The Red Lipstick and I

For the longest time, I avoided buying myself a Red lipstick. Honestly, I had no confidence to put on a Red lipstick. I had no courage to make a statement. No guesses, what my little vanity had was only neutral, plain, simple shades of lipsticks. Somewhere I felt comfortable behind that no-makeup, neutral face – comfortable because I was not saying – Hey! I am here. Look at me! … safe because I was not taking risk by putting a nobody face on.
But it was not a happy face either as I was hiding the real me inside, scared of how my face is gonna look if I chose that red lipstick which to be honest I always wanted to wear but was  afraid of looking ugly, felt I did not have a perfect face nor a perfect pout. Afraid of speaking my mind, I would not share my thoughts.
And when I thought deeply over it, I realised it was not just the choice of lipsticks, I was scared about taking any bold decisions in my life, be it the kind of baggy clothes I would wear or the boring finance job that I hated to the core.  I would not voice my opinions. I was not courageous enough to take a decision to change all of that. I was not feeling great enough about myself. I was not living enough.
And this realisation was just the start of every single thing that followed thereafter … great things because I let go of the feeling of ‘playing safe’ in my life. I may not have a ten on ten face or a sexy pout but I am perfect just the way I am and I deserve to make my choices, without being scared of what the world would think. I deserve to make choices that make ME happy – right or wrong, bold or not so bold as long as I make them with confidence. I deserve to voice my opinions – right or wrong … they are mine.
I gave up the finance job. I changed my wardrobe. I started writing a blog. I bought a Red lipstick.
 
Featured Lipstick – Rouge Pur Couture by YSL No. 01
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Looking back at 2013

at 2013

Another year is at the brink of bidding adieu but this certainly can’t be called just another year. I changed countries – from chilly London to the sunny Dubai. I changed professions – from an accountant to a writer/blogger. New people, new atmosphere, new things to learn and new challenges to make something of myself all from scratch as I had never done full-time writing before.

The whole idea of switching to writing would scare me initially …. a lot of times since the pay cheque stopped coming every month like before. My blog was my own venture – I am the boss here and I am the employee. Would people like it? Would it be loved?

All sorts of doubts would hover over my mind at times but slowly every picture that I clicked turned out to be better than the previous one, every sentence I wrote made more meaning than the last one, new words became friends with me, new followers kept adding to the blog and the doubts started to fade away.

And here I am, smiling back at 2013 for making me learn that life is all about taking risks …

making me realise that if you do what you love, even a start afresh feels interesting rather than challenging. Here I am winking at the Sheikhland for being the canvas on which I explore my creative writing. Here I am thanking each one of you from the bottom of my heart for showing me so much love and support that words can’t express.

I would need all of it and much more of it as I aim to do more interesting things on the blog in 2014 and present to you Sheikhland through my lenses and words.

Will you be with me?

Until I speak to you next, I wish you a very happy 2014. May you get closer to your dreams.

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Design

The Stunning Sunrise@Jamaica

A brilliant sunrise or sunset creating the breath-taking collage of colours is what makes me dive into a world, where everything is possible, but nothing is sure – yet there is a beauty in this mystery … worth being pursued and lived up.

And that’s why, I ensure in all my travel around the world, I capture the captivating sunrises and sunsets in my camera to look back to, whenever I feel lost as I know a glimpse of these would again bring me back to believing in myself and find faith in the mystery, we all call ‘life’.

Sharing today the sunrise, I clicked in Jamaica in 2008.

Isn’t it stunning?

Do drop in a line, if you like the shot or if you are also a sunset/sunrise-lover like me.

Your comments always make my day.

sunrise in jamaica 290913

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Design

A Pinkalicious Flowery Friday!

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As I invite some Pinkness in this space, some Pink roses too found their way to me, inspiring me with their perfection and refreshing me with their delightful perfumes, adding to my home-décor – As I click them, I remember the words of Henri Matisse- ” There are always flowers for those who would see them’.

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And with that, I remind myself of all the beautiful things in my life I have been blessed with … keeping the hardships aside, only focussing and celebrating the goodness around … and without me knowing, I find myself smiling.

Life has never been, can never be all smooth and all rosy but the rough patches can be easier to sail through when we focus on the positives, the flowers down the course, rather than thinking and cursing the thorns we would find along the path.

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I know, I know – I am going all philosophical today. But it’s these pretty Pink beauties to be blamed for it. They have brighten up my day and lifted up my spirits. Hope they add some Pinkness to your day too.

Here is to a Fabulous Flowery Friday! Cheers!

*Smiles*

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Design

Do’s and Don’ts for a stress-free me

Settling into a new country, setting up a home again, trying to do something in writing – a field so new to me when it comes to trying to make a career out of it – all of this did take a toll on me last week. All stressed out, I was just feeling more exhausted and when I looked at the mirror, I felt all the more sad as all that stress was coming out on my skin which seemed and felt unhappy.

Well … the point is that stress, worries, tensions are not only bothersome to the mind but also to your skin. I actually took a selfie on a stressful day and compared that to one on a happy day – there was a HUGE difference in my appearance in the 2 pictures. Go on, do this with your pictures and you would HATE stress all the more.

But, I was keen to help myself out of all this stress and so sat with my diary jotting down a few Do’s and Don’ts, that have now become the mantras of my life …. rather my ‘stress-free life’.

Wanna know what they are? Have a look –

1. Say ‘Yes’ to things you like, ‘no’ to the things you don’t.

2. Have a ‘to-do-list’ in the morning with time-commitments written so you don’t over-commit yourself. Trust me it’s a saver.

3. Learn to delegate. There are things others (read husband, siblings, sis-in-law) can also do.

4.If you are feeling really low, watch a weepy movie and have a good cry. Crying is a way of flooding our bodies with oxygen, which in turn releases feel good transmitters for the brain.

5. Sit straight. Have a good posture. It prevents tension building in the body.

6. Have that Brownie and stop sulking. Sometimes it’s OK to not count calories.

7. Turn off your mobile for sometime. Be unavailable with the world and be available to yourself. Have some silent moments only with yourself.

8. I know gym would be the last thing on your mind at this time, but sometimes what you got to do, you got to do. So get on that treadmill and burn some calories while feeling a lot better.

9. If you are a mom, then learn a bit from wild animals and stop doing anything for your kids that they can actually do for themselves. You are meant to be teaching them, not serving them.

10. Last but not the least – look into the mirror and say to yourself – ‘I am strong. I can get over this’. I promise you are your biggest strength.

So get it all out to feel better and beautiful, say chao to stress and look as fresh as a daisy. After all life is too short to be stressed or to look ugly.

Toodles!

Chandni

The Champa flowers ….

The hum and whir of summer is upon us, with the delicate scent of champa in the breeze – champa, the flowers that could be spotted in every nook and corner of Dubai, somewhere reminding me of childhood hours spent in Dadi maa’s (grandmother’s) lap. Her pallu (sari fall) covering my eyes, taking me away to a world that felt safer, more hopeful, brighter.
And so today, as the newspaper tells me of another gang-rape in my country, which celebrated ‘Independence Day’ (?) a week back, ‘Raksha-bandhan’ (?) two days back, I decided to bring in some champa flowers in my home today, remembering the safety in Dadi maa’s lap … pretending to read, dreaming of nothing more.

The champa flowers

Happy Raksha-bandhan! :)

Happy Raksha-bandhan!

Happy Raksha-bandhan!

A very good morning to all you lovely people! 🙂

How are you all doing?

Yes … am still alive and more so than ever before after a gorgeous holiday in the stunning Istanbul, Turkey. Absolutely delighted to be back to few more likes on Facebook, lots of comments on the blog and many new followers from the wordpress family. Thank you all for the love and support. It is precious.

I am feeling so refreshed, rejuvenated and oh so happy. What a good holiday can do for the soul! *smiles* (a big one).

And with that spirited soul, I am soon going to take you all through a virtual vacation of the awesome city of Istanbul and I am telling you, I am so gonna make you book those tickets to this mind-blowingly amazing part of the world. *winks*

But we shall talk about Istanbul from tomorrow because today, we are going to talk about ‘Raksha-bandhan’ or ‘Rakhi’, a big Indian festival which is being celebrated today.

Rakhi is a celebration of the beautiful bond of a brother and a sister. In Hinduism, the brother is meant to be the protective shield of the sister and when the sister ties rakhi ( a colourful bracelet kind of a thing) on the brother’s wrist, the brother promises her to protect her from everything bad or evil and take care of her through thick and thin.

Now isn’t that really cute?

I have a younger brother, who lives in India and let me tell you, we were enemies when we were in our teens. I would hate him. I would hit him. I would want to kill him at times … and the feelings were mutual but when someone else would want to do all of that to either of us, both of us would want to kill that person.

And then there were times, when I felt disappointed with some failures, when I felt let down by friends, when my school-crush made another girl-friend, when I did not feel like smiling … my little brother would do anything to make me stand again, fight harder, be stronger …. and making sure I am smiling. (oh … tear-tap, stop!)

It has been 6 years that we have not been together on the rakhi day, with me being in London and now in Dubai, there have been distances, there are time-zones and there is endless work, but the bond between me and him has only grown stronger.

Although we now pursue separate lives in different countries thousands of miles apart, we are so beautifully connected by the long-ago kingdom of childhood that we once inhabited together, by those terrible fights that make memories to smirk away, by those low times that made us each other’s strength.

And today, once again, we celebrate our lovely relationship with those tiny colourful beads in a string, somewhere binding me and him into a knot, which is getting more meaning as years are adding to our age.

Do you share the same kind of relationship with your siblings?

I am waiting to hear ….