conscious of every passing day and even if not all days were really maxed out in terms of productivity, most of them were.
- Because I feel like I am aware of how blessed I am to have everything I do and I stop myself from cribbing as far as I can help it.
- Because I feel like I have lived through a number of experiences that I had wanted to go through and have ticked off everything from that before-30 list.
And most important of all,
- Because I feel loved and appreciated by my family and friends more than I could have ever hoped for and every bit of time spent with them has been incredibly awesome!

That's it. That's the summary of what made the last 1000 days work for me:
I gave my best,
I kept track of time,
I counted my blessings,
I packed in as many experiences and
I was loved and I loved in return. 

I don't think there's really much else to it.

And I guess moving forward too, this is exactly what I need to continue doing to make the most of the remaining years on this big, bad, beautiful planet! Am hoping that with 1000 days of practice, this may be hard but not impossible.

So then, it's time for goodbye and time for a new beginning. One where I start all over again, in new roles, with new lists, facing new challenges, but still hopefully making the most out of it. 

But not before I jot down what made today, the day of my 30th birthday, beautiful!

Let's do that list one last time, shall we?

Here we go...

a) At 00:00am, when I wished the hubby "Happy Birthday" (we share our birthday, in case you are not aware), instead of wishing me in return, the man soberly took his laptop out and started to set it up, much to my annoyance. And then I realized it was to give me my best gift ever! And I really mean The. Best. Gift. Ever. When I saw what he had prepared for me, I was so ridiculously overwhelmed! Had my parents not been around, I would probably have become an emotional mess and shed copious amounts of happy tears! It was that awesome! This man, the one I love and who loves me, made me this!

Needless to say, it made my day, week, month, year and many more to come and I thanked all known Gods for making this wonderful guy mine! Like I declared on Facebook immediately...
"I love my husband. Period."

b) I got a TON of birthday messages and calls from all my wonderful family and friends which made me feel oh-so-happy and special! I spent a considerable amount of time going through their messages - reading and re-reading, responding, chatting for a long time with those who called or met up with me,and basically basking in all that love and attention! God bless each and every one of them! A special mention to my wonderful teacher from school who has been a terrific support to this blog as well as everything I have been up to, ever since we came into contact on Facebook after more than a decade! This amazing teacher actually wrote a blog for me on my birthday, which was like the best gift any student can ever hope for and it left me humbled, honoured and truly blessed!

c) I had an important meeting at work, which started early in the morning. I had to make several presentations and it lasted for a good 5 hours! I was dreading this for weeks, but it went off very well and that made me happy. To top the work success, one of my lovely colleagues made a "Happy birthday" presentation to wish me during the meeting and the team even sang the song at the end of it! It was rather sweet! 

d) It  looks like there will be a screening of Mausams in Singapore exactly one month from now, with the proceeds going to charity. This is being arranged by a couple of friends with the objective of encouraging independent artists in Singapore as well as supporting charitable institutions. I thought it was wonderful that a screening of my film was confirmed today and that too for a good cause!

e) Given that it was a weekday, we decided to have a birthday dinner celebration with just the family. So the hubby, my brother in law, my parents and I went to 1-Altitute for drinks and dinner. With the wonderful view around, we had a nice, cozy, family time there. At the end of it, the guys at 1-Altitude brought in three sets of desserts with birthday messages - one for me, one for the hubby and one for my mom who is celebrating hers tomorrow! It was a first of its kind experience because we had never celebrated all our birthdays together before, so that was lovely! My mom especially was super excited by the whole thing! It was really cute watching her gushing over the desserts, taking multiple photos etc!

In short, it was the perfect birthday!

And at this point in time, I really can't ask for more. I am beaming and I feel blessed beyond reason.

For anyone and everyone who has been to this blog over the last 1000 days - thank you for reading, commenting, encouraging! It means the world to me! I know for a fact that I couldn't have kept it going for a 1000 days had it not been for your terrific support. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Here's to new beginnings...!

0 more to go.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 999: Just 1 more to go!

Lovely day!

Early in the morning my parents arrived. They are here to celebrate my birthday, the hubby's birthday, my mom's birthday and their own wedding anniversary and also very importantly, to visit a very pregnant me!

So the day started off pretty well!

Oh and before I forget, today is also my "Malayalam birthday". Every year I (and in fact every other Malayali) end up having two birthdays - one as per the English solar calendar and one as per the Malayalam lunar calendar. The English birthday comes on a fixed date every year but the Malayalam one can change. And this year, it falls today.

So yeah, in a way, my birthday kinda already started and it was good to have my parents around when that happened!

Then I went to work really early and finished off a huge chunk that I had to. I had been dreading the work for a while, so it felt to good to tick off this chunk!

Then back at home, it was time to enjoy some of mom's cooking - my favourite mathan-payar-elassery (pumpkin-pea-curry) and sevai with rasam! Yum!

Later, as part of the birthday, we decided to visit the temple. One temple visit very soon converted to two temple visits and we spent a considerable amount of time at both the places. That was pretty nice because that's exactly how my Malayalam birthdays used to be celebrated - visiting temples together with parents! Nice.... don't think it has happened ever since I got to Singapore more than 13 years ago!

Right now, as I write this blog, my parents and the hubby are around, all of them chilling out and having a conversation. First few of the birthday wishes are flowing in from some close friends. And I am mentally going through the decades that have passed.

I feel good. Last day of the 20s and I feel really good. It's been great so far and I look forward to tomorrow.

1 more to go.


Just 1 more to go. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 998: Bali Memories & 30th Prep!

I did a really good thing by planning my annual leave such that I have an extra day to recover at home post Bali. So while the rest of the gang, including my husband, hit their offices today, I was chilling at home.

And I needed that badly! I had a ton of fun in Bali and of course was kinda tired after all of it, and needed the day off for the required rest. But I also needed a day to put up all the pictures, catch up on my pending Bali blogs, kinda live with the memories for a while before I let them go, align my head to the fact that holidays are done for a while and now there's really no other milestone until the new member arrives, and also be well prepared for the 30th.

So I did just all of that.

I had a great time looking through the pictures, uploading them, discussing them with my friends, and beaming through the day! The holiday has done a ton of good! I also got my well needed rest and some time off to myself where I could either think through all that happened in the last 1000 days or simply zone out. I pretty much did both and realized that I am all set for the 30th. I have done all that I wanted, I have had a great celebration in the way of this holiday and most interestingly I don't feel old at all, even though am going to be a mom soon! In fact,  i realized that am planning on trekking trips with the little one as soon as he/she can walk!

So yeah, it's all good and I am incredibly happy and at peace and well prepared for the 30th.

And with that we have...

2 more days to go! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 997: Adios Bali!

A rather blue day actually because it was time to head back home from beautiful Bali! Sigh!

But not before half a day of fun first in the villa! We had very cleverly booked a 6pm flight out, so we had the whole morning to continue to chilling out at our gorgeous villa!

Once again we spent the whole morning getting massages (yeah, two days in a row!), spent a lot of time in both the pools, enjoyed breakfast and a few rounds of coffee and juices, yapped, laughed, took pics and basically had a gala time!

Then it was time to pack, get ready and bid adieu to the lovely Lagen Cliff Villa and its wonderful staff.

So carrying along a lot of wonderful memories, we made our way to the airport. But then we extended the holiday a little bit more by first hitting "Krishna", a very cheap shopping place. We spent a good half an hour or more there buying lovely Balinese clothes, accessories and artworks for ridiculously low prices!

So there, we managed to pack in shopping as well, the only thing that was missing from the trip so far!

The check-in, immigration etc. at the Bali airport was super smooth and very welcome, because I was already rather tired with the very exciting holiday.

We had our last meal in Bali at a nice little restaurant in the airport. A friend even managed to squeeze in a massage during the waiting time! And then we boarded the flight. Once again, 5 of us got our seats in the same row, so we had a nice time chatting away until we got back to Singapore!

We, i.e. the hubby, a friend and I, extended the holiday a tiny bit more by  having our dinner at the Ananda Bhavan at the Changi airport.

And then the holiday was truly over.

I was rather sad that it was over, but I was also very very happy that we made this wonderful trip! Bali with its beautiful oceans, sands, people, food, breeze, massage and of course, our villa, will be truly missed! It was one of the best trips ever! It was also my first time ever with such a big group of friends and I had the most amazing time with them and the best birthday holiday ever!

Now I think I am ready to turn 30.

3 more to go. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 996: Rooftop, Massage, Uluwatu Cliff Temple, Kecak & Fire Dance and Bumbu Bali!

After the rather hectic day yesterday, most of us decided to hang around the villa for the bulk of today. Just a couple of them made their way for paragliding and Ubud, while the rest of us chilled out at the villa.

The best part was that we got a couple of masseuses to come over and give all of us massages. Our villa had a beautiful rooftop with bales that housed massage beds and we decided to make use of those.

With the stunning scenery of the ocean, the wonderfully chilly and strong wind that kept blowing and some really good expert masseuses, it was the best massage experience ever! I didn't want mine to end at all and from what I understand, the rest felt the same! Even the hubby, who is not a big fan of massages, was soon contemplating making it a daily routine!

Getting a massage in the rooftop bale

After the massage, we spent a few hours doing what we did best - chilling out. Lounging in the pool, relaxing on the beach chairs or in the bales, drinking, eating, especially enjoying the Pisang Goreng (friend bananas) with ice cream that we got the in-shouse chef to make again because all of us oh-so-loved it, chatting, listening to music, laughing and in short, living.

In the evening, we made our way to the Uluwatu cliff temple, which was just 2 kms from where we were staying. The hubby and I had been here in our previous trip to Bali but this time the experience was very different. In the previous trip we got to the temple at about 3pm and were surrounded by monkeys with very few other humans around. But today, there were thousands of people, all making their way for the 6pm Kecak & Fire dance at the temple. We hardly got time to go around the temple grounds and also hardly spotted any monkeys.

But the dance, in the backdrop of the cliff temple, was very interesting. They showcased snippets from Ramayana, something which all of us were familiar with. The costumes were elaborate but there were no instruments used. Instead, a group of 30-40 men used their voices for the music, in a form of acapella. Thanks to our familiarity with the Ramayana, we could understand what was being portrayed and with that haunting vocal music, the fires around, the setting sun and the rising darkness in the background, the performance was truly enchanting. I loved it!

Post the visit to the temple, we made our way to the Bumbu Bali restaurant in Nusa Dua for an authentic Balinese dinner. We were welcomed with Frangipani flowers and accompanied with some Balinese music in the background, we enjoyed traditional Balinese cuisine. The boys tried their hand at drinking arack, the Balinese local alcohol, but gave up after 2 sips. It was apparently rather lethal!

Back in the villa, it was time for another round of mindless conversation, picture taking and general cribbing about how it was already our last night in Bali.

Last night it truly was, but one that followed a gorgeous day!

4 more to go. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 995: Uluwatu Cliffs, Finn's Beach Club, Rock Bar!

Day 2 in Bali with so many wonderful experiences! Ah!

OK, let me do a quick list... here's all that I fell in love with today....!

a) Morning yoga by the pool with a gorgeous view of the ocean beyond! - Most of us were up and about by 8am. While some decided to hit the pool immediately, I decided to do my yoga taking in the wonderful ocean view from the villa. It was one of the best yoga sessions ever!

b) Wonderful breakfast of toasts, eggs, croissants, danish, fruits, sausages, coffee and juice, at the villa!

c) Trip to one of the cliff edges of Uluwatu where some of the friends wanted to do paragliding - The hubby and I had done this in our previous trip to Bali about four years ago and we recommended it very strongly to the rest of the gang. So all of us made a trip down to the paragliding location which is at the edge of a cliff and gives stunning views of the sea below! They couldn't do the paragliding because of the strong winds and were asked to return the next day but everyone was happy being there. The view, the wind, the peace were well worth it!

d) Finn's Beach Club at the Semara Resort, where we went for lunch and some time at the beach - This was a super duper extravagant resort! The whole area was extremely well designed and maintained and we were given a tour around, which got our jaws to drop. After being sufficiently impressed by their villas, pools etc. we made our way to the Beach Club which was down a cliff and required us to take a a flight of stairs followed by an inclinator. The ride on the inclinator was a novel experience and super fun! At the Beach Club, the rest hit the sea waters but I avoided them because the waves were too rough and the beach was too rocky. Instead, I listened to music and ate and drank by the beach, while watching the rest of the them behave like kids in the water. I loved the experience! After the hubby had his share of fun in the water, we walked on the beach for a bit, visited a cove at one end, had lunch and drinks and relaxed for a while on the sands, getting tanned!

e) Rock Bar at Ayana Resort, where we went for dinner and drinks - Post Finn's Beach Club, we returned to our villa briefly for a quick rest and change and then set out again, this time to the Rock Bar at Ayana Resort. Ayana Resort, like Semara, is also a very high end resort but a much, much more sprawling one. We had to walk for almost 15 minutes from the entrance to get to the Rock Bar, which was at the other end of the resort. Rock Bar, once again at the bottom of a cliff, required us to take an inclinator down, which I loved!  The bar itself is perched on rocks right on the sea and had waves crashing against it throughout. Quite an amazing location!

f) Late night conversations and chilling out - After Rock Bar, we got back to the villa. Everyone was dead tired but that didn't stop us from spending a few hours into the night, making mindless conversation!

I hit the bed with a huge smile, feeling on top of the world!

Another beautiful day in Bali ends!

5 more to go. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 994: Beautiful Bali!

Today early morning we set off for Bali! The holiday, planned together with 8 of our close friends, is to be the hubby's and mine birthday celebration as well as our last trip together before we turn parents (whew!)!

So needless to say I was all excited throughout!

We set off from our house early to catch the 9 am flight and met 5 other friends at the airport (the rest were to join us later in the day in Bali). After a smooth check in and immigration, we got ourselves breakfast from Coffee Bean (strictly below average stuff) and boarded our Air Asia flight. 5 out of the 7 of us had seats together, so we had fun on the flight chatting away and also enjoying some cup noodles!

Upon reaching Bali, we were picked up from the airport by our manager Ketut of the Lagen Cliff Villa in Uluwatu. I had found this place after much googling and it was the only one that fitted our criteria of must-have-sea-view, must-be-afforable, must-have-5-bedrooms etc.

But all the googling and the pictures on their site hadn't prepared us for the real deal! The villa was just spectacular and pictures do no justice! With an amazing sea view from a cliff, two fantastic pools (one being an infinity one), gorgeous bales around the pool, beautiful rooftop with massage beds and bale, humungous living/dining area, wonderfully spacious bedrooms and baths and amazing service by the manager, butler, maid and chef - Lagen Cliff Villa was just perfect. Like, P.E.R.F.E.C.T!

After enjoying the welcome drinks that were provided and then going into the very entertaining process of deciding who gets which room in the villa, we lounged around until lunch arrived. I had my share of some yummy Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) and then hit the pool for the next couple of hours. The rest had their champagnes and wines in the pool, while I stuck to coffee, which I must say was pretty good. I am not usually a coffee drinker but I did have one cup too many in Bali, thanks to the perfect blend there.

Dinner was cooked in the villa itself by the in house chef! We were given a long list of Balinese and other Indonesian dishes to choose from and after much to and fro we decided on two chicken dishes, one fish, one vegetable and some rice. On top, the chef added his speciality dessert - Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana) with ice cream! It was awesome! In fact, the dinner at villa was one of the best meals we had during our stay in Bali this time! Really really delicious!

Post dinner, it was again time to lounge around and we were soon joined by the rest of the gang. Some went into the pool, some played Antakshari, some drank, some listened to music, some zoned out, but everyone was happy and enjoyed thoroughly!

I was dead tired by the time I hit the bed thanks to the early rise and a long day of talking and swimming and general high excitement, but needless to say, I was a very happily tired person!

6 more to go.