A girl with an Ordinary Childhood.

Ordinary is being without any special or distinctive features, just being normal.

I am the first born to her parents who are part of an extended family. Our family lives in a bungalow in old south Bangalore. A house in which my dad, uncle and all aunts were born and brought up. A house which has a well in the back yard and is surrounded by trees all around.

I was the tallest amongst all the cousins, That didn’t last long. I now have an ordinary height and is the shortest today. I loved to climb the fruit trees and pick the fruits that I could get my hands to reach and fill my pockets with them. Crawling back down, I would share those fruits with the  ones who would look up to me as I had just done what they could not get up to.That didn’t last long either. I tried climbing the same wall 3 decades later last week and that was not a good experience but will remain a pleasant and fond memory.

My dad taught me to climb ladders and reach the terrace. One late afternoon, Isomehow managed to get her neck stuck at the fork of 2 branches and mom no matter how hard she tried, couldn’t get up the Gauva tree to free my neck and bring me down. I positioned myself to comfort and waited patiently till dad came home in the evening and got me down. This was just one of many afternoons which I have spent either on the terrace collecting baby coconuts or on one of the many fruit trees that surround our house.

Another summer afternoon, we (my sister and I) hired a bicycle and tried to teach ourselves how to cycle. Falling off it caused my world to crash. I smile everytime, I see the scar on my leg now, remembering that ordinary afternoon.

During one other summer break, my aunt who was spending the summer with us, drew water out from the well in our backyard and poured it over all of our heads. She must have done it to entertain or amuse the little children or to cool us down in that heat. Whatever was her intention that day, I will never know. What I cannot forget is the cold water running down my back and the shivers of excitement it sent up my brain. I smile to myself every time I rush into the shower before the hot water can reach and when I get a drizzle of cold water on my back.

These are bits and pieces of the ordinary childhood moments that makes my  childhood extra ordinary in many ways.

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. . . And we did it!

“GUINNESS WORLD RECORD SPEECH MARATHON (TEAM)  RECORD OF 126 hrs 28 min . . . and we’ve done it!” reads the slide on the New Zealand Toastmasters website now. It was an ultimate Team Event.  Over 150 Toastmasters showcased their skills and contributed their bit by speaking one after another for as long as they liked. The participants presented over 400 speeches on an assortment of topics.

The speakers came from all over the country and the world. Witnesses were present throughout the extraordinary performance. The night birds spoke through the night. The audience, on rotation, were there to encourage and support the world record being created. The follow up steps have begun which include the tedious process of putting the evidence together and sending it to the Guinness, and it is a no mean task. It was a matter of pride for me to represent the Bangalore Toastmasters Club at an event of this magnitude.

When I first read about the “Run The Red,” it sparked curiosity in me. When I found out that it was a Speech Marathon to break the Guinness World Record, needed to be a part of it.

I was directed to the website to block a slot. It was a continuous public speaking event of 10 plus minutes each by individual active Toastmasters from any District spread over 5 days. Rob Wightman, one of the event coordinators from Auckland Advanced Toastmasters Club and the PRM Toastmasters District 112, gave me a time slot for the 24th of April. It also was the ANZAC day and a public holiday. 

Since it was a public holiday, Vijay, my husband agreed to drive me to the event and back. I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to accompany me to the event and hear me speak.

It was a day of many firsts – 

  • The first time I was presenting a speech outside my home club 
  • The first time I was presenting a prepared speech in Auckland 
  • The first time Vijay was going to be present in the audience when I was speaking in public
  • The first time I was being part of any marathon event
  • The very first time I was contributing my bit towards breaking or creating a Guinness World Record

  I was nervous and excited. I was briefed and registered. I was directed towards the room to wait for my turn.  The room, the stage and the set up were nothing like what I had seen before or experienced. It comprised of the Speakers, the supporters, the witnesses, the timekeepers, the organisers and the audience. 

It was very well laid out and organised.  The camera was rolling on one side and the witnesses were seated on the other side of the speaker. The timekeepers occupied the front row seats that were placed beside the chair of the “next speaker.” There were very clear instructions for the “next speaker” to start speaking immediately and not to have a break or pause for more than 30 seconds!  A herculean task indeed.

The chart on the board displayed my name 6th from the top, which meant I had five speakers before me and I didn’t not know how long each of them would be speaking or what they would be speaking about.

It was also another first for me to sit and enjoy the speeches before my turn rather than feel the butterflies in my stomach. I listened to participants speak about many interesting topics. 

One that I cannot forget was of a medical professional who shared her story of how she was diagnosed with brain tumour. She passed around photos of her MRI scan and narrated stories and incidents of her life before and after the tumour was diagnosed and the surgery she had to undergo.

A young boy who spoke ahead of me narrated his views and opinions about the movie “Avengers – The End game”. I had watched that movie only the day before and was so engrossed in what he was talking, it was almost difficult for me to concentrate and prepare myself to speak next.

When it was my turn to speak, I composed myself and commenced with a lot of excitement. Though, I was standing in front of an audience full of strangers, I still felt comfortable. I was speaking as a part of the team which was going to break the Guinness World Record. Videos of Guinness world record was something that I would religiously watch on TV and admire the people breaking or creating records. There I was, spoking for 10 minutes 26 seconds and became a part of breaking or creating a new World Record.

The topic that I had chosen for that day was “The Human Library”. Complimenting the topic of my choice, I was sitting in a room filled with human books. I listened to the lives, likes and views on subjects that were new to me. It was intriguing, interesting and informative. I was literally in a library filled with Human Books while I waited for my turn to come. 

Life Lesson learnt – Grab every opportunity that comes your way. Go with the flow and enjoy everything that you stumble upon.

Friends who are Family


Last year, I was on a flight to Auckland. It was hard for the seat belt to restrain the excitement that I was bursting with. I was on my way to meet our Auckland Family. Unannounced and yes, definitely for a cup of tea with my best friend.

19th May – It was a wet, wild and wintery saturday morning when I knocked on their door. Aunty, answered the door. She is the oldest amongst all my friends. She was surprised, speechless and stunned to find us at her door step. We were there with all our bags & suitcases. She welcomed us as if we were neighbours with a hot bowl of porridge that was cooking on the stove.

Jia, Jia came running down the steps when she heard my voice and embraced me with a hug. The next second we were in each others arms and happiness oozed out in the form of tears. neither of us could understand that our daydream had just turned into reality.

Introducing Jia

She was the first one to see me. I was in my backyard and she was in her living room. She sent here dad to investigate if we had a child that she could come and play with. She was a rolly-polly cheeky-chubby 6 year old when I met her. She asked for a playmate and she got me, we have stuck on to each other since then. she is the youngest friend that I have.

I have sat thruʼ many of her Hannah-Montanna shows encouraging, hoping and wishing that I would nominate her for the reality show – NZ has talent. And that young girl has got a lot of talents.
We have spent many weekends eating ice-cream and daydreaming together. When she introduced me to face painting, I introduced her to a hair straightener. while she busy filling her journal with stories of her first crush and boy friend, I busy building friendships that last a life time. While she was filling up my phone with her selfies, I was busy filling boxes to relocate to Bangalore. When I moved to Bangalore in Oct 2015, she was a few days short of turning 16. She had blossomed into a beauty, with brains and a spark of brilliance. At that time, she had her nose in the books, head in the clouds and was chasing a dream.

She called me on 16th april 2018, to share with me the happiness of one of her dreams coming true. she was selected as a Robertson scholar on a full scholarship to Duke. She in the midst of her excitement didnʼt forget to daydream with me as always. She was telling me how her mom missed not having me around and how she always wished that that I could join her for a cup a tea. It was a 40 mins phone call filled with delights of joy, daydreams to fulfill and destinations to reach. It ended with us day-dreaming What If I knocked on her door unannounced for a cup of tea. I said – “Jia, thatʼll be themost expensive cup of tea” and she said “ well, good things donʼt come cheap in life”.

Thatʼs exactly what were experiencing in that embrace when happiness was oozing out as tears. We were at their door, with our bags, not for a cup of tea, not for dinner that night but for a month, till we found a place to move to. Friends, day dreams do come true, just make sure you share it with friends who also day dream with you.

Just as we had enjoyed the warm bowl of porridge and were zonked after the , my best friend Deepika made her entry. She is my real life wonder-woman. Deepika, is the one who successfully converted me from a the tea-totaler that I was to the tea addict that I am. we have been partners-in crimes in many shopping adventures. She is my sounding board when I need sane advise. She is my punching bag when i need to whine. She has her shoulders for me and arms around me when I need a good cry. She couldnʼt believe what she was seeing. We were in her living room after 31 months.

We have all heard that Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are and enjoy your company as much as you enjoy theirsʼ. They ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what. This is my Auckland family. I have introduced you to just the women in this family today and will save the men for another day.

We are very fortunate to have these friends and friendships that make life what it is today. This we call our fortune.
Friends, where we can knock on their door with our suitcases and plan to stay not just for tea and dinner but for weeks. Friends, when we walk into their living room make us feel like we never left and hand you a warm a cup of porridge. Friends, who give us the key code to their house and lend us their car for a month.

These are the people who donʼt share blood with us but are willing to share their lives with us.

aah, did i mention that in the 8 weeks that I spent in Auckland, I cooked 3 meals – yes, just 3 meals in 8 weeks. who needs to cook when you have Punjabis who treat you as family. We didnʼt feel that Auckland faced the coldest temperature in 50 years on the 29th June due to the warmth of the people we were surrounded by.

How many of you agree with me that We don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason .
Be fortunate for the friends and friendships you have and you make.
Day dream and make sure you day dream with friends.

If you have friends like I have, they even make day dreams come true.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

Finishing races are​ important, but racing is more important – said Dale Earnhardt. 

Last week, my best friend shared some photos with me. I all over again fell in love with him. He had shared photos of himself being drenched in sweat and covered in slush and dirt.

He was sharing his experience of participating in the Devils Circuit. It is an elite international standard obstacle running series Comprising of 15 obstacles spread across a 5-kilometer track. This form of running tests participants on both physical and mental levels.

It is age, gender, and fitness agnostic. This is a run where everyone, irrespective of their fitness and stamina levels, finds something to take away. The competitive category offers a timed test of brute physical fitness whereas through participation in the non-competitive category you get to enjoy the obstacles at your own pace and push yourself beyond what you thought you are capable of.

There were 15  obstacles and some of them were

brain freeze

wall of freight

Tunnel of fright

Floating donuts

torture trenches

The names of these obstacles gave me shivers of excitement. I was experiencing a mix of emotions when he was telling me about this. I call it a mix of emotions because I wanted to hear all about it and at the same time I didn’t want to know anything about what I had missed. I was angry, upset and annoyed that he hadn’t taken me along to experience it but I was left to imagine and experience it thru’ his words of excitement.

He is someone who has always been active physically, his new found love is running. In January, he was at his first half marathon in Mumbai. He is someone who strongly believes in fitness and never misses a chance to get out in the open for a run.

How many of you have a picture of him in your minds now? Is he in his 20’s?  

In his 30’s? In his 40’s? Yes, he is in his 40’s and he is a dad to 2 teenage girls.

He was part of a group at the Devil’s circuit and he was the only one to finish all the 15 obstacles. When I asked him how he managed it at his age, when boys half his age struggled, he said, he conquered one obstacle at a time and enjoyed the experience. His aim was to conquer all of them which he did and not to beat any stop watch.

Life lesson – come, see, conquer – one obstacle at a time.

The anatomy of a shirtdress

A Shirtdress is a style of women’s dress that borrows details from a man’s shirt. These include a collar, a button front, or cuffed sleeves. Button fronts give this a forgiving fit making this a flattering look for most body types. This is one of the few items that I believe are universally useful in the majority of wardrobes, catering to our varying styles, shapes, sizes, and requirements.

I see the humble shirtdress as a wardrobe must-have.

There are so many variations of the shirt dress to choose from, there is something out there for everyone. Not to mention it’s such a classic style, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, so a good shirt dress is definitely worth investing in. It’s very versatile that it can be an outfit by itself or can blend with anything else that you have in your wardrobe.

some tips on wearing a shirtdress

  1. with a cute hat and fun sneakers on a summers’ day
  2. with a leather jacket to toughen up the look
  3. with a clutch and heels for a day at work
  4. with a bold belt to make a style statement
  5. with slip-on or sneakers for a brunch date
  6. with sheer tights and boots on a chilly day
  7. with a pair of jeans and singlet as an overlay

A shirt dress is a perfect item to pack on most holidays or even work travels. They can be dressed up and down as needed on your trip.

Even if dresses aren’t really your thing, a shirtdress is always a good place to start.

I am wearing the BETWEEN LANES BLACK SLEEVELESS SHIRTDRESS in a size M. Follow the link to check https://soulbysowmya.com/collections/walks-of-life/products/between-lanes-black-sleeveless-shirt-dress

Would love to hear from you. Are you a fan of the shirtdress? Where is your favorite from? How would you wear it? Let me know

Until Next Time,

Life is Beautiful. Love what you do. Stop. Pause. Take time for the little things. Enjoy the little wonders. Create memories. Love and be loved.

Eight steps, to deal the situation, “when nothing goes right”.

Today was one of those days when “nothing goes right”
  1. woke up with no voice
  2. water was too cold for a bath
  3. got a jab in my throat at the hospital – lucky my voice came back
  4. my car got towed away from in front of the hospital
  5. had to wait for an hour at the police station
  6. cost me a bomb to get my car back
  7. I was running late for a meeting
  8. another meeting got canceled
  9. production running way behind schedule
I happened to read the below in the wellness category on the Mentoring Women in
Business Programme’s peer-to-peer learning and networking forum. Somethings are just meant to happen like this is exactly what I needed at 10 pm before ending my day.
Reenu Sahore who is a life coach writes:
Sometimes, it just feels like nothing in your world is going right.
However, whether you’re suffering from ill health, encountering setbacks in
your career or nursing a broken heart, it’s possible to connect with
gratitude and transform your attitude.After all, happiness is not found in the absence of problems but in the ability
to deal with problems. Here are 8 things to remember the next time you
feel like everything has gone wrong.

1. Pain Helps You Grow

Although pain is challenging, it never comes into your life without a
purpose. So often, it’s a sign that you need to move forward in some way
—even though it can be very challenging to leave outdated parts of your
life behind. In addition, remind yourself that pain isn’t a sign of failure.

On the contrary, most great success stories involve bearing pain along the
way. Pain can hurt you and it can change you, but you can find personal
growth in both types if you stop resisting them and instead ask what they
have to teach you. Everything will come together in the end.

2. Nothing Is Permanent

Just as the rain always stops and darkness follows the light, healing always
follows hurt. Don’t make the mistake of imagining that your pain will last
forever—nothing does, whether it’s good or it’s bad. Every passing moment
is a new chance to make the best of your life and to enact huge changes.

Accepting the impermanence of everything helps you to let go of your own
intentions in a way that helps the universe give you what you really need.
Plus, just because you’re struggling with a challenge doesn’t mean you
can’t find ways to laugh and smile.

3. You Can’t Change Anything By Worrying

It’s easy to obsess over painful events in your life, but you can only find
happiness when you turn away from complaining about your problems and move
towards being grateful for all the problems you don’t have.

There’s compelling evidence to suggest that the people who spend the most
time worrying actually accomplish the least. Instead of doing nothing and
fretting about things out of your control, ask what you can control and
attempt to do something great with the resources you have.

4. Be Proud Of Your Scars

Your scars can be sources of pride—they’re symbols of your inner strength.
When you’re scarred, you know that a wound has closed. In other words, you
suffered pain, learning something from it, were resilient enough to
recover, and began to move forward.

Don’t let your scars evoke fear, or feel paralyzed that you might gain more
scars in the future.  Those who have endured pain are among the strongest
people there are, and your scars prove you can handle anything life throws
at you.

5. Struggles Are Steps Forward

Developing patience means being able to maintain a positive attitude as you
continually work hard to achieve your dreams. To accomplish great things,
you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone—and when you step out of your
comfort zone, you naturally encounter challenges that can sometimes feel
like failures.

These tests of your determination can be helpfully viewed as steps on the
road to success, however, and not signs that you’ll never make it to your
desired destination.

6. You’re Not Responsible For The Negativity Of Others

Combat negativity with positivity—hold onto your idea of who you want to
be, and refuse to be changed by those who are bitter, jealous or trying to
use you to work through their own complex issues.

If you’re going to change, do so because you want to be better in some way,
and are looking to cultivate a better future. There’s no way to make
everyone else happy, so don’t waste your time trying. You only get one
chance to live, so spend that time with people who understand
reciprocity—people who treat you right, make you smile and build you up.

7. What’s Meant To Be Will Find A Way

Trust in the universe to bring you the right things. No amount of trying to
force a certain outcome will make it happen, and doing so will only make
you miserable and drive you crazy.

Stop doubting every step you take, and instead allow yourself to enjoy the
way your life will unfold. It may not always develop in the way you thought
it would, but it will take you to where you need to go.

8. Keep Going At All Costs

Finally, when you catch yourself thinking that everything has gone wrong,
don’t be afraid to get right back up and try again. Whether trying again
involves daring to dream, trying to find love or starting a whole new
career, don’t let your past pain harden your heart.

Although you may have to scramble to get out of your current rut, it can be
done—and you will do it! Just know that very often, you have to go through
the worst life has to offer in order to eventually arrive at the very best.
Be well & Be Happy

A sore​ throat and its side effects

The 10 Things that I have learnt from having a very low voice for over a week to no voice at all for the past 3 days.

1 – the pain in the throat is unbearable which causes a headache. A continuous cough causes a chest pain. A cough is better than no voice.

2 – the camera that is used to check the insides is not as small as its described and technology can do much better.

3 – the constant ringing of the landline, somehow the phone rings more when you can’t answer it. I am still teaching myself to live with the phone ringing. Even if I picked it up, the person calling cannot hear my voice. I can only cut the call and send a text msg if it is my cell phone but not the landline.

4 – my cell phone still rings, yes even after 3 days of no voice !!! even when I have texted people and told them that I cannot talk. Would I call anyone 3 times a day when I know they can’t talk due to voice loss?

5 – people treat me differently. when I try to talk in the self-taught sign language they also reply back in sign. Maybe I should wear a signboard that says – “I’m dumb, not deaf” 

6 – Maybe it’s is God’s way of telling me to listen more and talk less. But, the voices in my head are just as loud and clear as ever, ever louder sometimes 

7 –  I am tired of not talking. I never thought that I would feel that way. Vijay and mummy will both know how much and how long I can talk on the phone.

8 –  I react differently to situations when I can’t respond verbally, I mean instantly. By the time I type and formulate my text msg that instant response to a trigger statement is lost.

9 – The tried and tested way to have a conversation with me will be for the person to send me a voice msg and I type back, that’s what worked well so far

10 – Everyone who sees me as no one can hear me asks me if I have seen a doctor. like I would wish this upon myself and love to live with it. Everyone has a home-remedy that is different and I have tried at least 5 in the last 2 weeks.

Bonus  – anyone willing to challenge my mom at a game of dumb charades ?