Break the Silence

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Just when we start adapting to the new life in a pandemic, it’s devastating to see the unjust killing of another black individual. My heart is heavy and mind is filled with rage, turmoil and sadness every time I hear about a death similar to George Flyod, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and several others. This should not be the new ‘normal’ that we have to face. As a matter of humanity, I thought it’s important to come forward and address the systematic racism that continues to persist in the US history. It’s been a decade since we voted for a black president to symbolize the nation and its people. It’s been half a century since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fought hard against racial injustice. Even when we believe we have come far since then, we are proven wrong by these hate crimes, anti-immigrant rhetoric and white supremacy. I must admit there was a time when I was hesitant to share my thoughts on racism and injustice. But as Dr. King once said, “there comes a time when silence becomes betrayal”. My heart goes out to the entire black community who have been victims of racial injustice. I pray there comes a day where you are able to walk across the street without any fear of your lives being in jeopardy. I relentlessly pray the future generation would not have to watch history repeat itself again. I may not resonate with what you might be going through, but I unquestionably stand in solidarity with each one of you.


Dress for yourself

A few years ago, I perceived fashion to a term given what’s trendy out there and what’s attracts others the most. Most often, we care so much about fitting in with the crowd, but we forget to be ourselves. More than trying to adapt to the latest fashion trend, it’s more important to cultivate your own unique style that presents yourself to be confident and charismatic. Following the pop culture or certain fashion brands might help to draw inspiration, but one should be creative and dress based on their own comfortability. I love being creative and having my own style that allows me to express who I am and shape myself. A lot of people have told me my style has changed drastically and it probably has. There are things I am more comfortable wearing now that I would never wear when I was 17 years old. Back in high school, I often had to fight against feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. I often felt very down when I saw I could not meet up with the expectations of others on how I should dress and what they find attractive. Over the years, I learned to accept that I am the one who defines what makes me look good instead of going by others and what they find attractive. Even if this line of thought makes me look like a rebellion, all human acts are some sort of rebellious that requires real courage.

The actress, Helena Carter once quoted, “Everything in life is an art. What you do. The way you love someone and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you dress”. Indeed, fashion is one of the purest expressions of art because it is an art lived on a daily basis. Dressing for yourself is no easy task, but I can assure it’s very liberating when you start to care less and accept your body as it is. So, if you want to wear those baggy jeans with the oversized sweater, don’t let the external voices tell you it looks very tacky. It’s your look and you know what you’ll rock wearing.

Out in the Wilderness

Almost two years ago, my younger brother and I went on one of the most exhilarating trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville. It was a 2-mile hike to the top of the summit giving us an exceptional panoramic view. The trail took us through tunnels of rhododendron, gnarled sweet birch trees, and wildflowers. It was a little foggy when we reached the top, blocking our view of the sunset. Even then, it felt so refreshing up there with the wind brushing against our face. There was a woman standing further out where she was dressed in her wedding gown, posing for her bridal photoshoot. She looked so angelic in her white gown and in the backdrop of the lush green mountains. The very next day, we did a 3-mile roundabout trip to see the falls in Glen Burney. This mountain trip still turns out to be my favorite hiking trip because it was my first hiking venture, and I had a great time bonding with my mom and brother.

Craggy Pinnacle

I still take on hiking trips occasionally with friends around North Carolina and nearby states. My mom gets annoyed whenever I go hiking. It’s hard to describe to here how surreal it feels to be out there. I get so excited the day before a hike that I can’t even fall asleep. While strolling along the plains, you can’t help appreciate God’s creative work. He created such things in an orderly fashion like the birds chirping, the petrichor scent produced by the forest after a rain and the beauty of the lush meadow in the spring. It’s that nature God created for us which ignites our senses and the soul. It feels so empowering every time I set forth on a hike because it helps me regain my self-confidence. Every moment we spend in nature is an amazing opportunity to know more about ourselves and the world we live in. Being immersed in nature keeps you grounded in the present moment, so you can have both mental and emotional clarity. I am more self-aware about my surroundings and movements like how I’m moving my feet, the weight on my back, and the feeling of truly being alive. Living in a pressured society, it is a common human intrinsic to feel judged upon all the time. In fact, nature teaches us to be authentic and to be our natural self by being alone with yourself in a non-judgmental atmosphere.


During one February when I was hiking with my friends at the McKnobb Mountain in Virginia, I forgot to bring my gloves. When we reached the top, it was brutally windy and around 20 Fahrenheit at that high elevation. I tried to keep my hands in the pocket of my jacket, but that wasn’t much help. After a while, my hands felt so numb and they were really swollen. Another woman standing off to the side came up to me and gave me her extra pair of gloves. I ate few wraps we had and drank tons of water to keep myself warm. As we started descending down, I felt better and my hands got back to normal. Another time when we were hiking Stone Mountain, it took us about six hours to complete the hike in the grueling heat. By the time we climbed back down, we stopped for a water break by a water pump. Living in the western world, we sometimes neglect to enjoy the small luxuries in life like witnessing a sunrise or sunset, being able to stay warm, having adequate water and being able to sit down for a meal with your family.  

To be honest, it’s been quite a while since I went on a hike. I have been eager to use the hiking boots my brother gifted me for Christmas. In the past few months, I have been occupied to accomplish things that are required for graduate school. Even when my life gets busier and I start a family, I hope I’ll still be able to lace up my boots, load up my backpack and go on an adventure. Despite all the challenges that come along with hiking and long treks, I am so determined to see what kind of trails I come across and the things they will offer me.

The Other Side

During my senior year, I sought to make my final year at UNC Greensboro impactful to myself and my peers. When I signed up to be a camp counselor for Camp Kesem, I was eagerly looking forward to being part of this passionate community, which truly lives by its purpose. Camp Kesem is a non-profit organization that provides a free week of summer camp for children, supporting them through and beyond by their parents’ cancer. There are over 100+ chapters nationwide, entirely run by college students. Kesem has by far been one of the best things I have ever experienced during college, and I can not explain my new profound love for the organization. If it was prior to Kesem, I would be reluctant to attend summer camps, being oblivious to its primary purpose. I never partook in any camps as a child, nor had been a camp counselor. As camp days approached, I was hesitant to be part of the camp, having a vague picture of what to expect.


However, I feel so fortunate to spend my time as a counselor, bonding with kids of all ages and other colleagues. It is captivating when you understand all the campers and counselors resonates amongst each other on ‘why they Kesem’. I lost track of the days; I felt like I was on a vacation out in the woods with my family. Having depression and anxiety for the past five years, I am really particular about who I share it with. By being part of the Kesem family, I felt supported instantly. There was one particular time when all the kids and counselors gathered around to talk about ‘Why We All Kesem?’. It was incredibly empowering to listen to the kids’ stories. I was touched and was not able to resist my tears when I realized that some of them are just as confused and anxious. They have difficulty acknowledging the gravity of their situation; and so, they mask their confusion by playing and laughing. Kesem opened my eyes to find there are some kids forced to grow up and mature at a young age after the loss of a parent or when they find about their parents’ cancer.

On our last night, we gathered around a campfire to sing the camp song one last time. We were all handed a pine cone to symbolize any fear we have. As I tossed the pine cone into the fire and watched the fire turn blue, I felt as if the weight around my neck lifted off. I surrendered myself to the moment between the tides, finding peace within the tumult that is to come. I felt liberated when I saw that my fears were ignited, reminding myself to not dwell on the past and to live in the present. I am not even sure if I’ll be able to be part of camp next summer, but I am never going to let go of this life experience. I am uncertain what the future holds for me, but I will carry the spirit of Kesem in my endeavors. Being part of the Kesem family has motivated me to prioritize my values, happiness and to foster my relationship with my family. It’s remarkably inspiring when you are able to forget all your worries and feel rejuvenated by being a kid again for a week. The camp forced me to be vulnerable and provided me with a different outlook on life. I walked into Kesem desired to bring a change in the kids’ lives, but Kesem has also transformed me for the better by nurturing my creativity and leadership skills.

A Letter To Myself in 5 Years.

Hey! I am writing this as I’m sitting outside the Sullivan Building at UNCG. I just finished my last class for the day. I am 22 and almost two months away until graduating. I am still not sure what I am supposed to do and that’s okay! 🙂 I just want to say I hope you are doing well in life and living the way you always dreamed of. I hope you got into the graduate school in New York like you wished for. I hope you don’t treat your mind like a prison anymore and let all those unwanted thoughts just stay cluttered in there. Treat yourself with self-compassion like how you always show others. Just remember that everything is temporary in this world and appreciate the little things around you. I hope you still embrace your life with a smile no matter what you are going through. I know you are not that close to your dad, but keep working on your relationship with him. Most of all, surrender all your fears to GOD and let Him fill you with His peace. He understands and loves you more than anyone! I honestly can’t wait to see how much you grow five years from now.

I tried to make it impromptu as possible and just wrote whatever came to my mind. I got this idea to write a note to myself after watching a video on Youtube where this girl asks strangers to record a voicemail for themselves to listen to in 5 years. Her name is Thoraya Maronesy. Her content is so inspiring. You guys should check her Youtube channel out.

Leaving Home


It is so hard to believe it marks three years since I started college here at UNC Greensboro. Things have changed a lot then– new friends, going away from home, adjusting to college life, changing majors, career choice and being independent. Along with that, I think it made a lot of changes within me as well. These last three years have definitely helped me to become a better version of myself, get perspective, get out of my comfort zone and change my mentality. When I first came here, I was really a girl with so much anxiety who knew literally no one other than a few people from back home. I was frightened out of my mind, thinking if I will fit in and adjust to the new college. From all the long nights in the library, binge coffee drinking session, little dance parties in my room, crying over the phone with my family, skipping class to hang out with friends, getting drunk together, spontaneous road trips, I can not believe these past few years have passed by in the blink of an eye. The sense of community at this place is unmatched. I honestly wouldn’t trade these past three years of my life at UNCG for anything. As much as I will miss this campus and the people tremendously, I am ready to move on with my life and onto the next chapter.

Making the Magic Happen

Hello Friends,

I am very excited to announce I’ll be a summer camp counselor at Camp Kesem through my college. Kesem is a nationwide organization that’s very passionate about supporting children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. We are offering innovative, entertaining programs that foster a lasting community with the kids. Kesem means magic and I want to help bring that magic and make a change in the kid’s life. All the money is meant to go towards the food, transportation, lodging and the activities for the children. Please help me support Camp Kesem by making a donation to the link below. Even a small amount would help very much. Thank so much for your generosity 🙂

Secret Santa

Just a few weeks ago, a teenager came into the grocery store where I work. When it was time for her to pay the bill, her eyes looked so helpless. Her son who was only 3 or 2 years old was sitting in the cart crying. She looked frustrated searching for extra cash in her bag to pay the remaining balance. A gentleman next in line was so kind and willing to pay for her entire grocery.

I remember a long time back, a day before Christmas Eve, my family was driving back home from a road trip. We stopped at a restaurant to eat something. It was almost midnight and we weren’t familiar with the road. We were all tired and starving, we just wanted something to grab a bite. Everybody in the restaurant was dressed up really nice. I was slightly embarrassed to go in there because we looked like someone from the street. We just ordered a whole pizza for all us. That was the only cheapest item on the menu. As we were eating, a gentleman who was sitting right across us walked to our table and put a 20 dollar bill. Our eyes were awestruck as he wished us happy holidays. He walked away so quickly we didn’t even get a chance to thank him. We didn’t know who he was or if we’ll ever see him again, but we were so flattered by his kind gesture.

Since the holidays are just around the corner, the act of kindness and giving is in the air. Back when we used to live in New Jersey, my parents had literally nothing in their pockets. It was our first Christmas here 14 years ago, but we knew we were unfortunate to get any gifts. I was so jealous when the kids at school talked about what they wanted for Christmas. Just a week before Christmas Eve, the priest from the parish church let us know that a anonymous family wants to donate gifts and money for us. Just after coming back from Christmas Eve mass, we saw five towers of presents stacked next to the tree in the living room. The room looked so lit with the lights and all the gifts. We didn’t want to wait until the next morning to open the presents. We were so thrilled and filled with excitement as we were unwrapping all the boxes. That Christmas still remains to be my favorite holiday even after all these years. We woke up the next morning seeing snow for the very first time. I believed god was showering my family with his glory as we began a new life. As Christmas is approaching, I think it’s very nice to do a random act of kindness every day in the spirit of this holiday season.

The Little Drummer Boy

Ever since I was little, I loved listening to Christmas stories. There is something hidden in each one. Though, my favorite would be about The Little Drummer Boy. It’s about a little boy who wants to see the new born king (Jesus Christ). While others bring gifts to honor the newborn, the boy confesses that he is poor, and he has nothing to give on the special occasion. Instead, he plays his drum and the infant king smiles at him.

I remember hearing it on the radio at a young age. I still love listening to the renditions on my playlist especially during the holiday times because of its simple message and the catchy tune. At a casual listen, the song is so simple, and clouded with lots of “pa rum pa pum pum”. As an 8 year old kid, I saw things so simply — a little boy played the drums for baby Jesus. Christmas marks the day Jesus came to earth–with humility, acceptance and an open invitation. All he wants is us in return.

During the day of Christmas, my family gathers around the tree to open the presents. Whatever the gift is, we always joyfully accept what each person has to offer one another. Every year when I wake up at the morning of Christmas, I thank the lord almighty for letting us celebrate his name. Thanking him for giving us a beautiful home and protecting my family till now and hereafter.

When the storm came

I remember during my summer visits to Kerala during the monsoon season, how much I enjoyed this time. But it seems now it has led to the loss of hundreds of people and their livelihoods. Water levels were already high in mid-June. In a span of just two weeks, Kerala is going through its worst flood crisis in a century. Most of our neighbors have evacuated from their flooded homes to relief camps. Every day people are posting pictures of demolished homes, people being airlifted from rooftops, kids crying watching their parents’ corpse floating away. Several people are still trapped under fallen down homes and buildings caused by the landslides. It’s so heartbreaking to see the land where I was born to be washed away like that.

Even despite this crisis, what’s really heartwarming is how much this is bringing other people together. Kerala used to be in a state where men were not allowed to sit with women in buses, mosques were segregated, political groups were protesting against each other, differences between other religions, races and the rich and poor were uprising. For the past week, fishermen are willing to lend their boats to rescue people. Celebrities and other people are coming forward to help in relief camps. My mom yesterday shared with me a video of a group of kids in the camps eating together from one plate. If only people don’t lean towards empathy and being communal only when a disaster like this happens, the world would be a better place. There is nothing more important for our survival than how we treat each other. We need to wire our minds to work on treating each other with respect and compassion.


New York Trip 2018

It’s been more than a month since my last trip to New York, I still haven’t gotten a chance to talk about my experience. I still can’t get it out of my mind those amazing few days. It was just my younger brother, my mom and myself–We been talking for months to pay my older brother and his wife a long due visit. I don’t even know where to start. It was really one of the most satisfying, exhilarating trip I had experienced in a long time with my family. I miss the days when my family used to go on long road trips. We used to tell stories, crack jokes, play games. This trip was just like the old ones. It was so good seeing my family all together after a long time.

My brother has been living here for almost two years and he always talks about how much he loves the city. Back when we first moved to the US, we initially settled in a place close to NYC. We lived in a small apartment, went to a catholic school, had few friends in the neighborhood we would hang out with, and my parents went to work while we went to school. We had a very mundane life. We had few family friends in New York, so we made frequent trips. Even though we visited New York many times before, this trip was like no other. It was so special in a way that we got the chance to see New York how the locals here see it.

Day 1



On our first day, we took a walk around Jersey city in the evening. The view of the Manhattan skyline from the waterfront was absolute gorgeous. The temperature was very pleasant as well. There were a group of people doing yoga. It was a sight to watch with the soothing music and the beautiful waterfront in the backdrop.


FullSizeRender-1The next morning, we started our day early to explore the neighborhood of SoHo in Manhattan. With the vast number of boutiques, restaurants and cafes in each corner of this place, it was so hard to to pick which one to take a look at. We stopped at few boutique to get a glimpse of what the city has to offer. There were so many people selling drawings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing everywhere we look. For fashion and art buffs like myself, SoHo was literally the place to explore. In the obscure streets, cobblestone pathways, between the high brick buildings with cast iron fire escape, you feel like you traveled back to the retro time.


We passed by Washington Square Park and grabbed a good spot by the fountain. We spent there for almost 30 minutes just catching up on old things and people watching. There were lot of local vendors selling ice cream and smoothies on the side of the road. There was a group of bangara dancers ready to perform in the center. The park wasn’t too busy even though it was a Saturday. It felt nice being outside, the weather wasn’t too hot either. What caught most of our attention was an unusually small-sized man painted in white posing before the arch. His detailed presentation was quite impressive– the stony texture of his skin, weathered look and his head covered with an off white head scarf.


We stopped at a nice Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was my first time trying western Chinese cuisine. We ordered Biang Noodle Soup and lamb dumplings for all of us. Our noodles came in a bowl with a variety of meat like pork, lamb and beef. It looked something close to bibimbap. It had the fiery red color, but the spices were well balanced. The noodles were chewy and the broth was so amazing.

May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

After a nice lunch, we quietly walked around the south memorial pool to the oculus. We were still back in India at the time of the 9/11 attack. I remember watching the horrific news on TV, but I never felt the magnitude and the despair of those families who just lost their loved ones. A family right next to us was very emotional as they were looking at the name of their relative and putting roses by that name. The fountain is so simple yet powerful in a way that gives us hope. The oculus was so beautiful, and had a unique design spoke of promise and lightness. I loved the inside of the place more than the outside. It was around dusk when we got on the ferry. The view of the sunset was so pretty from the boat. The sky was colored in crimson gold as the sun was shining past the liberty statue.

Day 2

After morning mass, we went down to East Williamsburg to have brunch. It was a quaint, cozy brunch place in Brooklyn. Even though the line was long, it was so worth waiting. The pancakes were so delicious since they were made from scratch. We were fueled with enough energy for the day. We then took a Uber ride to Brooklyn bridge. During the ride, we got a chance to see inside of a Jewish Community. I wasn’t aware that NYC had a large Jewish community until then. There were buses and schools specifically for Jews. The women were very modest and most of them wore black. They wore pass knee length skirts along with a overcoat and a hat. There were men dressed in black and with long sideburns walking down the street. I thought the community was really far conservative compared to everything we have seen so far in New York.

As we came by the Brooklyn Bridge, we passed a bazaar underneath the Manhattan Bridge’s archway. The vibe was totally something you would feel in a middle eastern country. It had everything from modern antiques, vintage clothing to food from around the world. After spending a moderate amount of time in the market area, we headed towards the bridge. I was very surprised to find how narrow the pedestrian walkway was on the bridge. There were lot of speedy bikes zooming past us. I almost crashed into a biker because I was on the wrong side. It was quite windy up there, but it still felt really nice. The view of the manhattan skyline from the bridge was so admiring.


After walking across the bridge, we headed to Chinatown for lunch. After a classic Chinese meal with lots of dim sums, we went searching for a place to get ourselves a massage. The dense crowds in the street did make me feel a little overwhelmed, but I really enjoyed the vibe of this street. It was around evening and there were those red Chinese lantern balls lightened up everywhere. We finally found a place where they were doing massages for reasonable prices. I went for a foot massage but there was a miscommunication due to the language barrier. It was somewhat frustrating trying to make them understand what I wanted. In the end, it all worked out and we all had something to laugh about. 🙂 Afterwards, we went for somewhere nearby to get ice cream. Even through this traditional Thai ice cream (nitrogen ice cream) has been making waves in Instagram and has become a phenomena in the US, it was my first time seeing how they actually make it. For anyone who visits chinatown whether you come alone or with your family, there is something for everyone who comes here to enjoy a little piece of China in New York City. For the rest of our week there, we mostly spent time shopping in fifth avenue, going out to eat and watching Netflix at home. I was really hoping to walk around Central park, but we were all too tired from the previous days. And we thought it’ll be nice to save something to see next time we come here.

This trip was really worth remembering and gave us a chance to look into a city that breathes its own history and culture. One of my favorite part about this trip was our long mile walks and riding the subway. It was really a different way of traveling and the best way to explore this phenomenal city. There is so much to see in each corner. In the midst of standing next to the big skyscrapers and buildings, you really do feel small in this big world. I often wonder why people move to this city. People from all walks of life come to New York to find a job, build a family and come here to discover themselves. I think it can be overwhelming sometimes, but I don’t think it’ll be any adventures living somewhere you have no challenges. It forces you to think faster and make better decisions. I am amazed at the fact how much I love New York than when I was a little child. Back in 4th grade, I hated living in New York mainly because of the crowd, lonely feeling and living here in a small apartment, but there is a beauty behind all of that. In any corner of the city, you will come upon many people working in streets, restaurants, cafes and shops to make a living. Everyone has a different style and personality and no one is judging each other. There is a huge, diverse population living here and they are all just minding their own business. At first I thought people living here do not smile very much. It’s probably because I was here for a visit and everywhere I look around, no one is smiling and they are all in a rush going somewhere. They are rushing to catch the subway to get to their job or hurrying home to make dinner for the family. If you think about it, who has the time to smile in between all that. I think if I move to the city in the future, it will make me more resilient and grow into a stronger woman.

Open your eyes

My trip to charlotte a month ago, was one of the most satisfying, spontaneous one. After my finals were over, I just wanted to stay one extra day in Greensboro before leaving home for the summer. I lied to my mom telling her that I had another final left. So that day after my last final, I walked around downtown by myself just enjoying the nice evening. I ran into a friend after a long time and we had dinner together at a nice restaurant. He invited me over to his house in Charlotte. With much hesitant, I said yes afraid how his family will perceive me. It was a two-hour drive to Charlotte. We talked about a lot of things during that two-hour drive. While I was staying at his place for the night, his family treated me like someone from their own home. They were so kind and generous to give me a room and make me feel comfortable. Even though his parents spoke a different language, they were still trying to have a conversation with me. 🙂 They told me how they immigrated from Vietnam back in the day and worked so hard to build a good life over here.

The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open.

This can’t be phrased any other way. It’s when we open up listening to other people’s stories from different walks of life, we gain perspective. During this past year, I found myself engaging in meaningful conversation with friends, going to intercultural events hosted by the campus, spending time with nature and writing more reflections. If I don’t have the time to sit down somewhere peacefully and write on my blog, I try to note it down on my phone. It’s been a year since I started blogging and it really helps me to express my thoughts and emotion out there. It feels good reading other blogs and interacting with an audience around the world. Recently, a blog caught my attention where it was talking about expanding your horizons. Reading that post reminded me why it’s important to open our eyes to the world. I can’t explain how much I want to be on the other side of the globe right now immersed in another culture. I hope one day I’ll able to take a break and go backpacking around the world. Even though I am not financially stable right now to be a full-time traveler, I make road trips and take up small adventures then and now like white water rafting, parasailing, scuba diving and so on.

I know people say that traveling is important to experience life. But I still get that sense of joy of experiencing different things around me. For a long time, I been so crazy about trying new cuisines –Mediterranean, Korean, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Thailand, Mexican 🙂 I often go with a friend or two and it’s really fun talking and bonding over the meal. If I can’t find a friend to dine with, I am not anxious anymore to eat in a restaurant alone. Lately, I started watching foreign films. As much as it feels overwhelming trying to read the subtitles and focus on the screen at the same time, it feels thrilling to learn a new language. Other days I love watching animal documentaries. I am not sure if it has to do with the cinematography or its close details, I get adrenaline each time I watch them. My point is that by doing these small ventures, I am able to get out of my comfort zone and expand my knowledge.

Recently I started a part-time job for the summer. Back in high school, I stayed in a job I despised so much to various reasons. After I quit that, I didn’t apply for any other job for a long time worried that I won’t be satisfied with the new one. Over the years, I learned it’s impossible to find a job you actually enjoy. I am excited about this job though, the people are very friendly and easy to work with. I am hoping to save up some money for my backpacking adventures. I know that is not going to be anytime soon, but it feels good to work towards a dream like that.

Last semester, a conversation with one of my friends about ‘The Lion King’ made me watch the movie again. It is really interesting we find ourselves going back to lot of things we used to do when we were kids. When I was a kid, I never appreciated my cousins and family back in India. Little did I know what I was leaving behind when my family came to the US. Now when I go back and visit them, I find myself more fond of them than when I was a child. I remember back when my brothers and I came back from school, my mom always prepared something for us to eat, and she would feed us one by one.

It was few weeks ago, I was working on a assignment I saw a group of kids playing together outside in the playground. They were playing broomstick, one boy being chased after the other three kids. There was a another group of kids jumping in the puddle. I was able to hear their laughter from all the way inside. I was surprised at myself how amused I was watching them play there. They laugh till dawn and let the fire within them rage. They see kindness in the world and live with soft hearts. They carry hope in their hearts, innocence in their eyes and lots of playfulness in themselves. From having the most bizarre imagination, laughing when they are cheerful, crying hard when they are sad, there is no one else that is honest as themselves.

Sleeping at Last

You smile a lot. It’s something I get a lot from people. My friends joke that I am happy even when I shouldn’t be. Smiling is probably the most beautiful remedies that exists in this world. We often fail to notice the power of touch, kindness, smile that could possibly turn a life around. People who are very close to me know that I am a person who loves to smile and laugh a lot in life. Comedy was probably one of the relief that life brought me during my dark days. Back when I was in high school, I used to go to school everyday for five days a week then come back home and lay in bed for next two days. I used to live each day as if I was dying, ridden with anxiety. It’s merely not possible to forget some things or people from our past, but it is possible how we perceive what has already happened to us. Our eyes will take some time to adjust to the overwhelming light surrounding us, but there always lies some certainty within the shortness of breath. We come across lot of other people with different stories far from ours. People who have gone through far more worse times than us, making us grateful that we are still alive even after everything we have been through. With time, we will come to realize just how rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.

I used to feel like I lived in a world where people are afraid to feel anything genuine. I used to let the negatives control my mind and allow them to control my life. I thought the world is out to get me. I looked at everything the wrong way and I really learned this the hard way. I used to lie in bed and just stare at the ceiling in the dark room. There were so many nights I had to cry myself to sleep, thinking about the things that would keep me awake all night. But I don’t want to ever be that 17 year old teenager who had some broken dreams and hopes. Nowadays, I would laugh away my worries and be happy even when life has other plans for me. It was one night during finals week last semester, I was alone in my room studying for my exam. I was so stressed out I didn’t know what to do with myself. I then put on my headphones and just started dancing to some peppy music. I could have broke down crying then, but I thought of something funny instead and laughed hysterically. If someone entered my room at that time, they would probably think I have gone insane.  I still go through some days feeling melancholy and unexplained sadness, but I have learned to overcome it. I chose to surround myself with positive people and laugh whenever I can. I think that’s why my life has turned out as good as it has over the past few years.